Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rime of the ancient Marinero

Santa Pola, having navigated the treacherous pre-season waters emerged the other side relatively unscathed, and began their 2009/10 season with a home fixture against Albatera C.F.
Actually, home isn't quite correct; sure, they played on a pitch in the town, but, just like Charlton Athletic years ago at Selhurst Park, very much temporarily. With extensive rebuilding works taking place at the clubs official ground, the Estadio Municipal Manolo Macia, squatters rights were claimed on the Els Ciprerets facility about two kilometers away.

Manager Domingo Grau sprang no real surprises with his first "Marineros" team of the new campaign, the eleven starters were; Julio, Monsa, Miguel, Tari, Dani, Paloma, Carlos Fernandez, Molina, Marcos, Mario Fernandez and Jose-Maria Ufano Rosado, "Chema" for short. To be honest, with a girls name you would want to change it wouldn't you? Keeping the bench warm under a nice tartan blanket, just like old folk at the sea-side, were reserve goal-keeper Pazos, Hugo, Pomares, German and Adriano.

To the immense annoyance of kit man Rafael Fuentes-Dols, the new seasons away shirts arrived before the redesigned home strip which necessitated the team taking to the field looking pretty in pink. Fifteen minutes in, Paloma opened the scoring with an impressive hit spanked in from outside the box the Albatera 'keeper got nowhere near for 1-0.

The real story though was that man Jose-Maria, the oldest player on the pitch and back with Santa Pola for a third spell, 35 year old Chema tormented the Albatera back line for the entire seventy five minutes he played. The veteran still possesses a blistering turn of speed and twice in a one sided first half gave defenders a ten yard start before winning the ball. Even a harsh looking yellow card for complaining about a snidy kick from Choki, the Albatera goalkeeper, when he played on after being flagged offside didn't dampen his enthusiasm.

After the break the unofficial dressing room leader and self confessed ladies man was it again, in the thick of everything good Santa Pola created. excellent saves denied him twice, before, on the third occasion he was bundled over in the box giving match referee Sr.Grisalvo the opportunity of two simple decisions. Penalty to Santa Pola and a yellow card for Albatera defender Trape. American striker Mario Fernandez stepped up to take the spot kick which Choki saved, Carlos Fernandez was on hand to spare his brothers blushes by belting in the rebound. 2-0. Definitely not Mario's fault he missed the pen' though, check out the size of Choki's hands in the photo on the front page of this blog, they're like a pair of frying pans. Shortly after, Chema left the action to well deserved applause and first use of the hot water when he was replaced by Adriano.

An embarrassing mix up with their first attempt at a free kick routine saw Albatera pull a goal back when the match official let them have another go. Nunez found the bottom corner with an excellent strike. Too little too late, because by then the points were secure thanks to the muscle bound short bloke sat on the bench smiling to himself. Surely his parents were having a laugh!

Full time Santa Pola 2 - 1 Albatera
PHOTO: Chema - the pocket rocket

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