It was a blustery day at Cloverdale as the Classics entertained the Stingers. It was very one sided in the early stages of the game with the Stingers hardly having a sniff of the action. Chances were put on a plate time after time but the home side were unable to capitalise on any of them and the scores remained at stalemate midway through the half. An incident in the 18th. minute resulted in a Stingers player being shown the red card. Bruce Cook had been tussling with the player and he ended up on the floor at which the opposing player started to do an early pagan ritual Halloween dance over him, jesticulating and chanting in some unrecognisable native language. When his knee finally went into Cook's back the referee had seen enough and immediately wrote "Billy Two Rivers" into his notebook and sent him off.
The first real breakthrough came in the 25th. minute when the hard working Cook laid a beautiful ball through for Billy McAuley to chase. McAuley went off like a man on a mission and, showing great speed and control, took the ball half the length of the field before finally burying it into the back of the net with some aplomb. It was a fine goal. Five minutes later Garry Hackel was called upon to keep the game all even and he brought off a wonder save when he threw himself onto his damaged left side in an attempt to keep out a goal bound shot. The ball struck Hackel in the face and went away for a corner. It was a brave piece of goalkeeping and one which he obviously learned from the previous weeks second half keeper.
Ten minutes before the break a magnificent piece of team play brought about the second goal. Alfie Deglan started off the move which ended when Chris Arcari crossed the ball from the right wing to the awaiting Cook who was lurking in the box. Cook had the simplest of tasks to sidefoot the ball over the line. It was just reward for the hard working Classics team who were fighting for every ball. It should have been three just five minutes before the half-time whistle after Deglan had chased what looked like a 'lost cause' ball. Deglan kept the ball from going over the dead ball line with a clever back header which landed right at the feet of Arcari for the simple task of scoring the third goal. However, Arcari snatched at the chance and blasted his effort high and wide over the goals. It was a golden opportunity to kill the game off but his goalscoring boots have been sadly misplaced recently.
The next incident was nothing but comical. The referee awarded a free-kick for a foul on Larry Thorlakson which was probably 10 feet into the penalty box. It was obviously not obstruction so should have been a penalty. When the referee eventually arrived at the scene of the incident (several minutes later) he gave a direct free kick on the edge of the box. In fairness, it didn't warrant a penalty but the incident was farsical. It was 3-0 just before the whistle after Cook laid another good through ball for Billy Ranger to chase. Ranger made no mistake and the goal at that particular timing must have sent a death knell through the Stingers team.
Stingers were dreadfully unlucky not to get a goal back in the early stages of the second half. An early assault on the Classics goal saw them hit the upright and then the crossbar from the rebound. From there on, there followed much the same pattern. In the 55th. minute Deglan won the ball in the middle of the field and fired the ball out for McAuley who went on another of his surging runs at goal. With just the keeper to beat he unselfishly pulled the ball square for Cook who had the easy task of side footing his second goal of the game. The same pattern followed yet again as Arcari missed an easy chance to score.
Midway throught the second half it became apparent what the red carded Stingers player had been doing - a rain dance! The heavens opened and let down a deluge of driving rain and hail which made it difficult for both teams to see any of the action. One had to sympathise with poor Billy McAuley as his head sounded like a corrugated tin roof with all the hail dancing on it. The team should invest in some sympathetic coverings for similar headed players for any such future occasions. In the 70th. minute a right wing corner for the Stingers gave them a consolation goal, The ball was played in close to the near post and with Fisher Crockett on the post and Hackel scrambling for the ball it somehow went between them both and over the line. The remainder of the game was played out without incident as the Classics shut up shop and retained possession of the ball sufficiently enough to eek away the time. A good all round team performance and a well deserved win.
Final Score 4-1 (3-0)
MWG: B. Cook
You were crap award: C. Arcari felt so attached that he wanted to keep it