On a cold and chilly Sunday morning under the bridge the Legends numbers had arrived but their goalie had not. With Miller out, Carducci had stepped in only to suffer his own old man ailment playing for the Whites the night before. This meant El Presidente Faherty had to do a quick costume change from Photojournalist to goalkeeper. Fortunately, the opposition were in dire straits of their own, with seven ready and the other four late arrivals changing with no sense of urgency. The late arriving referee was keen to get the game started and so blew the whistle while Gjoa had only eight on the field. With many years of experience the Legends knew that they had precious minutes to make their numerical supremacy count, especially against a team that matched up very well against them. Indeed, going immediately on the offensive they were able to take advantage. With players flooding the final third, a speculative ball from Pattinson drifted past everyone to find Hodges loitering at the far post where he converted the easiest of headers.
|With very little notice Faherty made the change with a match winning performance in goal|
Eventually the final couple of Gjoa players loped onto the field and right away they exerted pressure while forcing the Legends to cough up the ball again and again. The game plan for the Legends had been to keep things close and then take advantage of the counter later in the game as Gjoa traditionally sent everyone forward at the expense of their midfield and defence. However, given the early lead Gjoa had quickly changed to a hyper aggressive strategy that was working. The flipside to that is that they left themselves horribly exposed on the counter attack, and with CPR outracing the languid Gjoa midfielders it was Denari’s first career assist to provide Rainares with his first career goal.
The Legends weren’t exactly in command, but their defence was doing what was necessary before the referee felt the need to influence the proceedings with a laughably egregious penalty call. Oli Roberts had blasted the ball clear from the penalty area but somehow the referee had deemed his follow through as too high and pointed to the spot. The quality of the Legends entreaties were more bemusement than anger as to how a paid referee could possibly make such an obvious mistake. The bald Gjoa midfielder took the penalty as their best player and made no mistake past the diving Faherty.
With the game unfairly tightened Gjoa used their second wind to launch an onslaught that had the Legends exerting a break but don’t bend defence ably backed up by Faherty. One save in particular brought out groans from Gjoa and fervent cheers, as the striker trapped the cross 3 yards out but Faherty spritely launched himself across to block the shot wide. Meanwhile the Legends were able to continually take advantage on the counter, with Mckeown superbly placing a ball up into the side netting from distance and then crossing the ball to an open Rainares who buried the ball for his second. The Legends should have had another but this time the referee inexplicably ignored a handball in the Gjoa penalty box, one of many odd decisions that would enrage both sides over the game.
At 4-1 up there was no celebration for the Legends as they knew that Gjoa had the ability to score 3 goals, even if they would have to do so with no substitutes. A few of the Legends themselves were starting to succumb to some ailments as the game had started to become rougher, with the referee taking a laissez-faire approach to calling fouls and Gjoa taking out their frustration on the Legends. The second half consisted of Gjoa pressing in the final third while the Legends tried to spring on the counter attack. Faherty was continuing to roll back the pounds and years with save after save, while the defence was stoutly making things hard for the opposition. Gjoa were able to claw one back at the near post and looked to have an opportunity to have another penalty as Faherty clattered through a Gjoa striker, but while everyone stood around waiting for the penalty the referee pulled out his magic eight ball and decided the result of the play was a corner. After fluffing a few counter attacks the Legends finally converted one with high defensive pressure allowing Mckeown to pull defenders towards him before laying the ball off for Rosenbloom who made no mistake.
The Legends will enjoy this victory as next week promises to be far less enjoyable as they take on the NY Greeks, leading the Over 30’s division.
Competition: SC Gjoa, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #73, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Very chilly windy morning
Result: 5:2 HT: 4-1
Goals: 1-0: Hodges Assist Pattinson
2-0: Rainares assist Denari
3-1: Mckeown Assist D’Andrea
4-1: Rainares assist Mckeown
5-2: Rosenbloom assist Mckeown
Yellow Cards: The Randomizer Referee booked players based on whims and fouls that were not even given at other times. Rosenbloom received a booking after being repeatedly fouled with no repercussions, Teesdale got one for a collision of bodies and Venkataraman received one while walking away after responding to the whiny irish crybaby.
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Perhaps by the end of the season the Mike D will be renamed the Santiago Morales as yet another no show, lacking of course the late night fun and shenanigans of Mike D. Carducci had an injury suffered playing for the Whites the night before, a perfectly acceptable reason for the late no show and also leading to El Presidente’s heroics.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Rosenbloom showed up and added some much needed legs and physicality on the outside, chipping in with a goal.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Several due partly to the physicality being allowed by randomizer ref. Hahn went out with sore ski legs late in the first half and Rainares went out with hopefully a short lived groin strain. Belizan’s collision with Resnik required him to take a few minutes to resuscitate his manhood and Teesdale took a battering in the box but kept on ticking. The Legends will absolutely need them playing Over 30 league leaders NY Greeks next week.
Old Man of the Match: For the first time in quite awhile the OMoM was fairly clear right after the game. El Presidente Faherty was pressed into service in goal at short notice and proved to be more than just a replacement player, with his point blank save in the first half in particularly revealing a deceptive level of agility. Rainares and Mckeown were honorary mentions for providing some long needed attacking nous.
Old Man of the Bar: N/A
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): Edmunds could be considered an El Presidente having played for the Old Boys on the adjacent field.
Statistic of the week: Pattinson is now tied for second all time with assists at 12.
Team Bar Showing: 3 out of 15 (20%)
Team Bar Night: 2.5 out of 5. Only Tier 1 made it back to the bar, meeting up with Andy Jones and Mark Edmunds for a couple. Some Masters golf was watched, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Team (No new profiles this week): Drew Faherty (GK), Luciano Belizan (DF), Oliver Roberts (DF), Willian D’Andrea, Steve Roberts (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Simon Mckeown, Tom Pattinson, John Hodges, Pete Hahn (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Eduardo Rainares, Bevan Rosenbloom, Franco Denari, Mark Resnik (DF)