The Legends were ready and raring to go, chafing at the usual leisurely approach of the referee for whom Kickoff times seem to be a gentle suggestion. Two welcome intraclub transfers in Rich Enticott & Peter Lambert were about to make their eagerly anticipated debuts, and Barnstonworth looked like they had the barest minimum of players available. Unfortunately all of the predictors were as accurate as a weather forecaster as the Legends immediately conceded a soft goal in the first couple of minutes, a corner being won not once but twice with winning headers to divert the ball in. No sooner had the Legends adjusted to this unexpected turn of events than a counter attack produced another strong header, and although this one hit the post the dangerous striker intelligently followed up to convert for a 2-0 lead. At the other end the Legends were asking some questions of their own, but their aerial prowess was sorely lacking, as was their targeting software with balls from the 18 were sent high & wide. Whatever encouragement the offensive play was providing was soon negated when Solinas sent an all time disastrous long ball backwards and perfectly in the path of the lethal Barnstonworth striker who accepted the gift with glee.
| Oh that second header! Vamvouris had no chance as the striker scored a well taken first goal in the first minutes
At 3-0 down the situation wasn’t quite as hopeless as Liverpool vs AC Milan at Istanbul, or even the previous week against NY Hota. Hota were clearly a superior side playing on a large field that suited their strengths, while for all of Barnstonworth’s attacking ferocity they showed significant vulnerability at the back, which combined with having only one substitute mean that if CPR could gain a foothold in the game they might be able to slowly pull themselves back up the side of the cliff. Said foothold was obtained when Cassidy’s tricky footwork in the box produced a scything tackle right in front of the referee providing him an easy decision. With Resnik a little late to the box Steve Morse grabbed the ball with full confidence and buried a ball sweetly despite the keeper guessing the right direction.
| Morse exploits Resnik’s distraction to usurp his role as penalty taker with a superb finish
3-1, with a few substitutes and a defence that had started to adjust. On the flipside, the majority of Barnstonworth players appeared to unusually technically adept for this league, with good close control, nice passing and a counter attack to match NY Hota in danger & efficiency. The hope was that the Legends could spread the ball wide and start to wear down the opposition while gradually increasing the attacking intent. All of these optimistic & slender hopes were pinned on the dual ability to shut out the opposition while scoring goals, hopes that were soon dashed when Barnstonworth were able to score a fourth. The Legends shots continued to be hit either wide or tamely at the keeper, causing him not to have to stretch too much. In addition the keeper came out bravely to snuff out a couple of chances on the break. Meanwhile every turnover produced an opportunity to concede another goal, and the Legends were fortunate by last gasp tackles, good goalkeeping by Vamvouris and narrowly wide shots.
In the end a 4-2 result to Barnstonworth was probably fair, although as always the thought goes to what would have happened if Ollie Roberts was present to snuff out the open header danger. The attack continues to sputter but with increased familiarity and some more tweaking to get the midfield involved the Legends should be able to gradually increase the plus side of the ledger while decreasing the minus.
| Although 4pm Kickoffs on an NFL Sunday are by no means optimal, it has to be one of the most beautiful settings in the world to play a game, especially when you have El Presidente Drew Faherty & his eye for composition taking the pictures
Competition: Barnstonworth, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Pleasant late fall evening
Fans: 10, Peter’s family + Paul’s significant other + dog. Also some of the Old Boyz, although they left pretty early in disgust after the quick 3 goals conceded
Result: 2-4 (1-3 at H/T)
Goals: 1:3 Morse (PK), Assist Cassidy
2:4 Solinas Assist Enticott
Yellow Cards: None
Red Card: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None, although I’m sure poor Chris Williams would rather have been playing than dealing with the Ebola panic
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Venkataraman gambled and lost on the hamstring that was tweaked the previous week. In a similar vein, Tony Vamvouris also hurt his hamstring and was out for the rest of the game, though hopefully not much longer than that.
Old Man of the Match: It’s rapidly looking like Ollie Roberts will be a strong contender for MVP based upon the stark difference in defence his absence illuminates. This is unfair to those being forced to play out of position in the center of defence, but this is by far the most glaring of the team’s weaknesses. The hope is that the more players play in that position, the more they can familiarize and adjust.
Old Man of the Bar: Resnik & Venkataraman narrowly outlasted El Presidente, a throwback performance by the Three Kings
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.
Statistic of the week: A lifetime Percentage has now been added to measure bar attendance % vs number of games played. This means we can see per season and overall who is getting back to the bar the most. Nobody gets a prize for figuring out the Three Kings finish at the top, with Tier Two a distant second.
Team Bar Showing: 4 out of 15 (27%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5: While the breadth was weak at 4, the depth was excellent with a solid 5+ hour session helped by the Grays and interesting discussions on the future of the club.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Andrew Faherty (DF), Paul Vale (DF), Tony Vamvouris, Manohar Venkataraman, Randall Klitz (DF), Steve Morse, Peter Lambert (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Ugo Solinas, John Hodges, Willian D’Andrea, Mike Cassidy, Rich Enticott