Classics not too good Honda road (match report by Chris Arcari) ..........
This promised to be a difficult game, with nine Classics not making the trip to Richmond, and it proved as such. Coach Eden was forced to juggle his starting lineup. Staying with the same 4-4-2 formation, Pat Rohla started up front with Gordie Macklin. The midfield included (from left to right) Gene Crowley, Alan Massender, Chris Arcari, and Mike Stuart. The back line began with Fisher Crockett at left back, Danny Jensen sweeping in front of Charles McGill, and Randy Hosler on his customary right side. In goal, wearing a pair of Tony Short's gardening gloves was Jim Eden. Jim was substituted after only a few minutes when Chas Jones (who came out of retirement), showed up and offered to play goal(s). Chas, looking resplendid in his Dean Herbert 1960's look-alike sweat pants with a matching old school Classics white shirt and the aforementioned 'gardening gloves', looked a little bit like Gordon Banks (albeit with somewhat better eyesight).
The game began tentatively with the Classics understanding they would be putting in a full 90 minutes with only one subsitute available. However, a Randy Hosler ball down into the corner for Gordie Macklin resulted in a perfectly placed cross into the box for Pat Rohla to head home. A teammate was heard after the game commenting that this could very well be the only game this year where Pat Rohla wins a head ball without actually jumping. He took his chance well and rippled the twine for a 1-0 Classics lead.
The Gladiators came more into the game, especially with the difficulty the Classics were having identifying who they should be marking - the opposition all seemed to be the same height with the same colour and same build, seemingly clones of one another. In any event, they sent a long ball into the box where Fisher Crockett was deemed to have fouled his man. What proceeded was about 10 minutes of indecision, or at least lack of clarity, on behalf of the referee. The end result was a penalty kick and a red card to Gordie Macklin for dissent. It was a well placed spot kick, giving the Classics' reserve/reserve/reserve/reserve goalie no chance. Half time score: 1-1
The second half saw the Classics once again take the lead. Pressure on the Gladiators defense resulted in the soccer ball behaving more like a pin ball before Mike Stuart pounced on it and scored his first goal as a Classic. However, the lead was short-lived as the Gladiators flicked on a corner kick from the goalie's left side just beyond Jones' reach. The final goal was scored by the Gladiators directly from a corner kick from the other side. With all the bodies in the box, Jones simply had too much to contend with and the ball flew directly over his head into the net.
The undermanned Classics, fatigued from running miles on the hilly and somewhat uneven pitch, refused to give up. Evidence was a Danny Jensen foray (he was now playing left midfield much to the chagrin of 'coach' Tony Short). Unable to get to the ball before it crossed the end line, Jensen took it upon himself to imitate a BC Lions middle linebacker and tackle the unsuspecting Gladiator defender. Jensen, who took his time getting off the defender (it's hard to stand up when the person you have in a headlock is lying down), earned himself a red card. It has been suggested perhaps Jensen (who regularly plays sweeper) was simply buying some time to catch his breath after his marathon-like 50 yard run. Two red cards in one game - just like old-time Classics soccer. Oddly enough neither red card was awarded to the Classics all-time leader in red cards, Jim Eden. Not that Eden didn't try and scythe a player to the ground, as this reporter witnessed late in the game. It was just that the opponent jumped out of his way.
Two league losses in a row is certainly unusual for the Classics, with the last time occurring in the 08/09 season on November 16 and 23 against Cliff Avenue and Polonia. A quick check of the records doesn't show three league losses in a row back to the 02/03 season. Perhaps the former manager, David Moore (who is in England apprenticing as the Oldham mascot) would have this information in one of his books. Special thanks to Randy Hosler for providing all types of baked items after the game. After running their bags off, the players very much appreciated the goodies.
Final Score: Gladiators 3 Classics 2 (1-1)
Red Cards: G. Macklin, D. Jensen
Crap Award: Awarded by Tony Short to Danny Jensen for substituting on in a different position and the fashion in which he earned his red card