So with haunting memories and moderate hangovers, from a Friday night excessive 'throatal lubrication' session, it was into fortress Cherrywood for the rematch more gargantuan then Spencer's mansion. The champions elect versus the... well, something that rhymes with champions elect and is witty. I can't write all the bloody jokes.
The biggest quandary of the week had been the continuing saga of the Boro ball bag protector role. With the Slayer in stitches (not the kind brought on by reading one of our match reports) and our new youth/ressie lad having had his ankles done in like a Noughties gangster movie extra, the race was on for our Overlord to pull something off. He climaxed with the signing of Aylesbury United stopper-tunist Zaki Oualah. Baptism of fire for the lad.
Elsewhere Curtis "Mayfield" Osano returned from his stint in the Commitments, Jack "Mischa" Barton returned from his stint in Scrubs the musical and Dennis "the Fire Engine" Oli returned to a lit firework. Keith "#RegTheLedge" Emmerson, Jordan "GoalDen" Graham and Pat "Butcher" Cox returned to the wings, like a bunch of 70s Paul McCartney look-a-likes.
Call me a bitter ol' codger, but most of us were just relieved The Potato Peelers couldn't wrap up the title in our backyard. That would have been a harder pill to swallow then that time Bradley Pratt had tonsillitis and tried to neck a bottle of Viagra for a bet.
Into the action and it was Perry "the Hoffen" Coles who was the first to see things open up like a Boro wag's birthing Canal. Quick ball interplay from Scott "Castrol" Donnelly and Nic "Clintons" Ciardini opened up the Roystonionion deeefence, with a surprisingly limited amount of lubrication, but unfortunately "the Hoffen" fluffed his lines like a seasick pirate with a coke addiction and ballooned it out of the arena.
It would be quite a frantic opening flourish as the mighty yellow homers took the game to the visiting whitey Crow-bar-stards. More half chances then you can shake a stick at. Zaki "René" Oualah was happy to take his customary first soft handle of a sCrowtal headed attempt.
So with things looking reasonably positive it was obviously inevitable that the visitors would sculpt a gem of a move and end up slotting home into "René's" ballbag. 0-1. FML.
As Boro heads went south for the winter, the Crows got their tails up and started to play a bit. It should have been 2 a few minutes later as a fairly innocuous free kick was floated in from somewhere near the halfway line and Josh "the Salmon" Huggins rose like the proverbial but could only knock it into the path of an onrushing white shirted man who rather politely thrashed at the volley like a Donald Trump tantrum, sending it goalwards with the ferociousness of a paralysed hamster.
Into the 2nd half and "Fogle" Beckham was at it again, this time trying to inflict a ball shaped hole through the keepers sCrowtal region from 25 yards out.
A couple more soirees into the Boro box as Royston tried to press home their momentum, but Boro held more firm then a hooligan element fringe. Another lovely piece of movement from "the Hoffen" again set "Tiny Dancer" quickstepping down to the bisexual line and his cross was met by "the Fire Engine" giving it the full blue flashers... fortunately for the Crows though, the keeper was able to palm it out for a corner.
Next to have a crack was their behemoth Frater train defender trying his luck from a free kick. That guy was a fucking beast! "René" would have been pleased to see it drift wider then "Reggie's" hairline. Couple more half chances came and went for the visitors which we managed to see off with some plums.
Redemption wasn't far off as "the Hoffen" found some space to turn and look up, allowing him to find the galavanting unmarked procession of John "tiny dancer" Oyenuga foxtrotting down the wing who then slotted it into the path of the onrushing "Castrol" who fired the ball deep into the ball bag. Top notch stuff. 1-1
So game on and both sides looked more than capable of being next to strike another notch on their 'Goals for' column shaped bedposts. "René" getting two good hands on one that was sprayed right down his throat and then "Mischa" Barton ended a lively Boro move by firing a trickler in which barely made it into the 6 yard box.
With the massive clock ticking down into the last 5 mins of the half, we had a FK for which Sam "Fogle" Pearce went into customary 'Accidental Beckham' mode and sprayed his load into the top corner only to be denied by the ballbag protector's finger tips and the big white erection stick... luckily, for the vociferous Boro faithful, "Mayfield" was galloping in like an unwieldy ostrich and had free reign to dispatch his massive header into the unguarded ballbag. 2-1!
Good half of football that... top 2 sides in the league by a mile. Saying that, both defences looking about as watertight as New Orleans.
Heading towards the hour mark and Boro were caught out doing some weird dress rehearsal for their new Broadway offering "football players do musical statues". A couple of neat passes and a cross sat up to the back stick and suddenly we were all square again. 2-2
Subs came and went on both sides but the tempo maintained like a retired horticulturalist's front garden. As we moved into the last 20, the undoubted highlight of the afternoon was about to unfold as, following a corner and some head tennis, the ball fell into the path of "Castrol" who wafted a bizarre half volley up into the air in the direction of the keeper's head. The ball seemed to remain in the air for what felt like an eternity and, in bizarrely comical fashion, the ballbag protector had actually fallen asleep... thus allowing the ball to gently slide from his angled palms down into the grateful path of "the Hoffen" who dispatched with his usual majestic clinicality. Unfortunately, for the visiting number 1, he was woken by the euphoric merriment of the PRE. Red faced! 3-2
Boro's tails were now up and they were ploughing on looking for the killer blow. A nice segway down the left from "Clintons" and Pat "Butcher" opened the visiting defence up once again like a packet of pickled onion monster munch, making space for sub "GoalDen" to release a curler which veered agonisingly wide of the ballbag stick. "Butcher" then unleashed his smart price Maradona routine with a marauding run across the area only ruined by his final shot having the venom of a comatosed earthworm, which trickled into the thankful grasp of the keeper.
As the clock ticked down to the 90, the Boro bums squeak-o-meter was reaching 'Alan Ball after dinner speech at the national convention of helium inhalers' level.
Into injury time and a free kick, softer then a Mr Whippy convention at an erectile dysfunction clinic, was gift wrapped with a sodding bow on the top to the visitors by the pilchard in black. Everybody held their breath as it was wafted in with moderate speed and height at "René" who, mysteriously, suddenly lost the flight and trajectory of it, like a pissed up bird watcher with conjunctivitis. Ball nestles in the corner. Howler. FML. 3-3
We should have got over the line but, let's be fair, it really doesn't sodding matter as we're going to finish second either way. It was a good performance, with plenty of fight, against the best side this
So nearly a Murder of Crows... downgraded to SpencerDaylight fucking robbery.