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A Football Season In The Life Of A Murraysworld Member - 2008 Season


19/04/2008 - Game 3
Opposition: Three Kings Elk Hider
Venue: Away
Kickoff: 1.00pm
Weather: Dry but very windy

I mentioned in the first game report that the worst conditions I had ever played in was a time where we played the first half against hurricane type wind and cyclone type rain which then changed direction at half time so we played against it for 90 minutes and hence could not really get the ball out of our penalty area. lol
This was the same venue, although on the pitch adjacent to that one.

So I arrive at about 12.10 and again am the first from my team to arrive. A few minutes later a couple of others and their girfriends turn up. One of the girls quickly says "where's your f**king team?!" For some reason I found this outburst quite hilarious. She's obviously all class. roflmao

Anyway onto game time there didn't appear to be anyone in the opposition who looked like their name might be Elk Hider, so as I suspected, someone thought they were being funny when entering the team. Fortunately there was no rain and conditions were not quite as bad as that game a few years ago. It's always a very windy venue but luckily this time it was a cross-field wind rather than one direction down the pitch so there wasn't really any advantage or disadvantage either way.

We began well and quickly took control in midfield, restricting them to long balls. So the early action for me was mostly gathering long balls and clearing a couple of back-passes. Their keeper was having a busy time making 2 or 3 decent saves to force corners. However about 20 minutes in they get the best chance to score. Inswinging ball in from our right should have been an easy take for me on the penalty spot, so I come and the ball gets held up in the wind which was blowing from left to right and I have to come to the edge of the box and get a good punch on it above the striker. But the ball quickly gets fired back in and I end up making a good stop to my left and our left back clears the danger.

On about half an hour they get a free kick about 25 yards out for an apparent handball. It was hotly disputed and while I certainly saw a hand go up from their striker I didn't see anything wrong from our left back. It was slightly to the left of centre so I set a 4 man wall. The free kick was hit perfectly for the conditions. It looks high and wide to the left all the way, but the wind brings it back in and I thought I did brilliantly to get a top hand to it, but it wasn't enough to keep it out of the top corner. Would probably have been my best save ever had I got more on it.

This helped us raise a gear though and more chances came. 5 minutes before half time the deserved equaliser came. One of our players tries a shot from about 30 yards which gets blocked but he gets the ball back, beats a couple of players and tries again, this time curling it into the top corner to rival our 3rd from the first game for goal of the season contender. 1-1 at half time, but apart from their free kick and the other chance it was all us and I don't know how we were not 3 up. A very Arsenal-like half.

And in typical Arsenal fashion, for all our dominance we hit self destruct in the 2nd half. Fatigue started to set in, probably due to having no training for the last 2 weeks due to the weather and other things and due to having just 1 sub today. You are allowed rolling subs at this level so you can have as many subs as you want. In the first game we had about 17 turn up so people were rotating every 10 minutes and that's possibly why we didn't get fatigued and finished off a tired opposition in the last 10 minutes. Passing turned to crap and the whole game just turned to hoofing the ball in the air. It was only a matter of time until they scored. I had a couple of shots straight at me and made a good one-on-one block on the edge of the box when the defence had been carved open.

Then with 10 minutes to go they get a penalty for handball. Definitely handball this time. Ball played into the box and flicked up against defenders arm, similar to Gallas at Old Trafford. Bizarrely, their keeper comes forward to take it! Now, I have taken a couple before but deep into the 2nd half at 4-0 and 3-0 up, and have also had keepers take them against me in similar situations. But not at 1-1 with the game on the line! Pretty risky. Say I saved it or it hit the post, we could get it up the other end with an empty goal. I guess he must be the assigned penalty taker like Chilavert used to be for Paraguay. I assumed that as a keeper he would assume I will go which way his eyes were looking which I usually do, so he would attempt to look one way to deceive me and go the other way. I did this when I took a penalty last year and fortunately it did deceive the keeper and he went the way I looked. Unfortunately however, there's good reason I've never been a striker as I wasn't quite skilled enough to put the ball in one place while looking at another and it went a foot wide of the post. He was focussed to my right so I decided to go left assuming he would try this trick. I was correct in this assumption, however clearly he was a much better penalty take than me as it was right in the bottom corner and unsaveable.

