DBFC Vets 0 BTDT 0

Saturday 26th September

Squad: Dirk, Gazza, Morse, Pascal, Baz, Tim, Mike C, Adam, Thierry, Neil J, Nana, Amin, Andy P

With a squad of 13 players and no recognized keeper, DBFC arrived at Kowloon Bay Park for the first game of the season to find uncertainty as to whether the game would be played or not. With a thunderstorm warning hoisted and heavy rain 30 minutes before kick-off, it looked doubtful. Then the heavens cleared, the thunder and lightening stopped and we thought game on. That’s until park management decided the clear skies were still too risky for us to have a game of footie. In stepped the linesman, and after a bit of persuasion behind closed doors, park management backed down and the game was allowed to kick off, albeit 30 mins delayed, meaning a shortened game.

We set up with a 4-5-1 formation, with Nana thankfully volunteering in goal, a spritely back four of Baz, Neil J, Andy P and Gazza, an unwell Thierry getting out of bed to play defensive mid, the ever industrious Adam on the right, the combative Morse on the left, the tricky Pascal centre mid, our play-maker Tim sitting in the no. 10 role and debutant terrier-like Amin up front.

With BTDT only having 10 men, DBFC quickly took control of the game, having the majority of possession and distributing the ball well to the flanks, although lacking that cutting edge in the final third. It was also clear that BTDT were adopting the same tactics as last season by sitting deep and packing the defense, making it hard for us to get in behind their defense and test the keeper.

BTDT’s 11th man turned up so it was now even and although DBFC continued to have the majority of possession, we had to be careful when losing the ball as BTDT looked to counter. However, each time they broke, defensively, we looked solid, keeping our shape, tracking players and Nana coming off his line to clear any danger.

A couple of through balls over the top put BTDT under threat, but the ball skimmed off the wet surface. The midfield 4 of Pascal, Tim, Morse and Adam were seeing plenty of the ball, and the wide men were getting balls into the danger area, but Amin was getting crowded out with either two or three defenders constantly around him. DBFC required a slightly different tactic.

Unfortunately, with Baz bombing towards goal, one of the BTDT guys clipped him and he went down clutching his ankle. Game over for the captain, and so a reshuffle was required with Magic Mike coming in on the left and Morse dropping back to left back, so lowering the average age of the back maybe just shy of 50.

As the 1st half drew to a close, quick thinking Tim gathered a pass from Neil, turned and popped a lovely ball over BTDT’s defense for Amin to run on to and just when he was about the pull the trigger, BTDT’s central defender made a last ditch tackle to deny a near certain goal on his debut. The wingers were now also being more intelligent, cutting back balls rather than firing them in, but we could still not find any way past the keeper.

Half time team talk was keeping it much the same, making BTDT work hard for the ball, and looking at pull backs with players on the edge of the box. One change was made with Dirk coming on for Gazza at right wing back.

The start of the 2nd half was bossed by DBFC, using the full width of Kowloon Bay Park, with DBFC switching play and making BTDT work for the ball. The half was cut to 18 minutes, so we upped the pace, and could see BTDT sitting deeper and potentially holding out for the draw. Space was opening up. A few long shots didn’t really test either keeper, a lovely through ball from Tim found Dirk but the pull-back ended for a corner. The resulting corner was played to the edge of the box, with Tim pulling his shot just wide of the post.

Both Dirk and Morse were pushing forward, looking to support the attack. Amin was industrious as ever up front, and there was some nice inter-play between Amin, Tim and Pascal that created a few more chances that the keeper saved. In the final minutes, a sliding tackle led to a DBFC free kick on the edge of the box, but nothing came of it.

In the end, as the final whistle blew, like last season, the game finished 0-0, and DBFC were left to rue possibly 3 points dropped rather than being satisfied with a drew.

However, everyone put in a shift and worked their socks off and we can be happy with how we played overall.

Report by Dirk