Jorg Inning
Sam Ross Phil Alexander Keyur Patel Endre Szabo
Doron Raviv Daniel Bugel Dave Sheppard Vitaly Klopot Dammy Olubokun
Armand Guri


Scored goals:

  1. Armand Guri
  2. Adrian Kieran
  3. Armand Guri


Partisan came into this game smarting from a 7-4 defeat by league rivals IFC that left our league hopes hanging by a thread. Confidence and that famous Partisan feelgood factor needed restoring. Our opposition were from the Welsh village of Machen (our first ever match against Welsh opponents), playing under the banner of their local pub, the Tradesmans Arms. Admirable. Their website boasted three promotions in four seasons, so we were ready for a tough game. The squad had a very different composition from Saturday's match, with Inning coming in for injured keeper Simunek, Alexander back in to re-establish his centre-back partnership with Patel, Child back on the right wing, and Bugel back to take up a centre-mid slot after injuring his back in mysterious circumstances the previous week. Kieran got a late call-up as well (after Johnson pulled out on account of the forthcoming birth of his second child - congratulations Chris), and what a call-up it turned out to be. More on that later. Partisan kicked off and immediately began pressuring, testing the TA back line, although without really threatening their goal. And then the unthinkable happened and TA scored with their first attack of the game. Breaking towards the left corner they broke into the box; Ross did well to get his foot to the ball first but his clearance only went as far as a TA striker on the edge of the 18. Said striker charged into the box, picked his spot, and slotted coolly past the outrushing Inning. 0-1 If Partisan were rattled they didn't show it, and were back on level terms almost immediately. Our five-man midfield was controlling the centre of the park and fed Guri who advanced on goal and blasted a 20-yarder into the bottom left corner of the goal. 1-1. Shortly after that it could have been 2-1 as Child cut in from the right wing and unleashed a shot that flew just wide of the upright. Partisan were in the ascendancy. Guri netted his second about 10 minutes later, almost an identikit copy of his first. 2-1. TA had a couple of very fast, skillful players up front and on the wings and the Partisan back four were kept busy; nevertheless, our opponents had possibly not traveled with their full squad and lacked pace in the middle of the park and in their back line. Consequently they struggled to deal with the wave after wave of Partisan attacks that came at them. On 30 minutes we made our first substitutions, Nelson coming on for Ross at right back and Kieran in for Bugel in centre-mid. The big Irishman's first touch was to perfectly trap a goal kick on the halfway line, swivel and hit an instinctive 30-yard pass to release Olubokun down the left wing. From the attack we won a corner; from the corner Kieran leapt into the six-yard box and hammered home a header. Cantona and Solskjaer in the space of a minute. 3-1 Kieran almost turned provider soon after, breaking down the left wing and sending a great low cross into the box; Child was rushing into the box and managed to get a toe to it but couldn't get enough contact to steer it in and it glanced out wide of the goal. Sheppard then missed a similar opportunity, scuffing a chance from a cross from the left from Olubokun. There was time for one more goal before half-time however, this time from Klopot with a shot into the bottom-left corner. Half Time: Partisan 4 - 1 Tradesmans Arms I'd like to say something about Big Phil's inspirational half-time team talk here, but as I had to run down to the bar for a beer to get the floodlights turned on, I missed it all. I'd hazard a guess it went something like "lads, lets just keep doing what we're doing". Which is more or less what we did. About 10 minutes into the half Guri got his hattrick with what will possibly be the best Partisan goal we'll see all year, a rising 30-yard rocket of a shot that tore into the top corner, despite the keeper's athletic leap to try and get a hand to it. Like Ronaldo, it was one of those moments you had to admire that make all the times he irritates the hell out of you somewhat more bearable. Even the opposition at that point seemed to concede that, well, what could they do about it? 5-1 Partisan. On 60 minutes Partisan made their second round of subs, veterans Child and Szabo coming off to be replaced by Bugel and Ross, respectively. TA had not given up, however, and Nelson had to perform wonders at right back on more than one occasion to keep their left winger at bay. Not long after that they managed to hit the post, but the contest was all over when Olubokun ran onto a through-ball from Kieran just into the TA half, took it into the box and slotted past the keeper. 6-1. Another near miss came from Alexander who managed to get forward but shot wide of the right upright. Klopot netted his second late on with a header, and not long after that the heavens opened with such a torrential downpour that all 25 players, the ref and the half a dozen supporters we had with us (special mention goes to Vitaly's Grandma here) found themselves squeezed into two dugouts to escape it. At that point the ref called the game, and when it eased off it was handshakes all round and off to the bar for post-game beers with the boys from Machen.