Category Archives: Match Reports

February 2014 & FIFAtv.

Following the amazing response to the BBC film about D3FC (see last months post), our game in February was so well attended that we were able to set up two pitches side by side. D3FC, Philosophy A and Polscy played in one game and Strategic Optimists, Philosophy B and new team Athletico Aesthetico played in the other. News of our endeavours has even reached FIFA who asked whether they could come and watch three sided football being played and make a film about it. The resulting short documentary really captures the spirt of the game.

Strategic Optimists repeated their last minute victory in the January game with another slick performance – keeping a clean sheet to win 2.2.0 against Aesthetico and PFFC B, while the game between Polscy, D3FC and PFFC A was notable for the incredible defence Polscy put up in the final rotation.

The 3rd had started with Deptford down by a single goal – PFFC & the Poles sharing the lead 3.2.2. Shortly after the start of the final period a delightful deflection from the overhanging branches of the large Plane tree by the playground tricked the Philosophy goalie and the Poles took pole position. (Setting up two pitches has pushed us to the very edges of the park and the presence of trees is now an unavoidable feature).

Every element of gamesmanship was now deployed to keep the lead. Feigned injuries, repeatedly kicking the ball 100m out of touch, running to a far corner and holding the ball dead – you name it – it was tried and tested. Even with the ten, game hardened players of D3FC and Philosophy A, no gap could be found. The delirium of victory was palpable and as the whistle blew the Slavic Defence entered Three Sided Folklore.

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4th May Tournament in Regents park. All Welcome

The Asger Jorn Memorial tournament will be held in Regents Park (by the hub) on Saturday 4th May at 11.00am

The tournament will be a six team Rotorende with two full spirals. Each spiral will be of six rotations of ten minutes each as follows:


We seem to have 6 teams confirmed (see below) though we will be integrating anyone who arrives on the day. All are welcome!

New Cross Irregulars
Polscy Budowlancy
Scottish Comedy FC
Philosophy FC (1)
Philosophy FC (2)

The pitch is just two minutes from the main sports Hub building. The nearest tube is Baker Street, which is a 15minute walk from the pitch. Parking is permitted on the Outer Circle (though its £5/hr). The No13 bus goes every 8 minutes from Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly etc up to less than five minutes from the pitch.

Confirmed Regents Pitch

Teams will be allocated a position within the starting lexicon (eg A, B, C, D, E or F) by drawing letters from a bag.
Teams are five a side with fixed goalies.
Pitch is a 30m sided hexagon with three 12ft x 6ft goals
Standard corners and throw in rules apply
Penalties awarded for a foul by a defender within a D shaped hemisphere 10m radius from centre of the goal. Penalty awarded to the fouled player.
No offsides.

If we have enough additional players to form a seventh team we will extend the spiral by the additional rotation.

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Plumstead MakeMerry

Oct 14th. 2012

As has been mentioned previously on this blog, the development of three sided football owes an enormous debt to Fabian Tompsett. It was Fabian who first identified Jorn’s tentative description of the game as being a task worthy of enactment and it was also Fabian who first set out the pitch we now play on and the rules we follow.

To benefit from Fabian’s expertise while trying to dissect the unfolding of play during the aftermath of the Deptford X tournament was both a privilege and a masterclass in watching the application of triolectics to the evolution of the game. (see the earlier blog entry entitled ‘Rotorende’ for a more detailed description).

Possessed with Fabian’s invention of the Rotorende to settle the condundrum our round-robin tournament had presented, we were eager to put his idea into practise and the offer made by the Plumstead Make Merry committee of holding a demonstration game during their October event gave us the perfect opportunity.

The game was played on the Plumstead Common rugby pitch, located fittingly besides one of London’s most psychogeographical of pubs – the Plumstead Old Mill (where the landlord – given the right circumstances – will still offer free pints to anyone who will eat one of the nettles from the pub’s garden).

