DBFC 45s 3 – 1 SIA

Wednesday 12 April 2023 with 20:30 ko

Disciplined Services Sports and Recreation Club, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay.

Squad: Mark, Adam, Greg, Morse (captain), Derrick, Jon, Will O, Ben, Laurence, OB, Jamie, Pat, Anago, Wilson and Yin.

Scorers: Greg x 2 and Adam

The DBFC 45s manager was away on vacation in sunny UK and so Gazza and Morse deputized to oversee this fixture. It was recognized that having agreed to this fixture during the school Easter holidays that squad numbers would be thin and so this was proved to be worse than expected with the vast majority of DBFC 45s players out of Hong Kong. Phone calls and sweet talk managed to confirm 13 players by Wednesday morning that number bounced up with 2 more late confirmations to give very healthy 15 player squad. This included 6 guest players.

All 15 players arrived before kick-off (Anago with 1 minute to spare) although late arrival wasn’t an issue when kick-off was delayed while the DB team debated the optimal camera aspect for a team photo; Gazza insisting David Bailey wouldn’t have it any other way. Once the game got under way, on the massive grass pitch of variable quality, the 45s, initially playing in a 4-5-1 formation, quickly found their feet and took the lead from the first of Greg’s first half brace, after latching on to Yin’s angled through ball to coolly slot low past the out coming SIA keeper. DB 1-0 after 13 minutes.

SIA weren’t threatening too much and were overrun by a hardworking DB midfield core of OB, Laurence and Yin, with OB sitting deeper as libero, as befitting his stature. Jon and Adam were playing on the flanks, getting round the back of SIA defence and preying on loose balls. After 20 minutes played, Patric came on for Ben at right back and sensing the kill and buoyed by a pre-match birthday party he was effectively playing as a 6th midfielder, allowing SIA’s winger some rare room to roam closer to Jamie and Morse at the heart of the DB defence, making Mark find a quality save from his repertoire, diving full length in the muddy goal mouth and managing to hold on to the ball. In the minutes after, Anago came on for Wilson at LB, Derrick on for Adam at RW and William on for Yin at CM. The 4-5-1 formation continued to prove effective and DB were pressing for another goal. Despite a number of dubious offside calls against a sprightly DB attack, the aging line officials (Danny and Jimmy) have 145 years between them, Greg grabbed his second of the evening with a drive across the SIA goal into the far right corner. DB 2-0 after 30 minutes and this score line remained for half time.

Half-time player rotations saw Yin back on for Laurence, Adam on at LW for Jon, Patric moved up to RW and Ben back on at RB with Derrick coming off. The 4-5-1 formation continued but wasn’t proving so effective in the first 20 minutes of the second half and SIA were having more joy and kept Mark on his toes in the DB goal. It was time for change, so Gazza made the final rotation of substitutions giving instructions to go to a 4-4-2 formation. Laurence, Jon and Wilson came back on for OB, Patric and Ben; Jon to play up top with Greg, Launce to LM and Adam moving to RM, leaving William and Yin to manage CM. Wilson came in at left back so that Anago could move to right back. This seemed to work well, resulting in more attacks from Greg and Jon but the dubious off-side calls continued to be frustrating. Nevertheless, after 5 minutes of the new formation DB pressing paid off when The ball was passed inside from the left and slipped through to Greg coming in from the right, to check his run and neatly chip to the ball to the far goal line for Adam, who smartly moved from the right towards the left goal post, to nod in DB’s third of the evening. DB now very comfortable at 3-0.

Soon after Derrick came back on for Greg up top to partner Jon and Patric back on for Morse (hamstring twinge) at CB to partner Jamie. DB lost rhythm at this stage and were guilty of losing shape in search of more goals. SIA seemed to step up their pace and desire as DB tired legs weren’t so sharp to stop SIA firing balls into the box. A SIA free kick just outside DB 18-yard line was hit low for Mark to save with another full length dive and SIA saw headers dealt with by Mark and Jamie. All looked like Mark was going to get his clean sheet but the referee had other ideas. Feeling sorry for SIA’s unrewarded efforts he gave a penalty for one of the SIA players falling down while taking the ball away from goal. The penalty was taken, a fine shot into the top corner giving Mark no chance, then the final whistle was immediately blown.

A great game by DBFC 45s against a decent SIA side. The two sides played in good spirit and generally no on field issues, although Jamie did get booked for some on the line waltzing with SIA’s defender and keeper during a DB corner.

Report by Ben Ridley