Players:

Radek Simunek
Gerd Lemke Keyur Patel Chris Johnson Jerry Lillard
Colin Sablack Bart Burgmans Phil Alexander Doron Raviv
Armand Guri Sergey Zhmako

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. Doron Raviv
  2. Armand Guri

Report

Things got off to the best possible start for Partisan with a goal from our first attack. Midfield fed the ball to Guri who bore down the centre channel but found his way blocked by two IFC defenders. He lifted the ball over them to me as I cut in from the left wing. It bounced high, but if nothing else Ive got long legs and was just able to get a touch to it to flick it over the head of the keeper and into the bottom left corner of the goal, beyond the last-ditch attempt of IFC veteran Donegan to clear it on the line. After that it settled into a real end-to-end battle as IFC looked to get back on level terms. They had a couple of small but very fast and skillful players keeping our back four busy, not to mention Simunek who was performing his usual heroics. At the other end, some good through balls from the midfield almost got Zhmako in, then with about 25 minutes gone we had a chance to go 2-0 up. Sablack had been making some useful runs up the right wing and after beating IFCs left back on one such break he calmly slotted the ball in to Johnson; but with the keeper stranded the normally reliable captain marvel managed to put his shot just the wrong side of the post. It was up to me to steady the boat and Ill admit that the second goal was a strange one. It should be noted at this point that some of the players had been spending a lot of time arguing with the ref every time he blew his whistle (been watching too much John Terry) instead of just saving their breath and getting on with the game. This time it was the reverse. Sablack was involved again, shoulder-barging the left-back as he encroached on IFCs box; a few protests and players half-pausing and looking towards the ref; the ball is rolling along the edge of the box towards the center; and the keeper is off his line. You learn to play to the whistle in high school: with barely a seconds thought I strode up and belted the ball up the center line straight into the goal and then the ref blew his whistle. 2-0. Not much more happened in the first half. A free kick from IFC that went just over the bar; and Lillard hobbling off after a crunching challenge with one of the IFC forwards, with Klopot coming in at left back. Almost immediately he was into action, showing fantastic pace and composure to rob that same forward and clear our lines before the half-time whistle went. The second half saw Janzer come on for Lemke and Martinez on for me. Before the match wed been giving our lazy star striker Guri a hard time, him having not found the back of the net since June, and for 15 minutes at least he tried to rectify that. His first effort was a rising shot from about 20 yards out that cannoned off the bar. With the second he made no mistake 3-0 to Partisan. IFC had not given up the ghost however, and Donegan saw a powerful free-kick come off the bar with Simunek beaten (although Im sure hell tell us he had it covered); another long shot from IFC saw Simunek at full leap to just tip the ball over the bar. The back four were more or less holding firm in front of him though, with Klopot especially showing remarkable composure and distributing well, a much-needed alternative to some of the hopeful/hopeless long balls we were sending up the pitch. Johnson was the next to hobble off with a twisted knee, while it seemed that Guri and Zhmako felt theyd done enough, so Lemke, Lillard and myself were back on the pitch for the last 15 minutes. Which was when I missed the chance to crown a hattrick with what would have been the best goal of the lot. Lillard made a great run up the left wing and put in a fantastic cross just over the heads of IFCs two center backs and their keeper. Rushing in at the far post I hit it on the volley but failed to connect properly and it went wide of the upright. That was about the last chance of the game well, the last meaningful one anyway and we all trudged off happy that after last weeks narrow and disappointing defeat, our endeavour, this week, had paid off.