Saigon Raiders Club

Match Report – Raiders Vs. Random United


“Boy have I been looking forward to writing this report – not often it happens so indulge me”
After the exploits of the Pub Golf the previous night at Pub Golf the Raiders seemed to be rather subdued when they got to Tu Duc for the latest pre season friendly. Some were on pain killers some red bull, some fruit and some throwing up all in an effort to feel in better in the hope they would play better. For some it worked, for others it did not. Jones was unable to play due to the damage he did to himself the night before and was replaced by Whik (who through up during and after the game).

The new faces were mingled in with the seasoned players and the Raiders after an extraordinary speech from the clearly still drunk Schreiber which included drawing on the inspiration of “Seabiscuit” as an example the Raiders took to the pitch in familiar 4-4-2 line up.

With the management currently looking to try as many alternatives as possible during the off season, the defence looked unfamiliar. Laumann, fresh from obtaining some boots after weeks of searching, and Franceschina, fresh from not playing pub golf, took the CB slots. Schreiber was moved to the holding midfielder role allowing a very hungover Ocon to push forward. Colebrissi and Mears started on the wings looking to inject some pace and tireless running.
So the game started with as much tempo as could be expected. This primarily involved the Raiders running around the pitch chasing the ball as the opposition passed it amongst themselves. However within 5 minutes it was Raiders on the score sheet as Ocon found Johnston who passed a defender before cutting back to Hepburn on the edge of the box, who rather unusually chose not to pass to someone else but have a go. One deft kick using the tip of the boot (for that read toe poke) and the keeper was beaten. 1-0 Raiders.
Just the start the team had been looking for and the momentum grew with more of the team being inspired to take a few pot shots. Johnston put one wide followed by Colebrissi who put another just over the bar, but a second was not forthcoming. Indeed the opposition drew level ten minutes later as their midfield seized upon some erratic defending to beat Vu in the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

Back came the Raiders picking themselves up from this setback and it was soon 2-1 as Mears got passed his marker to pass to Johnston who got to the byline to cross for Hepburn to volley it in to make it 2-1.

Chances came and went for the Raiders. Schreiber pulled a shot narrowly wide and Mears passed up an opportunity to grab his first goal for the club when he shot straight at the keeper in a one on one. Hepburn also spurned the easiest chance of the day to complete his hat trick when Ocon squared the ball only for it to be put the wrong side of the post from 6 yards out.

Then it was the turn of the opposition to create some more chance and took them they did. Confusion over who was marking who allowed the striker to slip through and score another to leave the score at half time 2-2.

The second half brought about few changes and the team that finished the game went back out to start. This was not the intention but when you see your right back throwing up at half time a management decision was made to leave things as they were. Both sides kept things tight with the opening exchanges easily dealt with by both defences. With ten minutes gone disaster struck and a back pass by Anov was intercepted by the opposing striker who rounded Moras to slot home and make the score 3-2 to the opposition.
But the Raiders were far from finished. With Schreiber returned to defence Perez (who continued his fine tradition of being booked in every match he has ever played, ever) and Ocon combined to send Johnston through whose shot was missed by the keeper leaving Hepburn beating the defender to the ball to poke it home from 1 yard out to mark his first hat trick for the club.

3-3 with fifteen minutes to go.

And still there was more to come as Paine found space out on the right crossed into the box. The header was met by Colebrissi who played in Johnston who had all the time in the world to slot it home past the keeper. 4-3 Raiders.
And so it finished. A good comeback and deserved win. Things are starting to look good with the season expected to kick off in 5 weeks. The new players are giving a good account of themselves and will be pushing the returning members as preseason progresses. In a few weeks we will start to play with a more settled team in order to allow them to gel in time for the start of the season so the onus is on all to make a case for their inclusion.
Well done to all who took part considering the exploits of the night before.

Although perhaps in future social gatherings should not be orgainsed the night before a match. It should however be noted that we have never lost a game the day after a night out in recent history so perhaps not.


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