5th June 2014
By Gary Henderson
EK MILAN RED AND BLACK vs. EK MILAN WHITE - 09/06/13
It was a special day for the mighty EK Milan on a roasting summers evening up the K-Park. It was the latest stop in the incredible journey of a team build on friendship and being generally quite bad at football.
When EK Milan came into existence back in October of 2010 under the guise of ‘D-GeneLateTeam- X’, few could’ve envisaged the scenes they were met with last night. It started off as a work team put in place for one charity match.
A team consisting solely of a late shift in a call centre, spearheaded by Hickey and Henderson and solidified by cornerstones like Spalding, Coll, Connolly, Kane, Faccenda, Big Baird, Ants McCarthy and Willie Pettigrew. It was a team that struggled to get 11 players. When it did, it was 11 players with limited experience and ability, but with a passion and heart for the game like nobody else. Under the guidance of Jim Henderson and a few additions to the squad in the guise of the Anderson brothers, Fraser McNicol, Darren Joliny and Duck, the newly christened EK Milan spurred on from the charity match and decided to give a go of being a proper team.
The squad was strengthened more by integrating some of the opponents from the original charity game – with players like Stooj and Steven Kelly coming into the fold, along with sporadic appearances from David Hepburn and Mick McDonald. The team were led into success and picked up some famous victories – including the much-loved 7-2 against QPSC and the 15-0 drubbing of some other team.
Many of the boys went their own way after the ‘farewell Dean’ game in November of that year, with the team taking a hiatus after struggling for numbers and inspiration, but in November of 2012 a new dawn broke for the squad with an influx of new players. Josh Mackie, Andrew McKenzie, Liam Hickey and Shaun Vallance made their debut in a stunning 3-0 victory. The were joined a few months later by the returning Dean Hickey, the everseeding PRC, DRC, The Creep ™, Andrew Dougans, Gary Duncan, new Goalkeeping competition in Craig Hunter and Michael Burt. The latest member of the squad came in the guise of fresh faced crooner Gordon Wallace. He rounded off Henderson’s spending spree of the past few months and solidified the strongest Milan squad to date.
The squad was now so strong that Henderson made a bold and brave decision. In an exhibition and celebration of the might that was now EK Milan – he proposed an idea to (life) partner in crime Dean Hickey that would rock the clubs foundations. The team would be split in two, much like the WWE Raw vs. Smackdown draft of 2002 – and the teams would pit off against each other in an epic battle.
This brings us back to the present.
EK Milan welcomed back faces old and new for the match played in front of a capacity K-Park crowd. Team Henderson vs. Team Hickey. The battle lines had been drawn and anticipation had been building for weeks leading up to the event. The teams lined up as follows.
Team Henderson: Craig Hunter, Josh Mackie, Michael Burt ©, Jordan Kane, Dom R.C, The Creep, P.R.C, Duck, Craig Anderson, Pete Coll, Simon Pettigrew. Subs: Gary Henderson, Shaun Vallance.
Team Hickey: Fraser McNicol, Andrew Dougans, Dean Hickey, Craig Scott, Liam Hickey, Owen Connolly, David Hepburn, Mark Spalding, Gary Duncan, Andrew Mackenzie, Flavio Faccenda. Subs: Gordon Wallace, Steven Baird.
Joining the teams at the sidelines were coaches Scott Anderson and Jim Henderson.
The match started off as a tight and tense affair, but team Hickey quickly took a stranglehold by dominating the middle of the park. There was an early warning that this wouldn’t be the friendly affair many thought it would be as Josh Mackie absolutely clattered his club captain Mark Spalding, later apologizing and claiming he thought it was someone else. As they were all friends, it does beg the question of who he thought he was clattering? Dean Hickey made his feelings known by doing some sort of weird puppet dance and shouting ‘N WHIT, N WHIT’
The deadlock was broken to the delight of the huge crowd by Andrew McKenzie who made it three goals in three games with a deft side footed finish.
Simon Pettigrew sadly wasn’t having the same success at the other side of the pitch, unable to use his pace to get past Hickey or Scotty at centre half. David Hepburn and Mark Spalding had a real stranglehold on the game at centre mid and Team Henderson were having a hard time getting into the game. It could’ve been three or four by the break if Faccenda and McKenzie hadn’t been continually caught by the offside trap/knew what offside was.
Half time came and passed, with Henderson and Vallance being introduced into the game and the team being shuffled in hopes of a comeback in the second half. Steven Baird – a last minute transfer to team Hickey – also made his entrance while Gordon Wallace replaced Dougans at left back.
The second half kicked off in much the same way as the first – by two men standing at the centre circle and passing the ball to one another after the referee blew his whistle.
Team Henderson tried valiantly to get back into the game, with Duck doing his best to cause a ruckus up top and Henderson doing his best to run on the right wing, but their hopes were dashed soon there after as Mark Spalding did the unthinkable – lashing a volley in from the edge of the box. In fact, lashing is a very strong word, it was debatably of the shin-roller variety, and included so much dip that team-mate Gordon Wallace had already shouted ‘unlucky’ while the ball was in mid-air. But the only person unlucky here was Henderson Goalkeeper Craig Hunter who saw the ball sail over his head and into the back of the net.
It didn’t take long for a third to come. In a moment he would hope to forget, Hunter dropped a clanger at the edge of his own box allowing David Hepburn the easy task of passing into an empty net. It was 3-0 and there was no way back for Team Henderson. Henderson himself didn’t do too much to help the cause, evoking the loudest cheer of the game for an absolute freshie in the middle of the park.
There would soon be a fourth goal from the unlikely source of Gordon Wallace – with a seedy back header with 15 minutes to go. He would soon be telling everyone in the pub that evening that he has the best record in an EK Milan jersey. 2 games, 2 wins, 2 clean sheets and a goal. Impressive stuff.
It could’ve been more when Big Steven Baird tried to evoke his performance in the 15-0 game by skinning 3 guys, but eventually collapsed into the goalkeeper and had to go off with a ‘sore knee’.
It was 4-0 and the game wound to a schreeching halt with 15 minutes to go as an injured Shaun Vallance left a gaping hole in the Henderson midfield. The Manager did attempt to bring on a substitute, but Simon Pettigrew refused to come on (two weeks wages) and The Creep spent more time putting his socks on that he did playing in the first half, touching them gingerly like they were laced with uranium.
An Injured Jordan Kane meant an eventual return to the pitch for Pettigrew, leaving the EK Milan midfield lineup as Henderson, Saz and Creep – chilling stuff.
4-0 it finished and Team Hickey celebrated long into the night. It was a deserved victory build on the foundations of a strong spine and some excellent forward play. However, this wasn’t all about the result. This was a celebration of EK Milan and everything the club stood for. It was a game played for everyone on that pitch and in the memory of everyone on it.
