Saigon Raiders Club

After almost two months without a Raiders fixture many of the lads were desperate for a game of football. That desperate that they all thought it would be a good idea to play in the 40-degree Saigon heat. Usually the heat helps the local teams as they are more accustomed to the climate here, looking at the score line on Saturday that was not the case!

Raiders lined up strong. Mirko was missing so Olly stepped up fancying himself as the new Steve Ogrizovic, he had the looks to play the part to be fair. At the back Sipho, Scott (Av 6KM per game), Jimmy Q and the forgotten man Mark Kenny. Sitting infront was Sven with Clem, Foxy and Guido making an attacking midfield trio. Up top Hogg and MOM Emmanuel. Interchanging throughout we had Stephan whose new diet of Meat, Meat Meat and nothing else seems to be working for him (Heart Attack expected by the end of 2021), Ben Mansell, Cris (Back from Holiday Quarantine Camp 3kg lighter) and Mike Owen.

Now what happened next is rather hard to recall… given the tempo of the game, the standard of the opposition and the amount of goals scored! In the early stages of the game, in fact straight from kick off, Hogg, Clem and Emmanuel set upon the LFC defence, the ball was pushed back to the keeper who after a miskick directed the ball to Emmanuels feet. 1-0 Raiders. Emma smashed it home. Raiders were quick to add to the tally, Emma bagging another two goals after good work from Clem and Guido pushing the ball through made it 3-0 and it was a quick hattrick. Apparently, there was then some drama…. Foxy booked. Hogg tried to book the referee.. it seems that kind of behaviour is frowned upon and the two children were asked to sit out, which they obviously took really well and obliged with no complaints… Some things may never change. Though both are apparently ‘trying’ …. TBC.

The first half continued, Clem smashing home the goal of the game with a ferocious drive past the keeper and into the top left-hand corner. Whilst most people have been drinking endless bottles of wine and sipping on beer during quarantine, it would appear Clem has been doing squats for days. Guido was all over the place in midfield, getting stuck in and sending some useful balls through. At the back Kenny managed to head a ball coming straight at him high up and backwards, lovely stuff. Jimmy Q was quiet for once and almost saw the captains armband at one point.. something that will never be seen again. Olly did have one or two saves to make. Scott and Sipho tried to get forward when possible, but then realized in the heat it wasn’t the best decision they had made. Although Opta Stats suggest otherwise for McGeever. With Mike Owen and Chris introduced there were more goals but surprisingly not for them. Sven found himself out of the sitting role and inside the opposition box, he coolly converted a tap in to make it 5-0 – I saw coolly, there was no keeper in the goal. As the half drew to a close Emmanuel then prodded another home, a comfortable tap in to take his total to 4 and Raider to 6-0.

Half time team talk / mildly disrupted team talk aside Raiders returned to the pitch, their opponents, probably wondering why they had agreed to this friendly and when could the game be concluded, slowly joined them and the second half began. Stephen stepped in at CB, Hogg up front, Ben Mansell on the side. The tempo of the game now was close to that of walking football, but in spells Raiders did put in the extra sprint and maintained concentration to keep that clean sheet. At one point Hogg was sent chasing down the left and continued to chase his own touch wider.. and wider… some people are rusty, some peoples touch is what it is..

Goals them came in quick succession. A nice move and through ball down the right led to Foxy getting his first of what was to become a nice hattrick. Chris added with a goal for himself and Hogg who was following orders of ‘just shoot’ all day.. managed to get one shot on target that went in, conversion rate for the day close to 10%.. probably less. Emmanuel on the other hand made it 5 for himself and 12 for the Raiders.

The game closed out with many of the lads getting the minutes they needed in order to prepare for the tough fixture against Olympique coming up. It was good to be back on the pitch. Back playing football with the Raiders. Back Winning again. The team need to take nothing for granted in the run in, there is still a big job to do and we wouldn’t want to do a Liverpool now would we…. No slips needed!

Congratulations to the Vikings for an impressive win against Japan in their friendly. Fantastic to see them get off to a great start after the break. Were all looking forward to seeing them push on now for the final few games.

Oh .. and congratulations to Scott (Pictured) for managing to run a whole 6KM on the day. Great achievement.

Become a Saigon Raider

Become a Saigon Raider