Night of firsts leaves Delta second...........
With 11 players out of the starting line-up due to injuries, work commitments or holidays it was an understrength 10 man Classics team which took the field. The line-up was makeshift to say the least with Doug Smith picked to start the game at right back and Hans Erker taking the goalkeeping responsibility. It started well enough as the Classics won the toss and opted to play with the sun at their backs. From there it went downhill! Under the cosh from the kick-off, Delta attacked, and attacked and attacked as the Classics unsucessfully tried to find some rhythm in a game whick looked like being a walk-over.
United went 1-0 up after only 5 minutes when Hans Erker failed to get down sufficiently to take a simple shot and the ball was soon nestled in the back of the net. Not an ideal start! The Delta pressure was relentless and it looked like at any time the lead would be increased. Erker was called on minutes later to pull off a good save and he got down well to his right to scoop the ball to safety. The Classics did get a few breakaways but with Ron Jennings as the lone attacker it was asking a lot from him to take on the responsibility of getting enough goals to make a difference in the game.
As the half wore on, the Classics steadily came more into the game but the final ball was always lacking. It was going to take something special (or lucky) if the game was going to be a contest. The TSC turning point came midway through the half when the Classics won a right wing corner. As the corner was being taken, Rick Geary left the field for treatment. Jim Eden flighted over a perfect corner which was well met by Dave Moore who headed downwards for the perfect clinical finish. The ball bounced and went in off the crossbar leaving the United goalkeeper catching flies. An injured Billy Ranger was watching from the sidelines and was observed taking notes, obviously making reservations for a future Moore goalscoring clinic. Jennings was overheard to say, “It was a rocket.” It was Moore's first goal in over two years, his last one coming in the 3-2 win over Richmond Cosmos. The other goalscorers on the night were Les Horvath and Manfred Soucker.
The goal gave inspiration and confidence to the team who started to believe that perhaps all was not lost. Five minutes later another another right wing corner from Eden was swung wide and away from the goalkeeper. An opposing defender was twelve yards out and with his back to the goal. Somehow he managed to slice the ball and he “Moored it” past his own keeper to give the Classics a shock lead. An unusually superstitious Geary again went off the field when the corner was awarded hoping for the impossible goal which came. He must be a physic!
The second half was completely a different story. All the players stood up to be counted and five minutes into the half Larry Thorlakson hit a ball through to Bill McAuley who chipped the ball forward to Jennings. Jennings made no mistake as he finished in fine style to record his first goal of the season. 1-3. In the 55th. minute, Erker punted the ball up the field to Fisher Crockett who fed the ball through to Jennings. Jennings cooly laid the ball inside for Bill McAuley who had the simple task of putting the ball into the open net for his first goal of the season. 1-4. This was the fourth ‘first goal’ of the season as the Classics had not had an own goal to add to their tally of goals this season.
A right wing corner from Mike Snow almost brought another goal but Moore's and Doug Smith’s heads collided when they both went for the same ball and the chance disappeared. With 20 mins. of the match left a right wing corner from Eden deceived everybody and curled delightfully into the net directly from the corner to put the Classics securely in the driving seat. It was a remarkable scoreline considering the circumstances.
The game erupted in the 75th. minute after the referee bizarrely gave a penalty kick against Larry (The Axe) Thorlakson for elbowing an opposing player. Moore’s comment that he must have been a Swiss referee didn’t go down well and goalkeeper Martin Chipperfield disputed the award so strongly that he was yellow carded. When Chipper punched the ball out of the referee’s hand and hurled abuse at him he received a red card for his trouble and was ejected from the game. Erker (pictured) was returned between the sticks and promptly saved the resulting spot kick with a relatively easy parry to his left and justice was served.
With 10 minutes remaining Geary could soldier on no more and the Classics moved Eden back to partner Moore. They played the last 10 minutes with only 9 players, several of which were by now the walking wounded. It was a game where players were required to put in that little extra and they did it to some tune. There were good performances from everyone. Warren Dickinson threw himself about the field to great effect and Smith played out of his skin to make himself a nuisance to the opposition. ‘Shiner’ Jennings worked tirelessly but had to leave the field with 15 minutes to go after taking an elbow in the eye after being unable to see properly. McAuley was at his best and there were sound performances from Thorlakson and Crockett in the back line. Eden provided guile and inspiration with some fine probing balls and he slotted in as sweeper when needed as if he had been playing there all season. Once again it was a night for heroes and the goalscorers on the night couldn’t have chosen a better night to come good.
MWG: Own Goal
Goalkeepers: H. Erker/M. Chipperfield
Penalty Conceded: L. Thorlakson
Yellow Card: M. Chipperfield
Red Card: M. Chipperfield
Penalty Saved: H. Erker
"You Were Crap" award: R. Geary