DBFC 3 – 2 Tropicana

Venue: Sandy Bay Pokfulam —– Pitch 2 —– KO 4:00pm

Squad: Travis; Christian; Jamie W; David, Steve, Sam, Robbie, John, Jordon, Scotty H, Oli, Morse, Kieran, Pat D, Gary.

Scorers: David, Jordon and Oli

For the last match of the season DBFC put out a strong squad of 15 players. On the way to the game, as the early morning sunshine was replaced by heavy rain, Oli Rendall bullied and stole a little girl’s umbrella, Robert Scott and Matt Z informed us that their ‘maybe available’ was in fact “unavailable” and Stu declared at last minute “it just wasn’t going to happen”.

Not that any of this spoiled the feel good atmosphere as the Rollinson’s, John (guest appearance for the other side of the bacon sandwich) and Pascal brought the WAGs out, while many other players had family members in attendance. Injured (still) Jonny had brought his camera and  in his role in as “Entertainment and Culture Secretary” for DBFC’s governing Cabinet,  he conducted a quick interview with Manager Bacon and Captain Rendall before turning his attention to a pre-match crossbar challenge – the efforts of which left a lot to be desired with only Rendall hitting the crossbar! ——– See http://youtu.be/9N5HVUuQ_6g —- a highlight was when Travis arrived late in spectacular fashion, in his pink kit, and went straight into a terrible crossbar attempt.

Travis had just finished antenatal class at Queen Mary Hospital at 4pm and made a fantastic effort to get to this game, Club Tropicana had been warned beforehand of our goal keeper predicament and had sportingly agreed to delay KO by 10 minutes. So when Travis arrived, he made everyone wait for a further five minutes while he fiddled with his boot laces, and DBFC lined up in usual formation with the exception of a Bacon sandwich in midfield; the match kicked off.

Tropicana soon showed their strategy of long balls over the top and the first caused some concern to the DBFC defence but it failed to find their six-foot four+ duo. DBFC were not pressing well and this allowed Tropicana to have equal time in possession of the ball, although DBFC were creating more and better chances. Jamie brought the ball out from defence into midfield and played a through pass to Sam to put him on goal with both Scotty H and Robbie flanking either side but Sam elected to take an opportunistic strike from outside the box that skewed well wide. Good passing between John and Robbie (bacon sandwich) found Scotty H who drove towards the Tropicana goal and win a corner (Scott won several DBFC corners in this fashion). Robbie released Jordon down left and he made it to the by-line before cutting back to find Sam with an open goal (some say two, some say three… Sam says 6 – we will go with the median 3 yards out!), only for his first time tap in to fly vertically up onto the crossbar and over. A good ball into Robbie saw him beat the Tropicana centre back and cross to Oli for what should have been a “tap in” but Oli was slightly on his heels and was pipped to the ball by the defender (Post match assessment was that Oli would have been sharper if Gaz had told him he needed two goals to cement second top scorer in the league outright and if he stopped day dreaming about nailing the crossbar challenge earlier). Jordon went to take a throw-in on the right but dropped the ball while in mid-throw onto his head (“it’s wet” he moaned) but the referee was unsympathetic and gave a foul-throw. Jordon was not happy and threw all his toys out of his pram and the ball at the linesman to earn a booking (Gaz is making a special report to Jordon’s dad and will be discussing suitable punishment for his tempestuousnessJ) Robbie was released down the left by Steve and while looking up to cross was heard screaming “get onside” as Oli who was at least five yards offside (still day dreaming about hitting the crossbar). The delay in crossing the ball gave the Tropicana defender time to get back to clear it. An identical ball from Steve to Robbie saw the Tropicana defender lunge in and take out Robbie (and break both Robbie’s footy boots) and although it appeared the defender got a foot to the ball the referee deemed it enough for a penalty. Steve stepped up to smash-scuff the ball wide of the keeper’s left post and so carry on DBFC’s recent dismal penalty record. Almost immediately Scotty’s corner was punched off Robbie’s head two yards out and from Jordon’s subsequent corner, Oli took it down at the back stick and crossed for Scotty to head well across goal for David to poke home the rebound and give DBFC a 1-0 lead. Straight after restart Tropicana came forward down their right and slipped a pass into their forwards where the ball broke to the edge of the box and back out to their left where a lofted cross was headed across goal only for Christian to run into it and see the ball trickle across the DBFC goal-line with Travis stranded. This OG levelled the score at 1-1. Immediately after restart Robbie received the ball and turned the Tropicana CB to race through on the Tropicana goal with Scotty alongside. However, Robbie inexplicably over-hit the simple lay-off to Scotty and the chance went begging. Half-time and despite DBFC having most the game and many chances Tropicana ended being well in the game.

Half time Gaz pointed to an end of season flat tire and wanted more energy from DBFC in closing Tropicana down. Robbie wanted better passing of the ball out from the back, quicker play and with more care in possession and the wide midfielders to ensure they tracked their men. No immediate changes.

