Home league match played on 21 January 2023.
Kicked off at 1:00 PM

After two consecutive weeks of turf-based tiki-taka, it was back to the bobble as the Kiwi FC lads returned to Dundonald Rec for their matchup against Exeter Old Boys FC. Confidence high after a resounding 3-0 win the week prior, the squad marched out into the Wimbledon sun to warm-up.

But all of a sudden the match was in jeopardy, as the players were greeted not by the lush and muddy carpet they had come to love so well, but by a newly formed ice-rink. After some in-depth conversations about appropriate footwear, the warm-up mainly consisted of various players offering up their best imitation of the titanic pulling a sharp 180 and a few rumblings of “well the ref will have to make a call about if it’s playable”. In step Shane-O the negotiator-extraordinaire, who resolves a move onto the neighbouring, less frozen pitch and normal business is resumed.

Despite the disrupted pre-match, it’s a roaring start for the Kiwi boys. Lining up in a 5-3-2, and under meticulous strategic instruction from gaffer Fin Milne, Kiwi FC dominate the ball first 10. It seemed as though the lads had forgotten they were no longer on turf, with a flurry of slick passing moves culminating in Jamie “cursefree” Pollock latching on to a wonderful throughball from Sam “where have you been?” Collier. While the winning curse may have been put to bed for Pollock last week, a new bout of bad luck kept him from opening the scoring as his sweet left foot strike cannoned off the inside of the post.

But disaster was lurking. With their first real attack of the game, a hopeful Exeter long-ball sees CB Seb Salmon barged to the ground from behind and the on-rushing striker finish calmly. Despite a near-identical challenge being called against Kiwi moments before, the ref waves away appeals for a foul and awards Exeter the opener. Incensed, Seb bares down on the referee demanding an explanation. The sight of the big man in his robust Puma’s causes the elderly ref some confusion about what sport we’re playing and Seb is bizarrely sin-binned for 10 minutes.

The next 20 sees a tragedy unfold for the Kiwi boys. Exeter make full use of their man advantage to score two more. Meanwhile, Centre back Robbie Goodwin promptly collapsed into a moaning heap citing a back injury after claiming he was only coming off to change his boots and leading goalscorer and captain Fionn Ward-Prowse showed his age, pulling up with a pinged hamstring.

Despite the forced changes, with Sin-bin Seb restoring the full 11, the Kiwi’s fashioned a number of good opportunities and looked far from out of the game. Seb’s return to the field seemed short-lived however, after crashing through two Exeter players at once and leaving himself winded, he looked poised to be given his marching orders. Despite receiving his second yellow of the match, the Kiwi CB somehow remained on the field through a technicality. An eventful first half finished 3-0 to the away side.

Despite the first-half scoreline being a harsh reflection on Kiwi’s efforts, a well drilled and experienced Exeter side put the game to bed in the second. After adding a fourth early, they controlled the ball as the Kiwi’s energy and slickness faded on a rapidly deteriorating pitch. The Kiwi’s best opportunity of the half came following a poor keeper-clearance as Ruairi “take the leather off” Cahill’s Fleury’s eyes lit up with the chance to bury one into an empty net. But a truly shocking connection sent the ball, and any chance of the lads salvaging a goal, spiralling off into a nearby suburb. Not our day.

Despite the 4-0 scoreline, there were some positives for Kiwi FC to take from the game. Sam Collier returned from an unexplained period in the wilderness to turn in a man of the match display in the middle of the pitch. Meanwhile there was not only a Kiwi FC debut but a footballing debut for Mason “Malaga Tan” Witman. Gaffer Fin will be pleading with his players to take good care of any knocks over the week ahead, as Kiwis fight to keep their hopes of some season silverware alive when they take on Dynamo London FC in the cup next Saturday. Onwards and upwards! ???? ??

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