DBFC Vets 1 – 2 Spartans Masters
When: 12 December 2022 with 21:00 KO
Where: King George V school pitch (KGV)
Squad: Bradders, Nin, Riggers, Nik, Ping, Tong, Jonatan, San, Sammy, Pierre, DJ, Ben, Kwai, Pui, Pedro, Morse and Tita.
Games against Spartans Masters are always tough, so Gaffer Gazza blew the bugle loud to get good availability, and so it was with 19 available and 3 maybes. In the end it was managed down to a squad of 17 players.
Last time DBFC faced off with Spartans Masters it was in the Cup final at Sandy Bay in August and DBFC lost 1-0 in a game we mostly dominated. So in this scheduled league match DBFC were looking for a win as a taste of pay back and Gaffa talked up the team for a battle.
DBFC set off confidently with lots of possession but mostly in their own half as the DBFC midfield drifted deeper as the game moved on. Spartans seemed happy to let DBFC play in their own half and wait for timely pressing to win the ball, Spartans gave a few scares breaking fast when possession won and got the ball in the DBFC net but ruled off-side.
This was a wakeup call along with the side-line yelling from Gaffa Gazza to move the midfield higher and this resulted in more positive pressing forward and a number of half chances on the Spartans goal. After about 20 minutes played Tong at RM swapped positions with Sammy at RM so that they could cut in on their favoured foot to open for a shot on goal. After 30 minutes played that move proved worthwhile as some good play down the right side got Sammy away to cut into the Spartans box and drive a low powerful shot towards the near post. The Spartans keeper got down quickly with a dive to the near post but spilled the ball into the path of Pierre Olivier’s follow up for him to dink over the keeper and into the net. This put DBFC 1-0 up and well deserved on the balance of play.
The second half started with many changes for DBFC and maybe this was contributory to a disjointed and less urgent DBFC second half display. However, for the first 10 minutes of the second half DBFC held their own and had clear penalty claims turned down and what looked like a good goal by Pui following up on the Spartan’s keeper’s save from a Nik light powerful drive from 18 yards, was dismissed by the referee for offside. DBFC pressed forward after this sensing that they had gained the upper hand and many attempts on goal failed at the final pass. DBFC were leaving themselves a bit stretched in the back four and it was a breakaway that caught them out, when the Spartan’s midfield picked up the ball in their own half and played a well weighted pass between the DBFC centre backs Riggers and Nin for the Spartans left winger to run onto for one on one with Bradders to lift the ball over his spreading body. A silly goal to concede at a critical time in the match and as Spartans caught the wind in their sails DBFC started to find it difficult.
However, after 20 minutes gone DBFC lifted their effort and pressed the Spartans goal looking for the goal to get on top again. DBFC won a corner that the keeper caught under challenge that DBFC and the referee thought fair but Spartans remonstrated loudly and aggressively. During this melee it was an exchange of words between Kwai and Andy Mitchell of Spartans (presumably in Cantonese cos Kwai not use English) that resulted in Andy swinging an elbow while the referee looked on and consequently got himself a straight red card.
With Spartans down to 10 men DBFC pressed again and were unlucky not to score and had good penalty claim turned down once more. It looked like a goal would come for DBFC when, with ten minutes left, Spartans broke down the right and stepped past the DBFC left back to put in a good cross that fell perfectly between Nik and Tita to the tallest Spartans player to head firmly passed Bradders. A devastating blow that Spartans held onto despite a DBFC siege on the Spartans goal.
Everyone in the DBFC squad was disappointed with their performance that should have been more clinical in getting goals from the good build up football. Lessons learned and we move on and be ready for Spartans next time.
This was not the Christmas present that Gaffa Gazza was looking for from his players but he settled back into philosophical acceptance that life is full of ups and downs and it is the smiling through the down times that carries us on. He is now looking forward to his Chinese New Year present being a big win on 16 January 2023 (DBFC v Happy Valley Spartans).