DBFC 1 – 1 Team Shotgun

Venue: Po Kong Village Road Park —– 2nd May 2015 —– 5:30 pm KO.

Squad: Alessio, Dirk, Pat G, David, Morse, Sam, Stu, Robbie, Pat D, Scotty H, Oli (Captain) and Gaz.

After last Saturday’s league title celebrations had died down, Gaz sent out the email asking availability for the next league match, against Team Shotgun. The team management (Robbie and Gaz) were looking to continue DBFC’ s excellent form in the final two matches to end the season on a high, but this plan was looking shaky when an extraordinary number of the 40 registered players advised that they were not available because of work, family, party and other football commitments. The situation was looking desperate at one time but continual work by Gaz and Robbie in searching and sweet talking players from both the Legal League and Veterans Squads resulted in getting 12 players. Particular thanks are directed to Alessio (changed his wife’s plans to be our goal keeper) Pat Goode (who convinced his wife he’d be back for a party she’d organised him to go to) and Pat Dougan (who swam back from China and told his wife to bugger-off cos he’s playing football) —- Gaz’s hero!

DBFC were back at Po Kong Village Park (a regular venue for DBFC this season) on a hot day to play on its very big pitch. Robbie directed the players to keep possession of the ball at the back and in the midfield until they were better positioned to deliver dangerous through balls and crosses into the box and emphasised the need to stay compact.

Kick-off. Shotgun had kick-off and immediately it was obvious they had a similar game plan to DBFC and had early success with it. They kept possession and a tidy one-two saw their nippy winger get in behind our left back to send in a good cross that Pat G tried to block but  unfortunately the ball was deflected towards goal and in off Alessio’ s shoulder to put Shotgun up 1 – 0 after 2 minutes. DBFC remained positive and worked hard but the game remained with Team Shotgun keeping possession for the next 20 minutes, helped by plenty of DBFC mistakes (poor touches and long balls). However, Shotgun could not create anything other than long range shots as DBFC closed down well. DBFC began to creep back into the match; Stu and Robbie were starting to take control of midfield, rotating their positions well. A good ball forward found Robbie, who then beat his man only to see his cross flash across the Team Shotgun goal with Oli just unable to get there. A similar move down the right had the same result; a dangerous ball over the top released Oli but he was called back by the linesman for a debateable offside. Soon after, another accurate long through ball by Stu released Robbie only for the same linesman to call a ridiculously incorrect offside — he was close to 10 yards onside when the pass was made. Then Robbie was taken down 25 yards out from the Shotgun goal, he got up to take a good free-kick that got up and down over the wall only to be denied by an excellent save from the Shotgun keeper. Scotty H drove into the box well before taking a tumble that the referee waved away. Good passing down the left released Oli to drive into the box, beat 3 players and lay the ball back (on a silver plate) for Stu to slot home from 15 yards OR straight into their keepers arms; it turned out that Stu chose the latter. Half time DBFC were trailing 1 – 0.

The message at half time was positive. Continue to stay compact and let them play the long switch; however, we needed to get tighter to the individual Shotgun players in possession. The need for DBFC to keep possession through the back four, to ensure we got high enough up the pitch to be dangerous and create chances, was emphatically reiterated. The team went back on to the pitch with purpose.

DBFC started strongly. David and Pat were regularly bringing the ball out from the back and playing it into Stu and Robbie, while Pat D, Sam, Morse and Dirk were looking after the ball well. Stu crossed deep and Oli’s header went narrowly wide. Robbie had another free-kick on target saved and not long after Stu put a through ball to release Oli in to the Shotgun box, ahead of the out coming keeper, and was bundled over to win a deserved penalty. Up stepped Captain Oli to blast a decent penalty shot to his right, only to see a flying dive by the Shotgun keeper get a hand out to push it wide around the post for a corner. Scotty H delivered a great corner and David rose highest (like a Stickleback) to glance the ball home and level the score at 1-1. Positive play by DBFC continued. Sam and Robbie worked well down the right and Sam placed the ball back for Stu to deliver a great cross that found Pat D at the back post to execute a head, shoulders, knees and toes routine only for the ball to bumble wide of the target (bet he can’t do that again). A long throw from the left by Morse was flicked on by Oli and then by Robbie to go across Shotgun’s goal but agonisingly a yard ahead of incoming Sam. Gazza came on at left-mid for Pat D with 15 minutes to go. Good possession out from the back found Stu who played a great through ball, reaching Gaz (who had outpaced the young Shotgun full back —- at least 30 years his junior) at the edge of the 6 yard box only to see his delicate volley attempt go  inches over the bar. DBFC were definitely on top at this point. Good work down the right found Morse, coming in on at Shotgun’s far goal post, who pulled the ball back to Robbie for him to slam in a shot to the near post only to see yet another great save by the Shotgun keeper. Into the last 5 minutes, Pat G and Dirk made some strong headers to deny Shotgun the chance to counter attack and Morse stayed very tight to Shotgun’s fast winger (Morse has his telephone number and shoe size) as Shotgun tried to exert some late pressure. Finally the ball broke to Robbie who strode forward and slipped a pass that put Scotty clean through on goal but his touch took him slightly backwards and delay his shot, which was very well blocked by the retreating Shotgun defender and deny DBFC the 3 points. Final score 1-1.

Man of the Match – An excellent DBFC team performance and for most of the second half we displayed a dominant passing game that has been the hallmark of DBFC’ s football all season. Given the unusual situation of having an older team for this game (average age of just under 40 whereas Shotgun’s must have been 25) any doubts of performance were dispelled and we were very unfortunate not to get the three points, mainly because of an excellent performance from the Shotgun goalkeeper and not having that little bit of luck on the day. Pat G and David were excellent, especially in the second half, as was Dirk, Sam, Pat D and Gaz. A special mention goes to Morse who was very tidy in possession and showed a turn of pace to be solid at the back. Scotty and Oli worked their socks off. Robbie was ubiquitous in middle of the park, providing skill and engine and should be recognised for sacrificing his evening game for HKFC to ensure DBFC fielded 11 men.  But MOM goes to Stu who settled after a slow first 10 minutes to dominate the midfield and put some excellent passes through the Shotgun defence. If Stu’s first half shot on goal had been better placed and some of his long excellent passes to players, incorrectly called offside, had been allowed to go, it would have been a complete performance.

Dick of the Day is tough call this week.  There was not much wrong with the performances on and off the field. Obvious calls for this award being Oli, for missing a penalty and Pat G, for wearing Scotty’s underwear. However, after much deliberation the award will go to Mr. Rendall for executing an effective clothes-line tackle, during a frustrating spell in the first half, which could have been a red card and would have been disaster for his team. Luckily or maybe cleverly, Oli somehow turned this desire to maim into a friendly cuddle that fooled the referee. Oli is just misunderstood?
Robbie / Gaz