FC Irlande Vets 2
Vets2 lost 4-0 to one of the top 2 teams in the league. Opposition was fast and skilfull up front and scored 2 quick goals. We played a big part of the 2nd half with 10 men as Patrick got injured and conceded 2 more goals. Still we played some good football at times which we should build on next week.
In order to explain whats happening on the pitch on some occasions it can come in handy to go back into history: In the long-lasting rivalry between England and Ireland there have been 16 official international games between these two teams.
For those who love statistics, please guess: Out of those 16, how many did Ireland win? Half? Not really. A quarter? Not quite. Now you may feel irritated and may say: “What the heck you say, then just tell me!” Well, all in all there have been 2 victories. One in 1948 as part of a friendly game in Liverpool and one in 1988 in Germany during the Eurocup. All other games were draws (9) and losses (5).
Having this in mind it doesnt come as a huge surprise that also today at the home grounds of the British, the 4 teams of FC Irelande didnt manage to pull off a victory. Nevertheless, next to two losses there were also two draws and Vets2 can happily claim having achieved one of them!
On a sunny day, on a shitty pitch in a reasonable condition, El capitano Oscar announced a fast-aging….sorry…fast-paced squad which looked like this:
Neil – Luuk – Terry – Damian
Bart – Joris
Alan – Pascal – Jörg
Completed by the fresh blood (if this can be said about Vets) of Matt, Niall and Jacob on the bench. Oscar gave the – by now already- traditional speech about intensityyyyy and off we went.
After a short sluggish start, we quickly gained control of the game and kept the British under pressure for most of the first half. Playing out of a solid defense and center midfield we operated with mostly long passes from Bart, Damian and others to Oscar. That way we created several half chances, one of them by Jörg whose volley shot was blocked last minute by a defender.
For more and clearer chances however, our passing and standards were not precise enough. Luckily, only in a few counter attacks the opponent managed to sneak through. But fortunately there was Laurent who didnt leave any doubt that he wanted to keep the 2nd clean sheet in a row this year.
Second half saw Matt, Niall and Jacob coming on for Terry, Damian and Alan. Now the Brits were increasing pressure and it was us struggling to get out of our own half. Single attempts from Neil who almost dribbled across the whole pitch or Joris who ran out power last minute when shooting on goal were the few offensive highlights presented by the Irish. With good fighting spirit we tried to withstand the pressure but it was again Laurent who saved us a couple of times with his good anticipation. Once it was even the cross bar that had to help.
Finally in the last 10 minutes we got the second wind with Niall and Luuk pushing hard in the center. Suddenly we saw Jacob placing a beautiful header on the bar after a corner kick. In the last minute Pascalito made a nice move in the box and his shot almost went in. But it wasn’t meant to be and in the end the draw reflected the balanced match quite well.
And here football history kicks in again: Vets2 have now been drawing 0:0 for the second time in a row against the Brits. And guess what: Since that victory of the Irish in the Eurocup 1988, all further games against England have also ended in draws. Therefore it’s fair to say that we absolutely respect traditions and habits in this team!
There is just one single difference between us and the Irish National team: Our score this year stands at +8 goals and unbeaten. To be continued next week!
FC Irlande 6 vs AEMA
While wise people around the world were asking deep, intelligent questions such as “is 2020 the first or the last year of a decade?” or “what has Greta Thunberg had for breakfast?”, on the first football Saturday of the new year Vets2 had a more futile question they needed to answer: could they dig themselves out of the hole they had made for themselves in the last performances before the new year?
In order to answer the question, 14 Christmas-damaged bodies gathered in Nossegem to face AEMA in a bottom-of-the-table clash. The captain tried to give a few encouraging words which were heard by the team with the usual attention level. Starting line-up was Laurent in goals; Pietro, Luuk, Niall and Neil in defense; Alan, Matt, Joris and Antonio in midfield and Pascal and Oscar up front. This left Bart, Patrick and Jacob on the sideline. Additionally, 3 Vets2 players (Damo, Terry and Jörg) were on loan with Vets1.
From the start opposition looked weak, very weak. But of course that has never stopped us from playing badly, so there was a certain level of nervousness. We were having chances, but no goals, though opposition were hardly coming into our half. Until finally goals started to come: first Pascal, then Oscar (from a corner, just to show what an auspicious day it was) and then Joris. We did give the opposition a couple of chances so that Laurent could show off his skills, but nothing too serious, and then the referee whistled half-time with a score of 3-0.
During the break, everyone agreed that we were dominating the game, but that we had to finish it off because it was well within Vets2’s power to yet screw it up. Patrick, Bart and Jacob came on for Neil, Luuk and Pascal and the 2nd half started.
We were playing with the wind in our back and the opposition looked even weaker than in the first half. Our defense (and our keeper) spent most of the half as spectators, watching things from the halfway line. Our dominance translated into 5 more goals (1 each from Alan and Joris and 3 by Oscar) before the end of the game. And it could have been more, as we hit the woodwork four times and they had a good keeper, who made some extraordinary saves.
Final score was 8-0, which might be the best score in Vets2 history (historians should confirm this). What a way to start the year! Plenty of happy faces in the bar afterwards, though there were some complaints that opposition was too weak (you just can’t make everyone happy, right?). So, coming back to the initial question: did Vets2 dig themselves out of the hole? Well, it was a healing performance alright, and it is probably to early too tell, but there were many positives to be taken from the game, so let’s say we are on the way out (and up)…
For the last match of the season, Oscar asked me to write the match report. “What for? did I say. We all know what’s happened today!”
