Home league match played on 14 January 2012.
Kicked off at 2:00 PM

On a cold January morning, optimism was rife amongst the players and fans alike. Big game, big expectations, BIG day. This was going to be the day PPR showed everyone why they should be considered the best team in London. Unfortunately Rovers who hadn't lost in the league since the opening day of the season hadn't read the script and were out for revenge. According to our scouts they were at The Owl’s nest 2 hours prior to kick off running a routine that Jacko would have been all too proud off.


PPRs warm up on the other hand was rather sluggish and Berba Byrne decided that this week he would do his own warm up, words were exchanged and Byrney has since apologised to the squad and has been let off with a verbal warning.

Billion Dollar Barnes would only make the bench and another notable absentee from the starting line up was Phil Allan who was deemed 'not in the right place mentally' to start the match after speculation midweek about his sanity.


Rovers kicked off and immediately put PPR under pressure. Good work in between the sticks from Neil kept the scores level as he expertly tipped over the first of a barrage of shots on the PPR goal. After about 15 mins of solid pressure from Rovers, PPR started to find their feet and started to work the ball towards Meddings who's pace was causing their left back all kinds of trouble. Some good play from Baker, Meds and Jonny down the right won a corner which was swung in slightly too long by Jonny - Byrney retrieved, jinked past the right back and crossed in towards Meds. Whistle blows and it’s a penalty. This referee didn't miss a handball all game and Flynn was all too grateful as he stepped up to dispatch competently into the back of the net having sent the Goalie the wrong way.  1 - 0 PPR. Game on.


The lead didn't last long and after the ball was in the air for about 5 minutes as Havers and their central midfielder headed the ball to each other everyone from PPR switched off and one quick through ball caught PPR napping and their forward latched on and lobbed Niel.  17 mins played, 1-1. Rovers quickly added a second as another simple through ball caught PPR out and Neil was done by another lob. 22mins played 2-1 Rovers.


This was not the team that had gone 9 games unbeaten, no one was standing up to be counted and that work rate that is so necessary at this level was absent, along with any notable quality.

PPR survived till the half time whistle and for the first time this season vacated the field to boos from the fans. Justly deserved.


It was time to ditch the 4-2-3-1 formation and go with two up top. With Tricky less isolated the plan was to get the utterly anonymous Adam back involved in the game.  Back to 4-4-2 PPR started to cause Rovers a few problems of their own and after ten minutes of concerted pressure Billion dollar BYRNE (sorry Barnes) smashed the ball in after Nils knocked the ball down off a Baker throw-in. A goal rifled in from an impossible angle into the top far corner.  With a scoreline of 2-2 for the third week running hopefully the Owls could extend this unbeaten run.


Time to make the changes, Barnes coming on for Nils who had been growing in confidence recently, and has established himself as an integral part in the centre of midfield. Barnes now without his nickname had a point to prove. It wasn't long before he had the Rovers rumbled and the opposing fans could sense trouble. Struggling to find any imperfections with our man they rather desperately resorted to slating his hair. They were clearly desperate and Barnes did not rise to the bait.


Finally with PPR fighting into this game and now outplaying their opponents, Rovers re-adopted the long ball tactic. With our defence staring directly into the sun this made things pretty tricky and when the usually so impenetrable pairing of Havers and Gomme misjudged one lofted ball over the top the Rovers forward raced on to lob Neil for a third time. 3-2 Rovers.The owls were heartbroken and started to look beaten, but before they had time to recover another through ball shunted forward left their right winger one on one with Neil and about to dispatch (probably) another lob, when Carsten having a testing time at left-back expertly clipped his heals and pulled his shirt for good measure.  Everyone expected a red card but for once the ref was kind to the Tomkins family and only showed a yellow card.


With the defence having ‘one of those days’ Phil was brought on at right-back for Baker and Lloydy was brought on for Gomme.  With neither player sporting sunnies the problems with the long ball were still catching PPR out and soon it was 4-2. Neil was finally beaten along the deck and it was only thanks to our GK who has been superb this season that the PPR were still just about in this game.


PPR weren't quite finished yet and cheered on by Owly and co, more good work continued down the down the wings and a chance was created for Tricky who had a difficult header saved by the Keeper. More good play involving Barnes, Byrney, and Jonny resulted in a chance for Tricky which he couldn't quite gather in his stride. 

Back on the ascendency PPR looked the more likely to score which is probably why their players made the decision to slow down the play. Their keeper being the main culprit received a yellow for persistent time wasting after stopping to argue with Nils. Minutes later after another pot shot went for a goal kick, Katie (Nils' WAG) raced off to fetch the ball. When the Rovers keeper failed to say thank you, Katie let him know in no uncertain terms that he was a "Cunt".


With only ten minutes left PPR tried to get back in the match but it was a case of too little to late. The last chance of note was when Jonny won a free kick on the edge of the box. With 85th minutes on the clock Flynn took over free kick duties but couldn't quite clear the wall. With PPR heads well and truly dropped it was Rovers that looked the more likely to add to their tally. More shots at the PPR goal followed and in the 89th minute Nimble Neil’s body had had enough. An injury time out was needed for the GK as he suffered double cramp in both calf's. Shame on The Owls for not protecting their keeper, and shame on Neil for not keeping his body in better shape.


The final whistle blew and with it went any chance of lifting the title this year.  However as a team this was a good learning curve and with two cup competitions left PPR are quietly confident they will need a trophy cabinet come the end of the season. 

Man of the Match = Andrew Meddings   Dick of the Day = Neil Murdock 


Blistering pace, precision distribution and a Bergkamp-esque first touch to boot. Andrew Meddings' efforts on Saturday proved the only real positive from a disappointing day at the races for PPR.

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