DBFC Vets 3 – 1 Spartans Masters

When: 15 May 2023 with 20:30 KO
Where: Hong Kong International School (HKIS) pitch, Tai Tam.
Squad: Travis, Tita, Nin, Kwai, Nik, Justin, San, Crommy, Darius, Sammy, Mahenya (Job), Simon, Anago and Bradders.
Scorers: Crommy x2, Darius.

Last night was a big game for DBFC Vets in their chase to secure the Legends League title. Standing at the top of the league table 6 points clear of their opponents Spartans Masters in second place and each with 3 games to play, this match was a quasi-cup final.

DBFC Vets struggled to get players to journey out to the remote location of Hong Kong International School at Redhill near Stanley at the south east tip of HK Island and hours before Kick-off only had 11 players confirmed. However, in the hour leading to the game start DBFC had 13 players after late confirmation from Kwai and Anago. Also making up the numbers was long ago DBFC regular player Simon Yuen, visiting HK on a business trip from his home in Australia. Also, of note, was that long time DBFC player Darius turned 35 years’ old on 4 May 2023 and was making his debut for the DBFC Vets team, a testament to the DBFC youth training policy.

DBFC took control from the kick-off, as Spartans defended deep with an obvious strategy for counter attacking football. There was lots of fast fluid passing by DBFC around their back four of Kwai, Nin, Tita and Nik and through their midfield three of San, Justin and Crommy, which was superb to watch and created chance after chance via the wings of the DBFC little speedsters, Sammy and Darius, to create scoring opportunities through Job playing centre-forward. A hardworking and organised Spartans defence kept DBFC out for 20 minutes, with some fine saves by the Spartans’ keeper, before Crommy got on the end of a string of passes to slot the ball into the Spartans’ net. Once DBFC got this first goal Spartans opened up their play and threatened the DBFC goal on a couple of occasions but Travis was confident in goal (as usual) directing his defence like Admiral Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar. The spaces in the Spartans defence then opened but DBFC just couldn’t capitalize on numerous good chances and the first half finished DBFC 1 – 0 Spartans.

DBFC started the second half again on top with their good passing, switching play from left to right across the wide HKIS pitch and penetrating down the centre to Job, tirelessly working the channels upfront. It was one of these passages of play when San popped the ball through the Spartans’ back-line into the channel for Job to run onto but he was tackled to free the ball in the Spartans 18 yards’ goal area. This caused some panic in Spartans box and Job took advantage to react first and prod the loose ball back to Darius at the edge of the 18-yard box, who then turned it out left for Crommy to overlap and fire a cracking left foot shot into the top far corner of the Spartans’ net. This was Crommy’s second goal to put DBFC 2 nil up after 15 minutes of the second half.

The second half continued with DBFC Vets in control and threatening to score more but the next goal was to be from Spartans against the run of play. DBFC controversially lost possession on their left wing when the referee awarded a foul in favour of Spartans when in fact it should have been the opposite call (reporter was practically standing on the incident) and from there Spartans moved down their right flank towards the DBFC corner flag. However, Darius recovered to regain possession and instead of clearing the back lines as Nik was directing, Darius decided to dribble and turn towards his own goal and instead of then clearing tried a silly back heel to Nik near the corner flag, which fell short to the same lone Spartans striker on the Wing. The Striker drove in on the DBFC by-line with Nik and Nin closing him down and Darius diving in to upend him. It was clearly outside the box but the linesman was adamant it was inside so the referee awarded a penalty that was well taken to give Travis no chance. So Spartans got back to 2-1 (a giveaway goal) with 15 minutes left of the second half.

DBFC shrugged off the disappointment and continued their passing football and compact defence as Spartans pushed for the equalizer, but it was DBFC to score their third goal with 5 minutes left to play when Sammy cut in from the right and slotted the ball through to Darius who had made a run through the Spartans’ 18-yard box from the left wing to be level with Sammy, then to check out and turn and fire a great shot back across the face of the Spartans’ goal into the far corner of the net. It was a fantastic goal.

A 3-1 win with a great team performance to produce some top quality football. Well done Lads!!!!

This win put us out of reach of Spartans Masters with 2 games left and only HKFC theoretically able to catch us with goal difference. However, later that evening we learned that HKFC lost to KCC in a same evening fixture, confirming DBFC as Legend League Champions.