DBFC Vets 3 – 2 Spartans Masters

20th March 2019 at Hong Kong International School with Kick-off 8:30pm

Squad: Bradders (GK), Swoz, Matija, Morse, Simon, SeanC, Pascal (Captain), Crommy, Ariel, Kieran, Angelo, Pedro, SteveR, Michel and Brendon.

Scorers: Matija, Brendon and Angelo

DBFC Vets trekked across Hong Kong on a steamy night in high spirits hoping to get the win against Spartans Masters and so book their place in the semi-finals of the cup. The squad arrived an hour early allowing a quality warm up for David in goal as he retrieved errant shots from Angelo (repeatedly), an ominous portent for the future possibly, or maybe him just getting the bad ones out. Once that was out the way, manager Pascal selected a strong side to take on a physically tough Spartans team. Immediately after kick-off Spartans showed what they were about, a tackle, by number 7, later than the MTR on Monday on right back Simon left him reeling, the referee deciding that a two-footed tackle utterly missing the ball was of course just a warning, the precedent had been set for a gritty encounter.

As the game wore on it became clear that DB were superior with the ball at their feet, some nice movement between the midfield and strikers creating space. It was from this combination that a corner was played out to Crompton who delivered a pin point cross to the back post. Matija, up from the back, hammered the ball first time on the volley past the keeper before he knew what had happened. Reminiscent of Paolo Di Canio against Wimbledon 18 years ago this was the first moment of real quality and showed Spartans that they might have a game on their hands. Following the goal there was some messy play, emphasising the high quality of the game the ball got lost in some trees a couple of times and generally there was nothing to write about (probably some more bad tackles). As the first half wore on, Matija, with renewed confidence that he should be up front not at centre half took the ball on the edge of the box. Unfortunately for the big man a heavy touch saw Spartans break quickly and a two on one left David in goal sprawling and the game back level at 1-1. Not much time was left in the first half, but just enough time for number 7 to throw himself into another ill-advised tackle on Simon, this time the referee was fast on the scene to deliver a warning which really made him consider his actions. Half time 1-1.

The second half began much like the first, some poor tackles, decent play but DB just lacked the cutting edge. This was until after defending a corner from Spartans a clearance from Matija found Brendon break past the Spartans defence, with the keeper rushing out he hit the ball first time with pace taking it over his head and into goal. At this point the match reporter (SteveR) felt it was safe to bring himself on from the bench, Angelo also re-joined the action after a few minutes off to recharge. What followed was described latterly as a clusterf*** by stalwart centre-half Steve Woz. A hopeful ball in by Spartans was air kicked (by me) then the striker gave Pedro the run around and scored a goal to take the game back level again at 2-2. The second half then witnessed a miracle, the referee found some cards, one for Pascal and finally one for the determined number 7. To really show he meant business the ref then decided that he would not give a second yellow for a tackle from behind, he had just come off the (1982) game between France and West Germany and decided it was probably fair.

As the clock ran down Spartans began to dig in for the draw, with 5 minutes to go through Angelo showed the warm up routine of hammering the ball over was a canny ploy to make them think we were poor. He took the ball on the edge of the box, beat 4 or 5 players, gave the keeper the eyes and slotted it home, a fantastic individual goal to round off three quality strikes from DB. Only 5 minutes remained, enough time for a bit more poor refereeing, kicking from Spartans and some moaning but not enough for them to draw level. DBFC finished out the game and probably deservedly took it 3-2, the cup run continues.

MOM: Many contenders as all players gave 100% and great football by many. However, Angelo’s sublime skills at dribbling and composure in front of goal to get the winner out of nothing with only 5 minutes remaining has to take the award.

DOD: Matija was considered for doing his usual trick of taking the ball from centre back to midfield to centre forward and  then losing possession for Spartans to counter and score a goal. However, Matija is excused for an otherwise solid performance and scoring a spectacular volley. The award this time goes to the match reporter (SteveR) for his complete fresh air swing that allowed a Spartans player to take the ball and run through to get a goal.

Match Reporter: Steve Rudall