Another blustery day dawned and the Classics were wondering whether the game would go ahead because the weather was blowing a gale in the early morning. However, the field at South Aldergrove was in fine fettle and ready for anything, although the wind was in a cruel mood.
The Classics started the game with the wind and rain at their backs and had most of the early pressure. Jimmy Butler was very unlucky as early as the 10th. minute when he turned quickly outside the box to unleash a scorching drive which cannoned back off the corner of the goalposts to the relief of the Aldergrove players. Minutes later Dave Moore had to leave the game for good after pulling his calf and Chas Jones stepped in to deputise. The Classics were still forcing the play and had the advantage of the ball curling in their favour whenever the home side punted up the field. Aldergrove had a few dangerous breaks but Ray Marrington and Danny Jensen were on top of their game and were quick to snuff out anything that looked like it might cause problems.
Disaster struck again in the 20th. minute as Butler had to leave the game prematurely after pulling his quad muscle. Larry Thorlakson was having a good game at right back and Fisher Crockett came on to reshuffle the pack, replacing Jones who was having a few fluidity problems. Chris Arcari and Alfie Deglan had taken a stranglehold on the midfield and were ably assisted by Mike Snow, Rick Geary and Jim Eden. With Bill McAuley and Bruce Cook putting themselves about up front the Classics were looking very comfortable but unfortunately the finishing did not match up to the same standards as the build up play as all of the shots were going wide of the mark. Half time approached with neither keeper really being tested which was both a testament to the Classics stalwart defending as well as highlighting the impotence of the Classics finishing.
The impartial spectator may have been justified in thinking that the second half would see Aldergrove taking hold of the game with the elements working to their advantage but it was not to be. The visitors started in a positive mood and the wind dropped slightly. The passes were no longer running away from the forwards but they were holding and giving the Classics a better chance to retain the ball and use it to their advantage. Seven minutes into the half, disaster number three struck when Jensen had to retire from the game with a groin strain. Geary had to revert to his old role of a tower in defence, albeit a single one.
It was an exciting game with both teams going all out and although there was enthusiasm all over the field it seemed to evade the goalmouths and the mainly static keepers just had to remain alert just in case anyone slipped up. It was looking more likely that the match would end in a stalemate or at the most a 1-0 game with the first team being able to score more than likely taking the spoils. Midway through the second half it happened again! This time Geary had to leave the game after pulling his hamstring. The Classics were dropping like flies, or had the Aldergrove team placed some mysterious invisible Classics zapper somewhere on the field. With all the regular central defenders unable to play except for Marrington, Cook was called back to fill the spot which he has so competently done in the past. This left the visitors a little short of fire-power up front but Pat Rohla came on to make his debut on the right side of midfield allowing Eden to join the front ranks.
With 10 minutes to go an Aldergrove forage forward resulted in one of their forwards shooting towards the goals. Garry Hackel, having just previously made two good saves, stretched his right leg out to divert the ball away. He unfortunately ended up doing an impersination of Rudolph NearEnough ("That's Rudolph Nureyev" - "well that's near enough!") and ended up doing the splits. The ball rebounded kindly directly to another attacking Alderbusher who calmly placed the ball across the stranded keeper and the goalmouth and into the net for the only goal of the game. It was a cruel pill to swallow for the visitors, made even more difficult by the fact that the initial shot was going wide. Having said that, Hackel WAS playing in an injured state. If you take the rough with the smooth over the years the Classics keeper has helped win more games, and made more match winning saves, than he has to the detriment of the team.
After the game the humble Aldergrove team admitted that they were very fortunate to win the game and asked the visitors how it felt to have outplayed a team and come away with nothing. It's such unpredictability that makes the game so exciting. Roll on the next one!
Final Score 1-0 (0-0)
You were crap award: G. Hackel