DBFC Vets (7) – USRC 1911 (1)

Friday 3rd February 2023

Kings Park Pitch 3

19:30 kick-off

Starting XI: Travis – Anago, Tita (captain), Rigby, Nik – San, Jonatan, Steve Lang, Sammy – Crommy, Dog

Subs: Nin, Pius

Injured GK: Bradders

Goals – Sammy x3, Steve L x2, San, Nik

Kings Park was bustling on a warm Friday night, filled with supporters there for the ‘rugger’. This made for a risky warm-up as the small DBFC squad tried to avoid being mown down by some sizeable people with no necks. DBFC had had two months to dwell on their previous fixture, a painful defeat in a top-of-the-table clash with Spartans. Gazza had analysed the video and decided the side needed more heart, presumably accompanied by a Keegan-esque chest-beating or at least a Tim Henman fist-pump, and to score more than the opposition.

The crowd on pitch 3 was smaller than that on the top pitch with just Tim Bredbury and his teleoscopic lens overlooking the action between USRC and DBFC whilst Bradders and his injured finger were on security detail. The start of the game was a little rushed, but largely found DBFC on the attack, with USRC aiming to counter down the left wing. Early on, Crommy looked like he was clipped in the box more than once, but by the time he had landed, the referee had forgotten the infringement. Winger San went close with one shot from distance before a wayward attempt from further out. He then put in his first perfect cross of the night, to Dog, 6 yards out, who managed to clear the bar with ease.

It was all looking rather good until it suddenly didn’t. Having spent 30 minutes playing swiftly out from the back, through Tita, Riggers and Jonatan, stand-in keeper Travis’s confidence was oozing. Receiving a back pass, Travis opted to curl a Pirlo-esque first time ball across the goal only to find the USRC sniper perfectly camouflaged on the edge of the box, happy to claim his gift. The frustration led to a bit of a a bruiserweight rutting display between Tita and Travis as the pair squared off in the calming down stakes. Tita showed his leadership by toeing the ball 120 yards down the pitch in his next contribution, straight out for a goal kick, and we could then get back on with the game.

DBFC’s equalizer came late in the half. Interplay on the left with Jonatan, Riggers and Sammy left Nik on the right-back’s shoulder. His first touch allowed him to go in behind and he heard the opposition substitute comment ‘get him, he has a crap touch’. Thinking about what ‘quality tekkers’ he had already shown, the left-back considered the perfect, low curling cross he would lay on for Dog to prove the oppo wrong. Instead, Nik shanked a high straight ball just over the keeper’s head. Appropriately, nobody celebrated the strike but DBFC were back on level terms

Gazza made two subs at half-time, swapping Pius for Dog and Nin for Anago. Pius, who had so recently celebrated turning 35 that he was probably still reading his birthday cards in the first half, injected a burst of youthful mobility and it was the pressing of Pius, Crommy and Steve Lang that created a number of quick turnovers in the USRC defence, providing chance after chance in the second half.

Gazza had also switched our two wide midfielders and they combined on the alternate sides, with San’s long cross from the left being expertly brought down by Sammy at the far post before striking firmly into the bottom corner. The shock to USRC was shown in their own clumsy attempt to play out from the back. Steve Lang intercepted the ball just outside the box and drove a fine finish home with his left foot.

DBFC were clearly in the ascendancy and Sammy claimed the fourth. Support from right-back Nin, and quick passing with Jonatan and Pius put Sammy up against their left back. Having already unnerved him with multiple twisting runs, he cut inside to line up a shot into the far corner. Continuing the flowing football, Crommy and Pius put Sammy free behind the defence. This time, Sammy turned provider, pulling the ball back for Steve Lang to join him on two goals. Another swiftly followed as Nik advanced from left back playing in San. His first shot was well saved but even under pressure, San coolly lobbed the keeper to make it 6-1.

Enjoying the beautiful game in front of him, Riggers decided to get in on the act. Like a Wenger-era Tony Adams, nose ‘n’ all, he spotted a gap fifty yards in front of him. Jonatan’s pass was overhit for once enabling the keeper to sensibly shadow the ball out. Rigby’s decision making was anything but sensible as he crunched through the goalkeeper from behind in an ‘attempt’ to keep the ball in play. And let us never allow him over the half-way line again.

Crommy was having equal joy in the attacking third as a succession of crosses were played inches in front of him, behind, flicked past him by Pius or drawing other defenders away to leave team-mates well-placed to score. Selflessly, he could see the greater good, as this was the case in the last seconds as Dog’s low ball across the 6-yard box was met by the on-rushing Sammy to complete his hat-trick.

DBFC were glad it all worked out in the end and were able to enjoy the earlier than usual finish at the clubhouse and a welcome return to form.