Social media sites were awash that evening with players and fans alike talking about the game and how much they enjoyed being a part of the EK Milan story. And for the men who started it all those years ago, that made it all worthwhile.
On that night, we did implode, but we came out of it together, stronger, and as always – EKMTID.
MOTM – Craig Scott.
EK MILAN vs. EK TESCO – 19/05/13
The mission was a simple one; to win. After three successive matches without a victory where the mighty EK Milan felt they deserved more, this was their chance to right all of those wrongs and pick up their first win of the year.
Indeed, it would feel like the club’s first win all over again since the re-birth of the team in January 2013. This was a club which had a more turnovers than Greggs finding itself in a foreign position. Gary Henderson and his scouting team had amassed a solid squad comprising of talent, ability, passion and comic relief. Much like the rotund chairman had promised, the club had risen from the ashes in the past few months – and while performances were commendable and fun was had by all, one thing was still missing – victory. Sweet, seedy, sensual victory.
For the game against the Tesco Shelf Stackers this past Sunday evening, the mission statement was simple – get out there and win the game. And while you all know by now that EK Milan managed just that, it wasn’t to be done without a drama or two along the way.
If anything, Manager Henderson and Coaches Anderson and Hickey thought their only selection problem would be having too many men available and dealing with the disappointed faces of some unpicked apples. However, as Henderson made his way to the stadium, picking up Josh Mackie and Duck along the way, he received not one, but two horrible texts.
Firstly was a girl he was seeding saying “Leave me alone or I’ll contact the police,” but second came the real crusher – Goalkeeper Fraser ‘The Rolly Goalie’ McNicol was unavailable for selection, citing personal problems. Henderson scrambled for a replacement as kick off approached, but with Craig Anderson already expected later than a Calderwood girls period, Craig Hunter being a student puff and all other options exhausted – the gaffer had to deal with the very real possibility that he would have to play in goals himself.
His only previous experience between the sticks was at the HMRC Five a Side sports day back in 2008 where he played in his boxers after a short ripping incident and spanked a bottle of Mad Dog during games.
But then, just as all hope looked to be lost a big lanky saviour came to the forefront. Big Steven Baird, infamous to fans of the Milano’s due to his water bottle based antics back in the much-loved 15-0 victory a few years ago, stepped up to the plate.
Wearing only a figure hugging white under-armour with love handles fully on show, Baird commanded his box after a quick warm up, and after all of the dramarama that the previous hour had offered, EK Milan were ready to go.
Here’s how they lined up; Baird in goals, a back four of Liam Hickey, Dean Hickey, Duck Piece and Josh Mackie. The middle of the park was dominated by Mark Spalding, Steven Kelly, PRC and Gary Duncan while Pete Coll joined full debutant Andrew Mackenzie up top.
It’s worth pointing out that Gary ‘The Creep’ Russell was part of the opposing team here, wearing a top so white, large and garish on him that it looked like a hazmat suit – which is ironic due to him approaching a football like its covered in anthrax.
EK Milan got off to the most splendid of starts with the ever-present and ever-scoring Pete Coll popping up within the first five minutes with a deft little lob to go one up. Five minutes later, things got even better for the – literally several – EK Milan fans on the sidelines as a fumbled save from a Liam Hickey shot was drilled in by Mackenzie. Milan were flying here like a big massive seedy aeroplane and Henderson was loving it on the sidelines.
However, in typical EK Milan fashion, as half time approached the wings began to come off this seedy aviation device. The Tesco Tossers quickly equalized as disorganisation at the back created easy chances for them. Squad shuffling left Milan at sixes and sevens at set-pieces and before they knew it, they were 4-2 down as half time approached.
Matter’s weren’t helped much by some scuffles – frustration clearly getting the better of the Milanos. With left back Rottweiler Josh Mackie at the centre of controversy yet again – arms behind his back in a Liam Gallacher-esque pose of defiance- it was down to the cool head of Dean Hickey to break up the ten man scuffle that had broken out. “HOI” he shouted, reminiscent of the start of popular reggae tune Electric Avenue as sung by Eddy Grand “It’s a flippin friendlyyyyyyyyyyyyy”.
With the situation dealt with, the half-time whistle went and Milan wandered off the pitch dejected but not defeated.
A rousing team talk by broken footed new member of Henderson’s coaching team Scott Anderson let the Milano’s know they were firmly still in the game and it was all to play for in the second half. The boys were lifted by the arrival of actual goaltender Craig Anderson who took the place of a proud and deserved back-patted Steven Baird, who despite shipping 4 goals put in a stellar performance after being called upon in the 11th hour.
To start the second half the Twinkie munching twinkle toed Shaun Vallance took the place of the tired captain Mark Spalding. Vallance, known for his quick feet and diverse distribution took to the game like a massive Hippo to water, spraying passes about like porn star cum-shots onto the breasts of desperate 19 year old girls. His day was personified by the inception of the now-famous ‘Vallance Shuffle’, where the chunky playmaker took two players out of the game with a 360 spin which garnered the biggest crowd reaction of the whole game.
Milan were right up for the second half but nearly found themselves undone when the Creep, Gary Russell, found himself with two clean-cut chances that were narrowly saved. It could’ve been creepy curtains right there.
It didn’t take Milan long to get back into the game when Andrew Mackenzie got on the end of a deft Pete Coll lob to make it three and cement this new partnership, much like Cole and Yorke of Manchester United fame, except white and small.
The equalizer came soon-after when Pete Coll was fouled in the box by a clumsy challenge. Coll tried to talk manager and substitute Henderson on to take it, but the gaffer thought better of coming on, missing a penalty and being subbed straight back off. He left the responsibility to Coll himself, who coolly dispatched it. The comeback was well and truly on.
Dean Hickey who had been a stalwhart at centre half pulled up with a dead leg and was replaced by debutant and last minute squad member Gordon Wallace. Wallace came out of nowhere to find himself in the team at centre half and repaid his fat managers faith in him by a stellar performance at the back. On a side note, he also put in a stellar performance after the game, shunning his fellow team-mates for a delightful young lady, no doubt shoving it up her centre back and leaving her as satisfied as the EK Milan faithful were this evening.
Duck piece, who admittedly was shipping goals like an overseas football delivery service, told Henderson at half time “move me up the pitch, I’m going to give away more goals”. Indeed it could be remarked that he couldn’t even track an Amazon order at this rate. However, a move to centre-midfield rejuvenated him, allowing him to burst forward at a Duck-like fashion much to the enjoyment of his new biggest fan Jamie Moan. His day was capped off when a low drive found the back of the net as the water dwelling avian one put Milan 5-4 up with 20 minutes to go.
Milan soon found what would be the sixth, gayest and most decisive goal as Spalding, who had returned to the game in the place of Mackenzie, got his queer eye on a deft cross by Coll, finding the bottom corner with the second headed goal in EK Milan history (the first came from David Hepburn in the 8-2 defeat to the Burnside Benders, a little remembered Milan game).