Four teams took part

A. D3FC (Yellow)
B. Polscy (Blue)
C. Philosophy (Red)
D. Plumstead (Orange)

The game was played with three spirals of the four teams playing against each other
(effectively three repeats of: ABC BCD CDA DAB) to reflect Jorn’s idea of both triolectics and the spiral of life which never returns to the same (situlogical) location.

Teams were five a side with referee and scorekeeper being pulled from the team that was not playing the rotation in question. Rotations were 10 minutes long – giving two hours of play with a break of two minutes between each rotation.

With exception of the Plumstead team, most of the players were familiar with three sided football. D3FC brought an experienced side where the players had an average of ten games beneath their belts. Philosophy Football and Polscy Budowlancy were similarly skilled, with about six games their average. Plumstead had three members who had not played before and two who had participated with New Cross Irregulars in some of the Deptford games.

Once the game commenced there was an unexpected air of caution to the play. The first few rotations were exceedingly hesitant and after the first spiral only four goals had been conceded.

1st Spiral scoresheet
1st 0 0 1 0
2nd 0 0 2 0
3rd 1 0 2 0
4th 1 1 2 0

Untitled 7

Teams were certainly trying to get the measure of each other and the experience of the players – knowing that unless there is a significant breakaway the game is likely to be determined in the final rotations – seemed to be evident.

The second spiral saw a similar style of play. Four rotations later and only another three goals let in. As with the end of the first spiral, the surprise leaders remained the inexperienced home team who were embarking on a stout defensive effort while trying to learn the tactics of play.

2nd Spiral scoresheet

5th 1 1 3 0
6th 1 2 3 0
7th 1 3 3 0
8th 1 3 3 0

It was everyone’s expectation that the play would now pick up in intensity. D3FC and Polscy had focused their play on trying to attack Philosophy as they clearly possessed the best football skills. This approach had clearly not worked, and their regular counterfeit attacks against each other had simply placed them both in losing positions overall. As the ninth rotation began they both realised that this was the last rotation in which they could ally to inflict as much damage on Philosophy as possible. Both teams now threw their combined weight against the thinkers and numerous attacks were repulsed. Philosophy knew the stakes and placed an incredible defensive wall around their goal. When the ten minutes were up they had held out. No concessions and a very strong position. They would play in both the next two rotations and knew that all efforts had to be on attacking the still scoreless newcomers.

Tenth rotation and D3FC left the field to be replaced by Plumstead. A joint Polscy Philosophy huddle left them with no doubts as to what might now befall them. The Poles were calculating like crazy. It had to be a joint attack on Plumstead – followed by a switch to lure the hometeam into rounding on the Thinkers. The first part went well. Five minutes in a goalmoth scramble saw Plumstead finally concede. Philosphy had their outcome – they were now in joint 1st – and naturally did all they could to persuade the Poles to stick with the alliance. The Poles were split – who should they attack and who they join? A hesitant few minutes passed while calculations were made. Next rotation was D3FC, Philosophy and Plumstead. The expectation was that the two experienced teams would try and knock out the homeside – so Polscy rallied an alliance with them to hit the Thinkers with whatever they could muster. Play became as hectic as the myriad permutations which now emerged. Philosophy ringed their goal with three defenders and drove endless long balls at the Plumstead goal hoping their lone attacker might pick up a shot. All to no avail. At the end of the rotation the scores remained at 1331.

