Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Conference soccer double for hacks

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt acted as a linesman during a football match between Conservative MPs and the press

Political hacks completed the conference football double over the main parties today as they edged out the Tories.

The Lobby recorded a 1-0 victory over a Conservative team including MPs Edward Timpson, Karl McCartney, David Burrowes, Gavin Barwell, Chris Heaton-Harris and Phillip Lee.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ran the line during the hard-fought encounter in Manchester.

The first half was contested mainly in midfield, with few clear-cut chances for either side.

But as players began to tire, the game opened up. Only some frantic defending by both teams kept the scores level.

Dr Lee found himself through on goal once, but floated the ball wide, while several smart shots were narrowly tipped over the Conservative bar.

Former Daily Telegraph political editor Andy Porter finally broke the deadlock after 70 minutes with a sublime chip over the keeper.

Tempers frayed and challenges became increasingly wild as the Tories desperately struggled to get back on terms in the dying minutes.

Dan Bruce, son of Congleton MP Fiona, skipped through Lobby defences on several occasions - but was unable to convert.

He was, however, named man of the match for the Conservatives.

Kiran Stacey, of the Financial Times, received the accolade for the journalists after pulling off a series of fine saves in goal.

The Lobby defeated Labour 4-0 in Brighton last week, and have now not conceded in more than 180 minutes.

The traditional conference matches are sponsored by National Grid and Mars.

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