After suffering a recent string of heavy reverses, the
Farangutans traveled out to Mae Faek this last Sunday with only one thing in
FC on tour at soggy Mae Jo.
In glorious sunshine, the newly strengthened squad warmed
up for the game with an impromptu session of foot/volleyball, bonding the
team and providing the rusty Westerners with a chance to get their eye in
and their legs moving. Many of the Farangutans had been away all summer
(typical teachers you might say!), and it was a welcome sight to behold a
large playing squad eager for kick-off.
The game eventually kicked off at 4.30 p.m., and it was a
full-blooded opening five minutes, with skirmishes at both ends of the
pitch. The game was given an extra edge by a large crowd of assembled Thais
who looked on, astonished by these tall outlandish foreigners who had
suddenly descended on their back yard. Their fervent cheers, for both teams,
further enhanced what was already a very pleasant atmosphere in the balmy
10 minutes into the game the Farangs drew first blood
with an unstoppable counter-attack. With the Thais attacking in numbers,
James collected a loose ball on the edge of his own area. Looking up, he
picked out Adam’s run with a long raking pass a la Beckham. Adam eagerly
accepted the ball into his stride and clipped the ball over the advancing
keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Thus stung into action, the Mae Faek team began pinning
back the Farang defense with repeated assaults on their goal, and, despite
dogged defending, an equalizer could not be prevented. The Man of the Match,
goalkeeper Mark de la Fleur, parried several shots before one loose ball
eventually fell to the feet of the Thai strikers, who brought the scores
level after half an hour.
The Farangs were struggling to keep their shape after
adopting a policy of constant rolling substitutions, but they did manage to
contrive some attractive passages of play as half-time approached. New boy
Richard went close five minutes before the interval, his mazy run delighting
the gaggle of Thai girls on the touchline, who seemed only to be watching
him, for some reason! The rest of us tried not to laugh as Richard was
unceremoniously brought down by the Thai centre-half and landed head first
in a puddle of mud.
The half ended well for Farangutan FC. Good play on the
left from Ross the Smoking Monk found Adam unmarked in front of goal, who in
turn slipped the ball sideways for the attendant full-back Dr. Tim Cressey.
The Doc made no mistake (he couldn’t miss!), and the ref blew for
half-time. Farangs 2, Mae Faek 1.
Half-time oranges brought nutrition to tiring limbs, but
it was the Thais who were quickest off the blocks in the second half.
Stepping up their game considerably, the Mae Faek team produced a
mesmerizing display of controlled possession football, and it was only the
heroics of Mark the goalie that blocked the route to goal. However, even he
could not stem the tide forever, and the second equalizer arrived after
sixty minutes, setting up a tense finale.
With the Farangs bravely repelling wave after wave of
Thai attacks, the Mae Faek outfit were drawn further and further forward,
and succumbed to a fatal counter-attack in the final minutes. Good work from
Rick Mann down the left saw Adam put through in the inside left channel.
Managing to evade the desperate lunges of first the full-back and then the
goalkeeper, the Farang striker gleefully poked home the winner for a
memorable and very welcome 3-2 victory.
The credibility of our noble team thus restored, the
Farangutan team can look forward with increasing confidence to our next
match, wherever that might be.
Thanks go to an excellent and very sporting Mae Faek
side, and in particular to Khun Pakhon for organizing the whole shebang.
Finally, thanks as always to our kind sponsors, the Chiangmai Mail and
the UN Irish Pub.