The Classics entertained Polonia at Cloverdale for the second time this season, the previous result being a close 2-1 win for the home side with one of the goals coming from the penalty spot, courtesy of Chris Arcari. With Garry Hackel away on International duty in Mexico, the gloves fell once again to Dave Moore. Coach Jim Eden was obviously hedging his bets with this one as Moore is highly unlikely to shoot on himself!
The game got off to a rip-roaring start with the Classics taking the lead in the first five minutes. Kenny Johnson, playing as an out-and-out right winger, was doing some sterling work on the right hand side and put over a couple of pin-point centres in the first few minutes of play. It was from one such cross that the home side got the first vital breakthrough with a powerful header from Arcari at the far post.
Polonia came back at the Classics with some fine mid-field play which was negated with some similarly fine midfield tackling by the Classics midfield players. Playing with a strike force of three, the Classics defence had to reshuffle to counter the attacking Polonians. Chas Jones, having one of his best games, moved more into the centre allowing Danny Jensen to play a role in front of Ray Marrington. When the visitors did get through, their efforts never troubled the home stand-in keeper.
Jim Eden replaced Jones at left back after half an hour and his first touch was to have a big impact on the game. With two Polonia attackers marauding down the right wing, a through ball was chased by them both and Eden. Moore came racing out to clear the danger but Eden inadvertently played the ball onto one of the attackers which bounced favourably into the path of the other attacker who was left with the open net. The number 15 gratefully managed to steer the ball from an acute angle into the undefended goalmouth for the equalising goal. It was Eden's first touch! The score remained at 1-1 at the half
Ten minutes into the second half Polonia took the lead after a left wing breakaway left the attacker one on one with Moore. The attacker lofted a perfectly placed chip which even Edwin van der Saar would not have got. Moore never even attempted to reach it. Polonia rightly had their tails up now and started to take control of the midfield, putting more pressure on the Classics defence. Gone was the usual fluidity and the Classics struggled to get back into the game. Tempers got a little frayed and Polonia started to look more like a synchronised diving team than a football team. This eventually lead to their downfall as the Classics will not be out-muscled. There was nothing dirty in any of the play but the visitors became more and more unsettled when they tried to get physical with the Classics. This lead to more frustration on their behalf. The only card given by the referee was for the 'dissent' of a Polonia player after another "6.4" dive. It was going to take something special to get back into the game for the home side and what a special it was! Alfie Deglan unleashed a power-house shot in the 70th. minute which would have graced any stadium in the world. The valiant diving effort of the Polonia keeper attempting to save the shot were commendable but he would have needed rockets tied onto his feet to get there in time to catch the ball. The goal swung the advantage back over to the home side.
Billy Ranger was unlucky after a left wing run and shot from Bruce Cook was parried out to him by the keeper. Ranger was on hand to gracefully stroke the ball home but he was ruled off-side by the referee, a strange decision as the ball was pushed out to bim by the keeper. Deglan was also unlucky when another right foot thunderbolt struck the left upright and rebounded to safety.
The winning strike came ten minutes from the end of this enthralling match when a right wing move involving Larry Thorlakson was taken on by Cook. Cook made a powerful run which ended with a low centre to the near post and Jimmy "on the spot" Butler applied the predator touch which was very Drobga-esque in its execution. All credit must go to the whole of the team for showing the spirit to fight back from a 1-2 deficit. The character has never been questioned in this team and every player deserves an individual mention but it is not always possible. Well done boys!
Final Score 3-2 (1-1)
You were crap award: J. Butler