With the season passed and gone and playing for a top two/three finish our second last game was against the always tough Mes Amis side. Hosting arguable one of Hong Kongs best players in Carlo Dilbero we knew this would be a tight affair.
Once again struggling for numbers we went to the game with 14 players with a few 50/50s who in the end couldn’t make it. Matters were made worse when Rob went to Happy Valley instead leaving us down to 13.
Kick off and we started with ever reliable Leandro in goals, centre pairing from weeks gone by of Scott and Thomas D. Bertie on the right and Steph on the left. Midfield new recruit Brandon and Tommy Roch in centre on the left Joey and Randy returning from a long absence on the right. Up front Marriott and Macca providing our outlet. Nav and Matteo waiting to come on.
Kickoff and the game starts fairly evenly. Both defenses ruling the roost of a tight affair in humid conditions. A loopy goal off a bizarre shot of sorts put us a goal down after 15 minutes. We however are still playing solid football and Brandon and Tom Roch pulling the strings in midfield.
After 20 minutes captain Tommy D gets taken out late resulting in no free kick and an injury to one of our leaders. Nav comes on and plays a terrific game once more on the right with Bertie switching to centre.
We continue to play good football and Brandon and Tom are starting to dominate further. Pushing Steph up further and dropping Joey back in defense see us with our first good chance with ball falling to Steph and narrowly missing the goals. Then just before the half time break a great long ball sets Marriott on with only the keeper to chip over but he unfortunately hits it over.
1-0 down at break and all to play for and confident we can get a result. The second half we start to get some good chances. Macca has a shot but hits wide. However a mesmerizing interplay with Tom, Brandon and Nav, sees Nav make a great run on the right before putting in a quality cross in centre. Macca jumps and seems to suspend in the air while lesser men fall under him. Macca still airborne makes a terrific header and finds the back of the net to level the scores at one a piece. Fantastic goal.
We start to power on however it seems at this point that the ref seems to be awarding one to many free kicks against us. One of these free kick outside the box sees Leandro pull off a handsome save off Carlo. However we are still having more of the play and when Brandon, Macca and Steph combine to put Tom through on goal with only keeper to beat he gets taken down.
At this point we are all thinking it’s either penalty or free kick outside the box however somehow, someway with the goal at his mercy and been taken down the ref waves play on. Some additional shocking free kicks against us keeps us at bay at the end. Have to say I feel like we were robbed late in the game by the refs poor decisions. Even the Mes players seemed mystified by some of his decsions.
In the end 1-1 and I think we can count ourselves very unlucky. But it was another brilliant performance by everyone in this one. Leandro was amazing in goals and made several terrific saves and handled crosses and some tough back passes with ease. Defense saw Bertie back to his best and Scottie was once again brilliant. Joey played solidly on the left while Nav has been a revelation on the right. Fingers crossed Tom D injury is not too serious and he able to play in our last game next week. Midfield and what a terrific debut did Brandon have, he was superb while Tom Rock was outstanding in middle as well. Out wide Randy played very well along with Steph and Marriott who shared wide and striker roles with gusto. Matteo had an injury as well but had a good game while he was playing. Upfront Macca was super tidy and scored a top class goal taking his tally of a goal a game to two.
MOM was a really tough decision. Leandro pulled off a couple first notch saves while Scottie was once again solid as. Tom Roch was everywhere in middle of the park while Macca goal was brilliant. But kudos goes to debutant Brandon who was so strong in centre of the park winning everything and having great distribution.