Three years on........
It was a red letter day for the Classics as this victory over the Stingers secured a three year unbeaten league run for the team, a remarkable feat at any level of football. The Classics last tasted league defeat on 9th. February 2003 when a 2-5 drubbing at home to Italia seems an age away unless your name happens to be Tony!
The field at Newton Athletic was in remarkable shape considering the deluge of rain which has ransacked the the area during the last week and more. The opening exchanges were evenly balanced and the first ten to fifteen minutes was end to end stuff with the Classics being unable to get into their usual rhythm of play. It appears that recently it takes the team more than a few minutes to wake up and get the show on the road. Today was no exception.
The first breakthrough came after 12 minutes when an Alfie Deglan shot cannoned back off the upright and Billy Ranger was on hand to tuck the ball away for the opening goal. The goal seemed to settle the team and they came more into their stride. So much so that five minutes later they were two goals better off than their opponents. The goal stemmed from a John Wilson free kick which eventually found Chris Arcari wide on the right of the field. Arcari whipped across a beautiful centre which found "Billy on the spot" at the far post. Ranger hammed the ball goalwards and although it looked to hit the side netting it was nestled comfortably at the back of the net to give Billy his seventh goal of the season and make him the team's leading scorer for the season.
The remainer of the half saw a spirited display from the home side with the midfield, ably led by midfield supremos Arcari and Wilson, taking a firm grip on proceedings. They were backed up by staunch defending from the back four and much foraging by the everchanging front two and wide midfielders. All in all, it was a great team effort to shut down any threat that a strong Stingers side could throw at them.
The second half witnessed a determined start by the Classics with an early shot by Arcari and a header from Rick Geary, but both caused little problems for the visiting keeper. In the 55th. minute a speculative long shot from Arcari deceived the keeper. The drive was not powerful but it eluded him and somehow slipped through his arms and over the line, much to the dismay of the Stingers team.
A powerful run by Wilson in the 60th. minute ended up with him taking his first yellow card for the team, an unjustified card due to the circumstances but one that starts him off on his journey to a line on the big bingo card. Five minutes later a jinking run from Wilson ended up with him rounding the goalkeeper and squaring the ball to Ranger. Ranger, with more time than it took the Titanic to sink, inexcusibly hit the post with an open net begging and a defender came in to clear the danger.
If that was not enough, two minutes later a good run from Deglan resulted with him passing also the ball to Ranger. Again Ranger fluffed the chance with a weak shot, thus confirming that he had left his purse at home and didn't want to pay for the customery round of drinks for the team after completing a hat trick.
Tony Short made an appearance as substitute but there was some confusion as to which team he was going to turn out for. Standing on the touchline ready to enter the field of play, looking splendid in his newly ironed blue Classics shirt, a minor infringement was pointed out to him. The Classics were playing in white and Stingers were wearing dark blue. Another "Classic moment" for the team to treasure!
Ten minutes from the end of the game the Stingers pulled a goal back, albeit under controversial circumstances. Restricted to long range efforts, one such effort came back off the chest of Manfred Soucker in goals and fell to a waiting attacker. Everyone except the referee saw the striker palm the ball down before hitting it home but the result was that the deficit was reduced to two goals and Manny's customary shut out gone.
In the last minute a left wing cross from Jim Eden found Bill McAuley unmarked in the box and he made no mistake from 8 yards. Stingers appealed for an offside decision but McAuley was clearly onside and the goal sealed a remakable day in the history of the Classics. Nuff said!
Final Score 4-1 (2-0)
The team went 3 years undefeated in the league
J. Wilson: Yellow Card
MWG: B. Ranger
You were crap award: B. Ranger