Palace’s kit is clean but their reputation muddied
The fourth game saw a sharp looking Palace take on a sharper S.C. International
Brystal Palace 1-4 S.C. International
Defence: Talki Talkington, Charles Case, Henry Wilson, Huxley Ogilvy.
Midfield: Jake Rogers, Dave Ratcliffe, Andy Quaile, Max Connolly.
Strikeforce: Declan Grady, Jamie Robertson-Macleod, Ollie Feather.
The fourth game of the season saw the first outing of the much anticipated Riley’s sponsored kit.
Upon arrival at the pitch, Palace’s intimidation was evident; it was clear to both teams who looked the best and surely a celebration pint in the Riley’s home dressing room would prevail.
Raising a glass to the (not-so) generous benefactors was a given – or so it seemed.
However, the support and confidence that the sponsors had given the team was built upon false promises.
A letter received by usually unfit midfielder Ollie Feather cutting all funding resulted in a team with a vibrant and assertive exterior, but a withering and feeble interior.
Palace took to the field each and every man wearing a brave but utterly false smile. The shout of: “We can do this, boys”, from the un-phased centre back Henry Wilson did little to rebuild the internal devastation the team was experiencing.
No amount of verbal aggression from Jamie Robertson-MacLeod could override the under-riding torrent of fear.
Recently granted bail, Will Talkington took to the pitch with grit in his stomach; sending his usual visionary ball through to the ever patient Max Connolly. It came to nothing. This was a sure sign that the mighty Palace were in for their first bad week.
Following a corner ball from (the poorly named) S.C International, confusion in the box ensued and an out of touch keeper in the form of a mad cricket fan, Harry Zundel, meant a goal was allowed to slip by. Palace panicked.
A second goal quickly followed but, as an elderly passer by confirmed, the goal wasn’t genuine. The opposition resorting to cheating gave Palace welcome confidence and the mighty Red/White/Blues were able to see the game through to half time without conceding another.
The half time talk was weak. ‘Gaffer’ Declan Grady was out of tobacco, breath and motivation. Needless to say, Palace’s hopes were up in smoke.
Despite the best efforts of regular exerciser David Ratcliffe, the second half was less than welcome.
As limbs tired and lactic acid flourished, Palace melted like Swiss cheese; full of holes and tiresomely neutral.
Despite gallant fouling and physical attrition, Palace were three down within the blink of an eye.
Captain Ollie Feather took out his anger on an opponent’s heel and Robertson-Macleod found himself knee-deep in a touchline brawl which left him with a bruised testicle and a chipped nail. It’s feared he could be out until early February. They face trial together.
Palace were not familiar with being behind and drastic measures were taken. Top-scoring left back Henry Wilson was taken out of his comfort zone, delicately positioned in midfield with the well sought after gusto of Palace gaffer Grady’s advice: “put the ball in the net.”
Though Wilson had become accustomed to putting the ball into his own net, quick thinking Quaile suggested Wilson reverse his contact lenses and sure enough, his first authentic goal followed.
Reliable Connolly crossed in a charming ball met by the usual recipient of such balls: no one. However, cue mayhem. In a flurry of shins and studs, tumbles and trips the ball was lost.
But, after the dust had settled, Wilson saw, more clearly than ever before his opportunity for glory and, with the help of a weighty, well varnished shoe-lace and a gale force wind, the ball dribbled across the line.
Palace knew the game was up. A nippy opposition midfielder got the better of a well-groomed Charles Case, who, in a bid to keep his kit clean, decided not put in a challenge for the ball.
The team applauded his consideration for the slightly oversized shirts and watched the fourth and final goal fly past the keeper. It dawned upon Palace that Case had made the correct decision: today’s game was not about the score-line. It was about the kit.
Without the sponsorship of Rileys, Palace was a team deprived of a budget. Not to mention the lack of their keen winger, Jamie Budgett. Oh, the irony.
This Weeks MOTM: The Kit – Looked sharp and sophisticated. Played its part. No more than a team requires.