After a heavy 6-0 defeat in our opening league fixture of the FA’s Summer Flexi League, we were somewhat fearful of what was ahead. Thursday night saw YSP FC head to our home ground Stadio Del Middleton Park, where we’ve seemingly spent most of our lives over the last month, to face the world-famous Phoenix Club. Restored from the ashes after a fire burnt their Club down in 2001, the Club have risen through the divisions and last season won the Keith Laird Vase Trophy.
Chris Webster set the YSP team up in a dynamic 5-3-2 formation, with full-backs playing high and wide and three Joe’s at centre back. In contrast, Phoenix Club lined up in a classic 4-4-2, with formidable pairing Max and Paddy at centre backs, Les Alanos in midfield and Brian Potter roaming down the right wing.
Phoenix Club were immediately on the attack inside the opening stages with a ball flying across the six yard box and somehow wasn’t turned in. But YSP FC looked much more assured on the ball, and had some decent spells of possession. A mixture of some solid defending and some heroic saves from YSP goalkeeper Dick, who has just returned from a one year loan spell at Marseille, kept Man City loanee Young Kenny from opening the scoring as YSP kept a clean sheet for the first ten minutes, first objective achieved.
After a pretty even opening 20 minutes, tiredness in midfield began to show and Holy Mary squared the ball to Brian Potter to head home. 1-0 to the away side.
YSP had struggled to find any quality possession in the final third, perhaps put off by the opposition centre half’s telling them to ‘get back, you b*astards’. A defensive mixup almost saw Phoenix Club double their lead, but through on goal young apprentice Spencer could only hit the bar. 1-0 at half time.
A rousing team talk at half time was full of positivity as YSP were almost surprised by their good work in the first half. But as the second half got underway, Kenny Dalglish Snr was starting to show his quality that had previously seen him have trials with the Venezuela national team.
Shortly into the second half, a long ball forward from Maxwell Bygraves put Potter in behind the defence who calmly slotted home, beating the onrushing keeper. Two nil, tired legs, broken hearts and a banana flavoured condom machine. Get me zantac.
It was game over shortly after. A corner swung in by Holy Mary was defended well by Joe Bishop, who then reacted well to block the striker who had latched onto the second ball, only for the referee to award a handball. Folks were screaming, out of control, pandemonium. Potter stepped up and side-footed home, wheeling away in celebration as he all but sealed the away sides victory.
Final score: YSP FC 0 – 3 Phoenix Club (Potter 25′, 43′, 52′)