But it looks that this tradition is important, especially for the players who want to get a souvenir of their feats to explain to their grandchildren their heroic time when they were vets 2.
So, after a hard selection of only 12 players (new habitude by the way), Oscar was able to make a team:
Matt – Luuk – Laurent – Pietro
Jörg – Terry – Damo (finally on time) – Antonio
Oscar – Alan
As you can see, Bart, Pascal and Patrick were not here; just a scientific proof that an hemoroide attack can be contagious…
But something started wrong before the match (and during the match too…): Luuk decided to manage a team warning-up (…) Then, a half of the team, by excess of politeness, accept to follow him.
The other half was testing the Norwegian technic: “Stroh”. After a personal comparative test, I can say that both of them are unefficient!
Now, let’s talk about the second half! During 20 minutes, Vets 2 showed that FC Irlande can play a fancy football. First goal for Oscar who had to shoot (and score) twice a penalty.
After that, an amazing shoot (25m) from Pietro which gave no chance to the keeper. A kick in an impossible angle from Luuk (sexy despite an ugly shirt).
And then, a 2019-2020 season tradition: a goal from Alan “hoops I forget my sweat” Norton (with the head).
If I had more time, I would talk about the shoot of Antonio V on the bar, the solid defense on Antonio N, the uncountable rushes of Jörg on the right side…
Then, what else to say about this match? Nothing!
Our MOTM was, of course, Antonio V who played every position during the match because he was everywhere.
The only deception of the day was in the bar: Ken complained that he has to drink an “Hipster beer” offered by Laurent… and the nostalgia to realize that it was our last football match in 2019…
(Maybe not for people who will play with Gregor the 28th of December!).
After that, the bravest players went to the great social event: Christmas dinner… and the most sober ones get back home before 5am…
So, to all the Lads, thanks for this permanent fun with you and see you in 2020. But before that: Merry Christmas and Happy new year!!!
Last Saturday, FCI Vets 2 travelled to the home pitch of Jettoise Amicale, a team just above us in the ranking but one that turned out to be a much better side than their ranking indicated. Missing several regulars but welcoming Jeff (visiting from somewhere) and the new signing David, Vets 2 lined up as follows:
Damo (yes, Damo!)
Luuk Jeff Terry Neill
Matt Joris Pascal Antonio
The game started rather uneventful with the opposition taking the initiative without creating much. We didn’t create much either. Some through balls from the midfield (including a very nice one by Pascal) did not reach the attackers (who did a great job tracking back when the opposition had possession) to create much danger. That is until Neill recovered the ball on the right back position (not sure what he was doing there as he played left back), fed it to Joris who passed to Matt who has alone on his left wing. Matt crossed it to Alan who, despite having scored twice recently and being through alone on goal, considered it safer to pass it to Joris who had followed from midfield. Luckily, Alan gave the pass in such a way that it was essentially unmissable so 1-0 it was, despite claims from the opposition of offside.
This was the sign for Jettoise Amicale to step up the pace and it didn’t take long before they started to create danger. Damo stopped a well-taken free kick and Luuk, Jeff, Terry and Neil had to make some last second tackles. Thirty seconds before the end of the first half, however, their right winger moved into the middle with some nice dribbles and then finished off with a shot in the top corner that Damo got a hand to but was unable to stop. 1-1 at half time.
Second half saw Oscar coming up for Alan (and later in the half Jakob for Matt) but having seen Ken drinking Leffe next to the pitch must have confused the Irish. The opponents were all over us with their skillful midfield and attackers bossing us around, especially when their central defender or right back moved into the midfield to create extra numbers. It didn’t take long before the opponents scored a second one on a free kick (our guys defending the line and forgetting to follow their men at the far post) and from then on it was basically game over. Despite moving Pascal up to support Oscar, we did not create any chances and, instead, let in another two.
Overall a rather disappointing performance against a team that was better than us and deserved the win. On a more positive note, at least we lost against 11 (last year we lost against ten) and there were not foul throws from our end.
MOTM was Damo for a good performance in goal.
On a cold but not icy Saturday afternoon, Irlande 6 faced Chenois, a frequent customer in the Abssa fixtures. On a game of two halves, the opposition scored the only goal in the first, and both teams scored in the second. Great all around performance, honestly. Speaking of performances:
Having missed last week’s unbelievable 2-2 draw at Le Clan, the undefeated league leaders, I was expecting us to take it on today, and start climbing the table with some more wins. Lovely sunny day as we watched some of the first XI in action (who never really got going during the 20 minutes or so I’d watched). Before the game, I had been warned about their “Brazilian striker”, so I was really expecting the run around. So to the game, the lads set up 442, Laurent “c’est moi le patron” (fresh from his heroics last weekend) Damien, Luuk, Niall, Pietro, Antonio, Bart, Pascal, Matt, Oscar and Alan (who I swear was at least two inches tall today than he was a few weeks back) Jorge and Patrick on the bench, while Ken (must have arrived late) turned up with supplies. We had been warned about their “Brazilian striker”, so I was really expecting the run around (just another Saturday I thought to myself).
You can imagine my surprise when the Brazilian seemed to be absent and I found myself marking Lurch from the Addams Family (at least 2 metres tall). He was mobile, good in the air and had a touch of a much shorter man … ran me ragged for the first few encounters. They are a decent team to be fair, they transition very well and that was the real difference in the two sides throughout the match. We did, early on, move the ball around well at the back with Damien seeing some ball and using it well up to Antonino and on to Alan. We had our nervy moments in defence too as they liked to get the ball up to Lurch and play off him (I was playing my own game of trying to kick him, any chance I got).