With EK Milan firmly cruising, Henderson found it safe enough to bring himself and Steven Baird on for the last ten minutes. The crowd who were here to be entertained certainly got their moneys worth. Hand-balls not being called complete fresh air strikes and shots from 40 yards going out for throw-ins were all par for the course here.
The Tesco Toss Pieces threw everyone up top for their last challenge, with 21 players inside the box and Henderson loitering outside it because he’s rubbish at that sort of thing. As the corner came flying in, it eluded everyone until it reached the edge of the box and flew towards Henderson. In a move of acrobatic brilliance, the gaffer lead by example swinging his leg like a dancing flamingo towards the leather covered spherical round object, launching it far into the evening sky as the sweet sound of the final whistle roared out across the Jock Stein Stadium. The euphoria of victory overcame Henderson as he actually forgot how to put one foot in front of the other, clipping his own heel and making sure the lasting memory of the game – and final action – was him falling over his own fat arse. A fitting tribute to his playing career.
But there it was, an incredible comeback inspired by a coaching team, a makeshift goalkeeper and a deadly striking partnership. This was EK Milan at their very best. Somewhat ominously, everyone came into form a mere three weeks before EK Milan Red and Black vs. EK Milan White. This will be a slobberknocker.
EK MILAN vs BURNSIDE YOUNG BOYS
On a weekend that witnessed the supposed rapture and the saddening death of the Macho Man Randy Savage, the EK Milan faithful would once again step onto the hallowed grounds of the Toryglen sports centre and battle the unknown entity of ‘Some of Bairds pals from Burnside.’ Their enigmatic opponents could’ve been the Barcelona starting 11 for all EK Milan cared. Confidence was riding high after two emphatic victories and a third was on the mind of the EK Ultras. Taking place the day after the Scottish cup final, there was a distinct scent of alcohol eminating from a few of the players who had been out the evening before celebrating. However, with two Motherwell fans in defence, most overwhelming scent was of disappointment.
Jim Henderson took to picking the squad this time around, relieving son Gary of managerial duties (and playing duties soon enough). With a full strength pool to pick from, Henderson opted for an attacking 4-4-2 formation led by the free-scoring Henderson and the not-scoring Stooj. Behind them fell Connolly, Kel, Spalding and Coll across the middle and Kane, Hickey and the Anderson brothers at the back. McNicol was everpresent in goals. Gary Russell is a massive creep.
As Roy Walker lookalike referee approached Gary Henderson before the game, he noted that the other teams centre forward, called Austin, was a good player. He also called him a stunner, but that’s another wrestling pun for another time. As a quick word of advice to the Ref before the game, Henderson shouted “Say what you see ref, say what you see.”
The first ten minutes of the match passed without much incident. It was clear that their opponents, clad In white, were no duds. Infact, for a team with about as much experience as the Milano’s, they were extremely well organised. Possessing a few players of quality – and as the ref predicted – Stone Cold Stunner, Austin, up front, this was always going to be a difficult game. The Tighty Whiteys had the lions share of chances in the first half, finding themselves being gifted the ball by some very sloppy Milan passing. Scott Anderson found himself doing more sweeping up than the Royal Mail Bomb Squad this season, but once the ball found its way into the final third nothing would stick. It was a frustrating period for Stooj and Henderson, who were convinced that the ref had more touches than them. The Referees control would let him down though as the ball clattered off his back and saw him plunging to the ground in a fall that saw more stages than a season ticket holder to the London Theatre Club. A lone laugh could be heard from Fraser McNicol – fully 70 yards away- who was never one to miss a good Sniper.
Finally the deadlock was broken by ‘It will be all white on the night’ by a goal that was easily 4 yards offside. However, nothing should be taken away from the finish, and the lead was well deserved after the great amount of pressure that had lead up to it. Milan had to be content with a few half chances and a blatant hand ball in the box that wasn’t given as they trailed at half time 0-1.
Half time brought two changes in the Milan camp. Henderson Jr. who hadn’t kicked a ball all day was replaced by the enigmatic Flavio Faccenda, while The Con Man Owen Connolly was sacrificed for Duck; who took to the game like a du…nah not worth it. The second period saw a reinvigorated EK Milan piling the pressure on their adveseries. The midfield finally began to put some passes together and chances were created. Spalding had a chance from 2 yards miraculously cleared off the line by the opposing keeper as the Milan boys became increasingly frustrated. Finally the equaliser was found by a Sicilian Slice coming from the foot of Faccenda. A scramble in the box ended with the Italian showing that this football malarkey was a Pizza cake, and that he wasn’t pasta it. 1-1 with 15 minutes to go and the EK boys were on the front foot.
The pressure was continually piled on by Milan when Steven Baird found what had to be the winner after another goal-line scrap. The goal was sadly disallowed after the referee deemed that the keeper had both hands on the ball (despite one hand being by his side), depriving the capacity crowd of another ‘Taps Aff’ celebration. If that wasn’t enough of a succer punch, less than 2 minutes later, White Said Fred broke up the pitch and lofted a cross into the box. The ball looked for all intensive purposes like it was sailing harmlessly wide, but due to the nature of the ball (balloonesque) and the prevailing wind, it managed to catch out McNicol and sail in. It will go down as a mistake from the goalie, but lets take nothing away from the Rolly one who has kept his team in it more than enough times to offset this. With a few minutes to go Anthony McCarthy was introduced for Craig Anderson with the hopes that his physicality would cause some problems. Within a minute it almost did as the beardy man won a ball in the box that nearly led to the equalizer.
A third goal was lost after Milan committed ten men to the attacking cause in injury time, but the damage had already been done. If nothing, this was a spirited affair with two evenly matched teams – and a much better spectacle to watch than the 15-0 drubbing a few weeks previous. A muted first half performance led to a tremendous second half for the EK faithful who were extremely unlucky not to see decisions go their way.
Na na nyeee. EKMTID.
EK MILAN vs FLOOR 11 SELECT - 01/05/2011
Know how when I was wee, I used to watch some T.V programmes with my Gran when I stayed at hers over the summer because my parents neglected me. We watched such classics as ‘The Love Boat’, ‘Magnum P.I’ and ‘Hawaii 5-0”. Sometimes, ‘Hawaii’ would be shown on a double, or – on the luckiest of days – a triple bill. I would oft make the witty quip that in that case, it should be called ‘Hawaii 15-0’. Little did I know that all I was doing was forecasting the most successful scoreline to date in E.K Milan history. Indeed, this match had all the makings of an exotic drama. The sun was splitting the Hamilton skyline on a calm Sunday afternoon and the love affair between Craig Anderson and resident groupie Louise Aitken was in full effect. A few hangovers aside, the Milan boys were in high spirits (or high on spirits) for the match on the back of an impressive 7-2 victory in their last match. It was a good day for soccer. The only fruity punch here, however, would come from the fists of our referee Derrick Boyd.
