The Mighty Shane Secure 7th Place in End-of-Season Showdown with JFC
The Mighty Shane finished out the campaign with another win against tough opposition, coming out on top 5-2 against an in-form JFC to make it three wins on the bounce and end their season in blistering form.
This game had been billed as a cup final, with 7th place still up for grabs for the victor. Speaking between puffs of smoke before the match, player-manager Sam Thompson bemoaned the lack of available playing staff due to injuries and commitments outside Taiwan. Not feeling 100% himself, he led by example and started out the game in midfield.
Kickoff brought a bad omen as stalwart Mamadi pulled his hamstring almost immediately. Refusing to let this rattle them, the Shane boys kept their heads and were soon leading 1-0 through a great strike from Felipe, breaking into space on the left.
Within minutes, Shane were two ahead thanks to another great finish from the lethal Dane Patrick, pouncing on an opportunity after pressing high and forcing an error from the outrushing JFC keeper.
However, this goal would signal the end of Shane’s dominance for the first half and kickstart a resurgence in the ‘never say die’ Japanese attack, as they nicked a goal back after their striker found space in the box after a free kick.
Shane were lucky to go in at half-time still a goal to the good, due mostly to some resolute defending from Duracell right-back Brian et al, with the last kick of the half coming from a save off the boot of alleged brisket addict Toby.
The second half saw Shane get back into their rhythm, reverting to the simple passing that’s served them well throughout the season. It wasn’t long before Shane won a corner and cries of “Jamiieeeees” were heard as the skipper found space at the back post to slot in and restore the two goal advantage.
The battle for possession continued in midfield, with randomly directed headers from the oddly shaped heads of Pete and Jonty managing to confuse the JFC strikers and blunt their attacks. Despite this, JFC continued to pour forward and were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty after a skipping Shane defender was caught handling the ball in the area. Keeper Toby, still shaky from a Thompson clearance catching him square in the face, could do nothing to stop the score going to 3-2.
JFC sensed the tide was turning and pushed forward, but all their chances were easily snuffed out by steadfast defending and tame efforts on goal – apart from one goal line stop from Little Big Sam. In all this effort to steal an equaliser, JFC left themselves exposed.
Some wonderful passing in the midfield and breaking runs from perpetually late vegetarian Zachary Paruch and the ever composed Xavi Diego created space for tricky winger Jayke to score the 4th goal. The hot-headed Geordie then turned provider and laid on a contender for pass of the season with a DeBruyne-esque heat-seeker, picking out Patrick on the opposite wing who slotted home a cool half-volley to seal the three points.
Mighty Shane will be sad to see the season finished now, as on this championship winning form, anything is possible. They can enjoy the end of season break knowing they’ve sent a message to their rivals, and look to build on this positivity in the new year.
Man of the Match:
Cesar Molano has had a great season with the club, often leaving Shane fans ruing the fact he can’t be available every week. Against JFC he showed his poise on the ball, commitment in the tackle, and trickery on the break, managing to make himself an option going forward while covering his defensive duties with gusto.
Ever reliable, Captain Fantastic Jamie Smith was Gerrard Scobbie-esque in his ability to be wherever he was needed at any given moment. Starting out in midfield, he dropped back into defence after Mamadi’s injury, but still managed to get himself forward to nick a well-taken goal. His ability to read the game and pick a pass has given Shane an edge all season.
Patrick Krogh: He Swayze; he Ghosts; he gets Dirty, Dancing his way through the defences time and again. Always on Point, Break-ing with the team, his recent lethal form in front of goal bodes well for the future. Roadhouse.
Felipe combined well with Cesar all game and his high energy and lethal left foot were a problem for JFC all afternoon. His goal capped a great all round performance.