Surrey Classics FC v Cliff Avenue
McMillan Island
17th. February 2008

Classics put up stop sign on the Avenue........

The Classics welcomed Cliff Avenue to McMillan Island on an unusually warm sunny Sunday morning. The last time these two teams met was back in September 2002 when a goal from Alfie Deglan secured a 1-1 draw at Burnaby Lake. Since then, Avenue have played in other sections of the league but they brought an impressive record to Fort Langley for this encounter, having only tasted defeat on one occasion this season. A tough match up was expected.

The Classics started lively enough and could have taken the lead as early as the second minute when Deglan was put through one-on-one with the Avenue keeper but he made a hash of the effort and the ball rolled easily into the keepers hands. The breakthrough came in the 13th. minute when a right wing corner dropped to the far post. Moore was there to apply all sorts of pressure on the visitors defence and the ball was hammered home in some style. After a dubious goals video had been replayed several times, Moore decided to award the goal as an own goal, much to the displeasure of his team-mates who pleaded with him to claim the goal he had richly deserved.

Jimmy Butler was unceremoniously bundled over just outside the box in the 17th minute and a direct free kick was awarded. There was nothing dubious about the way Chris Arcari struck the ball as it sailed powerfully over the wall and to the left of the keeper who had no chance of stopping it. Avenue didn't give up and they stormed back in the 25th. minute to pressure the Classics defence. From the resulting attack, Danny Jensen upended one of the Avenue forwards in the box and the resulting penalty kick was dispatched to the left of the diving Garry Hackel but he was comprehensively beaten and Avenue were back in the game.

Just past the stroke of the half hour the home side secured a lucky break. Pat Rohla shot centred shentered a ball that was rolling harmlessly to the visiting keeper. Unbelievably the keeper allowed the ball to roll through his hands to put the Classics two goals ahead again and it remained that way until the half time whistle went.

Avenue came out all barrels shooting in the second half in an attempt to retain their excellent record and they got their reward in the 55th. minute when a right wing shot flashed past Hackel who had remained rooted to the spot. 3-2. Rohla was working wonders down the right wing and was causing all sorts of problems from a succession of dangerous crosses. One such cross brought rewards in the 70th. minute when Arcari put it away with some style to increase the lead back to two goals.

Cliff Avenue were expected to put up a determined fight and the Avenue's defence was expected to be more of a cul-de-sac than an Avenue but such was the dominance of the home side that it was becoming more like a freeway opening up. The Classics took full advantage and put the foot on the accelerator, so much so that five minutes later they were three goals in front for the first time in the match. Tricky right wing play by the three Amigos (Al Burton, Arcari and Rohla) made it look like the ball was on an elastic band and it was a pleasure to watch - it was just like watching Brasil. The resulting centre came over the floundering Avenue defenders, who must have been dizzy by this stage, and it was hammered home without pity by Jimmy Butler.

In the 80th. minute Jensen was again penalised for tripping up an Avenue forward and another penalty was awarded. It was the first time that two penalties had been conceded by a Classics player in a single match. Hackel was again beaten, this time the shot was to the other side and Hackel had guessed wrong. 5-3.

Classics had the final word though and the danger again came from a Rohla cross. Butler was on hand to stoop and power a header downwards from six yards to give the keeper no chance. The result was a feather in the Classics caps as it was a great all round team performance of rugged proportions. The Classics had the desire to win more than Cliff Avenue and they were inevitably first to the ball. They also had no intention of going in for a 50-50 ball unless they had a 60-40 chance of winning it. It was gutsy performance where every player did their part. Each Classics player should be given a fanfare as no-one let the side down and everyone deserves full credit for the win.

Final Score 6-3 (3-1)

MWG: Chris Arcari
2 penalties conceded: Danny Jensen
You were crap award: Al Burton