This knocked the stuffing out us really as we should never have been in this position. In injury time they added a third through a goal mouth scramble.

Result: 3-1 Loss
Personal Performance: Solid. Couple of good saves although disappointed with the 3rd goal.

Very disappointing result because they really were not that great. We were a much better team but in Arsenal fashion couldn't make the opportunities count. 5 points behind them now after just 3 games. Looking at the early results, they seem to be the best this league can throw at us. If that is the case then I'm still confident we can win the thing. No way will they go through the season unbeaten and I'm confident we'll beat them at home later in the season.

Next week's opposition lost 6-2 to this lot so a first clean sheet is the target. We also get our club's number 1 pitch next week which will be nice. It's a different ground to the main home ground. The main ground where most teams play has about 4 or 5 pitches but the number 1 pitch where the club rooms are based is just 1 pitch on its own, 5 minutes round the corner with a stand on 1 side for people to sit (they used to have National League games there). I've played there once, a few years ago in under 19s and it's probably the nicest pitch I've ever been on so it will be nice to have a game there. We actually get 2 games in a row there the next 2 weeks which is pretty good.
[ Last edit by invisibleman18 May 01, 2008, 06:12 AM ] IP Logged

What do you mean by that? 1st team, 2nd team etc?
Of course every club has an order of teams but some clubs like Three Kings and Eastern Suburbs for instance are big enough such that they actually have more mens teams than the number of divisions so there will be a couple of leagues where they have 2 teams.
Of course another possibility is that you have a Three Kings team who finishes mid table so remains in the same division and another one either comes up from the league below or down from the league above (since they have at least one team in every division). So the next year there will be 2 in this league. That seems to be what has happened here. Looking at last season's results, Three Kings Elk Hider have come down from the division above (even though the standings show them finishing 7th out of 10 so they should have avoided relegation - interestingly the 2 who should have come down are still in the above division this year Think) while Three Kings Gomez finished mid table in this league last season so remain in this one.

Yeah I realise that. Most clubs over here will have the 1st team, 2nd team, 3rd team, 4th team etc etc.
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Well our player/manager has arranged with the opposing coach to postpone next weekend's game until the evening of Wednesday 14th March. It's a bank holiday weekend here next weekend (ANZAC weekend) so people are going away etc. I think we were going to struggle to have a full team so he mentioned on Saturday that he might try and postpone it and the opposition have agreed to this so I guess it was a similar situation for them, as it will be for many teams this week. Disappointing to not have a game in the weekend and have to wait 2 weeks for the next one. But I have never played a proper match in the evening under floodlights so it will be a good experience.
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Got training this evening for the first time in a month for me! lol
Last week was cancelled due to the holiday weekend, week before was off due to the weather, and the week before I had to miss it due to a Uni test. Feels like I haven't played for ages. Not since our last game posted about above!

Latest table:

Down in mid-table now although with the game in hand to be played midweek in a couple of weeks. Interestingly Manurewa have won 2 in a row. Most interesting thing though is that last weekend Eastern Suburbs beat Ellerslie 4-2, however they have had the 3 points deducted for "playing unregistered players." So as it was a holiday weekend I imagine they had a few players away so brought in some fill-ins and had registered player's names down on the team card. Player's mates or someone from another team whose match was postponed like ours or something. This kind of thing happens all the time of course but it's quite rare for points to be taken away because of it. Usually the opposition wouldn't know someone wasn't really who the team card said they were so there would be no complaint. But Eastern Suburbs and Ellerslie are 2 local rival clubs from the same area. So probably people in the Ellerslie team knew the fill-ins used, and knew that they were not registered Eastern Suburbs players so were able to complain after losing the game. Usually the points would be awarded to Ellerslie too but they still have it down as a loss on the table.

I remember something similar at a former club of mine. I was on the bench for the first team and we lost 2-1. Then at the end of the game some guy came over and told our coach "that guy has just left our team and has not had a transfer go through yet, you'll have the points." So a protest was made and we were awarded the points. Obviously that was a bitter departure as the guy actually came to the game to see if that guy was playing and then informed the opposition he was ineligible.

