Raiders went into this one on the back of four excellent league victories and knowing that three more points against Gemadept would secure third place in the SIFL. Despite being de-facto bottom of the league Gemadept had already beaten us in the opening game of the season 1-0 and drew 3-3 with GAS champions HotShots last weekend, so the team knew they were not to be taken lightly.
The game started with the now very familiar and well organised christmas tree formation and our also now familiar dominance at the back thanks to Joey and Paddy (Greenow being a notable absentee), Bao and Luke with Hair slotting in at left back. LJ10 came close to opening the scoring for Raiders when he attempted an opportunistic lob well outside the box and was unfortunate to see the ball come back off the crossbar with the keeper well beaten. The game was evenly balanced for most of the half but Gemadept were not really creating anything in the final third and Raiders always looked more like scoring. Vincent went close with a header after a cross from Greeve. Towards the end of the half a penalty was awarded to Raiders after a shove on Laurie by their keeper, however his kick went just wide and it remained 0-0 at half time.
The ref was card happy and having cautioned Hoff for a nothing challenge he had set the precedent for the second half which was about to get quite fruity. Gemadept were obviously getting frustrated at their inability to create anything, when they did have possession in the final third they shut down or very wasteful. Raiders then scored after Johnston was released down the right and passed across the 6 yard box to Greeve who had an easy tap in. Following the goal Raiders were well in the ascendancy and looking like getting a second goal until a red card to Dawson. Two yellows within 3 minutes was a pretty good effort – both on the same player and not even during active play. The first was a 50/50 tussle and I believe both players were booked. Waiting for a retake of the free kick however Dawson did a cynical and gave his man a little knee in the leg when the ref wasn’t looking. He seemed to have gotten away with it but then for the first time in SIFL history the linesman called the ref over to consult – he’d seen it and the red was shown.
Mr Nico Greeve was none too happy and took some calming down, and sure enough within a few minutes was also booked and looking for another one. Johnston was scythed down by a nasty two footed challenge from a man who was 4 foot tall – he escaped with a yellow only and Johnston spent the remaining minutes marking him closely and explaining what a Glasgow kiss is. Despite their numerical advantage and numerous free kicks being given away around the Raiders box there was still no way through and the 5th straight league victory was secure, along with the highest league position since Gareth Gates was number 1 (or something like that).
The table looks like this:
However, remember that 3 wins and 9 points were awarded to us because of the withdrawal of Thanh Van and 342 (we beat 342 5-1 in the first half of the season). So in actual fact our competitive season reads:
P 15 W 8 D 0 L7
The 2-1 loss to OS was very nearly a draw and the opening day loss to Gemadept also hurt. We all remember the games against fighting cocks and NTV that were lost! But overall a superb season with a league double over Saints and an emphatic victory over this year’s champions Olympique.
We should thank Fla for his contribution earlier in the season, but the Melchers award goes to Laurie for his 10 goals. Nico notched 6 overall and Ishmael gets an honorable mention for his 3 goals.
Thankfully yesterday’s game also provided plenty of ammunition for the end of season party. Turkey moments seemed few and far between this season until yesterday and:
– 2 Raiders who hadn’t signed up turned up and kitted up John Terry style
– 2 Raiders who had signed up turned up after KO (that’s death by beheading, not a shot of the Wild Turkey)
– Johnston Missed penalty
– Dawson red card
– Greeve red mist
– Paddy nearly scoring a spectacular own goal, Vu turning his sliced, spinning attempted clearance around the post (solid apart from that my man)
– Vincent in dreamland with 14 people screaming his name to get back and defend when we had 10 players on the pitch
Raiders now head to Cambodia on a fun bus Friday morning for a hell of a party. Just make sure you all come back alive…