Return trip to Essondale brings results ......................................
The Classics renewed rivalry with Essondale for the first time since 16th February 2003. On that last visit an Alan Burton penalty and a rocket free-kick from outside the box by Jim Eden gave the visitors to Charles Best school a 2-1 success. The game kicked off a little late but the Classics were shocked at being a goal down as early as the third minute. Doug Rosenlund had already fallen down on the bumpy pitch and then a through ball caught Danny Jensen as the only defender and he inexplicably slipped as the lone attacker took him on. With Jensen beaten he went on to easily round goalkeeper Den Herbert and slip the ball into the empty net to put the hosts 1-0 ahead. Five minutes later a right wing cut back from Jimmy Butler to Chuck McGill was laid back to Alan Massender who shot the ball wide of the target. The visitors were level on the quarter hour mark after a long range shot from Chris Arcari on the right was deflected into the net from close range by the Essondale right back for an own goal. Gene Crowley admitted, "I could have got in front of the guy to the ball but I knew that the defender would have a better first touch!"
A corner was won on the right by Warren Crowley in the 25th minute which was wasted. The Classics were struggling to keep their feet which at times resembled Disney on Ice - there were a few Goofy moves as well as the ball was being constantly played to the opposition. It was a terrible start to a game and the team lacked cohesion with no-one shouting for the ball or taking control of the situation. Too many people were suffering from the night-before effect and it was mentioned that Massender was that hung over that he was the only one not falling over! Herbert was playing his part and made two great saves in succession on the half hour to keep the Classics in the hunt. Jim Eden had returned from a mini-break and the coaching duties were being shared with last weeks coach which brought memories of Clough and Taylor once again. A free kick on the right hand side in the 35th minute was taken by Jensen and the ball fell invitingly in front of the home keeper. W. Crowley stretched his leg out like a limo but could only manage to divert the ball over the bar from close in. The half ended with the scoreline even.
The second half was much better and the superior fitness of the visitors started to take over the game (or maybe it was that the players were finally sobering up?) Midway through the second half Butler made it 2-1 when he was put through by G. Crowley and went on the round the goalkeeper to score. Herbert played a dangerous game minutes later when he took to dribbling the ball in the box but he escaped without causing any damage. Soon after another set up by G. Crowley resulted in another Butler goal and it was almost identical to his first. Hosler then took a dead ball kick which bounced straight through to Alfie Deglan who flicked on to Butler who had beaten the off-side trap. He again set off on route to goal and remarkably did the same move of rounding the goalkeeper to score his natural hat-trick and enter the record books for the fastest Classics hat-trick ever which was estimated at six minutes by Rosenlund. Three identical goals - a marvellous feat at any level of football - you could say that goals like this from this player are like Bread and Butler. However, he immediately asked to be subbed so that he could rush off to find an ATM to buy a round for the team!
With 10 minutes remaining Essondale were given a glorious opportunity and should have pulled one back but the forward shot straight at Herbert who got down well to parry the ball away and then got down again to smother the ball. A great run down the left saw Hosler run from his own half to the dead ball line. The whole way he was being 'hossled' but he fought off the threat to put in a shot but it unfortunately missed. Eden was involved with some clever play and he headed a few balls through to colleagues with authority. One particular one to Pat Rohla sent him off down the wing but Rohla over-run the ball and it went dead. Rohla was interacting with McGill in the corner and even thought the ball didn't get to him, McGill was very reminiscent of the IKEA advert when he ran into the corner shouting, "Start the car, start the car!"
To round up - the day started as a disaster with a disjointed Classics team which looked shambolic with players slipping and sliding all over the field. The weather was fantastic and the game was well played by both teams in a genuine and friendly spirit which was a credit to all involved. Deglan's best move of the day was reserved till after the game when he went to fill up the cooler. The after match talk revolved around the protest by Larry Thorlakson who complained that the opposition were only charging $2.25 for a beer but he never took up the offer that was given for him to join them. He is currently making protest banners for the next game. It was also mentioned that Rohla did more running with the flag than when he actually got on the field. The afternoon was only marred when a vagrant came round looking for beer cans (picture enclosed). If anyone can take it into their hearts to adopt him he is currently sleeping under the third tree close to the Percy Perry Stadium or for just 59 cents a day you can give him fresh water. Just phone 7-776-767-2286 (SPONSOR A BUM).
Final Score: Essondale 1 Classics 4 (1-1)
GK: Dean Herbert
Hat Trick: Jimmy Butler
Crap award: Danny Jensen (for preventing a shut out)