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We were supposed to have the number 1 ground tomorrow but annoyingly it's been changed to some other place down the road. Presumabl due to the awful weather this week the club want to limit the number of games on the number 1 pitch as it seems like there's only 1game there now when there would usually be a couple of morning kids games, a 1pm mens game and a 2.45pm mens game. Although our next home game in 2 weeks has been changed to the number 1 ground from the usual one so we'll still get get a couple of games there.

Also worryingly injured my left arm at training last night making a diving save. Ball hit just below my hand and jolted my whole arm back and it's been a bit painful today when I extend the arm fully. Should be OK by tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully there are no similar saves to make. lol
[ Last edit by invisibleman18 May 02, 2008, 05:27 AM ] IP Logged

03/05/2008 - Game 4
Opposition: Eastern Suburbs
Venue: Home (well officially it was a home game but it wasn't really anyone's home ground)
Kickoff: 1.00pm
Weather: Dry but very windy

Apologies for the lateness of this entry, it has been quite a busy week with graduations and what not.

So as I posted above the ground was changed the night before to this other place about 10 minutes from the number 1 ground. It was quite a strange place as it was the home of a rugby club with 3 or 4 rugby pitches and 1 random football pitch in the middle. So we were playing with all sorts of rugby matches surrounding us. lol
Officially it was a home game although it's not a home ground of our club or any football club. I think it's an overflow place that occasionally gets used if a pitch is needed. It was actually a really nice pitch although the grass was a tad long, perhaps suggesting it doesn't get played on often. My Mum swears I have played there before back in junior days but I am certain I had never been there before. I remember most things about most games I have played in and do not remember this place. Regardless of that, I cannot work out who on Earth I could have played there anyway as I didn't play a Uni-Mt Wellington team until U19s all games at their home grounds had been at the 2 main ones we use. And the only other club who could conceiveably use this place as a home ground is Ellerslie, and I did not play one of their teams until last year at their number 1 ground.

My brother had grown pissed off with his team at my old club. He was on the bench every week and wasn't getting more than 15 minutes at the end. With his 1st year Law work piling up he could not commit to training 2 nights a week which they required to not get to play in the weekend so he has now joined my team where he will be able to train just once a week and get guaranteed game time in the weekend. With injuries we desperately needed another striker/winger which he is so it works out well for us, and also for my parents as there's now only 1 game to watch instead of having to choose each week.
He did remember this ground. As we turned up it was "ohhhhhh I remember this place, I can tell you the whole story now......." and he recited an entire review of some match from 5 or 6 years ago. lol

Anyway onto the game at last. It was a very windy day with a strong wind going down field which we played against in the first half. Combinations of the strong wind and poor ball control helped them dominate the first 15 minutes with us stuggling to get out of our half. Their 2 strikers were in the wars with our centre back taking them both out of the game in the first 10 minutes! The first guy took a bullet clearance in the face and then a minute later got absolutely flattened and winded and had to go off for much of the rest of the half. The 2nd guy came off worse in a head clash and was also forced off with blood coming. Not before he shared a few strong words with our defender though. In particular I remember the words "*******" and "****" being used an unusually high number of times in the same sentance. roflmao

So after the early storm we got more into it. My brother was combining well with the other striker and they both created a couple of chances. My brother went close with an outside of the foot shot beating the keeper but going just the wrong side of the post. Then our other striker was through and his shot was blocked by the keeper but as he regathered the ball, he was forced wide and cut down by a defender for a penalty which was cooly converted by one of our midfielders for 1-0. The lead lasted just a few minutes however as they got a penalty of their own for a defnite trip just inside the box. The striker had recovered from his head clash and stepped up to put it right in the bottom corner out of reach. It was pretty even after that with chances at both ends, although neither keeper under real pressure. Then a few minutes before half time their keeper launched a punt down field which got caught in the wind and came over the top of our defence. Despite my screams of "no bounce, no bounce" our last defender left it hoping it would bounce through to me, but their striker had already got round the back of him and got a touch before I could get there. I never had a chance to get there, poor decision from the defender.

