Another blazing hot afternoon at Bush Terminal Piers started full of promise following the previous weekends hard fought victory. Management had received intel of the opponents quality and so started the team in a 4-5-1 with Charlie and Neil pressing high on the wings, and Danny sat anchoring the middle. Mark Dean and Manuel returned to the fold, and Legends welcome Chris Impey into the match day squad for the first time.
The ball was moved around well for the first five minutes, and it quickly became apparent that the teams were well matched. Then misfortune struck. A 40yd back-pass from Edmunds, squirmed its way under Pablo’s foot and nestled into the back of the net. The goalkeepers ability to pass the ball around the backline has quickly been adopted by the team, and recognized as one of the Legends core strengths in building from the backline. Management noted this error was probably due to the fact Pablo had picked up this weeks ‘Ernest Award’, for arriving within 30 seconds of kick-off, and so had not been able to warm-up properly.
Quickly adapting to a 4-4-2, the Legends looked to lift themselves and press the game only for lady luck to drop her drawers for the second time in twenty minutes. The ball pinballed between a cluster of players, only to bounce up and strike Luciano’s hand for a penalty. The striker sent the keeper the wrong way, and the Legends found themselves 2-0 down after two extremely fortunate goals. This gave life to the opposition who now began to take control of possession for the remainder of the half.
The interval was a short ‘let’s go big or go home’ talk, as the Legends switched to a 3-5-2. Ernest saw a header fly over the bar and Jones had a left shoot shot curl agonizingly wide of the post. Pressing the high line was always going to leave the Legends exposed, and a shot came back off the crossbar, before the Kickers striker – through on goal – was bought down by the Legends goalkeeper for the second penalty of the game. Pablo guessed right with a reflex save, keeping the Legends hope alive.
Despite the rolling subs and the packed midfield, the Legends just couldn’t get hold of the ball. Charlie made a number of marauding rights down the flank and Jeremy’s dribbling through the middle caused problems, but the final action fell short of troubling the Kickers goalkeeper. With time running out, the Kickers scored the first (and only) goal of the game from open play as the Legends sought the ever-evasive spark to ignite themselves. The high backline was finally broken and a cross to the far-post, was gleefully smashed home to seal the game for the Kickers.
A second own goal – this time a generous 20 yarder by the Kickers – and a sliding attempt by Sawyer cleared off the line, bought the game to a close.
Competition: Manhattan Kickers Legends, League Opposition
Location: Bush Terminal Piers Park, Brooklyn
Conditions: Baking hot
Fans: Mrs Arrocha, plus junior members of the Jones and Stower clans
Result: 3:1 HT: 2-0
Goals: own goal
Yellow Cards: Toks
Red Cards: None
Ernest Award: Pablo
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Following the own goal, Pablo’s form saved the Legends on multiple occasions.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Any injury free week? Miracle of miracles.
Old Man of the Match: Andy Jones and Toks.
Old Man of the Bar: None.
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Statistic of the week: Toks 2 yellows in two games is one yellow away from a league game ban.
Team Bar Showing: 9 out of 18 (50%)
Team Bar Night: 4 out of 5. A couple of hours ruing bad luck but quickly moving onto the season ahead and the positive mood around the squad. Great beers and much to look forward to this season.
Team (No new profiles this week): Pablo Arrocha (GK), Neil Stower, Gavin Moore (DF), Mark Dean, Ernest Subah, Luciano Belizan (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF), Chris Impey, David Sawyer, Danny Azzo, Andrew Jones, Charles Linehan (DF), Tom Pattinson, Jeremy Phillips, Olatokumbo “Tokes” Shobowale, Manuel, Pete Hahn (DF)