Match report for Summer Palace vs Barbarians B, 11th December 2011, Lido
This was Palace’s last league game to play before the winter break and on that Sunday afternoon it was a relief that the weather was not as cold as one could have feared.
Palace was looking for another win so that Dong Ren would not run away with the league title even before the half-season mark had passed. This game however, was a derby, if one considers that the Barbarians and City/Palace share common roots through Club Football, and the Barbs B are a solid opposition as we had found out in the friendly game we played against them earlier this season (a 1-1 draw).
Fortunately this season Palace has plenty of depth in the squad, and with Charles Wharton and Ally Russell we could welcome back to the team two of last-season high-scoring midfielders.
Early on in the game, Palace had more possession but the Barbs had the best chances to score, and Jason Dorey had to make some fine saves to deny them a goal. For once, Palace wasn’t the more physical side on the pitch and the Barbs were living up to their name with some barbaric tackles and cynical fouls, giving away a lot of free-kicks. It was therefore quite pleasing that they got punished for it as the ref awarded Palace with a free-kick just outside the penalty-box, slightly off the centre, on the left. Then came Jim So, our leading goal-scorer, who took the free kick beautifully as the ball went over the wall with pace and dropped in the side-netting inside the right post. Their keeper had hardly moved. 1-0 for Palace. After opening the scoring Palace dominated the rest of the first half and it with was with confidence that we went into the half-time break during which Jim So left us… to catch a plane for Japan.
Maybe we were a little over-confident, as when the game resumed, it was the Barbs who were looking like the stronger side. Only 5 minutes had elapsed since the re-start and the Barbs had found a equalizer. Jason could only weakly punch away a corner kick, and one of the barbs could head the ball back towards our goal, lobbing our defence from 6-yards. For most of the second half, the game was very close and the tension was high for the Palace’s supporters as, at that stage, it could have gone either way. But gradually, Palace re-took control and
as we entered the last few minutes of the game we were putting the Barbs under sustained pressure. The pressure finally paid off, when Lee Russell was the quickest to take advantage of a goal-line scramble to score the decisive goal. It wasn’t the prettiest of goal but it may proved to be very valuable at the end of the season if Palace is still in contention for the league title. 2-1 for Palace, final score although there was still time for the big oaf that plays centre-forward for the Barbs to get his marching order from the ref for a second yellow card. What a fine afternoon this was!
After the game, most of the team and its supporters went to Luga’s for the customary drinks and votes. Jim So, although not there, got Man again for his beautifully taken free-kick and for Donkey there was a tie as the votes were shared between Adam, Ally and Amir (I’m not sure why, maybe you had to have a first name starting with an A to get voted Donkey that day??).