The last time the Legends played the NY Greek Americans the bare 11 went down in ignominious double digits defeat. Although that was the league leading Over 30’s team, the wounds were still bare. Unfortunately revenge was going to be tricky as the first game in 4 months would once again see a side cobbled together. Something old (Tier 1), something relatively new (David Sawyer), something borrowed (Mike Carducci), something blue (sad evertonian Steve Roberts). Given the number of players who privately discussed ailments and playing time with management before the game, the 3 substitutes were going to be sorely needed. Although 3 turned to 2 as Pete Hahn misread the time and only arrived at half time. The conditions were suboptimal, chilly weather and a grass/mud field that felt inordinately large.
Despite merely 2 substitutes to start, the Legends started on the front foot and took advantage of the width offered to make some darting runs down the side. The deceptive grass pitch made keeping possession treacherous, but CPR for the most part were able to do so. The Greeks belied their lower position in the table by holding their own and showing good technical ability. However their lead was courtesy of the referee who swallowed his whistle on a clear offside call. Unusually the Legends complaints were done professionally and without characteristic histrionics, having a long word with the referee to explain that a man coming back from behind the last man was still offside. CPR kept their composure and the introduction of Dr. Jekyll Frazier on the wing gave them a dimension they were missing, a player who not only had speed but was fearless in taking on opponents. Cutting in from the right Frazier laid the ball on a platter for team leading scorer Sawyer who did not disappoint for the equalizer. CPR looked to have taken the lead with a cross parried by the keeper to Sawyer in front of goal only for the referee to belatedly decide to call offside. This call was more debatable than the Greek’s goal, but was a very tight one to make given the volume of defenders around.
At half time the emphasis was still on keeping the width in attack while narrowing the field in defence. The welcome arrival of Hahn provided both defensive and attacking impetus along with a bit more rest to some of the flagging team members. With fatigue setting in after several months of donut eating, CPR found themselves often caught disjointedly whether to attack or defend. The gulf between the fit and the old widened as vast spaces started to appear all over the pitch. The Legends still had enough talent to pose threats, and on one such foray they were awarded a dangerous kick at the top of the box. At this point Mr. Hyde Frazier reared his ugly head. After blasting the ball straight at the wall, in frustration he took a wild kick at the defender bringing the ball out, causing an uproar and several minute stoppage as those with a penchant for hot bloodedness had the perfectly valid excuse to roar at each other. Frazier received a booking and a substitute’s cooling off period, but with the team’s needs dictating it was soon back out on the wing. Already skating on the thinnest of ice, his response to the inevitable foul in normal circumstances would have been brushed off. These were not normal circumstances. The Legends were now reduced to 10 men and their chances of winning sailed off in the distance. It was now all about hunkering down for survival as the Greeks smelled blood and sent waves after waves forward. There were a couple of misses from inside the 6 yard box, and a couple of top class saves from Carducci, and when the whistle blew the Legends could count themselves fortunate to eke out a point.
Competition: NY Greek Americans, League Opposition
Location: Con Edison Field, Queens
Conditions: Chilly morning
Result: 1:1 HT: 1-1
Goals: 1-1: Sawyer Assist Frazier
Yellow Cards: The ignominious record continues. Out of frustration on a free kick hit straight into the wall, Frazier responded to the defender winning the rebound with an almighty kick that caused cringes and fury everywhere. Not one for apologizing, Frazier’s demeanor sparked a long stoppage and laid the foundation for the soft second booking to come in the second half, albeit due to needless antagonizing. All this from someone who once again turned in a very good performance outside of the tiresome antics.
Red Cards: Frazier
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Hahn had confused the game time although it was a week after Daylight savings time. A full second half was sorely needed from him though, especially once the Legends were down to 10 men.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: None, although there was a lot of post game soreness with players having played a lot more than anticipated, especially for the first game of the season after a long layoff.
Old Man of the Match: Several players put in good performances, especially given a number who did not expect to play 90 minutes. Sawyer ploughed a lonely furrow up front, with the size of the field limiting his support especially in the second half. Edmunds marshalled the defence well, eliminating mistakes in driving the ball from the back. However, a couple of quality saves to give the Legends a hard-fought point meant Carducci gained the honors this week.
Old Man of the Bar: N/A
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): Hodges was a late scratch to the game, but came by the bar for a pint.
Statistic of the week: Frazier not only stretches his bookings tally (15 in 21) but is now in sole place of sendings off as well (2 in 21, both double yellows). Imagine the player he could be if he just reigned in the red mist a little.
Team Bar Showing: 3 out of 14 (21%)
Team Bar Night: 2 out of 5. With only Tier 1 up for going back to Blooms, it was a St Patrick’s visit to St. James Gate which subsequently enticed Teesdale out as well for a couple.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mike Carducci (GK), Willian D’Andrea, Steve Roberts (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Tim Frazier, Mark Resnik (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF), Danny Azzo, Gavin Moore (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Neil Stower, Manuel Casanova, David Sawyer