Polscy now left the field and Deptford returned. While sitting out the last they had made a conscious decision to join Plumstead and break the Philosophy defense. If they could get two against the Thinkers the last rotation would enable them and the Poles to do the same to Plumstead. As play commenced each turned on a Philosophy team that had calculated their strategy with brilliance. Rather than a ‘Chelsea Wall’ being placed around their goal they had decided to come out fighting. Relying on a high degree of fitness and team coherence they attacked the Plumstead goal as one, D3FC were completely ignored. Balls were placed straight to the their own front line between Deptford and Plumstead’s goals (to keep play away from their area). One midfielder was positioned semi permanently on the front line mid point and as soon as he picked up the ball it was passed high into the Plumstead goalmouth where two attackers ran straight in to collect. This worked with astonishing effect. D3FC were caught in a trap. On the one hand wanting to help out in the Plumstead area to cement the alliance, but at the same time knowing that to leave their goal unattended while the Thinkers were in full swing would leave them vulnerable. Pass after pass rained down on the Plumstead goalmouth and an astonishing five goals were conceded – all from Philosophy plays. The hometeam were completely dejected and morale collapsed. Philosophy were in the ascendant. Only one goal conceded and their time was up. They departed the field the winners of the tournament with a rotation still to play.

The final rotation could now only be a battle royale between the Poles and Deptford for who would take the silver medal. Plumstead, as expected, were bit part players in the frenetic backwards and forwards between the challengers. Shots and saves multiplied in quick succession. Tired legs transformed to cramp and frustrations boiled. Neither side could get the goal they craved. As the seconds counted down the stalemate endured. Honours even. Joint second place.

Philosophy FC enjoyed a lap of honour and the inaugural Rotorende was duly awarded to the most outstanding team. A thoroughly deserved victory.

3rd Spiral scoresheet

9th 1 3 3 0
10th 1 3 3 1
11th 1 3 3 6
12th 1 3 3 6

Fabian’s assumptions had proved correct. The repeating spiral had shown its worth in gradually -evenly – building up the tempo to a frenetic denoument. Calculating outcomes had perhaps come a little too late this time and leaving it all until the ninth before unleashing serious play would surely not occur again.

A reprendre depuis le debut!


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2012/13. Game 3


A perfect endgame secures D3FC a 4.3.2 victory, piping NX to the honours in the final minute.

Yet another sunny day on the Deptford Green Hex. (well at least for part of the game). It has started to become a little perplexing that we have not had a single game in rain across the best part of nine months.

Three ten minute rotations at four a side got off to a cracking start last weekend. A goal against NX in the opening 15 seconds set the tone for a fast scoring start, reaching 2.1.0 in five minutes before the teams settled and the rotation closed with the score unchanged

Just as we witnessed in the last game, a new style of play was very much in operation. What was previously termed lonesome play is being combined with game orientated spontaneous alliance work to generate a very fluid operation. It is certainly the case that this game was played by more experienced players, and it could be that we are now operating with an instinctive knowledge of how ‘not to get caught out’, both positionally on the field and positionally within the scoring.

The second witnessed an almost immediate balancing. Having kept a clean sheet in the first, NX were now subject to the almost inevitable joint attack. As the first went flying past, momentum stayed with the alliance and it wasn’t long until it levelled at 2.2.2. With the understanding that entering the 3rd in the lead is tantamount to suicide (at least when playing a one-off game) the hesitation of anyone to pull away in the later part of the second is as understandable as it is frustrating. The advent of league play is now sorely anticipated.

With all the twos on the scoreboard the final rotation kicked off with an effective clean sheet. Now there was all to play for. Kitted out in yellow, the Poles decided on a brave three man attacking strategy to drive the play – relying on the outstanding talent of their new goalkeeper to thwart any counter-attack. Each time Red or Blue joined the drive however, the attack was repulsed or the shot saved.

Its funny how games turn but the speed with which the Poles were then suddenly hit by a five man spontaneous double bluff was as astonishing as was delightful to watch. The Yellow goalie stood no chance – and as we have seen so often – a successful alliance breeds its own momentum. Within another minute the Poles were suddenly 4.2.2 and, with only a minute or two to play, effectively out of the game.

As the score keeper shouted out the final minute warning the vital question was which side, if any, would Polscy join with. NX pushed forward an attack against D3FC, beseeching Yellow to pile forward with them. The shot was pushed wide. A corner floated in to the D then met by a perfect header – held by a crowded goalie. A long ball was then picked up by a Deptford forward sprinting for the NX goal. A mass of players streamed towards the outcoming goalie but a perfect chipped shot brought the game to a close. Another Blue victory. The co-incidences keep growing.

