Rolling on from a very good win against SCC the week prior, the Men’s 3s gathered on Sunday evening, confident without being arrogant and excited about the collective potential the side has been starting to show. Unfortunate to be missing the engine and legs of Ferg (busy in some hipster café in Melbourne), but with good numbers again (18) and the return of Scooterman Petty & (not loose) Headly, WWB structured a starting 11 that had a good mix of ability, maturity and at least 3.75 yds of pace (where it was needed). Coach gave us a very, very, very, very detailed overview of his game plan using various magnetic markers and symbols that may or may not have been used in some of Turing’s calculations. Once we had processed this via “DeepThought” into “they’ll play through one guy in the middle and chuck aerials”, WWB gave us his usual frothing directive and we got underway.
For once, neither of the umpires were running at the wrong end of life insurance contracts and looked set to manage the game very well. Tornados pushback resulted in 5 or 6 good solid passes, transfer left and right and the team settled. Disappointingly this balanced start was subsequently thrown a little when an erroneous pass was gifted to the oppo just outside the Tornado’s D. Singapore Police reacting quickly and, catching the defence off-guard, pushed into the circle where the Tornado’s defence gave up a short corner.
Knowing that they would have at least one flick option, and with Olly choosing to cover his right post, Rego donned the mask and volunteered to stand watch in the gap. As expected a solid injection resulted in a straight flick which was sent (with some good pace) at chest height toward the left post. Rego, who was crouched in anticipation of pretty much anything, saw the ball tracking towards him and rather than hook it away for a Stokes’ esque 6, bravely decided that the next best thing to do was to not move at all and take the full force onto the top of his head deflecting the ball up and around the crossbar. A blow of “hidden air-conditioning unit” proportions which would have (and has) felled many a good man, seemed inconsequential to Rego who brushed it off like a real life Thanos and soldiered on. The Umpires gathered and decided as the ball had been goal bound, they had no choice but to award a flick and whilst Olly chose right, the ball squeezed in. 1 – 0.
Tornados restarted with a little more vigor and started to click through the gears. Disappointingly, shortly after, Mayes, who appears to be still carrying a few extra ‘summer’ lbs, received the ball under pressure and turning out of trouble tried to accelerate at a pace he can only now dream of, got the ball away but consequently blew his left hamstring such was the force of 97Kgs going through his left leg. None the less, Tornados continued to pressure with some good interplay between defence and midlfield and several penetrating attacks through the right flank. Exploiting an area of weakness in the oppo defence, Lionel (who will quickly garner himself a new Spanish nickname if he keeps this level of finishing up), broke into the D and from an impossible angle, sent a a screeching flat tomahawk past the oppo keeper. 1 – 1.
The buoyed Tornados side pushed on and kept applying pressure – soaking up the oppo attack who were doing exactly as expected, chucking bombs and pushing through long slapped passes through the midfield. Half time came and after a few nervey moments handled, Tornados entered the break looking a little tired but in good spirits with....
A pep talk from our fearless leader at half time obviously did some good as we managed to consistently build through the the whole field right from the start. Some excellent midfield play found Lionel who, turning quicker than a prisoner dropping soap, found himself with a football field of room in the oppo D. Despite the initial airshot, Lionel settled and didn’t need to be asked twice to send it home. 2-1 Tornados.
Play continued and the team rightly grew in confidence with everyone putting in a shift marking, tackling and passing. The effort was rewarded with a short corner, duely converted by the man of the moment - henceforth known as Messi. Hatrick!
I would dearly love to continue this fairytale to what should have been its rightful conclusion - a win and beers. Unfortunately not to be.
For the purposes of good journalism, we will blame a newish classic expat side with the heady feeling of adrenaline coarsing through their veins. Whether it was confidence becoming complacency, some missing legs from unavailable players or simply running out of steam, we’ll never know. Some poor choices and sloppy possession allowed the oppo back in and subsequently level with a short corner followed by a soft goal from open play. We may have even had a card somewhere......3-3.
Our umpires restarted and while Mayes really not very constructively lost his shit on the sideline, the team got it together and managed to hang on against a rapidly turning tide, scraping through to the final whistle.
End result 3 - 3. The right one? No. Will we take it? Yes. Overall a promising yet frustrating performance from a side that has really good potential. Brilliant to see we’ve found some finishing ability upfront and even more importantly, that there is a very very capable team when we get our heads screwed on.
Looking forward to the rest of he season with a great bunch of lads.