Last year SC Gjoa were the runaway champions, but their performances against the Legends were schizophrenic. They are far stronger at home with access to local talent than they are when travelling, and such was the case when they only had 8 ready to play at game time. Although the referee decided to start the game on time, he had already laid down a ‘marker’ by coming over to the Legends, lecturing them about talking back and in particular giving the Vamvouri a tongue lashing. Not a particularly impressive start to treat a bunch of middle aged men like children, but it was to be only the beginning.
Regarding the game, the Legends were only able to squeeze in a single goal with their numerical superiority, Mckeown again cross/shotting it to the far post. There were a couple of other half chances but nothing to trouble the stand in keeper, although D’Andrea will wonder how on earth he didn’t bury the ball from 4 feet out. The short grass field was having its expected effect on control, but in this particular game it was helping Gjoa defend especially when they got to full strength at 20 minutes. They also happened to be first to every ball, a curious sluggishness affecting most of the Legends. Their classy #11 centerback was controlling a very well drilled defensive high line that was repeatedly tripping up the Legends.
|Gjoa huffed & puffed, but couldn’t break in against the stalwart Legends defence (and woodwork)|
Half time blew at 42 minutes, with the referee’s bluster justifying the shorting not matched by the evidence of the Legends sideline clock. A vigorous sideline discussion prepped the Legends for better things in the second half, especially with a good rotation of players & Subah adding his physicality up front. Gjoa were showing why they were defending champions with their #11 particularly unlucky to be robbed by the woodwork on two thundering free kicks. Telly Vamvouris in goal was also having an assertive game, covering his box and making his usual athletic saves. Unfortunately an absorbingly tight game started descending into farce as the referee inserted himself fully into the game, making increasingly ridiculous calls. On a hard fought one on one with the defender blocking Subah individually the referee inexplicably called Subah for the foul when either the play should have been allowed to go or the defender should have been called, potentially resulting in a booking/sending off given his last man position. As both teams started to get riled at the referee he stopped play to lecture both captains. On the bright side the physical tension was defused as both sides commiserated with each other on having to put up with this bullying clown. A clinching goal was also denied by the referee calling offside from the halfway line on a ball going backwards to the charging Mckeown. Somehow the game continued and try as they might to knock the door down, a combination of bad finishing and heroic last ditch defending saw the Legends through to an important victory over a very good team.
Yes, the Legends initially played a short handed side and couldn’t take advantage of other chances. Yet in previous years they might well have given up a lead, especially with a referee whose jawdropping incompetence could well have cost them the game with numerous dangerous free kicks conceded. Regardless, its on to the next one.
|Yes referee, every one game to the Over 36 game to watch you show what a big man you are|
Competition: SC Gjoa, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #80, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Nice warm day but a short bumpy grass field.
Fans: 10-12 (Season High): The Simic family as well as 7-8 of the Old Boyz who came over after their game & Bill Rigby
Goals: 1-0: Mckeown Assist Nizam
Yellow Cards: Apparently Mckeown picked up a booking while the mini dictator referee decided to halt the game for several minutes after both sides increasingly protested his ridiculous decisions
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None, although it was very nice of the Simic family to make it over for the game and Ante to play timekeeper
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: With plenty of playing time to go around, no injuries to speak of
Old Man of the Match: An outstanding performance by the defence to keep the free scoring Gjoa at bay, admittedly with some help from the woodwork. A tight vote saw Telly Vamvouris narrowly beat out Pete Hahn for OMoM
Old Man of the Bar: After a healthy 6+ hour session at Mad River it was another few hours at the Dead Poet for Venkataraman and On Call listee Bill Rigby.
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 while Mckeown adds to his scoring prowess from midfield, tied with Steve Pritchard for starting their careers with goals in consecutive games.
Team Bar Showing: 10 out of 17 (59%)
Team Bar Night: 4 out of 5. A good 6+ hour session at the first bar with good initial depth, followed by appearances by some Old Boyz, Reds/Reserves & women’s whites. The second bar was just a bonus
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Ollie Roberts (DF), Mark Resnik (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Andrew Faherty (DF, DNP), Paul Vale, Simon Mckeown, Tony Vamvouris, Tom Pattinson, Manohar Venkataraman, Willan D’andrea, Chris Williams, Rob Egan, Ernest Subah, Hakan Nizam