9am isn’t as bad as the typical 8am start, but given shenanigans the night before combined with the Hoboken location it was still an earlier rising than anyone either childless and/or Walk of Shame(less) has a right to expect. True to low expectations the Path train was 30 minutes late, but the majority of the squad still arrived in plenty of time at the field. Unlike the usual tardy referees though, Referee KGB was all business and started harassing for the paperwork a full 20 minutes before game time. If it was just officious buffoonery there would be no problems, and indeed the teams would much rather have an efficient referee than the usual layabouts. However making one of the most capricious bookings you will ever see in the game’s 2nd minute did not endear him to the Legends. New boy Baron hadn’t quite grasped that with a referee and 11 a side this was not a kickabout and had gone on to the field without shinpads. Ordering him off was the referee’s prerogative, but then inexplicably booking Vale for replacing him without “asking permission” was pedantry of the first order. Vale casually commented later that it was the first booking he’d ever received in a 11 a side game.
| Booking a player for subbing himself on to the field without asking your permission in the second minute of an Over 35’s league is about as idiotic as you could get
CPR quickly put this stupidity behind it to impose themselves on the game. With good possession Enticott received the ball at the top of the box and stroked it into the side netting for the lead. Soon after, a deep cross from Vale was met with a stunningly placed header by Nizam to double the lead. Nizam then dribbled in to the area to be tackled by a Hoboken defender, and once the resulting rebound was not converted the referee awarded a contentious penalty. Nizam appeared calm enough to be offered the chance to double his tally which he duly did, a ball placed as well as his header.
At 3-0 the Legends felt cautiously comfortable but still wanted more. With injuries to Volper & Hahn their depth was depleted but their defence in front of Faherty was proving immense. The odd ball that did sneak through was handled competently. As play opened up the Legends started playing some pretty football, although the run of the ball did not quite seem theirs. An angled shot from Enticott ricocheted off the post back to the keeper where anywhere else would have resulted in a goal. Similarly a shot from Solinas bounced off the post, off the keeper and out for a corner. However the relentless pressure eventually told, with Nizam being brought down from behind resulting in another free kick from the top of the box. This time Baron took it with the focus of placing the ball accurately, which indeed he did into the side netting. The final goal arrived after Venkataraman intercepted a cross field pass with a header(?) in to the path of Enticott, trundling into a space in the penalty box to pound the resulting pass into the old onion bag.
Speaking of bags, there was still time for a few handbags to be unnecessarily tossed around near the end but overall these teams know each other well, hence the return to the opposition’s bar post game. As per the fall, the Legends will immediately be playing the second leg at home but will hope for a better result than last season’s draw in the second leg.
Competition: Hoboken, League Opposition
Location: Sinatra Field, Hoboken
Conditions: Nice brisk morning that rapidly started to heat up
Fans: 3 that I saw while trying to get the paperwork ready for Referee KGB, Mrs. Hakan & child & Rich’s kid
Result: 5-0 (3-0 at H/T)
Goals: 1-0: Enticott
2-0: Nizam, Assist Vale
3-0: Nizam (PK)
4-0: Baron, Assist Nizam
5-0: Venkataraman, Assist Enticott
Yellow Cards: Vale (ludicrous booking), Roberts
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Tony Vamvouris with a Saturday afternoon
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: This week it was the Messrs. Glass (Glassi?). The moribund artificial turf certainly didn’t do anyone any favours, but by the end of the game the Legends were almost down to 11. Volper was the big one, the ankle turn / ligament damage seeing him struggle to drive back home. Nizam being caught from behind went down hard, and Hahn reactivated his bruises as well. Someone else is getting off lucky.
Old Man of the Match: Some light discussion at the bar but really El Presidente keeping a shutout including an intimidating penalty ‘save’ made it easy. Trolling the opposition by having a picture with the OMoM chalice at their pub in front of them was just icing on the cake.
| A shutout & penalty “save” was rewarded with drinking out of the Old Man of the Match chalice at the opposition’s bar
Old Man of the Bar: A return to the old days for Tier 1. Venkataraman/Resnik/Faherty.
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Statistic of the week: Venkataraman ties Pritchard for 2nd place in the All time goalscoring charts, just one behind this season’s prolific D’Andrea who has 12.
Team Bar Showing: 7 out of 15 (47%)
Team Bar Night: 4.5 out of 5. Given the new math, the score is high given the initial breadth followed by the additional several hours depth
Team (No new profiles this week): Andrew Faherty (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Olle Roberts (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Paul Vale (DF), Randall Klitz (DF), John Hodges, Tom Pattinson, Ugo Solinas, Hakan Nizam, Manohar Venkataraman, Todd Baron, Rich Enticott, Erik Volper