A Day at the Races – The City Version
By The Maltese Babe MagnetWell this was “The Battle” of the two Legends squads. There has been a fair amount of wheeling and dealing and a lot of “pulling” and “pushing” between the two thoroughbreds ‘G1’ and ‘G2’ (pulling and pushing – if you know what I mean). The respective teams and studs were now ready for the second derby of the season. ‘G1’ called his troops in a huddle to give everyone their specific final instructions and for once … everyone listened. He called out the side and off we went knowing our positions and roles to fulfil his dream (note to self – pass to our own players!). City started with a rigid structure and amazingly things went according to plan and we were producing some great football. Everyone was holding their position and working like a team. For the first 20 minutes G1 was enjoying the ride and it was like a sea wave of attacks, one after the other. Most of our chances were created from both wings with Gideon regularly getting forward and the returning Martin regularly causing damage by driving into the G2 zone. The result – loads of crosses to the penalty area for both strikers to test their heading abilities. Hmmm! Despite United’s strong defence the first goal came from a Stu Ma handball, a rare error on what was another excellent game for him. Not one to miss an opportunity CCI’s Steve H coolly sent Big J the wrong way from the resulting spot kick. Next followed a lost Caridi in the center of the park and a missed pass to Steve H. Somehow it was cruelly deflected into the path of the #24, who lobbed the ball cleanly over Big Bad John’s reach. Remind me again assistant, why was this a disallowed goal? Whilst some heroic saves were being made by Big J, and a fair few misses by our centre forward, Caridi finally managed to find his target by side stepping G2 (quite a feat in itself) and then executing a well-placed shot into the left corner to make it 2-0. Without taking anything away from United, they kept on fighting and they tried to get the ball through the corridor and also using the long through ball to find their way into our box. But with great persistence and team work from our defence of Martin, G1, Eric, Gideon and Rick (I think he played the game as a right full back) as well as the great work from our midfield dynamos of Andy and Mr. Nottingham (Glenn), the score remained 2 – 0 at half-time. A far from grumpy G1 decided to make some changes at half time with Drone Manager Jeremy, Ricky and Ray coming on for Gideon, Steve and Glenn. After what must have been an inspiring halftime speech, G2 and troops confidently strutted onto the pitch and appeared truly ready for the last furlong. With a much tighter defence and greater coordination of counter attacking moves, United regularly tested the disorganised City back line in the first 20 minutes. First there was a dominating G2 move to the right side of the pitch. His awareness released a well weighted pass to the non-stop engine of Rod. Rod drove into the City centre, couldn’t find a park, so slipped the ball to Ray, who sweetly struck the ball past Rick to make it 2-1. An interesting passage of play resulted, where substitutes were again used, and new tactics were employed by both GGs. G2 played in the center of midfield, and G1 started creating a stronger presence on the left. Whilst City enjoyed greater levels of possession, United counter attacked with venom. John and Ray were linking well together with first touch passes and good interchanges proving effective. So much so, a clash outside the box between goalkeeper Rick and John, ended up with the ricochet going to Ray and then into the City net. The goal was disallowed as Ray was in an offside position, but the United racing stewards still want a full enquiry. Please see the video to make your own judgement. G1 got his whip out and had a few words to his troops. With some encouraging instruction and some positive feedback, we started to get back to some form and playing smart football again. We then had further chances and we kept on building the pressure on United’s back line. One of our set plays saw us having a cross into United’s box which was then cleared and worked through to the right wing. Parksie quickly bought the ball under control and then unleashed a thunderbolt shot which shook the far post and cleared to safety. United’s Big John then continued his excellent tradition of Derby saves. Regardless of where the ball was coming from, he was catching, punching and or saving shots from every angle. In the light of no United match report (come back Brownie – all is forgiven) he thoroughly deserves the BMW Man of the Match award for United. Time was getting close to the end, where we had our last few changes. City kept pushing along and applied more pressure and fatigue started to kick in for both sides. So much so, out of a few simple passes, the ball ended up on the left wing where a cross was put into the six yard box and with a few dancing moves, young Ricky tapped the ball into the back of the net. At this point it seemed that everyone on the park started to feel a little tired and everyone must have said thanks ref, when the final whistle was blown. The final score was City 3 – United 1. BMW MM for City goes to Paul E for staying off and taken up his Steven Spielberg role by filming the game instead of playing. The Muppet award goes to three Legends; Firstly it goes to G1 and G2 because at the end of the game the two G’s were still arguing and clearly not happy with their respective team’s performance – G2 to G1 “You are useless”; G1 to G2 “No, you are useless”. No doubt the third derby will settle the score. The third Muppet has to be Eric S, who in the second half, tried to replicate Maurice’s pass to the opposition from last week. Anything to make a game more interesting. Luckily United’s striker could not believe it and also buggered up his shot at an open goal! That’s all boys … and as G1 would say – Carry on … until next week. For the match highlights please click on “VIDEO” and enjoy your OWN opinions on the disallowed goals!