Richmond United Olympics brought their experienced team to Topham Park on a cold and crisp morning. The home side took the lead after just four minutes following a Paddy Rohla run down the right wing. Rohla centred the ball to the near post and Jimmy Butler was on the spot to plant a downward header goalwards. The keeper made a complete hash of his save and what should have been a routine stop resulted in the ball going through the keeper to give the Classics an early lead.
In the eighth minute Chuck McGill contested for the ball in midfield but he ended up on the floor after a shoulder to hip confrontation, but McGill's centre of gravity was out of flunter and down he went. On the quarter hour mark, a clever through ball from Chris Arcari sent Butler on a run which led to a goal-worthy effort but the keeper parried the shot away for a corner.
The 20th. minute brought one of those classic 'Kodak' moments that had everyone in stitches. McGill was put through in the penalty box on a one-on-one with the Olympics keeper and inexplicably he fell over, and the ball was easily picked up by the grateful but surprised keeper. McGill later confessed that he was tripped, but the only person who could have been seen to trip him was the Invisible Man as there was nobody else within five yards of him. Rumour has it that for some reason McGill couldn't see the ball at his feet and he fell over it. However, the resultant thud on the ground registered a 4.2 on the Richter Scale and Garry Hackel was visibly seen to wobble and, in addition, Larry Thorlakson had both of his contact lenses shoot out for no apparent reason. The incident will be re-shown on the Comedy Channel next Wednesday night at 8:00pm. However, McGill was doing his best and is a wonderful asset to the front line ........... but it was funny!
The Classics increased their lead in the 27th. minute after McGill put Butler through and, as usual, he made no mistake. The Olympics did have their moments and went close with a free kick from Brian Dominick but the direct kick went just too high of the far post. The score remained at 2-0 as the half time whistle went.
Three minutes into the second half, Rick Geary conceded a direct free kick which Dominick took quickly trying to catch Hackel out, but 'The Hack' was on top form and he made a great instinctive save and pushed the shot away for a corner. Doug Rosenlund had several attempts on goal and was unlucky but they mostly went too high. He has subsequently cancelled his subscription to the 'Alfie Deglan School for Sharp Shooters'.
The Olympics were coming on strong and giving the Classics a few problems, particularly down the right wing but the Classics defence was holding strong. Thorlakson had a great game and snuffed out some potential threats with some good close marking and Danny Jensen was at his best again. Jensen was like a nightclub doorman in a particularly aggressive mood, treating every challenge to his authority as a personal affront. The Olympics however did pull a goal back with two minutes left on the clock. Another right wing forage resulted in a centre which was headed home past a dejected Hackel who had worked tremendously hard to maintain his shut-out. It was a bitter pill to swallow as Hack had been in commanding form for the previous 87 minutes.
To summarise the match, it was a well contested battle by two very good teams. The game was end-to-end and was played in a hard but fair manner which was a credit to both teams. The referee also played his part in the contest by allowing play to continue as much as he could and the flow contributed to an entertaining game which was completed without controversy. You need to search back almost a year to the day to find a match where the Classics have not scored a goal in the second half of a game – the opponents on that day were Richmond United Olympics.
Final Score 2-1 (2-0)
MWG: Jimmy Butler
You were crap award: Jim Eden (Chuck McGill has lodged an official complaint to the appeals panel)