Lions leave it late as Lewis leaps in to the limelight

Having had a couple of weeks break from BML action, the Lions found themselves – all too literally – in a bit of an unlikely dog fight against the team with the gayest name in the league – the Peacocks. It is fair to say that Peacock FC have not had the best of seasons, finding themselves way down the league table, as opposed to the Lions who – despite the defeat against City – were in 2nd place, with the league’s best goal difference.

So perhaps the old enemy – complacency – was a major factor in this game which the Lions were expected to dominate. And so from kick off, the Lions struggled on the ball, giving possession away easily, the team lining up in a 4-4-2 formation, with the inclusion of Tim “Brutus” Brown in the starting eleven. Alongside TB were Panda, Fred, OG, Bryan, Tomassini, Genghis “Edwin” Khan, Jarkko, Carl and Charles at the back, with your humble scribe in goal.

The Lions started sloppily, and it got steadily worse, the passing – despite the decent playing surface – not precise enough, the Lions looking bereft of ideas, a lack of movement off the ball causing concern to Rooney, standing in for Captain “Oh Captain my Captain” Cooke, who had better things to do with his time that watch another shoddy Lions performance. The game was definitely no spectacle or fine example to the footballing connoisseur, and especially not all those children who had come to train. If they were watching, they would most likely revert to playing baseball, basketball or even watching paint dry as a more interesting alternative to football.

Passes between the Lions were sloppy at best, and your humble chronicler will not look beyond the best. At least not just yet. Genghis “Edwin” Khan played one back pass to the Lions keeper, the Lions keeper backing off as the attacker came in, Mao finally managing to clear the ball off for a corner.

Not long after that, worse was to come, as the Lions tried to play the ball out of defence, with Peacock pressing, and Jarkko in central defence placed a clearance straight in to the path of the Peacock attacker who had all the time in the world to place his shot, Mao getting a good contact to it, but not enough to push the ball over the bar, instead dipping in to the net in super slo mo to give the Lions opponents a not totally undeserved 1-0 lead.

This poor play from the Lions did not stop there, and Tim “Brutus” Brown was brought off, after a brief period of – shall we say – ineffective rustiness, brought on no doubt by the long period of injury.

On came Jaime as a replacement, and all of a sudden the Lions attack was not quite so toothless, some options now open to the midfielders. This helped the Lions build up a little more, create a few opportunities, but still they did not manage to warm up the Peacock keeper.

Strangely, the ref who usually has a very good game, this time did not, blowing his whistle for some very interesting, if that is the correct word for it, decisions, mainly against the Lions. Bryan – for example – was booked after complaining about a “foul” that he was seen – in the ref’s eyes – to have committed. But to blame the referee for the poor quality of play by the Lions would be like blaming Fernando Torres for the poor managerial ability of AvB at Chelski.

As the first half closed, the Lions were trying to find a way back in to the game, and in a moment of absolute magic, Jaime scored a goal of the utmost finesse. The ball came over from the right, and with Jaime in the far corner of the Peacock penalty area, he swung his left foot at the ball on the volley, the ball flying in to the far post, the goalkeeper nowhere to be seen as the Lions grabbed an unlikely equalizer.

Half time came then, and it was 1-1.

In the second half there seemed a little more urgency in the Lions play, the sloppy defensive shit was reduced, although not completely, and the Lions were looking a little stronger. OG was covering all the field, as always, but Fred – on the right wing – was not sure where to go when OG came over, thus a large gap was created in the middle of the park, and the two Lions players got in each other’s way on more than just one occasion.

The Lions took the lead though with a goal from Panda, who took advantage of a small error by the Peacock keeper, the ball apparently being played to him accidentally, leaving him a nice tap in from 6 metres out.

And the Lions now took this leading position as a sign that the game was won and that they could switch off. Peacock though were not just going to accept being behind, and put the pressure on once more. They won a series of free kicks, which came to nothing, but also won a corner, sending two attackers over for the short one from their team mate. The Lions, sleeping tightly, figuring the game was now safe, decided not to worry about three attackers in the corner, casually strolling out towards the danger zone. By the time the defence had arrived though, the ball was already in the back of the net, after a ferocious drive to the far post which left Mao diving in vain, as Peacock drew level.

The match was drawing to an end, and no team looked like they were going to get anything more than a point from it, although the Lions possibly deserved the win a tad more than the opponents. But the action had most definitely not ended.

As the Lions won a corner, Carl it was who was – to put not too fine a point on it – gang-banged by the Peacock goalkeeper and three of his comrades, the keeper leaving a lasting impression of Bruce Lee’s famous king fu kick on Carl’s gut.

Carl, feeling that 4 on 1 was a tad unfair, quite rightly defended himself, and a scuffle broke out, the Lions and Peacocks getting involved and stuck in as the referee tried hard to regain control of the situation. As the dust settled, the ref dug in to his pocket and showed a red card to the Peacock twat of a keeper. He then moved towards Carl, and the Lions collectively held their breath to see if the same fate awaited their defender. Instead, much to the relief of all those in red and white, yellow was shown, and the Lions played the last few minutes a man up.

As the game entered the final minute, Mao actually caught a free kick shot, and played the early ball out to Sergay on the left wing. He in turn switched with a fine pass to Fred on the right wing who then ran towards the Peacock penalty area, before delivering a cross so delicious, it could have been baked in the oven at 190 degrees for an hour and a half by Gordon Ramsay. And on the end of that cross was the head of Jaime who powered the ball in past the replacement keeper. 3-2 Lions, another 3 points in the bag, and a collective breath of relief for avoiding what could well have been a rather embarrassing result.

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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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