Milan set up in an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation due to the unavailability of Jordan Kane (He had a match with the Big Show tonight.) The back three of Dean Hickey and the Anderson Brothers would have their hands full tonight, a sensation that Craig was no doubt used to by now. The Milan midfield was made up of Connolly and Coll on either wing, Spalding and Kelly in the middle and the enigmatic Faccenda playing a free role. Up front would be the surprise pairing of Henderson and Stooj. Incidentally, this would be Henderson’s last match as Manager as he soon passed on the reigns to Henderson Sr. allowing him to concentrate fully in his illustrious goal scoring run.
Their opponents were unknown. Unknown to the point where they didn’t actually know each other. Seriously. 35 Minutes in, two of their players introduced themselves to one another. Connolly had promised the Milan boys a relatively easy game, but the same was said in the first Queens Park game, and that ended with a 10-4 defeat. Connolly couldn’t be trusted. The man in black was Del Boyd, making his first return to the Jock Stein since Boydgate back in February. In addition to the squads and the ref, the match was overseen by a record crowd of about 30 people. Some friends, some family and some Neds flocked around the pitch to see this barn burner.
After a lively opening 5 minutes from both sides, EK Milan made the breakthrough with a typical Pete Coll goal which was definitely meant as a cross but found it’s way into the bottom corner. Almost straight from kick-off, Stooj picked up the ball and pinged a delightful over the top ball to Henderson who latched on and lobbed the keeper from 20 Yards to make it 2-0. A third was soon found when Henderson was fouled just outside the box and Coll stepped up to score his 4th free-kick from the exact same position in 6 games.
The floodgates were beginning to open here for the EK Milan boys. Dominating the game, a fourth was soon found after a saved Henderson strike was bundled in by Flavio Faccenda who was relishing the free role granted to him by Henderson. Flav managed to scramble the ball over the line in a squeeze almost as tight as his shorts. 4-0 to the Milan faithful.
Way at the other side of the pitch, McNicol was playing ‘crossy’ with some wee guys to pass the time, as Hickey and Anderson were discussing the finer points of ‘Stars’ by Simply Red. By this point, Henderson should have had a Hat-trick and Stooj should’ve been on the score sheet, but a lack of composure in front of goal kept the score to 4-0 for a brief spell. Henderson got another assist by playing in Kelly after some lovely play by Connolly down the right wing, 5-0. Obviously getting a taste for the goals, Kelly decided to shoot – and score – direct from a corner on the back of a wee guy shouting “SHOOT – AND SCORE – DIRECT FROM THE CORNER”, or something to that effect. 6-0 with half an hour gone and the Milan boys didn’t have a clue what was going on. A 7th was added just before half time by Coll, capping a first half hat trick and what was quickly becoming a cricket score for the EK Milan.
At half time a few suggestions were made of taking the foot off the gas, but these notions were quickly quashed, nothing that anything of that sort would be disrespectful to their opponents and no respite would be given. In the Milan eyes it was 0-0 all over again. Before the second half started, we needed the obligatory Del Boyd nearly getting in a scrap with some Neds that refused The second half started slowly with Milan just retaining possession and having plenty of time on the ball. Stooj was desperate to find the elusive goal that he so desired, but for the trackie trainered terror, it wasn’t to be. Subbed after an hour along with Faccenda, he would later be found with a razor dangerously close to his wrist in the dressing room. The new strikeforce of Henderson, McCarthy and Baird made up for in hilarity what it lacked in pace and ability. The scoring started again when Coll found his fourth of the game after an hour to make it eight. A few minutes later, the world seemed to stop. The wind dropped to nothing but a dull breeze, the world was at a calm, a lone light shone from the sky as Henderson slipped through an incisive ball, and if one listened closely, they could almost hear angels singing as Mark Spalding one-upped Obama by finding something more elusive than Bin Laden – a goal. Spalding found the 9th for his team and his first official goal for EK Milan after 394 attempts. He was barely finished celebrating when he found a second and was gifted a third by Henderson again, finding a 15 minute hat-trick and sending the crowd into a frenzy. 11-0 to the EK Milan. Connolly was having the time of his life, battering down the wing time and time again and enjoying a tussle with his real-life brother on the opposing side.
Scott Anderson would wake up about 70 minutes in after a powernap at centre-half and come bursting forward to find himself a goal before disappearing back into the abyss that was the EK Milan defence. The defence had, however, been keeping possession well and passing about at their own will – even one Dean Hickey could’ve been mistaken for a Catalan giant at this point. Then, even more ridiculous than the Henderson lob, the Kelly Corner and the Spalding hat trick came an unthinkable double by Steven Baird. Baird celebrated like he had personally found and killed Bin Laden and was booked for his troubles. Nobody wanted or needed to see him with his top off. Sandwiched between this double was another cool Henderson finish to give him a double for the day and cap off a 15-0 victory for the EK Milan failthful. A day like this may never be seen again under the rays of the Jock Stein stadium, and regardless of opponent quality, it was a display of absolute quality by the EK Milan.
Fraser McNicol – 5 – Nothing to do. If he wanted a higher rating he could’ve made himself useful and got us all some ice cream.
Dean Hickey – 7- Just floated about like a mad guy. Dealt with the little he had to well. Decided to play right wing in the second half out of boredom. Good talking.
Craig Anderson – 7 – Much the same as dean. Wasn’t feeling too well. Ran his back side off in the first half and chilled in the second.
Scott Anderson – 8 – Burst forward a lot, got a nice goal and made a few. Very nice performance.
Owen Connolly – 9- Best game in the Milan colours. Tireless, productive and turning up with an end product.
Steven Kelly – 8- Ludicrous goal from a corner. Knackered after great first half. Chilled second half.
Mark Spalding – 9 – Hat trick for the captain. Ran about like a nutter, done some ridiculous tackles. Good days work.
Pete Coll – 10 – 4 goals and never got out of second gear. Flawless display on the left.
Flavio Faccenda – 7 – Lively and relished the free role for an hour. Got in on the scoring too.
Gary Henderson – 8 – Grabbed a brace and shouldve had more. 3 assists and a good all round performance.
Stooj – 7 – Great first half where the only thing missing was a goal.
Steven Baird – 7 – Most ridiculous half hour of football ive seen in my puff.
Anthony McCarthy – 6- Cameo half hour. Shouldve got in on the goalscoring action and was unfortunate not to.
