Saturday, October 28, 2017

PPJ – TeTo (08-10-2017)

After the experience of CLE-MPS/Atletic Malmi, I arrive with pretty low expectations to this game, which is in the same Kolkomen division. Both PPJ and Toukolan Teräs FC (TeTo) are from Helsinki and look like recent youth teams with most players in their late teens or early twenties.

The game is played at Väinämöisen kenttä, an astroturf pitch that is part of a communal park with the barest of facilities – two changing rooms and a restroom. There are only some 10 people who are not directly affiliated with the team, i.e. coaches and reserves, seemingly all family and friends. The weather is dire: cold, grey, and rainy.

The quality of play is definitely higher than yesterday, as is the pace of the game and the technique of the players. In the 3rd minute TeTo attacks and shoots at the post. Five minutes later PPJ has a good attack that leads to a save by the goalie, while in the direct counterattack a TeTo striker gets alone in front of the other goalie and finishes cool between his legs: 0-1.

The build up is slow but the passing is (too) fast. Both teams also hold many players behind the ball. In the 15th minute a decent shot by the visitors goes wide. Seven minutes later a good attack by TeTo leads to an attacker making himself free and then finishing low in the corner: 0-2. Not much later they attack again but shoot just over the goalie and goal. After half an hour the hosts have a good attack and shoot, from 18 meters, over the goalie: 1-2.

The game now becomes insanely slow and the build-up even more cautious with both defenses playing very deep. Just before half-time PPJ has a good attack, the goalie responds poor on the first shot but good on the rebound. Half-Time: 1-2.

In the 52nd minute TeTo has a good attack but poor control by the striker blows it. One minute later PPJ has a long ball, the left striker pulls back, has all the time in the world, and shoots low in the corner: 2-2. Good comeback, but only short term, as fifteen minutes later the guests again score, with a volley that rebounds from the post and the goalie and is finished from 2 meters: 2-3.

At this point a dude comes up on his bike and starts to talk to one of the PPJ attackers. They have whole conversations as the play continues, with the player seemingly going out of his way not to stroll too far away from his friend. Incredible! Despite some attacks, the final score remains 2-3.

I don’t think this has happened often, but the Kolkomen is definitely too low a level for me to enjoy. The play is poor but, more importantly, there simply is no atmosphere or culture. The clubs don’t even play at their own ground! Turns out, there is a bottom in groundhopping and I have just hit it!

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