Date: 2nd August 2009
Venue: Fortress Moonshine
Match official: Pedro
Marauders Team: Bolts; Davey, Matt, Gordo, Alan*; Dumpster, Adam, Poly, Casper; Dribble, Mark. SUBS – Josh*, Joel*, Bradley*
* denotes Marauders debut.
Fortress Moonshine was again the venue for the next chapter in the 2009 Marauders FC history book. This top of the table clash prompted the call that this was the biggest game in Marauders history, since the last game anyway. The skipper even suggesting that it was set to be a 6 pointer, which only succeeded in confusing our mob. The opposition Arakura WERE sitting proudly at the top of the table for the first time since Round 2 (albeit on games won only!). They were so smug that they felt the need to try and play mind games with the mighty Marauders and insist on dominating the pre-match rituals. Insisting on a side by side walk onto the pitch, thus imitating the Wembley walk in an English Cup Final. Idiots! The Marauders were certainly well prepared for this game with the Captain producing a whiteboard for the first time this season, not for an impromptu game of O’s and X’s either! Only to be thwarted in his attempts to explain the match tactics by a combination of a wet whiteboard, useless pens and a leaking roof!
Arakura were seemingly on a roll having beaten our dear friends and Bolts’ best mates from Porirua 4-0 the previous week. We new the game was set to be a humdinger and that they would be up for it but never in my wildest dreams did I expect them to use such dirty tactics. A white guy in goal was not only unsportsmanlike behaviour on their behalf but also against Asian Football Association protocol.
The warm up was also of a more serious nature this week with pre match shooting practice at the hapless Bolts (due to more than 1 ball being hit at a time in his direction) cut short due to a request from Davey mid week for a pre match possession game. The winner was determined by Bolts, by way of the last team to kick the ball out of the grid (Dark shirts).
The game started with a hiss and a roar with the Marauders seemingly listening to the pre match pep talk/instructions. Proven by the fact we actually: Maintained possession through simple passes. Communicated effectively with each other. Were able to spread the ball around the field due to actually passing it to the centre midfield combo for the first time in weeks.
The first goal of the game came against the run of play by way of an Arakura long ball from the back causing the Marauders defence to turn and chase. Although it appeared well covered by the defensive lynchpin Matt and his hardworking deputy Davey, the ball just skidded away with the result being a well struck shot from the edge of the box by Jackyo, the Arakura #35. Marauders 0 Arakura 1.
To the Marauders credit, panic did not ensue and the Marauders created a chance straight from the kick off with some lovely flowing football. The ball was played from Adam to the right flank where the opposition right back failed to claim a bobbling ball and through the pressure of Poly and Dumpster followed by some neat exchanges between the pair an opening was nearly created. The Marauders continued to dominate possession throughout the half with some well worked play and stubborn defence from all. The equaliser came from another patient build up, the Marauders reverting to their original type of playing the ball out wide from the back and quickly turning it inside for the centre midfielder pairing of Adam and Dumpster to find the gap. Poly found himself running onto a well timed ball from Dumpster and sending over a cross that had the opposition defence in all sorts of trouble. The ball bouncing to Davies who turned it back inside to Dribble who volleyed home from close range. Marauders 1 Arakura 1.
The rest of the half was an even affair with chances to both sides. The best chance for the Marauders falling to Poly who did his best to fall over his own feet when attempting a strike at goal. A poor attempt at claiming an opposition goal kick by Wilson nearly resulted in a 2nd for Jackyo and the Asian Confederation Champions. However the athletic volley safely bounced over the Marauders bar.
Half time chat centred on the need to keep our composure and chase hard for every ball, never assuming it to be a lost cause due to the ‘Fortress moguls’. It was emphasised that we needed to be proactive and take control of the second ball thus starving Arakura of any opportunity.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, early chances a plenty for the Marauders. Again the Marauders kept their composure and early pressure resulted in corner after corner on both sides of the goalmouth due to some strong running by the Marauders wide players Joel and Casper. The second goal came as a result of a Dribble corner which after a goal mouth scramble came out to Adam whose first attempt was blocked by two Arakura players but resulted in an immediate second attempt. This time the ball rebounded to an unmarked Matt who opened his Marauders account finally with a composed close range drive. Marauders 2 Arakura 1.
It was at this point that yet another conversation between the Marauders Captain Wilson and the ref ensued. This time not about the need for Arakura to be more resilient as a result of contact but regarding what odds Pedro now had us at to win due to an earlier exchange of banter between the two. It would appear that he had placed his Tequila Distillery on a Marauders win as he then proceeded to yellow card two Arakura players for questioning his decisions and also gave the Marauders men several free kick opportunities. However I must admit it did get a little bit too embarrassing when he gave Dribble a second free kick opportunity for the wall encroaching from their safe haven of twenty yards!!
The Marauders third came by way of a neat passage of play between Davies and Dribble which gave Dribble the opportunity to beat his man 3 times before putting over a pearler of a cross for the hard working Gordo to head home from a tight angle. Marauders 3 Arakura 1.
Danger ensued from the kick off with lethargic Marauders allowing our Asian friends too much space and after a quick succession of passes saw the visitors net again past hapless Bolts. Marauders 3 Arakura 2. Comment must be made about the quality of the Arakura strike twins finishing as Bolts had no chance with either. To restrict them to only two goals (plus Matt’s own goal later) really does pay respect to just how well our defence played in thwarting their attacks.
Another generous decision by Pedro allowed the skipper to take another free kick from long range. A shot/cross was parried away by the keeper nearly allowing Matt to follow up and claim a deserved brace of goals for the day. However due to no assistance from his team-mates by way of calling ‘time’ the opportunity went begging. Just when it looked like we were in for a tense last 25 the Marauders struck again, this time through debutant Joel, who showed that size is no barrier. Again another through ball, this time from Mark allowed Dribble to play the ball square to Joel who beat the first defender before showing great composure to confidently place to the left of the keeper. Marauders 4 Arakura 2.
The intensity of effort continued from the Marauders and after some good work by Mark, Casper and Dribble a square ball found its way to Poly who more than made up for his first half miss in an identical circumstance. This time the ball saw nothing but net on its way to bursting the old onion bag with a well taken finish. Marauders 5 Arakura 2.
To Arakura’s credit they did not stop trying, although admittedly it was difficult to decipher the messages they relayed to each other. After a sustained period of pressure they found themselves with a few corners of their own. One such corner resulting in a dazed and confused Matt (due to his earlier goal scoring efforts) volleying home to be the third Marauder to score an own goal this year. Respect must be paid to the quality of his finish even if it was at the wrong end! Marauders 5 Arakura 3.
All in all a fantastic cut throat display from the Marauders who really did give their faithful band of supporters something to crow about. A victory which we can be very proud of and shows that the Marauders FC definitely have the appetite for a League and Cup double in 2009.
A big thank you to all 4 of the debutants who played their part to the max in another chapter on Marauders dominance.
The unbeaten dream is still very much alive.
FINES: Matt… Own goal (speaks for itself.). Plus another fine for thinking he was playing Rugby Union and hitting a free kick straight out on the full believing we would still get the throw in. Adam… Foul throw (as above). Plus another fine due to a 17 year old pointing out that I became lazy towards the end. Dribble… The same 17 year old laughing and pointing out that he has no right foot. Poly… Butchering a clear cut chance in the first half that would have given us the lead. Pickney… The missing man! Fridge… For not being at the official hand over ceremony of the Captains Armband. Lamo… For not contacting the team to see how we had gone. You can’t claim you have no phone as I’m sure your still contacting your beloved Francesca!
The Marauders Football Club