From the opening whistle it was apparent that Manager Nick Sindt sent the Blues out with a directive to not only get the victory but also control the possession and toy with the opponent. The Old Boys started game with a high line and manic pressure on the Otters which lead to the opening goal on pretty much the opening shot.Four minutes into the contest the SOBs won a throw in deep in enemy territory, a bouncing restart which found the head of Graham Campbell who nodded down to new boy Mike Ozruh to coolly slot home from the left edge of the six yard box.
The quick strike, coming from seemingly nothing, shocked the supporters still filing into The Woodshed from the parking lot.
Being a goal to the good so early in the match settled the Old Boys’ nerves and allowed them to start their cat-and-mouse possession game. Alternating between quick, crisp passing movements, switching the point of attack, and simply “hoofing” the ball upfield opened up the center of the pitch for Lance Farrell, Dave Tesch, and Bobby Davies to exploit.
And exploit they did. The first 30 minutes or so, with a few exceptions, belonged to the Blues attack and only some unfortunate bounces kept the score from getting out of hand.
Slowly recovering from their initial concession, the Otters began to build momentum and fashioned a couple of chances on Larson’s net, but found the SOB keeper well up to the task. It was in these times of pressure that the SOBs were able to look transcendent; “Of course, we worked their offensive surges into our game plan, and you’ll notice that we let them believe we were breaking only to switch from long-ball to our quick passing game to swing the game back in our favor,” claimed a hubristic Sindt.
The beginning of the second half saw more of the same from both teams; the SOBs dominating possession but failing to close the game out, and a few mental lapses by the defense opening opportunities for Rive Otters. Remaining a goal down instead of three spurred the Otters on, and the wheels looked ready to come off for the good guys.
Chance after chance went begging for both sides until the 70th minute when Campbell decided to take matters into his own hands and ‘go ninja’ on them. The Otters right fullback was caught oblivious to Campbell’s presence and had his pocket picked clean. With nothing but grass and the keeper visible for “miles” Graham sped off towards the near post and only dished to a wide open Dave Tesch once the keeper had committed himself. Tesch calmly strapped a leash onto the marble and walked it into the net.
Not 5 minutes later, Campbell was at it again, this time pilfering from the substitute right back and walking in on goal. His first attempt was saved, and his rebound attempt was screwed just whiskers wide with his right peg. As time wound down, River Otters threw everything into their attack and finally broke the Blues resistance around the 85th minute with a well taken shot off of a fortuitous couple of bounces.
The final whistle was the respite the Blues craved, but the three points were deservedly theirs: said captain Derric Johnson “it was a bit of squeaky bum time at the end there, but we were able to batten down the hatches and hold on.”
Man of the Match – Graham Campbell, honorable mention Adam Belz.
Starting XI: B. Larson, Pomeroy, Johnson, Shanafelt, Belz, Haeg, Riggot, Farrell, Campbell, Tesch, Ozruh
Subs: Sindt, Carney, Haueter, T. Larson, Davies, Zimic, Gorrell