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Mission Accomplished – Branch football team secure survival with three games to spare

As SAFC’s struggles in the Championship continue, the pendulum for the London Branch football team has swung in the other direction. Three wins, three draws and just one narrow defeat has seen the Lads climb to the top half of the table. However, with the league being tighter than KLD’s purse strings in January, we still weren’t mathematically safe from relegation going into a crunch clash against Las Nuevas Maradonas.

 

The team in sky blue are always stodgy opponents, and had edged us out 1-0 in the reverse fixture back in November. Sunderland were heading into this one in confident mood though, boosted by last week’s 7-0 rout of whipping boys Wiz KaFIFA, and we kicked off with an unchanged line-up on a bitingly cold February night.

 

Sunderland started brightly and raced into a 2-0 lead, with well-taken goals from the in-form Jonny Winship and Alistair Wilson. The Maradonas were confident in possession but struggled to carve out clear chances, until they capitalised on a loose ball to reduce the arrears before half time. The second half saw the opposition once again exploit our Achilles’ Heel by scoring from a corner shortly after the break. It seems to be an immutable rule of the universe that no Sunderland team can properly defend set-pieces.

 

This particular Sunderland team is made of stern stuff however, and we shifted up a gear following the equaliser. On a rare foray forward, captain Ben Littledyke ended up with the ball near the right corner flag, and crossed low for Wilson to prod home. The roles were reversed shortly after, as the defender latched on to Wilson’s through ball and put the game back in Sunderland’s control with an uncharacteristically composed finish. There was still time for Wilson to grab a hat-trick, securing Championship survival for the Branch, and giving us a positive goal difference for the first time this season.


Branch members are invited to attend the team’s upcoming 11-a-side friendly in Islington against Aston Villa in April. Details to follow in due course.

Anyone interested in joining the Branch football team should register their interest online at www.weardownsouth.com, or contact Ben Littledyke at ben.littledyke@gmail.com, or via WhatsApp on 07501076770.

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