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Tokyo Metropolis Football league

El Diego Denied points by ‘Elbow’ of God

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Season 7 2009/10)
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Horisaki, Sunday 26th September
Last time King George FC met El Diego in Horisaki Koen, KGFC was in its infancy and El Diego played a neat, attacking brand of football for which their namesake was renowned. The outcome; 3-2 to El Diego. Almost two years on both teams, now playing in the second division, went into the game looking for their first win of the new season.
 
KGFC welcomed two new members to the line-up, Elliot or ‘Elbow’ (not a very reassuring name for a goalkeeper) was signed to fill the rather large hole left by the departure of last season’s player of the season Marty ‘Defier of Newton’s Laws’ Bauer. Also added to the line up was Pete ‘Free-kicks’ McGill, brought in to provide more of a presence in the attacking third.
 
Both sets of players warmed up, as always, off the field because being allowed on it before a game would be ridiculous. The light breeze and constant rain meant the surface was slick, so concentration would play a key part in the game.
 
Immediately from kick off KGFC seemed to be playing with a fire in their bellies, passing the ball confidently; this wasn’t the KGFC El Diego remembered! The George dominated with Pete slotting in perfectly, providing a link between midfield and attack. James ‘Still Carrying the Hawaii Fat’ Bates looked less like a headless chicken and more like the captain marvel of old. The first twenty-minutes of Elbow’s debut must have been boring because it was all KGFC. A number of slick moves brought smart stops from El Diego’s pint-sized keeper. As El Diego started to get back into the game it looked as though the George’s early domination would be without reward, until smart play down the left put Katsu ‘International Gentleman’ Miyagishi clean through, this time the keeper had no chance. 1-0 KGFC and good value for it, too.
 
Then, KGFC seemed to get excited and lose their shape like the sweater your Nan knitted you last Christmas. El Diego took more of a foothold in the game, though rarely threatening the goal. One innocuous looking run down the left, a cut inside the box, and a mistimed tackle later, El Diego were awarded a penalty; it was struck sweetly by the player who won it, 1-1.
 
El Deigo were on top, and soon were soon rewarded with another goal which left the keeper no chance. 2-1 El Diego. At the half-time whistle KGFC were left ruing the myriad of squandered opportunities in the opening twenty minutes.
 
Chris ‘Sassoon’ Thomas, whose injury denied him the chance to participate in the final game before returning to the UK to study hairdressing or something, led the half-time team talk, calling for shape and communication. The teams were called back for the second half.
 
The George seemed rejuvenated by the inspirational words delivered at the break, attacking from the off. Early on, good work through the middle led to the first corner of the half. The corner was expertly whipped in at pace needing only the faintest of touches to go in, that touch came in the form of Sean ‘Back Post’ Carroll’s thigh; they all count! 2-2.
 
KGFC’s defensive line, which saw Rob ‘1950s’ Newcastle filling in for the injured Thomas, seemed in control until a greasy through-ball squirmed through the grasp of the keeper leaving the El Diego forward a simple tap-in. 3-2 El Diego.
 
KGFC captain John ‘I could’ve been watching Metallica’ McGowan rallied the troops with a battle cry akin to world famous Aussie-Scot William ‘Mel’ Wallace. Again KGFC probed down the left, this time earning a free-kick just outside the box. The resulting kick was furiously lashed towards goal by McGill, catching the keeper off his line. 3-3, great goal.
 
The game was very open now, and still fifteen minutes to play. End to end; a great game for the neutral. KGFC rotated subs to keep everyone fresh. Iain ’10 mins’ Naughton screamed to be taken off after what can only be described as a fifteen-minute explosion ginger fury. Dan ‘The Faceman’ Bard and Kenichi ’12 games a day’ Takayama playing what was probably their fifth game of the day looked as fresh as ever. However, a speculative long ball landed at the feet of an El Diego forward whose turn and shot was so well executed it could only be admired. 4-3 El Diego.
 
KGFC, like a frigid prom date, weren’t prepared to go down without a fight. A period of sustained pressure was rewarded with a corner, this time the taker was the casual Yoichi who curved the ball like that bloke who used to play for England… John Barnes, I think. The whipped ball was met by the glancing head of McGill who steered the ball inside the post. 4-4 with five-minutes to go.
Then, the unthinkable happened. A speculative drive was spilled by El Diego’s ninth(?) keeper of the evening, Katsu reacting quicker than a Shaolin monk on Es had the simplest of tasks. 5-4 KGFC, unbelievable Geoff!
 
At the final whistle both sides were mentally and physically drained like the contestants of the Krypton Factor. Outstanding players on the night Miyagishi, McGill and a miraculous save from Elbow towards the end of the game made the win possible, but it was a great squad performance from KGFC. The never say die attitude resulted in three, well deserved, if not a little fortunate points. Onwards and upwards for KGFC… hopefully.

Report by Ben Steinson