With a whole host of players out due to various other commitments, Jens running a half marathon in Macau, Danny attempting to run a half marathon in Cambodia and Randy going to an intense boxing training camp in Thailand in preparation for his bout with Mansfield we had a make shift team to play a team who had won all of their games so far and were undefeated like us.
After scrambling around all week I managed to find 10 players who could make it, that was until Nathan decided to tell me that he couldn’t make it at 2pm on the day after what seemed like a 24 hour bender which was still going on, surprising considering I had a call from Nathan the night before telling me how much he was up for the game and wanted to play.
Playing on pitch number 12 the opposition looked like a bunch of teenage midgets apart from some fat guy at the back and a goalkeeper who was sporting some kind of monks bowl haircut.
Starting with the following line up of:
GK: Dan Mc
D: Andy H and Dan
M: Rossy, Joe and Rich
We started fairly well and the opposition were very quick and nippy and passed the ball around very well, you could tell straight away this was not going to be the walk over we thought it might be, having been lured into a sense false of security over the past few weeks beating teams with relative ease, this was definitely not going to be the case here.
We went 1-0 through a great Bruno cracker in the bottom corner but they hit back after yours truly did not pick up at the back and they fired home from an acute angle to make it 1-1, not sure how he scored but it was a great goal, more woe was to follow as they had a shot from outside the box right into the bottom corner, at this point they were all over us and we were on the back foot, we were simply not challenging them enough and getting stuck into them.
Rory came on for Rich after 20 mins and we went in at half time 2-1 down.
Second half Leandro (Bruno’s brother) came on instead of Joe and we went down 3 – 1 due to a bit of sloppy defending, the game looked beyond us. Changing out tactics and kicking up to Bruno who was holding the ball up really well and giving them less room we slowly started to get back into the game.
Bruno on the corner line somehow and I still don’t know how he managed to do it skinned a player and from the tightest of angles beat the keeper with a thumper to make it 2- 3. We were getting back into the game now, but as per usual the delightful Chinese tactics came into play of pretending to be injured when you’re not, walking slowly to get the ball back and generally being un sportsman like as is the norm when playing local teams. Rossy who had been booked before picked up his second yellow card and was off, all seemed to be lost until the last 5 mins when Joe used his strength and grit managed to somehow squeeze the ball over the line using his arse, thigh, stomach and every other part of his body to get the ball over the line 3-3 with only 6 men on the park, when the final whistle went we breathed a sigh of relief, although we had got back into them we could of quiet easily had lost this game, they were quick, nippy and often got around us to easily.
There were some good performances though from various players.
Dan Mc in goal was great saving a lot of shots and keeping us in the game, Andy H at the back was solid and put his body on the line, new recruit American Dan was excellent and a real find and is welcome to play any time, Rory made a massive impact and played one of his best games to date, Joe outstanding this seaons in the 7s continued as per usual, Rossy battled hard with some great tackles and frustrated to get sent off, Leandro played his part and did well in the limited time he had and as usual Bruno made the difference for us getting 2 goals and always looking dangerous. Very hard to pick a man of the match as for me it was between Bruno, Rory, Joe, Dan Mc and Dan W all of which had good games.
I will not accept any more games in Dec as the only available ones are late in Dec and people are away. One thing to note though is when we play these guys Xin Wei and J leaguers in the future I will want to see everyone putting their hand up for selection, these games are crucial to us winning the league and with one or two of the regular players we might of beaten these guys, it would be a massive shame to go and beat most teams and then slip up and lose the league because we drew or lost to one of the top teams, so please make every effort when it comes to these games, I will try and give you as much warning as possible.