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BLUEBIRDS winning

AFC Bluebirds is a five-a-side team made up of players from across Westminster. The team are proudly sponsored by Conservative Home.

AFC Bluebirds remain level on points with the league leaders, at the top of the Regents Park Championship after defeating NW London 5-1. The Conservative Home-sponsored team defeated the newly relegated side after winning their previous game 4-0.

NW London were still reeling from relegation from the Premiership. We believed, because of this, going into the match that it would be a difficult game. This would be the first real test of our new 4-2-3-1 formation, though with dramatic changes to the personnel.

Injuries and assorted absences saw four changes from last week’s starting line-up. Long-term Bluebirds, Nick Pickles and Ed de Minckwitz, returned to the squad for the first time this season. Also, Ben Powell returned on the bench with newcomer Emerson Reece.

The game began with Bluebirds keen to start well, uninhibited by the opposition’s Premiership pedigree. After two minutes, on the left of the pitch, Will McCann pushed the ball past his marker and headed towards goal. The quick attacker ended his run with a shot slotted past the onrushing keeper, nestling in the opposite corner of the goal.

Bluebirds continued with further early attacks. Geoff Taunton-Collins, in an almost mirror image of McCann’s run, raced to the by-line and curled in a brilliant cross. The head of Ed de Minckwitz met his cross; the keeper reached the ball, but could not keep it from going in. This turned out to be Bluebirds first ever-headed goal from open play. Two to the good, only five minutes gone.

NW London rallied to create a couple of half chances, though most of their possession was in the middle third of the pitch. After a neat passing move, the new boys to the Championship scored to get what turned out to be their only goal of the game. The score was to remain 2-1 until half-time.

Bluebirds started the second half hoping to emulate the beginning of the first. The captain’s half time team talk had claimed that if Bluebirds scored, the match was theirs. Those words ringing in de Minckwitz’s ears, he raced onto a slide-rule pass from Dan Hooper. Bursting away from NW London defenders, he scored with his left foot five minutes into the second period.

It was to be Ed’s last major contribution to the game. In an attack soon after, he challenged the keeper, outside of his area, for a high ball, ending up wiped out by the goalkeeper. Ed, not knocked out, but groggy, had to leave the field. Unfortunately, the captain wasted the free-kick given for the foul.

In the absence of the injured de Minckwitz, Bluebirds continued their assault. Geoff-Taunton Collins received a pass by Will McCann which he slotted past the keeper. The shot, from the right of the penalty box into the bottom left of the goal, stretched the lead to three goals.

McCann then rounded off the scoring with another display of pace. Latching on to a through ball, he prodded the ball past the goalie and retreating defenders. This secured Bluebirds victory with our fifth and final goal.

Maybe in sympathy at his injury forcing him off (but more likely owing to his brace), the referee awarded de Minckwitz man of the match. Will McCann’s two goals saw him draw level at the top of the goalscorers chart. The team now sit in second place in the league, but joint on points with the league leaders.

Next week we play Riverside FC, a team likely to be one of the challengers for the league title this season (along with us!).

Our Goalkeeper, Joe Cawley, suffered a fractured finger before the game started. Though he didn’t realise it until he had an X-Ray, after making some amazing saves whilst playing during the game, he cannot play for two months. If you are a goalkeeper and fancy playing either 11-a-side or 5-a-side, please get in touch at afcbluebirds@gmail.com. We are also still looking for players in all other positions.

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