Category Archives: vs. Mitsukoshi

Cushty against Mitsukoshi

Time: 7pm, March 24th, 2012

Venue: Bai Ling Bridge Riverside Park

By Michael Christie

In unseasonably cold weather, Taipei City took on Mitsukoshi in the first game of the weekend double-header. Rightly concentrating on the here and now, Dan Calvert asked his squad before kick-off to forget about Fritz the next day and just do their best to beat Mitsukoshi, a team capable of surprises. Dan named a 4-4-2 formation of Dale Neal in goal; Ricardo Abrego, Brian McGuinness, Tom Clarke and ‘Dapper’ Danny Wilkinson at the back; Danny Weir, Ebu Njie, debutant Michael Crossley and Omar Malcolm in midfield; and, Brian Fitzpatrick and Dan Calvert up front. On the bench were Luis Mayorga, Oumar Senoussi, Karim Chan and Michael Christie.

The first twenty minutes belonged to City, with two quick goals. The first goal came courtesy of Danny Weir intercepting a wayward Mitsukoshi pass in midfield, and carrying and passing the ball at pace to Dan Calvert, who finished coolly running at high speed. The second goal came from Omar Malcolm after sustained pressure. Again Danny Weir caused problems for Mitsukoshi with incisive dribbling down the right flank. He crossed the ball inside to Dan Calvert, who shaped to turn and shoot but slipped. However, with his back to goal Dan Calvert spotted a through channel for Omar Malcolm and back-heeled smartly into the space, about seven yards from the bye-line and eight yards from the goal. Malcolm elected to drill the ball into the opposite corner.

The early 2-0 score-line was the result of an energetic and intelligent all-round display by the City team. In a free role behind perennial lynchpin Dan Calvert, Brian Fitzpatrick found space and orchestrated several attacks. Making his debut, Michael Crossley was composed and crisp, working well with Ebu, who showed with his zest in attack why Taipei City is always better when he’s around. On the flanks, Danny Weir and Omar Malcolm were both in great form. Needless to say, all the defenders joined in the flowing passing, when they weren’t walking around with the Mitsukoshi forwards in their pockets. (Actually, Mitsukoshi’s Johnson is always a threat, but with Taipei City having so much possession there wasn’t much he could do.)

In truth, City stepped off the accelerator in the last twenty-five minutes of the first half. This meant that Mitsukoshi were able to come forward and sometimes embarrass City a little, but even then City had the lion’s share of possession and Dale was never troubled. Just before half-time Dan Calvert found himself free in the penalty area on the left. In a position where a ball across the face of the goal would have been a better option had there been a City player in position, Dan shot and the ball wriggle between the keeper and the near post. 3-0 at half-time!

At half-time Dan made three straight changes. Off came Danny Weir, Brian Fitzpatrick and Ebu; and on came Luis Mayorga, Omar Senoussi and Karim Chan.

City started the second half with urgency and pressed forward on Mitsukoshi again. Mitsukoshi did not enjoy being pushed back, but without real breakaway chances they had to lump it. As in the first half they occasionally worked some good moves in midfield and created half-chances, but that was all. With about fifteen minutes gone, Brian McGuinness came off for Christie. Karim dropped back into central defence with Tom, so Christie could partner Michael Crossley in central midfield.

The last half-hour of the game was played at a fair if not breakneck pace. City kept control of the game for most of the time. A further goal came from Omar Senoussi, put through by Malcolm (is this right?). And, in the last ten minutes Dan Calvert shot powerfully from outside the box to claim his hat-trick. His shot had enough power to go through the keeper!

Except for an injury worry to Brian McGuinness, this has to go down as a good day for City. 5-0 against a decent Mitsukoshi team, and without any obvious overexertion ahead of the Fritz game the next day, City cannot complain.

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The Season So Far

By Michael Christie

After twelve games played, with ten victories, one draw and one defeat, Taipei City face into the penultimate game of the BML season in top spot. So, how has the season actually progressed for Taipei City so far…? Read on…

Game 1: An Easy Opener against JFC

Taipei City was lucky to have their easiest game of the season first. New to the BML, JFC strangely decided to field a weak team. Or maybe it was too early for some of their better players? Anyway, Dan, Dawda and company had a field day. The final score was 11-1 and that was a fair reflection of the match.
JFC improved later in the season, but after losing to the Red Lions on January 23rd missed out on a chance to claim sixth spot and with that a place in the top league for round 2.

Game 2: A Second Convincing Win against Feng Ching

Buoyed by the previous week, Taipei City struck again to inflict a big defeat on Feng Ching. Dan and Dawda led the scoring with goals galore! Some others chipped in with a few beauties, too!

(Feng Ching has done little to suggest they don’t deserve to be near the bottom of the league this season. They won’t need to worry about us again this season as they battle it out for seventh spot.)

