OFFICIAL MATCH PROGRAMME
2010 PREMIER CUP FINAL
SUNDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER 2010
REFEREE: PEDRO MOLINA
WELLINGTON SUNDAY FOOTBALL LEAGUE
MARAUDERS SUFFER DEFEAT IN A GAME THAT HAD IT ALL
DATE: Sunday 26th September
VENUE: Rongotai College
REFEREE: Pedro Molina
CROWD: 88 (accurate, as counted prior to kick-off!!)
MARAUDERS: (4-4-2) Josh Aldrich; Nick Officer, Mike Van Wilder, Michael Dempster, Matt Wyllie; William Matthews, Adam Wilson, Fabio De Niro, Frederik Maes; Nathan Wooding, Mark Anderson. RESERVES - David Anderson, John Conlan.
RESULT: Tuskan Raiders 2 – 1 Marauders
The first SPORTZONE™ Wellington Sunday Football League Cup Final on Rongotai College soil saw last years winners regain the famous trophy at Rongotai’s majestic Football City stadium when Roger Moses’s Tuskan Raiders overcame the challenge of the Marauders with a goal in the 89th minute of the ﬁnal.
There is a charm about this great Sunday cup competition since it is the most democratic of contests. The giants cannot disport themselves in their own world; they must be ready to face the dwarfs of lower spheres and very often they fall with a resounding crash. This is the intriguing David and Goliath character of the competition, here lies its fascination. It was C. W. Alcock, Secretary of the F.A. from 1870 to 1895 who launched the idea of the Cup. Educated at Harrow School, he had taken part there in the Cock House Competition, a system of House matches based on the knock‑out principle. The Wellington Sunday Football League Cup, indeed, was the adaptation on a national scale of school days so that in October 1871 fifteen teams formed an initial entry. History took a deep breath and prepared for the plunge. The magic of the Cup has spread rapidly. Everybody loves a Cinderella story. Well, except for the bigger teams who play the role of the ugly stepsisters the prince leaves behind.
Football is now the sport of nations and today the apotheosis of the game is the Cup Final. It is a day of carnival when a whole nation is joined as one. A Cup tie fought to the death may be prolonged almost to eternity, but not quite. One of the two must go at last. There must inevitably be tragedy and if this is a truism it is none the less tragic. There may be much known in defeat, but defeat it is and one day in springtime only one winner remains.
There lies its magic.
The Marauders assembled at the cauldron in somewhat comical circumstances. A broken down car, a failed Pacific Blue check-in system and a mother who failed to see the importance of a stated meeting time, all served to try and put the Marauders off their game pre kick-off. However as we have come to expect from the Marauders they showed great spirit and true commitment to the mighty blue and gold and did not allow the circumstances to dictate their pre-match build up. The warm-up was spectacular if somewhat brief. Precision passes were the theme with players split into groups of 3 working on their touch whilst the captain ran around and gave instructions to individuals. Not once, not twice but three times the captain called the boys in to try inspire his troops. Keen to get in on the action Pedro also gave his words of encouragement and issued his usual rules, whilst trying to appear impartial. To Pedro’s credit he is a wonderful man and how he manages to keep a straight face and avoid a tear whilst talking to his heroes is one of life’s great mysteries.
The now traditional pre-match photo was gloriously attended by the WAG’s +1 (nick’s sister!!). There was a wonderful array of silver photographic devices with a smudging of colour and a FLIP. It seemed like the ladies appeared in fear of the squad at the start. However it didn’t last as finally they walked within a few metres of the beautifully assembled men to take their individual prized photo.
The Marauders began the game with a slight gale advantage (as it was basically blowing right across the pitch) and with the kick-off.