Today Deptford – tomorrow the world!

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2012/13. Game 2

16.09.12. Three a side.

We have slowly started to understand the dynamic of the game, how the shifting allegiances can almost never be planned – but always begin and break up spontaneously, how a single game always tends to balance out the scores as the two ‘loosing’ teams join to attack the leading team, how it is very unwise to enter the third rotation in the lead as the momentum will be against you, how pretending to attack one team and then turning on the other team at the last minute (which we call switchbacking) can be good at the end of the game but not at the beginning.

We have also started to figure out that certain plays that work well in a three a side game don’t work so good for five or six a side games. Today was a case in point. The ‘Perpendicular pass’, a long ball play which we tried in the five a side scenario of the tournament (and didnt work very well), came into its own today with just the three of us. The goal defender (a mixture of goalkeeper and centre back) stays in the D and the forward runs straight up the field towards the flag in the middle of his front line (the sideline between the two opposing goals). The midfielder brings the ball out from the D along the line which the forward has just run, observing the reactions of the two opposing teams to the developing play. As the forward gets about five metres from the boundary, the midfielder selects an opposing goal to fire a long shot towards the zone between its far post and the corner flag. As soon as the ball is launched the forward then turns and runs to meet it, hopefully outflanking the outfield players of the selected opponent, and fires in a shot as soon as he reaches the D.

D3FC scored twice this way during the last rotation and it helped towards a 7.6.5 result with NewX the stragglers.

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2012/13 season kicks off


Following the success of the Deptford X tournament, the three local teams, New X Irregulars, D3FC and Polscy Budowlancy, have committed to playing every fortnight on Sunday afternoons at 2.00pm. We have also decided on a permanent move from Deptford Park to the new Deptford Green on Fordham Park. Whether this will be three a side or six a side only time will tell.

3sf location map

The resurrection of Deptford Green is a welcome new addition to Deptford’s collection of open spaces. The original Green, located a good mile away, lead from St Nick’s parish church up to the banks of the Thames. It was the common ground at centre of the original fishing village where nets would be laid out for repair and animals grazed. The precise location and size of the Green shifted as Deptford was transformed into the industrial powerhouse that built the Royal Navy and by the mid 19th Century it had ben constricted to a wide thoroughfare surrounded by terraced houses. In the early 20th century the entire area was flattened and the Green remained only in memory and as the name of a road running through the LCC housing estate which replaced it. There is an excellent account of early Deptford here:

With the creation of the new Deptford Green School at the top of Fordham park the Green is back, for high above the new school, 10 ft high letters now proudly proclaim DEPTFORD GREEN. This is our new den – “The Deptford Green Hexagon” at Fordham Park.

view of school_3741 small

Despite the enthusiasm generated by the tournament, attendance at the end of the holidays was limited and a training session seemed to be on the cards. However, the fortunate arrival of two groups of casual park players down for a kick around permitted a four a side game and we elected to play rush goalies with 15 minute rotations. With half the players being new to the game (and divided up between the three teams) tactical coherence was a little patchy to begin with and all three teams started out playing individually – without proper thought to the alliances necessary for smooth play. The early pace was also hard to maintain in the bright sunshine but this helped the young legs of the blue team quickly draw out a lead of 3.1.0. Motivation for joining forces now came into play and the red and yellow teams at last found out the benefits of the two to one advantage, shooting past the blue goal to bring their early lead to a close. Picking up fast, blue and red now joined and turned on yellow to close the 1st at 3.2.1.

The middle of the game saw much of the same. The red and blue alliance stayed firm and it seemed as though a compact had been subconsciously agreed upon to put yellow so far out of the game they could not make it back – allowing blue and red to settle the game between them in the third. Facing ten men all yellow could do was stem the flow. Three goals evenly spaced across the first ten minutes saw them languishing at 1.3.5 before their calls for unity brought the red team to heel.

