Even “Andy’s Ariels” cant stop last minute winner for West Hampstead

West Hampstead 8’s – 2  Banbury Piranhas – 1

Now when you think about Andy’s Aerials you may think about the the way Campy’s hair seems to have a life of its own these days……. or you might think of his love of the Disney classic “The Little Mermaid”…… or even possibly his skill with a certain brand of washing powder whilst dealing with the soiled Camp smalls….but you would be wrong ! …….I am of course referring to his dazzling display of aerial passes too numerous to mention completed in the recently played Piranhas match. Albeit the aerials were only 1/3 of the length of Josh Tyson’s , they were very effective and contributed to a great defensive display by our veteran defender. Unfortunately they were not enough to stop a narrow defeat when the Piranhas visited West Hampstead……….

The significance of the 5pm England v Malta game at Wembley and impact to journey times had flown completely beneath the Teams navigational radar. With the Piranhas game a 3pm push back at the Brent Cross pitches, the team had the Journey from Hell with both the A40 and North Circular gridlocked by a pressure cooker combination of frustrated England Fans and IKEA shoppers. Many of the team were traumatised after witnessing multiple acts of ‘flat pack rage” with the “Billy Book Case” being the England Fans weapon of choice. Dipak was the only Piranhas player who made it in good time having set out the night before ! Be that as it may, the Piranhas did make it there in time for a quick warm up before the 3pm pushback.

The Piranhas team this week had a very young feel to it and were against a full adult West Hampstead team who do like to “put it about” and also seem to have a monopoly on late dodgy goals…. unfortunately both these views bore out yesterday…

The 1st half was a very tight affair, with West Hampstead having slightly more of the possession and chances. The Piranhas defence of Henry White in Goal, Campy, Dipak, Zach T and Finlay kept great discipline and reduced the opposition to only a few half chances. Special mention should go to Dipak who had to mark West Hampstead’s “Eric the Viking” who if truth be told likes to “put it about” more than most, but with great defensive play, kept him quiet for most of the game…..this even warranted high praise from Campy !

As the half moved on, the Piranhas held onto possession better and did create some good chances moving the ball well through midfield and attack. Excellent play from Jamie Boardman & Jamal driving through the West Hampstead defence and good link up play from Thomas Allman, Zach Boynton and Ben Reville. Allman Senior and Noel Britto had further opportunities from a few penalty corners, but could not capitalise.

The Piranhas started the 2nd half slowly and the first 10 mins was all West Hampstead who created a string of chances ending up with a well worked goal slapped in from the P spot after a drive and cut back from the opposition. This seemed to kick start the Piranhas who equalised through quick passing move from defence to midfield giving the ball to Jamal who scorched down the left into the D and slipped it underneath their keeper.

The rest of the game was a tight affair with both defences playing well and only a few half chances for each side. In the last seconds of the game, a West Hampstead ball fizzed into the D hitting a defenders foot, it then spilled out where a combination of a West Hampstead foot, then back stick, bundled the ball into the net. The umpires cleverly interpreted rule 37a,  the little known “Tit for Tat” amendment and the goal was awarded. To be honest, nobody really new what whistle was blown and when and for what…, but having time to reflect on the afternoons play during the inevitable traffic jams out of London, the returning Piranhas suddenly realised that they had actually lost the match !

Despite the loss, the Piranhas were proud of their performance with what was an extremely young squad,  and took solace that revenge will be theirs when West Hampstead make the trip back to Banbury in January.