Watford Friendly League - Red Division
Sunday 11th November 2007
Harvesters North 1-5 Omonia Green
Anybody need lessons in how to provide a good welcome? If so then Harvesters is the place to go. Sandwiches? Tea in REAL cups? A rail to lean on whist you enjoy the game? Boy do they know how to look after their visitors. From now on I’ll be taking the wife there every Sunday so she can pick up some good tips.
The overnight rain had also vanished, resulting in a rather pleasant morning. Add to that a spicy encounter between two very good teams and your weekend’s made.
Don’t look at the scoreline and conclude that Harvesters weren’t at the races because there was far less between the teams than that.
The best outfit we have played so far this season were no nonsense, tough tackling, hard working and ball playing. That’s a combination that will always cause problems. And it was tough, but this Omonia team is made of very strong stuff and the fact that the Greens were the better team speaks volumes.
From Harvesters instant raid from the kick off and the hurried Green’s clearance that followed, it was clear that the game would be something of a battle.
The ball pinged end to end during the early period, before the scoring was opened on 6 minutes by the oddest of odd goals. The home keeper had collected well at Badmos’ feet but had obviously taken a knock because once he cleared the ball he went to ground with his back to the play. Constanti had been as sharp to the clearance as ever and his shot rolled past the keeper into an unguarded net. If anybody deserved that bit of luck it was him – a permanent hero with fierceness and power that belie his stature. If he was French he would have been christened Asterix.
Only a few minutes more had passed when Badmos capitalised on Komotikis’ superb work up the right to notch the Green’s second.
Things warmed up even more on 17 minutes when the home team had a free kick in dangerous territory. Voskou’s save was excellent, but it fell for a yellow shirt – before being expertly controlled by a yellow arm! The ref was unsighted, and the shot – via a deflection – found the Green’s net.
The feast of action continued as both teams gave it their all. No quarter was asked for or given and the commitment levels were amazing. Both midfields challenged for everything whilst the defences gave as good as they got. So it continued until, with the break imminent, Harvesters had the next golden opportunity. Chira had to be strong to fend off an attacker in the box – too strong said the ref, pointing to the spot.
The penalty would have made it two-all, but the bar came to the rescue.
To add insult to injury Voskou’s enormous kick was knocked on by Paul, and Badmos beat two defenders before making the score 3-1.
There’s nothing worse than being on the verge of an equaliser, then suddenly finding yourself two down instead.
Harvesters came out in the second half none the worse for that – indeed they upped the tempo in the third quarter of the game, though again Omonia matched them and even came out on top.
A penalty was awarded – this time to the Greens after a Harvesters lad had inadvertently handballed. This time it was as clear as day, though I again wondered if it was a touch harsh. It was an instinctive hand up and it was clear from the player’s reaction that there was absolutely no intention. Still, “rules is rules” as they say, and Badmos found the corner with the spot kick to make it 4-1.
Even in the closing stages it was a real helter-skelter of a match with both teams looking for more. Credit has to go to the Greens defence and midfield for restricting the home team’s chances, and Okafor in particular was such an enormous presence in the middle that he surely deserved a goal – and he’d have got one if either of his two late headers had registered. In the end it was Komotikis who capped a great performance with a goal, whacking in from close range when Loukaides had unselfishly given him the opening.
A fine game against very fine hosts then, and a great result too. Sundays don’t get much better than that!
Man of the match was Tomi Badmos. Another fantastic performance and three more goals to add to his growing tally.
Squad: Zak Voskou, Fred Newman, Xenios Matjilla, Chris Chira, Thomas Bauer, Savvas Petrou (captain), Marcus Paul, Petros Constanti, Michael Louca, Tomi Badmos, Andreas Komodikis, Michael Okafor, Thomas Chalk, Luke Loukaides.