Much ado about nothing was the motto of the Over 30’s offseason for Central Park Rangers. After contraction, consolidation and merging had all been on the table, the teams ended up exactly where they were at the end of the previous season. Well not exactly, as heavy recruiting from the Over 30’s enabled the Legends to capture several Old Boys and a Gray along with a long time CSL stalwart. As usual at the beginning of the season, there were more than enough players available. For all their increase in roster and depth, a full time keeper still eludes the Legends but for this game they were able to borrow Carducci. A strong team with good numbers would be needed against a perennially strong Manhattan Kickers team playing on a deceptively large pitch.
The Legends started the game brightly with good basic passing movement and bringing numbers into attack. Both Stower and Azzo provided good attacking width from the fullback position allowing the wide midfielders to get closer to goal. CPR were able to take advantage of this attacking spell as Sawyer twisted and turned and took a hard shot that was going way off target only for Conboy to be in the right place at the right time to twist a header over the keeper at the far post. Soon after, Pattinson turned around and walloped a sweet shot that thundered off the cross bar and couldn’t be converted off the rebound. Meanwhile the Kickers were no slouches with some intense pressure of their own, their striker missing an open header at the back post.
It was a very solid first half of the season with not much needed in the way of a half time team talk. Perhaps that was a mistake as the second half was nowhere near as good for the Legends. The slick surface started having more of an effect as players were unable to control the ball, and the Kickers came out strong. A few physical incidents disrupted some of the rhythm of the game with the Legends sideline jeering every decision in true Sunday league style. Gaps started showing up as the game opened up more and more, with the Legends defence having to take several last minute heroic tackles. The frustration of the Kickers started increasing as the Legends tried to keep possession and see out the game. They had a couple of glorious chances near the end to seal the victory but were unable to take advantage, however they did just enough to seal the win.
This was a very encouraging first game and victory against a seasoned playoff opponent, and the influx of quality was clear. The only thing stopping the Legends from a serious playoff push may be the lack of a full time keeper, but hopefully they’ll be able to cobble things together until they are able to recruit one.
Competition: Manhattan Kickers Legends, League Opposition
Location: Bush Terminal Piers Park, Brooklyn
Conditions: Persistent rain, fortunately not quite cold enough to be miserable but no fun
Fans: 1 (young stower)
Result: 1:0 HT: 1-0
Goals: 1-0: Conboy Assist Sawyer
Yellow Cards: Lots of minor incidents based on physicality from both sides and a laissez-faire referee. Belizan took exception to persistent hard fouling and was booked for retaliation while D’Andrea was also booked for remonstration based on fouls. Not to be left out, Frazier made sure to keep his streak alive with a pointless booking in the last minute of the game.
Red Cards: None.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: With 5 substitutes and frequent interchange nobody was on long enough to get injured, and the physical tackles did not result in any injuries.
Old Man of the Match: A battling overall performance with the defence doing very well. There was a choice of new boys but it came down to Stower’s energy and availability down the left for attacking purposes while also putting a body in when needed.
Old Man of the Bar: 6 pm finish in Brooklyn was not conducive to heading back to midtown east. Tier 1 and 2 did make it back for a couple of beers to UWS.
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.
Statistic of the week: Lots of debut points for the new guys between a defensive shutout and an assist from Sawyer
Team Bar Showing: 2 out of 16 (13%)
Team Bar Night: 1 out of 5. Only 2 present at the bar for a couple of beers.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mike Carducci (GK), Tim Frazier, Manohar Venkataraman, Tom Pattinson, Steve Roberts (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Mike Conboy, Danny Azzo (DF), Neil Stower (DF), Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, David Sawyer, Jeremy Phillips, Willian D’Andrea, John Hodges