Sunday, 7th December 2014
Philosophy FC  – Polsky Budowlancy  – NXI 
NXI ended 2014 two points clear at the top of the league after their third victory in a row against two teams who have been playing 3SF in Deptford since it’s inception.
As expected between three experienced 3SF teams, the opening rotation was a tight affair. The first goal came as a result of a lightning alliance – as NXI probed towards the Philosophy goal, a quick change of plan saw players from both teams descend upon the Polish goal. The Polish ‘keeper could only parry a shot from NXI’s John Michell and Michael McCann of Philosophy was there to poke in the rebound.
NXI had started the match in an attacking 2-2 formation, with Michell and Khairil Hodgson playing ahead of Tristan Carlyle and Will Simpson. Unfortunately for the men in orange it left them vulnerable at the back; having already survived a couple of scares, they finally conceded as a through ball split open their defence and onrushing ‘keeper Owen Proctor-Jackson was unable to keep the ball out of the NXI net. Philosophy 3FC held on to their clean sheet and so the first rotation ended 0-1-1.
The second rotation would see four more goals scored, and predictably enough it was the team who started the rotation ahead, Philosophy FC, who came under the most pressure. They conceded their first goal to a veritable thunderbastard of a shot from Polish captain Greg Morgiel, fresh out of tending his own team’s goal in the first rotation. During his time between the sticks there had been a couple of heated exchanges between Morgiel and NXI forward Hodgson, but it is a testament to both players’ understanding of 3SF that both combined effectively to attack the Philosophy goal in the second rotation, and it was Hodgson who set up Morgiel’s goal.
Hodgson was also involved in the next two goals. First, cutting a dangerous ball back across the Philosophy goal which retreating defender Ally Clow deflected into his own net, the type of own goal that is all too familiar to football fans and players alike. Hodgson finally got on the scoresheet himself as Philosophy conceded their third goal of the rotation, poking the ball past the Philosophy ‘keeper following a goalmouth scramble just as familiar as Clow’s own goal.
Philosophy FC were now trailing 3-1-1, but ended the rotation with a second goal against the Poles. Once again they scored by switching the focus of their attack, this time turning on the Polish team who had been left exposed as they pushed forward to support the initial attack against NXI. This left the score after two rotations at 3-2-1.
Entering the final rotation in the lead, NXI expected to meet with the same sort of onslaught that Philosophy had faced in the second. However, they never found themselves under the concerted pressure that traditionally faces the team that goes into the final rotation in the lead. Perhaps the Poles were reluctant to ally with a team who had so recently and so coldly betrayed them; perhaps both Polscy Budowlancy and Philosophy were keen to avoid the two points that would accompany an outright loss; perhaps NXI’s diplomatic efforts had been more effective than they had realised. Whatever the reason, NXI were happy to support their opponents in attacking any team that wasn’t playing in orange, and Polscy soon got their vengeance against Philosophy with another goal to make it 4-2-1, Hodgson once again providing the assist for the opposition to score. A third goal against Polscy gave NXI some breathing room which would prove vital shortly after as they conceded to a potent Morgiel father-son combination. As father Greg played the ball to his son Alex down NXI’s left wing, Proctor-Jackson was caught out by a smart turn from the youngster who still had a lot to do as he shot from a tight angle and snuck the ball inside NXI’s near post. It would prove to be the last real action of the match, as NXI played out their third consecutive win to end 2014 in first place. Final score: 4-3-2.