Radek Simunek
Chris Johnson Garrett Parker anonymous Jerry Lillard
Vitaly Klopot Bart Burgmans Dave Sheppard Endre Szabo
Todd Benson Armand Guri


Scored goals:

  1. Vitaly Klopot


After a morale-boosting 7-0 win against Inferno last outing, Partisan took to the field against tougher opposition, Zabehlice, who had won their previous fixture by the same scoreline. We were missing Olubokun and Schuchardt (who had just got married), while Matthews dropped out on the morning with a stomach bug, leaving Child as the only sub. Parker bravely took on the centre-back role with a strapped hand protecting a broken bone. It was an early meet-up and kick-off, but that was no excuse for the sleepy lacklustre start from Partisan. Zabehlice's right wing too easily zipped past Lillard at left back and sent a long cross over to the back post. Their left winger was waiting to knock the ball back to the edge of the 18 where their number 7 was free to strike a cracking volley into the bottom left corner. 1-0 down after 5 minutes. Did it snap us out of our slumber? It did not. For the viewers on the bench (Child, Finlay, Ross and the Albanian fan club) it was not pretty - an inability to string 3 passes together, players occupying the same space, players pulled out of position, bickering between teammates and 10 minutes later we were two down as another long cross to the back post was met by a cross-goal header into the net past Simunek's outstretched fingertips. That did wake us up, or at least got us riled up enough to start gaining more possession and get a grip on the came. However, few clear chances were created and we went in at halftime still two down. Half Time: Partisan 0 - 2 Zabehlice The half time talk was a mixture of acid and encouragement. We opted to use our one sub; Benson had endured a frustrating partnership with Guri and came off to allow Klopot to push up front. Johnson moved up to right wing and Child slotted in at back right. The changes seemed to have some effect and we were carrying more threat up the right flank, with both Johnson and Child breaking into the box or delivering dangerous crosses on several occasions. Soon we pulled a goal back, and once again it was Klopot who got his name on the scoresheet and kept up his record of scoring in every Prague league game so far. Taking a pass from midfield out on the left he took a touch, advanced to the edge of the 18 and struck a clean shot into the bottom left corner. At least it made up for some of the chances he'd missed earlier in the game. Partisan continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, and credit has to go to Simunek for keeping us in the game with some last-ditch saves. However, we were taking chances at the back and in the last 15 minutes we paid the price. When Child failed to cut out a through-ball from the middle of the park it fell to Zabehlice's lanky 11 on the edge of the box. Johnson rapidly closed him down and Child arrived back in support just as Zabehlice's Dirk Kuyt lookalike moved in as well. Cue a pinball scrambleas neither pair could get a solid contact until Kuyt made himself half a yard to hit a half volley to the far post. 1-3 At this point Zabehlice brought out their worst time-wasting tactics, taking minutes over every throw or corner, bringing furious protests from the Partisans. Child went some way to making amends, first racing back to dispossess the Zabehlice 11 inside the Partisan box, then moments later sliding in to hit a near-post shot after Ostrowski had stolen the ball on the edge of the Zabehlice box. Ostrowski had switched positions with Burgmans and battled on despite a sprained wrist sustained when a Zabehlice player took his legs out as he jumped for a header. If there was any way back into the game it was snuffed out with minutes remaining when Zabehlice's midfield put a ball through; Parker appeared to have it covered and Simunek came racing out to collect, but as neither took ultimate responsibility, Zabehlice's troublesome forward stole in between them to poke the ball home for a 4-1 victory. Tough on Partisan who played well for most of the game, but we can expect little better when we sleepwalk through the first 15 minutes of any game.