With club Turkeys Jimmy Q and JD absent someone had to step in and take on the responsibility of writing this weeks match report. Nayan luckily escaping the responsibility after not making it to the after-match beers at Pasteur…. Or maybe it was always going to end up this way after some on the pitch hand bags from yours truly! Not a shock for many to hear. So here we go, Raiders VS Raiders. The clubs first ever competitive fixture against one another in the SIFL, history in the making!
Before we dive into the report though there is something more urgent and serious that we must address. One of the Vikings players affectionately known as ‘Shitbreak’ has concerningly not been seen since the game on Saturday. We are all worried about his whereabouts and so please can we all make an effort to determine his location and share the poster below to help raise awareness:
Pre match banter started early in the week with plenty of chat flying around. Coach Colin pulled the Raiders group after training highlighting the importance of the game, an opportunity to put some distance at the top of the table and a warning to not let any complacency creep in as a tough game ahead was expected. The Vikings also needed little motivation as they were keen to disrupt Raiders momentum and build on a brilliant display against Sporting the week prior. Dragos also adding fuel to the fire ‘LETS FUCKING KILL THEM’
The teams were lined up, Raiders defence were looking for their second clean sheet of the season, Mirko in goal, in form Stephan returned to the CB position along bald and clutching to every last hair CB Kenny, supported by fullbacks Sipho and Florian they would be up against the Vikings strikeforce of Jake and Pat. Vikings back four with Arjen in goal was Nayan, Rob… now known as RVT! Tippy and Bart. The faced off against a starting front three spearheaded by Foxy with Clem and Hogg either side. The battle for the ball in midfield was Raiders Mike Owen, Adam Jennings and Fola against Sjoerd, Adam Kendray, Dragos and apparently Myles (last seen passing the ball to a Raider around 3 minutes in). Subs were used throughout the game with Danielle, Craig, Vo, Ve, Ben Mansell, Scott, Hung, Chris and Olly (first appearance of the season) all playing their part.
The first half itself was a rough and tumble affair. Neither team seemed to be able to get a grip on the ball for the first 15 and chances were limited. Vikings targeted some key areas, Nayan snapping at heels defending well, Kenny was put under pressure at times by Jake and Adam with balls forward and RVT was battling with Seeeeepo down the flanks. Raiders did has some half chances early doors, a good corner from Mike Owen hit Hoggy in the balls when he should of done better from close range, seconds later Kenny and Clem got lines crossed as a ball to the back post looked like one may put the side ahead. Vikings did have chances too, after a ball forward was pushed on by Pat to Adam Kendray, he hit a vicious half volley but the flag quickly went up for offside.
Then with about 20 minutes gone the Vikings had their chance to take the lead. A ball through the middle saw Pat bear down on goal (waddle his way forwards), Mirko was quick off his line forcing Pat into a decision (Definitely giving Pat more credit than deserved here)… the striker then chose to prod the ball goalwards, with most players on the pitch watching hopeful for the ball to fall in their teams favor. Fortunately for the Raiders the ball hit the post and they were able to scramble it clear. Perhaps many will look back on this moment as a decisive one. Had Vikings taken the lead who knows what the outcome may have been, the definitely had Raiders on edge.
As the game was playing out Raiders were seeing a lot of the ball, but frustration seemed to be growing. Calm heads Clem and Stephen were encouraging patience whilst others were losing their mind… standard. It was surprising then to see Clem receive a booking for next to nothing. One of the only two bookings in the game and a harsh one. Vikings were pushing out well from the back and in midfield they were able to turn the ball over but lacked some quality retaining possession at times.
Kenny had a half chance after a scrable from a corner, Arjen punched away but the CBs shot failed to trouble. Fola was finding some space but the ball was mainly travelling down the Raiders left with RVT thrown into a tough battle with Sipho. Dragos battled well for the Vikings and was a threat at times… although not when he shoots from 45 yards. It was then on 33 minutes when a goal changed the momentum of the game. Fola worked well on the right and found himself with space and time to put in a super cross, Clem coming onto it like a bullet and giving Arjen no chance. A solid header by the Raiders captain. Foxy insists he was there ready, but we still await his first goal 😉
Five minutes later and it was 2-0, the Vikings were being tested. Sipho this time got the better of RVT and pulled back a beaut of a cross for yours truly to head rise and head home. Possibly the only positive contribution all game.. Unfortunately not the most notable moment. It was at this point that the game was going to go one way or the other. Would Vikings down tools and fold or would they fight back!?
The teams came in at half time 2-0. Strong words from Colin aimed to rile Raiders up for a second half performance but on this occasion it never really materialized. Raiders could not break down the Vikings organised defence. With changes made the Vikings sat deep and soaked up possession and attacks, clearly comfortable allowing Raiders to have possession with the hope of creating something when going forward. Unfortunately for them Pat only moves when the ball is to feet.. as Myles and Kendray found out when laying balls through to the American. Such a shame that Glenn bottled it.. thankfully he did turn up to amuse us in some way.. See the image of what Glenn believes is acceptable footwear:
Back to the game. A moment of note in the second half. A decent ball forward found Jake in space on the edge of the box, with more time than he perhaps realized he snapped at the shot and it trickled wide of the goal. Vikings may rue the missed chance as an opportunity to get back into the game.
The half continued and the turkey moment came. After battling with Nayan all game Hogg lashed out. 1-0 Nayan. Definitely not ones brightest moment and rightly substituted by Coach Colin ‘What am I going to do with you’… I don’t think there is no answer to that. There were more moments within the game, Fola having several half chances but only finding the side netting. Foxy hitting a freekick but only finding the post again after Stephan decided to try and get it disallowed by interfering with the keeper. Presumably he was fed up of seeing wasted freekicks 😉
The game then played out with the second half finishing in a draw and so 2-0 at full time. Another game that sees the Vikings improve in the way they approach games, not giving up and creating some chances whilst limiting the Raiders to few chances. Coach Craig and side kick Nick can take positives from the game and Colin will definitely want to spark a reaction ahead of the Saints game at the weekend.
Worth pointing out that all players made solid contributions at the weekend. Chris created several chances when introduced and brought quality on the ball. Scott tackling well and getting several nose bleeds as he got forward – mad that as he was about to strike a ball from distance it was snatched away from him! Ben Mansell consistent as ever. Olly sprayed about balls for fun at times and reminded everyone of the quality he has, we all hope to see more of him in coming weeks. Hung also was thrown into a tussle and did well. Vikings saw Danielle have some good touches, Ve beat Hung to a header and was a nuisance when introduced. Surprisingly we didn’t see a Vo or Armit tackle as they were composed for the Vikings when in possession.
Several players were considered for the Man of the Match, Sjoerd, Dragos and Bart all receiving votes for the Vikings after solid displays, and it was Sjoerd who took the most votes. Hes been a great addition to the club and we will be sad to lose him in January. Raiders nominations were Clem, Mike Owen, Sipho and Ben Mansell. Mike Owen taking it as he again demonstrated that whilst others around may lose their cool, Mike is able to control the play, pick passes for fun and put a foot in where needed.
All in all a great day. Not the result Vikings will have wanted but when the re-match appears, I am sure it will be one they are eager to avenge! Roll on the Saints next Saturday and the Christmas do. Good times ahead. Its great to be a Saigon Raider and a Saigon Viking.