Halloween hangover haunts Hardly Athletic

Hardly Athletic 1-7 ManSoc

To the shock of nobody, but to the disappointment of many, last Wednesday’s fixture against high-flying ManSoc brought yet another comprehensive defeat for Hardly Athletic. For a team with a history of problems with professionalism, playing a game the day after Halloween was far from ideal. If it wasn’t guaranteed already, a house party organised by certain squad members meant that more than just Athletic’s goal difference would be coming down on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, a bleary-eyed squad of eighteen arrived in time for a warm-up – an impressive display of loyalty to the club. However, this did very little to clear the squad’s heads and kick off was met with the usual trepidation.

ManSoc were on the attack from the first minute as they tested the back four and goalkeeper. Athletic’s defensive positioning (or lack thereof) may be the most alarming thing seen this Halloween. They struggled to contain the flood of attacks and ManSoc scored a simple goal to take an early lead. Rolling subs were brought into play far earlier than was planned and the trailing side tried to regroup. As the half wore on, the fresh air seemed to work wonders for the players, as the defence stood firm and Athletic began to play some attacking football.

Around twenty minutes in, Jonny ‘the Bolton Wanderer’ Eccles picked the ball up in midfield and beat 3 men before laying it off to Liam Mulligan (yes, him again) whose Frank Lampard-esque strike sailed into the top corner from thirty yards out to bring the scores level. A truly stunning effort that would have beaten the very best of goalkeepers and will live long in the memories of all in attendance at Red Hall Drive. Unfortunately, Athletic went on to concede six more goals and lost the game 7-1. A bruising defeat, especially considering ManSoc’s goalkeeper and centre forward were both sporting pony-tails during the game.

While their XI had an abundance of hair, ManSoc were left wanting in the sportsmanship department. Athletic’s goalkeeper Danny Aspinall was stamped on in the first minute, which continued throughout the game, while competitive nudges and shoulder barges were met with constant cries and moans directed at the referee. Even at 7-1 up, the opposition were appealing for dubious offsides and throw ins – all very unnecessary and far from a stylish way to win.

This Wednesday brings a relegation dogfight against fellow strugglers Classic XI, whose zero points and goal difference of minus twenty after three games puts them (amazingly) in an even worse position than Hardly Athletic. The fixture promises to be a scrappy and full-blooded affair and, if previous results are anything to go by, goals are guaranteed. Join us at the theatre of nightmares, Red Hall Drive, at 2pm on Wednesday for a masterclass in how not to play football. What else would you do with your afternoon?

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