The week started in a fortunate manner as Harrison pointed out a timing discrepancy that would have resulted in a disastrous forfeit as the Evite showed a start time of noon, while the league correctly showed kickoff as 11. Fortunately the Friday update did not hurt the Legends as much as the Old Boyz who know could now only utilize Miller in goal for a half. With a strong side the Legends could be fairly confident against Banatul, although they had lost to them for the first time in the disastrous 2017 spring. One look at the Banatul team relaxed the Legends as they only had 8 to start, most of them looking like the usual suspects. What was more a cause for concern was the referee, who although seemingly bright and perky put in one of the worst performances ever seen by the Legends. Manager Venkataraman tried to tactfully bring up the issue of physical play which the referee blithely brushed off as the reason she was there.
Once the game started a couple of things were clear. The first was that this Banatul team was very much in the mold of the ones the Legends traditionally spanked. The second was that the referee’s philosophy was that unless someone was bleeding, play would go on. Here the Legends were fortunate to have the hulking presence of Harrison to provide much needed brawn in the center, especially as they were experimenting with a 4-2-3-1 to try and inject more attackers in the final third. Despite the expected trepidation given the team’s questionable football IQ the results were fairly positive. There were naturally occasions where the front 3 didn’t realize they should be staying in Banatul’s half leading to a ridiculous occurrence were all 11 Legends were back in the area for a free kick. Sometimes the lack of width as players chased the ball was also an issue, but for the most part the result was as planned for as more CPR bodies attacked. The early goal in fact was caused by the formation as an overload between Casanova and Hahn resulted in a lovely deep cross that Pattinson converted, making a difficult shot appear deceptively easy. With constant pressure the Legends soon created another opportunity as a foul in the box was finally called. Despite normally being cold as ice, D’Andrea second guessed himself and the Banatul goalie made a nice save, pushing the ball wide for a goalie. D’Andrea made up for the uncharacteristic mistake by bundling home a second soon after.
Although Banatul now had substitutes, it still looked like the Legends had extra men on the field. The half time appearance of Stower and Subah were indeed reinforcements that the Legends didn’t need, despite Pattinson’s on again off again calf injury and groin strain. The second half was one nonstop assault on the Banatul goal, with the goalie putting in a man of the match performance for them. Despite his heroics there was no way to contain the flood as D’Andrea scored with a remarkable dribbling performance that had the sideline laughing at the audacity of his twinkle toes. Soon after Bradley was rewarded with his ferocious defensive hounding by stealing the ball and laying it on a platter for D’Andrea to complete his hattrick. Wanting to get in on the action, Harrison decided to stroll through Banatul from the half way line to score. At this point the referee decided that 35 minutes was enough and called the game, a self invented mercy rule despite the fact that Frazier had been unfairly sent off resulting in Banatul having an extra man. The Legends are now 4th based purely on goal difference, something they could have easily remedied in the remaining 10 minutes had the rule of law been applied instead of her own interpretation.
It was nice for the Legends to have a laugher, and they look forward to playing this Banatul team again. Hopefully it will be a long long time before seeing this referee again.
Competition: Banatul, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #91,Randall’s Island
Conditions: Pleasant Fall morning
Fans: 4 (Clarita, Caroline, Mr. Frazier, Manohar managing)
Result: 5:0 HT: 2-0
Goals: 1-0: Pattinson Assist Hahn
4-0: D’Andrea Assist Bradley
Yellow Cards: The irony of Frazier finally getting sent off when he least deserved it. The petty vendetta that the referee decided to have against Frazier based on some initial chat was as embarrassing as it was obvious. After booking him for simulation after an obvious foul that should have been a penalty, Frazier showed remarkable restraint as Banatul realized they could do anything to him and not get called. The final booking and sending off occurred when a Banatul player slapped Frazier, who instead of retaliating called attention to the fact only to be penalized for it. One of the most embarrassing refereeing displays ever seen by the Legends, and given the understand mediocrity of Over 38’s play/officiating that is a remarkable statement.
Red Cards: Frazier’s inevitable sending off was the least deserved of his performances. As an example of this referee’s atrociousness, the Legends have had 8 players sent off in 1409 total games. This referee has sent off 2 players in 2 games. Ball don’t lie.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Fortunately none.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Ernest Subah did show up along with Stower, but given the salivating of the subs to get on the score sheet there was no chance of him making an appearance. Besides, throwing Subah on against the ancient Banatul back line would have constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Venkataraman showed up to manage despite 9 stitches in his hand and bruised ribs caused by some punk’s criminal assault while on a Citibike. Meanwhile Pattinson took himself on and on depending whether his groin or calf were bothering him.
Old Man of the Match: A surprisingly difficult decision given that when a player scores a hattrick the award is almost inevitable. However Harrison’s introduction of much needed steel in the defensive midfield helped lock down Banatul’s attack, and he culminated an assured performance with an almost casually arrogant stroll through the defence and calm finish. However in the end, despite the missed penalty it was D’andrea who took the award again, as much for his second goal’s Ricky Villa stroll through several Banatul defenders and goalie before a cheeky finish into the side netting.
Old Man of the Bar: N/A
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None, although Manohar Venkataraman almost qualifies with going to the game with no intention to play but making it to the bar as well.
Statistic of the week: D’Andrea pushes the all-time and season goal lead further with his hat-trick, while Frazier now remarkably has more bookings than games played.
Team Bar Showing: 2 out of 15 (13%)
Team Bar Night: 1.5 out of 5. Disappointingly few people made it to the bar, with the marathon partly to blame. Just Frazier and Resnik, with Venkataraman supporting.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mitch Miller (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Tim Frazier, Willian D’Andrea, Steven Teesdale (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Tom Pattinson, John Hodges, Bevan Rosenbloom, Simon Harrison (DF), Charles Bradley, Pete Hahn (DF), Neil Stower, Manuel Casanova