I seem to remember last year that the week we went to Bangkok we lost to Saints. Deja vu then, as the same thing has happened this year. The two clubs came together with the Saints no doubt wanting to erase from their memory the defeat we inflicted on them earlier this season. But once again we provided a stern test and could have taken something from the game.
We started as in the previous game, defending against sustained pressure but holding firm, our most likely outlet being down the wings as usual. Raiders were playing patiently and building up from the back, and after the first 10 minutes nudged ourselves into the game and were also applying pressure at the Saints end of the pitch. However no real chances were forthcoming for either side, both teams looking most likely from corners or set plays. Angelo likes being injured in Bangkok, so to prepare for this year he decided to smash his ribs into the goalpost whilst catching a ball. First half ended 0-0.
Second half was where all the drama happened. Inevitably with legs getting more tired, the game became more and more open and stretched. Saints had threatened to get in behind us and another ball over the top saw Hieu battling with a Saints striker into the box, unfortunately the ball striking his arm and a penalty conceded. Having saved a pen against Hotshots the week before Angelo was confident and was very close again this time, reaching the ball comfortably but not being able to direct it away from goal it span over his shoulder and in.
Raiders were not creating a whole lot, but it was Hieu who came to rescue. In all honesty he was extremely lucky to be on the pitch after having committed a professional foul which for some reason was shown leniency by the referee. However it was Hieu who connected with a clearance from a corner and sent a looping shot back into the box – just one of those you knew was going in. Saints goalkeeper fell awkwardly and broke two bones in his wrist attempting to save, we wish him a speedy recovery.
So 1-1 and after a lengthy delay there was less than ten minutes to play. Saints managed to score, but from a Raiders point of view to concede that goal was disappointing as it was soft and could have been prevented in the build up on at least two occasions. However, we move on and accept defeat again.
Squad: Angelo, Hieu, Andreas, Toby, Rasul, Anthony, Luke T, Vu, Luke McD, Jon, Albin, Floyd, Romaine, Craig, Mark J
It seems like the season is over now depending on whether we claim points from Japan or not. Looking back, I’d it was a season of improvement in terms of team play, but still lots of missed opportunities to pick up points – defeat to Hiep Phu, drawing with Japan at the start of the season, the first loss to Hotshots, a tight 3-2 with NTV first time around and the draw with OS that should have been ours too! And a couple of good thrashings of course. But it will be the season remembered for THAT victory vs Saints…
League table will be published once its done and dusted.
So, plenty of room for improvement.
We look forward to Bangkok this weekend. I will be taking notes for the report.