Although far in distance, the Verrazano sports complex was fortunately easy to get to on the highways from Manhattan. Damage from St. Patrick’s day on Saturday was virtually nonexistent, a testament to the age of the squad. With the Legends managing to bring in Carducci in goal in place of the recovering Miller it was a decent strength squad that was ready to go. The inevitable Morales no show was more than offset by the appearance of Hahn, giving the Legends 3 substitutes to the opposition’s 1. However the goal to wear the Rovers down was negated by the conditions, the bobbly grass pitch more than matched challenge wise by the cross field wind. The Legends were getting the ball in the final third but a combination of the conditions and rusty skills meant they had a hard time getting a decent shot off. The closest opportunity they had was when Frazier was bundled over next to the keeper for a strong penalty shout that was casually ignored by the referee.
Early on both veteran teams with strong English contingents quickly recognized the referee was easily suggestible, setting the tone for a game long moanathon. Some took the Over 38 middle table Leicester vs Everton mediocrity a bit too seriously, and there was always Frazier bouncing around like a Tasmanian Devil to raise the temperature above tepid. Despite his shenanigans things never seriously looked like getting out of hand, with these old franchises having players who knew each other going back to 2000. Although there was more action in the complaining to the referee than with the ball there was still the odd chance. Carducci made an astonishing save off a free kick from a sheepish Venkataraman handball at the edge of the box, soon following it up with another. The Barnstonworth striker danced all the way through several tackles and although forced wide by Carducci managed to miss an open goal having done all the hard work.
At half time the Legends were hopeful as the Rovers were clearly tiring with just a single substitute. Space was starting to open and the Legends were hungry. Slowly they turned the screw and started to dominate possession in the final third, but with few clearcut chances. Frazier had a tight angle but blasted over, and a few silly fouls let the Rovers off the hook deep in their own half. The press was starting to have its effect, and near the end Casanova was able to intercept a ball, float to his left and launch a shot that completely eluded the keeper only to bounce off the bar. Mckeown was open for the rebound but snatched at the shot to smash it over, much to the despair of the team. Although it felt like the Legends would eventually break through against the injured and shorthanded Barnstonworth they ran out of time.
It was a fun, competitive game with everything except goals and a bar by the side of the pitch so the teams could commiserate afterwards.
Competition: Barnstonworth Rovers Old Boys, League Opposition
Location: Verrazano Sports Complex back grass field, Brooklyn
Conditions: Chilly and windy
Result: 0:0 HT: 0-0
Goals: 0-0: N/A
Yellow Cards: As the sun rises in the east, the tedious inevitability of another Frazier booking. Getting this phlegmatic referee to finally lose it and issue a booking would be a feat for anyone else, but for Frazier it was par for the course. His amiable alter ego at the bar complete belies the Red Mist persona on the field, and one just hopes the Legends aren’t unwillingly dragged into an unnecessary conflagration one day after yet another late tackle.
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Santiago Morales inevitably no showed via the evite less than an hour before the game.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Fortunately Hahn showed up, not only lessening the impact of the Morales no show but at a position of need.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: As the other side were struggling with a single substitute the 3 legends on the sideline helped the team finish the game with nothing more than the usual old man aches and pains.
Old Man of the Match: Belizan could win this award weekly, with his combination of elite closing speed (at the Over 38 level) along with positional nous. Harrison came in and provided some English steel in the tackle, much to the constant grumbling of the opposition. Although the dodgy pitch negated some of his skillful runs his physicality and passing still made a difference. Carducci pulled off a truly jaw dropping save in the first half off a free kick, and did well to keep the Legends in the game. However in recognition of his constant runs up and down the field and the horror of some team members when he had to be briefly substituted, Teesdale wins OMoM (a few post game pints to press the case may make this one of the more controversial weekly picks).
Old Man of the Bar: N/A
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.
Statistic of the week: Frazier should be listed here as long as he continues his booking streak, now at a barely fathomable 10 bookings in 9 consecutive games to start a career. In the annals of sports records that will never be broken (or should be broken), this will surely be up there with the Cal Ripken streak. Belizan pulls into a tie with Resnik for the all time defensive shutout lead at 24, and Venkataraman pulls ahead of Resnik for the all time caps lead at 86. That’ll teach him to get hungover.
Team Bar Showing: 3 out of 14 (21%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. Compared to the new normal, this was a solid deep outing if lacking breadth. It was especially surprising considering St Patrick’s day the day before and missing a Tier 1 member, however Teesdale slid right in, a one man advertisement for self driving cars. On reflection, next time the team will go to a less touristy place given the size of the bill at the establishment.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mike Carducci (GK), Luciano Belizan (DF), Willian D’Andrea, Steve Roberts (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Simon Mckeown, Simon Harrison, Tom Pattinson, John Hodges, Tim Frazier, Pete Hahn (DF), Manuel Casanova, Steve Teesdale (DF), Drew Faherty (DF)