An Englishman's unhealthy obsession with lower league Spanish football
Friday, May 21, 2010
The bird who loves football
I've only ever been to Alfaz del Pi once before and on that occasion I got completely lost in what seems to be a very attractive small town. On the second occasion the same thing almost happened, and, but for my travelling companions I would have done too. In fairness, the polideportivo municipal in Alfaz del Pi doesn't appear to have been designed to be easy to find and I can't believe I'm the only person who's had a job getting there. Once you stumble across it by chance, like we did, it's a pretty nice place though, a big old swimming pool, raised sun terrace, cafeteria's and an athletics facility, it's also home to a huge peacock, (Pavo Real - Turkey Royal if you want the literal Spanish translation), who shouts the odds all day from the roof of one of the sites storage buildings.
No doubt the twenty or so locals who bothered to turn up were quite used to it, but Santa Pola CF weren't there to admire or listen to the peacock, and their travelling squad definitely didn't admire the incessant racket the facking thing made all game long. Thankfully, it didn't seem to put "our" boys off, and, during that unseen transition from Sunday afternoon to Sunday evening, Santa Pola did just enough to head off on the hour long journey home with another three points and their unbeaten run standing at twelve games. Alfaz del Pi paid the penalty, literally, for some poor defending and finished the match two men light, the only goal of the game coincided with the dismissal of full back Adrian for mis-behaving in his own area. German then stepped up to use the sledge hammer in his left foot to great effect from the spot mid-way through the second half.
The referee, Verde Calderon from Alicante, wasn't much cop, and, to be honest neither were Alfaz, they're going to be relegated and it's easy to see why, at times during the first half they looked reasonably good going forward and combative in midfield. It's at the back where they seem a bit iffy, and that's curious because their captain and centre-back, Benjamin, looks a class act; defending well, reading the game and moving the ball out of defence frequently and without wasting it, often charging upfield himself. Unfortunately, just like ex England captain, (good), John Terry, Benjamin appears to have a few character flaws. Inside the first ten minutes something, or more probably, someone had narked him and he was the first of fourteen yellow cards. The energy he then spent chipping away at the match official would have been better spent berating one or two of his colleagues, who at times, looked somewhat shaky. Somehow, he lasted all game without being sent off, a ninety minutes in point of fact where he barely put a foot wrong.
Only after going behind did Alfaz exhibit any sense of urgency and with just fifteen minutes remaining, Santa Pola were forced to up their concentration levels as the home side, urged on by their blue chested and preening fan club, enjoyed a spell of possession. Failing to adequately defend four successive corners, Santa Pola twice almost blew it in the last five minutes, Vicente's mis-hit defensive header came back off his own bar before being hammered out, and, just like a few weeks ago, Julio steered a goal bound shot round the foot of a post at full stretch in the dying seconds. Full time 0-1.
Apparently, the peacock is present at every home game, I wish my bird was!!
Photos - Top - The peacock with a season ticket Mark Welton - foto23 Next - German was on hand, again Second bottom - Benjamin, a very talented nutcase Bottom - Vicente got this one right but was lucky later