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Plan C

Bay Olympic 4, Melville United 0
Olympic Park, Auckland, March 25 2016

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The best laid plans of mice and men…

Opening day – Northern Regional Football League 2016! I was looking forward to it oh so very much. I had it all planned out. Gina and I would leave home at about 12 midday and get to Porritt Stadium, Hamilton, in plenty of time for the kick off of Wanderers vs Eastern Suburbs – last year’s runners up vs last year’s champions – both new entrants in the 2016/17 national league.

Unfortunately what I didn’t bank on was just how bad the Easter traffic was going to be… It started at Manukau, we crawled all the way to Bombay, then got a bit of an encouraging run before coming to a screeching halt again at Mercer. It was there that it became abundantly clear that if we kept driving towards Hamilton we’d be lucky to get there before half time.

So we turned around, started heading back towards JAFAland, before pulling into BP Bombay to regroup and look at the draw. It was already 2:15 so if we were going to make it to a 2:45pm kick off it would have to be something in South Auckland. Papatoetoe vs Fury was basically the only real option. So I grabbed a latte and off we headed… until I got a Twitter notification with the awful news that Fury’s founder and driving force, Dave Cook, had sadly passed away and at that point it was thought that Fury would default. Time for another regroup…

2:45pm kick-offs were now out, so it was 3pm or bust. I knew we would probably still miss the start, but it was basically motorway all the way to New Lynn, where Melville was visiting Bay Olympic, and we made it with just ten minutes on the clock and still no score. Deeeeep breaths…

Not what I had planned but at least I was finally watching football on opening day!

What I saw of the first half was a little bit ‘blah’. Melville held their own quite well with solid defence against a Bay Olympic side with a fair bit of attacking pedigree with the likes of Chad Coombes and James Pritchett bearing down on goal. While both sides managed a few promising forays into their opposition thirds, I don’t recall either showing any moments of brilliance of any great note. Into the sheds they went with the scores still locked up at 0-0.

The second half was pretty similar to the first really with little of note occurring until Bay Olympic got their breakthrough in the 58th minute via a Chad Coombes drive that took a deflection and snuck inside the left hand upright. That may well have been the first shot on goal of the match, but it certainly got the home side cracking and just four minutes later they had doubled their lead thanks to a far prettier piece of work by James Pritchett.

Jack Anderson was presented with a fairly easy finish in the 73rd minute and after that, save for one shot from the visitors that cannoned into the post, the contest was effectively over. Dino Botica put the icing on the cake for Bay Olympic in the last minute of regulation time.

It wasn’t a great day for me, truth be told, driving 200km, most of it at a crawl, only to go see an average game of football in West Auckland – where I live. But all my issues were mere silly inconveniences really.

My thoughts, all through the game and now, were and are with the family of Dave Cook and the players and supporters of AFC Fury.

I’ll have a crack at a tribute post to Dave in the coming days, but in the meantime I’ll simply repeat what I said on Twitter – he may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but he sure was a character. And the game needs characters.

Last time I saw him, he told me that “Roma will be playing Fury soon!” Wherever he is, I hope it’s a good game. RIP.

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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