EK MILAN vs QUEENS PARK SUPPORTERS CLUB - 08/04/2011
It’s rematch time and E.K Milan are out here for retribution. After being embarrassed by the plucky Queens Parkers last time around and the hands of a 10-4 loss, the boys in red and black were amped up for this one. After a valiant performance in the Day vs. Night charity game, E.K could claim to be in the best form of their young careers. Numerous encouraging games of 5-a-sides in the lead up to this barnburner left manager Henderson with plenty confidence and a selection headache.
Turning up at the sun bathed ‘Chateau au lait’ stadium, Henderson shot his eyes across the synthetic theatre, noting that the local young team was out in force to support the E.K Boys. Pulling on the hallowed colours for Milan today would be ever-presents Fraser
McNicol, Dean Hickey, Craig Anderson and Jordan Kane across the back, who would be joined by debutant Scott Anderson. The midfield was made up by Owen Connolly, Mark Spalding, another debutant in Steven Kelly and Player/Manager Gary Henderson. Milan lead their line with the in-form Pete Coll and – after passing a late medical – Stooj.
Milan were fired up for this one in the sweltering heat of a Glasgow sub-district. In the crowd it was a definite case of Taps Aff, Buckie Open while the CYT shouted their good natured banter at the players. Flavio Faccenda was dubbed ‘Vag**a’ after a pronunciation clanger, while Henderson was dubbed “Fat Ba**Ard” and in one occasion, ‘You brilliant Fat Ba**rd’. The crowd was eventually chased off by police for what we can only imagine was a case of mistaken identity i.e the police mistaking them for fully functioning humans and pursuing them.
Anyway, to the game. Milan started off bright and fresh piling n the pressure from the first minute and – for the first time ever- taking the lead in a game. Steven Kelly swooped in and found the back of the net with a delightful early strike to mark the start of what would be a cracking debut for the diminutive one. Tidy work at the back from both Anderson brothers allowed Milan to break ahead again and find another goal from E.K Milan’s top all time goalscorer Pete Coll. The E.K Milan attacking line were gearing themselves up for a fun afternoon. Jordan Kane was having his share of possession down the right wing, linking up well with Henderson and breaking forward to create a few chances, one of which was converted by Mark Spalding – after in-depth consideration from the dubious goals committee – to make it 3-0. E.K Milan were flying here.
Unfortunately, young Craig Anderson, who was having a cracking game at left back up until this point, was taken down by a freak ankle injury and would have to watch the remainder on the sidelines. Thankfully, the injury doesn’t look to be too serious and we can expect to see young Craig back sooner rather than later. In his place came a third debutant, an enigma known only as ‘Duck’, brother of Spalding. A centre forward by nature, Duck flung himself into the game at left back and fit in well, like a big duck shaped glove.
E.K Milan done their usual ‘last ten minutes of half time loss of concentration’ as the Queens Park Warriors found themselves in behind not once but twice in the space of 5 minutes to bring the score back to 3-2 at the stroke of half time.
It had been a convincing and dominant first half for the EK Boys, and as they walked off the pitch at half time, with the neds singing the Kane theme song at Jordan, they could be happy with the performance barring a few momentary lapses in concentration. A half time change which saw Stooj make way for Faccenda would hopefully reinvigorate the Milan boys to bring home the victory that, at this point, they deserved. Lets go to some live commentary for the start of the second half….
“And heres the kick off to the second half, E.K Milan shooting left to right here, dominant in the first half but only with the one goal lead, so surely looking to lock things up nice and early in this second half. Its Kane, looks down the line to see Henderson, short pass, Henderson has a bit of time, turns clumsily, he’s got a bit of space in front of him 40 yards out…hes put his foot through from there…its high and wi…its dipping though, the keeper is stretching bu…oh my word WHAT A GOAL…HENDERSON HAS LAUNCHED ONE IN FROM 40 YARDS…He turns to his team with a look of disbelief on his face, which, quite frankly matches mine and everyone elses in the stadium…GARY HENDERSON HAS ANNOUNCED HIMSELF ON THE BIGGEST STAGE IN THE BIGGEST WAY…”
In what was arguably his first contribution to the game, Henderson scored the goal of his life to put Milan 4-2 ahead. After managing to get himself clean through and narrowly missing out on a double, he substituted himself for yet another debutant – loanee Darren Joliny. As Henderson pulled his head from the clouds and watched from the sidelines, he could’ve been mistaken for thinking he was at Camp Nou watching the mighty Barcelona passing the ball about. Kane to Hickey to Anderson to Spalding to Connolly to Kelly to Facce….offside. E.K Milan soon had a 5th and the game all but wrapped up after Jordan Kane who was having a stormer down the right wing got in on the act and flung his Big Red Name down on the scoresheet. It was all EK Milan here. Scott Anderson and Dean Hickey were absolutely clinical at the back, allowing nothing to get past them like a massive river damn holding back the QPWaterflow.
A classic 6th goal was slotted home by THE CON MAN Owen Connolly after an utterly delectable ball from Kelly. Stooj found himself back on for the last ten minutes to try and find an elusive goal, but it was Joliny who would have the last laugh, slotting home a 7th and an emphatic first victory for the E.K Milan boys. Fantastic performances all round saw contributions from absolutely everyone put together this special victory. A match in which Henderson won his first header, McNicol could’ve done some late uni work and Faccenda could’ve sat down and read up on the offside rule. A match which saw the highest attendance for any EK Milan game by some questionable younsters. A match which will go down in history for days to come. Here, football wasn’t the real winner, neither was friendship, it was the EK MILAN.
Official match ratings:
Fraser McNicol – 10 – Bored out his nut
Jordan Kane – 10 – Man of the match.
Dean Hickey – 10 – Cryuff turned a guy at the edge of his own box
Scott Anderson – 10- Never left second gear.
Craig Anderson – 10 – Was onto a cracker before injury.
Duck Piece – 10- Filled in well at left back.
Gary Henderson – 10 – Goal.
Owen Connolly – 10- Tireless and energetic
Mark Spalding – 10 – Captain Fantastic
Steven Kelly – 10- Shouldve had a hat trick.
Stooj – 10 – All that was missing was a goal
Pete Coll – 10 – Hair still immaculate.
Flavio Faccenda – 10 – Caught offside once or twice.
Joliny – 10 – Hair
HMRC DAY vs. EK MILAN - 16/03/2011
Well folks, here it is. After four months of anticipation, back and forth jawjacking and numerous warm up games, the big day was finally here. Day vs. Night. All of the promo videos, posters, e-mails and hype would mean nothing now as the ‘Scummy Day Shifters’ and their Twilight counterparts took to the hallowed Toryglen ground with victory in mind. The game itself had already been marred with controversy and catastrophie in its lead up. The venue had to be changed 24 hours before the game due to the infamous East Kilbride weather, leaving the pitch covered in more white powder than Charlie Sheens kitchen counter (topical humour). Out went the John Wrights Stadium and in its replacement came the all-weather theatre of Toryglen.