We got on top in the 2nd half and it was all us for half an hour. Chance after chance after chance came but it just would not go in. Both strikers had good chances and the keeper made a few reasonable saves. Then with about 15 minutes to go they got a counter attack, and a deflected shot from the edge of the box looped over me for 1-3. This knocked the stuffing out of us and suddenly it was all them. First I made a good save low to the left, then tipped one over well when the guy was free on the egde of the box. With a couple of minutes to go, a free kick for us just inside our own half didn't seem dangerous as it floated straight to the keeper. However it went straight through his hands and one of our guys was on hand to slam it home from a yard out. Cue, frantic final minute. Or so we thought. They got the ball down our end, put in a cross and their winger hit a sweet volley and I made a really good save turning it away for a corner. However they then managed to keep the ball in the corner superbly for a couple of minutes until the end. It was pretty frustrating them doing that at this social level, but credit to them for doing it so well. All we could do was force throw ins and more corners.

Result: 3-2 Loss
Personal Performance: Good. No chance with the first 2 goals, perhaps a yard too far off the line for the 3rd, but not helped by poor defending allowing a free shot. 3 good saves late on to keep the score down.

Extremely disappointing result because they were no better than us. We dominated most of the game apart from the first and last 15 minutes. But as I very well know as an Arsenal fan, domination isn't usually enough. We have now lost 2 in a row to teams we really should be beating. The title is probably beyond us now. Strong opposition tomorrow who we know well from last year, Metro Wong. Good 5-1 victory in a midweek friendly the other day (which I was not involved in due to Uni commitments) should help raise a bit of confidence for the strikers. Hopefully a better and more clinical performance this weekend.

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Loves it how regardless of a win, draw or loss your personal performance is always 'good', show off. Whistle

 hug Wink
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Not always. Just had a reasonably good personal start to the season. Today was average though. Will get round to writing it up in the next few days.
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10/05/2008 - Game 5
Opposition: Metro Wong
Venue: Away
Kickoff: 2.45pm
Weather: Dry but very windy

Apologies again for taking a few days to do this.

Very windy conditions once again with a strong down-field wind which we played against in the first half.

We knew from last year they were a strong team so on current form I wasn't expecting too much. They were the only team my team last year got no points against (albeit despite battering them for a game and a half of the 2 only to end up losing both) and I believe the only team my new team didn't beat (2 draws). First half was a pretty even and scrappy affair. Both sides restricted to speculative long shots from a long way out for much of it. Nothing of any note for me to do until about the half hour mark where a ball got through the middle of our defence and I made a reasonable block with my legs at the edge of the area. They started to get on top and had all the possession then right before half time their right winger got in behind our left back and placed a perfect cross onto the head of an unmarked striker for an easy finish. 1-0 at half time although not too bad a half against that wind.

Things looked up for the 2nd half playing with the wind and still being in the game despite them getting on top for the last 15-20 minutes of the 1st half. Alas it all turned to sh*t. We just couldn't keep hold of the ball and their 2nd arrived about 10 minutes in. Through ball again getting through the defence and the striker beat me to the ball for 2-0. It was all them and we just couldn't get into the game. Not long after a ball came across from their left winger, should have been easily mine and I screamed for it but one of our defenders ran in front of me and hoofed it out for a throw in. So I swear and tell him that was unnecessary as now they've got another chance to score, he tells me to relax and sure enough a long throw goes over a defender's head and a half volley is deflected into the top corner for game over. ranting I was livid with the defender as I should have had that ball and hoofed it deep into their half. But with him being the guy who pays for the sponsorship and everything there was no point getting offside with him so I didn't say anything.
We'd all but given up until a lifeline arrived. From nowhere our right winger hit a speculative volley from miles out which caught the keeper off his line and put us on the board. That was as good as it got though with them adding a 4th. Yet another long ball found a completely unmarked striker and he went round an admittedly average effort from me to tap in and round things off.  

Result: 4-1 Loss
Personal Performance: Just to say something different for Julia, it was average. Not at fault for any of the goals although could have made a better effort with the 4th. Nothing really positive done in the game.