Their left winger stayed out wide in behind the defence about 10 metres offside all the first half. Pietro had his number. Matt kept wide on the right wing and gave us a lot of space to play to, Bart was solid at the base of the diamond, but poor Pascal and Oscar just seemed to be in the wrong place all the time (now a more astute journalist might dare to say – our overall passing was shocking today, we kept just under hitting them, passing them a metre to the left or right) no matter where they ran, we hardly gave them a decent pass all day. Luuk at the back was solid with some runs out and found teammates in advanced positions a couple of times.
This is where I should mention the referee, he was excellent, we don’t get referees who play advantage, but this guy did and I would have given him 10/10, but he adjudged Pietro to have fouled their winger when to all of us, it should have been our free, and yes you guessed it, they took the free kick to the front post (while I swung out of “tower” I was marking on the penalty spot) and a glancing header on the front post beat us all. Probably deserved, but it didn’t feel like it, right on the interval.
Changes at the break Damien and Matt made way for Patrick and Jorge. We had the winter sun in our eyes second half and I was relieved that they had taken off my nemesis, “the leaning tower of Addams notoriety” so 1 down didn’t seem so bad. But it wasn’t to be, our passing didn’t improve, they continued to the simple things better than us, and the blasted left winger, out wide on the left, squared me up on the half way line and did me for direction, cutting inside and leaving me sitting on my ass, clutching my hammy. By the time I’d realised what had happened he ran on and a goal was scored (I missed it all as I cursed my luck, my thigh and my penchant of chocolate).
It was more of the same, we struggled trying to get back into it. They had some chances but they were, in the collective, just 5% more at it than we were today. We saved our pressure and passing for the last 7 minutes, when we ran them ragged once “le patron” came out from between the sticks, being replaced by me and my hammy. We got the ball up and kept it in and around their box, with some nice flashes by Jorge. My final mention goes to their keeper, who was under tested today, but threw himself into an agile full stretch save to his left to deny the skipper Oscar from halving the deficit near the end.
And really finally ….. If you ever need a pep talk I probably got the Quote of the afternoon “just listen to me and do everything I say and you’ll be okay” Luuk.
Niall & his hammy
Nossegem was all abuzz, some great results from all teams in. Vets next to hopefully continue the trend. Vets 2 welcomed top of the table opponents : le clan. Somehow, We were unfazed and fairly mellow in the changing room. We were wondering if we’d decided to turn up today as we are a team that blows hot and cold. From the outset, Oscar opted for a 4 4 2 option. Team Ireland:LaurentPietro Luuk Terry NeilPatrick Pascal Bart Antonio VAlan OscarSubs Damien, Antonio N.Delegue: Ken with Paddy who came to cheer us on.After a briefish warm up, The ref suddenly appeared and summoned us with great efficiency. The game began spritely. Terry had to unfortunately come off with a strain (too much handball the previous evening allegedly). Myself, came on and slotted into CM. Le clan were pinging it about and had a couple of long range efforts. Nothing too dramatic to be fair – Laurent had no large concern. Ireland were imposing themselves well. Passing was good. Tackles (both legitimate and less so) were being made and there was a clear intensity. Ireland were chasing and harrying well. Clan were for sure unsettled but probably had the edge. Then with a move down the left, Alan got onto a tasty ball from Antonio, picked his spot. Bam 1.0 to us. Le clan were not happy at all. They started to cry and winge to the ref. It was really hilarious to watch their handbags.We continued to play well and they did their best to counter and finally, via a corner, they equalised. Not much to say other than they had very tall chaps (at least 3. One guy in particular seemed like the love child of Peter Crouch and a Fir tree) and it was never gonna be easy to pick them all up, or stop them without causing a penalty. Half time all square. All positive team talk.. Then Oscar/Pascal burst our balloon that we’d been playing again ten men for the 1st half and their 11th rocked up. Without understating the point, We knew then we’d have to maintain and increase our efforts for the remainder of the game.Second half begun in a similar vein. Both teams going close. Antonio N came on for Patrick and acquitted himself with aplomb. We continued to hold our own and do very well. Some chances coming at both ends that could have ended up in the net. Then, And slightly against the run of play, Alan was through and dispatched a well taken shot round the keeper. 2 – 1 to us. They were big time rattled and none too happy. They continued to bitch to the ref and feel aggrieved at us. All of a sudden, perhaps we could have done a bit better, but to be honest it was nice skill, their striker scored a peach. Laurent tried to get a handle on it but it was well placed. 2 -2 and Ireland were a bit rattled, but we didn’t stop. We ran and pressed. Quite suddenly, Their number nine got sent off for an off the ball incident.Ireland now were pressing for a winner. But then, Through a move down the right by their captain and the winger – a tackle or two was made. The captain went down (or dived) in the penalty box and they, rather contentiously, got a penalty. Putting it mildly, Bart and a couple of others were highly vexed at the unjust nature of the decision and let it be known to the referee in no uncertain terms. The clock was ticking, their guy stepped up and whacked it low into the left hand corner. Laurent athletically got two hands on it and we all breathed a sigh of relief. 2-2 was the final result. Ken brought us beers in the changing room and the usual shower frolics ensued. Man of the match Alan for a splendid days work. Special mention to Laurent for the great performance between the sticks and the defence for digging in and making it difficult for the opposition.Well done to Vets 1 and Happy birthday to David, thanks for the tasty tortilla companero. Not to mention the damn fine pickled Spanish peppers (thanks Cathel Gomez).