A quick disclaimer before this match report starts. There were far too many people playing and far too many personnel switches throughout the game that there is an extremely good chance that some of the details in this report will be fairly inaccurate. However, the main decisions will all be here, Dykes’ horror tackles and sin bin adventure included.
The Day Shift were understandably confident as the game neared kick-off. Andrew McDade had amassed a squad that not only outnumbered his opponents, but also the crowd there watching, the staff inside the sports complex and every shopper in the ASDA across the road. The backbone of their squad was full of ability and experience. McDade, Miller, Hepburn and Dykes (forget the ability part for that one) would hold the team together as a never-ending revolving door of players would make up the squad. Amongst them would be Steven Kelly, Ben Mason and the Holy Bowlie Simon Pettigrew, who would be joining us immediately on the back of a massive victory in a fringe sport for old men. Well done Simon. The Day Shift expected nothing less than an emphatic victory.
The Twilight Shift on the other hand fielded their 14 man bare-bones squad, bereft of any real experience and coming off a 10-4 drubbing only 5 days earlier by a team who suffered defeat to ‘NHS Gynacologists Select’ (who, in their defence, fielded star German striker Hanz Upperfudd). Relishing their role as under-dogs, The Twilight Shift knew they had nothing to lose and the backing of the whole office. Henderson switched things up slightly giving Faccenda and Queen starting places while leaving out the ever-present McCarthy, The Hawke and Stooj. After a rallying cry in the dressing room from a fired up Henderson, his squad took to the pitch. After the obligatory photography and niceties, both teams lines up and the game was on!
A bright start from the Day Shift saw the in form David Hepburn popping up inside 5 minutes and stroking home an easy chance in their first attack. The move left DX absolutely shell-shocked and on their heels. After the worst possible start, Henderson’s mind began to entertain the idea of a cricket score.
This could prove to be a long day. After settling the game down, everybody on and off the pitch were sent into a state of shock as the Twilight team actually started playing well, and dare this reporter say, dominating the game. The midfield of Coll, Spalding and Connelly were eager to get on the ball, and used it well when they got near it. The twinkle toes of Pete Coll made some of the Day Shifters look very pedestrian indeed as they proved themselves far too eager to dive in. The Twilights first real chance came from an unlikely source as Henderson leathered a 25 Yard volley goalward. Sadly for Henderson, Dougie Cheesecake had his oven mits in the right place at the right time and tipped it over for a corner. While they tried to fight their way back into the game, the Twilighters found themselves higher and higher up the pitch, bringing the game to their opponents. This would lead to them being caught out in a few occasions, but it looked like the Day Shift strikers forgot their shooting boots this afternoon as Jay Goldsmith and Ben Mason would miss a couple of guild edged chances that surely would’ve put the game beyond D-Genelateteam-X. D-X managed to keep frustrating the Dayshifters by playing a stringent offside trap and moving the ball about well in the middle of the park. Henderson had another chance with a free kick which resulted in a passback to big Dougie.
Speaking of Big Dougie, his kicks gave his team something to think about. Unconventional to say the least, he very nearly laid up a goal on a platter for Faccenda on more than one occasion. Would the Twilighters be rueing these missed chances after 90 minutes?
Finally, an equaliser came. Pete Coll stepped up to a free kick after being fouled by…well I don’t remember but id be willing to bet it was Dykes. Unless he was in the Sin Bin at this point which Is a distinct possibility. Coll supplied a finish that was fitting of this grand occasion to tie the game half an hour in. We were all square.
Up the other end, Jay Goldsmith managed one of the misses of the year which prompted the cry of “TAXI!” from the twilight bench. The day shifters utilized their ridiculous squad numbers by making the first in a series of changes just after the half hour mark – a change which reaped an immediate reward. David Hepburn, once again, managed to find himself clean through and finished in his own inimitable style, capping off the goal by a shocking attempt at a front flip not befitting of his chunky demeanour.
Back behind, the Twilighters continued to have more of the ball, but missed chances by Richard Queen and Flavio Faccenda left them walking in at half time a goal down. Fraser McNicol in goals was having a busy one, but was showing signs of his former glory which left him dubbed “The Rolly Goalie”. The day shift were certainly not getting the walkover that they expected, and despite holding a narrow lead, they couldn’t claim to be the dominant team. It was a fantastic, end to end 45 minutes of football, but this game was just heating up.
The start of the second half was a tense one. The Day Shift were holding onto their lead and DX were hoping to continue on with this great performance and get something out of the match. Flavio Faccenda and Richard Queen – while both in the midst of good performances – were sacrificed for the fresh legs of Stooj Stooj and Anthony McCarthy. The Day Shift, well, they made changes I’m sure, but I cant really go into specifics. Early in the second half, after a period of pressure from the Daybreakers, DX managed to burst forward and found themselves with a free kick in a decent position. The ball whipped in by Mark Spalding was eventually met by Owen Connelly, completely mis-hitting the shot right at the goalkeeper for an easy, textbook sa….WAIT…Hes fumbled it, its in, its in. Clanger from The Blunderbaker as the ball ends up in the back of the net to even up the match at 2-2 at the hour mark.
Henderson decided he had seen enough of himself doing very little on the right wing and brought on the avian Johnny Hawke to take his place. Round about this point we had our Kev Keenan Kameo, where in ten minutes he missed a sitter, fell over and got his pecs out. Eventful. As the Day Shift subs kept rolling we seen the introduction of Big Al Mitchell – originally ruled out by injury – into the ruckus. This gave a measure of respite to Andy Dykes, who had been commanding at the back throughout the first half. The remainder of the second half was largely uneventful as this tense cauldron boiled up to what was promising to be a thrilling finale. Would D-GeneLateTeam-X be able to hold on long enough to pull out a result that absolutely nobody was expecting? With the game Fraser McNicol was having, they had to fancy their chances in a penalty shootout. Would they be able to pull off the upset of the millennium?
After a period of sustained pressure and seemingly corner after corner, the towering bo….actually, ill get to that in a minute. Firstly, lets set a scene here.
2-2, game poised, 10 minutes to go. The substitution is made, here comes the man who’s name is on everyones lips. Simon Pettigrew. Simon. Pettigrew. No more than two minutes after he gets the nod does he find himself clean through and one on one with the keeper after darting…no that’s not the right word…waddling? Gliding? Skidding? Whatever. He got away from tall replacement left back Steven Baird (on to replace the impressive Willie Pettigrew) and had his chance at glory. Goalkeeper Fraser McNicol had been quoted as saying
“If Saz scores the winner I will retire from football, cry, be sick on myself and never talk to anyone again” while loving father Willie Pettigrew added “if he scores the winner he better not come home tonight”.
Time seemed to stop for a moment. Everyone held their breath collectively…and…tipped over the bar by McNicol. The world is just.
