With the inaugural Over 35 division limited to only 6 teams there is a fair amount of repetition in the scheduling. So it was that the Legends were once again featuring a Banatul team that 11 men had comprehensively beaten two weeks previously. The largest squad of the season did not augur well for Banatul. However, for some reason the Legends started the game sluggishly and Banatul were able to keep possession and take advantage of unnecessary sloppiness by CPR. While the defence was dangerously composed with the ball in trying to pass it out from the back, the attacking midfield and forwards were playing hot potato with the ball and losing possession. The extra players on the sidelines also caused uncharacteristic foolishness during the substitutes with 12 men on the field for about a minute, not that the referee was paying any real attention.
|The incorrect offside calls just never stopped
Fortunately, Banatul were able to count a +1 on their behalf with a refereeing performance for the ages. In an Over 35 league the bar is already set low for refereeing, but at the least you would expect the officials to know the basic minimum rules that most people learn in single digits, such as what constitutes offside. Hint: When you pass the ball backwards to an open man and they score, its not offside regardless of the fact that no defender is close to them since the striker outran them all. After Baron opened to scoring with a surging run from midfield, a great run and cross by Vale to an open Casanova was mystifyingly disallowed for Offside despite the fact that Vale was crossing the ball back from the byline. A half time enquiry confirmed the fact that not only did the referee not understand the offside rule but had no intention of discussing it. To add insult to injury, his clear thick skin resulted in numerous bookings for verbal backtalk yet no bookings for elbows thrown or tackles from behind.
This was a game that abysmal officiating could well have caused physical altercations, but fortunately cooler older heads on both sides helped tamp down the testosterone. After Banatul had a fortunate equalizer a trademark long range shot from Pattinson restored the lead. Casanova soon added two opportunistic goals taking advantage of defensive mistakes, exacerbating the poor offside decision in the first half as it would have been his first CPR hattrick in 15 seasons playing for CPR. With Banatul playing a high line with a slow defence, they gambled on the fact that the referee would bail them out with continuously awful offsides calls. Indeed, the performance was so bad that usually phlegmatic characters like Chris Williams were screaming in rage.
|Lesson #1: This is a ball. Learn this before next season!
In the end, the referee’s performance(?!) was the only thing noteworthy about an otherwise forgettable 4-1 win. Although 4th out of 6th for the season may seem disappointing, the Legends were actually only 3 points out of the runners up spot with comparable goal difference, so a good bounce here or there would have been enough for them to jump the pack. With the squad vastly improved from that of Fall, there is much promise for next season.
Competition: Banatul, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Another rapidly heat increasing 8am game
Result: 4-1 (1-0 at H/T). Not counting 2 perfectly good disallowed goals and numerous other legal one on ones called back because the paid official didn’t understand the offside rule
Goals: 1-0: Baron
2-1: Pattinson, Assist Casanova
3-1: Casanova, Assist Pattinson
Yellow Cards: Ridiculously thin skinned referee brandished more bookings in the game than the rest of the season’s games put together. D’Andrea, Casanova, Resnik, Roberts, Williams
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Tony Vamvouris went down late with a hamstring injury but no other issues to report
Old Man of the Match: Casanova gets an honorary mention with two opportunistic goals, but no show to the bar was the defining trigger.
Old Man of the Bar: There were a couple of Tier 1 potentials, but nobody won it outright
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Statistic of the week: It should have been Casanova’s first hattrick for CPR in 15 seasons. Thanks Ref. Use your money for the game to buy a rulebook.
Team Bar Showing: 7 out of 16 (44%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. Solid day at the pub, commiserating with the Old Boyz regarding referee buffoonery. After a few hours continued festivities back on the UWS.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Andrew Faherty (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Mark Resnik (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Randall Klitz (DF), Paul Vale, Tony Vamvouris, Tom Pattinson, John Hodges, Ugo Solinas, Todd Baron, Manohar Venkataraman, Willan D’andrea, Manuel Casanova, Chris Williams
|Don’t worry Tony, the Ref would never call this a foul