After only one point in the first two games of the season the heat was on for the Vikings Vets team and, in particular, for the Vets coaching duo. The Vikings managed to field a 16 man strong team for the game against ANZA:
Starting lineup (4-4-2):
Kim – Just – Hansen – Hax
Nagel – Crouch – Tue – Madsen
Michael – John
As the game started ANZA was in immediate control of the game and already within the first ten minutes managed to push the Vikings back into the trenches. The Vikings did well to defend the goal but every single clearing of the ball ended up at the feet of an ANZA player who started yet another attack. The best chance for the Vikings came after a Hax rush, a back heel pass, and Tue trying to bend the ball in from outside the box… but wide.
ANZA was the more aggressive side and only a few last moment defensive actions prevented dangerous shots on goal. The tackle from Just, just in time, was quality! However, just before the half time whistle ANZA managed to take the lead from a corner kick. Some passive Viking defending allowed the ball to fly in between two defenders and the ANZA player attacked the ball and nicely headed it in to give his side the lead.
After a half time pep talk the Vikings were ready to fight for that equalizer but instead a defensive error lead to the 2-0 goal for ANZA. While some teams would lose confidence and get bashed for the remainder of the game it is different for the Vikings Vets. The Vikings religiously believe in the cliché that a “2-0 lead is the worst lead”. In addition, the Vikings do like it best to come from behind. However, ANZA showed absolutely no complacency and kept fighting relentlessly.
The Vikings kept pushing to reduce the deficit and a few good deep runs looked to drain the power out of the ANZA defense. With approximately 30 minutes to go the tables appeared to have turned. It was now the Vikings looking stronger and the reward came when Dragon volleyed in the ball from outside the box. The Viking energy received yet another boost when Michael skillfully controlled the ball, beat his marker, and with a neat finish drew the game 2-2.
President Rafa smelled blood and with a four man sub move added fresh’ish leg power to the pitch. ANZA was now the team under pressure and had to defend against the blood thirsty Vikings. Crouch had found his way over on the left wing and with a cross to the back post found target man John. With a narrow angle hardly allowing for a good chance John headed the ball back into the small box where Hax headed in the 2-3 lead.
Shortly after the goal the Vikings gifted ANZA with another defensive error but amazingly the shot went just wide. The table, once again, had turned and now the Vikings were struggling to keep the ANZA players at bay. Through the middle, over the wings, there was pressure everywhere, but the high pressure inevitably opens up for opportunities in the back. The Vikings won a questionable throw in and the solid ANZA defender could not keep his cool, which resulted in an unfortunate but fair red card. With only ten men ANZA kept pushing but exposed in the back they got punished by a Viking counter attack. Dragon powered through and unselfishly passed the ball to John for the tap in to give the Vikings the fourth. The game ended 2-4.
It was truly a great game against a great opponent. If ANZA had managed to bring just one ore two more subs the result could have looked different. We look very much forward to the next encounter.
Also thanks to the ref for staying in control of the game and the 22 middle aged men, well just 21 in the end.