It was England vs Sweden on a cold Friday night as a team from KRIK in Sweden travelled over to London to face the best of Kick (and Hans Sims) in a small sided football match.
After a few handshakes, the teams were ready, with KRIK adopting a Christmas tree formation, and the Kick team looking to make to most of the wings. However 5 minutes in, with both formations out the window, it was KRIK that took the lead, a well worked goal finished past keeper Jack Winslade. If anything, this fired the Kick team up even more and the chances kept on coming, including an audacious overhead kick by Andy Dutton that just flew over the bar. Shortly after Kick were back in it, Robbie Smart played the ball to Matt Rogers, who turned cleverly to beat his marker and fire into the bottom corner, 1-1.
At this point veteran Hans Sims turned up to add some composure to the Kick side as they built on their equaliser. Some great link up play by Robbie and Alastair Park nearly created an opening, before Andy saw another fine effort tipped around the post. Despite their dominance, they feel behind again, a shot from distance deflecting off Andy’s back and wrong-footing the keeper, who could only watch it fly into the top corner. The Kick onslaught continued, but they were met by a brick wall in goal, who seemed to be saving everything. He had no chance though when Robbie, who had recently been cleaned out by one of the KRIK girls, was played through by Andy to finish smartly, 2-2.
As KRIK were continuing to roll on and off with their substitutes, the Kick team were relieved to see some fresh legs turn up as Jonathan Sanders came onto the field. With some solid defending at the back from Peter Brooks and Hans, there looked to be only one winner from this match. Especially when Alastair broke free down the left after some quick passing, before crossing into the path of the defender who could only put into his own net with Robbie waiting to pounce, 3-2.
Chance after chance followed for Kick, as did save after save by KRIKs keeper. Both Andy and Robbie missed chances whilst well placed, and the Kick lads couldn’t put the game to bed. A moment of madness followed as Peter carried to ball out of defence, his inner Titus Bramble came out, and he was dispossessed leaving KRIK with all the time in the world to pick their spot in the bottom corner, 3-3. Both teams continued to create chances as time ticked on, KRIK hit the crossbar whilst Alastair, Jonathan and Robbie all saw chances saved. Despite the opportunities for both sides the game ended as a draw, we were heading for penalties.
As we all know, the English don’t do penalty shoot outs very well. That stereotype seemed true, as Robbie saw his penalty saved and KRIK went 1-0 up with a calm finish. The shootout was turned on its head, as both Andy and Jonathan cooled slotted away their penalties either side of a KRIK miss to give Kick the lead. Matt followed suit finishing in the bottom corner, as did KRIK, before things went downhill in true English style. Firstly Hans struck the post, before Peter blazed the ball wide of the goal as KRIK regained the lead. Kicks hopes rested at the right foot of keeper Jack, but he could only drag the ball wide of the post, gifting the swedes victory.
With Alastair bottling taking a consolation penalty, both teams headed to the pub to celebrate what had been a very good game of football. We’re looking forward to the rematch.
Final score: Kick 3-3 KRIK (Krik win 5-3 on penalties)
Kick Line-Up: Jack W, Peter B, Hans S, Andy D, Matt R, Robbie S, Alastair P, Jonathan S.
Scorers (assists): Matt R (Robbie S), Robbie S (Andy D), Own Goal (Alastair P).
Man of the Match (as voted by the team): Matt Rogers