The first real attack went to the Pioneers in the second minute and Manny Soucker needed to be alert enough to make a diving save to prevent the visitors from taking the lead. The Classics first effort came on the four minute mark when a Rick Geary header was easily saved by the keeper. A minute later Chris Arcari shot the ball over the bar in another Classics attack.
The Classics took the lead in the 15th. minute when a right wing corner from Jim Eden was bounded around the penalty area like a ping-pong ball in a World Championship final. Eventually the ball was kicked off the line and fell to Fisher Crockett just outside the six yard box. Crockett shot and the ball got deflected past Gary Byrne for the opening goal. We had to delve back into Volume III of the famous book to find out when Crockett last scored at the right end of the field. It came in a 4-4 draw with Britannia at Cloverdale Athletic Park way back on 1st. May 1997. The other scorers that day were Billy Ranger, Tony Short and an own goal. So you can see, a goal from Crockett is about as rare as droppings from a rocking horse.
Three minutes later the Pioneers were level after a Graham Mason right sided effort was well placed to the left of the keeper and the ball rolled just inside the post. The Classics took the lead again in the 22nd. minute when a right wing corner from Mike Snow was hammered home by Bruce Cook, returning from International duty in Mexico. The rocket left his boot and was perfectly placed in the top right angle of the goals. It was a stunning goal! Five minutes later the Pioneers were level yet again. This time Kenny Johnson did the damage when he headed the ball downwards to beat Soucker. Something was definitely wrong - Johnson never scores against the Classics!
A free kick was awarded to the Classics about 30 yards out on the right hand side of the field. The direct free kick was taken by Eden and he made no mistake as he unleashed a shot which deceived everybody and sailed into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. The Pioneer's keeper Gary Byrne was annoyed at the flack that he received from his team-mates and immediately threw his dummy out of the pram, left the field and headed into the bright blue yonder, never to be seen again. Cook was sin-binned for persistent harassment of the referee who refused to give anything although Cook had been chopped down in no uncertain terms like an infected Dutch Elm tree. The teams left the field at half-time with the Classics leading 3-2 in what was usually a 0-0 game between these teams.
The Pioneers would not lie down and and sprung a right wing attack just five minutes after the interval. An attacking full back left Chas Jones dreaming of the Spurs game which he had had to leave, and sent over a centre which was converted by Stan Brogdanovich to put the teams level at 3-3. Ray Marrington handled the ball five minutes later to give the Pioneers a penalty which Mason duly converted with a low shot to the right hand corner. The visitors had the lead for the first time in the game.
In the 65th. minute Snow hammered over a left wing shot-cum-centre which took a couple of defelections before ending snuggled in the back of the net. 4-4. At this stage of the game the referee threw his notebook away and took out a crib-board. What a game this was turning out to be. John Wilson was the second Classics player to be sin-binned after he 'lost-it' with the referee. Fifteen minutes from the end Marrington was beaten in a one-to-one with Evgeni Kushnir and the grateful Pioneers attacker scored the final goal of the game and what was to be the eventual match winner.
So the run has ended! Over three seasons and 67 league games since the last defeat. This was the first game that the Classics have lost since the great Budgie retired over three years ago. Is Moore's tenure as manager under scrutiny? Will the "Moore Out" plackards be in evidence at the next game? We will have to wait and see how the fans take it.
Excuses? Not really. The Classics never got off the team coach on the day. They were out of sorts. The whole team were a let down. The midfield had a bad day at the office. It's hard to fault the front line although the first line of defence starts from the forwards and they must accept some responsibility. The Classics defence just don't let goals in like that so what went wrong? One could argue that, taking nothing away from Soucker, Garry Hackel would not have let five goals in but Hackel was not there. The team put it's best out on the field on the day and it wasn't good enough. In conclusion there was much sadness, pathos and bathos. Indeed, several of the Musketeers put in an appearance for this game but in the end the Classics were beaten by a better team on the day, or to be more precise by a team that wanted to win more. Here's to the next three years then and especially to the next time the Classics play the Pioneers!
Final Score 4-5 (3-2)
Yellow card: B. Cook, J. Wilson
Penalty Conceded: R. Marrington
You Were Crap Award: The whole team (posthumously)