Game 3: Mitsukoshi Give City their First Test

This was City’s first competitive game. Mitsukoshi have one of the meanest defenses in the league and City needed to work hard before Dawda or Dan delivered in the last few minutes before half-time. It was 1-0 but it had been a really even game in all areas. After the break, City again worked hard and played some fair football to make it 3-0 before Mitsukoshi scored a deserved consolation.

(Mitsukoshi have a really mean defense and keep the games tight to the very end. Nobody else has come close to beating Mitsukoshi 3-1. Dan and Dawda were in excellent form in this game. The results tell us Mitsukoshi beat Fritz 2-1 and drew 2-2 with Bulien. Apart from losing to City, Mitsukoshi were beaten 1-0 by Dentway. They also got a few 0-0 draws against lower-ranking teams. They are as hard to score against as Bulien and Fritz but less likely to score goals – only ten in eight games this season. Anyway, they are certainly capable of beating anybody in this league. With the acquisition of a really good striker, they might be giants!)

Game 4: City Stumble and Fall against Bulien

After four straight wins, Taipei City suffered a well-deserved defeat against the under-regarded Hong Min Bualien. Lateness and arrogance (thinking we could still perform against a football team just by making sure we turned up a few minutes before kick-off) were the undoing of City. Credit should not be taken away from Hong Min. They were clearly the better side and deserved the 3 points on the day. Every Taipei Citizen who came to the game was justifiably upset and disappointed with himself. This was a low point for everybody connected to Taipei City FC.

(Hong Min have a disciplined and settled formation, work hard and absorb pressure. They are good at getting an early goal and then being patient. How good are they? Well, they are always solid and are a team who simply cannot be underestimated. They will give us a very stern test.)

Game 5: City Return to Winning Ways

Without player-coaches Ross and Dan, the Taipei City players were determined to redeem themselves after the loss against Hong Min. Alex Ramirez and Dawda ably managed this week’s incarnation of Taipei City to a hard-working 5-0 win. This was another potential banana skin for City, as Dentway have had a good season. (Indeed, after beating Mitsukoshi 1-0 on January 23rd they are neck and neck with Fritz on seventeen points!) This was a hard game until City put away some difficult chances with good finishing late in the game. City really had to work hard for the win, and the late goals were the result of some great finishing, which doesn’t always happen late in a game but is great when it does.

(Dentway are obviously a better side than this result suggests. A dominant performance by the City defense, in particular Tom on this occasion, nullified their attack. Dentway will be determined to beat us and should be ear-marked as potential champions. They will definitely give us a hard game.)

Game 6: City Bring it Home to Rogue

In City’s first “expat derby” Rogue seriously wanted to dent some pride. However, City just didn’t allow Rogue to get any foothold in the game. Rogue defended stoutly but couldn’t keep out Alex Ramirez’s sweet left-foot volley before half-time. In the second half further goals from Christie and two others sealed a 4-0 win!

(Rogue just haven’t had a good BML season. This was the one and only BML game we’ll play against them this campaign. Rogue will have to try to redeem themselves by grabbing seventh spot if they can.)

Game 7: City Bring it Home to the Lions, Too

This was City’s second “expat derby” in as many weeks, but like Rogue the week before, the Red Lions failed to give City much trouble. The Lions had assembled a good group of players for this game, including the excellent Mike O’Gorman, City’s Player of the Year last season, but collectively didn’t play their best on the day. The Red Lions went down to a Dawda strike and a Dan header and one more goal from Oumar.

(The Lions look like they will make it to sixth spot, in which case we will play them again. Don’t be fooled that they played anywhere near their best in this January 16th game. If they can improve in a few areas they will mount a challenge. They also have a new forward, an American who by all accounts has the ability to challenge Dan and Dawda for the title of best foreign striker in Taiwan.)

Game 8: City Spank the Boys

Poor, old Sanchung, firmly rooted to bottom spot. Poor, old Sanchung? Poor, young Sanchung, more like. Despite having a good coach, bags of running and great potential, the new-look high school team is simply too raw at this stage to compete against fully-grown men. Two goals from Dan, two from Dawda (including a penalty he won following an amazingly cheeky dribble around two teenagers very close to the goal) and more from Brian McGuinness and Alex Ramirez put paid to Sanchung. City had a good work-out in this game. Will they be ready to forgo the “Thank You, Coach” next year?

(When they learn to get stuck in they will be a good team. Let’s give them time. This season is a learning experience for them. They are still a little too nice and like all young people, don’t know who their real friends are. Hopefully, playing against Rogue will bring out the anger that is no doubt welling up inside their adolescent minds but needs an adequate outlet. Let’s hope they kick out against the Rogue!)

Game 9: Fritz have no Answer to the Pressure of City living

There was a time when Fritz was feared for their clinical sharpness and ability to keep the ball. They would make the opposition run all day. This time, even bolstered by a few new players in different positions, they struggled to compete on even terms. City pegged them back for most of the game and restricted them to breakaways. Against most defences they would have been dangerous, but with Tom Clarke and Yunusa Njie marshalling at the back they hardly got a shot on target. City played one of their best games of the season to win 3-0.

