After last week’s match tense and disappointing affair in which the referee was dishing out cards as gleefully as a postman at Christmas, The Raiders Ultras and WAGs who turned up were hoping for a game which was easier on the eye. Disappointingly for them, both The Raiders and Hotshots seemed to be intent on taking a leaf out of Sam Allardyce’s book. No, not by getting involved in dodgy business deals with Asian businessmen (I think we have enough Raiders doing that already) but by participating in a game of football more reminiscent of a game of rugby with the ball spending more time in the air then ever before. There were even rumours that SIFL were trialing a new anti-gravity ball as used in the Scottish Premiership.
We put out a strong line-up and it was great to see Collin Owens making his long-awaited return from suspension. Clearly his ability to push himself to the limit, (he played until he vomited in the friendly last weekend) impressed his namesake Coach Colin enough to give him the nod to start the game alongside Olly, Daniel Vo and Pete at the back. Note to all Raiders, if you puke after 3 minutes of a game, you are guaranteed to start the next one.
After a lot of chatter about individuals prior to kick off The Raiders were relieved to find that one of Hotshot’s main men was absent for the big game leaving a lot of pressure on their player-coach Fantastic Mr. Fox. After plenty of excellent defensive work, we were able to limit him to a fox-in-the-box performance which was as fruitful as the Franny Jeffers in his Arsenal days. His frustration boiled over after the Wonder Goal by Wouter ™, as Foxy decided that the best way to respond was to launch a tame effort at Mirko directly from kick off, needless to say it didn’t trouble our very own Gigi Buffon.
Unfortunately, we were unable to provide either Bao or Wouter had any clear chances in the game, but it turns out Wouter doesn’t need clear chances, he likes to do things the hard way and he provided the only real highlight of this tightly fought affair. The buildup to this goal in the closing stages of the game was just as majestic as the finish. Finding myself a little out of position at left-back I spotted the Dutchman making a diagonal run and I launched a pinpoint pass into his path, immediately he was bounding after it like a dog chasing a bone or Joe chasing the last few cupcakes at the buffet.
To the untrained eye what he did next was stupendous and brilliant but to anyone who knows our gangly striker, I think he was absolutely knackered and just booted it, a true hit-and-hope job. Nevertheless, it flew over the keeper and straight into the top-left corner, superb. Wouter likened his goal to this one below by Jamie Vardy and who knows, maybe he can go on to score in eleven consecutive games too.
Why am I writing this match report? It was all down to one crap touch which bounced off my shin and out for a throw but if that’s the best (worst) we can come up with then everyone must have had a pretty solid day at the office. However, in my eyes the true turkey moment was Mic’s pathetic dive in the second half which he fecked up worse than this German diver at the Olympics.
Now Mic, if you’re going play the midfield hardman, you can’t be diving around like Arjen Robben, leave that to Olly. I imagine your friends from your Gaelic footy days wouldn’t be too impressed with that kind of behaviour.
Speaking of diving, one of the Hotshots boys also gave this a go, producing a pathetic effort which led to Pat laughing as loud as humanly possible. I think this was some kind of primal scream which he has been developing in order to intimidate opponents as clearly his beard experiment isn’t working. Nevertheless, the referee was having none of it and the intimidation worked, said player getting subbed off moments later after a bit of a strop.
We managed to see out the last few minutes and after an onslaught of corners the ref finally blew the whistle, we’d done it! Hotshots were no longer unbeaten, and the 1-0 was a just reward for a night of hard work.
As Olly said, it sucks for those guys who got so few minutes on Friday but the season is long and we’ve got the Japanese to beat this weekend, so keep on battling and you’ll get your chances.
Lastly, I think I speak for everyone when I say thanks to the guys who organised the Christmas Party, it was a great night and a big shout out to Craig who was a superb compère. I’d also like to apologise for any mistakes I made on Saturday night, apparently I was a bit of a mess. At least I didn’t get the shits from the buffet. Every cloud eh?