Mark stated that he was keen to get an early touch so promptly and successfully gave the 10cm pass to Adam who nudged the ball on and promptly threaded a precision 40m pass to the advancing and free Fold. Unfortunately for Fold he failed to recognise that the ball would bounce and it promptly went over his foot and the sideline for the first throw of the game. In what proved to be a common occurrence throughout the game the Marauders showed wonderful temperament and ticker to regain possession immediately by way of a combative Nick. The opening exchanges really set the tone for the game, a mixture of sublime and aggressive (well that’s how Pedro viewed it!). The Marauders repeatedly being penalised for being the stronger players, whilst the Tuskan Raiders deemed it necessary to tell the referee what should happen to which he duly obliged. However the composed Marauders were to see a definite shift in the referees thought patterns in the second half following a heart-to-heart between the Marauders skipper Adam and the referee Pedro (the skippers WAG still seems to be oblivious to the obvious affection between the two!).
Naturally being a Cup Final and emotions running wild, it took both teams a while to settle into the game. The Tuskan Raiders seeming intent on just relying on their goalkeepers long clearances and the Marauders best breaks initially coming from long throws, much to the bewilderment of the Raiders’s big mouthed Manager.
Midway through the first half the Marauders started to gain some momentum following solid defensive interceptions from the dominant Michael Dempster, Mike Van Wilder and the hard working Matt Wyllie. This allowed the hard working Fabio De Niro to get his foot on the ball and bring in to play the Marauders flanks where a very receptive John Conlan and William Matthews were allowed to gallop with ball at feet. On the back of this strong period of possession the energetic Nathan Wooding and Mark Anderson were able to see some good service and plenty of ball, however not all passes played in their direction were helpful but through good strength they were able to continue the Marauders play. The attacking duo worked extremely hard throughout this match covering plenty of ground in their attempts to nullify the threat posed by the Raiders long ball bombs.
The first substitution of the game saw Nick Officer make way for David Anderson which meant that the Marauders now had at least 2 players on the field who could throw a ball (thank you Matt and Fold)!! Dave as always was a solid presence at the back but was soon in the game chasing the constant menace Justice who despite provocation from the Marauders skipper was managing to stay composed.
MARAUDERS LAND THE FIRST BLOW
With both teams desperate to land the prized first blow the Marauders upped the ante and following some good work down the flanks and enterprising link up play by the forward line the Marauders were rewarded with a couple of half chances. Still pressing hard for the opener the Fold was fouled whilst turning just outside the box. As Adam lined the ball up with the swirling wind favouring a left foot strike it was apparent that the Raiders were ignoring the two free Marauders players at the front of the crowded box. A fine strike and good pressure from advancing Marauders players on the keeper saw Sacha Baron Cohen spill the ball and the grateful Matt Wyllie follow up to nab the opening goal.
The game was now most definitely on. Both teams increasing their work rates and the quality of football on display rising throughout the remainder of the first half. On the stroke of half time it was the Marauders who had the best chance. Some great link up play saw Fred in space down the left flank and a tremendous cross gave Mark an opportunity to volley the ball home, sadly the ball bounced just wide of the left hand post.
As the half time whistle blew the Marauders assembled around the fruit bowl for a quick ‘R&R’. It was at this point the skipper thought it necessary to chat to the referee and explain his disappointment at some of the decisions being made. Marauders chat was all about maintaining composure but keeping the urgency with which we were challenging the Raiders. To win this game the Marauders simply had to challenge everything and keep the ball on the deck.
The second half started with a much more composed Marauders looking to play with the ball on the deck much to the delight of the wide players Fold and John, who were now seeing plenty of the action. The Raiders too upped their workrate and were eager to level the score. Even the keeper was in on the action getting forward at every corner in their quest for the equaliser.
Early in the second half saw a galloping Fold felled in the box. At first it looked like a possible appeal for a penalty but those thoughts were most definitely increased when a Raiders defender handled the ball whilst on the floor and in the following goal mouth scramble a second Raiders player handled the ball on the edge of the box. Despite the appeals of the Marauders, the referee after a quick glimpse at his better sighted assistant, declined to award a penalty which surely would have made a Raiders comeback much more unlikely. Immediately following this debacle the Raiders counter attacked as if they had just used their get out of jail free card and a long ball down field saw Justice turn in the box to score an unlikely equaliser.
