There was a slight sprinkling of snow on the field as the Classics drew their swords to face Polonia in their first ever visit to Tom Binnie Park at beautiful downtown Whalley. Coach Jim Eden was the first to arrive as he thought the field was called Tom Finney and he was looking for his former Preston North End hero. The game was delayed by 14 minutes as it was cold and nobody wanted to get changed. The Classics took the early initiative and an early attack concluded in a shot from Alfie Deglan which was headed narrowly over by Bruce Cook.
There was another comedy classic moment in the 10th. minute when Larry Thorlakson took a throw in. The ball never went into play and was asked to be retaken. Thorlakson took his second throw in and that too never went into play and was asked to be retaken again, again. The third attempt by the intrepid thrower was a foul throw but the referee was so bemused by the incident, and he felt so sorry for him, that he allowed play on. Never, in many years of reporting football, has the reporter witnessed such a throw-in event of such proportions - hey! there's a hundred yards to hit out there.
In the 15th. minute Jimmy Butler was put away on the left and his first time shot scurried across the face of the goal for a dead ball. The game was a tough encounter with both sides taking turns at the attacking initiative. When Polonia did attack, the Classics defence, excellently marshalled by Danny Jensen and capably accompained by Ray Marrington in the centre, was holding strong and rarely looked in any danger. The breakthrough came on the half-hour when Butler was uncerimoniously bundled over in the box. Although the Polonia defender pleaded his case that he played the ball first (before kicking seven bells out of Butler) the referee was adamant that a foul had been committed and the result was a penalty kick. Jensen stepped forward and had no trouble in powering the ball into the net to give the visitors the lead.
In the second half it was again an end to end game with the advantage being slightly in favour of the Classics, and if another goal was to be scored it looked more likely that the visitors would get it. Midway through the half, the Classics were awarded a throw in on the right hand side and Thorlakson threw the ball to Cook who laid it back to the thrower. Thorlakson centred and Bill McAuley was on hand to hit the ball on the volley. It looped delightfully over the keeper to give the Classics a comfortable lead, and one which on the balance of play, they richly deserved.
Five minutes from time Polonia pulled back a goal to set up a nerve wracking finale. The goal came about after a corner was banded about the box like a pin ball. Garry Hackel was the flipper lever and twice in succession he parried the ball away only for it to get hammered back at the net. On the third attempt it did cross the line to give Polonia a life line although the Classics defence thought that it had been tilted.
As time eroded it was inevitable that the Classics were going to hold on for the win as they played for possession and did the right things to run the clock down. It was a good victory on a difficult day. Boots clogged up with ice packs with every movement and although it was uncomfortable, it was a good feeling at the end of the game when the final whistle went. Credit to all the Classics players who fought well, played a good team game and never gave up. The new year will be the next outing for the team and it will be interesting to see what the "scheduling robot" brings - could it be Chilliwack away again?.
Final Score 1-2 (0-1)
You were crap award: Not awarded