A late entrusting of the reigns of the all-conquering Soho Spartans I was reeling when told only 4 days before the match we had the bare 5 players and our lucky charm or better still goal scorer extraordinaire Li Yongsen alias Forlan was going to be in the USA. Forlan currently has on average 3.1 goals a game and you only need to look at the Golden boot table below to realise what a F*CKIN loss he is when he is not playing for us!!!!
As the other teams in the league started to go the way side with one forfeit after the other I was think what the F$C% has Dan and Pabs done to me!!! Was I bad to them in another life…surely my life couldn’t have escalated any further in despair than it had.
There was also no Tom Roche apparently shopping with the missus for some wedding dress…Tom you are not supposed to see it before the wedding!!! There was no Colin away for work or Pabs or even Clarke our entrusted Centre back trio who have been brilliant all season… apparently the lure of Japanese women…mmm….snow was far more appealing than beating Hao’s charges, clearly they have their priorities wrong.
Worse of all no goal keeper, Taylor was with Dan trying to conquer the world of Computer Vision in Silicon Valley while there is no James nor Dimitri who was in Vancouver polishing his new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta!!! With recent losses of Rainy the only other likely goal scorer in the squad and Mr Muscle man Tyler in the middle of the park bossing it like it’s his house it looked like all hope was gone before even a single ball was kicked…wtf have they done to me!!!!!!
So come Wednesday and we are in over drive to recruit… got Phil to cover in goals while playing for our opposition Bants..…solid coup. Roy my German mate tells me he is available. Warren appears out of the woodwork for several years and says he can play….wow bonus. Rudi is also available for the first time since our first match of the season and looked great at training. Pabs mentioned some young kid with an exotic name like Pablo Zabaleta or similar is available and was smashing loads of goals against our Sunday team in interclub 7’s a few weeks back will make an appearance…that got to be good surely.
Dashti and Paddy was available and even Mr Coombes Rumple himself was making a show stopping appearance could the tide be turning. I was able to recruit a 19 year old Dutch kid called Dennis from Yau Yee website who described himself 6ft1 and playing in high standard at University back home in Holland….I’m rubbing my hands with glee…he said he will even bring a mate. It was about 10pm on Friday Night I get a message from Raju I’ll bring two mates of mine as well…and when I woke on Saturday morning I came to realisation that 5 players had just turned into 18 in only 3 days….Power to the Spartans Family!!!!
As we got the bus ride to Ma On Shan I’m frantically registering players its chaos on what can only be described as the most perfect weather for football or anything for that matter. Piecing through the team SIbu (aka Zabaletta) brings an additional mate called Hector who in turn brings another mate called Richard. My maths getting better that adds up to 20 players wow 9 of which I had never seen play before!!!!
So come kick-off I put the team list together it looks something like this:
- Phil (GK)
- Warren (CB)
- Paddy (CB)
- Raju (RB)
- Hector (LB)
- Dashti (CM)
- Rudi (CM)
- Coombes (CM)
- Richard (LM)
- Charlie (RM)
- Sibu (CF)
- Rob D
A bit of guess work on a few of the new guys and we kick off in our unfamiliar white kits against Bants who have stolen our Yellow flavours!!! Our start is very poor….really poor. It doesn’t take them long to go 1 goal up. A corner a loose ball and some one of their unmarked players smashes it in the goals after 5 minutes. Hector then struggles to do throw-ins and after his third attempt I reel him off the park to be replaced by Om at left back. They are still much in the ascendency and although we try our best to clear our lines a smart move from their centre midfielder sees a top corner strike from 25 yards out to give them a 2-nil lead after 15 minutes.
It was at this point I was really worried about us copulating, so many new players and so much pressure. But to our credit we bounced back and start to get more possession further up the field. Warren and Paddy are able to cut things down well in defence and both Raju and Om are doing a great job out wide.
Dashti and Rudi start winning more balls in the centre of the park and SIbu is causing them problems up front. A few more changes with Chi smashing a few of their guys off the ball and Charlie is getting some traction from the right. Then a positional change of bringing Om up forward on the right and Chris into left back reaps instant rewards as Om heads the ball into the back of the net just before the break.
The second half was all ours for mine. We played them off the park, they were under constant pressure. A totally new team with so many new faces taking it to one of the top established sides in the league and it was just great to see. Sibu really should have scored when Dashti beat a player on the right and unselfishly passed it square for SIbu to hit it agonisingly wide. Om also now playing a more striker role first touch was sublime and several near misses, one of the biggest ones was when he rounded the keeper and with open goal mouth the ball was reeling wide only for him to hit the side netting unfortunately with only 10 minutes to go. Richard did some great runs in midfield while both Chris and Roy came on and did terrifically well as we pressed for the second goal.
As the game went on we just couldn’t score that elusive equalizer and they were a very relived bunch I can assure you when the whistle blew. For mine it was a great performance given the circumstances, if not for the first 10-15 minutes we could have easily won this game. We certainly didn’t deserve to loose, however the addition of some fantastic new blood in the team means we go into the final round with a great chance to win the league for mine as the top 5 teams are all within 2 points of each other.