The plane now landing ......................................
On a field akin to a runway at Vancouver Airport, the Classics played this game with just three available substitute players. Larry Thorlakson and Robbie Keam made the effort, and long journey, to turn out and support the team as did team photographer Tony Short. It was a welcome back game for Fisher Crockett who has has a long time absence through injury. The Classics kicked off and an early dummy from Rick Geary confused the opposition as well as his own players (actually, it was a clever step over - so out of character). A good break though in the third minute finished with a through ball to Pat O'Krane who set off on the marathon towards goal. By the time he had reached a goal scoring position he was out of breath and consequently got muscled out by a deep hanging defender who only had to run 30 yards. A minute later a rare run on goal from Geary took him fully to the dead ball line but the ball ran away too fast for him and resulted in a goal kick. The referee took centre stage for the next five minutes when he gave a sermon to both teams about the off-side rule, and his intrepretation of how it should work when a player is suspected of being off-side and he is standing in the centre circle. It was very enlightening and just proves to show that you are never too old to learn the rules of football. Chuck McGill was brought into the action and took a shot on goal which the goalkeeper saved by a parry. In the tenth minute the ball fell to the feet of O'Krane who sent a slow shot towards the goal line. The ball was trickling in over the line until a defender kicked it clear; it landed at Lorenzo Arcari who gave the keeper no chance with a powerful shot to the top left of the goalkeeper for the opening goal of the game.
Play was fairly evenly balanced with lots of end-to end action. Dean Herbert continued with his steadily improving form in goal and thwarted all theUnited efforts, although they were found guilty of some incredible misses when it looked easier to score. A left wing corner from Randy Hosler was placed perfectly on the noggin of McGill who delicately finished the set piece with a finely placed header to the right top angle of the goal, giving the home keeper no chance and putting the Classics 2-0 ahead.
In the second half, the home side started to exhert more pressure as the visitors struggled with some injured players. Chris Aracri was unlucky when he failed to connect with a header and minutes later a home attacker made a great run on goal. He left three defenders in his wake and then, with just Herbert to beat, blasted the ball wide of the left hand upright. He rightly hung his head in shame! Things became a bit heated when McGill, switched to full-back, had a tussle with one of the United attackers with the outcome that a free-kick was awarded and McGill had a 10 minute cooling off period on the sideline. The Classics were at that stage down to their last substitute. With 15 minutes remaining the Classics sealed the game when a long centre fell at the feet of a camouflaged O'Krane who popped up from nowhere to hammer the ball home, despite the despairing dive of the home keeper. The keeper did get a hand to it but the sheer power of the shot ensured that the Classics were in a position to play out the remainder of the game with some clever ball holding which ran down the clock.
United did mount another attack in the last ten minutes and were unlucky as their effort grazed the crossbar but the Classics did enough to grind out the result. They finished the game with no fit substitutes and O'Krane, who should have left the game with 15 minutes to go, volunteered to stay to the end to help out. With four minutes to go a right wing break, initiated by McGill, brought a rasping long range shot from O'Krane which the keeper scrambled away for a corner. It was gratifying to come away with all three points - with a patched up team - and to gain the team's second consecutive shut out was the icing on the cake for which all the defenders should take a bow.
Final Score: Tri-City United 0 Classics 3 (0-2)
MWG: L. Arcari
Sin bin: C. McGill
Team Photographer: Tony Short (wedding done cheap!)