AFC Bluebirds is a five-a-side team made up of players from across Westminster. The team are proudly sponsored by Conservative Home.
By Hayyan Ayaz Bhabha
The Blues were prevented from progressing to the next round of the City and Regents Park Premiership Cup on Sunday 10 November, with the final score at 4-3 to NW London FC. AFC Bluebirds battled with grit and determination but were unable to equalise in the last 20 minutes.
Bluebirds deserved to win. The loss was a tragedy, but the numerous chances created by quality passes through NWL’s defenders, and by several long balls and crosses from the wings, made for pleasurable football. Several plays frustrated NWL’s defence but many attempts at goal were unrewarding.
The first goal came from Bluebirds’ Number 8 before the middle of the first half. As the ball was fed in by Geoff Tauton-Collins, Number 8 sprinted up the left wing to support the strikers. There were three blue shirts vs two red shirts in the box. Arthur Virgo passed to the feet of Will McCann (C) in the middle, who passed left to the feet of Number 8 The keeper was beaten, and No. 8 casually taps the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
Less than ten minutes later, and another break from the middle led to McCann netting a screamer. 2-0 to the Bluebirds. Bluebirds then conceded a goal – but hit back, with a determined strike from Jimmy McLoughlin, which hit the bar, bounced off the keeper and went for a corner! However, a second goal was then conceded. It was 2-2 at half time.
The second half saw Kev Evans make a change in formation: 4-4-2, with the two goal scorers up front. The new formation proved to be troubling for NWL’s defenders for the first then minutes. Shortly afterwards, howeverm Bluebirds conceded a third. Following another ten minutes of good football from both sides, NWL scored again with a header from a good cross into Joe Cawley’s area.
With under 25 minutes left, the Bluebirds pushed to equalise. Every minute counted and every free kick, corner and throw-in was taken as quickly as possible, despite unforgiveable time wasting by NWL’s keeper and strikers – one of whom was eventually booked.
Andy Johnson’s recoveries and roars from the centre-of-defence motivated everyone. A direct free kick by McLoughlin went over the bar. There were more attempts at goal from Bluebirds, including great opportunities created by Ed Winfield and McCann. Finally, a break from the middle fed the ball to McCann, who scored with his left foot while sliding past the keeper. It was 4-3 with less than 15 minutes to go. Every player worked hard. Every missed attempt didn’t stop the Blues from fighting – but sadly the whistle blew before they could equalise.
Hayyan Ayaz Bhabha (No. 8) is a Parliamentary Researcher.