Saturday 19th March 2016 - Barbarian A's 4:3 Sexy FC
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Youtube or Youku
Pizazz and profligacy were the orders of the day for the Barbarians this Saturday as they returned to their favoured SiDe Park stomping ground to claim another well-deserved three points.
Whilst the scoreline hints at a tense affair, in reality the Barbarians were well in control for almost all of the ninety minutes and will be kicking themselves (rather than others, for a change) that they didn't put a significantly higher number of goals past considerably weaker opposition,
Starting in the same vein of good form as they had against Russia United two weeks previously, another blistering opening thirty minutes saw the Barbarians race into a 3-0 lead.
The first goal came after some sublime sorcery from Colum Curtis down the right hand side and a perfect cross onto (late addition to the squad) Rob Skupien's handsome bonce. 1-0.
Shortly thereafter, and following another passage of 'liquid football' from the Barbarians, belying their name and contravening every one of their core principles*, Dawson gathered a loose ball just outside the area, beat an opponent and stopped. He waited, ostensibly looking up to assess his options but in reality gripped by the kind of sensation that can only be known by a rabbit caught in the glare of onrushing headlights. Three to four seconds later his right leg twitched and fortuitously stroked the ball in an elegant arc ending just inside the far post. 2-0 and scenes of jubilation on the sidelines.
Some minute later the Belfast Bullet Colum Curtis raced through the centre and calmly slotted home to cap off the period of Barbarian domination that had followed Skupien's goal, but three goals was not a fair reflection of the sheer number of chances that the Whites had amassed and squandered during that time. Oblivious to the potentially disastrous consequences this wastefulness could have later in the game, the watching pack were delirious on the sidelines: 3-0.
After falling three behind, Sexy got ugly.
As the flow of the game was disrupted by a number of niggly fouls and a couple of blatant assaults, the Barbars lost a little of their swagger and their opposition grabbed a lifeline through a controversially awarded penalty which squirmed under stand-in goalkeeper Carlos Muniz's outstretched right hand just before half time, leaving Barbarians up 3-1 at the interval.
Knowing that all they had to do was to play as they had done in the first thirty minutes to ensure victory the Barbarians resumed after the break in bold fashion, but for all their endeavour they just could not find the back of the net, spurning numerous chances and hitting the post twice in the half's early stages.
After 65 minutes the pressure paid off as Colum Curtis unleashed a lambent, majestic, soaring, scorching, thunderbastard of a 25-yard free kick (the likes of which hadn't been seen by Barbarians fans, or indeed the football world, since Dan Schmeeckle's 40 yard outside-of-the-foot monster from the 13/14 season) which smacked the back of the net harder than (insert simile clean enough for the public domain and which doesn't libel anyone here- I'm at a loss).
Something about Morgan in a dungeon.
Although this probably already reads like one of the least impartial match reports in recent memory (assuming you haven't read any of the other match reports on beijingbarbarians.com), that Sexy's second goal came from an egregiously misjudged offside call is an objective fact. Racing clear from a position, well, already fifteen yards clear of the defence Sexy's troublesomely talented twenty, who had been expertly subdued by messrs. Bradbury and Blackburn all afternoon to that point, coolly placed the ball beyond Muniz's desperate dive. 4-2.
Yet more glaring misses (some of the misses more ugly than a Morgan Grice bicycle kick) and broken play followed the game's sixth goal, and following the dismissal of one of the Sexy players for a reckless lunge (whereafter one fan, sorry, IFFC Official stormed the field, apoplectic with rage and demanding that the card be rescinded), the Barbarians inexplicably allowed Sexy FC to draw closer and to within sight of an upset that would have sent tremors through the division. A loose ball insufficiently dealt with in midfield left the centre backs badly exposed and a lucky bounce allowed Sexy's number twenty the opportunity to break down the left; following his surge into the area and a precise ball across the face of the goal allowed his teammate to smash home. 4-3 with eight minutes to go.
The shock of conceding a third goal and having seen such a seemingly comfortable position transformed into one so precarious so quickly was enough to shock the Barbarians back to life as it were, and they saw out the remainder of the game in relative comfort. In spite of this, on the final whistle, their relief was palpable, and their resolve to ensure that they put games like this out of sight in future was absolute.
Next up for the Barbarians: Beijing Tobacco on April 9th. Let's Smash 'Em.
*(Barbarians' core principles: 1. Defend 2. Defend 3. Defend 4. When faced with the opportunity to attack, defend 5. Defend some more)
MOTM: Colum Curtis
Honourable Mentions: Nick Beswick (solid), Alyas (broke the nine goal promise, but formidable up front in the first half. We'll miss you), Murchik (just a king), Carlos (great keeping, thanks for stepping up to cover)
Donkey Award: Carlos Muniz (2.30am penalty demand text)
Shampagne Moment: Alastair Dawson finesse shot (I do write these things, let me have this one)
The Numbers Game:
- 0 Members of the associated press in attendance
- 789000 members of the associated press who wish they'd attended
- 1 (confirmed) Gideon watch- it was a slow week
- 1 Jokes about Morgan in a dungeon contributed to this report by Catherine (thanks!)
- 1 Games this season before which Buzz has lived like a monk
- 4 Barbarians games so far this season decided by only one goal
- 7.9847 seconds Time in seconds between Dawson looking up and Dawson shooting
- 15 High pitched girly squeals emitted by an anonymous Barbarian when he realised Rob Skupien would be playing
- 73 Estimated number of beers consumed by Morgan and Chris during the match
- 7.3 Actual number of beers consumed by Morgan and Chris- fatherhood has weakened them
- Unanimous Yes, this isn't a number, but this was the result of the vote in favour of micing Lianne up for the next Barbarians game.