Radek Simunek
Colin Sablack Keyur Patel anonymous Dammy Olubokun
Doron Raviv Bart Burgmans Dave Sheppard Jerry Lillard Vitaly Klopot
Armand Guri


Scored goals:

  1. Jerry Lillard
  2. Jerry Lillard
  3. Armand Guri


Sunday afternoon, 4 p.m. Gaffer arrives an hour early having come direct from a weekend in the country. The first of the opposition, a Prague lower league team, are already there, by 4:10 all shut up in the dressing room for a team talk. 4:20 they're all out on the pitch warming up, knocking and chasing balls around with the easy athleticism of people who haven't seen 25 yet, let alone 35. 4:30 they're looking around wondering where the opposition are. Me too. 4:35 a solitary Partisan arrives in his car. That's 11 vs 2 then. Gaffer makes idle conversation with ref. Good to keep them on your side when you've got the likes of Ostrowski and Guri wearing the jersey. To the match then. Return of Patel bringing familiarity back to the centrebacks. A 4-4-1-1 / 4-4-2 with Klopot sitting twixt midfield and Guri, effectively creating and using his pace to get on the end of some through balls, something Inferno struggled to deal with the whole game. Guri should have had an early opener but somehow shot wide with just the keeper to beat. Inferno's attacks were comfortably nullified by Partisan's back four, until an infernal (get it?) midfielder volleyed a loose ball skywards from 30 yards. Simunek off his line, ball going over, dipping under? The latter. 0-1. Partisan's response came from Lillard, cutting in from the left wing, goalkeeper stranded, simple hit into an empty net. 1-1. Subs saw a return for Kemila, in for Guri; cap'n Alexander on for Burgmans; and a debut for Ross, in at right back for Sablack. Before we'd settled Inferno were 2-1 up courtesy of a dubious goal with three players breaking through straight up the middle. Offside? Not called. Partisan had another chance with Klopot this time putting it just past the post, before Kemila restored parity, put through and slotting past the keeper into the right-hand corner, a good effort as said keeper had already shown himself to be very good in 1-on-1 situations. We could have been 3-2 down at half time when Inferno's striker got half a yard on Ostrowski, who hauled him down just inside the box. Simunek guessed right but didn't need to as the ball went wide of the post. Halftime: Partisan 2 2 Inferno Burgmans back on for Sheppard; Guri on for Klopot; Sablack for Ostrowski. For the first time Partisan took the lead, another good run up the left wing by Lillard to latch on to a through ball, Inferno appealing vainly for offside, Lillard already having been denied once by the keeper making no mistake this time and rifling a hard shot in first time. 3-2. The lead didn't last. A free kick out by our right corner post hit straight into the box, headed straight in. 3-3. Next goal started at right back, Ross battling out past two Infernae and knocking it on to Child who wrong-footed the next and laid it on for Guri who turned inside his marker, rounded the keeper and sidefooted it in. 4-3. Last round of subs saw Sheppard back on for Child; Ostrowski on for Patel, and Klopot for Lillard. Sheppard made the most of his fresh legs, breaking through from the midfield, although the keeper stopped his first shot, Sheppard was already following in and calmly hit the loose ball home. Guri had time for one more, rounding the keeper to slot home, and that was another well worked victory for Partisan. I could single out a few players for special mention, but frankly credit was due all over the pitch with great performances throughout the team. Who needs team talks and warm-ups anyway?