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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