The last game of the season and nothing to play for, and the prospective attendance showed it. It was hard to blame the numerous dubious injuries or players not around, especially since the pitch was deep in Brooklyn and was the notorious Dyker Beach Park, possibly one of the worst fields in the league. Some last minute recruiting brought the Old Boyz to a barely minimum 12, and that included Becker who based on an abundance of voicemail and text evidence had had a memorable night previously.
With everyone dressed and ready to go at game time, the home team SC Gjoa showed minimal urgency in getting the show on the road. The only thing more amusing than their lackadaisical attitude was the fact they wanted to compound the lateness with only playing 30 minute halves due to a ‘parade’. Nothing doing. If the Old Boyz were going to trek deep into the suburbs, by jove they would play a 90 minute game if it killed them (not completely out of the realms of possibility, and certainly guaranteeing a Mr. Glass award for death).
Eventually at almost 30 minutes into game time Gjoa had 10 players ready to play and the whistle blew. CPR immediately started dominating with Stower rampaging down the sidelines with minimal resistance. Indeed, the attacks were almost too easy and a header was quickly flashed over the bar by Lim. Within 2 minutes a carbon copy cross from Hollins found Lim in an abundance of space and this time Lim buried it for CPR to take the lead. Or not. Although it is tempting to quote the usual disclaimer about offsides being hard to judge for a referee with no linesman, this call was inexplicable. With the ball floating over the heads of 4 defenders playing Lim onsides and running from outside the box, the call was a complete embarrassment.
Although the attacks didn’t stop, the cutting edge was just not there. On the times that CPR did muster a shot on target the splendid Gjoa keeper proved equal to the task, notably on two saves against Resnik & Hollins. Although usually stout at the back, the unfamiliarity of positions was causing mental anguish for CPR with handbags being flung and confusion reigning supreme. On one of their rare forays up the field, a nicely lofted ball gave the Gjoa striker a one on one which he finished well to give them a lead completely against the run of play.
Going into half time, the single goal lead appeared far from insurmountable. Although the lack of clinical strikers able to take on the defence was a disadvantage, the fact that in Hollins and D’andrea CPR had two midfielders perfectly capable of slicing through the middle balanced out the equation. The name of the game would be stamina, and also making the opportunities count against the formidable goalie.
Second verse, same as the first. Chance after chance came the Old Boyz way, and each time the ball either flew narrowly wide, the keeper stopped the ball or Cossette was inevitably offsides. Meanwhile the Gjoan midfielders disdain for defense was giving them an advantage during counterattacks as CPR’s increasingly fatigued midfielders were having a hard time tracking back. The backbreaker turned out not to be a defensive blunder but an accident of the dreadful pitch. With Shafranek in perfect position to intercept a through ball the ball hit one of the 50+ pieces of turf that comprised the “pitch”, allowing the striker a one on one that he clinically finished.
|A Scotsman or Mr. Glass? I know who I’m taking in that battle.|
The Old Boyz now handled the adversity as poorly as they had the first season. Although continuing to gamely attack it seemed clear that the day was not going to be theirs, and the verbal diarrhea flew from all and sundry in every direction, culminating in Old Man of the Match Hollins’s memorable bellow ‘You’re all SHIT!!’ after yet another predictable short goal kick found its home target in acres of space.
Fortunately two things saved the game from being a completely forgettable experience. Firstly the Old Boyz finally received the benefit of a brutal refereeing decision, the ball being at least two ball lengths out when Hollins continued to drive past several gesticulating Gjoans before rounding the keeper and preventing the shut out. Perhaps the decision was a counterweight to the equally egregious handball the referee had claimed not to have seen (again) which led to the third goal for the opposition. The second and final psychological triumph came for CPR when Stower got up to his old tricks in winding up the opposition’s winger. After Cossette had clattered into an opponent with all the grace of a CPR team at an open bar, play stopped to have Stower and his counterpart yelling at each other. After the referee awarded the freekick to CPR, Angelo’s pitiful bleat could be heard all around the pitch, ‘ HE CALLED ME NAMES!’. Yes my son, he called you names. Here’s a tissue. You may have won the game, but the psychological war would be CPR’s to own.
As bad a tactical and intelligent game as the Old Boyz have played in years. The inability to make smart decisions on the fly and work with long time teammates is hard to explain, and hopefully an aberration. A disappointing season with 4 points fewer than the last two, with probably the biggest culprit being the loss of 23 goals from Gallagher & Fink. Bustamante and D’andrea have show ample promise, but some relatively younger attacking blood is sorely needed, as is some more consistence appearances by the squad as a whole.
|SC Gjoa’s Angelo, you are now an (infamous) CPL Over 30’s Legend. “HE CALLED ME NAMES!” Yes he did. There there. Maybe we could get you your favourite blanky?|
Competition: SC Gjoa
Location: Dyker Beach Park, Brooklyn
Conditions: Drizzly but not cold, perfect footballing weather
Result: 1-3 (0-1 at H/T)
Goals: 3:1: Hollins
Yellow Cards: Shockingly none
Red Card: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None, although based on Becker’s 3am phones and texts, this was very unexpected.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Continued campaigning by Shafranek but no actual injuries suffered, also surprising given one of the worst fields in the league.
Old Man of the Match: Not really a close vote as Hollins play on both sides of the ball put him head and shoulders over most, a sentiment he seemed to share with the ‘You’re all SHIT!!!’ shriek.
Old Man of the Bar: None.
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Team Bar Showing: 9 out of 12 (75%)
Team Bar Night: 4 out of 5. The team has been around long enough that the vituperative verbal disintegration on the pitch had no impact on the pub attendance and was easily laughed off at the bar. Disappointing as the result was, the day at the pub was excellent.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mark Becker (GK), Mark Resnik (DF) , Gavin Hamilton (DF), Scott Shafranek (DF), Lars Murray (DF), Dan Hollins, Steve Teesdale, Manohar Venkataraman, Willian D’andrea, Neil Stower, Trygve Cossette, Hyon Lim