DB45s 3: HK Rep Team Veterans FC 5

Tuesday 27 February 2018 at Happy Valley Pitch 1, KO 6.30 p.m.

Starting line up: Toni/ Dirk, Matija, Steve, Gary/ Paul, Stefano, Dom/ Scott, Oisin, Kieran Mck.

Subs: Gianluca (2nd half goaly) Kieran C, Pat, Barry (2nd half), Nick (2nd half).

After 3 successive wins, the DB45s (with some younger guest players than usual) came down to earth with a bump, receiving a good lesson in seniors’ football from a team comprised of players who had represented Hong Kong at various levels. The friendly tone of the evening was set by the opposition presenting us with their team pennant and with a request that we go easy on their Number 10, who was the sponsor/ manager of their team. At this point some of our old boys were thinking what concessions we could extract in return. The game started in almost surreal fashion as HK Reps appeared to just stand off and get the measure of what they were up against. Within 15 minutes we were 2-0 up and enjoying a balmy HK evening. First Kieran Mck with a straightforward finish after Dom’s shot was deflected, followed shortly by Stefano’s header from a cross from Paul. Although we immediately gave them a soft goal after a misplaced pass out of defence, we thought that was a mere aberration. We got our noses in front again with a well taken goal from Oisin who lobbed over the keeper to make it 3-1 and this appeared to stir HK Reps into action. HK Reps began to take control of the game with some very simple football – keeping a shape, drawing us in and then getting in behind our defence with 2 quick guys on either side of a man mountain of a Brazilian centre forward. We went into the first break at 25 minutes 3-3. We did not help ourselves with some chaotic substitutions, trying as ever to get everyone as much game time as possible, but in the process losing our shape with players out of their normal positions. In the 2nd 25 minutes period, HK Reps continued to influence the play and took the lead with another ball into the channels and simple tap in from a left wing cross along the 6 yard box. We had a number of chances to get back into the game, most notably an effort from Dom that hit the crossbar and one from Nick that fizzed over the bar. HK Reps could have put the game out of sight but sportingly and deliberately missed a penalty after deciding that Stefano’s push in the box was not hard enough. But with the last move of the game, HK Reps scored their 5th as a through ball was chased down by their rapid winger who accelerated beyond our central defenders and gave Gianluca no chance. At that point, a friendly exchange between Matija and their scorer: “How old are you?” Answer: “27”. A disappointing result and, in truth, a disappointing performance and we need to learn how to counter this type of “ex-pro” football. HK Reps ended the evening with a message to the DB45s: “Can we play you every month?” Next time…..

MOM: with the new ruling that only Over 45s are eligible, the award goes to Gary. A good honest shift against a quick winger.

DOD: all those who disrupted the manager’s carefully crafted substitutions’ plan. Not helped by a plan that envisaged 4 quarters but ended up being 3 thirds. But at least get the basics right, lads – when you come on as a sub, someone has to come off.