The second round of fixtures in the SPL saw Shanghai Marlins take on Galacticos at Wellington School.
With Gaffer Carl Edwards out of town, Pete Rosselli and Adam Christy took over the reins with a squad of 13 essentially picking itself.
A couple of the Suzhou Boys made their first appearance of the season as Pete Roberts and Toby Rossiter started at left-back and centre-midfield respectively…wearing shorts.
After a steady start, Rosselli opened the scoring as he latched onto a well-weighted pass by James Moss.
The advantage was doubled when Harry Swain headed home Mossy’s far-post cross. It was a big moment for the Donny lad with his brother and dad in attendance.
The Marlins were controlling possession and playing some nice football, while Galacticos were getting bodies behind the ball as their organisation kept the score at 2-0 until the 35thminute. Rossiter coolly slotting home from David Spröer’s low cross.
Fafa made it four before half-time as he galloped beyond the defence following Dale Johnson’s assist from goal.
At half-time, Rosselli encouraged the positional lines to be closer together and higher up as they looked to improve on the previous weekend’s disappointing second half performance.
Within five minutes of the break, Mossy got the fifth with a curling effort capping the team’s best move of the match. Mossy and Fafa linking up particularly well after good work by Jon Heaney and Ash Smith.
Harry’s brother Ben then got his first Marlins goal as he showed strength and persistence before finding the bottom corner with his left-foot. Much to Harry’s disappointment, the team celebrated Ben’s goal more than Harry’s during the title decider at the end of last season against the Lions.
Shanghai Marlins had their tails up and looked likely to score with every attack which were becoming more constant as the half progressed.
Roberts was putting in a fine display down the left, connecting with Fafa who had Galacticos in his shadow.
After another great move and some more explosive pace by Fafa, it looked like a seventh goal was all but guaranteed. The Madagascan King squared it for the oncoming Rosselli to roll home into an empty net from 10-yards. Somehow, the beanpole forward who normally thrives on the easier goals, managed to side-foot over the bar, going one better than Ronny Rosenthal in the process.
Wanting a sink hole to draw him in, Rosselli found himself reluctant to be in another goal scoring position. In a single moment he went from having the easiest goal to score to the next one being the hardest.
Spröer then got the team back on the scoring front with his first goal of the day as he finished off a mini-scramble following Fafa’s cross.
Dale Johnson – who had been replaced in goal by Dragos Olaru – then scored with a fine header from Mossy’s cross. It was a good job he didn’t lend Ben his Air Johnsons given the leap he needed for his goal.
Mossy got his second with what is becoming a trademark goal as he spotted the keeper off his line and lobbed him from 45-yards.
Adam Christy went on a foray upfield, exchanging passes and going through on goal down the left channel. His shot was saved but Spröer was there to finish the rebound.
Fafa doubled his tally with a good finish after the Marlins other centre-back – Heaney – ventured forwards and played a nice through ball.
It was then Johnson’s turn to get his second as he put away the rebound from Rosselli’s right-footed effort after a dinked pass by Christy.
Rosselli had managed to miss another great chance, side-footing Spröer’s whipped cross onto the crossbar. Johnson kindly informed his teammate that he’s getting closer while Rosselli began to question whether he’d even be able to finish a wank at this rate.
Thankfully, he did get another (goal) as Roberts played a great pass down the left-channel. Despite having teammates in better positions, Rosselli drilled it in at the near-post with nothing but frustration to make it lucky 13.
Straight from kick-off, the Marlins front three pressed and Spröer dispossessed their centre-back before showing nice composure with his finish.
And there was still time for yet another 45-yard lob, which landed flush in the net, as Mossy desperately tried to teach their goalkeeper a lesson.
Following the onslaught of goals in the final 15 minutes, referee Kevin Doherty, brought the game to a close (on time) as Shanghai Marlins recorded their second biggest ever victory.
Man of the Match:David Spröer
A hat-trick and an assist by the German ensured he earned a couple more Long Islands to add to his collection in his short Marlins career. Playing as a centre and wide-forward, Spröer was always an outlet and regularly broke the offside trap as the opponents began to tire.
Swainy’s family came to Blue Marlin as their flight back home wasn’t until midnight and it’s just better that way.
Ben Swain did an initiation song and Spröer converted those present into FC Koln supporters as Mossy tried to deliver his second lesson of the day…German to a German. Schteïn!!!
Five hours at Blue Marlin was the perfect preparation for a long-haul flight home and with his family heading back, Swainy needed to lose at Killer Pool with and without a rest to make himself feel better. He also needed his flip flops to be thrown on the beams by Mossy who was delighted with his efforts.
As the clock struck 10 p.m. and Rosselli had convinced Mossy it was time to go, Carl Edwards informed them that he was half an hour away following his trip to Beijing. Of course he was.
Some more beers, football chants, pool and flip flop rescuing ensued before Mossy and Rosselli eventually left at 00:30. Spröer was busy rapping in German, Edwards was laughing at what he had arrived to while Swainy and his flatmate were competing against each other to be the best Richard Gere.
Another Sunday Funday came and went with an improved performance both on and off the pitch. Unless your name is Jon Heaney and you prefer to go to the theatre. The nonce.