Higgins – FC Irlande Vets2
There are at least 2 known theories around the importance of training in Vets2. The Norseman Ken has a theory that old folks tend to get injured during training, so it’s something that we should try to avoid. Bart has a more sensible and rational theory that training improves skills and stamina, and is highly preferable.
Most people would agree with the latter, because most people are not silly.
Having mentioned this, it was interesting to note that Vets2 were the visitor team at the grounds where they normally are training. Yes, the game was at Auderghem football complex. A place the ones who actually do train know very well, for Ken and some others this was one more exciting visit to the hidden buvette treasures in ABSSA land.
Playing a game where you normally train could be either a good thing because it would be on a pitch that we know and with known surroundings, or it could be a bad thing because we could fooled to think it was just a training. And if anyone has ever seen a FC Irlande Vets training, it is a worrying thought.
If you don’t train regularly, none of this matters anyway.
[Edit, added after the game]
All Saints holiday has been a source for captain’s very hair growth for many seasons, and there was a lot of backroom work done just to have 2 teams for this Saturday. But Oscar and Gregor worked wonders and as the sun rose it turned out we had 2 decent squads, we should be competing for those pesky points!
Vets2 had a couple of players back from injury, and the ever sporty and supporting help of Paddy Mac, who lined up as sub for the occasion.
Eventually the lineup was as follows, in a 4-4-fucking-2 formation:
Laurent, Niall, Luuk, Pietro
Patrick, Terry, Bart, Antonio V
The game was a typical ABSSA Div 6E affair, with a lot of grit and effort and a whole lot less skill and finesse. As always the greatest attacking weapon of the opponent was the ever present probability that a player in green would forget what the game was even about, and would serve their ex-provincial futsal starlet striker a scoring chance on a platter. Sometimes they miss, sometimes they score. It did help the matter that the said futsal starlet was not playing, so it was a more evenly not-too-crap-not-too-great team facing us.
Oscar scored a hat-trick, and the goals were of different character. One was an excellent converted one on one with the keeper, one was a well timed pickup of a loose ball after Alan was fouled by the keeper, and one was a true poacher’s goal when their goalie fumbled a catch from a corner. The opponents scored 3 as well, one from a free just on the edge of the box, and 2 came from the push they put in early in second half.
All in all we can’t fault the effort from the Irish, they seem to begin to grasp the “defend like Irish, attack like Spanish” mantra that Oscar has been repeating the last few weeks. Sometimes though, we get it the other way around and things are more like “defend like Luxembourg, attack like Lichtenstein”.
MOTM was Oscar, not even Vets2 can overlook a hat trick.
The referee overlooked a stonewall penalty for Oscar. Not the first time unfortunately. It’s almost as if… oh, never mind.
Reporter: Ken H
Captain Oscar’s pre-match speech focused on intensity and everybody being switched on from the start. We all took careful note.
We lined up as follows, front to back:
Pascal Terry Pietro
Neil Alan Marko Patrick
Sub: Ken M
An unfamiliar looking back four took to the field with a clear plan: Alan stays free, the other defenders mark a man and stay in front of Alan. This is not what happened. After about 30 seconds we were 1 – 0 down. ITT played a simple ball into their unmarked centre forward. Another un-marked and un-followed player ran through. Alan dithered unsure whether to go to the payer with the ball or follow the runner, in the end doing neither (he should have followed the runner). The runner ran past Alan which should have taken him into an off-side position but didn’t because the Irlande defenders were not holding a line. A simple through ball to the on-side, unmarked runner, a ridiculously easy goal.
There followed a period of unrelenting pressure, attack after attack. The defense did their best to get organised but were getting beaten in one-on ones and rarely holding a line. Screams to move up seemed sometimes to be ignored (or perhaps we just weren’t switched on. Where was that intensity Oscar was talking about?). Too often Irish players in defense and midfield were not finding anyone to mark. It wasn’t just the back four though. The whole team wasn’t defending. The whole team wasn’t putting sufficient pressure on the ball carriers. The whole team were unable to keep the ball, hence we were under constant pressure. The pressure told when ITT scored relatively easily from a corner (defending corners is not our forté).
Oscar made a few changes at the back, bringing in the experience and composure of Terry to sweep. ITT tried the same tactic over and over, spraying balls from their midfield playmaker in behind our full backs. Mostly Irlande snuffed out these attacks, but they kept on coming. Eventually the inevitable happened and we cracked again.
A dejected Irlande went into half time 3 – 0 down.
Oscar made a few changes. Ken M came on for Marko. Alan moved to left wing. The second half was more balanced than the first, even if we did concede another 3 goals, we also scored two and created many attacks. ITT outplayed us at times with sharp one-touch pass and go moves through the middle (and a few times we made it easier for them by passing them the ball!). Once again we conceded from a corner, an awkward ball dropping towards the back post, neither Neil nor Alan quite managing to reach it, but Alan should have dealt with it. It looked to be going out over the goal line, but an ITT player managed to pull it back into the centre where their centre forward only needed to tap it into an empty net but instead sent it crashing off the crossbar; it bounced and then landed kindly for an ITT player who put his arms up in celebration before nodding it into the net. They scored another two goals too, this reporter doesn’t remember much about them except a feeling of numbness.
