Elite 1 - IBU Dreamers 3
The fourth game of the season saw the Elite take on top of the table Island Bay Dreamers, at Wakefield 2. The weather was perfect, with sun, very little wind, and a slight chill in the air – perfect for the Elite’s own unique brand of Samba Football.
A few warm ups and a bit of pass-and-move, and then on to some customary shooting. But disaster! An already slightly weakened Elite, missing several players, lost gun striker/makeshift centre back CJ to old age a stretched quad after attempting an ill-advised left-footed shot.
Adam nobly stepped up to fill in at centre back and once again the Elite were set. Switched on and ready to go, shooting boots on and Johnny already looking tidy in goal, we rubbed our hands in anticipation of the impending battle. Those on the field were buoyed by a strong looking bench, with Crespo (season debut), Marcel and a tender Fowler prowling the sidelines. Current golden boot holder Liam looked in the mood up front, and Cory was ready to bring the pain after listening to ex-Crazy Gang and general hard man/psychopath Vinnie Jones interviews on repeat. Let’s go!
Whistle roll back pass touch touch touch touch run cross header goal. Oh.
Still, it was only one goal and the Elite loves a challenge.
We got into the game quickly after that, generally competing and shutting down their nice passing plays before they turned into anything too serious. We looked dangerous on attacking corners and dealt with defensive corners well.
The Dreamers had managed to enlist a child prodigy into their ranks – Luca the 17 year-old Sicilian. Lovingly nicknamed ‘the Divine Monobrow’ in his homeland, Luca quickly asserted himself as the game’s standout talent, dribbling around the park with ease and a level of skill not regularly seen on these shores. Ernie, Ernie, sign him up!
The battle was heating up. A few tasty challenges were put in by both sides, prompting the referee’s attempt to ban slide tackles (not likely son!). Some pleasing football was being played by both sides – all two spectators were enthralled.
At the end of a fluid, almost dream-like passage of play down the right, Cory whipped in an inch-perfect cross (may have been a corner, I can’t remember). Andrew ghosted in between several dreaming Dreamers and Andy Carroll’d the ball into the net. 1-1.
Halftime and a pretty fair score line reflected the tight and even nature of the half.
At the start of the second half Adam was brought into midfield, having performed admirably at the back with General Steveo and the ever-dependable Damo.
The second half started as the first half finished, except in different directions.
Unfortunately at some point one of their players took the ball outside the box and Seedorf’d one into the net. A real thunderbastard which left no chance for the keeper. 2-1.
The Elite were still well in it however, creating half-chances on the break but not able to get that vital second goal.
All of a sudden Crespo was presented with the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box, and shot into the bottom corner! Unfortunately the referee had already blown for a vicious foul/wee tap by Marcel on their centre back, who rolled around for a while, exclaiming that his shinpad had moved due to the force of the assault. He was lucky to escape without serious injury. Their hamstrung keeper helpfully informed Crespo that he would have saved the shot anyway, so no worries there.
A second goal looked possible for the Elite but then the Divine Monobrow, who had been threatening all afternoon, picked up the ball, cut in from the left like an inside-out Robben, and Arjen’d one into the top corner. Quite a goal, and 3-1.
Which, unfortunately, is how it stayed. The Elite fought hard and were in the game for most of it, but in the end Samba Football lost out to the classic 10-men-and-a-17-year-old-Italian-child-prodigy formation. Even though they scored three, I thought we defended pretty well. We just needed to hold the ball a bit better and create a few more chances at the other end.
The Dreamers are definitely a good team, but we’ll get them in the reverse.
3 – Unexpectedly put into centre back, thereby ruining his careful tiki taka pre-match preparation watching Iniesta and Xavi one-two compilations, Adam had a great game. Came into midfield in the second half, forgot his tiki taka preparation but won lots of headers and generally bossed it.
2 – We conceded three, but at least two of them were pretty unstoppable, and Johnny really kept us in the game a few times. He made some vital one-on-one saves and kept out a couple of stingers from the right. And bought beers for everyone afterwards.
1 – Another solid performance from Damo, making calls, putting in tackles, distributing well, and booming up a series of goal kicks. “He must have a foot like a traction engine!”