Pettigrew denied his moment by another moment of brilliance from the man between the sticks. However, all of his heroics were undone by a nod of the ever-growing noggin of Andy Dykes with but a few minutes to go. DX Hearts broke all around the world as Dykes renewed a long-standing rivalry with Owen Connelly and done ‘The Broony’ right in front of him. Henderson called for desperation tactics and threw Craig Anderson up top in a last ditch effort to take something from the game, but moments later it was game over for DX as David Hepburn managed to seal a hat-trick and the victory to make it 4-2. Stuart Thomson missed a late header to bring it back to 4-3, but it was all over. As the final whistle went, the DayBreakers picked up the expected result in a widely unexpected manner.
DX left with their heads held high and knew that on another day, this could’ve been thiers. Rumblings of a rematch have already begun and a late June timeslot is being considered. On this day however, the Day Shift would reign victorious. The real winner here, however, was friendship and football. And charity too I suppose.
Official Match Ratings
Fraser McNicol – 10 – Man of the Match. Outstanding.
Jordan Kane – 8 – Great first half at right back. Never got as involved in the second half.
Dean Hickey – 7 – Classic dean. Comedy, Heriocs, Bambi on Ice, Ridiculous lunges.
Craig Anderson – 9- Solid, solid display. Great addition to the squad.
Willie Pettigrew – 7- Done himself proud in what could be his last match.
Owen Connelly -7- Got the goal and had a lively first half.
Mark Spalding – 8 – Brilliant first half. Great delivery from set plays.
Flavio Faccenda – 7- Looked lively up front, made a good few chances. Couldn’t convert, but a good showing.
Richard Queen – 7- Good first half, good vision. Good hair.
Gary Henderson – 6 – If that volley had went in….
Steven Baird – 5- Beat for pace by Saz.
EK MILAN vs JOLINY'S MEANIES - 13/02/2011
(Match abandoned after 79 minutes)
They often say that the best refereeing performances come when they aren’t mentioned after the game. Well, this will not be one of those occasions. Indeed, I have no doubt that this will be one of the more talked about match reports in recent memory, so I’ll make sure it’s a good one.
In their second ever game as an 11-a-side unit, D-GeneLateTeam-X were part of a match that will no doubt be reminisced upon for years to come, for both the right and wrong reasons. After a complete mauling by the very same team 3 weeks previous, Henderson was looking for his team to – at the very least – better the 8-2 result and install some pride back into his team ahead of the big match on the 16th of March.
Henderson lined up with a new-look squad, placing Spalding and Kane in the middle of the pitch and Stooj making his debut up front alongside the diminutive dynamo Pete Coll. Making up the back four were McCarthy, Hickey, Anderson and Pettigrew (after passing a late medical). Henderson and Connolly gave the team width on either side (Henderson boasting slightly more width than anyone), with McNicol hopefully managing something he was unable to do last summer in Ibiza after a few too many pints and dodgy meals – keep a clean sheet.
Joliny lined up with 3 changes from their last encounter, and worryingly for Henderson, it was a stronger squad they would be up against. Single figures would be settled for here.
Both teams started bright in a scrappy opening ten minutes. Henderson came close after 5 minutes with a snatched close range effort which skidded agonisingly past the post, which was followed by another half chance for D-X from Owen Connolly. D-X were looking like a different team here after defending 3 successive corners well and the defensive partnership of Hickey and Anderson looking like it had legs (4 to be precise). The deadlock was broken after 20 minutes against the run of play however, when McNicol came dashing out to collect a long ball and instead took a player and the wind out of his teams sails. Lucky to get away without a card, McNicol would come agonisingly close to the penalty, but to no avail. 1-0 Jolinys Meanies.
Despite being 1-0 down, D-X still found themselves on the front foot on this encounter and were never in much trouble at the back. The 8 goal drubbing of 3 weeks past seemed like a distant memory as Hickey and Anderson were putting on a defensive masterclass. Eventually, all of the hard work was rewarded as a high ball over the top found Stooj who finished beautifully with a deft lob to even the scores after half an hour. 1-1.
The remainder of the first half saw a few more half chances for both teams – in particular a few corners from Henderson which only needed a touch – and a few pieces of excellent defending from Hickey and Anderson. After 40 minutes one of Jolinys meanies found themselves clean through, only to be denied by a fantastic McNicol one-on-one. AS rebound followed which was cleared off the line by the suicide-diving Anderson while Hickey dealt with a third attempt through a defensive header. Heroic defending which was prevalent throughout. Just before the half time whistle could be blown however, a clearance from J.M’s somehow found its way through the back four and was latched onto by a pacey wee guy, McNicol saved the initial attempt but had no chance on the rebound. 2-1 at half time.
Henderson decided to change things up slightly at half time, introducing Richard Queen up front as a replacement for himself with Pete Coll playing wide left.
Hendersons lack of impact on the game itself was highlighted by the opposing right back, who pleaded with Henderson “Can you not come back on?” after being left in the wake of Coll’s trickery. Henderson declined to comment on the matter, but a small pool of tears could be found where he stood.
As the second half kicked off, an optimistic D-X found themselves under a good ten minute period of sustained pressure, resulting in another goal from Jolinys Meanies after 55 minutes. It looked to be turning into another one of those nights for Henderson and his troops. They would carry on valiantly though, and keep pushing for the goal that would get them back into the game. Henderson made another inspired swap, subbing the tiring Stooj for the fresh legged, fresh faced and fresh prince of Bella Airia Flavio Faccenda. Within minutes of this swap, Pete Coll and his dirty skills won himself a free kick on the edge of the box. Stepping up calmly and awesomely, he hit the postage stamp and left the keeper with absolutely no chance. 3-2 after 65 minutes. A booking nearly followed as Henderson pitch invaded to congratulate his team-mate.
D-X were firmly on the attack now, looking for that elusive equaliser. Amazingly enough, about 3 minutes afterwards, they had it. But they didn’t. But really they did. A foul on Coll again led to an advantage being played as Jordan Kane was played through and coolly finished. Referee Derrick Boyd consulted his brother linesman as he thought an offside had been called. After confirming that he was flagging for a foul and not the offside, Boyd asked in which favour the foul lay. While clearly for the foul on Coll, the linesman became confused and awarded it the other way, chopping off a perfectly good goal and leaving everyone on the pitch completely bemused. Within 5 minutes of this followed another foul on D-X which led to Coll finding himself clean through. Boyd this time Inexplicably chose not to play the advantage and pulled the play back from what was a certain goal. The resulting free kick was converted by Spalding – sadly, in a rugby sense. Oh it was high and it was wide.
More pressure by D-X saw Spalding, Queen, Kane, Coll and Connelly flooding the Joliny box on hope of an equalizer, but at the other end the Herioc Hickey found himself stretchered off after taking a brutal ankle knock. Henderson was called back into action as Kane filled in at centre half. Henderson had barely broken a sweat again (it doesn’t take much) when all helll broke loose.