However there were positives in the 2nd half. There were even times that we showed we could play a bit. Ken’s M’s acceleration at the back and his ability to telescopically extend his leg and win the ball in tackles got us out of trouble of few times. Ken H bravely got his body in the way a few times as well and exchanged some cheeky passes with Neil (lobbing the defenders). Elsewhere, we competed for the ball, put pressure on the opposition. We started attacking them rather than just desperately defending all the time. We started moving off the ball to support attacks, create space and offer options to the player on the ball. One attack started when Bart won the ball in front of our back four. Matt made a good run, Bart slipped a lovely through ball into his path, Matt’s first touch carried him away from his marker, a few more strides and he was in the danger area with only the keeper to beat. Matt ignored the shouts to “take your point” because he didn’t understand the Irish reference and instead calmly steered the ball towards the top corner. The keeper who had looked a bit shaky at times pulled off a decent save. Irlande finally scored about 15 minutes into the second half. A move which started from the back, then down the right wing involving Patrick and Pietro. Pietro centred to Oscar. Neil came charging up from left back (into the space vacated by Alan who had switched to the other wing in the hope of getting the ball off Pietro). Oscar spotted the run and slipped the ball into Neil’s path. Neil didn’t break his stride, charged on into the box, slipping past a defender, and ended the move with a sublime flick way over the keepers head and then dipping just under the bar in the top right corner. A great run and a great finish. Neil was very modestly downbeat about his (first?) goal, muttering that it had come too late, but it gave the team a lift. 10 minutes later we did it again. The move started when we stole the ball in midfield, then played it across the back and down the right, again through Patrick and Pietro. Oscar made himself available down the line, Alan trotted over from the other wing, Pietro spotted he was unmarked and gave him a nice ball to his feet. Matt once again made a good run through the middle calling for the ball, Alan played it across, Matt’s way to goal was blocked but Terry had found a pocket of space and Matt got the ball to him. Terry slipped the ball through the defenders legs to Pascal on the corner of the box. Pascal is lethal from that range and he didn’t disappoint; easily beating the keeper. It shows what we can do. Pressure on the ball carriers. Movement off the ball to give options. Simple passes. Switching the ball from one side to the other. When we lose the ball we need to instantly run back into position behind the ball and/or pressure the guy with the ball to force a mistake. When we win the ball we need to instantly switch modes, run into space, lose our markers, give options to the guy on the ball. This involves running around and not just standing watching, this means we have to be fit, but the good news is we can all improve our fitness!
Final score: ITT 6 – 2 Irlande
Supporter of the match was Jacob, who arrived with a tray of beers into the dressing room. No surprises for the Man of the match votes in the October sun: runner up was Bart for another good shift in midfield, but once again Neil had to buy the beers for a great fighting performance, especially in the second half , and a wonderful goal.
FC Irlande VETS II 3 : 3 Chenois (Esper)
Chenois was a new acquaintance for VETS II. It turned out to be good team with skilled players able to move the ball around between them. So, in first half attacking “up the slope”, we had to compensate by falling back on an Irish virtue: Running more than the opponent – as unlikely as it sounds for VETS II. Oscar’s rallying cry “Intensity! More intensity!” kept rolling in from the side line and everyone, but especially the defensive mid field and the defense, put in a good effort.
The best attack came midway through the first half with Pietro breaking through on the right side, pulling the ball back to Jacob, who scuffed his shot from just inside the penalty area. Damo standing on the edge of the six yard box couldn’t move his feet quickly enough to direct the ball at goal, but managed to retrieve it from the left side and put it back in the box. It didn’t fall for one of ours, but we managed to block the clearing, again without the ball falling in front of Irish feet. This happened twice more before Chenois finally managed to hoof it away, and the “pinball-attack” ended without result.
As often happens, the opposition then takes their opportunity. Their nimble forward managed to strike twice with good shots, and so at half time we were down with 0 – 2. It felt un-deserved.
But 2 – 0 is a dangerous lead, and playing “down the slope” in second half with Oscar on the pitch and the wind (there was no sun) in our back, things started to happen. More long balls and more running. The opponent started to look tired. In short, we were on top.
Damo received the ball on left and made a good cross to the center, where Matt got his head to it. The goalie parried it, giving Oscar a relatively easy follow-up ball to score on. 1 – 2. Not long after in another dash forward, Pascal sent the ball in the bottom left corner with a very good strike from the edge of the penalty area. 2 – 2. We were definitely in control.
The opponents, however, pulled themselves together and started to come back into the game. Their attacks again became dangerous. One of them took a great shot from the edge of the penalty area, and it was suddenly 2 – 3. Very disappointing for us, having played so well in the second half.
Just before the whistle, however, Oscar managed to get a shot off while being between two defenders and the ball flew past the goalie. 3 – 3. Justice was done!
Oscar was man of the match with Neil coming second.
Thanks to Paddy McEneaney for doing a good and fair job refereeing the match.
Match report – 12/10/2019 – Nivelles CS 2 – FC Irlande Vets2
On the outskirts of Nivelles, wedged between a military compound and the watchful towers of an industrial plant of sorts, lies a peach of a synthetic pitch, home to Nivelles CS 2, the day’s opponents.
Driving up the street towards the ground and confronted with a forbidding gate to the compound, one could be forgiven for wondering what dark secrets lie behind it. A few check points with increasing degrees of security perhaps, a drill ground or shooting range, holding cells from which, under the cover of darkness, prisoners in orange overalls, handcuffed and eyes covered with a hood, are frog marched towards the waiting black SUVs with tinted windows and silent guards, to be taken to an airfield nearby, Melsbroek perhaps, from which will begin a final journey to God knows where … .
