DBFC Vets 1 – HKFC 1

Venue: Hong Kong Football Club

27 May 2022 with 20:30 kick off

Starting: Bradders – Ping, Nin, Tita, Sammy – Dog, Jonatan, San, Crommy, Nik – Sam R

Subs – Kwai, Pui, Simon, Dan, Pedro

Goal – Tita (Pen)

The old men of DB vets had got a lot older since their last match in January. Some club stalwarts had left HK, at least temporarily, but the four month hiatus allowed others to reach their glorious mid-30s and new arrivals to make their debuts.

This provided a well-balanced squad all present and correct ahead of the game to appreciate the potency of ‘Dave’ (apparently) Bradders’ Deep Heat application in the pleasant surroundings of HKFC. Approaching kick-off, Crommy led a vigorous warm-up and motivational pep-talk along the lines of ‘we’re old and there isn’t many of them, so be patient’. Lining up as 4-5-1 with Sam Riley in the target position, attention was drawn to small issue of a missing referee. Hero of the hour Simon was lent a whistle and the game could get under way.

As expected, there was lots of nice football, HKFC keeping patient possession, whilst new signing Jonatan together with San in central midfield were moving the ball well for DBFC before finding over-loads, particularly with Sammy’s marauding runs from left-back. We had a number of opportunities from advanced positions but couldn’t find the right ball, particularly when the author shanked a half-volley cross into the side netting with various team-mates well placed.

DBFC thought we had taken the lead when Crommy’s shot from the edge of the box was parried back out. Dog was sharpest to the rebound but his strike was cleared by a defender around the goal line. Simon hadn’t picked up the goalline technology buzzer and so it stayed nil-nil.

HKFC then took the lead when the Halley’s Comet of football – a cross that went over Tita’s head – was met by their winger to deliver a textbook downward header into the net. The first subs were then made – Kwai for Sam R, Pui for Dog, and the arrival of our referee for the night – on for Simon.

The second half was a bit cagier with fewer chances at each end. HKFC were limited to a few set pieces snuffed out by Tita, though the one significant piece of action in Bradders ‘David’ Bradders’ box was his punching clear a high cross only for the diminutive attacking midfielder to bullet his forehead into the keeper’s bottom four ribs.

Our equalizer came about in slightly unexpected fashion, when it was appearing difficult to fashion a chance. It’s not clear how he got there, but centre-back Nin found himself on the edge of the box facing away from goal, and the HKFC defender clumsily went through the back him. A clear penalty for the well-placed referee. Defensive partner Tita thumped home the penalty for 1-1.

Pui almost claimed the winner late on with a powerful volley from Sammy’s long cross. Though it only went just over, SpaceX satellites have caught sight of it, it was struck with such force.

One more bit of ‘was it over the line?’ drama followed when Coach Gazza played ball-boy whilst HKFC’s frustratingly quick winger thought he could retrieve the ball (or at least make a point). Gazza was clear after the game that it was his wife who should take the blame.

A draw was probably a fair result as the referee called time for one of the quickest ways to earn 350HKD in Wanchai. (Guys who went out after the game, please confirm.)

After a game being played in very good spirit, another pleasure at HKFC is the hosting. Gazza continued to make friends and influence people by offering a very charming maid service as ‘Towel-Gate’ played out. A few post-match drinks and such petty annoyances were all forgotten as is probably much of the detail of the game itself.

MOM – I would go for Nin – all action performance in breaking attacks as a last line of defence, some wonderfully cynical Fernadinho-esque fouls, and then drawing a poor challenge for our penalty. All the dark arts of the game.