DBFC 3 – 1 Club Tropicana

Venue: Tsing Yi North East Park

Date: 7 November 2015  KO: 18:30

Squad: Alessio (GK), David (Capt), Zin, Ben, Sam, Warren, Matt O, Jordon, Scotty H, Leo, Matt Z, Robbie, Yoon, Baz

Scorers: Matt Zoeller x 2 and Lee Yoon

There was a decent response this week to roll call, which was good because the DBFC Vets team had a match in the morning so some of the older regulars to the legal League side to play 2 games. Thankfully the likes of Morse, Pascal, Gianluca, Kieran McK and Dirk could give it all in the morning knowing they were not required early evening. A strong 15 man squad was named, including 2 new recruits Yoon and Leo for this fixture back at Tsing Yi, the ground where DBFC wrapped up the title last season. However, Jonny Haines pulled out last minute with the “poohs” so DBFC went with 14 players.

Preparation for the match was poor, with a few players running late and DBFC’s handsome new kit taking a while to distribute. Then Gazza’s attempted team photo was scuppered because he had tied the Zoti (kit sponsor) sign upside down. The team photo was postponed until after the game and Robbie got on with advising his match tactics. Robbie decided a 3421 team formation that DBFC had utilised to great effect last season (Matt as striker, Scotty and Leo sitting behind, then Jordon LM, Matt O and Warren CM, Sam RM, Zin CB with Ben to his right and David to his left) and set about explaining the players respective roles players. The lack of preparation and focus was apparent by the chat and giggles through the pre match explanation and with only 8 minutes to go DBFC began their warm up.

The match kicked off and it was immediately clear that Tropicana were looking to go long and direct to their tall forward and midfielder at every opportunity. DBFC sat off them and deep into their own half, allowing Tropicana plenty of time to get territory. Tropicana quickly won the first two corners but failed to make their height advantage pay. DBFC struggled to get their passing game together and when they eventually did, their first few successful passes resulted in them taking the lead. Ben brought the ball out from the back, drawing out Tropicana’s attacking midfielder and passed it into Sam on the right flank. In plenty of space, Sam took a touch and played a through ball to Scotty Holmes who took it to the by-line before putting a fantastic ball across the face of the goal for Matt Z to tap in and put DBFC 1 – 0 up. Despite this confidence boost DBFC’s play did not improve. After 10 minutes of the game DBFC continued to struggle with their passing game and were not looking after the ball, at which point the water boys (Gaz and Baz) opined to Robbie that DBFC would struggle to score if they kept playing like this and suggested the fault was with formation (both had been searching for the match ball that had been cleared over the high fence surrounding the pitch and had completely missed the goal). They were gob smacked when told of the goal and it’s vindication that the formation worked well when played correctly. The game continued at pace with little fluidity from both sides. Jordan received the ball in plenty of space on the left flank and drove well infield to the edge of the box before scuffing a right foot effort wide. As a jet lagged and increasingly frustrated Robbie couldn’t get the message across, Tropicana continued to dominate the territory as the DBFC defence continued to drop off from their midfield. The Tropicana territorial advantage eventually told when a long ball into the DBFC box ricocheted around and was poked home to level the score at 1-1 after 20 minutes played. At this point Leo came off to be replaced by Yoon. The game restarted and a lack of communication left David isolated on our left flank where he needed to cynically hack down the Tropicana player flying passed him (David was fortunate to avoid a booking) With 15 minutes of the first half left Robbie came on for Warren. DBFC continued to struggle to look after the ball but there was a glimmer of hope when a bit of keep ball between Sam and Ben before passing it infield to Robbie who lifted a nice weighted pass over the Tropicana right back to release Jordon. JB took the ball down well in full stride to leave the Tropicana right back but fired his one on one shot straight at the keeper, with Scotty mightily disappointed not to be put in at the back post. Half Time: 1-1.

Half time team talk wasn’t pretty. Robbie laid it out to the team, in no uncertain terms, that they needed to step it up and take responsibility for their own performances. Each player was to look to get on the ball and move it around with quick accurate passing to see the chances in performance happen. We were also to focus on trying to fix the “too big” a gap between our defence and our midfield. Leo came back on for Scotty.

