The Badgers, looking tired and dishevelled after a weeklong celebration of the historic win over Dench Elephants, arrived to a media storm at the Badger Set surrounding the Board’s sensational and somewhat puzzling decision to declare that manager Ben Wheatland had their “full support”; before controversially appointing James McAtamney as ‘interim manager’.
After an intense warm-up to shake off any hangovers, the Badgers took to the field to face the unknown quantity that was Crystal Phallus. The game started brightly, which was fitting in light of the glorious sunshine bathing the Set, and Tomlin and Dutton monopolised possession leaving Phallus chasing shadows. The Badgers’ pressure on their counterparts soon told as Pedro Badger, making his outfield debut, lofted a ball through to McAtamney who took the ball in his stride and slotted calmly past the keeper.
With their tails well and truly up, the Badgers pressed on, with Brazier and Tomlin making surging runs from defence only to be thwarted by indecision in the final third. However, the Badgers would not be kept at bay for long and Roberts, whose recent form has attracted attention from the likes of Carshalton Athletic, played a speculative ball over the top which cleared the lumbering Phallus defence. McAtamney galloped onto what seemed a lost cause and hit a fierce drive which nestled in the back of the net for his second goal of the game. Nothing much happened until half-time.
After the half-time whistle, Pedro Badger shocked the sizeable contingent of travelling fans when he was violently sick in front of them, leading to questions about his fitness. The manager defended his player after the match: “Pedro is a great professional. He is still adjusting to the relentless pace of the English game and unfortunately has a weakness for Findus lasagne”.
The second half started poorly for the Badgers, not being used to playing with a lead and therefore constantly conceding possession so they could show their fighting underdog spirit in regaining the ball. Phallus pressure mounted, but their inability to shoot below head height meant Roberts was rarely troubled.
On a rare attack, Dutton found himself in space on the half-way-line. Striding upfield, he unleashed a dipping shot which evaded the frankly incompetent Phallus keeper. The Badgers were cruising to a second successive victory!
At 3-0 up the Badgers became wasteful in front of goal; McAtamney, in pursuit of a hat-trick, conceded a throw-in from an ambitious volley. Downs made a foray into the final third but failed to get a shot away, dribbling aimlessly into the corner. Brazier attempted numerous balls over the top which found only the Phallus keeper. The Badgers attempted to boost the opposition’s self-esteem by allowing them a number of shots, which all missed the target; so woeful was the Phallus strike-force. This left goalkeeper Roberts fuming that he had not been forced to make an astonishing save, fuelling speculation that he is looking for a move to a bigger club.
With the clock ticking down, the Badgers regained control of the match and played to a chorus of “Olé!” from the buoyant Badgers Brigade, returning after their boycott against Wheatland’s continued involvement and the recent spat with fan-favourite Sam Hamberger. Emotions were running high and a Phallus player was forced off in tears after Downs remarked to him that his team was ‘shit’. The FA has confirmed no disciplinary action will be taken.
The final whistle blew, and the Badgers had recorded back-to-back wins for the first since Fernando Torres was a prolific striker (or something like that). Dutton ran immediately to aid the rapidly deteriorating Pedro Badger, whereas the rest of the team paraded around the pitch ignorant to Pedro’s plight, soaking up the glory of yet another precious 3 points and the adulation of the Brigade.
The Badgers recent success has eased the pressure on the incumbent Wheatland, but following an impressive performance and result to match under the stewardship of the fresh-faced McAtamney, questions remain around the future of Badgers staff. One thing that remains certain, however, is that the turbulent atmosphere at Board level is not affecting the players, who have put together a string of impressive performances in recent weeks and there is a distinct possibility that, whisper it quietly; the knock-out stage awaits!
REPORTING: James McAtamney