Following the SIFL cup final between Sporting and S#nts (which was like choosing who you would prefer to make love to your wife, your best mate or your brother…), the Raiders reserves were set to take on the Tri Hai select on a part flooded yet sunny field.
If I am correct, we had two debutants donning the Turkey crest in Andy and Sam, both fresh off the boat and keen to impress. The pair certainly made a good account of themselves, keeping a good defensive line and leading well from the back (neither giving away a PK or needles free kicks.. take note Raiders back line).
Five Fox Football players were also drafted in to help make the number, Brayan, Khoi, Filippo, Karta and Hank. In the sticks was Hank, who, despite only just turning 16, is fast becoming a club legend. Hank had already played two full games after coming to the club’s rescue with less than 12-hour notice. The small figure with a huge heart played his part in the game and made a number of crucial 1 vs 1 save. The game was very evenly poised for the first 15-20 mins, but a cleaver through ball allowed the opposition through, and the striker took his chance well, 1-0 down but not out.
We continued to create chances, and young Brayan was going into every tackle like an aspiring Mr Vo! Eventually one of these tackles awarded us a free kick just inside the opposition’s half. A quick nod of approval from the coach, after Foxy had pointed out the GK was well out of goal, saw the ball float over the GK and into the net to tie the score up to 1-1.
Raiders at this point looked to be in charge and were getting more comfortable and creating chances going forward. Despite our best efforts we couldn’t convert, despite two indirect free kicks inside the box.
Once again our opponents had a simple chance and took it. This time a free kick on the edge of the box. Half time and we were 2-1.
Coach Colin gave us some words of encouragement and made some small adjustments, one is to draw a diagram for Danny Vo to help him understand the difference between left and right-wing! The second half started, and we continued to create chances but couldn’t convert. Once again we were punished for our lack of ruthlessness and found ourselves 3-1 down thanks to a very good finish from the opposition’s left wing.
Colin made a few changes and this seemed to breathe life back into the team, and we were on the front foot for a good 15 mins. We were rewarded with a free kick on the edge of the box that was taken quickly to allow Karta in on goal!
A last-ditched effort clipped Karta, and we were awarded a PK.
Bryan, our most senior player stepped up to convert and put us right back in the game at 3-2. Despite our best efforts we fell short and couldn’t get the equalizer, we pushed and created, but the ball just wouldn’t drop for us.
With our high line, we exposed, and the risk vs reward went against us this time and we conceded the fourth and final goal of the game, finishing 4-1.
Man of the match was awarded to Hank, Turkey to all the A#holes that cancelled on the day and left the team short!