FC 180 (0) 1 - 2 (1) Deh FC
Out in the wilds of Hiroshima state is the Monomomichi park, a not too enjoyable 2 hour drive just to play a game of football. It wasn't even a grass pitch. My memory is somewhat clouded by age, alcohol and the natural onset of mild dementia, but I am pretty sure this is towards the longer times and miles driven just to get to a football ground. The park itself is pleasant enough, some squeaky babbling brooks and a couple of dirt football pitches. There are other facilities including in winter a mountain to ski down, but maybe that discovery is for another time.
The new season brought a new captain, our regular right back of the last couple of years - Yuiji, some new and increasingly whisker free faces of our new players, a manageress, who by the looks of it seemed rather cosy with last year's skipper and regular keeper and of course the long discussed new Deh shirts. It is pleasing to report that all the new facets of team contributed to a healthy, combative and indeed skillful 2-1 victory to start our championship challenge / relegation avoidance with 3 well deserved points.
Jaime was the only gaijin playing, Dan being imprisoned at work, Dave recuperating and the 'keen' Deh teacher Darren, despite sending more than 30 texts over the week, failing to turn up nor offer any excuse for his absence. It is the second time he has not turned up, so twice bitten and the rest. It would, I also conclude, rather some up the man's character, and upon this evaluation he has been found desperately wanting of real substance. A lucky escape for the team.
FC 180's kit looked familiar and some of their players also looked as though we had been previously acquainted. As they were the home team and also played in blue, our new sponsored kit was regrettably covered by our new "away" kit of orange bibs. If I can say so myself, that was an inspired decision by the purchaser to order some bibs with the spare change left over from our initial shirt order. There was some amusing moments as some of the shorter team members complained that the bibs resembled "one-piece" dresses. Several rather amusing, if slightly cruel, comments were made that shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent.
Deh started the brighter and the midfield was especially dominant in the opening 20 minutes. only one goal was scored, by the "old man" of the team, Jaime. Using his honed panther like pounce he intercepted a lazy cross penalty box pass, controlled the ball with his left foot held off the defender and with one swing of the right boot (mishit) the ball into the back of the net from 25 yards. The keeper was out of position, but still I would like to believe that the accuracy of the placement of the shot would still have beaten him from any angle.
A good start and personally it is nice to open your account early in a new season, especially as a striker. Some of the younger players (maybe more in disbelief) were impressed by Jaime's link play and Deh had chances to settle the game with a second, including a beautiful 12 pass move than resulted in the shot just glancing the outside of the post and wouldn't have looked out of place in team wearing gold and green shirts (not Australia!)
Jaime was quite happy to substitute himself at HT for more younger legs, in total Deh brought 14 players and with the heat and ageing legs a HT blow was happily accommodating, like a Parisian brothel in the first Summer of Love (1900 for you uneducated out there).
Our manageress, apart from shouting the odd encouragement and holding the team sheet didn't exert herself too much, although one promising note to tell is her willingness to give players' legs a rub down to help rejuvenate those weary limbs. I am all for encouraging that.
The 2nd half was a much closer affair than the 1st, FC 180 equalising through some sloppy defending early in the half. Spirits were not low for long as the goal seemed to act as a spur for DEH and the pressure dial was turned higher as they pushed for another goal to restore their lead. We didn't have to wait too long, a corner from the left went to the back post and a skillfully executed low header restored the lead. As expected, FC 180 pushed hard for the equaliser and in truth their 2nd half performance deserved more reward. The last 5 minutes was back to the walls stuff, but Deh held on for their first victory of the campaign. The next landmark is 8pts which should guarantee avoidance of relegation....