FWD 5 : 2 DBFC

Venue: Tsing Yi North East Park

Date: 14 January, 2017.

Time: 15:00

DBFC: Martin Yu (GK), Morse (LB), Matt Orr (LCB), Martin Reiner (RCB), Syd (RB), Dom & Pascal (CM), Jordon (RW), Scott (LW), Halder (AM), Zoeller (CF). Subs: David R and Kelvin with Dan Lye and Benny Roberts arriving late due to work.

And so the season began again after a long Xmas break of drinking, eating and not doing very much. Fortunately everyone was keen to get back playing and we had a good response to the roll call, managing to put a strong squad together. Unfortunately Dan Keenan couldn’t make it – rather bizarrely he had ice skating lessons at the rink in Festival Walk (a Xmas present).

Due to the earlier kick off than usual, we only managed to get everyone at the pitch for a warm up with about 15 minutes before kick-off.  After a few runs, and individual stretches, Gaffer Gaz got everyone together, announced the team and emphasized that we have to match FWD for effort and be wary of them on the break. Riggers declared that he was out after the warm-up, indicating his calf was “buggered”.

The game started well, and FWD just looked to be a long ball team, hitting the ball up to their pacey strikers. We were dealing with it quite well initially, but a gap between our centre-backs and midfield appeared too often and a FWD player was consistently able to easily pick up the ball in that area.

Nevertheless, we were holding our own and soon took the lead. Dom put a beautiful cross-field through ball into Scotty Holmes, which he took out of the air in his stride and after a couple of touches fired a low drive in at the far post.

At 1-0 up we continued to look comfortable in search of the second goal and came close on a couple of occasions. We were not at our best but FWD were just punting the long ball. After 20 minutes Syd came off saying he was feeling sick having battled with flu during the week. Fortunately Ben had turned up so was a straight swap for Syd at right back. After 25 minutes Scotty came off for a breather and debutant Kelvin came on into centre midfield pushing Pascal out to right midfield. Still we seemed to have the edge in possession and play.

Then it changed when Yankee Doodle referee came to FWD’s rescue to turn the tide. A FWD long ball went over the top of our defence to the right side of our 18 yard box, going away from our goal and Martin Rainer simply shepherded the ball out of play with his shoulder fending off the FWD striker, who saw it was a lost cause so went down screaming like an electrocuted goat. The USA referee, thinking that he was back home refereeing a basketball game, gave a ‘P-K’ because of physical contact. This was such a bad and erroneous decision.

FWD scored the penalty to equalize.

In the last seconds before half time disaster stuck and FWD went ahead. Martin Yu hesitated as to whether or not to come off his line to intercept another FWD long ball into our box and when he did come to collect, he was caught by slight miss-timing and the spin of the ball at the bounce to leave him in in no-man’s land, for the FWD striker to run around him and roll the ball into an empty net. No time to re-start as the whistle was blown for half time.

Half time team talk focused on getting back in control of the game by working hard and giving a lot more grit, determination effort as DBFC were suffering from post Xmas weariness. Dan Lye came on for Dom, who was carrying a “niggle”, came off for a breather and Dan Lye went on with the instruction to sit deeper and fill the hole.  Zol was looking like he’d been with a vampire all night; white as a sheet, he advised he was suffering from flu but would carry on and let me know if he needed off.

The second half started in disastrous fashion. Dan Lye, working in the hole as directed, intercepted the ball (probably his first touch since coming on) but instead of passing clear, tried a Cryuff turn and got tackled.  The FWD striker won possession 25 yards out facing a gap between our centre-backs to run into one on one with the DBFC keeper.  He tucked it away to put FWD 3-1 up.

Dom came back on for Kelvin but Kelvin soon returned to the field as right back because Ben hobbled off with a knee problem. DBFC picked themselves up and got back into the game and got a deserved goal when Halder put through an excellent defence splitting pass for JB to latch onto and be one on one with the FWD keeper. JB made no mistake and rounded the keeper to slot home. JB was already on a yellow, so he decided against taking his top off to celebrate.

DBFC continued to push and had a few half chances before, once again, being caught on the receiving end of an FWD sucker punch. After a break and then a mad scramble in the box, the ball fell kindly to an FWD player who volleyed it in.

This was too much for poor JB to take. After 15 attempted nutmegs and not one being pulled off, JB repeated his early silly tactic of kicking an FWD player’s ankles from behind to bring him down and receive a second yellow for a red to be sent off.  This was much to the joy of the FWD players, who were like a moths round a light bulb when remonstrating with the referee. DBFC down to 10 men had extinguished any chance of coming back.

A disappointing game was concluded with a fifth goal from FWD to make it 5-2. When we meet them again, different tactics and a different mindset will be required. We accept this as a wake-up call that we are not to take games so lightly, with a supercilious air of expectation that the opposition will roll over.

MOM: The minibus. Good suspension, comfy seats and some excellent driving. Got us to the pier bar in no time.

DOD: JB.

No justification required…