In one off games it has long been understood by regular players that entering the third with a significant advantage is tantamount to suicide. The alliance between the two losing teams has to stay firm to level out and this unity is maintained once the levelling has occurred, continuing afterwards for the most part until the previous leaders begin to languish and it is usually then too late for a consequent reversal. A perfect start to the 3rd is to be just one goal ahead on the back of a running alliance.

Whether blue were aware of this, or simply complacent in the face of the red yellow link up which now followed, they let in two horrors in quick succession. The second thus ended 3.3.5. and the balancing which had fuelled the red yellow alliance was spent.

Final rotation saw blue and red stay level at 3 goals a piece with a trailing yellow not really knowing how to play it and just joining either red or blue as they sought to press an attack against each other. The yellow ambivalence was burst though by an almost casual goal against them – literally out of the blue – as a lone blue outfielder decided to turn the direction of play from a corner in the red end and rush full pelt to chip the yellow goalie. The last few minutes maintained the end to end play between the red and blue goal until – with the ten second timer counting down – the final blue attack collapsed and a combined red and yellow surge put the ball past a sprinting rush goalie.

3.4.6 Red victory.

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Philosophy FC tournament report

Ally Clow, captain of the Philiosophy FC team during Deptford X, posts his tournament report on the Philosphy FC football blog

Reports on other three sided games played by Philosophy FC at

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Triolympic Tournament

Deptford X, Sat 4th August

Four fast paced thrillers on the Fordham Park hexagon provided Deptford X with a stunning introduction to the performance art of three sided football.

The international aspect of the tournament lived up to billing with regular locals Deptford Three Sided Football Club (D3FC) and New Cross Irregulars welcoming Polscy Budowniczowie from Gorzów Wielkopolski, and Philosphy Football FC fresh from their recent game against Athletico Bilbao in the Bilbao bull ring.

The tournament involved a round robin of four 30 minute games with three ten minute rotations and each team sitting out one game. [abc: abd: acd: bcd]. The winning team being the side with fewest goals scored against them over the tournament.

Philosophy, NX and Polscy opened the tournament and it soon became clear that the quality of play was of a very high standard with PHFC laying down an early marker as the team to watch. Their previous experience of the Machiavellian nature of close quarter tactics gave them a great advantage and by the end of 1st rotation it was the East Europeans, whirling from a mind numbing muddle of unexpected bluffing, back play and the switched long ball who were pulling their socks up at 2.0.0. The start of the 2nd now saw PHFC probe NX with similar forensic detail, but despite their relative inexperience, the irregulars stood their ground. With the Poles holding back to lick their wounds all three teams were playing lonesome and without the numerical advantage of two on one, goals were proving ellusive. Only a double switchback in the dying seconds of the 2nd broke the stalemate; PHFC slipping one by the side of the NX keeper with a delightful one two. With the Thinkers starting the 3rd with the only clean sheet they of all people must have anticipated what would now befall them. Playing as one, Polscy and New Cross relentlessly forced Philosophy into their own D. Shots Rained in and although they held off for a whole five minutes the inevitable came – 2.1.1 with five minutes remaining. But the goal had loosened the alliance however and, smelling the disengagement, the Thinkers pounced, delivering a surgical strike on each opponent in quick succession to close the opener at 3.2.1

Game two saw D3FC take to their new home pitch for the first time since moving from Deptford Park. The clouds began to part and the Deptford Green sound system kicked into life. Unfazed by the anticipation of the home crowd it was Philosophy who began the game much as they had the first. A fast paced, concerted attack on the D3 goal, this time aided by the Poles, saw the home team constrained to their own D and despite some valiant goalkeeping the first score of the game quickly went against them. Lured into a false sense of common cause, the Poles now threw their outfield into the shared attack on the D3 goal. This classic ruse left their helpless goalie rounded on by a Philosophy switchback and the 1st concluded 1.1.0. With all eyes expecting the 2nd to open with a Polish Deptford alliance, it came as some surprise to witness a clearly calculated PhD3 merger assault the Polish goal. This was no spontaneous uniting of forces. Positions and plays had clearly been pre-planned during the interval and the Poles lay helpless in the face of a two on one advantage. Packing their goal with every outfield player kept the damage down to two goals and it was with clear relief that they held on to see the 2nd close against them at 3.1.0.

