A relatively short train ride to the heartlands, a taxi from the mtr saw us driving through picturesque landscape and as we wound down through the hills the lush pitch of Shing Mun Valley appeared below us surrounded by impressive stands. Once on the ground things were a little different as the pitch was crusty ploughed earth with cow grass in patches. Henry and Tel hiked through the graveyard and arrived just before kick off.
We went with 4:5:1 with lots of pace up front: newbie Joe (GK), left to right BigDan-DanH-Colin-Leandro, Stef-Jay-Miles-Mike-Adam and Aidan up top.
Moments in a late dirty challenge on Stef set the tone for the opposition however we picked up and pressured DKFC down the wings. Some moments of good interplay between Miles/Mike/Jay but the final balls were just out of reach for Aidan. A hopeful long shot saw Joe palm the ball just over the bar followed by a nervous corner, however we cleared and Adam was pressuring well down the right and winning numerous throw ins and free kicks.
Dan was clearing up at left back with big punts and Aidan nearly got on the end of a few of them. DKFC had a free kick on the edge of the box however Miles intercepted and we broke through Stef on the left. Aidan on the last man held the ball up and passed back to Miles motoring in – his powerful shot goes marginally over the bar.
Shortly after some more interplay with Aidan with his back to the goal however he oddly get called offside and the move breaks down. We win a free kick on the right and Leandro whose head must have been at the 7s put a perfect ball down the left side to bounce out for a lineout just by the corner flag.
Back at the other end a dangerous free kick is saved onto the bar by Joe and a scramble in the box clears the ball. We are 20 mins in and Jay is off with Aidan dropping into midfield and Paddy up front followed by Adam off for Nick. Shortly after we win a free kick on the right, Stef moves over to take it and his ball drops near the penalty spot, unfortunately it’s on Miles left foot and the opportunity goes begging.
Some amusement on the sidelines as Henry provided running commentary translating Leandro’s polite comments to the opposition
Moments before the end Joe tries to clear a tame shot but slices it to an opposition player in the box and we come in at half time the wrong side of 1-nil.
Half time changes with Dan off and Stef moving to left back and Patrick on the wing. Miles off and Henry on. We have far more possession in the 2nd half however the officials only come out with 37 mins on the clock and it’s obvious that DKFC are going to waste as much time as possible. We play into their hands with numerous players getting into one way debates with the ref as the clock ticks by. The opposition bench also get in on the action however Stef promptly put them in their place with a "Shut up you’re not on the pitch"
Some good interplay between Aidan & Stef saw a lofted ball down the left and yours truly headed the ball into the box for Mike to calmly slot home the equaliser and the game looked ours for the taking.
We continued to pressure however the volume of dodgy free kicks, late tackles unpunished by the opposition, foul throws and time wasting continued. We did ourselves no favours by getting into too many arguments with the referee. It’s one thing to have a moan after an event, but no need to keep complaining, and constant comments to opposition players about f*cking their mothers and pulling her eyes out etc etc don’t do our reputation any favours!
Case in hand as we argued with the ref about a (perfectly legitimate goal) foul on their keeper from a corner, the opposition punted the ball upfield and had 4 players on 2 and unsurprisingly scored.
Few more changes with DanH off injured for BigDan and later Patrick and Nick off for Miles and Mike. We had lots of pressure in the final 10 mins, however we could not find the net. Everyone got stuck in and it was touch on a big bouncy pitch however the game ended 2-1.
I will be complaining to the league about the ref (performance and turning out late in the 2nd half) + there is no way this is the same team we played in mid Feb in Po Kong Village.
There cup draw is on Thursday night – can anyone make this free night out?
Hopefully they will also update the table so we can see if we still have a chance of silverware as were in 3rd spot a few weeks ago.