Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Squeaky bum time

Fresh from the disappointment of Thader gatecrashing the party, Santa Pola headed off to Pinoso to take on the local team of the same name and to reacquaint themselves with their former manager, Anselmo Serrano. Under the clubs former regime, the likeable Serrano was sacked in March 2009 after a dismal defeat away to Alone. It says much about his coaching abilities that Pinoso snapped him up almost immediately.

I quite like Pinoso, I don't think it's a small town blessed with the most attractive women, but the people are friendly, the cafeteria clientele don't gawp as though you have two heads when you walk through the door and their footy ground is quite a nice one. Situated on the edge of town, the estadio Perfect Mira is a bit scruffy but quite quaint too and probably hasn't changed much in fifty odd years. A covered stand runs the length of one side of the pitch, on the other, seperated by a concrete wall, sits a five-a-side pitch surrounded by high fencing. Beyond the smaller, plastic pitch is where it starts to get really pretty. Less than a couple of kilometres from the ground, the campo in the near distance tips up alarmingly and becomes a green hillside dotted with cottages and small dwellings. As the winter sun sinks rapidly out of sight, in the gathering gloom the hillside twinkles with lights, all of which are accompanied by wafts of smoke from wood burning fires, the smell of which is unmistakably Spanish.  Anyway, that's enough of the prosaic shit, I need to explain why I stole a phrase first uttered by Sir Alex Ferguson.

When you watch a football match involving a team you're really fond of, in my experience the match falls into one of three categories. Take for example Santa Pola, once or twice they haven't looked like winning and you resign youself fairly early on to an impending disappointment, in those kind of situations, the writing is on the wall, and, oddly you don't end up quite so pissed off. The best kind off footy watching experience occurs when your lot are playing out of their skins, the opposition are chasing their tails and being ran ragged. The first goal is quickly followed by a couple more and it soon becomes a question of how many to nil or one they're going to win by.

In some ways, group three is very difficult to enjoy. Pinoso versus Santa Pola fits neatly into that category and here's why. Two decent teams, playing attractive football, somehow, in spite of loads of chances each, the first half finished goal-less. Ding, ding, secounds out round two. More tension, opportunities for both sides, a few more outrageous saves from the home goalkeeper and, yet, Santa Pola rode their luck more than a little too. Today was the day though when centre-back Miguel decided nothing was coming past him, booming headers out and tackles that would have stopped an elephant inspired the defensive colleagues around him as Pinoso were thwarted at every turn.

With ten minutes remaining and still no score, three results were still possible and relaxation most certainly wasn't. Subconciously I'd settled for a point, with not long to go and the hard work done, there was always this nag Pinoso might steal a late winner. When that happens, trust me it's a pisser! In the end it was Santa Pola who almost broke some home hearts, Mario Fernandez rose to meet a cross which dropped behind him, on hand to lash in a shot from five yards was Santa Pola captain Monsa, somehow, Pinoso 'keeper Paco reached the fizzing ball, prevented it crossing his line AND clung on to it. Monsa stood there head in hands.

If that wasn't enough, Paco hoofed the ball upfield to set up one final Pinoso attack with seconds left, by this point I was willing, like you do, the referee to blow for time. Miguel, for about the fifteenth time in the match, made sure the ball stayed cleared by launching it out of the ground. Two consecutive Pinoso corners and a nail biting four extra minutes later, the welcome sound of three shrill whistle blasts rent the air and squeaky bums, local and visiting, settled down. Every local football club has a slightly backward gentleman who's work is to retrieve lost balls and ensure they are returned to the "Delegado" who sits pitchside at the centre line to liaise with both benches for changes etc, (in Albatera three quarters of the town would qualify for the job of retarded ball fetcher). Today, the educationally challenged chap scurried around all afternoon and was the busiest man at the ground retrieving footballs the 'Pola back line had scattered to all four corners, the kind of stubborn defending that earned the away side a valuable point.

Final score Pinoso 0 - 0 Santa Pola
Men of the Match: Paco/Pinoso - Miguel/Santa Pola

Top - Man United manager Sir Squeaky Ferguson
Middle - Paco, thou shalt not pass
Bottom - Miguel, class!!


  1. Hi Kevin

    Great blog, do you fancy
    letting me have some posts for our blog about Pinoso?




  2. Trevor, I'd be happy to help, what specifically would you like?