So a rushed effort from me this season as work commitments conspire against my usual well planned write-up efforts. All factual errors were likely intended (or I was just tired) and no correspondence will be entered into with red-headed Karori residents.
The morning started well with the Elite drawn on the hallowed turf that is Newtown Park and raring for a solid performance against the Tawa Saints. These games are always a hard fought battle but the Elite have certainly had the rub of the green in the past so came in full of confidence despite a tough loss the week before.
With the injured gaffer relegated to refereeing duties and not wanting to slip up on the big stage the team were left to their own devices for the warm-up while he sorted out the array of iPhone apps needed to be able to toss a coin – the older generation showing off their mastery of technology once again. The team jogged out onto the park began their stretches and started knocking the ball around just as Jase arrived – apparently getting together the bus fare from passers-by took slightly longer than expected. Life on the streets got even tougher with no kit left for the underprivileged but a quick whip round saw some shorts and top produced and Jase strode out to join the warm-up.
The return of Archer saw the conversion practice get off to a strong start and it wasn’t long before we were ready to get stuck into the game.
An electronically-enhanced coin toss won despite not having a captain and we were underway.
A tense first few minutes saw both teams struggling to settle into the game as soft turnovers went both ways but it was the team in orange that started to hold possession and getting their passes to feet. We worked the ball around nicely and were giving away little at the back – a goal was sure to come.
A goal mouth scramble saw Decs volley home in the top corner what many viewers would have described as an own goal but the loud ramblings as the team jogged back to halfway left no one in any doubt that he was claiming a touch.
Half time and a tight one nil lead but the Elite looking the better team and sure to push for more.
The second half saw a goal from the most humble man on the park – which as his request I won’t discuss further. He claimed at the post-match that he’d rather the focus and MVP points went to other more deserving players.
So with that in mind – a glorious run from Flemo saw one of the finishes of the season so far as he rifled the ball top corner at the front post. A strike that left even CJ mumbling that it was like one he scored back in his first teams days.
We were playing the ball round well now and another through ball saw Cory away. A touch to the left past the defender, followed by a touch back on his right saw the goalies face drop as he knew the strike was to come and he had no chance. Another touch to the right as he looked up to pick a spot – a little goalie waits. A step over and another touch further into the box – the Elite defenders begin to celebrate – Four nil baby! High fives all round as Cory takes another touch and waits for the ball to settle. He lifts his foot to strike and throws his right foot through the ball lacing it towards the top corner. But the foot swings through and hits nothing he overbalances and falls to the dirt. He looks around and the ball is gone - a stealthy raiding party has taken it from him at the last second. Where was the ‘man on’ call I ask?!
But still three nil up in the second half – surely no team could blow a lead like that?
A free kick in our half saw a well floated ball clear a leaping Jason – he might have had a chance if he stood on Gansey’s shoulders – and fall to the feet of a late running striker who comfortably finished it past a stranded keeper. Sadly for the Saints there was to be no three goals in eight minutes to salvage a point here.
Nik came to the party with a late run into the box and a quality first time finish. In classic style the defender putting him onside raised his hand in protest to the ref – but in this case it just happened to be all four of them putting him onside. The Elite had made it safe and the final whistle blew on a four nil result.
Firstly for myself – a fine for the lateness of my write-up and probably an extra two bucks for the self-fine. Hell I might as well just given myself all six points and just wear the fines right since I’m struggling to find time this week to do this!
Alas I best give out some real points. Tough game to give out points in with a lot of solid performances across the park.
Nik – Ran his arse off all day. Made some great covering tackles and got back to defend well. Scored a goal. Good effort for two points there.
Flem – cracker of a finish – the striker union would be gutted if I didn’t give him points for that alone. But made great runs and even called out a few lads in the fine session as well. Two points for “Andy” as well.
Decs – A few weeks on the lash and a couple of packs down saw Decs too puffed at full time to even complete his usual solo warm down but a “goal” and a hell of a lot of talking and running sees him get one point out of this one.
Pete – my god I’ve missed your special brand of running like you are trying to get away from a nuclear bomb and some of the heaviest touches seen since Marcel first picked up a football. It was great to see the Labradoodle out there once again. A point just for enthusiasm!
Hon Mention – has to go to the crew that not only closed down the club rooms but then kicked on for an early hours finish at the Realm. Not to name names but the Sunday morning quote of “I’ve made it as far as the couch without my pants and don’t plan to ever move again” has to sum up the morning after pretty much every solid Elite session in history. Good effort lads.