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Monday
Aug242015

Quick fire Match Report: Saints 3 Olympique 2

 

Goals: Jimmy Q, Iaianianain, Connla

Stadium of All Your Dreams Coming True (or Phuoc Long A)

Attendance (not including subs): five grubby street urchins that Roel didn’t trust.

The Saints got preseason off to a fine start with a well-earned win against last season’s league champions Olympique (with a light sprinkling of Hotshots). Never behind during the game, the Saints went 1-0 up with a strike from assistant-to-the-fitness coach James Quantrill that no goalkeeper in the world could have kept out (that is if the goalkeeper was blindfolded and had his hands tied behind his back -- not sure what this guys excuse was). Still that’s why the Gaffer… actually we have no gaffer but if we did, he would say this: “Always get your shots on target fellas!”

Olympique replied with a fine strike of their own that volunteer keeper and fitness coach Joseph Keogh – looking magnificent in luminous yellow – couldn’t get a hand to but Joe’s speed off the line was key to the Saints avoiding about 10 one-on-ones and he was voted man of the match for an impressive turn between the sticks. Joe even grabbed an assist for the Saints second goal after 60 minutes with a massive kick that put through renowned speedster Iaianaiaiaian Campbell who put on his LEGENDARY after burners to surge past the defence and give himself enough time to smash a sweet strike into the bottom corner. Did someone say it was positively Ronaldo-esque (celebration)? The Saints were then unlucky to concede a second as an Olympique shot deflected off Simon Graves’ head to wrong foot Joe. Down but not out, the Saints attacked and the Future Mayor of a Small but Well-Functioning Town Roel Borremans curled a beaut of a cross for Ze Webmaster to head the Saints back into the lead with only a few minutes to go. The team then reconvened for light refreshments and sandwiches at Game On before having an early night ('cos, you know, it's preseason).

Next week: Saigon 7s, Reloaded Tournament.

Friday
Aug212015

Saturday, 4pm, Somewhere in Saigon...  

Thursday
Apr162015

Weeks 16, 17, 18: Questions, questions, questions…

Saints vs Sporting Saigon, Fusion and Fusion

Captain-slash-gaffer-by-default Steve Shaw from the shire of Nottingham must have looked at these three fixtures and pencilled in 9 points but the Saints sadly stumbled at the first hurdle by throwing away a 3-1 lead against Sporting Saigon (scrambled home to nick a point in the end) before getting on track with back-to-back victories against bottom of the table Fusion. In the first of those two ties, the Saints cantered to a 4-0 win and in the second the boys romped home to win 8-1 after the boys’ scheduled weekend of Team Building and R&R in Bangkok, Thailand.

As ever, all of this has left the selectors, pundits and analysts with nothing but questions as we now go into the last four games of the season with three fixtures against three of the top four sides.

For example: was Max the Butcher Oswald’s goal against Sporting a wonder goal or wasn’t it? Taking time out from sipping Pina Coladas and sunning himself on a beach somewhere in Central Vietnam, Simon Finnigan took to Facebook to claim it was a mishit. You can judge for yourself here.

Do the Saints need to practice celebrations? Young Max certainly celebrated his goal like he meant it which is more than we can say for the guy (his name escapes me at this very moment but he falls over surprisingly easily for a big unit) who scored twice against Sporting and refused to celebrate like a man should when he scores his first and second goals for the Saigon Saints. Was he taking a leaf out of Mario Balotelli’s book that a postman does not celebrate posting a letter so why should a footballer celebrate scoring a goal? Do the Saints need to up their game and give the fans what they want? “We planned to practice celebrations at the tournament in Bangkok,” said Skipper Shaw. “We just didn’t score enough goals to practice that many.”

The next week the Saints experimented with our finest players from the Youth Academy as we took on Fusion, who were recovering from a demoralising 14-1 drubbing at the hands of Saigon Japan. Young Dom once again showed his peers in the academy where the back of the net is (it’s behind the hapless keeper who let the ball roll up the front of his body and over his head). Sean Skene was overheard saying Dom got lucky (no jealousy there). True or false? “False,” says Simon Finnigan while ordering his second club sandwich of the day. “In Liverpool, wise man say get your shots on target and you will get the goals.”

Speaking of which, Simon Hyatt – a.k.a. baby-faced Australian – got his first goal for the club in the second match against Fusion by clipping a half volley in to the top corner. YOU BEAUTY. Later on in the same half, he then slipped through the defence to go one-on-one with the keeper. Time seemed to slow down as he calmly strode towards the very tiny, very crap goalkeeper. The goal seemed to widen as he went to slot it home but…  [oh dear]. Is this what they call "difficult second goal syndrome"? “In Liverpool wise man say if you don’t make your mind up well in advance of a one-on-one you will miss,” says Simon Finnigan while enjoying a pedicure for less than a dollar and munching on a banh mi in Hoi An. “True story: Robbie Fowler used to decide what he was going to do days in advance of going in on goal.”

