Weeks 10-14: Road to the Fourth Place Trophy

Apologies for the longer-than-anticipated gap in coverage.  Unfortunately, events sometimes conspire to prevent even a humble club secretary such as myself from updating this journal.  If you must know, the conspiring events in question were the Mad Magyars, Jonas Pailing and Abel Jonas, who somehow snuck a sheep into our dressing room, requiring me to source extra janitorial help, those hair-clipper things used to shave sheep, a shochet and, finally, a suitable mint jelly provider.  Let us never speak of it again.

Anyway, for those of you interested in the non-ovine aspects of the last stages of the season, Week 10 saw us go on the road to take on Cavaliers VFC, one of the better teams in our league.  Perhaps in response to the widespread criticism of his Fabian tactics, manager David Jorgensen abandoned his beloved counter-attacking strategy and ordered SSW to actually contest midfield.  For much of the match, it seemed like this gamble would be successful, as we took a 1-0 lead (courtesy of a Denzell Koszarek goal) into the latter stages of the match.  However, disaster struck in the 84th minute as the Cavs grabbed an equalizer against the run of play and we were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

After a comfortable 3-0 win over already-relegated San Jose Sharks, we then trekked cross-country to take on league leaders Celtic SFO.  The lads battled hard, but just couldn’t get enough possession of the ball, leading to a frustrating 1-0 defeat that put us into the relegation qualifier spots and led the chairman to give Jorgensen a deeply unconvincing vote of confidence.

As a result, with the season on the line and the #JorgensenOut movement reaching a fever pitch, we headed down to Kentucky to take on then fourth-place Reddinrdboyz with the season on the line: win and we had a lifeline, while a loss or draw would have us (ok, me) printing up tickets for a qualifier.  With such a critical match before us, it was an open question how the young Wanderers would react.  Fortunately for us, things got off to a good start as, 15 minutes in, Jonas put aside thoughts of sheep-related capers and got loose on the wing, finding Alex Barton with a cross that he slotted home for a 1-0 lead.  Koszarek added a second, but they pulled one back just before the half, to the disquiet of our travelling support.  At such a critical juncture, Jorgensen abandoned his usual team talk pursuits of trying to draw up 0-0-10 formations and eating tins of those dry little Danish butter cookies, instead deciding to try to motivate the lads for once.  It worked.  After a nervy few minutes, Jonas was able to to beat his man and scored to make it 3-1, at which point the ‘boyz collapsed.  Barton, Nick King and Freddy Krug all scored late and we left as 6-1 winners.

Still, all would be for naught, if we didn’t get a result against Amish Wife Collectors, the best attacking team in the league, and a group who figured to come to Slingsby Lane guns a’blazing as they had a chance to nab the league title with a win.  Finally, the moment for our defend-and-counter tactics had come.  We bunkered in, parked the bus, put another bus on top of that bus, and whacked the occasional long ball in the general direction of a winger.  This actually paid dividends for us in the ninth minute, as Terry King got in behind their high defensive line for a 1-0 lead.  However, Carlo Hopp, AWC’s golden boot winning striker promptly equalized, and we went into halftime tied.  During the second half, our fate hung in the balance as we desperately staved off attack after attack.  Finally, in the 82nd minute, central defender Chopper Sellers took off down the field in defiance of all reason and common sense, catching most of the AWC defense upfield.  A quick give-and-go with Barton later, and he smacked in the winning goal, and fourth place was ours!

Of course, there are many questions facing us this offseason.  Will the last two weeks be enough to save Jorgensen?  Will he even want to stay?  Can we knock it off with the defense training already and start playing football again?  Can we sell those two sheep-rustling so-and-so’s?  Where did they find a sheep in Manhattan anyway?  Perhaps, in defiance of all precedent, we’ll get some clarity this off-season.

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