A big part of the run of insipid results for the Legends was the difficulty in rousing a full squad. The optimum game day number had been determined to be 15, but they had managed that number only once in five games including this one. Against a seemingly resurgent Banatul it was only a few last minute entreaties that established the bare minimum 11 with Mazzi altering his plans to come to the rescue. Meanwhile the opposition showed up with a full 16 and ready to play across the vast plains of Field #75, a field that could not be less conducive to trying to preserve energy for 90 minutes.
The team started with a 4-4-1 while waiting for Mazzi to arrive, but fairly quickly discovered that Banatul’s record flattered to deceive as most of their cast of characters remained the same. One of the only teams in the league that made the Legends look positively youthful, they inexplicably chose to play a high line. The referee blew the whistle a few times but given the (relative) speed of Accordino and Teesdale on the outside this seemed a full hardy strategy. Meanwhile just when the Legends looked set with 11, Pattinson pulled his groin and had to move from his string pulling defensive midfielder position to forward, gamely wandering around as much as he could. There was good news too for the Legends though as Teesdale’s superb strike off the underside of the crossbar from a corner gave the Legends a priceless lead.
At half time it was clear the Legends had a real shot at winning, especially since a couple of years previously they had done just that with only 11 players. It was not going to be a cake walk on the large field however as Banatul were showing good attacking prowess with through balls. To counter this the Legends were urged to fall back deeper, leaving less space for the through balls and increasing the congesting within the middle of the pitch. Banatul started launching long balls from the back which CPR were quite comfortable in clearing. Although the opposition were getting their fair share of chances there were plenty of chances opening up for CPR as well on the counter attack. Unfortunately it looked like the rearguard would be all for naught as Teesdale looked to go from hero to villain with contact in the box to a Banatul defender who gleefully went down like he’d been shot. Although it looked like a very soft penalty, in this league it was too close for comfort. The first crumb of encouragement for the Legends was the distinct reluctance of any Banatul player to step up to take the penalty. When one finally did, his weak effort was smothered by Vamvouris and the follow up panicked way over the bar.
The air distinctly ebbed out of Banatul while the Legends were given a new lease of life. The Banatul goalie had to rush out to narrowly beat Teesdale to a one on one and Accordino missed a sitter, but finally the Legends got what they deserved. Another breakaway saw D’Andrea in acres of space with only a single defender to beat. Cutting back and forth while ambling closer to the goal he finally got within shooting range and tucked the ball away as befits the Legends all-time scorer. This turned out to mercifully be the last kick of the game.
|D’Andrea took all the time he wanted, twisting and turning the hapless defender before slotting the ball away
With all signs pointing to a grim outcome the Legends somehow managed a victory to take them into second place and a playoff position with a game in hand. One hopes they can keep the momentum up for the next few games left in the Autumn season.
Competition: Banatul, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island Field #75, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Gorgeous Sunday morning, almost too warm
Result: 2-0, HT: 1-0
Goals: 1-0: Teesdale
2-0: D’Andrea Assist Mazzi
Yellow Cards: An irate Steve Roberts after yet another dirty play by a Banatul player
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Mazzi with a welcome last minute appearance
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Tom Pattinson disobeyed strict orders not to pull anything with a groin pull, but manfully wandered around the pitch and even took a few corners
Old Man of the Match: Strong arguments to be had, but Teesdale narrowly edged out Telly with not just the goal but a bustling performance all over the pitch. In addition to Telly’s penalty save, Accordino gets an honorary mention and would have had a stronger case for OMoM if he hadn’t missed an open goal in the second half.
Old Man of the Bar: Resnik put in a valiant performance on the field and at the bar after getting home at 3am the night before.
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Statistic of the week: Finally the first defensive shutout, one that was thoroughly earned all across the field.
Team Bar Showing: 6 out of 11 (55%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. More than half the team made it to the bar and hung around for a fair bit with CPR Orange.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Drew Faherty (DF), Mark Resnik (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Oliver Roberts (DF), Eduardo Mazzi (DF), Steve Teesdale, Manohar Venkataraman, Tom Pattinson, Tom Accordino, Willian D’Andrea