Finally the Legends had managed to gather a decent sized squad after scrambling to gather enough players for the previous few weeks. The day turned out to be far nicer than expected and the journey wasn’t particularly arduous. Initial optimism soon waned as shockingly the parks department had screwed up, meaning kickoff was increasingly and rapidly delayed. To no surprise the referees in the game before had a sloth-like lack of urgency which meant the game kicked off fully an hour late. Naturally there was concern from the married folks regarding the extra hour but the squad looked large enough to be able to handle a few defections, but none of it was optimal preparation.
The game started cautiously with probing by both sides on the large pitch. What looked like a potentially absorbing match however was irretrievably changed within 15 minutes. After Belizan overran a ball in the attacking end a vicious push long after the end of play sent him head long into a fence. There was immediate retaliation as both players started wrestling with each other, but fortunately cooler heads prevailed on both sides. Unfortunately this did not extend to the referee who made the bewildering decision to merely book the instigator but send Belizan off for the wrestling that both players were a part of. Naturally not only was the entire game changed, but the prospect of playing a solid Shamrock side on a big pitch for almost an entire game was going to be all uphill. The task was made even harder when a mistake on a routine free kick allowed the Shamrock player to head in from point blank range.
|Solinas & the Legends wondered what would have to happen before they got a free kick, meanwhile legions of CPR were being booked for seemingly getting kicked from behind
The Queens based team would already be a difficult enough opponent without the increasingly odd decisions by the referee. The Legends received an additional 3 bookings in the first half, most of them appeared to be as a result of getting incessantly fouled. As Shamrock perceived that physical contact was not going to be called the game got rougher, much to the detriment of the flow of the game. Solinas in particular was getting constantly mugged as a result of blowing past players but barely a whistle was blown, much to CPR’s consternation. At half time the Legends were still stewing about the one sided nature of the officiating, but tried to make what adjustments they could knowing they needed to avoid defeat. Early in the second half the Legends broke through, a long run by Vale driving the ball along the ground where Mckeown took advantage of a defensive lapse to nip and score the equalizer. Indeed CPR had the upper hand for a while, but the toll of all the running even with substitutes was too much. A second goal for Shamrock was a result of a second mistake at the back, gifts that the Legends simply could not afford to provide. Shamrock did score the only mistake free goal of the game, a fine strike from outside the box off the post, but the Legends could not turn scrambles in the box into genuine chances.
The tragedy of the game was that despite being a physical side Shamrock were well organized and had some talented players, and the cheap shots and dirty play by some of their numbers was beneath them. What could have been an absorbing and tight game was ruined by a combination of a dirty play and an overwhelmed referee making a poor choice. CPR will have to regroup and make sure they get back to winning ways next week.
Competition: Shamrocks, League Opposition
Location: St. Michael’s Playground, Queens
Conditions: Glorious spring day
Fans: 1, Mrs Telly
Goals: 1-1: Mckeown Assist Vale
Yellow Cards: Pattinson, Telly Vamvouris and Steve Roberts all received their first bookings of the season. In fact, for Pattinson & Telly it was their first yellow cards EVER for the Legends. All in the first half. Curious.
Red Cards: As Belizan overran the ball past the touch line and towards the cement & fence the thuggish Shamrocks player gave him a dangerous cynical shove, narrowly averting what could have been a serious injury. The red mist fell, and both players proceeded into headlocks. What followed was the most bizarre of refereeing decisions, merely booking the instigator while sending off Belizan. Whatever action was going to be taken it should have been even at the least. Sending off arguably the Legends best player after 15 minutes created a mountain that the Legends couldn’t scale. And was merely the most egregious of many curious refereeing decisions during the game.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Nizam saw the large squad assembled and at the last moment decided he was not needed.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Vale suffered a thigh strain, and fortunately Belizan did not sustain any serious injuries after the shove into the fence.
Old Man of the Match: Tier One wasn’t really in the mood to discuss Old Man of the Match. One player it definitely wasn’t was Jordan Spieth.
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: The sheer volume of bookings compared to a normal game speak for themselves, in comparison with the number of bookings Shamrock received (one). Overall goal differential is now the worst in Legends history after the last string of games. Although the Legends consistently manage to score (streak now at 20), one goal has not proved to be enough.
Team Bar Showing: Tier 1 out of 17 (17%)
Team Bar Night: 2.5 out of 5. Tier 1 managed to rescue what looked like a bare minimum visit after Jordan Spieth’s quadruple bogie gave them a second wind.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Drew Faherty (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Ollie Roberts (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Jan Carlson (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Paulo ‘Grigio’ Vale (DF), Tony Vamvouris, Tom Pattinson, Ugo Solinas, John Hodges, Simon Mckeown, Manohar Venkataraman, Willian D’Andrea