It’s only when one reaches the gate that the entry to the sports ground, to the left of it, reveals itself. On the pitch, by no means the lush and soft 2nd generation variety to be found at Auderghem, but very decent quality nonetheless, the Fourths were showing the way, defending well and hitting the opposition on the break. The Fourths were one up when the members of Vets2 went to change and would run out 3-0 winners in the end. Well done indeed !
The dressing rooms were sparse and tiny but rather cosy, the weather perfect for a game of football. The buoyant pre-game mood was marred somewhat when it became clear the team’s leading goal scorer, Pascal, was ruled out with an injury and would have to settle for a cameo as an emergency sub. Pascal’s finishing skills and composure on the ball were to be very sadly missed indeed.
Patrick – Niall – Terry – Neil
Bart – Joris
Alan – Jacob – Alex
Subs: Matt, Pietro and Pascal
Now the trick in any discussion is to move the elephant out of the room immediately. Yes, the opposition fielded only ten players. Oscar wisely kept that tidbit of information out of the pre-game chat, sensing that a team which has been known to start games rather lethargically may not be helped by the knowledge that the opposition are a player short. Also, and more, importantly, football games tend to be won by the number of footballers on a team, not just players. To be fair though, Nivelles managed to compensate for the numerical inferiority so well that some of the Irish came off at half time stating that “these are not all that good”, blissfully unaware, until Oscar broke the news, that the opposition only had ten bodies on the park.
To the question of the day then. Was it all / that bad ?
The opposition fielded only ten men and, according to those on the bench, one of those struggled with an injury throughout the second half, so really it was more like 9.5. The trick, then, is to move the ball around well and make the opposition work hard to retrieve it. Accuracy then is of the essence, but unfortunately the first half saw some very sub-optimal passing indeed from the men in green. True, there are better contenders for understatement of the century, like “Man U are not looking good for the PL title this year” and “Anderlecht have seen better days” but this one will come mighty close nonetheless when the medals are handed out.
Nivelles scored 2 goals and could have added a third but for a fine save or 2 from Laurent because it boasted “that one fine striker” that has become a feature in so many a Vets2 match report, but this particular “one fine striker” – not half as good as some of the “OFSs” Vets2 have faced in recent history – was able to score mainly because of huge errors by the Irish. A defender switching off thinking the ball was rolling out of bounds for the first; bad loss of possession in a critical area for the second. To be fair, both finishes were clinical, another huge difference between both teams on the day.
But this is where the negativity ends. Sure, as Oscar stated after the game, there is a lot of room for improvement, another contender for understatement … but anyway, there is of course. But there are also reasons to be optimistic, hence
Whenever Vets2 brought the ball down and actually started playing football, the opposition came apart and chances came Irlande’s way. It could have been 2-all at half time. Twice an Irlande player came face to face with the Nivelles GK and twice the latter came out victorious. On a third occasion, a brilliant pull-back after a very sweet move indeed found a striker near the penalty spot with only the goal keeper to beat, but the shot went over the cross bar. But all of these chances came after some very good moves by the Irish – helped, not doubt by the numeric inferiority of the opposition, certainly, but still neat moves nonetheless. And the strikers deserve credit for getting into scoring positions, so as far as the creation of chances is concerned, the box can most definitely be checked.
Nivelles scored 2 more in the second half on the break, but the Irish created a host of half and full chances as well. Hug-ER may not be a proper adjective in English but if it was it would definitely be an apt way to compare the chances that were missed in the 2nd half to those that had gone begging before the break. Another brilliant ball across the box saw an Irish forward slotting the ball wide of the goal from close to the edge of the six-yard box with no opponent around and when a neat pass through the center of the Nivelles defense found that same player alone in the box again, the shot sailed over the cross bar again it should really have been at least on target.
On another positive note, the team kept going until the last minute and there were several more fine moves to enjoy. The final score was not a reflection of the game in as much as the Irish were not played off the park by an almighty opponent, but rather helped the opposition to a win through some bad mistakes in the first half and poor finishing throughout. A lot of room for improvement sums it all up pretty well, but there is another truth to behold, gents. One that has been mentioned several times in the park but has not yet really sunk in. It is that one can only say one deserved more from a game so many times, if you do not go out and grab what you think you deserve, you probably do not deserve it at all. This may be stating the obvious, obviously, but there you go…
The buvette was smallish and cosy as the dressing rooms had been and the mood was gloomy until the members of Vets2 were introduced by “connoisseur par excellence” and joint MoTM (with Terry) Laurent to a sweet and pretty, curvy, local blonde by the name of Gertrude who, with no effort whatsoever, brought a smile back to the FC Irlande players’ faces. At 08.15pm on leaving the parking lot, the sky was a few shades darker, but the mood a tat lighter
Up next are Chenois 3 ! Let’s go out there and put in a performance to be proud of gents !
Faubourg-Brainoise – FC Irlande Vets 2
The Irish approached the game against the league leaders, with their 100% record – just like Liverpool – the same way we approach every other game: with that child-like optimism that comes from years of drinking – we literally do not remember how bad we are, because the relevant brain-cells have long been destroyed by ethanol-poisoning. So, in theory, we might win …
And in this case, our optimism was strengthened – among those who do retain some limited short-term memory – by the fact that we were on a run of clean-sheets. Now, let’s be fair, we’ve had many runs of clean sheets before, but usually we were the ones not scoring. This time, our run of games in which we hadn’t scored was only one game long, while our run of games in which we hadn’t conceded was two games long. That’s a lot of maths, I know. For the purposes of this report, the only maths needed is that 2 is bigger than one, even for very large values of one.
