A game to forget in more ways than one.
A planned bus ride that became a nightmare taxi share journey saw one cab end up in some remote factory in Lohas Park. This meant we started with 12 players although I did have ghostly images of seeing these players in the changing room prior to the match…..clearly I’m losing my marbles after all these years of managing the Sparts and drinking untold amounts of alcohol.
Kick-off and we started well disorganize, no prep speech, positions changed the last minute, 10 players on the field. I was in goals and taking phone calls looking something out of a Monty Python sketch while the ball got kicked around near me. Nick our only sub at the time by my side trying to work out how to use a crappy old malfunctioning i-phone, it wasn’t funny at all.
Monopoly created the best chance early and shot wide one or two feet closer and we would have been down early. As the game continued we looked to start to knock the ball around well and take control of the match. Both Jens and Medhi having great chances to put us ahead. As the half drew to a close we started getting numbers. Now we actually had too many hence 18 players, players surfacing from different parts of Hong Kong had finally found the place. In the endeavor to get every individual some kind of run out some level of mutiny at half time thwarted the idea, resulting in the team being totally changed and probably one of our more likely goal scorers Jens somehow being on the bench….the night was clearly getting better!!!!
Second half and we continued to dominate although we didn’t create many chances to be honest, somehow being thwarted by Monopoly’s ageing 40 plus back four in the biggest pitch in Hong Kong….yeah don’t ask. As the game continued and we made substitutions players sort of played where they wanted to play. At one stage we didn’t have a right midfield at another stage there was no left side players except Steph. I was pretty sure we played with 4 strikers at one point. There was even an instance where we only had 10 players on the pitch even though we had a cast of Ben Hur on the sidelines. The amazing thing was amongst all this chaos we somehow where playing and controlling the game with good possession football but totally no structure. As a result very few chances fell to us but both Steve G and Forlan did have opportunities to put us ahead but shot wide.
Regardless Monopoly were on the back foot for most of the half but did look dangerous on the counter although our back four always looked in control. One comic moment saw their young 5 ft tall striker David lose total control trying to fight Bertie and Jan after a challenge. Lucky for the young guy older heads intervene heaven knows what would have happened to him.
As the game drew to a close an unlikely source our left back Steph had the best chance of the match from either side to break deadlock. A free kick taken by Steph just outside the box striking the post rebounding inwards and somehow managing to go through the keepers legs and safely to one of OUR players who managed to miss it for only another one of players to clear it to safety for a goal kick. Wasn’t our night.
Whistle blew which seemed the shortest game we have ever played and 0-0 draw. One bright item to come from the match was the debut of Scott, the young lad had a cracking game and was our MOM for sure. We will need EVERYONE to start playing for the team and not for themselves if we are going to feature with any gusto this season. Even though we played well in patches, loads of work needs to be done to have any chance of us securing a title defence. Lucky it’s early days.