Players:

Anton Polishchuk
Mark Andress Richard James Dennis Appel Michael Ripley
Doron Raviv Gerry Keaty Bart Burgmans Jaime Martinez
Sergey Zhmako Dan Finlay

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. Darren Mellis
  2. Gerry Keaty

Report

The 2005 edition of our annual hostilities against Union Latinos. The first heavy drubbing in 2003 we could chalk up to our team still being formed and only consisting of 10 able bodied players. But now we were concerned to do better than 2004s narrow 1-0 defeat. A solid line-up of regulars and some tough talk in the pre-match from Keaty and Burgmans had us all fired up. And from the off it was clear that the flamboyant South Americans werent going to get out of this one lightly. Keaty, James and Appel were winning everything in the air as usual, Burgmans was zipping around the midfield like a Tasmanian devil. In fact everyone from A to Z Andress to Zhmako was getting stuck in. But make no mistake; the Latinos are fast and skillful. Prior to the game wed earmarked their diminutive number 10 for special attention, having learned from previous experience about his play. Overall our strategy was working - we were restricting them to mostly long distance efforts, if not testing their back line that much ourselves. However, ten minutes in, we got the breakthrough. A free kick from just outside the left edge of the box was sent in fast and low by Finlay; Appel got an outstretched leg to it on the edge of the six-yard box, flicking it across the goal, past the stranded keeper and into the bottom right corner. Lovely touch from Appel, and nice free kick from Finlay 1-0. The game returned to midfield deadlock again, with Partisan breaking up most of the Latinos moves like a runaway tractor ploughing through a samba festival. Polishchuk pulled off a couple of fine saves when they did break through, including a fantastic one-on-one point-blank block, and Keaty made a goal-line clearance on another occasion. Just past the half hour a Latino pass was intercepted by Child just inside our own half and Burgmans somehow conjured up a perfect defence-splitting through ball, a la Dennis Bergkamp, despite being at full stretch and using the outside of his boot. The ball fell perfectly to Zhmako, and he saw off two defenders to slot it past the out-rushing keeper. 2-0. Unbelievable! But as we approached half time, we were also tiring. And as their younger legs and constant running continued, the Latinos were exerting more and more pressure. HT 2-0 Janzer came on in the second half on the left wing, and Mellis provided some height up front. But in the first minute of the new half, UL won a dubious free kick about 20 yards out. Despite Polishchuks best efforts, their midfielder scored with a wicked curling shot around the wall and into the bottom right corner. 2-1 Latinos were pushing hard for an equalizer and we were under a lot of pressure, until another perfect free kick from fleet-footed Finlay opened the door again. Taken from about 30 yards out on the left, he flighted it perfectly, and Keaty had little trouble outjumping them to head over the keeper and into an empty net. 3-1, and surely the game was ours? Well, it should have been, but as the Latinos got more desperate, things started to turn ugly. The ref for the day, a friend of our opponents, had some good moments but started to give 50-50 challenges to them, and missed out on their little nudges, pushes, and ankle taps. He also seemed a bit nervous (even threatening to walk off at one point, the poor lamb). There was more diving going on around our box than youd normally see at a lesbian pool party. Appel and James were getting frustrated by this, and even some of the Latinos [more restrained] players were making comments about Oscar awards. And then it boiled over, following a strong Appel challenge, the not-so-aptly-named Jesus leapt up and started screaming and spitting in his face. James honourably leapt to Appels defence (not that he needed it, mind), and although things were momentarily cooled down, it didnt last long. A minute later, during a goalmouth scramble, James saw the red mist descend, and inadvertently executed a perfect roundhouse kick into the groin of the Latinos unfortunate Thuram lookalike (were not saying that its unfortunate to look like Lilian Thuram, but it is unfortunate to be kicked in the groin). It should also be noted at this stage that for reasons best known to himself, James was wearing a headband (all comparisons with Ralph Macchio have been duly noted). Anyway, nice kick, wrong target, penalty awarded, penalty scored into bottom right corner. 3-2. If that was a bit rash, the next one was plain unlucky. Two minutes after the restart, the Latinos won a corner and took it fast and short, like a midget on a motorcycle. The ensuing shot spun up and hit Appel on the arm. Penalty! Two in the space of about 3 minutes! The gods were not smiling on us. Neither was the ref. And it wasnt just the penalty decisions. The well taken penalty was dispatched to the same corner although Polishchuk almost got a hand to it. 3-3. Partisan had about as much shape now as dough in the hands of a 4 year old. With about 10 minutes to go and incensed by the perceived injustices, we pushed up to restore our lead which was our biggest mistake, as a more disciplined approach wed adopted for the first 70 minutes would have secured a draw. Nevertheless, those ugly scenes had stirred things up, and it seems the win just wasnt to be. With five minutes to go, a counterattack sent a through-ball over our defence. Keaty left it to Polishchuk just outside his area, but his chest down allowed them to knock it straight back into the box (offside, anyone?) for a second striker to finish it off. 3-4. Again Partisan came racing out of the blocks, and had the Latinos pinned back in their box, but it wasnt to be. But Latinos be warned well be back with a proper referee...