10 March 2007, TML 4 Div II @ Oifuto I
BEFC 2 - 1 Stoneds
(goals: Eddie Peters, Thorsten Weber, bookings: Tim Letheren, sent off: Will Ryan)
BEFC knew going into this match that a win would take them that little bit closer to the Div 2 title. Surely things would be pretty straight forward for them playing against a side in the bottom three of the division... surely not. Stoneds were much the better team through 60 minutes – they passed, moved, tackled, headed and BEFC enjoyed watching them. Unfortunately (for Stoneds) none of those actions really resulted in a decent shot on goal. That was until Stoneds` gloved wonder danced forward like something out of a Michael Jackson music video and thrashed home from twenty yards – thrilling.
BEFC realized what this meant. Were all of our efforts through the season worth nothing? – were we going to let one of the other top three teams pip us to the post?…..what do you think? A fine move through midfield resulted in BEFC's Eddie finishing superbly from twenty yards. Stoneds continued to come forward but resolute tackling from defence and midfield (especially Man of the match, Tim M.) made sure Stoneds played only in middle of the park and not really near the BEFC box.
Our Irish barman, Will, then suddenly remembered that it was St. Paddys day the following week – so got himself sent off for kicking out, thus ensuring a ban for the following week`s game – how strategic the Irish are when it comes to drinking. Stoned`s advantage was soon gone though as one of their players got sent-off for leading with the elbow. Nice thing was though, to ensure he didn’t land awkwardly, the recipient of the elbow, BEFC's Gary, caught him around the neck with his hands and guided him down to the ground safely.
BEFCs captain, Tim L, took a booking for a last minute, goal saving, bone crunching tackle whilst Stoneds looked certain to score. Actually my memory escaped me for a moment – the booking was for kicking the ball away... it wouldn’t have been so bad but he toe-poked it.
BEFC continued to push and looked the more likely to score in the last twenty minutes – Stoneds keeper making a few good blocks on one-on-ones. Where the Irish had tried to stop the British Embassy’s rise, the Germans made it happen. In the last minute, up stepped “Thorson” – at the end of a fine move and broke into the Stoneds box – amongst the calmest finishes you will ever see resulted in a 2-1 win for BEFC. Stoneds (having played so well) seemed upset with the result and seemed to not know where the changing rooms were – no bother….. BEFC`s Gary again helped out by wrapping one had around a Stoneds players neck and showing him the way.
Thanks to Stoneds for a great game – we still don’t know how you are not near the top of Div 2.
And there it was – promotion and BEFC were “perennial winners” as another team in our division had predicted in one of their match reports back in February.
Oh yes – sorry I forgot, Tim L had a shot on targ... sorry have exceeded maximum no. of characters for the report.
25 February 2007, TML 4 Div II @ Oifuto I
BEFC 3 - 0 Barbarians
(goals: Gary Wilson, Steve Lidbury, Fernando Bermudez)
Promotion beckons for the British Embassy. A passing master class down by the Misato riverbank saw off the Barbarians, with Division 1 next season now all but a certainty for BEFC. And if the Embassy play this way next year they might even remove the "yo-yo" tag that currently hangs round the club's neck.
The Barbarians are a solid, competitive Division 2 side, but lacked the quality (aka first team ringers) of recent Embassy opponents BFC Vagabonds and YCAC 2nds. And the Embassy have some of that Division 1 quality themselves, with the Argentinian/German combination of Fernando and Torsten, both technically adept, both fitness fanatics, repeatedly robbing Barbarians players of the ball and launching penetrating Embassy attacks. Ultimately, this midfield dominance delivered the deserved margin of victory.
And putting in a performance like this was not easy in these conditions. The pitch was a ploughed field - and the farmer hadn't even done a good job, with some bits decidedly more furrowed than others. Skipper Tim Letheren managed at one point to fall and half-bury himself in a particularly earthy bit outside his own area, but at least he did manage to find a couple of potatoes down there, which no doubt he'll be having for his tea. The rest of the team stayed on their feet for the most part, and let them do the talking too - a precise pass from Torsten set up Eddie Peters, and following last week's brace Steady Eddie cooly converted. 1-0 to the Embassy.
The Barbarians' number 13 then proved unlucky for his own team, throwing a yellow-carded wobbly despite the ref giving his team the free kick for which he was screaming. (What did he want - a penalty? the Embassy to be disqualified? a fortnight in Florida? We shall alas never know as he was swiftly substituted before a self-inflicted red card came his way). The no.13's language was the most offensive Barbarians got in the first half, but after Simon Collier failed to finish a sweeping Embassy passing move, some good corners from Kotaro went unconverted, and Silvano hit the woodwork three times in two incidents, the half-time scoreline still gave our opponents a chance of getting something from the game in the second 40 minutes.
But it was not to be. The second half saw more good Embassy use of the ball, and in the last 15 minutes the victory was made safe. Fernando went close with a great free kick from the edge of the box, prevented only by a smart save from the Barbarians keeper, and returned Japanese/Brazilian/Australian speed merchant Marcio managed to panic the opposing defence on a few occasions. At the back the two Tims, Taka and Mark Smith, playing in his last game before returning to the UK, kept things tight. We will all miss Mark's commitment to the cause and his inspiring four-letter-word-laced oratory. Memorably, Mark was once asked if his mum hadn't washed his mouth out with soap when he was a kid. "Nah", he replied in his dulcet Bradford tones, "She told me to f*** off".
Embassy pressure told, and it was Torsten who got the important second
goal with a solid strike across the keeper and into the corner of the
net. Then new dad Silvano, who after his rugby conversion from 6 yards
last week and three first-half misses was worried he was suffering from
the Curse of the Bambino, burst into the box, beat the last defender,
and buried such fears and the ball in the back of the net. 3-0 Embassy.
There was just time for the Barbarians to have their best chance of the
match, with a well-struck shot from the edge of the box excellently
blocked by Simon Collier, who was facing the other way. Some players
play best with their back to the oppositon goal, but not many of them
are defenders in their own area.
3-0, job well done, come on TML 1 teams - whaddyagot?
And one for the stattos - with our returned Brazilian striker the Embassy was able to field players from five of the seven World Cup winning countries. Anyone got a French or Uruguayan mate?
Man of the Match: Fernando, back to his imperious best.