Finally the first game was upon us.
The pre season has been intense – Rocky Balboa (III) beach sprints and boot camp exercises from ‘The Biggest Loser’ text book. Mixed in amongst that, the occasional game to enable some promising new recruits to prove their worth.
The new intake includes Karl ‘Metatarsal’ Munday, the Big Friendly Giraffe (G) – Aaron, flatulent Matt Spooner, Luca – a mercurial French midfielder with the second best beard in the team and another Frenchman – the impeccably dressed Gilles (son of club legend Yves). The final addition will create a great deal more traffic to this website, even if it is from MI5 in the UK, as we welcome centre forward Hamza.
The side’s final training session was dedicated to the upcoming opposition. The reserve team, playing against the seniors, were strictly ordered not to go long, with coaches insisting they stay narrow and knox it around.
The Parkers were greeted by a glorious day and an outstanding pitch at Knox – a fantastic way to get the season underway. Going against weeks of practising, Coach opted for a late change of shape in the team, though the starting XI looked strong. It had a mix of youth, experience, flair and grit.
In fact, if it were compared to a full English breakfast; Nathan and Cosentino are the eggs – always on the plate, versatile and full of runny(ing). Danny Penfold, a sturdy hash brown with a surprisingly crispy finish. Providing the flair, and involved in every mouthful is Luca – the HP sauce on the pitch. Ally Cook is the bacon – easily overcooked, but a must on the starting plate. Dave Helen is the spinach. There is no place for spinach on any full English breakfast. Nani would be the dependable piece of toast you save to the end to mop things up. Scott, however, would still be a Pop Tart.
In his final season for the club before he returns to Northern Ireland, Nigel Nani led the team out as 2015 skipper. His eyes fixed, his chest pumping, his words… noisy.
The boys played really well in the first half – sticking to a tight, more defensive game plan while also exploiting the home team on the break. Good chances for both teams, but 0-0 at half time and evenly matched.
The second half was a similar tale, though Knox showed a bit more control and composure in the final third. The Parker’s had good chances but never quite got the break. It finished 2-0 to Knox, with the final goal coming in the 92nd minute, luckily falling to an unmarked player on the goal line after some tremendous last ditch tackles from the Ginger Cafu.
The Parker’s should take a lot from the game – work rate, commitment and ability to break quickly. However they will benefit from a steady pattern of play as the new players begin to gel.
Knox – 2, Middle Park – 0