The Classics were one of the few teams able to entertain a game of football due to the inclemency of the weather but they
were able to take on Polonia on a brisk Sunday morning at Cloverdale Athletic Park. As the referee blew the whistle for the
toss up, some quick reshuffeling of the team had to transpire before the kick off as Garry Hackel had caught the same bus as
Chas Jones. Dave Moore, this year's leading goalscorer, was
relegated nominated to go between the sticks and Rick Geary was moved
back to the heart of the defence to play a role alongside Ray Marrington.
The Classics kicked off the first half and dominated the first twenty minutes or so with some sophisticated flowing football, hardly allowing the visitors to venture over the half-way line. However, It was the same old story though with finishing, or lack of. For all their approach work, the end product was not forthcoming. Jimmy Butler was playing like a coiled spring and was the only one adventerous enough to have a crack when the opportunity arose. His was firing in shots as if he was trying to use up all his remaining money on the duck shooting gallery before the fairground closed for the night. He brought out two good saves from the Polonia keeper and continued to try at every opportunity but the scores remained even.
A major breakthrough came in 25th. minute when the Classics were awarded a penalty for an obvious hand-ball in the box. Chris Arcari was confident and determined enough to ask for the penalty shot which he fired hard and low to the left of the goalkeeper. The keeper made a valiant attempt and may have got a finger-tip or two to the ball but the power was sufficient enough to put the Classics into a deserved lead.
The goal seemed to fire up Polonia and they mounted several attacks none of which seriously troubled Moore, who was replaced five minutes from the half-time whistle after "Sleepy" (or is it "Dopey") Hackel finally arrived fresh from the land of nod. Moore returned to the sideline smiling confidently after keeping his third consecutive shut-out.
The second half was a completely different story as the Classics lost their shape and composure. There’s no excuse for failing to find a team-mate less than 10 yards away, especially when you’re not under pressure, and still it happened with incredible regularity. The midfield was over-run and the first touch from most players was often dreadful. Whatever is a bad fault, the Classics probably displayed it in an uncharacteristic spell. The defence held Polonia at bay but they were run a bit ragged with Ray Marrington probably the only player who looked like his regular self.
Fifteen minutes from the end of the game the Classics brought it round enough to change back from Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jeckyll once again and the team started to feel confident with restored enthusiasm. Eden hit the upright but too many chances had gone begging with Bruce Cook, Billy Ranger, Kenny Johnson, Arcari and Butler all guilty of missing glorious chances to increase the lead. Butler in particular made a complete hash of one chance which looked easier to score than miss. He did a wonderful impersination of Danny Jensen impersinating a bag of spuds!
With four minutes of the game remaining the Classics were awarded a free kick on the right corner of the penalty box and Jim Eden stepped up to try one of his Excocept shots. The ball bounced directly in front of the keeper who had positioned himself well but he spilled the shot right into the path of Billy "on the spot" Ranger who gratefully accepted the gift of tapping the ball over the line to seal what would be a good victory. It was all over now - or was it?
Polonia fought back and their reward was a goal in the dying minutes. A right wing centre was played across the goalmouth and a Polonia forward put the ball past the hapless Hackel. It was a contentious goal as the attacker was at least two yards off-side (see photo evidence). At the end of the game even the referee had to admit that he might have got the decision wrong! So it was an untidy win, but a win it was, so all's well that ends well.
Final Score 2-1 (1-0)
You were crap award: Hackel wants to keep it!