NPSL Match Day: Boston City v Seacoast Phantoms

NPSL Match Day #2
Boston City FC v Seacoast United Phantoms

Saturday, May 7th, 2016
Malden Catholic High School, Malden, MA
Kick Off: 6:00PM
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My Saturday started in a fairly indifferent manner. Newcastle United basically got relegated and I was fairly furious about the whole situation. Too much money spent, and lots of it poorly, has left NUFC in a perilous position. Our biggest rivals are almost certain to stay up (Sunderland) and we’re in the process of losing one of the worlds best and most decorated managers in Rafa Benitez. In short, I was not happy.

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It was left to Boston City to raise my mood and in winning their first ever game at the second time of asking, they did so. The afternoon started with a beer near the stadium, and a quick shot which I feel I regretted when I woke earlier this morning. As we settled in to our place in the stadium the game kicked off and Boston took control, three early chances came and went.  Switches of play by the captain Vieira was opening up Seacoast United on the left hand side and the danger was all coming from that side. Chances were spurned however and the feeling from where I was sat was that the presence of Yaw Addow was missing.

The Phantoms began to enter the game as an attacking force following the first 20 minutes and the keeper, Neneca, made a very good save from a set piece delivery. That said, they didn’t seem to be offering a significant attacking threat and after their one or two chances, began to fade. I felt they weren’t helped by a quite negative attitude from all parts of their organization. The manager even complaining at one point that a selection of home fans were distracting their goal keeper! I’ve never seen anything like it!

Back to the game and the City players took over once more and again the wide areas were where they looked most threatening. Jadilson Vieira took over on the right hand side and seemed to have been fouled in the box for a certain penalty after taking on a Phantoms defender. For the second week in a row were however, they appeared to be on the wrong end of a poor refereeing decision. It seemed a clear body check after slipping past his marker, but the referee (who in general had a decent game bar this incident) decided Vieira had dived and promptly booked the Boston man. Poor decision.

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As the half wore on, the game became a little bit more broken up and the quality of football needed lifting. The City manager decided to make changes at an odd time in my mind – 5 minutes before half time. The double switch saw attackers Da Silva and Morais join the fray, to the clear frustration of the men they replaced.

As half time came and went, so did more players as the Brazilian manager made sweeping changes, with no real impact on proceedings on the pitch, however the referee once again saw fit to alter things himself, and sent off a Phantoms player for what appeared to be an over the ball challenge. He took his decision kindly and went off the pitch with a minimum of fuss implying to me that the ref got this one right. In the remaining 20 minutes Boston pushed and pushed but it appeared that the Seacoast boys may just hang on.

With seven minutes to go however Da Souza latched on to a rebound after the away keeper had made a sprawling save turning the ball on to the post, and rolled the ball home into the unguarded net from a tight angle. This sparked great celebrations with one of the Boston players jumping on to the fences in front of the home fans! The songs flowed from the stands, and the Boston boys were sung home to glory!

Once the final whistle blew, great cheers went up and both players and fans celebrated. The first win in the history of Boston City FC, and I am happy to say I was there!

As the night wore on, and discussions turned to the match on the journey home for one more beer, the reality of what Boston City is all about, and the hole that Newcastle left in my Saturday was obvious. Newcastle left me frustrated, disappointed and annoyed. I don’t feel like fans are made to feel involved in the club any more. They are customers and a commodity to be tolerated not embraced. Boston City on the other hand left me happy, slightly drunk and glad to have had the opportunity to meet some good people. Those we met yesterday were great to my friend and I, and it reminded me of what it should all be about. As the great Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson famously said: “What is a football club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes. It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city”.

After living in Boston for around 9 months, I do have pride, and a passion for my new city. Thanks to Boston City, I now have a pride, passion and feeling of belonging not just for my new football club, but for the people involved too. That’s what football, especially at this level, is all about. People, passion, and pride.

Congratulations Boston City. Long may it continue.
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Follow Dai Rees on twitter @dairees1984, and his personal blog at shearersennaandseve.tumblr.com

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