As the Mid-week Vikings did not have good memories from the last appearance on the abnormally large Centaur Pitch at Turf City it was clear from the coaching team that something special had to be done to put confidence into the team before meeting a very strong opponent Sunday Football Club (SFC). This evening the Vikings team was looking very strong and the Viking Cup had clearly proven to be a healthy weekend for most Vikings. It is amazing how stamina and technique can benefit from a weekend of intense soccer. From first look SFC looked slightly fitter and size-wise in average 30 kilo lighter and 1 head lower than the average Viking – gradually this would prove to be a dis-advantage throughout the game.
For all players it was clear that the coaching team had a clear plan for today`s match. The coach duo had specifically identified SFC`s main weapon of choice being diagonal deep passes towards our corners. It was also evident that our backs had to be both fast, smart and agile. This was indeed also considered in the starting line-up.
The match started off in a controlled manner and the Viking defence was looking strong and well-organized under the firm leadership of Raven and Kalle. All seemed well under control and the game was going back and forth with the Viking mid-field working hard on the large pitch. Continues strong pressure on the opponents first and second touch led to several good chances for the new striker Meli who proved to be a bit faster than the average Viking on the pitch this evening. Meli, Tomas and US was a dangerous combination this evening and with Jason`s dribbling skills it was pure pleasure to observe.
Halfway through the first half several strategic subs were made consisting of both more and less experienced Vikings. All proved to be wise as the Vikings team managed to remain in control throughout first half. A series of good chances climaxed in a free goal shoot by Morten Enggaard although due to poor lighting on the pitch it was not possible to hit the ball straight and therefore it remained 0-0 at half time.
The half time input from the coach duo was simply “keep on the good play and we will get goals”. This prophesy would soon prove correct although some drama before the goals. 10 min into 1st half a high ball was bouncing mid-field and Raven going for the header. An upstream wind cached the ball and a small mistiming was unavoidable. This was quite unfortunate for one of the SFC center-midfielders that than came in the way for Raven and the poor fellow obviously got terrified and was going for the “NATO position” even before the collision. With the unexpected body-posture from the opponent the collision became uneven and unfortunately left Raven with an injury and he had to leave the pitch for the rest of the game. Crouch stepped up and took the position as Kalles wing-man and that proved to be equally successful. This incident seemed to spark the tensions on both teams and exchange of opinions was made from both sides (and the benches) throughout the game. The ref did what he could to keep things under control but with an opponent becoming more and more frustrated with the dominance of the Vikings, several incidents of foul play was detected during the match and rightfully made to the judge attention by the Vikings. The SCF frustration became even more clear mid into second half when the attacking trio scored a beautiful goal. Meli got a deep ball from Tomas and instead of going for his debut goal he played the ball across to an open US that carefully put the ball into the net without any chance for either keeper of defence. Some technicians must of adjusted the light since Mortens attempt in first half. The frustration only became more evident from the opponent and even after several foul plays the Viking kept their head cool under the leadership of especially Crouch that was often seen as the mitigator in tense situations. The head-band worn by Crouch seemed somehow to have a comforting effect on the ref that clearly his hands full this evening. The opponent kept on the pressure but every time it was rejected by a strong defence and indeed also a fantastic effort from Eu-Jin. 30 min into second half, Meli again received a deep ball and again outsprinted the opponent defence, and any Vikings intending to participate in the attack, and well outside the box he hammered the ball into the net and secured a 2-0 win. All in all a great victory with the debut of both Meli and yet another Mark. The coach duo had a plan and executed it to perfection. Many more great wins can be expected on the Mid-week Viking`s favourite pitch, where indeed it was proven that “size matters” in all aspects.