Taipei City ground Fritz Air

On a surprisingly cloudy day, Taipei City assembled a surprisingly small squad to give Fritz Air a surprisingly good game. Played on Bai Ling B, the surface was uneven in places but still allowed for good football.

With several defensive specialists missing, the Taipei City starting line-up looked attack top-heavy. The biggest shock saw Dan Calvert play as the sweeper. (Yes, that’s Dan Calvert playing as the sweeper!) With the ever-reliable Sam in goal and John and Christie either side, the defence was by no means weak. Canadian Olly in his first game for City was holding midfielder in front of Ebu and Paco. Alex and Steve were the wing-backs on the left and right, all aiming to feed Dawda and Gustavo up front.

After the first ten minutes settling into the game, the first half saw City play some of the best football the side has played in a long time. There was a lot of fluidity in midfield, with Canadian Olly always in the right place to take the ball and dictate the play from deep. His ability to flight diagonal balls was very important. Ebu and Paco were also a joy to watch going forward with their close control and neat passes. Their runs and short passes to Gustavo and Dawda caused no end of problems for Fritz Air. The sharpness of the front two enabled them to latch on to just about every loose ball, as well.

From a tactical point of view, what was most satisfying about this first-half performance was the width utilized. Alex and Steve frequently received the ball from the centre and so they were able to make clear openings into the Fritz Air back line. The passing was snappy and City looked a notch superior to the opposition. Paco scored twice and Gustavo once in the first half. The City back line contained most threats well enough, except for the time when their best player was not closed down quickly enough when he shot and so scored. City deservedly went into the break 3-1 up.

Knowing that they needed to fight their way back into the match, Fritz Air came out sharper in the second half. They succeeded in putting City under more pressure although City still had pressure ourselves. The difference was that now the two sides seemed to be playing at the same level. City held their shape and defended doggedly. It was now that Dan, John and Christie did more work. Fritz Air were able to feed the ball to their forward line quick but the City defence didn’t rush in and so the midfield had time to run back and help out. The work-rate of the two wing-backs, Alex and Steve, was particularly impressive at this time.

After a few close shaves, Fritz Air finally succeeded in getting a goal with about twenty minutes on the clock. Now it was 3-2 and the situation had changed. Creditably, City didn’t panic but continued to work openings. Perhaps the threat was a spur to the City attack, because City now played more tidily. Cometh the hour, cometh Paco to complete another hat-trick! Danny came on for his debut replacing Gustavo late in the game and played well. At the final whistle, Dan and Ross had every reason to feel pleased with the performance – isn’t that right, lads?

Photos courtesy of

Overlooking the pitch and river.

Gustavo accelerates

Paco and Michael Christie

Dawda Fatty winds up for a shot

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