tourn 3

The third opened hesitantly. The alliance of the previous rotation had clearly come to its end and nothing had been successfully planned to replace it. It was obviously in the interests of the Poles and D3 to join together but early plays were proving tentative. Both teams were naturally gravitating toward the Thinkers goal but trust was in short supply. Conscious of having to man the D and without a second team advantage Philosophy couldn’t find an opening either. As the minutes passed the last rotation seemed to be heading goalless but the deadlock was broken with three minutes to play. A D3 long punt into the Ph goalmouth found a perfect volley from one of the two Polish youngsters and all of a sudden the Thinkers no longer had the lead. D3 and the Poles were galvanised. Shouts and cries sought to unite the two teams in a surge against their shared opponent and it was in this ‘togetherness’ of forged unity that the game’s decisive moment now took place. Urging on an attack, the D3 striker ran back to the Polish goalkeeper as the ball was tapped out into open play. Expecting the ball to be passed upfield to the Thinker’s goalmouth the Poles were astonished to find the striker do no such thing. As soon as he had the ball it was shot straight back into the Polish goal in a callous and risky double-bluff. The Poles now trailed 4.1.1.and a red haze of vengeance took possession. Turning on the Deptford goal they advanced with all players. The thinkers saw their moment and leapt in. One minute remained but the passion forced two goals past a shocked home team defense. The second game was brought to its conclusion at 4.3.1. The Poles would now sit out the third game and stew on their bubbling sense of betrayal.

With Philosophy leading the tournament by such a margin – and having clearly demonstrated their superior fitness and ball skills – the third game between them and the two South East London regulars was destined for only one conclusion. NX and Deptford were obviously going to team together and smash as many goals as they could against the leaders. The question was simply one of how well the Thinkers could hold out and whether they could use the breakdown of an attack to craft any opportunity to reduce the imbalance.

First rotation saw an endless series of attacks with a 6 on 4 advantage as NX & D3 left a defender each in the centre to cover the break. But only single goal by the end of the 1st saw this safety net withdrawn, resulting in a further two goals by the end of the 2nd. PhFC were trailing 3.0.0 – meaning a total of five concessions in the tournament so far. With New X having only conceded 2 in the first game and none so far in the third the Thinkers chance of overall victory was fading. Sensing the need to put goals past NX they began the 3rd rotation with a blitzkreig. As soon as the ball was in the air every Thinker rushed to the NX D and a deft series of passes saw a high cross met by a charging defender’s head to grab a much needed shock goal. Having seen their weakness so thoroughly exploited NX and D3 returned to 6 on 4 with a two man shared defense. The gap was plugged and another single shipped by the Thinkers cancelled out their early charge. As the third game faded to an exhausted 4.1.0 a lazy Deptford defense allowed a lone Philosophy striker to charge out unmarked to close play at 4.1.1.

The fourth and final game now saw the Thinkers having to sit it out. With the tournament totals at NX 3, Deptford 4, PhFC 6 and Polsky 7 victory could only go to Philosophy if NX conceded 4 and Deptford 3. The Poles, having shipped the 7th goal in the still festering moment of betrayal, could only come second. Deptford needed to score against NX. NX needed to let in less than 2. The Poles – one assumed – would just want to avoid coming last. How would the game evolve?

