After an incredible two month gap since their previous match in mid-January, an understandably rusty Logica side continued their nightmare season by crashing 8-3 to the high flying Eagles. It took Logica the first half to get back up to speed, by which time they were already five goals down. An improvement after the break saw them 'draw' the second period 3-3, but there are perhaps now even bigger concerns on the horizon than a second consecutive relegation.
The team was rocked by the news just before kick-off that gaffer and all-round heroic keeper had decided to call it a day. The managerial angle is more than understandable. With joint-gaffer taking six months off to travel the world, has been left to hold the fort alone during a second season in which the club has increasingly struggled to raise players, whilst results have deteriorated even further despite playing in a lower division.
The team have mustered just one point on the field of play, and it is no exaggeration to state that the main reason we have kept going this season is 's infectious enthusiasm coupled with the fact that he cares so deeply. So when, returned from his travels, it was no surprise that his long suffering partner should be looking to be spared the administrative burden for the last few games of the season.
But his simultaneous decision to stop playing is perhaps even worse news for the club. As ever, has been performing miracles between the sticks, but the team has still managed to concede 48 goals in their 12 competitive games before this one. The last game of 2008 at home against Bec Utd was typical. pulled a string of variously brave and brilliant saves out of the hat, but Logica still conceded five. The demoralising effect must be huge, and so it is perhaps no surprise that has had enough on that count too.
Although has returned from his six month holiday, he now finds himself working in Newcastle, and so practically he is in no position to continue managing the team, even until the end of the season. The previously has agreed to step in and help organise the team so that Logica can at least complete their three remaining scheduled fixtures for the 2008-09 season. In the meantime, those involved can take stock of the situation and see if there are any ways in which the club can continue thereafter.
In truth, with the management team of the last two years not working for Logica (any more), and the influx of new players from within the company's ranks having all but dried up, the feasibility of a corporate team going forwards looks bleak. is a rare exception in recent years: a Logica employee who enthusiastically contacted the team on joining the company because he wanted to play football, proved himself to be a pretty handy player, and who has turned out for all but one game this season, bagging five goals along the way. But despite a concerted advertising campaign last summer, the only other Logica newcomers to last longer than the odd game were and , who still only played 10 games between them. Otherwise it has become a team increasingly reliant on mates of mates called up at the eleventh hour.
There was a similar struggle for players for this first game in two months, although by midway through the first half, a full complement of 14 players had managed to assemble themselves. Even then, we had been helped by the appearance of and his Saturday team-mate , as well as another welcome occasional appearance from younger brother .
A predictably ring-rusty Logica struggled to get back into the groove immediately, and impressive stand-in keeper could do little about the five first half goals carved out by an impressively pacey and skilful Eagles team. By the time entered the fray just past the half-hour mark in place of the injured , Logica's sole effort on goal had been a snap-shot by that was comfortably saved. The aged , however, so nearly pulled a goal back immediately, acrobatically twisting to fire a mid-air volley just inches over the bar after 's neat headed flick on. At least Logica were starting to compete now, inspired by the combative and skilful , and soon sent clear only to find the Eagles' keeper bravely blocking at his feet.
The view at half time was to forget the first half, and attempt to regain some pride by winning the second half. An early sixth for eagles did not help even that cause, but in fact, with a second substitute also added into the mix, Logica were playing well now and fully deserved to pull one back. deserved all the credit, persisting in his battle for a bouncing ball against keeper and defender, and just managing to flick the ball square between the two of them for the grateful to tap into an empty net [1-6].
Logica even had the temerity to feel hard done by when a brilliant curling shot from distance by was ruled out. The twenty yard effort hit the underside of the bar and seemed to rebound back out of the goal off the foot of the back stanchion. The referee was too far away to see clearly, and the mean-spirited Eagles refused to back Logica's appeal. The home side were though inspired to add a second soon after. slipped a neat pass to 's feet, and he held the ball up before timing a simple pass to free in the inside right channel. A quick look up, and the Teesider pulled a brilliant low cross back from the bye-line to , who had bustled in front of his marker to clip home a volleyed finish with some aplomb [2-6].
As the half wore on, Logica's exertions seemed to have taken their toll, and the Eagles added two more against an increasingly tired looking Logica rearguard. But there was still plenty of spirit in the team, and it was Logica who scored the final and, perhaps, best goal of the game. started the ball rolling, showing persistence to keep the ball in play followed by some beautiful skill to nutmeg a forward closing him down. The defender fed a ball forwards to , who in turn moved it on to . Despite options left and right, had spotted an overly advanced keeper, and fired a beautiful shot from 25 yards over the desperately flailing gloveman and perfectly just under the bar [3-8].
If the first half had shown just why Logica FC might not survive for much longer, the spirit and ability shown in the second half demonstrated that there is perhaps some life left in the old club yet.