In a world in which justice reigned supreme, in which Greta Thunberg rules and Trump cleans toilets with his hair, in which Liverpool won the league last season, in which beer makes you thinner and healthier – in such a hypothetical world, we would have won 2-1 today.
We scored one, and we had a cast-iron penalty for a foul on Oscar which was not given. If we’d scored that, that would have given us two goals. The opposition scored one, and then right at the end they scored a second goal, which they would not have scored if we’d got the penalty, because counting the extra time it would have taken us to take the penalty, the match would have been over.
So, in every sense, a merited 2-1 victory for the Irish, sending shock-waves through Division 6E, some of them strong enough to cause ripples in 6D …
except that we have chosen badly, we’ve chosen to live in a world in which justice depends on the whims of lady luck and the decisions of well-meaning refs who do not have the benefit of VAR – unlike premiership refs who do have VAR but still give dubious last-minute penalties to Liverpool … which explains how:
Liverpool also got a last-minute winner, from a dubious penalty, to win 2-1 and keep their 100% record.
Just like our opposition today got a last-minute winner to win 2-1 and preserve their 100% record.
It’s not the first time that people have noticed the similarities between Abssa Division 6E and the Premiership.
Oh wait, actually it is.
In true Vets spirit, we drowned our sorrows with some beers after the game, and then went to the Vets’ start-of-season dinner, where we drank some beers, and then went to a celebration of our late, great colleague, Warren, and drank some more beers – so by next week we will surely have forgotten the cruel twists of fate which caused us to come out on the wrong end of the 2-1 scoreline, and the only reminder of that fact will be this very match report – but you should ask yourself if you can actually trust a match report written by a Liverpool fan and describing a match which perfectly parallel’s Liverpool’s match a few hours later – wouldn’t it be statistically much more likely that this report, written in the daze of a Sunday morning hangover, results from a confused synthesis of the Liverpool win and the after-effects of 7 Duvels .. in which case, the truth is, we don’t really remember who won our match – maybe we did win, maybe it was a draw.
What I do know for sure is that we played very well. Logically this can always be proven by defining “very well” and “played” appropriately, and morally it just feels right – if I drank this much after the game, it must mean either that we won or that we played very well … or both. Although the fact that Liverpool won with a last-minute penalty could probably also explain that too …
For the ones keeping stats, this was the lineup of the day:
Patrick, Ken M, Luuk, Pietro
Jörg, Damo, Terry, Alex
On the line: Jacob, Neil, Ken H
MOTM: Ken M (USA)
Reporter: Ken H
Actual writer: Denis
FC Irlande v Brussels British
September 28th 2019
Kick off 15:30 (actual 16:00)
After an inspiring team talk by el capitano, the lads were out warming up in preparation for revenge against the Brits – who beat us home and away last year. Unfortunately, the standard 20 minute warm up turned into a 45 minute drenching; going against all exercise science principles for game preparation! Finally, the game got under way 30 minutes late under terrible weather conditions. The driving rain blinding the Irish players who were playing against the wind in the first half. The formation was as follows:
PIETRO NIALL TERRY NEIL
JACOB BART JORIS ANTONIO
SUBS: Oscar, Matt, Alan, Luuk
Oscar had 18 players available so continued to implement his rotational strategy – incorporating half games for players and skipping matches for players; today, vets captains also need to be a mathematical genius too!
The Irish defence stood solid and any penetration by the Brits was easily cleaned up by the back 4. Up front it seemed a rather non-eventful first half, apart from a few “hey, hey, hey” moments from Alex. The first half ended with us all soaking wet and a dismal 0-0 score line – but all to play for. On came the subs and off went Joris, Jorg, Alex and Antonio. Pietro moved up to midfield and Matt took over Joris’ position. Oscar was back up front and Alan slotted into Antonio’s left midfield position. The second half was full of talking points. After a break down the right side, the ball fell to Jacob in the box who tried to guide the ball past the Brits keeper who tried to bundle it away. It ended up rolling across the goal line – but most likely not the total circumference (although Ken was sure from his position on our goal line that it was in!). The FC Irlande stand-in referee also gave the goal which led to heated discussions all round. In the end, the fair play spirit of the Irish accepted the Brits decision and play resumed at 0-0. About 10 minutes later it was the Brits turn to be denied a goal. After a corner kick the ball was fired in low and hard at Ken, who totally fumbled it! The ball popped up and a flick off a British head landed to their forward on our goal line – clearly off-side by about 30 cms!!!!!!! However, the goal was given. The Irish players were distraught and demanded VAR. Confusion was in the air and since we had backed down over our earlier goal, they reciprocated and accepted our decision. Once again, the score was turned back to 0-0. The Irish had the best of the half and should have taken all 3 points. Attack after attack though could not result in the crucial goal that would decide this damp encounter. A fierce shot by Luuk brought off a great save from their keeper. A great run by Oscar (who beat about 5 players) resulted in a dangerous freekick on the edge of the box. What, no racing upfield Luuk to claim the ball – maybe a hang-over from last week’s penalty shambles!!!! Pietro stepped up and hit a nice shot just wide of the far post – it was simply not meant to be. So, the game ended in a 0-0 score line – probably the best result to keep tempers calm at the end of the match. After our first game mauling, the last é weeks have illustrated that we are well capable of finishing in the top part of the table this year so bring on The Brainiose next week.
