Lions 2 Mitsukoshi 2

” Honor and shame from no condition rise; Act well your part, there all the honor lies.”
Alexander Pope

Having played a full 90 minutes of football in the CPL just a couple of hours earlier, you could be forgiven for thinking that OG would have been absolutely cream crackered and been almost invisible within the Red Lions for the penultimate BML game of the season. Of course, OG has shown himself to be no ordinary human being, and the defeat against the Scum (aka Animals) merely served to warm the man up for the real game.

But your humble chronicler is getting ahead of himself.

A barebones Lions squad assembled at Taipei Cow Field Bai Ling B pitch for the match against Mitsukoshi, who we lost against on the opening day of the season. Of course, that game saw Volker in goal, which could explain the loss. Volker was mysteriously absent for the return match, citing a drug fest wedding party to go to. Other notable absentees include Fred, who had “other things to do”, Clovis who woosed out with stories about having to do homework, Majo who has absolutely no excuse whatsoever and Hemingay who injured himself in the CPL game, thus rendering himself useless. Some might say that he is as useful as a dog with no nose at an arse-sniffing competition even when he is not injured, but that is not something that your humble scribe will comment on. Also missing were James who feigned injury to try to gain some sympathy (which never works), Alejandro and Mora. Logan, of course, was suspended after receiving a yellow card in the game against Bulian.

Bryan, OG and Kim Sun Il all made it in time for kick off, as several non-playing Lions joined for the team photo. Frank, TB and Paddy all made their collective way on to the pitch for the photo taking session, performed by the Polack’s young lady friend. Having seen Gay Rob get married and have a baby, the Polack was trying desperately to lose the mantle of Gayer Rob, thinking that his policy of bringing said young lady would work. It doesn’t.

As the Lions lined up to shake hands with the opposition, the referee made it clear he would tolerate no dissent. Having read the Lions match report of the previous weekend, along with all other referees in Taiwan, your humble narrator was singled out as the perpetrator of all bad things from the Lions.

“Especially you” said the ref, looking directly at me. Trying to act all innocent, failing miserably. Since when did I do anything controversial?

So with a squad of just 13 players, there was little – if any – room for injuries, yet within 60 seconds, Bryan was limping off, the shortest ever performance by a Red Lion. Immediately he was replaced by Ant at right back.

Apart from Bryan, the starting line up, in an unusual 4-4-2 line up were:

Matt, Kim Sun Il, Charles and Bryan/Ant at the back, Christian, OG, Chancy and Thomas in midfield, with Panda and “Gayer” Rob up front. Barras was on the side line, injured but making himself available if necessary. It turned out, it was. Your humble chronicler was in goal.

To the game and it was the Lions who were on the back foot early on, Mitsukoshi’s midfield finding their rhythm a lot sooner than us. Fowler’s kicking, which was decent last week, was back to its’ usual shite status, very little distance, feck all accuracy, despite having the wind behind the kicks. Matt at left back had to be careful on several occasions, the defender making several crucial challenges to relieve the pressure. In the midfield, Chancy was taking on his role as the next captain by marshalling essentially the whole team. Getting stuck in at every given opportunity.

OG got stuck in, and seemed to have benefitted most from Christian’s distribution throughout the team of a dose of performance enhancing drugs dextrose. Up front, the Polack and Panda found it difficult to actually get the ball, the Mituskoshi defence hardly troubled in the opening phase of the match.

The initial 20 minutes saw neither goalkeeper troubled, but then from the first (and perhaps only) decent goal kick from Fowler, the ball was nodded on by OG in to the path of Thomas who played the most delightful of through balls to Christian, the pass then coming in to Panda who smacked the ball in to the net to make it 1-0 Lions. Awesome stuff.

This merely served to spur on our opponents who seemed to carve up the central defence, Fowler forced in to a save, taking out the attacker in the process, the Mitsukoshi whingers wanting a penalty after the attacker was injured as Fowler followed through on the challenge. Matt put the ball in to touch from the resulting rebound, despite having plenty of space in which to make a forward run. Shortly afterwards the Lions keeper was called in to action once more with a reflex save that Rooney claimed was “save of the season”. With the Lions central defence somehow being carved open, there seemed miles of space for the attacker whose powerful shot was somehow tipped over the bar by the keeper.

But once more, the Lions failed to work out that they needed to close the door, and Mitsukoshi took full advantage of this gaping hole in the Lions defence, the equaliser coming perhaps ten minutes from half time. The half ended with our opponents happy to keep possession but they were not able to do anything with it, the defence holding firm despite a succession of corners for Mitukoshi. Half time: 1-1

The second half brought on Barras in place of Thomas and with no more substitutes available, this barebones squad had to hope for no new injuries. Chancy moved out to the left wing, Barras in central midfield with OG. It was the opponents though who sprung out of the blocks, keeping the pressure down the Lions end. One of their players went down like the Polack, trying to get the ref to give a penalty, the referee in a perfect position to tell the cheating git to get up and stop messing around.

Shortly afterwards though Mitsukoshi took the lead when their attacker got the ball on their right wing, cut inside and – with Chancy’s shouts of “get a tackle in” going unheeded – had more than enough time to place a blistering shot that went in off the far post. Mitsukoshi were then guilty of sitting back on this lead, as they have done on several occasions during this season, expecting the Lions to lay down and take their collective punishment like Clovis. Alas for them, they forgot that the Lions have a fighting spirit, and the game now became more end to end, although again very little ended up challenging either keeper.

With OG and Barras getting truly stuck in at the heart of the midfield, the Lions were taking the fight to their opponents. And this lack of time and space for Mitsukoshi brought with it more service to the Lions wings, with Chancy and Christian both able to make some good runs and deliver crosses in to the danger area. From goal kicks, Chancy on the left wing was making himself available, dropping extremely deep whilst staying wide to collect the ball from Fowler, and distributing in to the midfield from there.

And with 15 minutes left, another fine Lions move which involved pretty much all midfield and attacking players, possibly with the exception of the Polack, culminated in Panda sticking the ball away for the equaliser, and this brought with it a frantic finish with both teams looking for the winner. Mitsukoshi had a succession of corners with Fowler called in to action once more, palming clear, but from the rebound a header looked destined for the net, Kim Sun Il clearing with a header off the line.

And then in the dying seconds, a great run from Christian opened up a huge gap in the Mitsukoshi defence, and with the Panda screaming for the ball, unmarked in the centre of the penalty area, he selflessly passed to our attacker.

Panda must have now realised that he was on a hat trick, probably thinking “shit – if I score this then I have to get a round in. But if I miss this open goal, then I will have to get a round in as well. What should I do? ….”

By which time the ball hand landed at his feet and the time had come to kick the ball in to the net for the win. Alas Panda had different ideas, and instead scooped it so far over the bar, when it came down the ball had snow on it. Shortly afterwards the referee blew his whistle for full time, the Lions drawing for the first time this season.

Thankfully Panda’s shame in missing the open goal which would have taken us above both Mitsukoshi and Dentway is shared by the Polack who is suspended from the final game against the Cheating Fritz, after picking up another yellow card. Both are hereby ordered to get the rounds in next weekend.

Interestingly, Polack and Hemingway both got suspended twice during the course of the season. Your Politburo asks: what punishment befits this crime, and should be used to make examples of these players?

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About Mao

Chairman Mao. The man who takes the Taipei Red Lions to new depths of corruption. Hands out more fines for more reasons than any man in history. Thinks he's a good keeper, but try sending in a cross for him to take. But he writes a mean match report. And even occasionally buys a round himself. And he keeps the Politburo in check.
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