The first rotation was inconclusive. No alliances formed. Each team was playing lonesome. NX packed their defense, Deptford made some tentative forays and the Poles spent the time busily changing formation and experimenting with different forms of play. Each team let in a single goal. All to play for and all to a rousing chorus from the sidelines as Philosophy urged on the Poles to attack. And all of a sudden, as the 2nd got under way, attack they did. The Polish team had found their Mojo. The two youngsters, with legs well rested, each picked up a wide running role. The older player acted as hanging goalmouth striker. The betrayed goalkeeper went back in goal with a new found confidence and the previous striker now dropped back to central defense/midfield to supply the wide boys. The focus of their attack was single minded – to score against a tiring Deptford at every opportunity. Passes rained in to the Deptford D and the goals mounted. The 2nd rotation closed at an amazing 1.2.7. Deptford were well and truely out of the running having jumped from 2nd place in the league to bottom in the space of a single rotation. The Poles had climbed to third. Was this now their chance to make it to second by doing the same to NX in the third as they had to D3FC in the second. This is what the Thinkers were urging from the sidelines and what NX now braced themselves for.

But all this failed to include in the equation the glorious quality of the unexpected which three sided football has to offer – of its living, breathing status of sport at it non linear best. No calculated climb into the not quite victorious status of second best for a team still burning from the piping hot soup of betrayal. Revenge was to be their driving force and fresh legs their ammunition. Oblivious to the cries from a Philosophy team slowly and helplessly watching victory slip through their fingers, the Poles once again rounded on their nemesis. Another four goals saw the Deptford crew demoralised and submisive. Eleven goals shipped in a single game. The final whistle brought their torment to an undignified end.

New Cross the victors, Philosophy the incredulous runners up. The Poles with honour sated and for the home team a dream of victory on Deptford’s green and pleasant turf now lying in tatters.

The tournament was brought to a fitting end with the presentation of the victors laurels by the grandfather of the modern game; the London Psychogeographical Asociation’s Richard Essex, bestowing upon the irregulars of New Cross the title of Triolectical Champions.

If you like your sport with a dash of real life then this game’s for you.

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Game 6


A curious game which began life as the long awaited four a side, expanded after first rotation to five a side and grew again at last rotation to a six a side spectacular with a crowd of willing players waiting on the sidelines for a possible fourth rotation.

Teams were evenly matched in terms of ability but for the first time the ‘gentlemen’ contingent (+40) self-organised into a senior side – apparently in response to an ongoing conversation concerning end game tactics – their theory being to try and enter the third with scores even, cause a few late goals and then close down a “Chelsea Wall” to secure victory through stubborn defending of a slender lead.

The red and yellow youth teams began the first at furious speed, putting two goals against each other in fairly quick succession while the blue seniors effectively stood back and watched. Play remained unaligned (no team joining forces with another) for the whole of the first – which came as a surprise as four a side had been posited as a perfect blend between the tactical coherence of three a side with the positional efficiency of five a side. (In the event the opposite seemed to be happening – still too much ground to cover – but no correlative increase in team consciousness). With a two goal advantage the second half of the first inevitably saw blue face a red yellow combine but good goalkeeping and a left, right and centre back defensive rigour ensured a blue clean sheet at the close.

The late arrival of three regulars now transformed the game as it moved into the second. The dynamic of a fixed goalie (rather than the nominated rush goalie of the four a side game) lead to a catastrophic lack of coherence within the yellow team and an opening score of 2.2.0 rapidly ballooned to 5.2.1 without blue and red needing to work together at all.

A second monstering (see game 5) seemed to be on the cards but an injection of concentration and application within the red team and careless goals conceded by both blue and red stemmed the flow. Indeed a reinvigorated red now turned single handedly against both blue and yellow, scoring some excellent goals to see the second rotation close at 5.5.2.

The blue tactic had been to try and enter the third with scores level but a three goal advantage was never going to distract the efforts of the opposition for long enough to allow a last minute lead to build. It went without saying that a red/yellow combine would now turn on the blue goal – and that is exactly what happened. It didnt help that the blue goalie suffered a mini crisis at the same time but it took less than two minutes for the thtree goal lead to evaporate.

