Raiders defeated Gedamept on penalties after finishing 1-1 at full time and the score remaining the same after 20 mins of extra time. Two penalty saves and a mazy Tomlinson run up to outwit the keeper saw us safely through to the Plate final.
With the League long since over and the Tours now finished for this season the Raiders were still looking to add to their trophy haul for the season. The plate represents the last chance to add to our Spicy 7’s trophy and the 5rd (and that is not a misprint) place trophy we nicked from Cambodia. So with this in mind the squad was pretty full for what would turn out to be a harder game than imagined.
A 2.30 meeting time seems sensible enough given the start of the World Cup but this tournament has already taken its toll on the squad as players have left to attend, but there was to be more disruption to an already weakened squad as Niko (who was to play in his first competitive game for the Raiders) and resident alcoholic Ben Weston cried off hours before the match due to excessive intoxication. In Weston’s defence he did attend Number 5 for the meet but then arrived at the pitch and duly passed out with a sandwich hanging out of his mouth.
So down to 14 to start with but with enough quality in the squad to put out a very competitive team for what should be a winnable game against a team we had already beaten twice this season in league play. Raiders decided to stick with the defensive system that had worked very well in Cambodia by playing deep and not allowing the attackers to get in behind the defence, which as we know is built for comfort and not speed. The midfield was set out to make use of the speed of the wingers and the never ending energy possessed by Will and Jorge. Up front we plumped for the little and large scenario with Laurie to be feeing off Floyds flick ons.
And it seemed to be working – at least for the first two minutes.
The Raiders hadn’t even settled into playing when a ball from the right was missed by one of the defenders and was picked up by the number 11, who duly went past Tomlinson and Hepburn before firing past the helpless Vu. 1-0 Germapdept.
This was exactly the wake up call the raiders needed and from there on in the game was slowly being taken control of. Potter was inspired in Cm and easily put in his best performance in a Raiders shirt. Jorge marshaled the defence well and the Vietnamese were reduced to shots from 25 yards out for the remainder of the half. At the other end the forwards were causing all kinds of problems winning the high balls but it was the wings that provided the raiders goal.
With 30 mins gone Rolf found himself with a bit of space and made a run to the edge of the box to unleash a shot that the keeper could only palm into the top corner. 1-1.
The reminder of the half was all in the favour of the Raiders and there were numerous chances which we just couldn’t put away. Half time arrived and the score was tied at 1-1
The second half started exactly the same as the first and the Raider had to suffer a few early scares as the Vietnamese made the most of their additional speed and fitness. But within 5 minutes the team had reorganized themselves and the pressure was starting to mount at the other end. Floyd was winning the headers and Laurie was causing havoc up front along with Jon Hoff and Justin supporting from the wings. As the game wore on and the locals started to tire it was Raider who looked the more likely to end the tie in normal time but simply couldn’t break the deadlock. With 15 to go trouble arose as s surprisingly dirty Vietnamese team were staring to make some rather dirty tackles. That is not to say that the raiders were no giving as good as they got. Laurie in particular was getting the opposition would up with some very hard tackles. After one of these tackles, the ref gave a free kick to the opposition. The opposing player then got up, hit Laurie in the back of the head and in true Vietnamese fashion……..Ran away. This started a rather heated discussion on the pitch and the local subs attempted to come on and get involved until they realized the three closest players to them were Tomlinson, Colebressi and Hepburn, and obviously thought better of it.
So both sides were reduced to 10 men, straight red for Germapdept player and Laurie was given a second yellow followed by red. This created a bit of confusion as Laurie had not actually received a first yellow and was sent to the stands for a 5 minute cool down period (which this writer believes is one of the new FIFa rules called an orange?). The ref then changed his mind and decided that Laurie could not come back on after all.
The remainder of the half was played out and the score finished at 1-1.
After some lengthy discussions with the pitch owner it was decided that we would play an additional 10 minutes each way and then penalties if the score stayed the same. Both sides were now feeling the pace of the game and but for a few long shots which were always going wide there was little chance of the locals breaking down the expat defence. Another solid performance from Tomlinson surely leaves captain Schreiber thankful that this was Steve’s last game for the club as he may have had difficulty getting back into the side based on the last few weeks.
Raiders were to go first – up stepped Jorge. Beat the keeper, hit the crossbar but it bounced down behind the line to give raiders 1-0
Germadept stepped up but Vu was in unbeatable form and parried it away. 1-0
Up stepped Jon Hoff – calmly placed into the bottom corner 2-0
Germadept stepped up and put it in the top right hand corner 2-1
Floyd took the next one but hit it to close to the keeper who managed to keep it out at the second attempt. 2-1
Germpadept stepped up again but once more Vu was equal to the task and beat away the shot 2-1
Tomlinson stepped up to take what was his final kick in the raiders colours and duly dispatched into the corner 3-1
Up stepped the Germadept player looking rather uncomfortable in taking the shot. He duly put it straight over the Bar and the game was over Raider were through and can now look forward to a final appearance of the season.
A few cheers and a few beers and the raiders got changed and packed up to go home only to discover Weston had woken up and buggered off in one of the taxis without telling anyone leaving 14 large me to try and squeeze into the remaining taxis along with balls backs drinks and various other kit. Luckily we didn’t have the cooler or it would have been a lot more difficult.
An excellent performance by all those who took part and we can rightly be proud of getting to the final against what should be easier competition that we just played. For those that cried off due to drink, all I can say is the ramifications of that have yet to be decided, however if I was the guilty parties I think its safe to say you can be making holiday plans for the Final game.