The FC Irlande BBQ was a bit of a wash out with the weather (in total contrast to last weeks 28°c), but the burgers and beers were more than enjoyable. The Nossegem bar was also full of VIPs this week in eager anticipation of the highly rated FCI BBQ event: Pietro’s wife and family, Ian McConnell and Alan Norton’s father were present. Despite a late night out until 03:00 am, Mr Norton senior was more than happy to keep the table full of cold beers though and was rather disappointed when we all started to leave at 18:30……………………like father like son!
MOM votes were spread among the team with Neil and Terry tying for the Man of the Match.
It was a sunny Saturday, with a brave Irish team ready for fighting… No, it was not the case. We were all waiting for the third half at this very very nice pub near the stadium. I guess we all check the calendar at the beginning of the season. Are we playing against the Brits and are we going to come back at this stadium?
Oscar proposed his famous speech before the game, to be honest I was not yet there at this time. So it will stay a Urban legend.
The beginning of the game was really under control, and we scored the first goal very fast. Oscar, on the left side, left literally on the spot his defender and had 3 options to give his assists. After a democratic vote, he decided to choose Matt for his assist. Something amazing, incredible, unexpected, indescribable, a goal from Matt W. He took the ball in one time and scored. Referee requested the VAR confirmation, but the goal was validated.
A few minute later, something more unpredictable happened. Laurent received the ball on the right side of the defense. He decided to create his legend by dribbling 4 players and gave an assist to Joris for the second goal. To be honest, I have not seen the goal, but Laurent proposed to summarize it to help me for the match report. I could only trust him 😊.
We continue to dominate this first half, strong in defense, good pressing in the midfield and great call form the striker ( special dedication to the captain for the next game against the Brits …). We cannot finish this first part of the report without a special comment about our goalkeeper, who was helping the defense by coaching them.
Second half, Captain proceed to 4 changes in one time. Aema also made some changes with a stronger midfield. We had a some chances but it we were not as good as during the first half. We had some option and the most important came from Antonio who receive a penalty. Pascal took the ball to make it, but Luuk confirmed he requested the right to shoot it form our Captain. As we are not as Cavani and Neymar some years ago, I let Luuk a chance to score. But what should not happen, happened in this special day. Luuk missed it with a great save ( only confirmed by Luuk).
The third goal comes from a shot from Joris, who hit the defense and came back to Pascal. As always, Pascal saw the captain alone and gave him the assist for his first goal of the season (Left foot). We finished the game and wentdirectly to the shower. After 5 min we were ordering the first round at the bar near the Stadium. The taste of the round was perfect.
MOTM : Joris
Match Reportage – Irlande FC vs Cornac Sep 7th 2019
The great hunter, among its Cornac pack, moved silently through the grass, propelled by short steps of its powerful legs. The mouth was open just enough to permit a rush of air over its massive lungs. There was little other motion: an occasional correction of direction to warm-up, a raising of an eyebrow as it peered briefly at its new prey, Irlande FC. It wore the number 13 on its back. It was quiet, for now.
The Irlande FC pack sensed nothing standing just 10m away, jovial pre-season banter was in flow, followed by a rousing speech by the leader of the group, Oscar. Spirits were high, socks were clean, egos were intact.
The game unfolded, and some early attacks on both sides were handled effectively. The Cornac opposition looked for gaps through the Irlande FC channels left, right, center. They moved at pace, retaining the ball well. These guys could play. A gap opened, and the Cornac attack surged at pace. Bang, the first successful strike was in, 0-1 Cornac. A second followed, then a well taken penalty following a moving together in the box with Piedro leaving Ken no chance to save. 0-3 Cornac. The Irlande FC defense unit Alan, Lauren, Neil, Piedro were feeling the pressure now. Its last line of defense Ken stood firm saving 4, maybe 5, decent shots to give a comeback odds. ‘Come on guys it’s early yet’ was the cry at the 3rd reset! Irlande FC rallied and launched several attacks through Bart and Joris in the center and Antonino and Terry from wide, opening glimpses of chances for Oscar, Pascal and Bart to open their account. The half ended, 0-3 Cornac. Still their hunter waited, restlessly now.
Fresh legs in the water after half-time with Matt and Jacob, and a lull from the opposition saw Irlande FC back in the game with a clean long-range strike from Pascal and a nicely worked goal also from Pascal. Cornac got one through open play to make it 2-4. The wound of the two early second half Irlande FC goals must have put blood in the water, as when the greens were denied a third goal from Pascal with a close wide, the Cornac hunter stuck. With slick movements of play to supply it through ball, 13 struck. And struck again, and again and again. Pack hunger increasing with each strike and supplied ball for goal. 2-5. 2-6. 2-7. 2-8. There was no let up. Finally, it seemed the monster and its pack were sated. 2-9 Cornac. Legs tired, options limited, yet Irlande FC battled on with the two subs and tireless work by Pascal right to the end.
Not the opening day everyone wanted but plenty of team spirit for Irlande FC to live to fight again another day.
Team: Ken, Piedro, Lauren, Alan, Neil, Matt, Antonio, Joris, Terry, Bart, Oscar, Jacob, Pascal
All fixtures and results
FC Irlande Vets 2
- Team Captain : Oscar Sanchez de Leon
Top goals scorers
- Oscar 12
- Pascal 5
- Alan 4
- Joris 4
- Matt 1
- Alex 1
- Neil 1
- Pietro 1
- Luuk 1
Top goals assists
- Oscar 5
- Antonio V. 4
- Alan 3
- Pietro 3
- Joris 2
- Jörg 2
- Terry 2
- Matt 1
- Laurent 1
- Pascal 1
- Bart 1
- Luuk 1