Firstly, I would like to thank Mr Walker for taking hold of the managerial reins on Wednesday. If it weren't for him, the last match would have had to be cancelled. (I was busy with Ofsted preparations, if you hadn't heard!)
It turned out that I had nothing to be worried about because the team did their usual thing and were fantastic - not that I was worried. I totally wasn't. Who even said that I was?
So, all that was left was for us to play our last scheduled league match against Pixie's Hill.
Skipping straight to the end, it was another comfortable victory. By now, all the boys on the team know what is expected of them, and the different roles within the team. My pre-match team talk now consists of - "Go out and do that thing you do."
The first half in particular was very impressive, not necessarily because of the goal-count (only three), but because of our composure on the ball, our pass selection and our general game play. I don't recall our players appearing quite so comfortable in any other match so far.
It has to be noted that opposition were far from push overs. They competed for the ball across the park and gave us some trouble, but we were generally stronger.
It took a while to get the score board ticking over. Chances went wide, headers flew over the bar, saves were made - the usual! I think it was Ethan who blasted the first one in after about ten minutes, but who knows. Again, I was so relieved that we took the lead that it could have been anyone, to be honest.
It was another long range strike that doubled our advantage. I want to say it was Kyle this time, so I'm going to. (Perhaps I should make a note of these things as I referee, like actual referees! And maybe I should get some of that foamy spray - imagine the fun!)
Our third goal - I do recall! An angled shot came in from the edge of the area and their defender, in an attempt to intercept the ball, could only redirect it into the bottom corner. As you can imagine, he was a bit embarrassed - but felt better when I told him that the original shot was definitely flying in. The original shot from...Ethan? I'm going to say Ethan. (At half time he was saying that he was on a hat-trick, so that sounds about right.)
So that's when things got a bit interesting. And this is where I might need to explain myself a little ...
Since the beginning of the season, we've had a bit of a substitute dilemma. Out of our ten players, who are our strongest seven?
I'm sure that everyone watching will have their own opinion (especially if one of them is your offspring) but from my perspective, it has never been obvious. As the matches have progressed, I have tried to give everyone enough match time to prove themselves - whilst at the same time ensuring that we maintain our winning momentum. In different matches, different children have shone. They have been wonderfully, frustratingly inconsistent. Could it be down to the weather? What they had for lunch? The mood they're in? I have no idea. I've never had any idea.
So then, with us extending our lead very early in the second half (and Ethan completing his hat-trick), I decided to make things a bit more challenging...
Having already given Dieago a break, I decided to give Ethan and Kyle a rest for the final fifteen or so minutes. I know they are desperate to play every minute of every game, but I wasn't going too learn anything new with us controlling the game and looking like we were capable of scoring for fun.
And that's when things went a bit crazy bonkers!
At about the same time as my changes, Pixie's Hill brought on a substitute who had all the skills. He started causing us problems whenever he got hold of the ball. They also adopted a 'Ah - what the heck, let's put three players up front and see what happens' tactic.
We attacked, they attacked, we attacked, they attacked. You get the idea - there was lots of attacking. I think we extended our lead next. Lui, having had a number of shots well-saved or fly past the post, finally got his goal. 5-0 and comfortable?
But then Pixie's Hill got one back. I would love to say that it was a shot straight out of the top drawer, which flew into the back of the net - an unstoppable beast of a drive, the likes of which we are unlikely to ever see again in our lifetimes.
I would love to say those things but I can't. It was a bouncing bobbler which deceived ouur 'keeper, looped up and fell kindly to their striker, who coudn't miss from about two yards. Never mind. As the saying goes, if you're going to concede a reallly soft goal then do it when you're 5-0 up with only ten minutes left to play. (If you've not heard that saying before, then you have now.)
If that goal made things interesting, then imagine how much more interesting things got when they made it 5-2 soon after. There was a driven cross in our area, their striker stuck out a foot and could not have caught the ball any more sweetly. The ball pinged into the bottom corner before Danny could blink. He had absolutely no chance with that one.
The final five minutes were a bit of a blur. As fun and as exciting as they were, I don't recall any clear chances at either end. I certainly don't remember feeling the need to bring Ethan or Kyle back on!
So then, am I happy with the efforts of Danny, Kyle, Ben, Ethan, Thomas, Josh, Lui, Dieago, Harvey and Frank? Most definiely.
Am I any closer to working out who are our strongest seven players? No.
Is this problem going to keep me up at night? It already has.
Am I looking forward to our next match - the 9 a-side cup semi-final where I only have to worry about one sub? You better believe it!