The second half got underway with David and Christian having a nervy first 5 minutes (giving the ball away several times) and Tropicana’s early long throws causing some concern but these were cleared away safely. John flicked a clever header through to Robbie in midfield and he broke away before shooting inches wide from outside the area. Scotty and Jordon had several dangerous corners apiece before one broke to John who sold his man on the edge of the box to win a free kick. The poor effort by Robbie saw a dismal end to his footy boots, which had finally disintegrated and he went off to put Gazza’s trusty pair on. Kieran came on for Sam and Pat D came on for Scotty and swapped to go on the left flank while Jordon took Scotty’s position up front. John slipped a neat ball through to Jordon but he couldn’t keep his first touch in play. Morse came on to replace John in holding midfield and was unfortunate to give away a free kick as he cleared the ball well and followed through into the Tropicana striker. Good work down the left by Pat D and Oli resulted in Oli laying the ball back to the onrushing Steve, who took the ball in his stride to see his strike on goal palmed away for poaching Jordon to poke home and give DBFC a 2-1 lead. DBFC were now playing well and Robbie and Oli combined to release Kieran who took a great first touch inside putting him through on goal but could only shoot into the side netting. Robbie broke through in midfield and curled narrowly over again. Pat D was similarly released down the left but as he came back inside he was closed down by some good Tropicana defending. Oli then blazed over the 15 ft high safety netting behind the goal. Tropicana’s long throws continued to cause some problems for the DBFC defence, however, on the breakdown of one of those Tropicana throws the ball went to Robbie free in midfield and he curled a ball over the top of the Tropicana defence for Oli to run on to, head forward in front of the Tropicana defender and coolly slot a shot past the Tropicana keeper to give DBFC a 3-1 lead. Tropicana then pressed to get back into this game and put DBFC under the cosh with a series of long throws to their taller players. In one of these throws the Tropicana striker got highest to flick on his header to their striker (Chris Ingham) who had slipped in unmarked at the back post, to head home and put Tropicana back in the game at 3-2. There was only 5 minutes left of the game and DBFC had the territory and were keeping possession running into the Tropicana corners to eat up the time. At this point Gazza was giving confusing instructions from the side-line asking for players to get the ball in the Tropicana box for chance of a goal. It turns out Gazza had been away looking for one of his two balls that had been kicked over the perimeter fence and he had not realised DBFC were in front. Into the last minute and DBFC held firm for Tropicana’s final two long throw-ins to take the match win with a 3-2 final score.

Gaz got everyone around and we took some very special team photos with the trophy before we all made our way to Pier Bar!

Man of the match – A good but scrappy DBFC performance. Jamie W was accomplished on the ball and the back four largely coped well with the Tropicana threat. Steve was a threat down the left. John and then Morse did well in midfield while Oli was a threat up front (when onside). Robbie constantly nicked the ball off the Tropicana midfield, created lots of opportunities bursting from midfield and was disappointed he didn’t score a couple, definitely should have shot more (although he blames his broken boots for lack of accuracy!). MOM was Robbie, the leaner slice of Bacon.

Dick of the day: not sure we have ever had so many candidates, so we will list them and then summarise the top three:

Travis – For a terrible crossbar challenge effort and taking ages to tie his boot laces while both teams were waiting on the field to start.

Steve – Missed a penalty.

David – Involved in a pantomime scream after an innocuous challenge and then feigned injury rolling on the floor. Also for obtaining a hickey from a throat grab/kiss off the Tropicana striker (Chris Ingham) while his mum and GF were watching him swap telephone numbers with Chris.

Christian – scored an own goal.

Sam – missed from 3 yards and as the evening wore on the distance was growing (5 yards.. 6 yards.. 7 yards…) also for his shot from 20 yards through on goal while flanked by two teammates.

Robbie – forgetting to change his boots at half time. Not scoring.

John – Not taking part in the crossbar challenge. Being in goal to collect the balls is no excuse.

Jordon – his terrible throw-in and his tantrum in the debacle that followed, resulting in his booking. However, this was then trumped when the Tropicana fullback (well over twice Jordon’s age) sold him for dead with a Cruyff turn and this event was posted on the Legal League ‘banter page/managers gripes’ page.

Scotty – For being put through on goal, innocuously by a deflection, and being unable to take advantage as he’d turned away in a strop at not receiving the pass – second time this season (the first being the last Tropicana game).

Oli – for being continuously offside; verdict from the bench was that even his goal was offside?

Gaz – For not telling Oli he needed two goals to become outright second top goal scorer, for losing all the wonderful photos we had taken on the day (including one of Jamie and his son that already had a place on their wall marked out), and For losing Robbie’s ‘loaned’ ball to DBFC.

Stu – a dubious last minute cancellation for his farewell game.

So many options and I’m sure there are more but as it is the last game of the season we will issue a triple dick of the day and the winners are:

Gaz, Jordon, Sam!