DBFC Vets 1 – 1 FWD Seniors FC
Venue: Happy Valley Recreation Ground Pitch 4 —- kick-off: 27 November 21:30
Squad: Gianluca, Neil, Morse (Captain), Dirk, Gazza, Pascal, Thierry, Martin, Kieran C, Pat D and Oisin.
Boss Dirk struggled to get a squad together for this match, which was originally scheduled for a Saturday morning to clash with the Legal League team playing Saturday afternoon. So when FWD also wanted to avoid Saturday and the alternative Friday night came along Dirk snapped it up. Mid-week games are usually good for DBFC Vets but with the Clockenflap music festival starting that afternoon and the unusual late kick-off, especially on a Friday night, numbers were down. Nevertheless, with a bit of ear bending Dirk pulled a decent side together. FWD were insistent on playing in white as their home game and therefore Dirk scrambled around to find extra black shirts (last season’s away kit) to provide this season’s new boys —- well he got Gazza to do it.
Dirk, with his side kick (assistant manager) Mike, huddled the team for the pre-game team talk. After introducing new boy Kieran Chan, there was a lot of tactical (some would say testicle) talk from Dirk in laying out his game plan, which boiled down to get the ball and kick it in their goal for us to win the match. Mike looked on wide eyed at the boss’s genius and acknowledged his order to stay off the first half to make sure the tactics are working by responding “yes kemosabe”. A five minute (pretend)warm-up ensued and the team formation set-up for kick-off; Gianluca (keeper), Morse and Neil CB, Gazza LB, Dirk RB, Thierry, Pascal and Martin CM, Kieran LW, Pat D RW and Oisin CF (big target man).
The game started disjointed for both sides as players struggled with controlling and passing the ball on the slow pitch and poor lighting. However, it was DBFC that seemed to adapt to the playing conditions best as they took charge of the game. Nice moves down both flanks saw Martin have a few shots on target from narrow angles (maybe a cross one time would have been a better option) and also Pat on goal from a narrow angle. On all occasions the FWD keeper blocked. DBFC had numerous corners that presented half chances that DBFC could not convert. When DBFC won a throw-in, deep in FWD’s half, Morse was sent up to execute one of his trade mark long throws. The relatively narrow Happy Valley pitch meant Morse launched his throw onto the penalty spot where Oisin was waiting to head it sweetly into FWD’s goal. A perfectly legitimate goal that was disallowed by the referee for an alleged push on a FWD defender. A truly awful decision by the referee that led to some animated outcries of injustice from a number of the DBFC players but in HK the referee never changes his decision. FWD had a decent side and had a number of forays on the DBFC goal, making the DBFC defence work hard and Gianluca on his toes for a couple of good saves. However, DBFC’s dominance of the first half was mostly down to the big work-rate by our two French Fighters in midfield (Pascal and Thierry) who both put in tackle after tackle to disrupt the FWD midfield.
Half time finished 0 – 0 with DBFC feeling that they should have had a couple of goals. Dirk pointed out that we were well on top and looking comfortable against a good FWD side and that the same intensity was needed in the second half. Mike C came on for Martin and Adam came on for Oisin. Dirk requested that the guys on the side-line in the second half should come later to replace obvious tired legs. Other pointers to help performance was for Neil to stop falling over the ball, Gazza to stop fresh air kicks and Morse to stop telling the crap referee that he was crap.
The second half started again with DBFC slightly on top but it was obvious that FWD stepped up the pace and intensity. FWD were pressuring the DBFC goal more in the second half and consequently the game was going from one end of the pitch to the other quickly. It was FWD that drew first blood when their fast tall striker (looked a couple of days over 35) turned quickly into the FWD left channel on receiving a pass at about 30 yards out from the DBFC goal box. He caught Dirk flat footed to just out-pace him and drive in to fire a lower powerful shot past Gianluca into the far corner of the DBFC goal to put FWD 1 – 0 up. DBFC were winded by this goal as it seemed unjust after all the DBFC chances. Nevertheless, positive shouts from Boss Dirk and Captain Morse to continue to focus on our game plan and press for an equalizer done the trick as DBFC turned up the gas and were getting through a number of times at the FWD Goal. Many corners came about and from one of them a FWD player lost sight of the ball behind a couple of DBFC players jumping for the header. The header was missed and the ball carried through onto the FWD player who had inexplicably raised his arms. A clear penalty that the referee could not conceive to ignore and no complaints from the FWD players, whom rounded on their own player asking reason for his raised arms —– maybe he was surrendering to the DBFC dominance. Anyway, up stepped Thierry and placed a low drive accurately into the bottom right corner of the FWD goal to make it 1 – 1 with about 15 minutes to go. DBFC continued to press and see a number of half chances and FWD were making big play for a counter attack to grab a winner. It was DBFC who worked the best chance when pascal went through the FWD back line to be one on one with the FWD keeper. Pascal drew the keeper and the flicked a right foot shot to the advancing keeper’s left towards goal. It looked good but for the pace of the ball that slowed quickly on the new happy valley astro and allowed the FWD keeper to turn and scurry back and dive to save the ball on the goal line. A golden opportunity for DBFC to grab just rewards. The game finished 1 – 1 and all agreed it was a tough, fairly even and good game of football. What else would you want to do on a Friday night?
Man of the Match: A number of contenders as all players made a good performance with seriously hard graft. Pascal in the middle as a constant dynamo performance, Oisin making spaces for himself to receive the ball at his feet, Martin for the number of shots on goal, Pat for the number of corners taken and Morse for his ever presence at CB and his giant throw-ins. However this match belongs to Thierry for pure grit in midfield, with dozens of rock-hard tackles, good distribution and for a cool-dude penalty.
Moment to forget: Gazza’s disappearance during the pre-match talk to return and explain to the team he’d had an upset stomach and pebble-dashed the changing room toilet. Pascal’s one on one miss, the second time this has happed for the DBFC Vets this season (similar situation against French Dragons). Pat for calling Oisin 10 minutes before kick-off asking how he gets to the pitch (having played fat happy valley since he was a boy).
Report by Gazza