The Legends were able to cobble together 14 players for the evening kickoff, a veritable luxurious banquet compared to the paucity of the previous games. Although a few of those members were walking wounded the multiple weeks off to follow was an enticement, and the Legends would also benefit by finally having their top central defending pair of O. Roberts & Belizan available. The Legends had plenty of time to warm up because although Herbert Lehman school appeared to be deep in the wilderness of the Bronx it took most people far less time than anticipated to arrive thanks to the desultory Sunday evening traffic.
Now in their second year, Doxa’s results had shown an uptick. Although they only had one win they had four draws and showed the capacity to score goals. However it was apparently almost immediately that in some areas the Legends would have an athletic advantage as Teesdale motored past his outside defender and sent an inviting ball across the goal, but Tony Vamvouris’s shot was smothered brilliantly by the keeper. The moment appeared pivotal as the Legends were unable to get clear cut chances after this, the field acting like the equivalent of high altitude with its marginal but significant increase in speed. Shots were mistimed, passes were either over or under hit as CPR tried to come to terms with the surface. Doxa looked to have taken the lead when a corner was headed in, but the referee waived the goal off due to an infraction on Telly Vamvouris. Had the opposition been more subtle about impeding the goalie they may have gotten away with it, but yelling to block the goalie in clear earshot of the referee was not the way to go about it.
The Legends appeared remarkably sanguine at half time despite the game being scoreless. There was an acknowledgement as a veteran team that although they were better they would still need to work hard, but that a goal would come. In the meantime the need to be careful at the back was reiterated given the unfamiliar playing surface. The second half almost immediately opened up which benefited the Legends. Unlike the first half they were able to start actually getting shots at goal, albeit most of them tame and straight at the keeper. The Doxa back line showed some confusion and in at least a couple of cases an unfamiliarity with the offside rule, and although the Legends were unable to take advantage these were encouraging signs. Finally the deadlock was broken as D’Andrea glided past a couple of players to drive the ball across the goal for a simple tap in at the far post. With Doxa increasingly disjointed and starting to turn on each other the Legends increased the pressure and were able to get a deserved second goal, one of the best team goals of the season seeing multiple players have significant touches before Tony Vamvouris finally made a quick pass for Swinkels to bury. Doxa still possessed an element of danger at the front but Belizan and Ollie Roberts were equal to everything, speed and brawn in a perfect team combination.
Back in playoff position if the Legends can manage one more win against Hoboken it will complete a remarkable Fall which showed them at their resolute best, grinding out important wins despite averaging their lowest attendance ever.
Competition: Doxa FC Legends, League Opposition
Location: Herbert Lehman HS, Bronx
Conditions: Very chilly and windy evening
Goals: 1-0: Casanova Assist D’Andrea
2-0: Swinkels Assist Tony Vamvouris
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Edmunds needed stitches for the Old Boys game so decided to go drinking at the Rangers game rather than play
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Ronnie Swinkels was a welcome debutant from the Orange after their unfortunate forfeit
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Most people felt rather sore after the game due to the deceptively hard ground, but no significant injuries.
Old Man of the Match: The ability to play 90 minutes box to box is a singular rarity for the Legends, and having done this a couple of times now Accordino gets his first ever OMoM and his first CPR MoM since the salad days of the Metroboyz. It’s a shame he couldn’t put the icing on the cake when put straight through, but at this rate the goals should come. D’Andrea was an honorary mention, a superb run for the key first assist of the game.
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: Only the second shutout this season for the Legends, with D’Andrea increasing his all time assist lead to now have 14 assists.
Team Bar Showing: 6 out of 14 (43%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. A decent crew given it was 9pm at night before we got to the bar.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Pete Hahn (DF), Mark Resnik (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Steve Teesdale, Ollie Roberts (DF), John Hodges, Tony Vamvouris, Tom Accordino, Manohar Venkataraman, Drew Faherty (DF), Ronnie Swinkels, Manuel Casanova, Willian D’Andrea