Players:

Anton Polishchuk
Mark Andress Michael Ripley Dennis Appel Adam Wein
Mark Matthews Gerry Keaty Mark Byrne Jaime Martinez
Sergey Zhmako Dan Finlay

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. Dan Finlay
  2. Dan Finlay
  3. Sergey Zhmako

Report

Imlington Revolution FC came to Prague with a fearful reputation, having won their league at a canter. In the end, it was Partisan who tore apart their opponents' illustrious record, hitting them for five without reply, and leaving their reputation in tatters. Excuses about the blistering sun, hangovers, and a second game in two days counted for little. Particularly as Partisan played under the same sun, and one of its outstanding performers - Matthews - was also playing his second game in 24 hours (okay, he was the only one). Partisan welcomed newcomer Mark Byrne into its central midfield hub. The Irishman was the glue that Partisan had so long needed, seamlessly linking up play between defence and attack, and coaxing his new colleagues to one of their best performances. For once, Partisan played the ball around with calm and composure - no longer was it the hand grenade to be tossed fearfully away. Both teams were evenly poised in the first half, which ended scoreless. Imlington FC had chances, so too did Partisan. Keaty cleared off the line, Anton Polishchuk narrowed the angle enough on another Imlington break to ensure their striker blazed over the bar. Partisan veteran wingback Wein raided the left flank hungrily before injury ruled him out in the 23rd minute. Matthews showed deft wing play on the right, but the finishing skills of a toddler faced with a plate of sprouts. Everything changed in a blistering second half. The rout began after Andress fed Finlay on the edge of the box, and his drilled shot snuck into the bottom left corner. A second swiftly followed when Byrne exchanged a neat one-two with Zhmako in the box, with the Irishman clipping ball past keeper. Zhmako, injured in that build up, made way for Mellis up front, and the Australian fed a delightful reverse pass through a wrong-footed Imlington defence for Finlay to run onto and score. A fourth came after a goal kick from Polishchuk soared over the Imlington defence for the rampaging Mellis to deliver the coup de grace. Matthews managed to rid his banjo reputation somewhat when Finlay fed him from a corner and his blistering volley sailed on target (yes, ON TARGET), only for Imlington's number one to tip over. A second Matthews shot raked over the goalie's fingertips and onto the bar. At last, he was showing the finishing skills of a toddler faced with fries! A fifth came in the dieing moments of the game, but with a suspicion of offside. Mellis fed Zhmako on the edge of the box, and the Belarussian's drive arced over the keeper and into the top left corner. For once Partisan kept a clean sheet, as defenders Appel, Andress, and "the talented mister" Ripley kept Imlington's attackers at arm's length. In one clash, Andress sustained two broken ribs as he clattered into his opponent while closing down a shot. Perhaps the most telling moment was when Polischuk, so often man of the match despite a barrage of goals, said he hadn't a save to make all game. Lest we forget, Imlington's reputation was built weeks in advance by Rich James, Imlington's former self-styled ahem...centre forward before his transfer to Partisan saw him moved judiciously to defence. Sporting his trademark white headband, James played the first half as defensive bedrock for his old club and recalled legendary Brighton defender Stevie Foster, who had a similar taste in headgear. In fact, his move up front for the second half (perhaps he'd forgotten we'd swapped ends) coincided with the opening of the floodgates. Partisan were pleased, Imlington humbled.