Why do we all love football?

It's a serious question.

When pushed for an answer, what would you say?

Would you recall the great goals your team have scored, the great flair players your team have boasted, the games where your team ended up winning a title or a cup?

If you ever played the beautiful game rather than watched it, would you highlight the team spirit, the comaraderie and mickey-taking of the dressing room, the great goals you have scored, or the wonderful Glenn Hoddle-type passes you set up a team-mate to score?

Think of those men classed as the greatest of all time - Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Messi, Ronaldo, Tony Kellow.

One thing in common - they are all attack-minded players with an eye for goal.

When we think football, we think goals, excitement, goalmouth action, wonderful saves, near misses.

In the pub, our talk is so often that of wannabee managers - who we'd pick, and why. And the goals and near misses.

Very rarely do we talk about a great defensive performance.

That's not as interesting as talking about a glut of goals, is it?

Football is all about winning, and winning in style.

To do that, you need to score goals.

But all great managers will tell you that defence is as important as attack.

So it was at a frosty Burgate School last weekend morning as West Harnham rolled into town protecting the only unbeaten record in Division 2 of the under-11 Testway Youth League.

I wrote in last week's blog how important this game was to my son's Fordingbridge Town team.

Lose and our hopes of a top two finish woud be almost over.

As it was, we scored in the second minute against a team who had never lost a game - even a friendly - and who had only let in two league goals all season.

That was to prove the only goal of the hour-long game.

Would it be fair to say it was a win which blew the title race wide open? Or am I resorting to journalistic hyperbole?

Who cares!! We won 1-0!!

The best football matches are, surely, the ones that take you by surprise.

There is no real joy to be taken from spanking the team bottom of the table 21-0, as we did earlier in the season.

Football is not about those sort of mis-matches.

It is about the games like last Saturday's, where no-one could say with any degree of certainty what the score would be.

Yes, we wanted to win, but no parent would have been ultra confident beforehand of three points. I wasn't.

That is why the game last weekend will be remembered if we do win promotion this season.

Not because the win was totally unexpected, but because it wasn't totally expected.

There is a large difference.

Not many kids football games end up 1-0. That is a proper scoreline, not like some of ones you regularly see in our league.

The reason it was 1-0 was because of a magnifient performance by our three main defenders.

Jack Cunningham on the left, Ted Wright in the middle and Rob Bailey on the right are the three lads who deserve to have their names immortalised for ever more on this blog.

Obviously the whole team deserve credit, but the defence - in my eyes - were key to victory.

Though Harnham had a lot of possession, Jack Thorne in goal did not have many saves to make at all.

At youth level, as I have written before, not many lads love playing in defence.

There is little glory playing at the back compared to belting in the goals.

Parents don't go away chatting about tackles made or 'did you see that lovely bit of marking from the corner?' - that is not a sentence I have ever heard at a football game, and I've been to plenty.

That is why I have highlighted the defence this week.

This week they get the glory.

Rob Bailey is an exception to the rule - he is a lad who seems to relish playing in defence.

He takes it as a personal affront if anyone on the opposing side even thinks of trying to get past him.

The look of determination on his face when he is chasing the ball or making a tackle is a sight to behold.

If it were possible to bottle his spirit, I'd make a fortune.

I've no idea if he approaches his homework with the same attitude, but if he does he'll go far.

Harham didn't look particularly pleased with the result, and turned down the chance of playing a friendly afterwards.

Generally, all Testway Youth League games are followed by a friendly match, of varying lengths of time depending on what the managers and referee agree between themselves.

I can only recall a few instances where that didn't happen.

One of them was at home to Tidworth, who turned down a friendly because the manger wanted to get home in time to watch a live FA Cup tie in ITV, a decision I thought - frankly - shocking.

I don't know what excuse Harnham gave, but it was poor whatever it was.

Not every member of the squad can play the entire league game, and a friendly offers the chance for anyone who might not have played the full 60 minutes to at least get some more football time on a Saturday morning.

After all, the kids just want to play.

Anyway, we go to Harnham on December 22 and hopefully we'll beat them again.

They will no doubt be fired up, or they should be.

It will be another game where you won't be able to say with confidence who will win.

And that is the way football should be.

Do you go to the cinema knowing how the film you pay to watch will end up?

Do you go to the theatre or watch your favourite soap knowing the storyline?

No, on both counts.

So why should sport be any different?