SPRING LEAGUE

2018 Spring League

MATCH DAY TWELVE


With the title sorted, the 2018 Spring League is now all about bragging rights on the points table. Which Micallef can finish above the other two? Who will finish higher on the ladder between Steve and Dave? Can Steve catch Paul? Many of those questions came close to being answered on the penultimate match day of the league.
Steve met the Micallef clan for the first time, before taking each of them on in turn. The first round saw him go toe to toe with Vince but, by half time, the only occasion on which he could find the back of the net was about 5 seconds after the half time whistle had sounded. The second half, likewise, remained tight, but Steve finally found the goal with a deft chip, something he'd frustratingly found impossible to do for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, on the other pitch, Leivur and Ray were also locked at 0-0 at half time. The second half saw a flurry of goalmouth action, though, with Ray holding a 3 goal lead with a few seconds on the clock (one of which came from what is becoming Leivur's signature move, stranding his traveling 'keeper!). For the second week in a row, however, Leivur pulled back a consolation goal in the dying seconds with a full team press.
In the second round of games, Leivur and Louis slugged it out without either player being able to land a killer blow. The game finished 0-0 with both players happy with a point. Meanwhile, Ray took the lead in the first half against Steve with a fine goal on the run. Stev dug in and found an equaliser in the second half with an equally fine finish. The spoils were shared with the 1-1 scoreline accurately reflecting the balance of play.
The final round was where things really got interesting. Leivur took a shock lead early in his game against Vince - mostly a shock to himself! Vince responded by settling in, pulling one back by half time and then taking the lead, settling in to his groove. However, Leivur wasn't ready to simply roll over and, before game's end, responded with an equaliser of his own to take another point from the evening. Meanwhile, talk of the Godfather putting him in his place seemed to have rattled Stve on the other pitch. Though carving out a number of chances, he couldn't find the goal and was starting to look a little suspect on the counter. With time almost up in the first half, Louis then really put Steve in his place. knocking the ball just outside the goal area, he took an outrageous shot with a figure from his own half, delicately chipping the ball over Steve's 'keeper and taking the lead to the break. Steve pushed and pushed in the second half, and was finally rewarded with an equaliser half way through the second period. From here, both players carved out more chances, but the scores remained locked. The results meant that Steve could no longer catch Paul, but edged him ahead of Dave. Meanwhile, in the Micallef mini-league, Vince edged his way to the top. 3 points ahead of Ray, Ray has a game in hand but a victory there will leave the two tied, meaning Vince will come out on top due to his victory in their head-to-head result.
Another fine evening with plenty of banter flying and almost as many goals. One more week left in the league for players to scramble for some minor placings.
26.11.18

MATCH DAY ELEVEN

Proceedings were coming to a head leading up to match day eleven, which saw a series of games being played that would decide the title for the season. Adrian had a 3 point lead on Paul M, but Paul had a game in hand. Steve had a whole bunch of games in hand as well, and victory over Paul would give him a chance to finish above last year's champion.
The first round of matches pitted Adrian, playing his final fixture, against Leivur. Leivur's 'keeper was in fine form and, in spite of Adrian carving out a number of chances, kept the scoreboard level for quite a while. One particular fingertip onto the crossbar save was particularly outstanding. Adrian finally went ahead just before half-time and this unsettled Leivure, who conceded another shortly afterwards when Adrian moved quickly and fired off his shot before Leivur had a chance to grab his 'keeper. The second half was more even and the scoreline remained 2-0 at the final whistle. This meant Adrian had earned enough points to take the title. All that needed to be decided was whether he would be sharing this with Paul, or taking it for himself.
In a season highlight game, Paul eased into a 1-0 lead halfway through the first half of his match against Steve. This had the effect of prompting Steve into action and, by midway through the second half he had not one but two goals to his name, sending Paul into a panic. VAR was needed to decide of a third was actually a goal but, ultimately, the two players sportingly agreed to a no-goal ruling. By the final whistle, however, with Paul in full 'Magee Swarm' mode, it didn't matter. Steve held on for a famous victory, handing Adrian the title unopposed.
Paul took his frustrations out on a shell-shocked Leivur in the second round fixture. 1-0 at half time finished at 4-0 as all Paul's experience came through against the player he had recruited to the club earlier in the year.
With both Leivur and Steve having had trouble being available for fixtures earlier in the Spring League, the fact that they were in the same room at the same time meant their showdown was billed as the week's feature match. And the game did not disappoint. Steve took all the early running but, again, Leivur's 'keeper was in brilliant form. In fact, it wasn't until Leivur stranded his traveling 'keeper that Steve finally scored the goal his possession had threatened, though there were some nervous 'doing a Gordy' moments in the lead up. With a minute on the clock before half time, Steve then had an on-the run attempt at goal which was blocked illegally by a moving figure from Leivur. However, the free-flick went the way of Leivur as, in the rapid lead up, Steve had both hands on the pitch. Leivur sent the ensuing free-flick the length of the pitch and slotted home an equaliser with his next flick - his first time into the shooting area in the entire match. With Steve stung, the second half began as a much tighter affair, Steve beginning to play a little nervously and Leivur enjoying some more possession. Then, half-way through the half, disaster struck for Leivur and, in an almost identical situation to the first half, Steve slotted home to an open goal with his 5th flick after Leivur had, again, stranded his travelling 'keeper. Steve then went to a 3-1 lead with 45 seconds left on the clock, to ease his nerves. In response, Leivur through caution to the wind, placed 10 outfield figures along the halfway line for the ensuing kick-off and, 3 flicks later, had buried a second into the back of Steve's goal. Two goals in the final minute after a tense tussle was a fitting finale to a great game.
23.11.18