Apologies for the shorter report. As it's been a few days I couldn't remember all that much, and it was a pretty forgettable game I haven't spent much time thinking about anyway!

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14/05/2008 - Game 6
Opposition: Bay Olympic
Venue: Home
Kickoff: 6.45pm
Weather: Cold but calm

So this was the game postponed from the ANZAC holiday weekend a few weeks ago. Got the number 1 pitch which was good and was also a first time playing a proper match under floodlights. An official referee turned up which was good. Very rare to get one at this level but apparently the opposition had asked for one and with it being a midweek game, there were no other games on so 1 guy must have volunteered to do it.

Conditions were pretty cold and also damp as it had rained during the day.

Opposition had done worse than us so far so this had to be the day we turned our season around and got back to winning ways. Another loss and we would be well on the way to going straight back down next year to where we have come up from this year.
We were on top from the start, having most of the possession in midfield and creating all the early chances. A few chances came although there was nothing too stressful for the keeper to deal with. About 20 minutes in one of their guys got given a yellow card for repeated shirt pulling. I believe an official yellow card is a $25 fine. lol
They finally got down our end a couple of times and a couple of speculative shots were seen safely over the bar.

They got a free kick in our half and I heard the ref tell someone that there were 2 minutes to go to half time and I realised I had not actually touched the ball once in the game! All I'd done was fetch it for a couple of goal kicks. lol
The free kick was launched into the box, and our left back miscued his header, heading it across the box to an open striker 6 yards out. He controlled it with one touch then hit it on the volley and with my outstreched left arm, I got a hand to it and a defender cleared the danger. Probably my save of the season so far. Not too bad for my 1 touch in the half. lol

So the 2nd half began and immediately they came on the attack. Cross came in from our left and I came to catch above the striker, but looked straight into the floodlights and completely lost it. Had to go with a punch and hope for the best and fortunately I got a decent enough connection on it to have the danger cleared. We started to get back on top and about 10 minutes into the half a long ball was played for my brother to run onto. While my brother is not short, he is also not very bulky. He was up against a Peter Crouch like defender so there's absolutely no way he should ever be out-muscling this guy. But he did and beat him to the ball then got a touch before the keeper to make it 1-0. Pretty good finish and good strength shown. Very pleased for him to get his first goal for a couple of years having played a season at left back last year in the school first 11.

Straight away they started raising a gear. They got a corner which was half cleared and a shot was hit low from the edge of the area. As it came through the crowd I didn't see it until late and managed a excellent stop at full stretch down to my right, parrying it away and the re-gathering the loose ball. A minute later our defence let the ball bounce and a striker ran onto the long ball. I rushed out to the egde of the box, slid in and blocked his shot out for a corner. This one even prompted a hug from the defender who let the ball bounce past him! My Mum who was watching reckons he called me a "magician" when he was subbed off for a breather later on in the 2nd half. lol I was having one of those days where everything just went perfectly. Although I'd only touched the ball a handful of times by now, I'd made probably the 3 best saves I'll make all season. lol And the best thing was they were making a real contribution coming at 0-0 and 1-0 as opposed to the pointless saves I'd make at 5-0 up last year.  

A few minutes later we had a penalty with our striker being brough down after my brother played him in. Up stepped our right winger and I just knew this was going over the bar. He blasts everything and no way he'd play safe and put it in the bottom corner. Our regular penalty taker had missed one in the friendly game I missed last week so decided not to take this one. Now, not only did he put it high and wide of the goal as I expected. It also went over the top of the club rooms behind the pitch. I hear a search party is out looking for the ball as we speak. lol

So this raised their morale again and quickly they were down our end. Another cross came in from the our left and I made quite a good catch at full stretch which on another day with the ball that wet I possibly would have parried or punched. But today seemed to be my day. So I launched the ball forward, one of our players flicked it on for our striker to run onto. He rounded the keeper and made it 2-0. So now I even had a major hand in a goal too. Very Happy
A couple of minutes later we were in again. Ball was played into my brother and his shot was deflected and fumbled by the keeper and he tapped in from a yard out for 3-0. Very happy for him to have a couple of goals and make the game safe. A minute later it was almost 4. Absolutely brilliant shot from about 30 yards had the keeper completely beaten. It was in from my hand but cam back of the corner connecting the bar and upright. What a shot. shocking

