So the second instalment begins.05/04/2008 - First Game Of The SeasonOpposition:
Warm and calm
Interestingly last season, the opposition in the first game were Uni-Mt Wellington Carlsberg. This year I begin the season playing for Uni-Mt Wellington Carlsberg having joined the club and this team 2 weeks ago.
Arrive at the ground at about 2pm and turns out pitch was the scene of one of the most memorable games I've been involved in. A couple of years ago against this awful Syrian team who kicked and cheated us off the field in our first meeting that season, we beat them in a 4-3 thriller in the worst weather conditions I have ever played in. Well 2nd worst if you include a game another year when the direction of the rain and gale force wind changed at half time so we spent the entire game playing against it, and consequently could not get out of our penalty area!
A new kit sponsored by Carlsberg will apparently be ready by the end of April but for today it was last season's shirts. I was handed a Liverpool goalie shirt! Fortunately it was miles too big so I managed to get out of wearing it in favour of my own shirt.
So onto the game and we begin brightly having all of the play for the first 10 minutes until they finally get down our end and a ball comes across from our left, and a free man hits it on the half volley running in from the right and I make quite a good save turning it around for a corner. Pleasing first piece of action for the season. They get more into the game after that and on about 25 minutes get a break away through the middle and take the lead with a super finish up into the top corner. They begin to get on top after taking the lead and there is further action for me sliding out to stop a couple of one-on-ones. About 5 minutes before half time one of our strikers goes down under what didn't seem a bad challenge and he doesn't get up. Got taken to A&E by a spectator and it sounds like it's a broken ankle so that's the season pretty much over for him in the first half of the first game.
But there's a bright side, a minute later we get given a disputed penalty for handball. From my end it looked pretty dodgy, seemed like the guy blocked the shot and by accident it came up off his foot and hit his arm. Nevertheless it's given and our guy hits it straight at the keeper who doesn't move and deflects it onto the bar. A scramble ensues and eventually the ball is in the back of the net for 1-1. Couldn't help feeling bad for a fellow keeper after a penalty save though. I remember once making a triple a save from a penalty only for the ball to go in at the 4th attempt (actually against the aforementioned Syrian team in the first meeting with them)!
So we go in happier at half time and they had started to look tired. Early in the 2nd half they get another chance with a guy free on the right. Fortunately he hits it pretty much straight at me and I block it and gather at the 2nd attempt. After then it was mostly all us. We took the lead on about 65 minutes with a bullet shot from out on the right beating the keeper at the near post. They did get the odd chance, and I made another decent stop coming from a cross. We really needed a 3rd to settle it and with about 15 minutes to go it arrived. One of our midfielders twisted and turned on the right corner of the penalty area and curled one into the far top corner with his left foot for what will surely be our goal of the season. Straight from the kickoff we break and score a 4th. Then a couple of minutes later it's 5 and suddenly 3 goals in 5 minutes had sealed it.
Great result from the position we were in late in the first half. Scoreline probably flattered us with it blowing out in the last 15 minutes. 2-1 probably would have been a more accurate result on reflection of the game.
So the unbeaten runs continues. My new team have not lost since the first game of last season, when I was in the side the beat them. This has been helpful in establishing a bit of banter with my new team-mates. Result:
5-1 WinPersonal Performance:
Good. Solid with everything I had to 2 and good save early on. The team seem quite happy with me compared to whoever they had last year.
Someone took a video camera and apparently the entire game was filmed by a couple of our spectators. Hopefully some of it will find it's way onto youtube eventually, especially my save!
Will post if anything ever does.