Colin Sablack
Khyzer Chaudhary Gordon Nelson Christos Theodoropoulos Jerry Lillard
Mark Matthews Chris Johnson Dave Sheppard Filip Kudrev
Ricardo Garcia Shaz Khaliq


Scored goals:

  1. Ricardo Garcia
  2. Shaz Khaliq
  3. Shaz Khaliq


Partisan took to their home field for a rare (these days) friendly, against Accenture. With a 3-week gap between PEPSL games, the aim was to give non-PFL players a run-out ahead of the upcoming PEPSL matches with Cosmos, Zizkov and IFC. It should be noted that the boys considered it an honour to be playing a team of Czechs on the day when the foundation of the first Czechoslovak republic in 1918 is commemorated; the pre-match talk was heavy with discussion of the ramifications of that fateful day, not to mention the contemporary significance of the Czech stance towards ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The lads also noted that it was nice to see the old stripy kit getting a run-out for a change, with Sheppard correctly and incisively noting that "it fits better than the other ones". On to the team then. Sablack made his second appearance between the posts while Theodoropoulos (let's call him Theo to save my typing fingers, ok?) was following up on his stellar debut at centre back, this time partnered with Nelson. Johnson and Sheppard were the two experienced (and incisive) Partisan heads at the heart of midfield, while Khaliq returned after a long absence to provide the firepower up front, backed by Garcia. The presence of hardy veterans Benson and Child on the bench along with suave debutant Gisler only served to heighten the fans' (both of them) anticipation of the thrills to come. Partisan were out of the blocks fast and it wasn't long before we had our noses in front. A through ball out to Khaliq on the right corner of the 18 was volleyed powerfully at goal by the striker; the Accenture keeper could only parry it into the path of Garcia who deftly half-volleyed it into the left side of the goal. 1-0. Garcia benefited from more scraps just minutes later. This time it was a well-struck free-kick from Theo that the keeper blocked but could not hold. Again Garcia pounced and we were two up within the first 10 minutes. Theo came close again soon after that, heading just wide from a corner, but it was Khaliq who got the third. I have to admit he was so heavily involved in every attack that I can't remember how that one went. I'm sure it was every bit as spectacular as his third goal though. More to come on that later. Banjo came close to making it four when he cleverly unleashed a shot disguised as a cross, or was it a cross disguised as a shot? Whichever it was, he's not known in poker circles as Double-Bluff Banjo for nothing, and it wouldn't be out of line to suggest that none of the 22 players on the pitch, not even the man himself, knew what he was attempting, and he was only denied a goal by the top-right diagonal. Perhaps inflamed by his near-miss, perhaps by the delectable Salina cheering him on from the sidelines, he had another crack moments later when he lobbed the keeper, only to see it bounce almost on the goalline and millimetres over the bar. The first round of subs came on at the half-hour mark. Child on for Banjo on the right wing, Benson for Garcia up front, and Gisler for Kudrev on the right. However, it was "Magic" Johnson who was next to get on the scoresheet. Having already hit the bar a couple of times he was relieved to finally see the wand working as a 30-yarder sailed into the top left corner. 4-0 There was time for one more before half time as a through ball came to Khaliq dead centre on the edge of the 18. With his back to goal he took it on his chest, swivelled 180 degrees, and drilled it past the keeper. Half-time: Partisan 5 Accenture 0 In the second half Accenture switched their keeper and, while it has to be said that the replacement proved somewhat more difficult to beat, his loss as an outfield player was also felt by our opponents, and the Partisan onslaught continued. Sheppard was first out of the blocks with an [incisive] shot that hit the post and bounced agonisingly across the goalmouth with nobody able to get to it to finish it off. Johnson then got his brace with a cracking 40-yard lob when he spotted the keeper off his line. Having hit the bar 3 times in the first times he claimed he had 'finally found his range'. 6-0 Subs again on 60 minutes: Banjo back on, with Chaudhary coming off and Child dropping back to right back; Garcia back on on the left wing, with Gisler dropping back to left back and Lillard coming off; and Kudrev on for Sheppard. Kudrev was straight back into the action and almost got on the scoresheet with two rasping 20-yard drives, one flying wide of the post, the other centimetres over the bar. The next name on the scoresheet was Khaliq though, who finally got his hattrick in comical fashion when Garcia whipped in a corner from the left, the goalkeeper parried, and in the scramble to clear it a defender blasted the ball straight into the side of Khaliq's head from about 2 yards, from which it bounced into the goal. Khaliq would later claim he precisely angled his head in order to facilitate the correct deflection, although Benson countered that he'd seen him close his eyes tightly and try to duck. Either way, it was 7-0 at that point. Meanwhile, on the right wing the fabled Mark-and-Mark partnership was causing havoc. The diminutive Banjo was having a regular battle with Accenture's hulking number 10, and acquitting himself admirably (size isn't everything, Salina would later attest), while one turn and flick on the sideline by Child to beat the Accenture right back was reminiscent of Berbatov against West Ham in October 2008 and had the bench gasping in admiration. Speaking of West Ham, Goldenballs Benson had been working his not-inconsiderable arse off up front and wanted in on the old boys act. His persistence was rewarded when a pinpoint cross from Child came in from the right and he flicked on with his head just over the keeper, to round off the scoring at 8-0. Partisan have been known to switch off from their defensive duties in matches like this and when Chaudhary had to pull on an Accenture jersey to fill in for an injured player he was determined to cause us problems, helping create an opening for an Accenture player to rattle a shot off the bar. However, Sablack and his back four were determined to keep a clean sheet and after that warning they closed ranks and saw the rest of the game out unbreached.