Richmond Pioneers v Surrey Classics FC
McMath Park
2nd. February 2009

Weather: raining at times and miserable
Terrific ten turn in top trot out task........

The Classics returned to league duty after almost a two month break due to incelement weather. It was not the ideal return to action that they had wanted as their team was decimated through injury, as well as being rocked with the late withdrawal of several players with 'wimpy' excuses, and had to play the whole game with just ten players. The venue was McMath Park, that oasis in the desert that is Richmond, and the opposition was the Richmond Pioneers who had enough players on the side line to start a line dancing school. The ten men started off in fine form and whipped the ball around with some style on the bumpy field. The Classics took an early lead after Chuck McGill followed up to pressure the keeper after he had saved an early shot and his fumbled attempt left the Classics forward in a position to power the ball home. It was an opportunist goal and gave the visitors a surprise lead. In fairness, the Pioneers did not offer a lot up front and the Classics defence cut out any serious chances before they could get into any dangerous positions.

pioneers     pioneers

Midway through the first half, the Pioneer's keeper parried a shot and Jim Eden followed up to inflict pressure on him. It resulted in the ball going wide to the left of the penalty box and Eden raced out to retrieve it. The Pioneer's goalkeeper rushed out to smother the danger but could only dive at Eden's legs and pull him down to the floor. It was a blatant penalty. Danny Jensen stepped to successfully convert as he sent the ball low and to the left of the keeper. The score remained at 0-2 at the half. The second half began with the Classics now playing against the wind and rain and the Pioneers came through from the left wing and the resulting centre fell to a Pioneer forward who gave the Classics debutant keeper, Dean Herbert, his first test which he passed with flying colours. It was the home side's first direct shot on goal which was also a testament to the way the Classics were overcoming their numbers deficit. Herbert had previously done all the mundane things well and his distribution and positional sense was excellent. With twenty minutes to go a left wing attack which involved clever play from Fisher Crockett and Eden, came to fruition as Eden's centre was pumped into the goalmouth and a melee of players jostled for the ball. It was McGill who reacted best when he slid to the floor to stroke the ball over the line to put the Classics 0-3 to the good. McGill had had one of his best games as a forward and his holding of the ball and laying off is improving with every outing. He has the makings of a fine old fashioned type of centre forward.

pioneers     pioneers

Dave Moore made an excellent run down the right wing and with all his men beaten he had the ball near the dead ball line and ready to centre. With McGill waiting to complete his hat-trick, Moore attempted a centre but it did not have the power or trajectory to cause any problems for the Pioneers defence and McGill was left wanting. A slight slackening off occured after the third goal and the visitors were lulled into a false sense of security, convinced that they had done enough to win the game. Compacency is a terrible thing in football but in reality the truth was that the older legs on the team were getting tired and quite justifiably so as it's a long game at that stage of the match. The Pioneers pulled back a goal with a shot that gave Herbert no chance, so it was game on with just ten minutes to hold out. The home side piled on the pressure and the Classics fought hard to retain the ball which they did with some effect. However, in the last minute a defensive mix-up resulted in Rick Geary, who had been a stalwart in defence, cleverly chipping the ball over the goalkeeper. Unfortunately for the Classics it was Herbert that he had beaten and it brought the Pioneers to within one goal of a draw. Unsubstantiated rumours abounded that Jensen had asked Geary for the own goal so that he could claim the match-winning goal! The teams lined up for the resulting kick off but the referee ended proceedings at that point and the 'teriffic ten' had had done enough and beaten all the odds to come away with a convincing victory over their old foe.

Comic moment: At the end of game discussion Larry Thorlakson revealed that he didn't realise that we had played the whole game with ten men! Where's the trophy when you need it?

Final Score 2-3 (0-2)

MWG: D. Jensen
OG: R. Geary