Fort defence breached ......................................
Fort United paid their second visit of the season to Fortress Noel Booth and it was an all action match which was closely fought. As early as the second minute Alan Massender got pushed over on the edge of the penalty box. He quickly took a short kick to Gordie Macklin who struck the first shot of the match but it was wide. Just a minute later the action switched to the opposite end of the ground and when Dean Herbert misjudged a (wind assisted) through ball it ended with the visitors being awarded a left wing corner. The corner kick sailed high over to the back of the box. With the Classics defence looking like Polynesia’s Easter Island statues (see photo) an unmarked attacker easily headed the ball home whilst simultaneously singing, "Happy Birthday to me!" An equaliser almost came in the sixth minute when Warren Crowley hit a glorious effort goalwards. Joe Hart (well he was wearing a Joe Hart shirt) in the visitors goal made a a great save which was parried back to Crowley but his second effort was hit directly at the keeper. Jimmy Butler was covering every blade of grass and was causing havoc every time he got the ball. Chris Arcari slotted a nice through ball for Macklin in the eighth minute but it just ran too fast. On the quarter hour another effort came but Massender skied the shot. It was raining shots at the United end and five minutes later W. Crowley again had a great effort which just sailed over the bar. In the 23rd minute a left wing corner was headed over, this time by Lorenzo Arcari. On the half hour it was Alfie Deglan getting in on the shooting practice and a brilliant shot brought an equally brilliant save from the outstanding visiting keeper. This action brought two successive corners and if the referee had been a boxing referee he would have stopped the bout at this stage!
The next action occurred in the 34th minute when the ball hit Macklin and rebounded to Butler who poked the ball home, but the referee adjudged that Macklin had been offside. There was no mistake just a minute later. After Butler's practice 'goal' Darryl Lawrie sent over a beautiful right wing cross and Butler did what Butler does - he hammered it home! 1-1. A good run from his own half by Sherman Foster in the 37th minute brought another good save from the goalie. Everybody wanted in on the act and a minute later Chuck McGill brought a great diving save from a corner which was pushed over for another corner. Five minutes from the half Deglan shot wide again (at least it wasn't one of his 'six mile high club' shots! It was ceratinly one way traffic, thanks mainly to Massender's domination of the centre field, but even so, it remained at 1-1 as the teams left the field for the half time break.
The second half began with Fort again trying to boss the field and it was pretty even for the first 10 minutes until Deglan got in the first shot which brought a routine save. Massender centred to McGill in the 62nd minute but his headed attempt was wide. Willie Dixon was the next to head wide in the 65th minute from a pin-point Jim Eden corner. A pattern was developing. In the 73rd minute Randy Hosler sent in a cross from deep which C. Arcari headed over. In the 75th minute Macklin centred a ball which hit the crossbar and sailed over. A minute later Macklin again hit the crossbar and the ball rebounded to Butler who's effort was just wide. This is getting repetitive. This is getting repetitive. In the 79th minute Pat Rohla had a try and he brought another excellent save from Hart. Time was running out and it looked like Fort were going to hold onto their draw. The break through came in the 82nd minute when Butler hit the ball through to W. Crowley who went on a jinking run into the box which culminated with a finely struck shot to the right of the keeper which finally beat him - he seemed to lose Hart at this time. It was now a case of keeping possession until the time ran down. With five minutes left L. Arcari brought some levity to the play when he took an 'air-shot' which had the sideline falling about in laughter. The final play came in the last minute after Danny Jensen sent Butler on a one-on-one run at the keeper. Everyone thought that would be the clincher but, yet again, the keeper made a very good save. Poor Herbert who was almost a spectator. The Fort had two shots in the fiirst half and were restricted to long range efforts which were bread and butter to the home keeper. An excelent game between two strong teams but the Classics edged it with their impressive tempo and non-stop attacking flair. If they could just match their finishing with their approach play someone could be in for a good hammering.
Final Score: Classics 2 Fort United 1 (1-1)
MWG: W. Crowley
Crap award: C. McGill