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Lubomir Moravcik  Sunday, July 01, 2001  15:47 GMT

Played in the blindingly hot mid-afternoon sun, Osemka ground out a draw against Spartak, in an unusally niggly game at the School today.

With Chunky, Nobbler and Potsy all missing, Osemka reorganised with Bomber slotting in at centre-half, Womble taking over at ;eft-back, and Stu - fresh from a bout of tonsilitis on holiday - resuming picking-ball-out-of-net duty in goal.

We started off the better team, but couldn't really create a lot, Stu had practically nothing to do in the first half, with the defence being equally under-employed apart from a few clearances and blocks. Up the other end, Andrejz and Szmig controlled the midfield well, and JK and Pete got stuck in on the wings. Sean and Deano created a few chances, but either good defending or panicky finishing cost them.

The second half, we took some time getting going, and they had a few good chances, notably when a corner was missed by everyone in our six-yard box, and two of their players got in each others way, putting the ball wide from very close range. At this stage, the game was starting just to get a little niggly. Nobody was leaving their foot in, but the tackling from both sides was strong, and committed, without being overly reckless.

We took the lead with a slice of luck that normally goes against us. Andrejz won a corner on the left, and played it to the totally unmarked Bomber 25 yards out. The ball into the area hit the ref on the head, and was only partially cleared to Szmig. His first time shot had the keeper moving across to his left, but it took a delfection of a Spartak player, and left the keeper beaten. And for the second week running, Osemka had the lead.

Spartak then took the game to Osemka, but either good defending, or bad finishing cost them. The Spartak players did seem to lose it slightly, especially one of their players, who had a right go at the linesman over something, and didn't notice the ball go by him, leaving us two-against-one in the middle. We didn't take advantage.

They got an equaliser from our one mistake of the afternoon. A cross from the left evaded Bomber and bounced up into Krzys chest, as it fell, he and a Spartak forward got toe to the ball, unfortunately, their guy got more on it, and despite Stu and Smitty's best efforts to keep it out, it went into the top of the net. For the second week running, we'd let a team back into the game we should have killed off ages before.

It got a bit silly after that. They had a player sin-binned for swearing constantly at the referee over a period of about a minute(it was impressive) despite the ref's warning him to stop talking twice. And special mention must go to their goalkeeper, who, when Spartak equalised, ran over to the touchline to have a go at Pete, using lots of colourful vocabularly, only to be told to 'go away'(shall we say) by the linesman. And all this seemingly cos his team had equallised against KS Osemka. Congratulations, we're very proud of you.

I suppose it's a sign of how much we've improved over the last eight months, that we're disappointed we didn't hang on for a win. When we played Spartak in our first game in the Winter League last Ocotober, we were beaten 6-1, were flattered hugely by that score-line, and were described, accurately I must add, as the weakest tema they'd played in years by Spartak. In eight months, we've finally won a game, and apart from dodgy ten minute spells in each game against Swiss Cottage, have not been outplayed by any teams this season. We have a total of 3 points this season in the league, and it would be reasonable to say we should have had about 10 by now. We still haven't learnt how to kill teams off(see todays game, and last week against Landor, and the now-inexplicable defeat to Rapid DF), but our committment has improved beyond words - there is no way last season we'd had come back from two down against FC UnKnown to draw. So, we might still finish bottom this season(even if we're not there at the moment), but at least we're getting better...
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