Spartans v Club Colts
Sunday 23rd April 2017
Conditions: Typical

Another day at HKFC – as always, starting with such promise, and safe in the knowledge that no matter what happens, there will always be a dreamy team shower afterwards with free soap, shampoo and conditioner. It’s a little known fact that unconditioned hair draws the moisture from the humid Hong Kong atmosphere, leaving your hair looking lifeless, frizzy and shapeless.
Conditioning ensures moisture is already locked in, leaving you looking your best. Thanks HKFC.

Also safe in the knowledge was the mathematical certainty that Spartans are safe again for another season in the top tier, after results earlier in the day guaranteed survival.
In other news, lanky club gobshite Chris Grayland returned to the fray after a half season absence and club legend GK Bertie Meylan deputised in the sticks as captain, in what is likely to
be his final game for the club. Pete and Dr Tom Glen lined up at full-back, with Eneko alongside Grayland who had heroically come straight from his 12 hour flight. OM and Lozza were
providing terror on the wings, with Crossy and Danny beefing up the centre midfield.
Colin-with-the-fit-missus and Jamie led the line. With only two players over 30 in the starting outfield, this was the youngest Spartans line-up in history. (Source: Nick Day)
Spartans started sprightly, moving the ball well and having more than their fair share of possession in the opening exchanges. Some excellent endeavour from soon-to-be-club-rep Jamie pressured their defence into an early mistake, allowing Lozza, who was terrorising his full back, the first chance of the day – the keeper spreading himself well to deny an early goal for the boys in blue. If Jamie applies the same kind of pressure and energy once he hits the mediterranean shores, there’s no doubting he’ll score… with the visiting slags.

Crossy and Danny were combative in their efforts to stop the midfield three, but despite this hard work across the pitch, Colts managed to sneak in down the left hand side and square for an easy tap in – Bertie despairingly close but could do nothing about it from point blank range.

Spartans regrouped and took the game to Colts. Some good work down both wings resulted in a few corners, but could not quite capitalise on the distinct height advantage. Nick Day took the opportunity to reshuffle to pack the midfield more tightly to prevent their playmaker from controlling the game. Chances were restricted even more at this point, until a poorly cleared cross fell to the feet of Matt Cross who steadied himself before unleashing an outstanding dipping sizzling scrumptious hot potato of a shot, only to see it crash off the inside of the post. A stroke of luck wouldn’t go amiss at the football club, and it wasn’t about to start now it appeared. Half time arrived with Colts still leading 1-0.

Despite the scoreline, it was a positive team talk. A strong first half performance had brought some good football and chances for Spartans, only punctured by one moment of sloppiness leading to their goal. There was all to play for and Sparts were nowhere near out of it yet. The second half began in the same vein as the first – with their manager shouting and screaming for every decision, with the referee duly obliging the old cabbage. A friendly exchange between OM and The Cabbage resulted in verbal handbags between the two, with both parties coming out of it much lower in street cred. In footballing action, Spartans were starting to pen Colts into their half, with series of corners and free kicks. The game looked to have turned when Grayland returned to cruising  altitude of 35000 feet, taking-off to pilot the ball into the unguarded net. With the keeper flapping, some inspired defending cleared the ball off the line to safety, and proved to be a huge let off for the opposition.

Minutes later, Danny endeavoured to do the same, but the goalkeeper instead decided to opt for the punch this time, catching the midlander square on the eye. Danny looked dazed and bloodied, but thankfully the latter was just ginger hair dye that had started to run from all the rain. Nick Day took the chance to ring the changes with Stu, Ted (why is he called Ted?) and Christian entering the fray for Danny, Colin and Pete. The changes almost paid off.

Thankfully HKFC provide free towels, which the Colts right back required after he got rinsed by super-cabbage OM, who delivered a teasing ball into the box. Jamie and Stu both had swipes, swings and stabs at the ball in the ensuing chaos, but couldn’t quite squeeze it past the stout defending and goalkeeping. As the game started to open up, Colts started to create a little more down the wings with Ted (did we find out why he’s called Ted?) and Tom Glen taking no prisoners with some stern defending. Dr Glen, turning his potential energy into psycho-kinetic energy by wiping out his winger after some tricky play. Despite their trickery, not once did they really test the expertise of the departing Bertie in the second half. As the game drew to a close, Spartans maintained their second half tempo but couldn’t quite manage to fashion an equaliser, with the only other highlight a barrage of abuse aimed at the referee for awarding a throw in against Oli – who had shepherded the ball out of play after taking the final touch, earning himself DOTD in the process. The game was blown to a halt on eighty minutes and one second. Cheers ref, you helmet.

FT: Spartans 0 – 1 Club Colts
It’s never easy coming here as the quality of the opposition is always high, and the standard of refereeing always low. Sadly, another day, another familiar outcome at HKFC. A spirited performance, firm defending, a distinct lack of luck, chances not taken and ultimately edged out. Next week’s opposition, Wanderers, looked on with trepidation as their arses twitch in the fight
for the title. They admitted after our previous game we were the best team they had played all season, so we have a final crack at stealing three points again next week. Still, despite the lack of points, the performances of recent weeks, and especially today,
Spartans left the Football Club with their heads held high, their hair looking glossy and bags stuffed full of pride, confidence and stolen towels. Until next time HKFC.

Man of the Match: Jamie Lowe
Dick of the Day: Oli “helmet cabbage” Miles
Tom Glen Award: Chris Grayland
Romain’s Fashion Corner: Postponed