Two weeks ago the Legends comfortably thrashed perennial whipping boys Banatul but in the first game of the season Hoboken already showed they would be a different proposition this year. A narrow 4-3 win already highlighted some new blood for the Jersey team so the Legends were certainly not taking the game lightly. A more forgiving 11am start time along with an unusually punctual PATH train meant CPR arrived in plenty of time to get to the field. The 10 minute walk along the path had a gorgeous view of the city and certainly helped put the Legends in a good mood. A genial timely referee and an opposition ready to play set the stage for a good ending of the fall season. At least, that’s what the Legends were hoping for. Fairly quickly it was evident that this would be no stroll in the park despite the 6 subs available for duty. Hoboken’s midfield and forwards were exhibiting a pleasing pass and move style that was causing the Legends a little difficulty, although they were short of end product. A speculative shot did make it over Telly to hit the crossbar, but other than that the game started to bog down in the middle of the field. Both sides had difficulty maintaining possession. The initial breakthrough came with some light pressure up top causing a defensive mistake at the back for Hoboken. Mckeown had tried to chip the geographically active keeper initially with no luck but did not make a mistake this time. The Legends were making hay down the wings but were unable to convert those runs into dangerous crosses.
At the half it was clear that CPR were going to have to be alert for the whole game as Hoboken’s passing and midfield activity would not stop. The game started to open up, as did the physical intensity. The referee’s inconsistency regarding physical contact was frustrating both teams, and on one such play Hoboken were able to equalize. Nizam went down outside the penalty area with what appeared to be a head wound, but no whistle was blown. Hoboken continued to play and the winger’s cross at the other end of the field was buried deep in his own net by Ollie Roberts, an ignominious return to the side. Both sides looked capable of scoring the winner, and while Hoboken were continually stymied just outside the CPR penalty box the Legends started creating open chances. Solinas header from a glorious free kick by Simic was agonizingly wide, Mckeown chipped into the side netting and Vale had the ball stolen off his feet by the alert keeper. Meanwhile Hoboken managed to crash the crossbar themselves.
1-1 was probably a fair result, and if Hoboken keeps this squad they will certainly cause problems for other teams in the league.
Competition: Hoboken, League Opposition
Location: Sinatra Park, Hoboken
Conditions: Lovely morning that felt more at home in April as opposed to December
Fans: 1.5 (Erin Teesdale + Dewey)
Goals: 1-0: Mckeown
Yellow Cards: Faherty’s professional foul would probably have gone unremarked upon if the opposing player hadn’t landed on the ball and needed to be carried off. As a result, the referee almost embarrassingly booked El Presidente based upon the complaints of the opposition.
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: Nizam hasn’t had the best of luck on this field, although unlike last time the Legends were unable to maintain momentum and profligate finishing cost them the win.
Old Man of the Match: Not really discussed at the bar in the interminable wait for food/drinks, but Telly Vamvouris certainly had a good shout. The kick save in the second half was particularly exceptional.
Old Man of the Bar: None.
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 gets his 50th cap for the Legends, only the second player after Resnik to reach this milestone.
Team Bar Showing: 6 out of 17 (35%)
Team Bar Night: 2 out of 5. About a third of the team made it to the mediocre BBQ place across the street, and although we did not die of thirst let us say the service was suboptimal (although friendly). As for the food, its been a long time since I’ve left brisket on my plate uneaten.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Pete Hahn (DF), Sergio Tache (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Ollie Roberts (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Mark Dean (DF), John Hodges, Ante Simic, Tony Vamvouris, Ugo Solinas, Paul Vale, Tom Pattinson, Manohar Venkataraman, Drew Faherty (DF), Simon Mckeown, Hakan Nizam