Dirty Dozen sting the Stingers...........
It was a night for heros! The referee was the first to arrive and he declared the pitch playable. As the official kick-off time of 6:30pm. arrived there was a grand total of three Classics players, Larry Thorlakson, Ray Marrington and Dave Moore. Stingers, the opposition, had a similar turn out and it was debated that the night could turn out a disaster. With most players from each team assuming that the kick-off time was 7:00pm, slowly but surely both teams built up to a playable number.
The usual ‘pitch debate’ ensued with the younger team but the Classics management had to concede that pitch #8 had officially been changed and they eventually lined up on a ‘double field’ which was inadequately marked. With only 12 players, the Classics kicked off the game in a torrential downpour. Jim Eden had volunteered to coach the game for the night and luckily he had brought his boots along, as he had to make his season debut.
An unconventional line-up took the field in a match against the tough opposition of the old foes, the Stingers. Always a tough fixture, the Stingers last beat the Classics at Newton Athletic on 1st. October 2000, when goals from George Finley and Manfred Soucker were not enough as the Classics went down 2-3 at home.
The game was not a classic and the play was evenly balanced in an end to end conflict. The only real first half Classics chances fell to Eden but his shooting boots had deserted him, only to be replaced by his pitching wedge, as his free-kicks sailed high and wide. Garry Hackel was up for the challenge and promised a shut-out before the game had commenced and at half time his promise looked like being fulfilled.
The second half was also an evenly balanced affair and it looked more and more like the first goal in the game would be the decider. Time wore on and the referee constantly stated that there was “10 minutes to go” on several occasions. As nightime drew in the game looked to be heading for a draw but..... a corner kick was awarded to the Classics with only five minutes to go. Mike Snow sent over a long, tantilising corner which eluded the Stingers keeper and fell perfectly to Billy Ranger, waiting on the back post, who headed downwards and into the net for an unexpected lead.
Cue relentless pressure on the Classics back line. The Stingers went for the jugular and peppered the Classics back line with shots in an attempt to salvage something from a game which in reality was their best chance to win in years. One episode was a barrage of shots which was more likened to a pin-ball machine rather than a football game. It culminated in the TSC turning point when Snow (pictured) headed the ball off the line, much to the dismay of the Stingers who were already celebrating the goal.
Ray Marrington was a giant at the centre of the back line and the Classics held on for an unexpected victory to continue their impressive start to the season. The night was one to remember for the Classics as it was a night where they overcame all the odds to claim an impressive ‘team effort’ for the ‘dirty dozen’ and Hackel's shut-out was confirmed. The Stingers must hate playing the Classics!
MWG: B. Ranger
"You Were Crap" award: T. Lowe