Friday, December 18, 2009

Bravo: two-zero

With their dismal November a fast receding bad memory, Sunday December 13th saw Santa Pola CF play the first of only two games scheduled for the month. As British football gears up for a frantic Christmas period, Spanish soccer heads in the opposite direction, from the weekend of the 19th and 20th no matches take place until the first Saturday of January. Easy life!

With a two week break since their previous outing thanks to a National holiday, Santa Pola welcomed lowly Alfaz del Pi to the Pereira ground, an outfit that hadn’t exactly set the league alight in their fourteen games to date. Shortly after 1130 referee Moraledo Santos kicked things off and by the time two and bit hours later he ended the game, Santa Pola had appeared to have strolled to a routine win. For the victorious Marineros, the match was anything but a walk in the park, Alfaz may have been short on confidence but certainly weren’t lacking in aggression. Inside the first five minutes, scary looking full back Bazaga, won the ball cleanly from 'Pola winger Paloma but unfortunately his momentum carried him off the pitch and into the spectators where he collided with a young boy. For sure the collision would have hurt an adult, seeing the eight year old child's tears, the concern of the rugged defender was apparent. Thus was set the scene for a full blooded game played out in a very sporting fashion.

Santa Pola dominated a one sided first half but weren't above to find the back of the net, a bit of a combination of three things really, shite finishing, tenacious defending and a flag happy lino' who appeared to have a bit of a nervous tic in his right arm. Half time came and went, so too did the tears which meant the visiting full back could concentrate on his defensive duties and not worry about avoiding having his goolies removed by an irate Mother at full time.

I suspect Alfaz got a bit of a bollocking in the dressing rooms during the break, they came out and were considerably better, especially their spiky haired number ten Raul who played the second forty five with a particularly spiky attitude too. Such is football though, as the visitors stepped on the gas and put the home side under the cosh, guess who scored first? yup, 'Pola. Chema slapped in a speculative shot the Alfaz 'keeper could only spoon out straight to the lurking Paloma who buried the ball gleefully. A goal up Santa Pola relaxed but it was still the visitors who made all the running, their task was made easier by the dismissal of centre back Dani for his second yellow card. For the second time this season, he'd soon be having a Sunday off courtesy of an identical reason, poor dscipline! Striker Mario Fernandez was replaced to ensure the Santa Pola back four remained just that.

A goal up and a man down, Santa Pola then proceeded  to make heavy weather of the remainder of the half, Alfaz showed much more up front and were unlucky not to equalize. Santa Pola rode their luck and looked distinctly edgy as the away side pressed. With time running out, the next goal would only mean one of two things, a point apiece or all three for the locals. As it happened, Chema, ploughing a lone furrow deep behind enemy lines up front was in the right place at the right time to oblige with a carbon copy of the first goal. With only five minutes remaining the second goal settled the Santa Pola nerves and guaranteed three welcome points.

Apologies to all for the dodgy title of this piece, the final score was 2-0 though and I did say "bravo" at the end, only it probably sounded a little bit more like "fucking excellent"

PHOTOS; Top - Bazaga (left) survived with both spuds intact
                  Bottom - Paloma (10) was on target

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