Legends Misfire against South Americans

Steve Brown

Legends 55s campaign started with a match against South American team Grupo Argentino in round one.

With Rick tearing a calf on Saturday in Perth it meant that Mick had to be drafted in from the 50s to cover the goalkeeping position and so the starting line up was Williams, Snowball, Jenkins, Emery, Stafrace, Lamb, Sinclair, Hughes, Park, Harrison, Sims and an elongated bench of Toth, Catela, Boyte, Bongoletti, Samstag Sloss, Gammaldi, and Atwood.

After a spirited team talk and demands to play the simple ball, Jenkins started with a long hopeful ball which was easily mopped up. More attacking moves saw Hughes try to put lamb through but the keeper trapped it in his legs. Then we had a hold up as Sinclair pointed out that several Argentinians who should have known better were playing with no shin pads.

Then some early Argentinian possession was thwarted on the edge of the box but a Jenkins slip gifted the ball to their forward who took his time and coolly placed a shot past a diving Williams in the 5th minute for a 1-0 lead.

In response, Lamb and Hughes combined down the left again but unable to get the cross into the box. Then some pressure from Sims on right earned a corner which Park played deep and the bouncing ball was pounced on by Hughes and his shot across goal missed by a bees dick. A free kick for obstruction 30m out was taken by  Jenkins but deflected off the wall and over the bar for another corner this time taken by Lamb which the keeper cleared unconvincingly. The ball fell to Emery who jinked past a couple of defenders and played in Hughes whose sliding attempt was pushed out for a corner. Again the corner clearance fell to Emery whose long range effort was held by keeper.

It was always going to happen when Sims is playing against South Americans and it only took 15 minutes before he decided to pick multiple fights – completely in character as we know.

Snowball intercepted a long ball and his header almost sent Sims free and then another Argentinian through ball was placed back to Williams by Emery and the danger was cleared.

Sinclair finally got the chance to put his foot on the ball in the middle of the pitch and Lamb sent Hughes through but the offside flag was raised and the effort slid past the post anyway.

Another passage of Argentinian possession ended by a foul throw and Stafrace and Hughes worked the ball out well to Park who set Sims off on the right. His cross was picked up by Harrison but a Park high boot brought the move to an end.

A short corner was played to Lamb whose shot was punched clear and then Stafrace earned a free kick for a swallow dive. The Argentinians seemed very comfortable and another dangerous throughball was just intercepted by Emery and then they did breach the defence and Williams stopped a goal bound shot and received a free kick when the attacker tried to poke the rebound in off the floor.

Half time 0-1.

Harrison, Sims, Lamb off replaced by Samstag-Sloss, Gammaldi & Bongoletti – a nightmare for my typing !!! First touch saw Samstag nearly etching his name into Legends folklore when he latched onto a low hard cross into the box only to just put past the post. Good possession with Gammaldi and Park teeing up Jenkins on the edge of the box but hit well over the bar.

Legends were now playing the game in the forward half and pressing far better. Hughes drew a foul but Bongoletti’s cross evaded everyone. The Argentinians demonstrated their normal footballing style by crudely taking Sinclair taken out on half way – Jenkins ball was met by Sinclair but no one was following in on the keeper. Ref stopped play for keeper indiscretion but then changed his mind.

Hughes set Gammaldi on the right but the cross was gathered by the keeper.

Park glided past 2 and set Gammaldi free his cross just over Sinclair’s head and Bongo picked it up and Sinclair cross parried and then gathered by the keeper. Bongo caught out and cynically caught his man.

Toth on for snowball and almost scored with keeper tipping shot over. Corner was fired in and cleared by keeper for another but Argentinian broke with 3 on 1 and a great step up from Jenkins saw the offside flag go up. Stafrace stood his ground and thwarted another break. However the breaks were becoming more dangerous and they did get a second slicing open the defence and leaving Williams helpless to stop a second goal.

Boyte on for Park and Gammaldi picked up a long ball laid back to Jenkins and his back post cross was punched out for a corner with the usual South American theatrics.

Kept pushing for a goal but to no avail and final score 2-0