After the easy victory in the half game against JFC last weekend, the Red Lions assembled at the Da Jia pitch which is resembling more and more a jungle, given the length of grass on the field. With the earlier kick off, designed to avoid the mid afternoon rain showers, 15 Red Lions turned up, giving Captain “Oh Captain My Captain” Cooke a much easier task of selecting the starting 11.
Indeed, after having whined constantly for a week, the Gay Polack decided to put his new theory to the test. Having bitched about Jaime getting a place in the starting 11 in the previous game despite not turning up for training, the Gay Polack figured he would also skip training on the Tuesday, skip training on the Thursday AND skip the football on the Sunday. The logic behind this is that he now expects to be named in the starting 11 for the opening BML game in October/November.
Interestingly though, rumours were being spread (of course, this could be counter-propaganda by Lewis) that the Gay Polack was not “injured” as he had actually claimed to be, unless of course you count damage to the liver from excessive alcohol intake. Coincidentally, this was the excuse that was used by Pffff.
The Red Lions were not truly taking this game seriously – 3-0 at half time last week, the Lions looked like they felt it was going to be more of the same. And from kick off, it was more of the same, the Lions pushing JFC on to the back foot, but, like a gay drunken Polack, not able to penetrate due to a lack of stiffness.
JFC defended in a well organised fashion, and broke quickly when the Lions ran out of ideas, which was very often, given the lack of options from the midfield and attacking players. It could have been the heat, but the Lions seemed to lack energy to make runs, and give the team enough attacking and shooting opportunities.
There was one crunching collision between Jaime and one JFC defender, a massive clash of heads and there was only going to be one outcome of that contest. Down went the JFC player, only to pick himself up once more, jog across to the sideline, and collapse once more. He was sent to hospital, apparently received stitches, but plans to be in Tainan for the competition next weekend. Which is a lot more than can be said about the majority of Red Lions. Mao has sent JFC wishes for a speedy recovery to the JFC player.
On one break, half way through the first period (the game consisting of 3 x 30 minutes), Barras it was who initially misjudged the flight of the ball, and as it bounced 10 metres behind him, Fowler it was who was heard to call in a most confident fashion that the ball was his. Alas for the Lions keeper, he was about as adept at judging the flight of the ball as Barras, and in nipped the tallest JFC player to nod it over the flailing keeper, and in to an unguarded net to make the score 1-0 to JFC. Another one of Fowler’s long list of howlers, although perhaps not making it to the top ten. But sure as hell not far from it.
Thankfully though, after the restart, the Lions pushed a little more, and with just a few minutes left in the half, Christian was introduced on the right wing, and with his first touch, delivered a cross so delicious it could have been cooked up and plated by a Masterchef contestant. Jaime it was who then controlled the ball with a nice touch before lobbing the JFC keeper from about 25 metres (at least, this is what the goal scorer himself claims, and who – after all – am I to argue?) to level the scores.
The Lions now smelt blood and pushed forward, but again a lack of precision for the final touch meant that the score at the end of the first third was 1-1. And that, essentially, was as good as it got for the Lions.
The second period saw much of the same – the Lions pushing forwards, but a lack of precision and a lack of options from midfield and attack gave the JFC defenders a relatively easy day. The Lions did force a couple of very good saves out of the JFC keeper, although the performance of their own keeper alas did not even come close to mirroring this.
The Lions still tried patiently to build up attacks, but many attacks came to nothing, the ball then coming back to the back 4 of Lions defenders who – with the occasional use of Mao in goal – would switch flanks and try again.
A second goal was forthcoming, and JFC is was who scored, the attacker seeing a nice gap in the centre of the Lions defence, and with no challenge forthcoming, tapped the ball in to the net, Mao getting a touch but nothing like enough contact to stop the ball getting past him. 2-1 JFC, and that was how it stayed to the end of the 2nd period.
The third period saw no better from the Lions, and one event summed up the Lions day nicely, with Alejandro making a forward run, Jaime on the left wing vociferously calling for the ball, Alejandro holding on to the ball just a moment too long, allowing the JFC defenders to step forwards, leaving Jaime in an offside position.
The Lions did have a claim for a penalty turned down, and in truth with a JFC ref, it would have been hard for the man to give it. Bryan did have one free kick though, just outside the JFC area, but although powerful, the shot was straight at the keeper who fumbled the ball, Howler-style, alas no Red Lion followed the shot in quickly enough, so he was able to gather at the second attempt.
The Lions one and only good run of the period came from Tim “Brutus” Brown, alas the pass to him did not hit its mark, and the attack was wasted.
Then, with seconds left on the clock, it was the JFC keeper from the 2nd period who saw another gaping hole in the Lions defence, and miskicked the ball in to the ground where it got a most fortuitous bounce to go over Fowlers bulky body and in to the net for a far from undeserved 3-1 lead.
Shortly after the restart the ref blew his whistle for the end of the game. The Lions then headed to Carnegies for post match beers, and to talk about the Lions contingent at the Tainan Tournament next weekend. It’s a truly memorable squad of … errr… 4, including Mao, Jaime, Ian and Barras. Thankfully the Lions are teaming up with the Carnegies squad, which should mean that a full team is fielded.
JFC – alongside the Scum, Carnegies FC and Black Stars – will now be looking at the Lions as 6 easy points in the final part of the CPL season. The Lions, however, will want to take as many positives from this as possible. The only one that your humble chronicler can see is that the Lions won 4-3 on aggregate.