Late Cavalry charge brings success...........
This was always going to be a tough game. With many regulars out due to injury, holidays or meetings the Classics drafted in Warren Dickinson, Angelo Stefanavic, Art Takahara and Dave Quinn to bolster the numbers. A strong Poland team made their intentions quite clear when they nearly opened the scoring in the second minute after a good build up. It was end to end stuff and both teams had good scoring chances. Doug Smith was putting in a good performance on the right wing and played some good balls through while the experimental midfield was trying to get to grips with the battle in the middle of the park.
The game erupted 15 minutes in when a Polish attacker was brought down by Smith and Garry Hackel took some objection to the referee's decision to award a penalty. Hackel did not "Go Bananas" but he was unduly upset and received a 10 minute sin-bin from Mr. Gisby, the referee. Turning point number one: Martin Chipperfield took the keepers jersey and pulled off an excellent save to deny Poland the lead. It was a pressure save and the Classics breathed a sigh of relief. The relief was short lived though as Poland did break through twelve minutes later to beat Hackel, now returned from the bin, with a powerful shot. Fisher Crockett was having a torrid time trying to mark the right winger who was twice the size of him. He left the field at one stage to borrow a pair of stepladders from the next field to give him a better chance with some of the headers.
The Classics still had chances but nothing was going in the net until some good midfield work from Quinn and Stefanavic gave Chris Arcari a scoring chance some 20 yards out. Arcari took the ball forward and hit a perfect low shot onto the right post. It bounced in off the post to totally deceive the Polish keeper. The remainder of the half was a fast, pacey game with chances falling to both sides but it was honours even when the teams left the field for the half-time break.
The second half started as a continuation of the first half and it looked like the next goal could be the clincher. Both teams continued to battle while looking for the elusive break through. Enter the Cavalry! Fifteen minutes into the half with the game heading towards a stalemate, an injured but eager Billy Ranger entered the field chomping at the bit. One minute wonder number one - Within a minute Ranger had scored. Ranger received a ball which came from a Ray Marrington punt which was headed on by Arcari. The Polish defence had been lulled into a false sense of security by Tony Short and Bill McAuley who were playing at a snails pace on purpose as part of the overall master plan. This left Ranger to set off on a deceptively fast run, from almost the half way line, which resulted in his usual accomplished finish. An inspired substitution from Erker. That was turning point number two.
Minutes later it was 3-1 to the Classics. Mike Snow was doing sterling work with his long throw-ins and corners and when he sent a right wing cross over, Tom Lowe was on hand at the far post to knock the ball over the line after a deflection from the Russian last line of defence, Innov The Keeper. That should have been it! A two goal cushion would have been enough to kill most teams but Poland came back strong and would not concede. Hackel took a nasty pull to the muscle in the back of his leg when he went for a harmless ball and stepped in a small hole in the field. Minutes later, a finely struck goal past the now limping Hackel pulled the defict back to one goal and it was a case of "game on."
One minute wonder number two - Within a minute Cook had laid on an equaliser. Bruce Cook arrived late to the game and made his entry to the field in a midfield/defensive capacity. Unfortunately, his first touch was to steer the ball into the path of a Polish attacker who blasted the ball past Hackel. It was a wonder strike and brought Poland level, as well as doubling the Classics goals against tally for the season in one game. The goal shocked the Classics and the way Poland were playing, a first defeat for the Classics looked on the cards. Arcari received a yellow card for arguing and it was not looking good.
Turning point number three: In the 65th. minute a break away by Poland ended with a Polish attacker beating the defence and getting into a one-on-one position with Hackel. A goal now would have seen off the Classics but Hackel came big. He spread himself to make a world class save which was as good as any match winning goal. Still 3-3. With time petering out there was one last sting in the tale. Turning point number four: With ten minutes left to go on the clock, Larry Thorlakson sent a hopeful ball high into the box. Short rose majestically on the penalty spot to send a looping header over the diving keeper and into the net for the winner. The celebration run was one which had to be seen to be believed and would have graced any Premiership team. Well it looked that daft to me anyway! The Classics had pulled another rabbit out of the hat at the last minute to maintain their remarkable run of consecutive wins.
MWG: T. Short
Yellow Cards: G. Hackel (sin-bin), C. Arcari
Penalty Conceded: D. Smith
Penalty Saved: M. Chipperfield
"You Were Crap" award: H. Erker