Poor finishing could have been so costly...........
The Classics really left their shooting boots at home in this encounter with the old foe, Britannia. The game was only a minute old when the Classics were hit with the blow of Rick Geary having to retire from the game suffering from a recurring calf injury. Rumour had it that he wasn’t really injured but he had just remembered where he had left his team jacket and he went to retrieve it! The Classics dominated the play and Britannia couldn’t have complained had they been 4 or 5 goals down at the half. However, the shooting was so miserable that the teams left the field on level terms for the break. Billy Ranger, Chris Arcari, Bruce Cook, Mike Snow, Uncle Tom Cobley and All were all guilty of misses and the target was left unblemished.
The second half started in similar manner with several scoring opportunities being scorned yet again. Midway through the second half, Britannia started to exhert some pressure on the Classics defence but they held out resolutely. Garry Hackel was at his impeccable best and he was handling well, dominated his goalmouth and made some marvellous saves as Britannia pushed for the opening goal. Chuck McGill had probably his best match of the season, winning everything in the air against some big attackers, and he was ably complimented by Ray Marrington who was in no mood to concede any goals. The whole of the defence played well in front of Hackel and Britannia could have popped a couple of goals had it not been for the determination of the back line.
However, there seemed more chance of Las Vegas going bankrupt than of this game ending in a 0-0 draw. It was going to be a case of which team could make the breakthrough. After the 10 minute spell of pressure from the visitors the Classics got back on track and started to turn the screws. By the hour mark, the old saying “had it been a boxing match it would have been stopped on points” seemed appropriate as the Classics missed chance after chance. The woodwork was hit by Jim Eden and Arcari, then Ranger, Cook and Arcari all missed sitterers that Tony Short’s grandmother would have scored. Short even made a brief appearance in the second half (or should that be Brief made a short appearance?) and actually touched the ball three times. He was quite proud of the fact that he had touched it three times more than Geary.
The breakthrough eventually came the Classics way in the 70th. minute after a fine run by Fisher Crocket saw him release the ball to Eden. Eden headed for the corner and skipped round a defender as if he wasn’t there, before sending over a low cross which scraped past the goalkeeper and across the goalmouth. Cook was lurking on the back post and, although he admitted to mishitting his shot, he fired in from an acute angle to put the home side in the lead. More pressure from Britannia resulted in Hackel pulling off a spectacular save but the Classics weren’t finished yet. Ranger atoned for his earlier deficiencies when he scored his first goal of the season from close in and gave the home side the insurance goal which they had desperately been searching for.
As the teams left the field an un-named Italian Classics player was overheard to say, “I’ve never known a team miss 10 easy goals and score with two hard ones.” It just about summed up the performance, but the result was a milestone as it was the Classics 40th. game in which they had remained undefeated. Watch out Arsenal!
Final Score 2-0 (0-0)
MWG: B. Cook
Club photographer: T. Short
"You Were Crap" award: B. Ranger