It was obvious the business side of the season was upon us as both the Lincoln Square Tigers and Lincoln Park Piranhas attacked the game ferociously at Burgmann Fields tonight. After a mighty final quarter comeback by the Piranhas, they were unable to overcome a large Tiger lead as the Tigers ran away with a 16 point victory.
The evening opened with concern from both camps as to whether they would have an umpire for the game. Thankfully Wolfy showed up and to his surprise, was handed the whistle to take control of 32 angry adult men. With no support in the goals or on the boundary, Wolfy did an excellent job, as did the players on most occasions allowing him to do what he needed to do.
For the first time this year the Piranhas were struggling for numbers and were the first team to be docked points from the scoreboard for not reaching the minimum 12 players. Among those missing from their lineup were Chicago United regulars Benjamin Gambaro and Dougy Malcom. The strength behind the Tiger improvement this year has been the willingness for guys to show up to every game and tonight was no exception. After losing big guns Graham Brennan, Vince Doorhy and Billy Uhlmann, the Tigers were still able to get 19 players to the field and this was a major factor in the victory.
The highlight of the game was the multiple battles occuring around the ground. Poncho and Roofy continued their epic battle with both players providing great service to their team. Pace took on the might of Drewby and Al in the goal square, EP and Stace clashed in the ruck and Frenchy did his best to annoy the hell out of Hazie all game. Lincoln Park was able to borrow Toby, Tim and Tyler from Wrigleyville which allowed for a 14 a side game.
The first quarter was an even affair as both teams fought for the early supremacy. Toby, playing his first game in a Chicago match, showed he has a big future in the Windy City and put the Piranhas up early. This was followed by a Didak major following a strong mark. Didak was continuing his exceptional form and was outstanding at winning the ball in the air and on the ground under immense pressure from his Tiger opponents. Betty Palmer was showing his worth with some courageous marks in defense for Lincoln Park to thwart the forward progress of Lincoln Square. The Tigers fought back with the winning combination for the night, Oscar and Fish, as they both kicked truly. This pair would combine regularly resulting in goals for Lincoln Square.
At quarter time Lincoln Park were 1 point leaders.
The next two quarters decided the game as Lincoln Square was able to constantly rotate players through the bench and over run the hard working Piranhas. EP demonstrated why he is so important to the Tigers displaying excellent foot skills to set up Oscar on multiple occasions for goals. Fitzy, in a best on ground display, also came to the fore during this period continuously thumping the ball forward after receiving creative handballs from the hard working Tiger onballers.
The Piranhas rallied late in the third quarter with some great physical work by team mates resulting in two quality goals from Toby. Tim and Betty were working feverishly in the middle of the ground to reverse the flow of the game away from the Tigers and the momentum appeared to have shifted. The Tigers went into the 3 quarter time break with a sizeable 27 point lead though and it would take an almighty comeback from the Piranhas to make the result go their way.
The final quarter was all Lincoln Park and for a moment it looked like they could pull off the unimaginable. Changes were made with Roofy being moved to the forward line, Didak into the center and big Al playing loose down back. Al was swallowing everything and after his usual five pirouettes and punishment of anybody silly enough to try and tackle him, he drove the Piranhas forward. Suddenly Lincoln Park had winners all over the field. Lincoln Square were not going to let a Grand Final berth slip away from them though and with some great strength, leadership and a steadying goal from Fitzy, the Tigers were able to do enough to make the game safe. Lincoln Park continued to attack until the final whistle but the lead was too much to overcome and after including the 3 point deduction for being one player short, they went down by 16 points.
Both teams could take major positives out of the game. Lincoln Square’s midfield were strong in the absence of their three premium onballers and Oscar Meyer played one of his best games in 2 years. Lincoln Park were missing numerous players and yet were able to put real pressure on a determined and confident side. Didak continued his excellent form which will also please the Piranha faithful.
The result of this game assures Lincoln Square a position in the Grand Final on Saturday, 19 September, and sets up two epic encounters between the Wrigleyville Rhinos and Lincoln Park Piranhas over the next two Friday nights. With both these two teams on equal points and nearly identical percentage, the coaches will be working the phones day and night trying to get their best teams on the park.
L.S. 11.10: 76 def L.P. 10.3: 60 (minus 3 points, 1 player short)
|Goals||Tigers: Meyer (5), Doorhy J (2), Fitzgerald (2), Bradley, Leibowitz
Piranhas: Allen T (3), Sacco (2), Hayes (2), Ehlers, Kastilan, Morgan D
|Best||Tigers: Meyer, Doorhy J, Fitzgerald, Marthouret, Gizynski T, Rory, Perry
Piranhas: Allen T, Sacco, Hayes, Palmer, Hermann, Ward