After receiving a second booking (the earlier coming from kicking the ball away in the first half), Scott Spence saw red and let his frustrations out on the referee by knocking his cards from his hands, then kicking them while the man in black tried to pick them up. The referee had taken enough it seemed, hunting down Spence like an unruly viper and striking him with a weak open handed haymaker to the back of his head. Spence, looking quick with his fists, turned and caught Boyd with a few expert jabs as players around them attempted to break up the scuffle.
Thank goodness, here comes the linesman to restore orde…WAIT…Flying karate kick, signature move of Lui Kang in the Mortal Kombat series. Inexplicably, he kicks Darren Joliny, who has had nothing to do with the fight. Joliny retaliates and we have a tag match on our hands now. Head Coach Jim Henderson intervenes and restores some sort of order as this brawl is pulled apart. The scuffle reignites on the touchline and a few more jabs are shared leaving Boyd with a bloodied nose and a bruised ego. This pirates timbers had been well and truly shivered. Due to these heinous actions Jolinys Meanies and the referee abandoned the match, leaving the authorities with no choice but to award D-GeneLateTeam-X with a 3-0 victory, and an even bigger moral one.
What a night.
EK MILAN vs JOLINvY'S MEANIES - 23/01/2011
It was a momentous occasion for manager Gary Henderson this evening as he watched a dream from four months ago form into some sort of weird semi-reality, as D-GeneLateTeam- X stepped onto the hallowed grounds of the Jock Stein Stadium for their first fully fledged game as an 11-a-side-soccer team.
This was a side that only months before had been a ramshackling of friends, acquinatances and workmates. Now, they had a bond as strong as brothers as they proudly sported the teams red and black colours, bellowing out a battle cry not only to their opponents this evening – but to their nemesis on March 16th.
The Torrance Hotel sponsored D-GeneLateTeam-X were now a fully fledged force in Scottish football.
Then the match started.
D-X were up against the collective known as Jolinys Meanies – made up of 11 young, fit and athletic boys. Their warm up was the opening scene of every homosexual pornographic film ever made, as their glistening teenage bodies writhed under the floodlights of the Stein Stadium.
Henderson lined up with McNicol in goals with a defence of McCarthy, Hickey, Kane and Pettigrew directly in front of him. The middle of the pitch was fleshed out by Henderson and Faccenda, while width was offered in the guise of Connolly and Hawke. Up top were the free-scoring partnership of Coll and Spalding.
D-X started lively, pushing their men high up the pitch and creating a couple of early chances. The Meanie Defence, however, had height, strength and experience to spare – tidying up these half-chances with little strain. As battles in midfield began to intensify, it was obvious that D-X would be on the back foot here also.
Just as Henderson’s 11 were holding on valiantly to the 0-0 score-line, things began to crumble. Firstly, The Hawke pulled up with a hamstring injury, rendering him useless on the left wing and necessitating a swap with Henderson at centre-mid. Next came a killer blow as The Big Red Machine, Jordan Kane, was struck down with a broken finger after 25 minutes. With two injuries and a lack of organisation, it was only a matter of time until the deadlock was broken.
Before they knew it, D-X found themselves 3 goals down. Being completely over-run in the middle of the park, they were unable to quash the ever present attacking threat from the meanies. After one went in, the proverbial flood-gates opened.
A small glimmer of hope was thrown towards Connelly as he pulled back a goal to make it 3-1, but another two goals from the Meanies in quick succession lead to a half-time score line of 6-1.
D-GeneLateTeam-X were dejected at half time, but Henderson had a Dad up his sleeve to give his team something to fight for over the next 45 minutes. An ex-manager himself, Henderson Sr. had been watching the first half from the sidelines and had jotted down some expert advice – something surely needed to stop this becoming a cricket score. Kane was substituted for the debutant Craig Anderson as the Tomb stoning Terror made his way to A and E. As the second half kicked off, D-X began playing as if it was 0-0 again and they had everything to play for. A more organised backline and a more cohesive midfield led to the lion’s share of possession and began creating chances that had a semblance of resemblance of their previous outings. After losing a clumsy defensive goal to make it 7-1, D-X brought it back to 7-2 through some lovely play by Spalding, Connelly and Coll.
D-X found some luck down the left wing in through a cracking debut by Craig Anderson, a solid performance from Henderson and the CollDing Connection getting more involved in play. While Faccenda and Hawke found themselves out of position on a few occasions in the middle of the park, the back four began to find their footing as a defensive unit and put rest to the calamitous defending that saw their own net bulging more than a random 14 year old stiffy in Monday morning maths.
As the final whistle went, spirits for D-X were down, but they were not out. Make no bones about it; this was a session under the learning tree for the lads. Some were brought to earth with a crashing thud after thinking they were walking into a skoosh and being run riot. Other, like McCarthy and Pettigrew, took the challenge head on and could leave the pitch with their head high. As one curly haired man once said ‘You learn more in a defeat than you do in victory’.
Official Match Ratings.
Fraser McNicol – 7 – Best performance of a goalkeeper who shipped 8 goals in history. Not at fault for a lot, kept it in single figures.
Anthony McCarthy – 6- Performed well in his first ever game. A bit nervy under pressure and final ball was sometimes asking, but should be proud nonetheless.
Dean Hickey – 6 – Some comedy defending, but was under more pressure than anyone on the pitch and seen more of the ball than anyone. Unlucky a few times, but should keep his place in the squad.
Jordan Kane – 3 – Was playing ok, but injury ended his game after 25 minutes effectively.
Willie Pettigrew – 6 – Displaying all the classic symptoms of an Indian summer. A few silly decisions under pressure, but coped well.
Craig Anderson – 6- Only got 45 minutes but was hugely impressive at left back.
Owen Connolly – 6- Lively first half where he was his team’s best player but certain discomforts throughout the second half left him disappearing in the game.
Flav Faccenda – 4 – struggled to win the ball while surrounded by 6 foot monsters. Strayed from his position a little easily. Was unlucky
Gary Henderson – 6- Quiet first half ended with him being pushed wide left where he had a lot of joy in the second half. Came into the game more as it went on and was overjoyed to last 90 minutes without needing his oxygen reserves.
Jonathan Hawke – 5- Another unlucky one with injury. Started lively but was hampered by hamstring pull.
Pete Coll – 7- Got a goal and was looking to get involved in everything.
Mark Spalding – 6- Fed decently off the scraps he was given, but will be more effectual in the middle of the park in future games.
vs. EK MILAN WHITE
vs. EK TESCO
vs. FLOOR 11 SELECT
vs. HMRC DAY SHIFT
vs. JOLINY'S MEANIES
vs. JOLINY'S MEANIES