1st Team Match Reports
|25/03: LXG 3-1 RBBFC1|
|published Tuesday, 28-Mar-2017 (191 HITS)|
Team: Kris Mercelis, Jean Minne, Nils McGrath, Dex Bernardo; James Philpot, Andrew Hodgson; Rich McGeehan, Luka Novak, Steve Lamarra; Daniel Donner, Dries Heerkens.
Bench: Thomas Kellerman, Kevin Deroeck, Ben Thom, Micky Vadora, Didi Lebbink
These are the days you dream of as a little boy growing up, kicking a ball around in the back garden. You dream about them with your friends: the roar of the crowd, the feeling of scoring the winning goal, holding the trophy high, and then the girls with high heels. A chance for glory that few can even imagine, let alone taste. Winning ABSSA Division 1. Winning ABSSA Division 1. Just saying it brings tears to the eyes. Coming out on top of the 266 team pyramid system that is the mind boggling ABSSA. 16 men had that chance on Saturday. A chance to go down in history. We nearly blew it.
Saturday dawns, and the weather matches the mood of the team. Sunny, warm, Jean takes it too far and arrives in shorts and a t-shirt – a little over the top given the local Italians are still wrapped up in coats and scarves. Could be fashion though. Micky’s hat isn’t. In the changing room, Nils impresses us all by nearly heading the ball in to the bin. Fortunately, his failure is caught on camera, yet strangely this hasn’t made it onto the Twitter feed?
Team talks are made – keep calm, play our normal game, work hard. The message is taken in and then clearly ignored, as the first 10 minutes of the game do not go at all to plan. LXG are running more, passing more, and we haven’t settled. Showing that 40 year olds do have value on the pitch, the LXG winger puts in a clever cutback and the striker knocks the ball in off the post. 1-0. Dries, at this point clearly bored with football, gets out his phone and starts sending selfies to his girlfriend.
RBB don’t panic and start to settle, but slowly. We start to create some opportunities down the right hand side, but Philpot, displaying immaculate defensive instincts, ensures that the ball ends up safely in touch the majority of the time. The pressure is building through set pieces, but from a long goal kick, the LXG striker ends up through on goal. Someone said Lamarra completely missed his attempted clearance, and as he did that on one other occasion, we may as well say he did the same here. Lamarra fails to clear the goal-kick, the ball is flicked on and the striker, through on goal, stumbles, Jean ploughs into him like a charging rhinoceros, and despite the fact that the ball was nowhere near the box, the ref gives a penalty. Fury erupts, accusations of cheating are thrown around, they score the penalty and 2-0 isn’t a good scoreline at half time.
The 2nd half begins, and RBB still are toiling away in the sun. Unfortunately, after a clear foul on Philpot, the LXG winger beats Luka in possibly the slowest race ever between two people with functioning legs, he crosses to the striker, and Hodge wins the ball back by volleying it into his own net. 3-0 is a bit of a problem.
Tempers start to flare, provoked once again by the winger who does go down like the Hindenberg whenever anyone stands to close. After one-too-many times on the floor, he is encouraged to get back to his feet through a friendly little tap to his ribs with someone’s knee. A melee nearly kicks off, Rich threatens to "two-foot you back to Glamorgan”, wherever that is, and the ref starts handing out yellow cards like the police hand out restraining orders.
RBB ring the changes, bringing on a striker and a former striker in Vadora and Kellerman. Interestingly, in a recent poll of the team, 5 out of 12 participants backed Kellerman to break his drought in this game. Optimism is definitely needed at this stage. However, RBB are creating chances, and Philpot wastes a glorious one, displaying all the predatory instincts of a beached whale. McGeehan crossed to the back post and instead of smashing it in the back of the net, Philpot passes it back to the goalkeeper. Moments later though, RBB are handed a lifeline by one of the subs. Which one? Vadora of course, super sub. Rich chips a free-kick to the front post, Vadora ‘heads’ into the net (it went in off his back) and RBB are back in it.
But not really. RBB try hard, Vadora spanks one over the bar from 8 yards out but we end up deserved 3-1 losers, and it seems like we’re in danger of becoming Tottenham/Arsenal/Liverpool (insert bottler team of your choice). But the 3rd half is just beginning.
Given the glorious sunshine and good beer, the boys decide to stick around and at least find out the Portugal score. Happily, we are joined by the referee who decides that we are friends with him. Fair play to him, he gets involved in a game of 5’s and is absolutely clueless.
With the ABSSA system not updating results until much later due to serious design flaws, the team starts ringing around any dubious contact they can conjure up to find out the Portugal results. Jean threatens to fire his best employee (the Portguese delegue), and blacklist him from cleaning carpets in Brussels, if he lies to him. He swears on his mothers 'bacalhau' that Portugal lost 3-0 – a result that no one believes. Michele tweets Thomas Chattelle, former international footballer and part time Choule player, and predictably gets no response.
Not giving up, he calls a ‘friend’, whom he has never met, that plays for Choule, 16 times and still gets no response. Next up is the bar at Auderghem, who confirm 3-0 to Choule. ABSSA contacts are phoned, Portugal are phoned, and it seems that the unlikely has happened – Portugal got spanked and we are Champions!
Beer is thrown everywhere, 5’s is played, selfies taken, media interviews done, a lap of honour taken and plans made for the evening. Congratulations to Rich and Hodge for a great season, and congratulations to Steve on staying out until 4.30 in the morning. I hope you were okay on Sunday.
MOM & Reporter: James Philpot
With thanks to:
My parents, I wouldn't be here with out them and they've supported me every step of the way.
My first coach, Terry, who first spotted my (lack of) potential and told me from a young age that defence was my only choice if I wanted to play football.
Michael Owen, he's always been an idol of mine, and for his show 'Hero to Zero' which taught me to never give up on my dreams
John O'Shea for constantly showing that someone with no discernible football skill can succeed at football.
Al McGirr for scouting me in the 4ths and Munish for accepting the transfer request.
Tommy, for driving me every week - probably a bigger contribution to the team than his goals, lets face it.
Jim and John, pushing us to do all the hard work on Mondays and Wednesday's that made Saturday's easier.
And finally, myself. Cheers.