The Italian’s Are Coming

M

“The Italians are coming; the Italians are coming”. Whispers everywhere, whispers, in a tone that suggested an ominous, detested, yet respected opposition. Background training ground politics and underhand Machiavellian manoeuvres, added tension (educational side road – please view ) … .the Gaffers ‘reported’ ordeals conjured inquisition like scenes…was he gagged, tortured and compromised to keep our training spot?

(It’s ok if you need to share Gaffer?? Did it hurt?)

As a newbie I was quickly realizing… an important match? – Noooo!! This is a core rivalry, a vendetta even…….so everybody – get your mind right.

United’s fine 1-1 draw had cost Cosa Nostra 2 title chase points and gave reason for optimism. A full crew of Legends trained earnestly on Wednesday scorning the open view afforded the spies; hopefully some of the low-key shit we played lulled them into a comfort zone…. but fuggetabaudat … now it’s Monday, Matchday.

A buzzing preparation NOT. An atmosphere akin to dominoes arvo at a retirement home with the highlight discussion being the benefits, or not, of various underwear.

The gaff had a bit to say, mostly to himself, about giving stick back to Masters’ but maintaining temper control. The danger of EX-Socceroo twinkle toes (TT) was highlighted and the ‘not committing to tackles’ approach … (well – it could’ve worked).

Masters’ opened stating they had come to play. City were quickly under pressure as the Italians showed steady control, silky touch and an intention to shoot on sight. The nasty underside showed with Juventus players perpetrating niggling fouls. The game settled into a pattern of Juve playing wide, early crosses and shots with City clearing the ball only to see it return. We were sitting too deep and a ‘chase the Juve player game’ was being played in Doncaster’s half – no controlled transition from defence to attack.

Changing moment: Ray displayed the grit needed for Doncaster to get a bite, imitating a small angry boulder, he crashed into ‘Tall timber Ivan the Terrible’ felling him and balancing the niggle account a little.

Mid half Doncaster settled, Maurice cut in from the left and played a lofted switch ball, to Paul C on the right of 18-yard box, his low strike across goal just missing the far post. Juve countered hitting the bar, and then another shot demanding a low dive from Rick J to prevent a goal.

35 mins Juve strike: TT Socceroo picked up on the edge of the box, no silly lunge from Gaffer- heeding his own advice. TT ably dragged the ball back and lofted an unreachable 20-yard ball into the top corner.

HALF TIME – Masters 1-0 City

Juve dominant (J shots 11/ on target 6: City 2/ for 1). Looking tough for City.

Break: Emotions were high in the interval with:

– Ray and Ivan doing some sort of “tall and tiny cuddle fest” only to be warned by Jeremy that tongue swapping was not acceptable behaviour.

– Maurice getting all martyr like; apologising and jumping on his own sword. A resounding warm and appropriately sensitive team response told him to … err …STFU

Gaff says

    • Need to play wider
    • Giving it away up front, need to hold it up for City midfield to walk (or on occasion run) to halfway and support
    • Slow down and think (OK – understand the think bit … but slow down?)
    • Defence out quicker i.e. to run (or even jog) after clearing the ball.

SECOND HALF

Masters continue the pressure, but Doncaster are getting to the ball quicker and moving out of defence to acquaint themselves with the midfielders, following introductions, Andy, Paul C and Steve show some nice interplay on the right ending with a keen low shot from Paul C turned away by the keeper. Moments later Paul C floats across just beyond the reach of a flying Maurice. Looking better from reds now they’ve decided to play in Masters’ half.

Juventus are still dangerous on counter. 10 minutes in a ball switched from the left wing is met by Terrible Ivan and rifled into the bottom corner. 2-0 Juventus.

City steady after the impact and some steel shows through.  With determination, tireless Andy chases down the right wing, a quick one two and low cross, cleverly dummied by Steve H for Ric V, who was unable to get a clean strike and convert.

Muppet MM moment 1

Free kick 35 yards. Gary tries a floated diagonal Ronaldinho- esque ball over the top …. It went … well somewhere out towards the freeway.

Pushing on, Jeremy cracks on from 30 yards narrowly missing the top corner.

75 minutes, Juve, with flagging energy, are still dominant, until the silver shadow of Paul E decides to slalom through the centre of Masters’ defence, beat a typical crunching Italian 2 man tackle and belt the ball home with aplomb. We are now in this!!

Masters 2 – City –1

80 minutes. Then the turning point of the game. With Andy beating Daree his younger counterpart for sheer pace, there was only way he was going to be stopped. Yes the expected crashing dull thud from a forearm smash to the chest laid the smiling Scotsman to rest right in front of the ref. Despite the opposing captain’s most innocent plea to the ref, he was sent from the field with his tail between his legs.

Combined 2nd Muppet MM and MMM.

The resulting free kick, centre box, 25 yards out.

(MuMM angle) – Much argy bargy in the wall, Agent M (and other aliases) mingles, pushing into the Juve wall. Steve and Gaff line up the free. As run up begins Agent M breaks the wall and dives to the turf (getting a bit regular this relationship with the ground) leaving a gap to shoot through……. only to see the ball go 10 feet over the wall.

(MMM angle)

From Steve and Gary’s much practiced training ground ‘repertoire of free kicks’ – which free kick would it be? A cheeky creative chip fooled the oncoming defence (distracted by Agents M’s dive of course) followed into the goal……..GOAL by smiling CCI kit sponsor Steve.

80 mins -There’s only 2 pieces of coal in the engine room but the Legends are pressing, enthusiasm is up. Maurice crosses a low fast ball across the Juve goal and Paul E virtually assaults Ric V as he pursues and gets his second.

FULL TIME Masters 2 – City 3

Notable mentions

  • Andy chasing down the defender on the right. Looking knackered but still finding the calm to step inside 1-2 and low cross.
  • Ray for commencing a torrid yet loving relationship with Ivan the Terrible.
  • GB – Greedy bastard – Paul Emery for determination, creativity….. only if he got the hat trick.

Muppet MM

Shared by the Jenkins clan

  • Gary’s freekick and
  • Micheal’s dive (although this should be viewed as a tactical distraction)

MMM

Paul Emery for showing poise, grace and finesse as he danced through to break City into the game.

 

Summary statements 

Good result, good character to stay in game, but room for improvement.

 Legends were slow to start and allowed Masters to control the game

  • City showed enormous guts and resolve to claw victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • Our collective transition from defence to attack needs work
    • Could be forward slow, show fortitude and hold the ball.
    • Could be defence grind out the energy move up to support quicker.