A Must Win Match
Paul EmeryAfter the painful memory of yesterday’s match this was a game we just had to win to stay in contention of a medal chance. And what a cracker it was. With clear instructions from the start, Graham explained the importance of the match and set the standards for all to follow. The starting line up consisted of Mick, Peter, Nic, Uwe, Rob K, Marsh, Wardie, Frankie, Dean and Brownie and equally there was a very strong bench as well as a noisy Legends crowd in attendance. With balls available and used in the warm up this time, the shape and passion to chase down every ball was clearly evident from the outset. Glenmore Park FC players were equally focused and well prepared. For example, Bo Derek clearly had his hairdresser appointment yesterday. Pirate Pete may have forgotten his hook but still looked verocious and of course there was a “7” foot giraffe who made sure he was warmed up to throw the ball further than most of us old timers can kick it. Fast attacks and short passes were common as both teams jabbed and sparred at each others very solid defences. Some good and direct interplays between a rampant Brownie and Rod Marsh saw the first upper cuts and shots at goal – notice I didn’t say on target!! But the standard was set. In defence the solid heading and calmness of Uwe and silky skills of Nic meant equally no gaps being found. Opps and then there was a short pass that made a 50:50 ball to Daren. Toni’s verbal description from the bench was enough to know it was bad, but fortunately he wasn’t prepared to give the fans a literal interpretation of what was said! From outside the box Wardie then strikes the crossbar and once again the fans reach to the skies. But equally Glenmore Park are fast to the ball, skillful and always looking for the quick counter attacking break. As the drinks break beckons Graham is clearly totally on top of things. “2 minutes lads to the drinks break. Mario get yourself warmed up and lads lets have the drinks and towels ready”. Immediately on the restart a perfectly coordinated offside trap shows that we are still heavily focused. And all the skills today both individually and collectively were on show. Rob M did an overhead clearance and wanted sympathy when flailing on the ground. No surprise and rightly so no one gave him any as the ball was so much more important since we needed a win. Then Goughie got into the action and produced a sublime back heal that was read well by Rob K and produced yet another attacking corner. Dean and Brownie were both at their best with good links and direct runs at an equally speedy defence. But on one occasion Deano got free, drew the keeper and laid the ball back that we just failed to stab home. SA few minutes later and from Wardy’s deep cross, Steve B was so close to heading home. Half time 0 – 0 but as expressed by Graham “pressurise the man on the ball. A win is the only result we will be happy with.” As the second half started substitutes were limited and tactically used, even suggesting certain players in new positions. Ray for example was the centre forward up against 7 feet giants and Joe was used as a midfield player – but they worked and did so well. In attack 1-2’s were common all over the pitch and we could hear the coach encouraging the team with “Don’t walk, let’s run … we’ve got this lads”. Excellent commitment was shown by all but equally lessons on the park were evident. As Uwe cleverly marshalled the defensive line for a free kick, he had to educate one of the newer soccer converts as to what offside was. Even the more regular converts though were a little confused as to why Nic got sent off on a tackle where he was felled. This allowed Glenmore Park to demonstrate their need to win as well. With long throws and corners a regular means of attack, the heading power of Uwe and confident punching of goalkeeper Mick proved perfect to thwart the strengths of the opposition. Then Goughie wanted to show his own magic, and with his brain moving at a different pace to his feet, what I think was mean to be a first time pass, turned into a new ballet move that even Wayne Sleep would be proud of. Then through one of the best plays of the tournament and started initially by a Joe tackle, eight different players were involved in perfect two touch plays that destroyed their opponents zone defence. Even Pythagoras may have to rethink his triangular theories to explain how the first goal was created. Okay there may have been a mishit couple of shots/passes involved, but as the ball fell lose in a crowded box, Wardie was once again there to finish off. One nil and yes the crowd erupted as the ball hit the back of the net. As the game opened up Legends then dominated and driving runs from Robbie, Brownie and Deano constantly worried the stuttering Glenmore defence. Another couple of great interceptions by Toni on the right meant some great attacks being created where shots went just wide of either post. One memorable play was a five man move that ended up with Toni unleashing a lovely curling 20 meter shot that went just wide. With such a team performance demonstrated throughout this match, the game ended with possession football at its best – simple 10 meter passes to feet all across the opponents half. As the whistle signified a well deserved 1-0 win the memories of yesterdays heart felt loss was just a distant memory. A brilliant performance by both teams but well done Legends on a great team performance!! BMW Men of the Match – Uwe for a very dominant display in central defence and Graham for such a calm, clinical approach towards coaching as demonstrated throughout the match. Muppet Moment of the Match – Goughie for his attempted ballerina pirouette just in front of the main Kop. Ohh Arrhhh!