In spite of the miss what a day for Australia with Sean Skene getting his first for the season and new recruit Tom also netting on his debut. Should we have more Aussies in the team? Vote now in the comments people.   

Does Chuck Roger play more calmly when he is literally blue in the face? After entering the Color Me Run Chuck arrived to play Fusion looking like an extra from Avatar or the Smurfs. It must be noted that he did not say “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” once. Mind you, it was a stress free match as the Saints romped to a 8-1 win. Still, all those in favour of Chuck doing this every week please say AYE in the Facebook comments (PS: Bonus extra Question – How is that life-size portrait of Sean Boyle coming along?).

In between that 8-1 win and the 4-0 win two weeks previous, the Saints enjoyed a weekend of football, team building, sightseeing and shopping in Bangkok. Does this mean we play better after going to Bangkok for such activities? All those in favour of going back as soon as the webmaster gets his visa sorted VOTE YES NOW!

Young Caelan Stokes’ formidable record as a supporter (completely ignoring his father on the pitch) is now two wins from two wins with the Saints scoring a total of 15 goals and winning by seven goals on both occasions. Do we need more pint sized mascots? If you think the answer is yes, slap on the baby making music and get busy!

Andrew Humphreys a.k.a. Cantonaked returned from Bangkok where he was unsurprisingly voted “best off the pitch performer” and immediately disappeared over the border to Cambodia for seconds. “He’s more of a legend than a man,” says James Teague with obvious admiration. With both of our social secretaries doing more socialising than um… secretaryzing (?!) is Andy the man to lead a coup d’etat and take us to the promised land of scantily clad debauchery in exotic locations? “Vote No,” says Jimmy Q. “Vote YES,” says Jimmy T.

Meanwhile, did someone say CONSPIRACY THAT GOES TO THE VERY TOP? The free-scoring Saints clearly feel most comfortable on what was the league pitch in D7 but sadly it’s been “reclaimed” and is no more. Since losing to Japan, the Saints are undefeated and had three wins from four matches, scoring a whopping 18 goals in the process. Bugger it anyway. If this means going back to Phuoc Long A and re-engaging the Curse of The Fat Naked Demented Baby Who Licks His Own Vomit we are all doomed.

Is Benjamin Hawxwell-Green canvasing for “General Role Telling people What they Ought to be Doing”? With the year-end AGM already on the horizon, the Saints in-house DJ and leading bearded Yorkshire man is clearly swaying voters with his new self-appointed role which involves telling everyone what they ought to be doing. All those in favour of making this an official title VOTE NOW! In the meantime, if you are unsure about what you should be doing right now, ask Ben! he's online RIGHT NOW!

Last but not least with our game cancelled this weekend, should we go out and get ties-around-our head-drunk tomorrow night?  No need to vote yes for that. See you all in the pub.

 

 

Tuesday
Mar172015

Four things to think about after a hard-fought victory over ASW (Match Report, kind of)

For those who weren’t there, the Saints laboured for 60 odd minutes before putting ASW TO THE SWORD (well, not quite…) and claiming all three points in a 2-0 victory on Saturday. Our in-house analysts look back to see what we learned before the weekend’s MUST-WIN DERBY against Sporting Saigon.

Should we go out or stay in the night before a match? Ben Hulbert arrived fresh as a daisy on Saturday afternoon after a rare quiet Friday night only to hobble off after 10 minutes. “Knew I should have gone out last night,” he moaned before making up for lost drinking time over a cool and refreshing can of San Miguel on the side-line. Meanwhile, ol’ Sleepy eyes Sean Boyle arrived at Game On looking suspiciously bright eyed and bushy-tailed before boarding the team-taxi. He didn’t even need a Subway sandwich to put in a highly convincing display between the sticks. “What works for one man, might not work for another,” says Iaian Cambell, the Saints’ official Motivational Coach. This puts the pressure on each individual in the squad this Friday night with a huge six-pointer against Sporting Saigon, a match described by captain-slash-gaffer-by-default Steve Shaw as a “must win” encounter 72 times last week. 

Pre-match film selection: Perhaps it’s more about how players prepare before the match? Ben “A Young Bearded Man Stares Intently…” Green found his rhythm as well his mojo after watching Whiplash to put in one of his best ever displays for the Saints. He scored the decisive second goal that finally killed off ASW – cutting in from the left he curled his shot into the top right corner of the goal. Should we all watch Whiplash next Saturday? “What works for one man might not work for another,” says the Saigon Saints official film critic Iaian Campbell. “But whatever you do don’t watch Boyhood—it felt like it went on for years.”

