8am games are always a mixed bag. In theory the positives are that it allows plenty of time at the pub on the Sunday, but the reality is that it throws a looming grim shadow over the weekend, affecting Saturday plans and testing the recovery of old men after the game. There might be only one other worse feeling than the alarm going off at 6:45am on a Sunday morning, and that would be arriving at the field and immediately realizing that the rosters that were your responsibility had not been printed out. Fighting through the first few seconds of panic resulted in a madcap dash back to the UWS from Randalls Island, a quick print out and similar rush back, only to find one of the usual suspect referees in clearly no hurry to get much of anything done. There was still time for a warmup, chat and eventually getting the game going. A pivotal coin toss allowed the Rangers to attack the goal facing the low sun, but it didn’t affect play too much since the Over 35s league isn’t known for its aerial prowess.
|What could have been a complete disaster was averted by Willian D’Andrea’s superbly aggressive driving and a lackadaisical referee as a record speed round trip journey from Randall’s Island to the UWS to print the rosters was completed without any permanent damage|
Banatul appeared to have a full roster with 4 subs, but a number of players resembled the squad who had been thrashed two years ago by 9-0. However the Legends were vastly different from that squad, the high intensity fast runners having decamped for the greener pastures of Division 1 Football with the Over 30’s. In exchange CPR tried to play more of a possession game and have slightly more energy than their opponents, something that paid early dividends as Williams scored a well taken goal from an acute angle past the goalie. A few more scrambles in the box did not result in much, however a corner from Solinas found a wide open D’Andrea who executed the simplest of headers for a 2-0 lead.
A rout was hoped for, but the Legends turned out to be their own worst enemies in the second half. The early hour and the increasingly searing heat had something to do with it, but in a round robin fashion each member of the team started making simple mistakes. None of them proved to be deadly, but all of them were frustrating. The Banatul goalie played his part too making two excellent saves on one on ones, but the Legends should really have done more to trouble him. Meanwhile the CPR Legends appeared under no real threat, the only chance of giving up a goal would have to be either via a set piece or a calamitous error like last week. Fortunately neither happened and the Legends were able to weakly shepherd the game towards a winning conclusion.
After 3 weeks the Legends have improved significantly, experience helping them adapt to new teammates and trying to ensure an identity of patience & possession. A few tweaks to improve productivity in set pieces and more players in attacking positions should help them increase their goal tally, something that should see them grow in to their potential.
Competition: Banatul SC, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island
Conditions: The beginnings of a scorcher, certainly felt in the second half
Result: 2-0 (2-0 at H/T)
Goals: 1:0 Williams
2:0 D’Andrea Assist Solinas
Yellow Cards: None
Red Card: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Mike Cassidy, whose flight the night before was apparently cancelled but didn’t feel the need to notify anyone until hours after the win.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: None, the substitutes tending to work quite well in resting most players
Old Man of the Match: Despite disintegrating somewhat in the second half there were some excellent performances but none that quite jumped over the bar required. The closest were probably Ollie Roberts & Willian D’Andrea who also deserves a special mention for his lifesaving driving to pick up the rosters.
Old Man of the Bar: None, weren’t there long enough
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.
Statistic of the week: Resnik continues to extend his Defensive Shutout lead to 15 and overall Defensive points. Resnik/Venkataraman/D’Andrea are now on 30 lifetime caps, 2 behind overall leader Ochoa at 32.
Team Bar Showing: 4 out of 15 (27%)
Team Bar Night: 2 out of 5: With the Percys fiasco of not being open until noon, we immediately lost 2-3 players on the hunt for an open pub. We eventually walked all the way to Nevada Smiths for the West Brom vs Burnley game, but there was no incentive to stay unlike there would have been at Percys with the Old Boyz & Women’s Whites finishing at noon
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Andrew Faherty (DF), Oliver Roberts (DF), Paul Vale (DF), Mark Dean, Tony Vamvouris, Manohar Venkataraman, Randall Klitz (DF), Steve Morse, Tom Pattinson, Ugo Solinas, Willian D’Andrea, Chris Williams, Manuel Casanova