You would think that given our plummeting position in the
Chiang Mai Seniors League, our biggest problems would be faced on the pitch.
Far from it; these days the greatest challenge seems to be in being able to
find the right pitch at the right time. The previous week had seen the
Farangutans trawl many a mile to the allotted pitch at the rather unseemly
time of 9.30 Saturday morning, only to be met by the league “organiser”
who informed us that the kick-off had been put back to 2.30 pm!
Farangutans in action (File photo)
Well this week was no different. Two of the players
arrived at the right pitch on time, twelve of the players arrived at the
wrong pitch on time. A flurry of mobile conversations later, and the squad
had reassembled at the right pitch at precisely 1.58, in plenty of time to
change, warm-up and discuss tactics ahead of the 2.00 kick-off. Thankfully we
were given the time to do the above and the stage was set.
Our opposition, Fon Kaew, were the poor-form horses of
last season; so on the back of several straight defeats of our own, this
would prove an interesting match-up. The Farangutans line-up saw a string of
new faces (no doubt responding to the desperate call for players over the
last few weeks). So as the referee blew for kick-off, “Right come on lads,
let’s get stuck in...” it was replaced with “Good afternoon, what’s
your name? Oh, it’s Craig, pleased to meet you. My name’s James, by the
way...” Needless to say our opposition were slightly bemused at the sight
of several Farangs shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries whilst they
surged forward into our half.
But it was the Farangutans who managed to assert
themselves early on - helped by the resolute defensive work of Eugene and
Leandro in particular, as well as the sprightly Massau and Dave in midfield.
And indeed it was new boy Dave who threaded a ball through to Adam who coolly
slotted past the onrushing keeper. 1-0. And moments later, another exquisite
pass found its way through to Adam, who this time slotted it coolly over.
Fon Kaew came back strongly with their under-tall, nippy
striker proving a thorn in our sides throughout. He created a number of
chances for himself, but stand-in keeper Matt did well to keep him at bay.
But he continued to prove a danger, and on one foray forward, having been
held up by Warren, an over zealous Tim chopped him down. Tim may have got the
ball, but with it the man. These referees don’t need a second invitation.
Penalty. 1-1. And that was half time. Tired limbs were rested, electrolytes
were quaffed and despite their late goal, a real confidence was emanating
around the players that this game would still be ours.
A few minutes into the second half and we were 2-1 down.
An innocuous-looking punt forward caused panic in the Farang defence. The Fon
Kaew striker reacted first to prod the ball home. This brought a couple of
changes - Eric and Sergio were introduced to give added experience and
European flair. Also Tim was pushed into a more attacking role in midfield.
Indeed it was he who started a crisp move down the left. His cross field pass
found yours truly; I carried it to the penalty area before squaring a return
ball to Tim, who then unleashed an absolute pile-driver of a shot at goal -
and if he had actually connected with the ball rather than falling flat on
his face with the ball trickling by, we may have had something to celebrate!
Still, with time running out, we were handed our life-line
- and with it surely a first for the Chiang Mai Seniors League - yes we were
awarded a penalty! Adam duly converted - and it was game-on. The drama was
not over of course - but alas, it was us who would be crying into our beers
later on at the UN Irish Pub. Fon Kaew’s final onslaught saw the ball
pin-balling around our penalty area. Matt’s attempted clearance ricocheted
off a defender and looped tantalizingly to an opposing striker, who bravely
headed into the empty net.
Final score- Fon Kaew 3-2 Farangutans.
Men of the Match: Adam, Rick, Eugene.