It was a fairytale opening complete with adventure, drama, tension and joy as Stegman’s Old Boys bagged a victory in their first-ever competitive match, running out 3-2 victors over St Paul’s Sound & Fury FC.
The scoreline was deceiving as, despite the uncertain opening one would expect from a team playing together for the first time, the Old Boys bossed this game from start to finish. Outside of a critical intervention by Dan Hoedeman six yards from goal, the defense weathered a stormy first fifteen minutes without ever looking like breaking. Ben Savitt and Mark Schmitt were particularly impressive in negating the long ball threat, and laid the foundation for the Old Boys midfield to gain a stranglehold on possession that they rarely relinquished.
An adventurous 4-2-3-1 formation caused no end of problems in the opposition defense wingers Jon Scott and Alex Polukeyev found themselves time and again able to get behind their defenders and create opportunities. Were it not for a matter of inches either way, Brandon Overlie could have bagged himself a hat trick of headers within the first 30 minutes.
As it was, it fell to the captain to open the scoring. Fouled hard after another dangerous foray to the edge of the area, Jon Bisswurm brushed himself off and stepped up to take the free kick. There was never going to be any other result than goal as Bisswurm curled the ball into the top right corner and wrote himself into the club’s history as the first ever goalscorer for Stegman’s Old Boys FC.
As he wheeled away in celebration toward the home supporters with teammates in tow, this was truly a moment to savor.
Grabbing hold of the momentum and not letting go, Old Boys continued to attack in waves and it was only a few moments later that an incisive through-ball from Dan Erickson in the midfield put Dave Tesch through on goal. The big forward made no mistake, lashing a ferocious shot into the bottom left corner of the net to make it 2-0 going into half time.
After the break, traffic continued to be all one-way as Scott embarrassed the opposition defense time and again. Chance after chance was created by the speedy winger, who will rue his inability to finish but will feel good about the direct running and well-placed pass the allowed Erickson to finish cleanly and bring the score to 3-0.
It was fantasy football time, with marauding runs forward from Schmitt and Peichel, continued bedevilement of the Sound & Fury defense by the tireless attacking trio and a shot blasted all the way back to Minneapolis by a hopeful Hoedeman running onto a botched clearance of a corner. Everyone was looking to get into the action and the traffic was only in one direction.
With 30 minutes yet to play, the Old Boys looked to work the ball around and retain possession and kill the game against a team that continued to offer precious little going forward.
All was going to plan until the referee, dodgy from the beginning and erratic in the face of an increasingly physical game, gave the softest of penalties. One of the few attacks from Sound & Fury looked to peter out on the outer edge of the penalty box as Bisswurm smartly marshaled his man wide, when a lazy dive and bad refereeing turned a situation with no danger into a penalty. An easy conversion later and the clean sheet was gone, 3-1.
With a comfortable lead and grip on the game, disaster was to strike yet again. Fifteen minutes were on the clock when an errant interception attempt by Hoedeman went off the bottom of his cleats and into the path of Sound & Fury forward vanNatta who made no mistake to bring the scoreline to 3-2.
Expecting tense moments at the end, a quick re-shuffle of the team was made but it was not necessary. Old Boys remained the better team, bad luck aside, and comfortably saw out the remaining minutes for a well-deserved victory.
“All of the hard work of bringing this club together was paid off,” said Chairman Dan Hoedeman after the victory, “to open with a win is a present on par with a pet oxen to a Malaysian Prime Minister. In a word, priceless.”
Manager Jon Bisswurm was happy with his team’s performance, saying “today was class man. There are still need to lock a few things up – I am very unhappy about conceding two soft goals – but all in all I was very happy.”
Stegman’s Old Boys (4-2-3-1): Dzelzkalns, Schmitt, Hoedeman, Savitt, Peichel, Bisswurm, D Erickson, Polukeyev, Tesch, Scott, Overlie
Subs: Sindt, Horstman, Larson, Haueter, Campbell, Johnson