The Marauders v Arakura (round one of the Cup competition).
Against the odds the clouds cleared revealing a stunning looking Sunday morning. Undoubtedly a few marauders were hoping for rain after having had a few too many the night before hand at John’s. As it neared 11am there was no word re the game being again called off because of wet weather, a pleasant change.
On the drive out we hit a cloudy but thankfully dry hutt valley.
Notwithstanding Arakura’s default the previous week only 90 mins from kick off we expected a hungry arakura wanting to avenge last year’s first round cup game where we knocked them out.
On arrival the lads got changed outside as adam was unusually running late. Pedro was there a good hour before kick off making the remark today’s game should be an easy win for us. He also noted that our pitch was probably in the best condition of any ground in wellington.
Once we got into the changing rooms a line quickly formed with all 3 toilets being blown up, possibly pre game nerves for some. Once rich had tapped his nipples, yes you heard that correctly, he was rearing to go and make his debut.
The pitch was in a pretty good nick given the almost permanent watering it had had over the last 4 weeks. We began by having a penalty shot each to work out who would make up the faithful 5 should we got to penalties. With Nick in goal it was a lot like shooting at an empty goal, well for all but fold, hit the left upright, and adam who hit nick.
We moved on to standing in a circle with the one pass warm up, a popular pre summer outdoor 5 aside game. The odd pass went ary, although it was fred who failed to grasp the concept of the game. Soon being reduced to standing on 1 leg followed by on his knees having to stretch forward to head the ball, to his credit he kept playing the game.
Sub 10 mins till kick off and I went over the Pedro and the arakura captain for what I thought was going to be the coin toss. In what will go down as one of those weird moments in marauders history arakura did the unthinkable, they defaulted to us as they only had 9 players at that time, with the 10th on his way. Ok so cup football is a bit different given its knock out but you can play with 7 on your team.
Having again imposed my dominance as captain and taken the second win by default in a row we agreed to lend 2 players to Arakura for an 11 aside friendly. Dempster was very quick to jump ship, almost too quick. Adam volunteered a debutant Steve to play for Arakura.
As we took the filed the line up was
Nick, Debutant Ritchie, Me, Fred
Josh, Adam, Casey, Fold
Dempster played striker for Arakura with Steve playing left midfield. A noticeable absent player for their team was their usually fired up captain who was still yelling at them 20 mins after our opening win over them this season.
We stayed as we were playing into the southerly with Arakura kicking off.
The first 5 mins or so didn’t see anything of real note.
Say 10-15 mins in their keeper unleashed a mammoth kick out of his hands that I thought I’d lined up to get my head onto. Alas I’d overlooked the effect of the southerly and the ball soared over my head and into the gap between me and our goal. Dempster pounced and was quickly onto the ball heading towards our goal at full pace. I almost got to him as hit go a well weighted kick sending the ball over Josh, had been coming forward to shut down the angle, and into the back of our net. Despite having no want to play as striker and score his first goal for the marauders he became the first marauder to score against us.
1-0 not an ideal start.
We were soon on attack and the ball was well controlled being passed amongst the team. A few times it even went from one side of the park to the other. The level of talking in the game was at an all time high with players calling for the ball and letting people know when they were about to be hacked down.
We were soon on attack with a run down the left side. A well placed pass was made to casey say 10 metres out but alas the angle threw him and the shot was pretty so so.
Arakura’s tactic and only real way they got onto attack was by having their keeper pump longs balls at our defence. Having mocked for me my earlier hash on judging the kick, rich stepped up calling for it only for it to sail past him, wasn’t even close.
Great talking in the d meant such misjudged calls were easily mopped up. Rich kept telling dempster he was all over him, often from afar. On one such challenge rich stole the ball and then dribbled it around dempster. Classic football.
Also classic was fold being pulled up not once but twice by Pedro for foul throws.
We managed to get the ball forward often but the finish let us down. We carved up the middle of the pitch and passes were made at ease to josh and fold on the flanks. After a sustained period of pressure dribble hit a cracking header to drive the ball into their net either over the head of or pretty close to their keeper.
1-1 Getting better.
Other points of note from the first half:
Mark caught the keeper in no man’s land but alas the shot over the keeper drifter to the left of the open goal.
Fold smashed a rocket only for the woodwork to deny him.
Fred pushed the arakura striker he was marking “handsome” in the back as the striker received the throw in. A handsome elbow in fred’s chest sore him yelping. Hilarious.
Half time. One all.
Despite it being 1-1- at the half we were pretty upbeat at the half time interval. Watching dempster and steve try and work out what their team was saying was comical.
The only change at the half was steve swapping for josh.
Soon into the second half steve got his first touch after a pass from fred. The touch was nothing special but the back heel that followed was unique and a fitting show of appreciation the to the rest of the team for letting him play.
Time after time the ball was well delivered from the d through the midfield only for nothing to come of it. Despite my half time warning that changes would be made it seemed like the hunger had gone from up front with their normally angry and quite sizeable defender managing to somehow get a boot on many a through ball. Mark soon thereafter got as close as you can to scoring without actually scoring. He turned a defender in the top left of the box and then unleashed a shot which flew into the cross bar before ricocheting shooting down but not over the goal line. Close but no cigar.
As promised a reshuffle occurred with Rich and I going up front and mark and dribble slotting back into centre mid pushing adam and casey into centre back. Within 5 minutes of the change it paid off. Fold received a though ball to in the top right of the box. He took his time and slotted home with a shot in front of the keeper about shoulder height into the back of the net.
2-1 good stuff.
That was how it stayed to give us a 2-1 win in the friendly. So technically 3 back to back wins against Arakura and more importantly a confirmed spot in the cup semis.
We then hit the pub for a celebratory beer. To our surprise Daysh turned up apparently having been in Adam’s car for the whole game as she didn’t want to yak in front of the kids.
John, failing to enquire about the result.
Me, cocking up and letting dempster score
Fold, foul throws