With a surprisingly easy commute despite the marathon, most of the Legends were warmed up and ready to go with more than enough time to spare. Celtic were ready to go too, the problem was a lack of a referee. The teams huddled and had a reluctant Celtic volunteer, but resolved to ask the referee of the parallel game to see if he would be interested in refereeing. It turned out that he was actually the assigned referee, so the game started about 20 minutes late but thankfully with an actual referee. The Legends were clearly reminded that they needed to communicate more and be more physical with 50-50 challenges, and indeed they started decently. However, in what was to be the theme of the day an errant pass at the back presented Celtic with a gilt-edged opportunity which they snapped up with glee. Soon after another mistake at the back allowed a free header into an empty net. The Legends attempted to get back into the game with Sawyer taking on multiple opponents before hammering the ball inside the side netting to pull one back. Once again Celtic extended the lead, this time with a well-executed counter. The Legends were able to quickly pull one back as Azzo slipped Sawyer in for a clinical finish. Not content with only 2 first half critical defensive mistakes, the Legends added a third one with a juggle of a corner presenting the ball inside the 6-yard box for an easy slam home.
|Sawyer celebrates his second goal next to a gleeful Casanova
It was a mutinous, disgruntled CPR at half time, angry at their self-immolation. Cauterization was needed on the wounds as Frazier replaced Martins in goal and the team was addressed in no uncertain terms to get their heads focused and their energy levels up. Indeed, the Legends did come out fiery and pressing and were able to immediately get the ball into the final third. Unfortunately either their final ball was sloppy or Celtic were able to get a block in to a crucial shot or pass. A little bit of luck was also lacking as balls ran across the 6 yard box or deflected enough to not score. Meanwhile as the game opened up, the Celtics dangerous counterattack was always a threat, especially when the Legends went to 3 at the back. They were able to convert two more times with excellent counterattacking execution, indeed a lesson to the Legends who all too often made the wrong choice.
Clearly one of the more disappointing losses of the season, and one that will have consequences going forward. With one more game left in the Fall and still heavily in the playoff hunt, the Legends will try to salvage some points going into the break.
Competition: Manhattan Celtic, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island Field #91, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Decently cool morning
Fans: 4 (Jones brood + young Stower)
Result: 2:6 HT: 2-4
Goals: 1-2: Sawyer
2-3: Sawyer Assist Azzo
Yellow Cards: Oli Roberts returned with a nice robust challenge that drew a booking
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Hahn was a late addition to the squad, always helpful with his running.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: With several available subs there was more than enough switching to keep people injury free.
Old Man of the Match: This result was far more discouraging than the previous week. The game felt like it was there to be won, but multiple self-induced errors resulting in goals were too much to overcome. Although there was a good group at the pub, there was no discussion of an old man of the match.
Old Man of the Bar: Tier 1 with an honorary mention, turning back the clock with a long multiple NFL game session.
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None (both Edmunds and Rigby dishonorable mentions for not following through).
Statistic of the week: Venkataraman now has a century of Legends to add to a 116 Metroboys caps and 69 Old Boys caps. The next round numbers up are 300 CPR caps for Venkataraman, with Resnik hovering close at 96 Legends caps and 290 overall CPR. Meanwhile the Legends have lost 4 consecutive games while shipping 24 goals and scoring 5. Steps need to be taken to shore up the porous defence, and will be taken.
Team Bar Showing: 8 out of 17 (47%)
Team Bar Night: 4.5 out of 5. About as close to a top pub appearance as can be expected nowadays. Half the team turned up and most stayed for quite a while, despite no reinforcements from other teams.
Team (No new profiles this week): Rich Martins (GK), Steve Roberts (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Gavin Moore (DF), Danny Azzo (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Neil Stower (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Enrico Tomassoli, Mark Resnik (DF), David Sawyer, Manuel Casanova, Tom Pattinson, Tim Frazier (MF/GK), Andy Jones (DF), Oli Roberts (DF), Drew Faherty