Is Chuck related to John McEnroe? “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” is to Chuck Marion what “You CANNOT BE SERIOUS!” was to another great east coast American patriot, John McEnroe. But with his two striking partners both off injured and the Saints floundering for “field position” in the second half, a fired-up Chuck was inspirational on “offence”. Yes, he missed his “field goal conversion” (after Aidan McNally was brutally chopped down in the box) but he won the all-important penalty (scored by John Norfolk) after bursting “into the 18” and turning both central defenders brilliantly. But does he need to work on controlling his temper when talking to “the umpire”? The Saints’ Sports Psychologist Dr. Iaian Campbell weighed in with some anger management advice: “Why can’t everyone just keep their %*@#ing temper under control for &*@#’s sake… ”

De-fence! De-fence! Mid-field! Mid-field! We cannot overlook that clean sheet. Mr. Boyle looked rock solid in goals while Simon Finnigan, Sean Campbell and Ian Pavitt all put in impressive shifts in the centre of defence with Iaian Campbell and Max “the Butcher” Oswald  on the flanks. More of the same this Saturday please. Our midfielders, Steve Shaw, John Norfolk, James Teague, Ben Hawxwell-Green, Darrell Haines and Sam Green all out in big shifts in a physical draining match. We will need more of the same in suppressing Sporting Saigon who will be upbeat despite losing narrowly to Japan F.C. on the weekend. For those who like a flutter, the Saints’ official bookkeeper Iaiain Campbell will release the odds on Friday night.

Thursday
Mar122015

Match Report (but not really... 'cos What We Really Need to Talk About Is…) 

Saints 2 Japan F.C. 4

Attd: Three

Goals: John N. (pen), Chuck

 

So the Saints lost to Japan F.C. 4-2 on Sunday but rest assured it had nothing to do with a lack of tactics, “technical ability” or heart – far from it my friends!

No, what we really need to talk about is: what the hell is that mysterious iced drink that Japan F.C. dispenses to its players before, during and after the game? That is surely the secret to their success.Of that we have no doubt.

“Bring me that recipe or die trying!” demanded James “Jimmy Q” Quantrill, the Saints’ high–profile dietitian, who has come under fire since it has been discovered he has actually been eating steaks smothered in Bearnaise sauce the night before big matches while pretending his girlfriend’s risotto with sustainably sourced “farm to table” asparagus is his (Quantrill also suffered the ignominy of pulling his hamstring while eating a curry late Friday night).

A perfectly engineered drink might be just the ticket to get the Saints through what is notoriously the hardest part of the year for them—scientists (and when I say scientists, I mean the webmaster making things up after a ridculously strong coffee) now believe the blistering heat of late dry season magnifies a hangover by approximately one million per cent.

Sean Boyle certainly looked queasy at the prospect of standing in the sun for 80 minutes when arriving at GAME ON to board the team taxi. “Can I go get a Subway sandwich?” he pleaded like Oliver from the film Oliver in which a boy called Oliver played a famished orphan who’d been out until the wee hours (or something like that).

The Subway sandwich couldn’t save Boyle from wilting in the heat with Ben "Nothing but Ginger Ale for Lent" Peadon stepping in between the sticks—but could Japan F.C.’s mysterious tonic have offered Boyle the right balance of vim and vinegar with electrolytes, vitamins and exotic Japanese roots? Could it have helped the Saints finish their spurned chances up front? Jimmy Q was unavailable when asked to comment further.

With no magic tonic, and a 3pm kick off this coming Saturday, Captain-slash-Default Gaffer Steve Shaw came up with a radical suggestion to optimise a more robust match-day performance. “Go out on Thursday and have a big one, not Friday,” he said. “It’s straight out of Guardiola’s playbook that one. In Barcelona and now in Munich, Pep would always tell the players if you want to drink till 4am, do it two nights before match day. Arjen Robben is famous for being on the lash every Thursday.”  

As ever, ready to follow the party line, Ben “Wake me up when it’s time to send me home” Hulbert has volunteered to trawl the bars on Friday night to make sure key squad members are at least “not having a big one” with an early kick off on Saturday.

When pressed for his definition of a “not having a big one”, Hulbert wasn’t quite sure: “Home by 3am? Maybe no jager-bombs?”

More importantly, the Saints should be back to full strength with returning regulars. Last time out it was a nil-all draw with ASW (which stands for "We Are Not Ashamed to Wear Pink" in Vietnamese).

BetFred.com says the chances of another 0-0 are a million to one. Chuck Roger rocking a Clint Eastwood beard is 2/1 to open the scoring. Sean Campbell -- as long as he isn’t still waiting for his motorbike to be fixed outside work – is odds on favourite for clearing the lines like he never wants to see the ball again.But he's like that. He really loves the ball. More importantly he loves clean sheets (or the idea of them).

Bold Prediction: Saints 4- ASW 0