The second half started slightly better. The ball quickly made its way out to the left, after a nice touch by Leo, and Jordan raced past his man but unfortunately got a heavy final touch to see the ball go out of play. Matt Z was released down the right and he pulled it back to Robbie, only for his shot to be denied by a strong last ditch tackle from the Tropicana defender. Tropicana were still having some success with the long ball (not as much as the first half) and on one occasion a deep cross from the right found their player in a decent position only for his attempted volleyed shot to spin backwards off his boot away from our goal. Yoon was put through into the edge of the Tropicana box and turned to shape his body for a curling shot to the far post that unlucky just went wide. David finally got booked for another cynical tackle and the resulting Tropicana free kick was dangerously flighted towards the DBFC far post but evaded a touch and the ball appeared to go just wide, although Alessio looked remarkably cool with this cross so must have had it comfortably wide. DBFC were given a free kick a couple of yards outside the Tropicana box for the specialist boot of Matt Z but his effort was banged tamely into the Tropicana wall. Shortly after David took a throw in from the left side that he lobbed high, slow for about a meter (not the first during the game and definitely an area to work on David). Fortunately a Tropicana player got there first and touches the ball back out of play. A frustrated Robbie quickly retrieved the ball and took a long throw into Matt Z who turned and his attempted pass to Jordon resulted in a fortuitous one two with a Tropicana player that left Matt Z with the ball in his stride at the edge of the Tropicana box. Matt Z faked to the left and took the ball inside onto his right foot to curl in a great strike and give DBFC a 2 – 1 lead. At this point Warren came on for Jordon (struggling with his ankle) Matt O moved to LM and Warren into CM with Robbie. Baz came on for Sam at RM. DBFC’s pressure was allowing them to now take complete control of the game. Robbie and Matt inter-changed some good passing to allow Warren in to play some neat football in the middle before the he made a good through ball that released an overlapping (speedy) Baz to put in a great cross that unfortunately wasn’t turned in. Moments later a similar route found Scotty and Baz released down the middle but they were denied a clear run at goal as the Tropicana keeper was quickly off his line and collided with them both at the edge of the box. Thankfully, all three were okay despite Scotty’s sore neck. David was now bringing the ball out confidently from defence and on this occasion played it into Robbie to move the ball to Warren who ran at their defence and just over hit his through all to Yoon with Baz on the overlap again in a great position. Scotty who had picked himself up from a keeper’s clattering was making good use of DBFC possession and released Yoon through the middle. Yoon ran onto the pass at speed and in one movement swept a shot into the bottom left of Tropicana’s net to make a fantastic debut goal to put DBFC 3-1 up. Zin brought the ball out the back well and played a fantastic ball over the top to Warren who laid it back to Matt O whose shot was well saved at the near post. Final whistle. 3-1.

MOM – Despite the slow start it was a good result. Lively debuts from Yoon and Leo. Matt Zoeller played well and scored two. Warren and Baz performed excellently in the second half and played their positions to the T. Tropicana couldn’t deal with Baz’s dangerous overlaps (he’s obviously been working on his speed to catch Jordon when son gives father a bit of lip). However MOM goes to Scotty Holmes for two very tidy assists, throwing himself into the Tropicana goalkeeper and getting up to continue and putting in a strong performance in Hemmingway’s after! We’ll all miss Scotty now for four weeks!

Big thank you to Gianluca, Christian and Steve and his boy for coming down to support.

DOD – Several contenders for this award this week. Jonny Haines skiving off with the ‘poohs’ – especially when Ben showed true commitment the other week by playing through a squeaky bum syndrome and getting DOD for it. Sam was 15 minutes late for the taxi. Gaz for putting the kit sponsor’s sign upside down. Robbie for his inconsolable agitation in the first twenty minutes. David for two/three of the worst throw-ins that have ever been seen. Jordon for refusing to track back and not being at Hemingway’s to do “dogging work”. Matt O for sending his female doppelgänger to fill in for beers after and Warren for telling her he’d rather kiss Matt…! Some classics this week but we can’t let Jonny off the hook with his excuse “I can’t come and leave my best friend the toilet” —- so DOD is Jonny Haines.

 

Reported by Robbie an edited by Gazza