Players:

Radek Simunek
Gerd Lemke anonymous Colin Sablack Vitaly Klopot
Doron Raviv Bart Burgmans Dave Sheppard Endre Szabo
Todd Benson Adrian Kieran

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. anonymous

Report

Group ended DHL top on 7 points, Zizkov second on 4, NUSS FC third with 3 points courtesy of their head-to-head win against us, and us propping up the table also on 3 points. 10-minute breather then into the play-off against NUSS FC, 2x20 minute halves. Started this one with Del Mastro on the bench, and some reinforcements in the form of Mardziev who had showed up halfway through the day. Our legs were tired after our efforts against DZ and within the first 5 minutes we were a goal down, Newcastle's nippy left winger (let's face it, they were all fast) getting past Child and Lemke and slotting in at the near post. We were on the back foot but battling hard as always and when we won a free-kick just inside their half Ostrowski stepped up to hit a beautiful 30-yarder into the top-right corner. 1-1. We were in the ascendant and when a loose ball fell 20 yards out with Burgmans and Kieran running in the only question was who would get there first to belt it. Kieran had half a yard and sent a screamer into top right. 2-1 Partisan. Things were looking good, but then disaster struck. Benson, our talismanic forward and secret weapon against the forces of Newcastle, charged into the box and went full stretch to connect with a through-ball. Pop went his hamstring and he hobbled off in pain. We brought Del Mastro on to the wing and pushed Klopot up front, and managed to make it to half-time a goal up. It wasn't to last. In the second half Kieran, who'd been gradually going off the boil during this last game, had his ankles taken out by a Newcastle midfielder. That was the trigger and he leapt up and went at the kid; the kid squared up and before they could be pulled apart Kieran had swung a punch at him. Red card, most of the half to survive with 10 men. It wasn't going to happen. Twice Newcastle broke through and had the ball in the net, both times it was disallowed for offside. Third time lucky for them and although Simunek parried the initial shot, the striker had a simple tap-in from the rebound. We held out for 2-2 and penalties. Burgmans dragged his wide, Newcastle scored; Sheppard blasted over the bar, Newcastle scored; Sablack and Klopot both converted, but each time Newcastle replied and it ended 4-2 to Newcastle after four rounds. Hard luck to Burgmans and Sheppard, but as any Englishman knows, penalties are a lottery, and the damage had really been done 15 minutes earlier when Kieran saw red. I don't want to take too much away from the big guy either, as he'd been working his arse off all day like the rest of us, and frustrations are wont to boil over when you put everything into a game. In the final, Zizkov beat DHL 3-1. Despite the fourth place, Partisan can take pride in being the only team to beat the champions on the day, and in valiant fightbacks against DHL and NUSS FC. Down but never out.