Blunders never punished in a game of firsts for the Classics........
The last game of the season was a crucial one for the Classics and was a game in which history could be made. The usual road trip to Burnett Park in Richmond is one of intrepidation but a trip which is never a sure fire thing as the field must be classed as the worst in the league. Even on a nice sunny day like this the players were complaining of having water-logged boots even before the referee blew his whistle. The small crowd was rumoured to be boosted by one of Arsene Wenger’s scouts as he was concerned that the Classics would out-do his teams remarkable achievements of late and he sent a spy to try to pick up some pointers from the Classics.
This fixture is usually played in a downpour of rain but today was to be different as it was raining goals. It didn’t take long as the Classics were a goal up in the first five minutes through Billy Ranger who ran through unaided to slot home his 14th goal of the campaign.
Blunder number 1 - Five minute later Cosmos were level when a left wing attacker cut into the box heading for goal. Dave Moore, recognising the imminent danger, went in for the tackle but (due to the unevenness of the playing surface) could only deflect the ball past a despairing Martin Chipperfield in goal. In actual effect it was a cracking shot to the bottom corner which would have easily beaten, ‘sometimes regular’ keeper Garry Hackel. It was a goal which consolidates Dave’s record own goals against and puts him into double figures.
Blunder number 2 - Cosmos were a goal to the better after Billy McAuley inexplicably lost the ball in the left hand corner and a Cosmos player went on to score.
Goals were coming fast and furious and it was soon 2-2 when a long throw from Mike Snow found Ranger in space. Ranger turned to unleash a rocket and claim his 15th. goal of the season.
Blunder number 3 - Larry Thorlakson was guilty of dilly-dallying on that now dangerous left touchline and was robbed of the ball. A grateful Cosmos attacker took the ball and stroked it past Chipperfield to put Cosmos in the lead yet again at 3-2.
Minutes later it was all level again when a left wing corner from Snow was powerfully headed home by Chris Arcari who was waiting at the far post. As half time approached could this goal flood continue? The simple answer was, "yes!" as Fisher Crockett got in on the act. He picked up the ball about 30 yards out and punted it goalwards. The Cosmos keeper fumbled the ball and Phil Nelson was on hand to pick up the rebound and lash it past the keeper for his first goal of the season. The teams left the field with the score at 4-3 for the visitors in an entertaining, if not heart stopping at times, game for the spectators.
The second half began in much the same way as the first with Ranger scoring early on. Snow threaded the ball through the eye of a needle to Ranger who unleashed a left foot rocket into the top corner and claim his, and the teams, first hat trick of the season. It was Snow again who provided the ammunition for the next goal when his shot, which was going in, was stopped when it hit Ranger. Ranger, being no slouch, was first to react and he smashed in the Classics sixth goal, and his own fourth, of the game. Cosmos were visibly tiring and the constant pressure from the Classics was starting to tell.
Soon after (who was watching the time) the Classics hit their seventh goal. Snow, who had assisted in four of the previous goals, got the goal that he had so rightly deserved. It came after a deft through ball from Moore. Snow chipped the advancing keeper to round off a personal best performance with a well taken goal. Arcari got the eighth goal after a solo run through the middle saw him easily beat the now deflated Cosmos keeper.
Blunder number 4 - Ray Marrington was the unfortunate defender who slipped to let the Cosmos pull back a consolation goal.
Further chances were missed by Doug Smith, Tony Short, Arcari, Ranger, Moore and McAuley but no-one was complaining.
The season has been a memorable one for the Classics after losing some key players and having to rebuild the team. Due to the fact that their run has been achieved with the absence of a regular keeper for more than half of the season it is quite remarkable. They have now gone 24 league games undefeated, beating their previous best of 16 league games and 20 games in all competitions.
Now for the firsts from this game:
MWG: B. Ranger
Four goals scored: B. Ranger
Own goal: D. Moore
"You Were Crap" award: G. Hackel (in absentia)