Sky Sports had billed this particular Sunday as 'Grand Slam Sunday' as the top four Premiership teams were playing each other, Liverpool v Manchester United and Arsenal v Chelsea.
Unfortunately, what Richard Keys, Andy Gray and the rest of the Sky Sports' numb nuts had missed was the true Grand Slam match – Cómpeta/Archez were playing their second game in the FA (Foreigners Abroad) League against Nerja at the majestic Nerja Campo de Fútbol. What do Sky Sports know?
After a 10-1 drubbing in their first match Cómpeta/Archez were looking for an improvement and were fielding a much stronger squad with strength and depth! (If you want clichés, you're reading the right article!) Due to his injury we had a touch line coach as Damian would be barking the instructions and deciding on tactics and substitutions.
Pre-match training had gone well as the previous evening's alcohol consumption had been reduced and most of the team were in bed before 2.30am! Personally, I managed only a beer and ¾ bottle of red wine and made sure I stuck to a lighter fish starter and main-course followed by Cómpeta wine ice-cream!! There was a rumour that the father and son defensive partnership of Simon and Sam Wild actually were in bed before midnight without a drink! Take it seriously, fellas; this is proper Sunday morning hangover league football! Gaffer, 'ave a word with 'em!
The match kicked off a little late due to the vast crowds waiting to enter the ground! OK, a few WAGs and other family members but the atmosphere was electric, Sevillana style - that's weak and intermittent with the occasional long interruption!
We played 4-4-2 as opposed to the Christmas tree formation of 5-4-1, which may have been more appropriate for the festive season. We started reasonably well and managed to keep our shape, which for most of us was round with a little cup-cake 'fold-over'! Unfortunately, we were soon 1-0 down
and perhaps a little deja vue started to creep in. Were we looking at another defeat? Our defence were reasonably solid with the first father-son defensive partnership of Sam and Simon Wild, Steve Twiselton and Steve Napier A few early substitutions were made and soon we were level.
Again, as with the Summer 7-a-side you'll have to bear with me as Stevie T has promised me more discounted ads for the New Year – here goes! As we attacked down the middle the ball was held up by our front man, Sam Fulleylove but support was slow in coming. As midfield general my legs wouldn't move as fast as my brain was telling them. The Cómpeta wine ice cream was starting to click in! As I looked to my left I saw a dazzling white flash as Stevie T was sprinting from defence on the overlap in support. The ball was passed into his path and as he took it in his stride their defenders were closing in. He managed to dribble into the box (not down his front, for those less familiar with football terminology!) and as the keeper advanced Stevie T managed to coolly slot the ball home! A seasoned pro at his best, 1-1.
Shortly after we were again behind as they made it 2-1, with a goal from distance, which was too high for our keeper, Curro. Half-time and time to take on some water, a banana for energy and a few fags for some to get their lungs going again!
Second half and we were starting to look stronger. Their tall, German midfielder had been kept quieter as the match went on as he was continually scythed down. The best 'tackle' being our Spanish left back, Valdo, who took him out about knee high! Poor chap started the match 6' 5” and ended up 5' 11”!
We were soon level again at 2-2 as a great passing move starting from midfield (my half-time banana was overriding the Cómpeta ice cream!) ended with Sam Fulleylove shooting from distance and finding the back of the net! It was scored in front of our own supporters who began a chorus of, “Who are ya? Who are ya?” to the opposing team!
Although we were holding our own and they looked as though they were tiring, we again went behind 3-2. More substitutions were made and we pushed for an equalizer. We were certainly getting the upper hand as we hit the post and unfortunately my reflexes weren't quick enough to get to the rebound. Well, it was difficult from the centre circle!
Then with about 15 minutes to go we attacked down the left and as the ball was crossed into the box the smallest man, nay boy, on the pitch, Danny, headed home! We were level and as Damian made the last substitutions we saw the game out the stronger team but our efforts were to no avail. The match ended 3-3, which was a vast improvement on the 10-1 pasting a few weeks earlier.
'We now go into the Christmas break as I write this report and await with anticipation our next big match in the New Year. I'm looking for the number of Des Lynam at Setanta Sports to let him know so they can knock the spots off Sky's so called 'Grand Slam Sunday'. Keep an eye on the national press for Setanta's Spanish footy offering of 'Resaca Domingo'. That's Hangover Sunday to you!