It was a must-win match on Sunday as Stegman’s Old Boys traveled to St Paul knowing that a victory against Sound & Fury could guarantee League Cup qualification – and that a failure to get all three points would be disastrous and could leave them in the cold come end of the season.
The Old Boys started brightly, passing the ball and creating clear-cut chances with their usual aplomb. However, as has become all to familiar for followers of the SOBs, the boys in blue struggled to take advantage. The flailing in front of goal has been frustrating as the season has wore on, but that frustration did not result in the Old Boys becoming impatient.
The promptings of the attacking midfield trio of Mark Schmitt, Robby Peichel and “Gorgeous” George Hanscom continuously carved up the Sound & Fury backline and it was only a matter of time before an intelligent dinked cross from Hanscom found “Handsome” Dave Tesch in the channel.
Tesch, as is his wont, made no mistake from just inside the area, firing home to make it 1-0.
The Old Boys continued to press after the goal, with both Jon Scott and Dan Hoedeman firing just past the post while Schmitt and Bryan Larson conspired again and again to create chances but just lacked the assured final touch.
Sound & Fury were relegated to precious little attacking threat, and even when there were able to break out of their half, the assured performance of the back four – and in particular of Nick Sindt, making his debut at the back – easily snuffed out the threat.
The fluffed chances continued, Graham Campbell squaring for Peichel only for the defender to get a foot in. Schmitt played a beautiful ball across the face of the goal but Larson was just unable to turn it into the net. Campbell again was provider, putting Schmitt in but Schmitt was again denied.
With the re-start, Sound & Fury had clearly gained confidence in keeping the scoreline at only 1-0. A more aggressive pressing coupled with wasteful passing from the SOBs evened the flow of the game slightly, though Hoedeman and Sindt in the center of defense remained unruffled.
Slowly the Old Boys began to wrest the run of play back from the home team, but they remained unable to add to their lead. Schmitt and Peichel remained dangerous, with Peichel playing Hanscom in, only for the birthday boy to be denied by a stunning one-on-one save from the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper sprung into action a few minutes later, acrobatically denying a 30-yard piledriver from Hoedeman by tipping it onto the bar.
Hanscom and Hoedeman remained dangerous, both of them unlucky not to head home from corners.
Jon Scott was also heavily involved, creating two good chances for himself only to stab inches wide of the post.
As the minutes ticked away the frustration was palpable, and Sound & Fury seemed to feed off of it. More and more, the opposition midfield was able to release their forwards, stretching the Old Boys’ back four. But not only were they not to break, they were to key the attack.
Ryan Horstman pulled in a cross and played it wide to leftback Gary Erzberger. Erzberger knocked the ball to Sindt, who played it forward to Scott. Scott dropped the ball to Hoedeman, who shimmied past three markers to play in Will Reynolds. Reynolds neatly turned and fed Robbie Peichel who swept past his man and found himself with a single defender to beat. Peichel took the last defender and the goalkeeper entirely out of the play with an inch-perfect pass to Dave Tesch, who had the easiest of finishes to make.
Tesch because the first SOB to check in with a multi-goal game, and the Old Boys were able to finish out the remaining 5 minutes in comfort.
Stegman’s Old Boys (4-4-2): Horstman, Erzberger, Sindt, Hoedeman, Gorrell, Scott, Reynolds, Schmitt, Peichel, Hanscom, Tesch
Subs: Campbell, Johnson, Larson, Meiser, Polukeyev