The tying of the scores at 5.5.5. now co-incided with the arrival of another five players eager to join the game. Six a side had already been proven in one of our earlier games and so the sides were augmented yet again – and with similar consequences. Inter-team coherence was once more stretched by the tactical shift required of the additional player and it was again the ‘youth’ teams which came out worse. Indeed the ability of blue to now ring fence the goal with three senior defenders while the two fresh legs rode shotgun on the backs of either red or yellow as they pitted themselves against each other saw a blue lead open to 8.7.5. with almost all the goals resulting from the numerical advantage of the two blue outfield players joining with either team.

While this was going on however there were constant attempts by either red or yellow – and occasionally both in concert – to attack the blue area but the tactic of the three man permanent defence withstood every attack. One blue player was left on the line between the red and yellow areas and every time an attack was repulsed the blue defence punted the ball over to this lingering outfielder who was able to turn in the direction of the least defended red or yellow goal, bringing the relevant defence out of the blue danger zone.

As the minutes went by the ever increasing coherence of the onslaught against blue did prise open a glimmer of hope as an outstretched leg in a packed goalmouth poked home a obtuse deflection. Blue now brought back all five outfield players into the area to try and ride out the last minute and held on to take the game 8.7.6.

I think we’ve really started to get the hang of this. The next stage of the experiment is going to be to form fixed teams and see if team identification evolves the tactics in a different direction. It has certainly been speculated that the forming of a mini league or tournament with positional advantage being sought in a league table would be likely to generate alliances lasting longer than the brief period within a game necessary to level the scores. This time a leveling of league positions would presumably be the balancing quotient.

Watch this space.

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Game 5


The long awaited monstering finally takes place!

Without any previous alliance having been agreed, a beleaguered red team faced a sustained ten man blue and yellow onslaught which lasted the whole of the first rotation. Partly due to a careless defence, but perhaps also to the team having few experienced three siders, every time either yellow or blue took possession the direction of attack turned relentlessly in the direction of the red goal. Scores going into the first break sat at an incredulous 6.1.1 and it was with some trepidation that the red players retook the pitch for the second period. Would the unplanned assault continue or would an (expected) rebalancing begin to occur?

Early probing runs on the red goal began immediately after kick off but an invigorated red defensive line soaked up the pressure to such an extent that the inevitable blue yellow face off began to materialise. By midway through the third, each team had leaked only a single goal as defensive focus was well attuned. With the red team becoming more accustomed to the nature of play however a calculated and deliberate attempt to force an alliance with a hesitant yellow contingent gradually began to take effect such that by the end of the middle third the scores had resettled at 7.4.2.

The yellow team, as would be expected, began the final rotation in a defensive mood – thoroughly expecting a red blue alliance to try and reduce their advantage. Much to the surprise of the blue team however, and to their evident frustration, red confirmed their alliance with yellow and used the growing annoyance amongst the blue team to try to level themselves out. But two goals later, at 7.6.2, a misplaced pass was picked up by a yellow bluff who turned on red and won a man on man sprint with an isolated goalie.

At last the blue appeals to red were heeded and both teams, with less than ten minutes remaining, set out to try and level the tally. This was the first time in the game that yellow had even faced a joint blue red strike, never mind one of the cohesive ferocity which now materialised. Four goals were shipped in as many minutes and at 8.6.6 the game was rapidly reaching its denouement. Could blue or yellow sink a final goal in one of each others goals to clinch the game? A frantic final thirty seconds saw a penetrating blue attack on the yellow goal frustrated by a fine save. A long ball then thrown from the yellow goalie towards the blue penalty area was picked up by an unmarked red winger who ran straight at the blue goal and shot a fine volley between the outstretched fingers of the blue goalie and the left post.

8.7.6. Yellow victory – what a cracker! This was certainly the most enjoyable and exciting game to date. It gets better all the time.

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