They did manage to pull one back with about 10 minutes to go. Ball across to an unmarked striker at the far post for a tap in. Pretty disappointed as I really wanted the clean sheet and would have deserved it. But there was a still a nervy 10 minutes to get through. They were really going for it, and I was again called into action making another one-on-one save with about 5 minutes to go. It was a brief touch and the ref signalled a goal kick from his position. Now I'm usually quite honest and at 3-0 I probably would have put my hand up and said I touched it. But with a few minutes to go and 3-1, I didn't want them having another corner so decided to keep quiet and let the official ref call it as he saw it. Whistle
There was time to make another save. This time a shot from just outside the box which I had to dive left and turn away for a corner. This one was probably going wide but couldn't take the risk so had to go for it.

Finally the whistle blew for a pleasing 3-1 win.

Result: 3-1 Win
Personal Performance: For Julia, this time it was 'excellent.' One of those days were pretty much every piece of action was a great save. Very pleasing performance and I really enjoyed the game too. Can't remember enjoying a game as much while on the field in recent times. A combination of my brother playing well and scoring the goals and making a defining contribution myself must have done it. lol

Special mention to the referee too. He was really good, probably the best official one I've ever had. Often when you get them they are either pedantic control freaks who blow the whistle every 30 seconds, or they don't want to blow for anything and just let the game go on without calling the fouls. This guy got it spot on for both sides. When it was a foul, he called it. When there was advantage, he let play go on and he didn't let anyone give him any crap. Really friendly guy off the field too. Obviously he really enjoys refereeing so was happy to volunteer when a midweek game came up.

Also worth mentioning that my brother says every outfield player should be made to play a season in defence sometime in their mid teens as it improves your game so much. He had always been an attacking midfielder or winger until last season when he a played a full season at left back in his high school first 11. It has improved him so much. He is much stronger so he can compete with defenders he couldn't have competed with a couple of years ago. He wins his fair share of headers against bigger players and he's brilliant at dropping deep and winning the ball back in midfield. It really is noticeable how a season in defence at a high level has changed and improved his game as an attacking player.

Note the much longer report when the game was memorable. lol Although to be fair it was tonight so it's easier to remember most of it.
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Very interesting reports! Keep them up...
I think you got the date wrong on the last report?
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Oops, I just quoted the previous one for the same title format. Changed.
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Another thing I've just realised is that I believe this is the first time I have ever been on the winning side of a Uni-Mt Wellington home game! Our previous 2 home games this season had been a draw and a loss and the win was away. Any time I'd won games against Uni-Mt at previous clubs it had been a home game for the other club. lol
Hopefully there's a few more this season now I'm playing for them!
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roflmao Very much appreciate the addition of 2 more words into the personal performance vocab list  tender

I remember those photos from last year though, you must have been the only non-Chinese person on the team! lmao
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Almost. From memory there were 2 other white guys - our captain and the Spurs fan who didn't score until the final game. There was an Indian guy and another guy I'm not sure about, possibly a black South African. Coach was also white. The rest were Asians. About 3 or 4 of them were Japanese international students who have gone back home this year. The others were Korean I think. With the coach moving overseas this year aswell, there was only about 3 or 4 of us left who still wanted to play. At least those are the ones who were still contactable. Hence the movement to a new team.

Enjoying playing with these guys. All good guys and I get along well with everyone. You could see the win meant a lot last night. Lots of hugs and happy faces after the final whistle. lol
This team isn't used to losing. As I said earlier, just one loss last season to my old team in the first game. So all been pretty down after 3 losses in a row. Getting to play on the number 1 pitch under lights with some big shots from the club watching too, it was definitely a big result for us.

Hopefully there will be some more photos at some point this year. There were some camera flashes going off last night, not sure who from. Possibly an opposition supporter. The entire first game was filmed as I think I mentioned in that report so hopefully that emerges at some point.
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