Captain Adam Cook reports:
A frantic night began with our illustrious skipper, Adam Cook (GFI) expressing his disappointment at certain members of the team for admitting they would turn up late, before he himself leisurely waltzed through the door five minutes before kick-off, with the remnants of his Nandos dinner still around his mouth. As the Baltic sprinted onto the pitch we found ourselves confronted by an ultra-physical opposition who quickly went 2-0 up, in both incidences a striker barging a defender off the ball.
After the second goal the real fun began, with our referee, a policeman by trade, stamping his authority onto the players. The game saw its first of many yellows of the day when Oli Denal (KPI Bridge) questioned the decision for allowing the second goal in an innocent, respectful manner, somewhat reminiscent of MP Andrew Mitchell during the ‘Plebgate Scandal’ of 2012 (we are assured Oli will be seeking £80,000 damages from the Met). This triggered the Baltic into life, Nat Twiggs (Pacific Basin) and Andrea Bolonga (Howe Rob) finally coming to an understanding in the middle of the park which saw them transform instantaneously from U12 school reserves to Xavi and Iniesta. With these two providing the backbone the team needed, the Baltic began sweeping forward and where rewarded with an admittedly harsh penalty decision for handball. Bologna coolly stepped up and slotted in. From this point on the Baltic had the best of the second quarter and came off at half time on the front foot, although still 2-1 down.
With the referee looking more and more likely to attack us for keeping him out too late to watch the re-run of EastEnders (BBC 3 10-10.30 on Tuesdays) the skipper felt it was best for a quick turnaround and the second half began with us playing into a stiff wind, making long ball football difficult. A game of end to end began, with the Baltic spending most of the game in Barclay’s defensive third, only to lose the ball and instantly find themselves on the defensive as it floated merrily downwind. Yet the defence held firm, despite the inconsistent nature of the referee’s decisions. At this point the writer estimates five or six yellow cards had been distributed for everything from barging to looking at the ref in a strange manner. As the opposition pressed in, looking to finish the game off with a third goal, a long ball forward and a great flick on from the mighty Dane Peter Steiness Neergaard (Breamar-ACM) found Mikey Oliver (Howe Rob) beyond the last man and he was able to skip past the keeper and score in an elegant manner. At 2-2 the war of attrition stepped up a notch and yet a further caution saw the Baltic awarded a free kick around 40 yards out, which Bologna stepped up and drilled straight at the goalkeeper, who, failing to judge the swirl, was left with egg on his face as the ball slipped through his hands and into the back of the net, giving the Baltic a 3-2 lead.
At this point all hell broke loose and the Baltic Keeper, Ben Regan (Nomikos), whilst trying to work out who had not been shown a card over the course of the evening (estimated eight to ten cards shown), noticed that Mikey Oliver winds up an opposition player in the same manner as he flirts in a bar, with the same outcome, as Barclay’s striker lashed out at him after a challenge which then, after a further confrontation with the referee, resulted in a red card. A man down with 10 minutes left, Barclay’s produced their best football of the night, hammering at the Baltic defence until, with seemingly the last kick of the game, they slotted in a tap in. Or so it seemed, the referee, angry as he had now realised that he would have to wait for another day to catch up with Albert Square, blew his final whistle as the ball fell to a Barclay’s foot on the six yard line. After some confusion, it appeared the Baltic had been awarded the game 3-2 and we trudged off in somewhat of a daze.
Man of the Match has to go to Angus Barge (CW Kellock) who, despite an upcoming marathon and carrying a small knock, answered a Baltic call to arms, only to find that we had 11 players and deciding not to risk his injury, watched from the sidelines while stroking his beard.
If you would like to get involved in the Baltic exchange football team then please contact Adam Cook on firstname.lastname@example.org