Time until the next game at Benalmadena Polideportivo

Match Report by Rory

The Walking Football Algorithm had miraculously thrown together four well matched teams of eager geriatrics super keen to get back onto the hallowed Polideportivo shag pile. The (only marginally) faster game welcomed back Steve (Yoza) and Johan after their respective sabbaticals and all were looking forward to a great game of miss-timed tackles and in-depth debates about the new 263 page (not including the appendices) rule book. As is the tradition, Keef gave his usual Ted Talk (now available on YouTube)….spirit of the game blah blah, no tackling blah blah, ball allowed over head height, but only if accidental (para 52 subsection c).
The blacks were looking slightly more Man City-ish with wee Eddie linking up well with the newly installed Artificially Intelligent (AI) footballer StepHEN who was now able to generate 20 arguments a minute as opposed to the original’s 1. Yoza started in a deep lying role, in fact so deep, he was in goal while Rory did his usual thing of roaming about aimlessly in midfield. Meanwhile, “total football” Han patrolled the midfield, elegantly knocking the ball onto the feet of the opposition forward line.
The blacks had Martin Chivers doppelganger Nigel leading the line with big Al’s multiple arms and legs playing in the hole. Gaelic football refugee Dazza provided some high energy football in midfield supported by soon to be disappointed Arsenal supporter John and his 150mm howitzer right peg primed to take a shot on goal from any angle. A level of calm serenity was brought to the reds with suave Swede Johan gliding through the lines and feeding the front two. Both teams had rush goalies.
Typically, after Keef’s inspirational talk about not tackling, within 5 minutes of the start big Al took his first hit and found himself with a new adidas tattoo on his left shin. Nice. Fortunately, the game soon settled down with both teams having some early forays towards the opposition goal and Yoza having to pull off a couple of smart saves. The blacks soon settled into their smooth passing and move patterns leading to a quick-fire brace for StepHEN who was clearly a big step up from the tired and listless human version of Stephen who had played in last weeks games. Blacks 2-0 Reds.
Han was having an excellent game breaking up the reds’ attacks and soon showed he could also hit the net after being released by wee Eddie who’d made another lung-busting run down the left flank. Blacks 3-0 Reds. As the no tackling rule was starting to embed itself Rory tip-toed his way through the static reds defence to slot home a fourth goal for the blacks. Blacks 4-0 Reds. It was starting to look like a rout was on the cards, with Yoza unfurling a string of passes, flicks and tricks last seen being given by a performing seal at Billy Smarts Circus’ last show on Morecambe pier in 1967.
Fortunately, the reds were made of sterner stuff and turned the game on its head in the second half. With big Al and Nigel working more effectively as a partnership and John stretching the blacks’ defence the goals soon started to flow. Nigel bagged a couple with big Al and Dazza (who had only launched one ball into the stratosphere) also getting on the scoresheet. Blacks 4-4 Reds. Now the reds had the wind in their sales and started to press forward in search of the killer blow. Unfortunately, this played right into the reds’ counter attacking style and after some neat build up play from Yoza and Han, the ball fell to Rory who buried the ball in the back of the net to give the reds a slender lead. Blacks 5-4 Reds
The reds weren’t going to let the blacks get away again, and even though by this stage ace number 9 Nigel was having a superb stint in goal, they managed to pull one back with a fine strike from Johan. Blacks 5-5 Reds. Both sides were creating chances but somehow couldn’t find the killer blow. The blacks realised there was only one way to break the log-jam and unleash StepHEN to conjure up a debate from his database to confuse the opposition. Sure enough the first AI footballer in the world threw out a high grade debating point about whether a rush keeper is allowed to travel into the opposition half. Added to the manual full of new rules they’d had to digest at the start of the game the reds were thrown into disarray while they mulled over the implications of the question. This was the opportunity for the blacks to spring their trap and get the ball up field to wee Eddie who sure enough delivered a couple of sublime finishes to kill the game off.
After the match the guys wandered off to the bar to reflect on the existential threat that the success of the first AI walking footballer will have on the game. Find out what they concluded in the next edition. Well played guys, the game was played in a great spirit with everyone doing their best to comply with the rules and have a great time.