Weatherman Sets Club Record In Classics Debut (match report by Chris Arcari) ..........
Despite missing several key players due to injury and/or vacation, the Classics were still able to field a strong team for this year's final match. Making his Classics debut was David Jones, who took time from his ever-demanding job as the voice of BC's weather to don the Classics royal blue. Also in attendance for this match was Darth Vader - more on that later. The Classics took on a team they defeated 3-1 just before the Christmas break. In that match, a depleted Classics squad struggled for find its form but nonetheless walked away with a comfortable victory. The Delta squad that visited Noel Booth was bolstered by several different players and the Classics were looking for a more stern test to finish off their season.
The game began without the services of Randy Hosler, a Classics player who has started at right back for the better part of the season. In fairness to coach Eden, his decision to sit Hosler at the start of this match was made easier by the fact that Hosler, who leaves home in plenty of time for a sufficient warmup, had to turn around on his way to the pitch due to a short term memory lapse - he forgot his boots. Fortunately, he was able to find his regular footwear (unlike an un-named Classics player who last week showed up with his wife's white soccer boots - more on that later). In any event, the game began with a somewhat new lineup with newcomer David Jones playing behind Rick Geary in the sweeper's role. The Classics immediately took control of the match, maintaining possession and creating many scoring opportunities. However, it wasn't until about the 20 minute mark that the Classics were able to break through for the first tally, a looping header from the six yard line by David Jones. The ball had bounced around the box a little before Mike Stuart headed it in the direction of Jones who, playing about 65 yards in front of Rick Geary, scored his first goal as a Classic. Honestly, it was far from a 'classic' goal as one teammate is convinced Jones attempted to drive the ball down instead of looping it over the goalie's outstretched hands.Nevertheless, a well-deserved 1-0 Classics lead.
Delta responded through a bit of good fortune. With the Classics controlling the play all Delta really had was the counterattack. On this occasion, a counterattack down the Classics left side saw a Delta player attempt to cross the ball to a teammate in the box. Dean Herbert, the Classics goalie at the near post playing the shot, was caught a little flat footed and agonizingly watched the ball sail over his head into the net. Watching Herbert try to recover his position and get to the floating ball was quite comical. Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk would have retreated more quickly - and he's dead. It wasn't long before the Classics restored their one goal lead, this time the result of a nicely set up and finished goal. Several players were involved with touches on the ball (Deglan, Rohla, and Massender) before David Jones - playing about 65 yards in front of Rick Geary - found himself in the box with only the goalie to beat. A low shot to the goalie's right and it was 2-1 for the Classics. Rohla's involvement in this goal was perhaps his finest moment in the match. The beleagured player has been out of sorts for several weeks now. He has tried different footwear, even going so far as wearing a white pair of boots last week. He was seen with a magenta pair of boots in his possession, and was complaining of lower back pain at last week's match. This week he arrived at the pitch dressed up like Darth Vader. However, his touches on the ball were more reminiscent of R2 D2, with the ball clanging off him left and right. One wonders if the yak fur seen on the pitch near the 18-yard box distracted Rohla this week.
As the second half began, the weather changed and it began to rain. In spite of the poor weather this winter, the Classics have avoided playing in the rain. Until, of course, the weatherman comes out. Probably just a coincidence. A rare Classics moment resulted in their third goal. Larry Thorlakson, who spent the better part of the first half covering for the roaming David Jones, and the better part of his career afraid to venture beyond center lest he suffer the wrath of Danny Jensen for going too far forward, continued his run into the opponent's box, actually down to the end line to the right of the goal. In his attempt to secure the ball he was bowled over by a United player. Unlike the referee in the Gladiators game at Honda Park several weeks ago, this referee correctly and quickly pointed to the penalty spot. It was difficult to find a Classics player to step up and take the 'spot shot' since up to this point no one had really done anything signficant to earn themselves the Crap Award - everyone wants to avoid receiving this award on the last day of the season and be responsible for hanging onto it until September - and we all know a missed 'spot shot' puts one in the running. However, Randy Hosle stepped up and, cool as a cucumber, firmly side-footed the ball to the goalie's left. It was Hosler's first goal as a Classic and came at an important time, giving them a two-goal cushion.
David Jones scored the Classics fourth goal. Now playing in front of sweeper Doug Rosenlund due to a Rick Geary injury, Jones, playing like a right winger, screamed down the right hand side and from a difficult angle sent a howitzer through the goalie's hands into the net. The power of the shot really did bulge the old onion bag, and actually caused the goalie some pain. The angle was so acute that the shot caught the goalie unprepared. Actually, it caught the entire squad unprepared as everyone thought a cross to a wide open Alan Massender who had made a delightful 50 yard run to the far post was perhaps the more conventional option. Whatever, the Classics were now comfortably ahead with the only question still to be asked was by what margin the Classics would secure this victory. Jones, who was encouraged to move forward on all set pieces, scored again for the Classics as he soared above the United defenders to meet a Jim Eden corner kick. This powerful header left the United goalie no opportunity to make the save. The Classics' club record for goals in a debut had been three. Now it is four and Jones' name goes into the club's record book. The record book notation should probably include the names of the Classics defenders who held the fort allowing the erstwhile Jones the opportunities to take off on his many forays down the field.
The Classics last goal of the game was a thundering shot from Alfie Deglan from at least 35 yards. Good Classics' possession resulted in United players being somewhat befuddled and leaving Deglan wide open with time to set up the ball and unleash a wonderful drive. The ball was still rising as it hit the back of the net. It was Deglan's only shot at goal in this match, a far cry from last week when he set a club record for shots 'at goal' without a shot 'on goal'. Delta finished the game's scoring on the counterattack when they sent a low shot to Herbert's right.
Final Score: Classics 6 Delta United 2 (2-1)
GK: Dean Herbert
MWG: Randy Hosler
Crap Award: Presented by Alfie Deglan to David Jones for two reasons. Firstly, Jones set two club records. The first, four goals in his debut, had no bearing on this award but did vault him into a tie for fifth in team goal scoring this year. However, the second, playing every position on the field (except goalie) while being assigned to play in the center of the back line, did play into this decision. Secondly, the weather has been shitty all week and who better to blame but a weatherman. Welcome aboard Dave!
Many thanks to the club for the beer and pizza after the game. Special thanks to Rob Keam for picking it up. As was mentioned earlier, Rob has been unable to play for several weeks but he delivers a piping hot pizza and his balls are great.