Players:

Radek Simunek
Gerd Lemke Colin Sablack Jerry Lillard Till Janzer
Doron Raviv Chris Johnson Richard O'Connor Jaime Martinez
Sergey Zhmako Lukas Sadowski

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. Sergey Zhmako
  2. Sergey Zhmako
  3. Lukas Sadowski

Report

With more than a dozen Partisans missing, there were concerns that we would even be able to get a team out this time around. Our worries were further compounded by the fact that sole substitute Clifford was only just back from an Achilles injury, the weather forecast was merciless 30-degree sun, and the news that visiting team Harlow were 18-strong. However, for the second time in a month we were boosted by the unexpected appearance of Polishchuk, following up his outfield debut with another showing in the second half. And although we were largely a Partisan veterans team, it turned out we were still at least 10 years younger on average than Harlow. So to the game: we started steadily in the classic 4-4-2 on a decent astroturf at Slavia. Partisan debutant OConnor paired up with Captain Marvel in the centre of midfield, marking the first time our engine room has been entirely scouse. For this reason we considered it wise to keep them in the engine room and away from the locker room. The first 15 minutes were all Partisan pressure, but against the run of play it was the visitors that struck first. The astroturf had a deceptively high bounce on it and when a looping through-ball deceived our defense and our keeper, Harlows forward was well-placed to send a glancing header arcing into the top of the goal. It wasnt long however, before we were on level terms. Childs sweet nutmeg took out Harlows left winger and he followed it up by accelerating past the left back as well and drilling a low cross into the box; although that was blocked he was on hand to send in the rebound to OConnor who deftly flicked on for Zhmako to tap in from 6 yards. 1-1 After that the goals came thick and fast. Zhmako was soon after involved in the second, using his pace down the line on the right side and then cutting the ball back to Martinez who had an easy tap in from about 8 yards out. Zhmako then bagged his second and Partisans third as we laid siege to the Harlow goal. The back four of Janzer, Sablack, Lillard and Lemke were dealing comfortably with everything Harlow threw at them, while Lemke in particular was making some impressive forays down the left wing. Child meanwhile took the opportunity for a breather and we were treated to the rare sight of Clifford playing a pace game down the right wing. Before the half was up there was a fourth as the ball dropped literally on the penalty spot and in a crowded box Sadowski got a foot to it and deftly poked home. HALF-TIME: 4-1 The second half was a slightly more disjointed affair as we rolled the subs, but we were soon on the score sheet again when the Harlow keeper came out to block a Zhmako shot. The ball fell for Sadowski on the edge of the box, and with the keeper off his line, our man executed a clean lob for his second of the game. At 5-1 up, however, Partisan were getting complacent and maybe a little tired, while Harlow were moving the ball around well and threatening with some decent breaks. One of these sent one of their strikers rushing in as Simunek charged out. It was a 50-50 ball but the striker just got a foot to it first and knocked it past Simunek before colliding with him. The ref was going to disallow, but Partisan generously (and correctly) argued that Harlow had got the ball first and the goal was given. To be honest, it seems like Simunek never feels like hes had a game unless hes had a few crunching collisions with attackers. 5-2 Still, they were never going to turn the tide and Partisan had two more almost anti-climatic goals. On 75 minutes Child played a short corner to Sablack who knocked the ball in fast from the right hand edge of 18-yard box. Before it even reached any of our players, a Harlow defender had headed it straight into his own net. It was one of the best near-post strikes Id seen since the Greeks put the Czechs out of Euro 2004. The last was another impressive strike from Sadowski from about 20 yards out on the left side, gaining him his first Partisan hattrick. Anti-climatic because until it went in it had looked easier to pass to several Partisan players whod charged up in support. Said players looked at each other, shrugged, and trudged back to the halfway line. Not long after that the ref blew his whistle. Both teams felt hed short-changed us on the time, but at 7-2 and 30 degrees there didnt seem like any reason not to head off for a cool beer.