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Seven Heaven for SAFC London Branch Footy team

Updated: Mar 27

After enjoying a weekend free from the crushing drudgery of Sunderland AFC's miserable form in 2024, it was business as usual for the Branch football team, who made it a winning start to the new season with a 3-2 win over El Patio Doors.

The previous season had ended with an impressive six consecutive wins to leave the team fourth in the table, creating optimism that a promotion push could be on the cards this time around. This week's opponents had been comfortably dispatched 3-0 and 4-1 last season, but there was no room for complacency, and as the old cliché goes, there are no easy games in this league.

El Patio Doors seemed to have been bolstered by some new signings, including one with a distinct Geordie accent who seemed extra motivated to get one over on us. Sunderland applied the early pressure, with defender Ben Littledyke sending a long distance shot just inches wide of the post, and it felt like the opener was inevitable. Both first half goals actually came from quick-fire counter attacks, with Alistair Wilson and Anthony Connolly giving us a two goal lead at the break.

The opposition really stepped up the pressure in the second half, with their high press making life difficult for us to play our usual passing game. Their pressure told when they pulled one back. Regaining a foothold in the game, Sunderland missed a penalty before Wilson eventually restored our two goal advantage after good work from Thomas Canfield.

There was time for El Patio Doors to pull another back to make it an uncomfortable last few moments, but thankfully the Lads held on to make it a winning start. A few well-earned beers were enjoyed at Doyle's Tavern afterwards, and the end of season awards were dished out:

Jack Clarke Player of the Season: Jonny Winship

Jan Kirchhoff Signing of the Season: Anthony Connolly

Kevin Phillips Golden Boot: Alistair Wilson

Luke O'Nien Defensive Consistency Award: Tommy Cansfield

Patrick Roberts Individual Performance of the Season: Adam Cansfield

Jordan Pickford Golden Glove: Andy Jordan

A welcome break for Easter will give the team a much-needed break before a crucial clash with last season's promotion contenders Conquerors FC.

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