Absolutely splendid result on Saturday which will do wonders for our grueling climb up the illustrious Over 45 “C” league table. It is of little doubt that we played with some class and finesse with the very occasional misguided pass here and there, for the first half anyway, but let’s get straight into the delightful detail.
The game started with some wonderful passing and it could immediately be seen that were dominating. Not that we were that good, but West End looked like they had come out of retirement or ICU, or both. Gavin, their manager, admitted to having a few stents put in recently but the heart pains and his angina were still a problem. I told him that if he collapsed on the field he would get little sympathy from De Beers because the paperwork is believed to be significant, so he best not, in the hope he wouldn’t. I digress…
The action started with a through-ball from the left wing setting Almiro through to score the first goal from inside the small box. Second goal followed shortly thereafter with Almiro on track for goal from the corner flag passing into the box where Captain Richard was waiting to slot the ball home into the back of the net. At that point West End looked like they needed some help and their 11th player arrived at the right time to do just that. Even Kurt felt they needed help and started coaching them from the goals. “No man, don’t pass back…” I suspect he was hoping for some action. Shortly thereafter Dereck scored twice setting himself up for a hat-trick. It was 4-0 at the break accompanied by lots of chirping and smiles. Shepherd the ref looked bored to death at half time. To his good fortune but unfortunately for us, the second half descended into what can only be termed as chaos.
The boost of the first half lead, gave an inordinate amount of confidence to the side, which then started playing soccer one can only describe as the equivalent of the six-year old “E” league team. Some ten minutes into the second half, Dereck, Almiro, Richard and Clive were playing one-touch in the 6-yard box. Of the opponents. Each wanted to give each other a chance to score. Almiro to Richard to Dereck, back to Dereck to Clive to Richard and back to Dereck. Dereck to Richard and back to Clive who, being a few year older, lost patience with the whole affair and put his laces through the leather missing the goals by three-rugby posts high. Things were going pear-shaped.
Kurt, having effected some good toe-punts in the first half, decided he also wanted some action and used a goal kick to pass the ball to the West End striker. Fortunately the shot back was wide. Of course that didn’t stop Kurt and he promptly did it again with luckily the same result. Newby for the year Justin had a fairly solid game at the back much to the demise of the three foot high striker from West End. A through ball was provided and as the lad had his eyes on the ball, Justin leaned on him, literally, and the poor lad buckled under the strain and earned a free-kick as a result. The short lad was fortunate he didn’t land under Justin’s size 15’s as it is certain that his spirit wouldn’t have been the only thing that was crushed. I digress.
Dereck managed to slot home his third to get his hat-trick which resulted in an eruption of joy from the side-line, and a narrow vote to the man-of-the-match award afterwards. Unfortunately Dereck’s blatantly stubborn approach to soccer, and quite frankly, life in general, made him stick to his promise to score a hat-trick. Despite several opportunities, he was determined to score only his hat-trick and sent every subsequent opportunity some way over the bar, into the keeper’s hands or past the post. Sick of providing opportunities, Richard decided to have a go at goals himself and got into the box with only the goalie to beat. A quick swing of the foot and the neat pass back into the goalie’s hands was complete. I was gutted as I had hoped for double figures. In fact I even tried to help by using every opportunity to run into the box calling for the ball, only to see it given away or shot past the box. I gave up eventually and sank back into obscurity at right full-back, so much so that everyone thought I had left the field to go braai.
Some 25 minutes into the second half, Kurt was bleating at the back about some action and he and Almiro decided to swap positions. Dereck dropped into the midfield and Kurt went up to become the lone striker. It was unfortunate that they had to swap shirts because whilst Almiro was drowning in Kurt’s shirt, Kurt looked like he had put on a second skin and those close to him could see his heart beating through the shirt after one of his fast walks up the pitch. Meanwhile the West End keeper decided to venture out of his goals and play sweeper to assist his team. Regrettably, he lost the ball whilst significantly out of his box and the ball ended up at Kurt’s feet. Everyone on the pitch, and off it too, screamed at Kurt to shoot which either out of shock, surprise or fear, he promptly did. Now ordinarily Kurt take his goal kicks as follows: Place ball. Walk 3 steps back. Take a few steps forward and swing foot in general direction of ball, toe out front. Hope to connect ball. Hope ball is hit squarely. Hope ball achieves some height. Look up. Check general direction of ball. Call name of nearest De Beers player. If no-one is near, scream at players to challenge. Walk back to goals to wait for next involvement. This he does flawlessly for every goal kick. It can be called toe-punt nomination. This time, he did this all smoothly with the precision of Mikhail Baryshnikov and the ball ended up in the back of the net. Celebrations all round whilst on the side-lines pandemonium ensued with at least three supporters needing resuscitation after passing out from shock.
Pear-shaped become a good comparison to what followed. Almiro, now playing in the goals, took a goal kick to Stuart. Well, perhaps goal-kick is overrated and could more like be described as a gentle tap to Stuart, who in turn, surrounded by four West End players, inevitably lost the ball. Same 3 foot West End striker (see above) dribbled the ball into the box and took a shot at goal. Well “shot” would be a compliment because it was more like a pass back. Almiro chased the ball across the goalmouth half-bent over with his hands following the ball in what can only be likened to chasing a chicken out the house. But dive on the ball and get his knees dirty was not on the cards for Almiro and he chased the ball all the way into the back of the net. Not looking at all perturbed by losing the clean sheet, Almiro blamed the ground and an unfortunate bounce, I mean really, on that pitch?!? I guess given how our performance deteriorated in the second half, it was inevitable to concede at least one and Shephard, himself tortured by what he saw, ended the misery of the crowd by calling full-time.
On a more serious note, there were some great plays up the right by Mighty Midget who seemed faster than usual with some excellent crosses and Stuart, despite complaining about a lack of iron, showed some good metal on the left with the same effect. Clive too was on form with four assists and the indomitable Stephane and Ruben were solid at the back as usual. Great game by all and we look forward to the return match when West End can last more than 3 minutes without slowing down.
Friday night we have YMO St. Lukes away, more details to follow. I will try move the game to Saturday but they only have one pitch so the chances are slim. Keep in mind that they beat us in a friendly so we’ll have to look sharp come Friday night, like the first half and definitely not the second half of Saturday’s game!