After administering the usual thrashing of Banatul a few weeks ago, management appeared unusually cautious for this week’s cup game. A number of Banatul players that had not been used in the first match were expected to play, and the sting of losing 7-0 was supposed to light a fire under them. Quite how this match would be different given a 7 year history of domination was unclear, but it seems Legends management took it seriously. For the first time in Legends history, more players showed up than could be accommodated by the maximum 18 game day roster. Banatul themselves had a few substitutes, but the squad comparison clearly favored the Legends.
The game quickly set itself in a predictable pattern, with the Legends attacking and counterattacking with verve. Although Banatul’s roster reinforcements were clearly of a higher quality, their traditional “strategy” of having multiple players attack but not come back to defend was still in effect. Playing only 1 up front in a rare departure from the 4-4-2, the Legends were having difficulty penetrating into the penalty area with enough attackers. A lot of sound and fury was signifying not a whole lot, while Banatul started to grow into the game on the attacking side. Eventually the Legends broke through, a rampaging fullback run by Shobowale crossing in for Ciolli to finish. The Legends knew they would need a 2 goal lead to break Banatul’s spirit but defensive mishaps at the back led to an equalizer. With a few minutes to go until half time the Legends were able to take the lead, some nice interplay leading to Ciolli finishing well.
At half time CPR was confident that they could outwork and outlast Banatul, and with the large number of substitutes they had quicker rotations and started taking advantage of the spaces that were opening up, particularly down the left hand flank. Both Impey and Hahn continually made hay down the left hand side and one such foray set up the cushion the Legends were looking for. A pass into Ciolli resulted in beating the keeper but the ball going agonizingly wide. However Linehan was swift enough to retrieve and return the ball to Ciolli who this time finished at the second time of asking. The fact the Legends looked the favorites to score was more impressive given that they had been reduced to 10 men with the slightly harsh second yellow for Shobowale on contact that was greatly exaggerated by ex Legend Santiago Morales. The game continued to be somewhat chippy with plenty of hard tackles on both sides producing several bookings.
|Anatomy of a dirty foul and opponent’s booking, in 4 steps. No Venkataramans were harmed (much) in the making of this collage|
Now CPR started creating an abundance of dangerous opportunities, however few of them turned into clear opportunities. Perhaps the best was Hahn to Venkataraman, whose sliding finish was a few years too late in many respects. Finally Linehan received yet another opportunity and was able to convert it on target giving the Legends a comfortable final edge. With the welcome change to a purely Over 40 cup, the Legends should start having more chances at victories in cup competitions.
Competition: Banatul SC, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Warm morning
Fans: 4, Arrocha (not eligible), Carlsen, Subah (over the 18 game day maximum), El Presidente (Emergency keeper, team photographer)
Result: 4:1 HT: 2-1
1-0: Ciolli Assist Shobowale
2-1: Ciolli Assist Azzo
3-1: Ciolli Assist Linehan
4-1: Linehan Assist Ciolli
Goals: 1:1 Subah Assist Stower
2:1 Sawyer Assist Ciolli
Yellow Cards: Hahn, Linehan
Red Cards: Shobowale for 2 bookings, the second of which was harsh
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: A record number of extras showed up, especially odd considering the ease with which SportEasy displays the team members showing up for the game. Arrocha wasn’t aware of the cup age limitation. Carlsen suffered from some miscommunication over need, while Casanova and Subah both signed up a few hours before game time when the available numbers were already clearly high. Although high interest is obviously a positive problem to have, the process will have to be properly defined given people arrange their weekends around the games so they shouldn’t have playing time penalized due to the last minute whims of other players.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Given the maximum number of substitutes few people were out long enough to get injured.
Old Man of the Match: Although lots of people played well, a hattrick and an assist did not make this decision for Ciolli particularly hard. Given his impact and versatility over the first few games this could well be the first of many.
Old Man of the Bar: None.
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): Morse, and more importantly Morse’s cooler made it just after the game to give people some well needed sustenance.
Statistic of the week: Now that the Legends will be playing against teams in the Cup near enough their own age, the hope is they can significantly improve their cup record from its current paltry 3 wins out of 16.
Team Bar Showing: 9 out of 18 (50%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. Several players stayed by the field watching Wolves glorious victory over City, then Faherty, Venkataraman, Pattinson and Subah made it to Blooms to watch Newcastle’s equally glorious victory over United.
Team (No new profiles this week): Scott Brindley (GK), Manohar Venkataraman, Neil Stower, Gavin Moore (DF), Danny Azzo, Charles Linehan (DF), Olatokumbo “Tokes” Shobowale (DF), Mark Dean (DF), Mark Ciolli, Pete Hahn (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Manuel Casanova, Willian D’Andrea, Tom Pattinson, Eduardo Mazzi (DF), Steve Teesdale, Mark Edmunds (DF), Chris Impey