GFC concede the second goal in the first half from an especially physical corner.
After a perfect start in perfect weather, it was fitting that a torrential downpour in downtown Vancouver would bring about a change in fortunes for The Iron. Robbed of some of their most impactful players due to injuries, jobs and social fluttering, Gastown FC were ultimately satisfied despite dropping points against a struggling HalfMan HalfFish. Another early set-back meant life was always going to be difficult for a Gastown side that lacked its usual creative spark. Regardless, The Iron still sit in third place in the league having won twice and drawn one.
Gastown FC saw a much changed XI to that which put FC AIO to the sword last week. Whelan was moved from his berth between the sticks due to having stitches put in his middle finger after too much extremeness. This meant new recruit Ashley Perry donned the gloves, with Dr. Sam Stuart partnering Whelan in the middle. New recruit and burgeoning talent Emre (Belözoğlu – but not in a racist way) Caliskan partnered Cpt. Parrott in the centre of midfield, while André Alves finally got his desired start up front with the elegant Eritrean/Uruguayan/English/Canadian starlet, Silvio Ruprah. After having made many changes, the absence of David Yesaya was keenly felt as The Iron struggled to impose themselves.
After only minutes, Tarek Amin and his brother Amr would be forced off through injuries. Skipper Parrott successfully re-organised the formation - the introduction of César de la Fuente meaning Alves’ dream of leading the line would only last fifteen minutes. By that point, it was already one - nil to HMHF; a chipped ball over the top zipped off the slick surface into path of a free bipedal marine organism that was unsurprisingly too fast for Whelan. A crisp shot along the floor was too hot (or damp) for Perry to handle, the rebound knocked in from point-blank range by Langford. The home side continued to be too reliant on long balls over the top, especially considering the greasy surface meant the ball would not hold up for the front men. It would, however, be a hopeful long-ball that would draw The Iron level. Keller’s clip for Ruprah was over hit, but an unchallenged Manfish keeper completely misjudged the bounce - credit to Taylor Willms for taking a gamble on the error, allowing him to tap into an empty net.
Chances were at a premium for the entire match, so it was essential that set pieces were made to count. HMHF did just that with a 32nd minute corner that resulted in a powerful 6 yard header into the roof of the net. The Iron were left fuming in the aftermath as they felt goalkeeper Perry had been blocked off by two Aqua-male attackers. The referee waved away with the protests with gusto, as he did a perfectly legitimate Taylor Willms strike. Having shrugged off two defenders that were trying to swap shirts with the ponytailed maestro before half time, Willms cracked a 25 yard effort into the top right corner, only for the referee to blow his whistle and award Gastown the free kick. The Iron and their band of loyal supporters, once again, were furious. Before the end of the half there was time for Perry to bail out his disorganised defence diving low to his right to palm a Chris Rowley shot to safety.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with Gastown lacking some of their creative talent and pace out wide, they struggled to break down the HMHF defence – their choice of aerial bombardment ill-advised. There was time for a Rivaldo-esque chest to bicycle kick manoeuvre from Ruprah to smack the woodwork, as well as HMHF corner to be cleared off the line by Hope Fan before The Iron would equalise in contentious fashion. An off-the-ball incident that this player/fish-out-of-water/reporter did not see ended in a minor scuffle between many players on both sides. Meanwhile Taylor Willms had the presence of mind to play in Connor Keller with a smartly taken quick free kick. As Keller raced through alone, there was never any doubt as he gave the keeper the eyes before rolling his shot nonchalantly into the near corner. The Iron can count themselves lucky, as it appeared used substitute Amr Amin had come onto the pitch to protect the integrity of his brother who had come under the attack of some verbal abuse. The unpleasantries did not end there, as this author was given an earful by a HalfMan HalfWoman HalfFish player. “For what?” I hear you ask, sympathetically. For writing this very article, painstakingly written just for you, dear reader. “Why don’t you effing blog about it,” she said after a debatable refereeing decision. This writer is taking the high road by including snide remarks about her in his match report, knowing that it will be months before we meet again!
As the match petered out, there was time for some excellent work by de la Fuentes and Ruprah to create a golden opportunity for Steve Mah to win the match for The Iron on his debut. Unfortunately his mistimed volley was blocked on the line by two Oannes-esque figures. Gastown FC will be disappointed not to have come away with three points against a team that is yet to record a win. However, on the balance of things, they cannot be too dismayed – in this reporter’s in-no-way partisan opinion, HMHF did more to merit the victory. Next week sees The Iron take on top of the table Europa FC; a win will see them usurp their foes on goal difference, with a game in hand. This reporter hopes to be back in the safety of his goal by then, and looks for the Hispanic love-in between de la Fuente and Ruprah to blossom with time.
Ironman of the match: Taylor Willms.
Next match: vs. Europa FC - May 27th, 18:00. Form Guide: DWWW