Ruthless Raiders Roll On

Friday 24th November rolled round with the Raiders on serious flames off the back of their 14th or whatever straight win (check “SportEasy”) against a strong HotShits team the week prior. Coldog Millionaire named a strong starting 11 (see below – 93, that’s a bit much isn’t it?) and equally as strong bench for what was set to be a tough match against a strengthened Sporting side who had already beaten HotShits comfortably earlier in the year.

Raiders started brightly moving the ball well across the back and midfield, creating a lot of space up top for the really dangerous and energetic forwards. It didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken. Some clever play down the right released Clem or Rick (one of them, who cares they get enough plaudits, let say it was Edwin). So Edwin was released down the right, cut in and was chopped down but some Sporting lard boy, a definite pen? Irrelevant, in his anger at the challenge Hoggba unleashed on the ball sending it flying into the bottom corner, 1 – 0.

The half continued with some just lovely play at times, Ben Mansell keeping it simple (but not uttering a single word), Rick and Vince linking up well and Hoggba and Clem constantly putting the Sporting chubbsters under pressure. Unfortunately Captain Ollie and leader of Raiders Social Media had to go off due to a hamstring strain, a big loss, Mgayver moved into centre back and proceeded to immediately get rolled by one of their seriously overrated strikers, fear not, just like after a few too many rum and cokes on the Piu Piu dance floor he got a bit “handsy” and wrestled him to the floor, a fortunate yellow. Rich was replaced by Gary making his return from a long spell out at TNR nightclub (it’s fucking great so I don’t blame him), tough on Rich who’d played well but Gary settled in superbly and had an absolute stormer. Sipho also came on for Vincent on the left and settled in really well, he’s also certainly enjoyed his time away from football (think Sweet Street, Shanty etc), his new streamlined haircut more than makes up for the yard or so he MAY have lost however. The half finished with Raiders coming under a bit of pressure, always going to happen against a team insistent on spanking the ball long but the defence, now with an average height of 1.50m stood firm.

Half-time 1 – 0 Raiders.

Sporting Slugs continued the pressure they’d ended the half with and continued launching balls forward to their supposed dangerous attackers, the vertically challenged defence remained firm however. Now what happened next has to go down as one of the most Sunday League, Dog and Duck, BUDGET moments in Raiders history. Sporting swung in a corner, one of their lard boys headed the ball down, Scott, Mike Owen and Mirko ALL called for the ball (I’m blaming Colin here for making us always call for the ball, I prefer Ben Mansells strategy of never speaking) and then decided to let it run passed each of their legs and finally crawl over the line, 1-1, embarassing.

Were the Raiders going to roll over and let the Sporting Slugs, disgusting long ball snorefest of a tactic work? Were they fuck. The whole team showed great spirit, got the ball down, strung a number of passes together across the defence and midfield and showed real bottle to try and play. A number of half chances resulted in a Raiders corner, Hoggba swung in an absolute beauty, I marauded into the 6 yard box like a young Steven Gerrard, rose like a salmon, GOAL – OVER THE BAR. Didn’t want to keep my 93/100 rating anyway.

Not perturbed by that horrific miss Raiders continued pressing on, another corner swung in this time by Edwin? Was met at the front post by Hoggba, 2 – 1 and the Raiders were flying. The Sporting Slugs could do nothing, Raiders played the last 20 minutes with some superb free flowing Football, Clem helping himself to his first goal of the game with a cracking finish from a tight angle, in the final minutes Mike O sent one of their players off for a coffee with a great first touch then PINGGGGED the ball over the now despondent Sporting back four, now with his shooting boots on (I preferred the Stan Smiths) Clem duly obliged for a second time, slotting home, 4 – 1. In case you were wondering Clem celebrated his brace at Piu Piu’s 35 month anniversary later that night in all his favourite lycra gear.

A superb win and most certainly one of the best I’ve been involved in as a team, we showed real ability, hard work for each other and belief that we could get the job done. It was a real team effort but some individual mentions are warranted.
Mike Owen – tracking back late in the second half, his legs seemed to be half jelly half Daddy long legs, he tried his hardest not to fall over, but on the third time of asking he hit the deck. Top drawer.
Vince – ran the length of the pitch with the ball then got a total nosebleed and cut the ball back to their defender rather than shooting
Ben Mansell – broke two Raiders statistical records in this game, highest pass completion (roughly 90% I’d say) and lowest number of words said in a game (O in 90 minutes) – Here he is ACTUALLY talking though, savour it
Gary – a great comeback, I’m pretty certain he won more headers than Ollie and Scott have combined this year? All at a height of 1.6m!
Sipho – despite enjoying his time off put in a great shift, and proves that you CAN still beat a man even if you’re slower than him – knock it past them, let them almost win it, slide tackle it off them. INNOVATOR.

Result: 4 Raiders – 1 Sporting Slugs.

Man of the Match – Hoggba. Two great finishes at important times, and put in a bit of a shift (he is most certainly not the fittest man in the club though).

Turkey – Andy Wadd. Selflessly missing a header from 1m out in order to make the rest of the team feel better about his 93/100 rating.

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