Ramblers 4, Port Sunlight 1
On the day that former Barcelona defender Carlos Puyol turned 41 the only link between that event and Saturdays Garrison Cup Final between Liverpool ramblers and Port Sunlight was the mention of a 4 and a 1. This lack of significance almost made the connection not worth mentioning but for another coincidence that if you add 4 and 1 together you get 5 – the number of times since 1995 the Ramblers have now won the Garrison Cup. 1 more than today’s opponents – who, it follows, have won it 4 times.
“There is no rule that says a footballer needs to be ‘this high’ and ‘this wide.’”
Wise words from one of Puyol’s former team-mates which had obviously been heeded by Ramblers Captain Stuart Hooper and on the pitch Captain Liam Doherty as the team entrusted for this 2019 rerun of the 2018 final had many similarities with last years contest although some of the players where 1 year wider and 1 year less high.
Ramblers tried and tested back 4 of Phipps in goal with Doherty, Duffy and Egan in front of him provided the usual solid base behind a re-shuffled midfield. Whittingham and Philips where joined in the centre by Martin in an unfamiliar role with “O’Handley” (after recently being granted his Irish citizenship by Captain Hooper) and White as the starting wing-backs. Shields and Howat started up front.
Although Doherty warned the team before the start that Sunlight would be out for revenge after last years drubbing, with the pace on offer in the Ramblers attacking positions it was never likely to be a cagey or tense game. This was proved in the opening 10 minutes which saw both teams threaten in the attacking third.
However, it was Ramblers who took an early(ish) lead when Sunlight failed to clear a Howart corner after 14 minutes (ref: Puyol again) and the ball ended up in the back of their net going in off one or both of 2 defenders. 1-0 Ramblers.
“If you win without sacrifice you enjoy it but it’s more satisfying when you have struggled.”
Sunlight seemed to be shocked into life after conceding this goal and set about trying to assert some dominance by fair means or foul. The 10 to 15 minutes following the opening goal saw a number of scrappy challenges and resultant squabbles occurring all over the pitch. The referee allowed the game to flow as much as possible but just when things where threatening to boil over both teams were mutually stunned when White cleared the ball high into the wind and – unbelievably – into the Sunlight net from a full 45 yards. Without consciously scoring any goals ramblers where 2-0 up!
Sunlight then pulled one back just before the break when a nice interchange of passing through the middle opened Ramblers up and was finished off smartly from close range to make the half-time score 2-1.
Both teams had “stone-wall” penalty appeals waved away and went off at half time with Ramblers leading 2-1 but with the game in the balance.
“I like to watch soccer, no matter what teams or players are in the field.”
T the restart saw both teams get back to concentrating on trying to play some football. Sunlight started the better with some good moves on the deck through the midfield but for all their probing could not seem to generate any clear chances. Similarly, Ramblers continued to threaten down both flanks with Howart and White terrorising their facing full backs but all without generating any real goalscoring opportunities.
As the game wore on however and spaces began to appear as Sunlight appeared to be tiring the quicker of the 2 sides, White raced clear after a lovely through ball from Shields and dinked a delightful finish over the onrushing keeper to make it 3-1 to Ramblers.
“There are moments when the human body can overcome things you would never expect.”
Sunlight continued to probe and one attack ended in a goalmouth scramble involving a pile up of bodies on top of the engulfed Duffy. The seeming irrelevance of the football which had bounced to safety was forgotten about as the referee spent some time manipulating Duffy in the arm. After the referee had finished and had given Duffy the relief he needed (from a suspected dislocated elbow) Duffy was able to continue.
In truth the expected Sunlight come-back never really materialised and towards the end Ramblers actually appeared to grow in surety. Culminating in Holt grabbing a 4th goal for the home side, steeling in front of the keeper inside the box as a finish to a sweeping move.
The game finished 4-1 to Ramblers and following the presentation of the trophy it was discovered that the trophy itself held 4 bottles of lager and took just 1 Rambler to drink it. Carlos Puyol was still 41 years old and will probably remain unaware of the control over events in Crosby that his birthday had in 2019.
|April 13, 2019||2:30 pm||Garrison Cup||2018-19|
|14 Moor Ln, Thornton, Liverpool L23 4TW, UK|