Hackney & Leyton Junior Cup: Quarterfinals
It was a gloriously sunny but bloody cold morning on Hackney Marshes when we arrived to watch Downs take on BKT (@CLUBFCBKT) in the Hackney and Leyton Junior Cup. I was a little disappointed to discover that Downs were not playing Banka Kombëtare Tregtare (@BKTAlbania), the largest and oldest operating commercial bank in Albania. No, apparently BKT is something to do with Beckton. I wasn't sure how to pronounce it, so settled on Biccytea.
The game turned out to be a one-sided affair. The only real danger posed to Downs was the massive hole in the centre of the pitch, deep enough to almost lose a football. In fact, had we not moved to another pitch before kick off, hiding the ball in the hole would probably have been the best defensive tactic for Biccytea.
From the off, it was clear that Downs number 9, Gilroy meant business. In the eighth minute he shrugged off a couple of tackles to rush into the box, got off a shot which glanced off the post. Four minutes later though, Gilroy collected from a lovely touch in the box (probably from DSL?) and smashed the ball low into the bottom left corner. One nil Downs.
We didn't have to wait long for the next goal. On 16 minutes, Downs won a throw in on the left, about 10 yards from the Biccytea goal line. Downs' Justin prepared for a long throw. Justin is like one of those 1990s muscle-bound action figure toys that you would twist their body round and round until almost breaking point, then let go for a super roundhouse punch to destroy Skeletor or something. He picked up the ball and seemed to wind his wrists, arms, shoulders, and hips into a tight coil, before launching the ball in a controlled explosion of muscle and sinew, high into the clear, clean air, and right into the middle of the six yard box and onto the head of Big Ben who directed it straight into the net. Two nil Downs.
It was all Downs from now on. Plucky Biccytea tried to pick up the pace, but never really threatening. On 26 minutes, Big Ben powered into the box and was clattered around the ankles, not for the first or last time in the match, and the ball went out for a corner. The ref didn't notice all the attention Big Ben's ankles were attracting, and he seemed to be the only person not to see the Biccytea defender handball on the line to save a shot from the corner. But not to worry. A few minutes later Big Ben pulled off a lovely twist and turn, managed not to be kicked, and laid the ball off to Gilroy who scored his second with a sweet shot. Three nil Downs.
I looked around and realised there were now over 20 fans cheering on the Downs. Pretty impressive for a freezing Hackney Marshes Sunday morning.
Downs were totally in control now. At one point around the half hour mark, Justin danced down the middle of the pitch like a ballet dancing pitbull, skipping over what seemed like a dozen lunging tackles before being finally brought down. Shots were flying in, Big Ben was getting kicked, and then on 39 minutes Justin found himself in space on the left, and let off a shot from the edge of the box. He scuffed it, and the ball trundled towards the Biccytea goalie, into his gloves, out the other side, and into the net. Four nil Downs. Nobody cheered. It would have been cruel.
A couple of minutes later, on 42 minutes, the ref blew early for half time, possibly feeling sorry for Biccytea and their keeper, or maybe just thinking about getting home for Sunday lunch, following the late kick off.
Five minutes after the restart, Downs number 10 lays the ball off to your man Gilroy on the right who dashes into the box on a diagonal run, shoots, scores, hat trick, five nil Downs.
It's just wave after wave of Downs attacks now. Downs number 10 is called DSL, and apparently this is nothing to do with the Internet and is not backwards acid. Anyway, he's solid, and involved in everything.
Biccytea are really struggling, but taking it in good humour apart from regularly kicking Big Ben's ankles for some reason. But on the hour mark the ball breaks to BB in the box, he avoids being assaulted below the knees, and slots it home for a tidy little goal. Six nil Downs.
It's proper cold now. Isn't it supposed to get warmer as we get closer to the afternoon? I do another head count and there's 35 people watching, which is ridiculous, and probably more than paid in to the Clapton game yesterday.
Hat trick hero is subbed on 67 minutes and leaves the field to rapturous applause from his adoring fans.
For the remaining 20 minutes, there's lots of attacks and shots and stuff, from Downs, obvs, but to be honest my fingers are too cold to continue taking notes. Five minutes from time somebody got booked for something, which all the players seemed to find hilarious, even though it was quite painful for one of them.
And then, presumably to the relief of Biccytea, it was all over. Six nil to the mighty Downs FC. A great performance from Downs, and a smashing day out.
Guest Match Reporter @tsktyskie
A special thank you to all the fans and players who took part in our Football vs LGBTphobia banner photo at the end of the game. The wind was against us, but we managed to raise around £40 for Queerspace. Thank you also to Football vs Homophobia (@FvHtweets) for all the help and support.