Mens 2s v Newcastle 1s
By Guy Habershon
Men's 2s leave it late to clinch the Newcastle derby
JPC Men's 2s staged one of the great comebacks to equal their win total from last season in only their second game of the season (they also lost the first match...). A significantly different side to the one that bossed the league in 2015/16 took to the pitch, with JPC's investment in youth paying dividends - five of the fourteen were born this millennium, in effect making certain members of the team feel very old. Even more striking is that the team are now sporting stained kit this season from what is believed to be a major washing machine malfunction. Nick Duffy's persistence with pink socks has also only added to the kit-gate controversy.
The team suffered a potential setback before the match started as Pete Walls alerted everyone he'd managed to lock himself out of his house. Thankfully it wasn't too long before he realised he could simply check if his housemate was inside to give him a lift, and as such the panic was over. However, the team also suffered an early setback on the pitch as Newcastle drew first blood in the opening minutes. Their danger man went on a mazy run down the left-wing and the defence couldn't quite deal with the ball in the D, as it eventually trickled over the line. However, such is the spirit of JPC that they responded almost immediately. Euan Stenhouse's reverse shot was blocked, only for the ball to fall to Phil Kelly, who angled the ball into the corner on the half-volley. 1-1 and less than five minutes gone. The half continued to see chances at both ends, with keeper Neil Tomlin making sublime saves on his first game back in two years to keep the score level at half-time. Meanwhile, excellent defending prompted chants such as "Will Green's on fire, your attack is terrified" from the JPC faithful.
As the second-half progressed, the game opened up more and JPC began to profit from the lack of Newcastle subs as well as the excellent work from the JPC cheerleaders*. However, it was again Newcastle who took the lead. The same danger man as previously pounced on a loose aerial ball to expertly volley the ball over Neil's head and into the back of the net. 2-1 to the hosts. Not content to settle for defeat, JPC again fought back quickly. A fine ball across the D from Jack Brannen saw Freddie Potier-Godinho secure a smart finish to open his account for the 2s. Both players combined are still younger than certain team mates, but out of respect their identities won't be revealed.
With the scores level at two goals apiece, Jesmond may have been heading towards another Desmond, but the team had other ideas. Good work from Pete Basta (again, a youngster) allowed Phil Kelly to dribble past the defence and leg it towards the D. Faced with the undesirable dilemma over whether to pass or shoot, the midfielder did what he does best and fell over, skilfully avoiding kicking the loose ball and allowing Euan Stenhouse to finish with aplomb. The crowd went wild and pundits are already referring to the assist of the season. JPC then closed out the final few minutes with some Rafa Benitez-esque defending and organisation. The final whistle finally blew, the match was over and so was the curse of the men's 2s. A first win in nearly a year and what a feeling it was (still hasn't sunk in).
Afterwards the team went for food and allocated man of the match votes and fines. Stand-in skipper Guy Habershon won man of the match for an excellent defensive display and it's fast looking like the end of season social will be funded by Pete Walls and Will Schofield. Everyone** then went out to celebrate the win/new season at the social in the evening because some member of the club kept sending messages telling them to sign up to a Doodle poll.
*Players still don't escape fines for bringing cheerleaders
Goals: Kelly, Potier-Godinho, Stenhouse
Team: Neil Tomlin (GK), Will Green, Guy Habershon, James Milne, Pete Walls, Phil Kelly, Pete Basta, Jon Chapman, Rory Restall, Freddie Potier-Godinho, Euan Stenhouse
Subs: Patrick Smeal, Jack Brannen, Nick Duffy
Match report by Phil Kelly