Frustration for the Stegman’s Old Boys as they crashed to their first defeat of the season, a disheartening mistake in the dying minutes condemning them to a 3-2 loss against Celtic in St Paul.
The Old Boys started brightly, stringing together a number of long passing sequences as they used the width of the McMurray pitch to their advantage. And it was within the opening five minutes that Jon Scott, back in action after recovery from his hamstring injury, broke free on the right and delivered a cross into the area that George Hanscom couldn’t help but steer into the back of the net. It was another dream start for the boys in blue.
Celtic was proving to be a strong opponent and, though stifled for large parts of the first half, always looked dangerous on the counterattack. And with the SOBs playing an attractive passing game and getting forward in numbers, the opportunities were there for Celtic to capitalize on a mistake.
Capitalize they did with about twenty minutes played. Dan Hoedeman gave the ball away cheaply on the right wing, and it was swept across the field and over the top of the defense. Confusion at the back allowed Celtic to race between two defenders and the Old Boys goalkeeper, who remained rooted to his line, to score the simplest of goals and even the score at 1-1.
And again, fifteen minutes later, it was another quick counter-attack keyed by a misplayed ball in the midfield that allowed Celtic to knock a ball over the top and take advantage of yet more confusion in the Old Boys defense to take the lead, 2-1.
Despite the goal, the never-say-die attitude of the SOBs shone through, with George Hanscom, Aleksey Polukeyev and Dave Tesch impressive in attacking roles. Despite the attractive pass-and-move soccer the Old Boys were playing as the half wore down, clear-cut chances remained at a premium.
The Old Boys roared out of the blocks in the second half, using a quick-passing attack that had Celtic firmly on the back foot. A six-pass sequence across the field set up Hoedeman to ping the ball to Tesch in the channel, resulting in the first of seven second-half corners for the SOBs.
More good work in the middle released Robbie Peichel who charged down the right to feed Tesch, who banged his shot agonizingly off of the post after leaving the keeper stranded.
The pressure finally told when Cole Erickson broke into the area and was brought down heavily for a clear penalty.
Dan Erickson stepped up and, as always, his penalty was true. The Old Boys had equalized and looked likely to crack on for the winner. The though incisive passing had dulled somewhat in the summer heat and Celtic began to show glimpses of the counter-attacking threat that had served them well, drawing two stunning saves from Horstman, the traffic was mainly one-way.
An increasingly tetchy game was lit up when Jon Bisswurm’s hand was stamped on and a series of on and off the ball incidents resulted in a yellow card for the captain. It was symptomatic of a game spinning out of control as both teams upped their efforts to find the winner.
Alas, it was Celtic who managed to find the winner. Against the run of play, Celtic forged a chance from a cross and headed over. Mark Schmidt, the defensive rock for the entire season, misplayed the ball from the resultant goal kick and with five minutes left Celtic were left with an easy finish for the winner, beating Old Boys 3-2.
Stegman’s Old Boys (4-4-2): Horstman, Erzberger, Schmidt, Gorrell, Savitt, Hoedeman, D. Erickson, Hanscom, Bisswurm, Scott, Tesch
Subs: Reynolds, Meiser, Johnson, C. Erickson, Larson, Polukeyev, Sindt, Campbell