Clearly rattled the Marauders spent the next 10 minutes struggling to compete and playing as if it was all over for them. The Marauders needed something to lift them and it nearly happened through their go to man Nathan Wooding. However he was somewhat unlucky to be ruled offside when gaining possession in what would have been a 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper. Not to be put off more chances fell the way of the Marauders. A strong run by Adam down the left saw him advance past a defender to make his way into the box and pull the ball back to Fabio in space. However the quality of the Raiders keeper came to the fore as he desperately put out a hand to knock the ball out of the path of the open Fabio. Still not over, the ball fell to fold who turned a man and pulled the trigger, the ball just going wide. Not to be outdone the Marauders own custodian Josh Aldrich, who himself had a great game, pulled off a great save low to his left to deny the Raiders. It’s definitely worth noting that Josh’s goalkicks into the swirling wind were extremely impressive where the usually dependable Sacha Baron Cohen for the Raiders struggled.
It was at this point that Pedro’s tide changed and keen to get in on the action the cards were out. At first to a dramatic dive by Justice Yeah Right in his pursuit of an attacking free-kick just outside the box and then to Sacha Baron Cohen for re-entering the field without permission after going off to put on his shinpads. Knowing the love affair with the Marauders was back on, the skipper made his move! After a reckless attempt by Justice at bringing down the rampaging Marauders Man of the Match, Matt Wyllie, the referee waved play on but did not forget. Once play broke down the skipper saw fit to light the fuse of the little Sengalese fire cracker and encourage Pedro to have a word. As Pedro had only moments before seen the need to apologise to the skipper following the failure to award a penalty earlier on, he now needed to show his commitment to the Marauders and commitment he did show. The red card was brandished to Justice Yeah Right and the fire started. In what now appears to be the customary Justice reaction, threats and obscenities were made towards the diminutive referee and the usual pushing seemed inevitable. The verbal melee continued for 5 minutes whilst the Marauders skipper celebrated and enraged his opposite and the Raiders Manager. Poor Fold had to cop a ‘F’ bomb from the Raiders Manager, Roger Moses, whilst he too entered the action.
Back to the football… More chances fell the way of the Marauders in the last quarter, including a volley from outside the box to Fold and a header just wide by Adam from a well struck Dribble. With 5 minutes to go it looked like Nick could be the Marauders saviour as he galloped onto a through ball and on towards goal. However another fine save from the keeper prevented Nick from going into the Marauders history books.
Just as the fans thought we were going into extra time disaster strikes in the 89th minute. A clumsy challenge on the Edge of the box saw the Raiders very own Andrés Iniesta become Raider’s hero. His free-kick being met with a headed deflection from Matt and past the desperate Josh into the back of the Marauders goal leaving no time for the Marauders own equaliser.
The Marauders fought a hard battle with courage and pride and gave it their all. The squad of 2010 have fought a long battle and should be proud of their efforts even if it is the Runners-Up medal that we wear around our necks. To each man I am proud of our efforts and even more proud to say I am a Marauder.
In true post-match Marauder fashion the Emerson’s was flowing, the nibbles plentiful and a new addition the singing and strumming most appreciated by players, WAG’s and staff alike. Nowhere else could this happen than at a Marauders post-match function at the Southern Cross.
In the end, the ﬁnal will be talked about because of the number of cautions and indeed the humorous red card shown in a hugely competitive match, and perhaps such a combative game was always going to be settled by a little bit of luck. Andrés Iniesta, Tuskan Raider’s goal scoring hero, has proven to be one of the most technically annoying players at club level now for the last two or three years, and in 2010, it was he and the Tuskan Raiders who earned the crown of “champions of the Sunday world”.
We are already looking forward to 2011 and to seeing whether the Marauders can lift the prestigious trophy, and whether a new set of stars will set the tournament and Marauders world alight.
AND NOW A CLOSING WORD FROM SEPP…
It is with great sadness that I hear my favourite Sunday team the Marauders FC could not lift the prized trophy. Although you played some sublime football and showed great courage on the day I would like to extend my admiration and support to you all. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the action, whether they were players, coaches, referees or indeed the organisers, for their role in making Wellington Sunday Football League 2010 such a special, unique, thrilling and truly unforgettable Cup Final and season.
Joseph S. Blatter