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LOFT at the Chaos Cup 2004

On Saturday 15th May 2004, a LOFT team subjected itself to (as the organisers describe it) "the unique cocktail of variable football and good-humoured mayhem" that is the Leyton Orientear's Chaos Cup, held at the Douglas Eyre Sports Centre in Walthamstow.

LOFT's manager (as always, the seldom-esteemed Doug Harper) had assembled a mix of youth and "experience", and his team started off brightly in their first match against Stratford Stompers. Soon the average skill level of LOFT's side was increased as the writer of this article limped off the field and out of the tournament with a groin and thigh strain. However, a close match was eventually lost 0-1, and LOFT faced an uphill task to qualify in the top half of their group of four.

LOFT got back on winning ways in their next game, putting in their best display of the tournament in beating a Cardiff side 3-1. One of LOFT's goals proved to be the highlight of the tournament, a 25-yard screamer into the top corner by Joe (Judge Dredd on the Orient messageboard) that was described by referee Dave Knight (of the Orientear) as "the best goal I've ever seen on a six-a-side pitch". Another goal (courtesy of James Pope) was from a blinding run started off by an overlap, leaving Doug almost in tears of joy.

The final game of the group stage was against a Torquay side that was taking it all far too seriously with such arcane practices as "teamsheets" and "tactics"! Needless to say LOFT lost heavily, and finished third in their group overall, thus qualifying for the "best of the worst" half of the competition, the Plate. The Torquay side were later knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the Cup, which just goes to show what happens when the game is taken too seriously!

For their quarter-final Plate game, LOFT faced a UCL side that had finished bottom of their group. The final 1-0 scoreline did not reflect LOFT's domination, but was enough to see them through to the semi-final stage.

There, they faced an Orientear B side that favoured attack over defence. However, LOFT held strong with a solid performance. Neither side could break the deadlock in normal or extra time, and so LOFT faced their first, and as it turned out last, penalty shoot-out competition of the day. Orientear B were the victors in sudden death, but ultimately lost in the final (also on sudden death penalties).

Congratulations to the 'Ear for organising a great day out in the sun, and to all those who took part in or supported LOFT's team.

Pictures of the day (including Doug celebrating as only he can!) can be viewed by clicking here

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