Wow…what a game, what a performance, what a team! No, I’m not talking about AFC Wimbledon, I am referring to the legends that are Saturday Spartans…
With Hong Kong paralysed by protesters and Saturday Spartans Management paralysed by alcohol a few last minute call-ups were required in order to get a team out. Luckily as one Scotsman once said ‘You’ll never win anything with kids’. H, Angus and Jimmy Rose all stepped up to the plate with Jim playing his first game since he was toppled from power and Angus helping us out on his yearly jaunt to HK.
10 minutes to kick-off on a steaming hot day down at Sandy Bay and whilst one manager left his own personal ‘protest’ on the side of the pitch, the other was begging the referees for a delay to kick-off. Fortunately AJ and Charles appeared and we were good to go.
Lining up with the ever-reliable H in goal in our newly favoured 4-1-4-1 formation:
H-Loooooly, AJ, Laurence, Joe-Jim R-Piero, Charles, Randy, Angus-MJ
The game started brightly (for them) as we looked like a team that had just got out of bed (which is a pretty accurate description). A simple through ball left the FWD striker 1 on 1 with Henry who pulled off a miraculous double save. This was enough to see us kick into action and some great midfield work left MJ with his own 1 on 1. The less said about the finish the better – all you need to know is it stayed at 0 0. Just as we were beginning to get into our stride a hopeful hoof forward caused calamity at the back. The ball was guided into the strikers path by Laurence’s quiff and this time the attacker made no mistake. 1 0 FWD FC. Plenty of encouragement from the side and a willingness to stick with our patient passing play saw us begin to dominate. Some lovely play down the left saw the ball end up at MJs feet and this time he gave the keeper no chance burying the ball in the bottom corner. 1 1. By this time the Saturday Spartans talisman, Bruno, had arrived and with the searing heat, management changed things up. Angus and Piero took a rest with Bruno and the ever-excitable Ben Williams joining the fray.
Half time and the message was more of the same. Keep passing and in this heat on such a big pitch the chances will come. Jimmy needed a rest (and a shower) so Ben switched to the holding role with Lucius playing wide whenever Angus required a lie down.
As predicted the chances came but we couldn’t finish them off. Bruno in the ‘Libero’ role (I’m still not sure where he was playing), Charles and Randy were dominating the midfield but we still looked a bit susceptible to the break. Disaster struck exactly half way through the second period. Their number 9 (excellent player) who had caused us problems all afternoon pulled the ball back from the byline leaving their striker a sitter. 2 1 down with 17 to go and a water break was required. Defeat couldn’t be contemplated so we pulled the holding midfielder and went from broke. Gus now pushing on up front with MJ and Bruno. With 5 minutes to go the mighty MJ held off 4 players and sneaked the pass through to Gus. Calmness personified from Gus as he banged it home first time from 15 yards. Cue wild celebrations and a minor pitch invasion. There was only going to be one winner at this stage. Time to give Gab a run-out and Jim returned for the excellent new and improved Randy. As we entered injury time the ball somehow found its way to Angus once more…his time for more glory…or maybe not…the keeper made an excellent save. But we weren’t done yet, from the resulting corner MJs shot/cross found its way to Bruno. Bruno as reliable as ever banged in it and the victory was ours. Cue even wilder celebrations and an even larger pitch invasion.
30 seconds of play was left and with Jim marshalling the troops we saw the game out. Beers were enjoyed by all as we did our sponsors proud once more.
So many positives…I feel it was the day we came of age as a team. The whole squad played their part in what was a tremendous victory over one of our biggest rivals. Our defence is without a doubt the best in the league and with such a solid foundation anything is possible. Our midfield works tirelessly for the cause and no team is going to fancy playing Bruno and MJ.
It is clear we now have a squad that wants to play and it has been noted that those that couldn’t make it on Saturday made contact to check the result. We can continue to grow as a side from here confident that we can beat anyone on our day.
Brewhouse Man of the Match: Laurence and MJ
Brewhouse Mug of the Day: Steph (not sure if it was for his pre-match vomit or managing the team topless)