Kensington Dragons U15 Eagles 10 v 3 Willesden Constantine

St Gregory’s 3 v 3 Kensington Dragons U15 Eagles

It was a weekend of putting things right – and but for the accumulation of a couple more unwanted wrongs, we pretty much got there. Under-manned against both teams earlier this season, we had also under-performed. And with matches running out in which to fully express ourselves, the compliments we’ve recently been getting were seeming bitter-sweet.

No such ambiguities on Saturday against Willesden, though, for at times we were simply breath-taking. Distance strikes, team goals, sublime skills and hard defensive resilience, this spoke volumes for our boys. It also proved an enduring truth about football: it’s amazing what you can do with 11 players on the pitch.

It’s still pretty impressive what we can do with 10. Despite a full team making the long trip north to the countryside on Sunday we were soon a foot-stomped man down – but with a magnificent pitch beneath our feet (the legend of the St Gregory’s turf turning out to be true after all) we were soon 3-0 up. With the two easiest chances spurned and the bar denying us twice this looked to cap the finest weekend of Eagle’s football.

St G’s, though, are a willing side and a 1956 interpretation of the off-side rule denied us twice. But just when it seemed something special had been snatched from our two-day struggle with destiny, the very highlight of a long weekend: our fine coach’s magnificent speech to his dejected troops on the nature of injustice, its persistent place in all our worlds and the vital need to face it with a head held high and a heart held out to triumph nonetheless. Peerless.