It’s been mixed fortunes for the London Branch football team following our promotion from League One to the Championship (sound familiar?).
The first weeks of the season were a challenge, seeing us pick up a measly two points from the opening five games. We were competitive in most of these games, but lacked the cutting edge to convert narrow defeats and draws into wins (again, this may sound familiar…)
It’s been a different story since then, however, with the team picking up six wins and a draw from our last ten. The Christmas Tree formation that served us so well last season has been phased out in favour of a 2-3-1 set up, allowing us to get more attacking support to prolific frontman Alistair Wilson. Our relegation fears have slowly eased in the last month, and last night’s win over fellow mid-table outfit Las Nuevas Maradonas saw us move into the top half for the first time this season.
The branch team celebrate a recent victory at Doyle’s Tavern.
After the first encounter between the two sides finished goalless, we were geared up for a similarly tight affair. This proved to be anything but the case, however. A mix-up in defence allowed Maradonas to open the scoring, before an equaliser from branch stalwart Sam Andrews brought the Red and Whites level just before half time. Not long into the second half, a controversial penalty for the opposition was brilliantly saved by keeper Andrew Jordan, before in classic Sunderland style we gifted them the lead just minutes later with a freakish own goal.
Thankfully, this was as good as it got for the team in sky blue. New signing Sam Nicholson showed Haaland-esque ruthlessness to grab four second half goals, including two headers. Midfielder Joe Richardson was the creator-in-chief, contributing an impressive three assists in just 20 minutes.
There was still time to give the Maradonas a glimmer of hope, as sloppy defensive play gifted them another penalty, but they were once again denied from the spot by stopper Jordan.
The 5-2 win sees Sunderland Supporters Association into the top half for the first time this season.
With seven games remaining in the season, mid-table safety seems to be the order of the day, with a sizeable gap to the cluster of teams above, and a decent buffer to the relegation zone below. There’s plenty to work on for this team, but the progress since we revived the team last summer has been nothing short of remarkable.
Anyone interested in joining the Branch football team should contact Ben Littledyke on 07501 076 770, or via email at email@example.com.