What is it with Refs in Nam?
Raiders produced another good performance with a variety of goals as pre season continued well with three weeks to go till the start of the season. For once the game kicked off on time and Raiders were only there just in time as a 2 min detour to get equipment for the Keeper resulted in a tour of the city taking approximately 50 mins.
So with little time to prepare it was merely a case of announcing the starting line up before kicking off the game. Schreiber was visibly disappointed at the lack of opportunity to give his team talk which he had spent the previous evening preparing. The remaining Raiders tried to keep their spirits up and mentally focus themselves after being deprived of Schreiber’s inspiration.
However the game started well and it was not long before Raiders took the lead through the free scoring Johnston. Raiders new style of short passing saw Ocon find Niko who played the ball through for Johnstone to beat the last defender before slotting home the opener.
Hepburn managed to pick up a yellow card for kicking the ball after the whistle had gone.
The second was to follow shortly after. Johnstone turned provider as Potter sent him out wide to the right and he swung in a cross which was met by the diving Hepburn to head past the keeper from 8 yards. 2-0 to the Raiders.
The Raiders were cruising with 20 gone and the third goal came shortly after. A few chances had been passed up by the raiders most notably by Mahnke and Kotze who combined to miss the easiest chance of the game from 3 yards out.
However Mahnke made amends shortly afterwards and Johnstone again the provider managed to cross again from the right for Mahnke to slot home from 5 yards out. 3-0 to the Raiders with 35 gone.
That should have been the end of the opposition however 2 minutes later it was 3-1 as a rare shot from the opposition was deflected by the defence before looping over the diving Vu and into the top corner. Within a minute it was 3-2 as the opposition managed to take advantage of a defensive mix up to slot home a scarcely deserved second to make it 3-2 at the break.
New Coach Roche made no changes at half time and elected to reduce the frequency of the substitutes in order to keep the balance of the team – however the 4-3-3 was changed to 4-4-2 in order to gain more control in the midfield. And it worked as the Raiders soon made it 4-2. Some fine midfield work between Perez and Potter put Johnstone through again for his second as he calmly put it past the keeper from 12 yards.
Again the opposition came back to make it 4-3 as their central midfielder managed to pull off the shot of his life from 25 yards to beat the despairing Moras into the top corner which I doubt any keeper in the world would have been able to keep out.
Then came the next in a long line of dubious refereeing decisions on the day. The opposition keeper handled the ball outside the box, which in itself should have been a straight red card. The referee elected not to even book him and when he gave the free kick and the keeper kicked the ball away in disgust he was not even booked for his troubles. Another fine example of the bias towards the home team which is becoming all too frequent.
However Raiders were not to be denied a fifth goal as Potter turned provider again finding Niko, who had dropped back to midfield in the 4-4-2, who beat his marker before lobbing the poorly positioned keeper from 30 yards (which on tu duc small pitch is practically the half way line).
5-3 to the Raiders. More chances came and went but the score stayed the same and another convincing performance form the team despite numerous substitutions which can have a detrimental effect to the balance of the team. However good individual performances from all and it remains to be seen how some of the returning players will get back into the squad.