[Round 2] At this stage the league is split into two sections with the top 6 teams remaining in the top division and the bottom 4 teams relegated to the second division.

Game 10: City narrowly escape from Hungry Lions in a Fierce Encounter

The Red Lions gave City a much stiffer game this time. With some new players and new ideas, the Lions never gave City enough time to settle on the ball, and so the spectators were treated to an old-fashioned end to end game, in which anything might happen next. Thanks to some good forward play near the end of the game, particularly a good finish from Alex Ramirez to make the score 2-1, City still had enough class to edge this encounter, but it was always too close for comfort. Dale and his defence played well to keep the Lions to a single goal. The Lions hit the post twice thanks to their new forward, who impressed everybody. City were certainly lucky the Lions didn’t have a few more performers of the same calibre as him (the new forward) and Mike O’ Gorman, City’s Player of the Season last season. That’s probably why, in spite of playing poorly, City did enough to earn a 3-1 win come the final whistle.

 

Game 11: No Sale at Mitsukoshi on a Sloppy Saturday Night

On one of the wettest days in years, City was obliged to field a team to play a game of football on a swamp, which was a pond in places. The referee, seeing that City was ready to play, tried to cancel five minutes before kick-off at six, but Ross insisted on playing. It was the right decision because the only thing worse than being asked to play in those conditions would have been being asked to postpone when everybody was kitted up and ready to play. The game? It was not football. City went 2-0 up in the first half courtesy of two fine long range strikes from Michael Christie but conceded before half-time from a well executed free kick. Then, Mitsukoshi hit long balls in hope and eventually, near the end, somehow fluked an equalizer.

Game 12: City strikers dread trip to the dentist.

On the form they displayed in this game, Dentway are surely not capable of getting results against the best teams in the BML. Actually, they have a dangerous forward, so they relied on defending in depth and the break-away. City gifted the Dentway forward a goal in the first ten minutes and then, even with most of the possession, struggled to make any effective inroads in the Dentway penalty area. Just before half-time, Dawda managed to snaffle a goal at the end of one of the few meaningful City attacks, but the evening was looking bleaker and bleaker the longer City couldn’t put the ball in the net. With the second half, City brought on Ebu and Paco. There was more fluency in possession from City in the second half, but Dentway still held out. In the end, when nerves were really being fried, only a daisy-cutter from Dan separated City from a night of real embarrassment. 2-1 to City.

So with two games left to play Taipei City find themselves one point ahead of their 3-0 defeaters from earlier in the season, Hong Min Bualien.  The two remaining ties couldn’t be tougher with old rivals and 7 times BML champions Fritz this weekend and a final day show down with the aforementioned Bualien. It’s games like these that make the difference between good teams and champions.

Murphy Brace, City Bend But Don’t Break

Time: 3pm, January 31st, 2010
Venue: Bai Ling Bridge Riverside Park

By Ed Cartee

The win streak is still intact as Taipei City make a run for the BML title, despite City not being their usual selves on this day.  The weather was decently hot, especially in contrast to the cooler temperatures in recent weeks, and many of City’s players weren’t totally fresh since they had already played a full game earlier in the day for their CPL teams.  Furthermore, one of those CPL games was significantly delayed due to a severe injury to our own Alex Daly (whom we wish the best for a speedy recovery), so a few City players wouldn’t be able to arrive until the game was already underway.  With injuries and absences already having depleted City’s gameday roster, this meant that City would begin the game with only 10 men, including Ross who suited up despite being injured just to provide another warm body on the pitch for City at the start.  With Dale Neal in goal, at first the lineup was 4-4-1:  John Phillips and Matt Wharton in the center of the defense, Alex Ramirez at left back, Spencer Pangborn at right back, Ed Cartee at holding mid, Ebrima Njie in the center, Steve Reymond at left mid, Niklas Denser at right mid, and Ross Conlon up top.  After a while Tim Murphy and Mamadi Colley arrived, and City reshuffled the lineup to have Murphy sweeping, Phillips in front of him, Colley at left back, Wharton at right back,  at holding mid, Ebrima still in the center, Cartee at right mid, Reymond at left mid, and Denser and Ramirez as forwards.



The first half was mostly played in City’s own half of the field.  The Shin Kong boys applied a lot of pressure high up the field, and City struggled to find an outlet pass and advance the ball with possession.  Later in the half, City did manage a couple dangerous sequences:  one time Ramirez put Denser through down the right flank leading to a cross; and another time Cartee ran at the Shin Kong back line and pushed the ball past his defender just before being tackled, and the referee gave advantage as Denser ran onto the ball and slotted it near post, but then the linesman judged him offside so the goal was called back.  However, these chances were against the run of play.  Shin Kong dominated the first half, City were defending the majority of the time, and only some Shin Kong miscues and great City stops especially by the keeper Neal, kept the score 0-0 at the half.


At half-time Conlon exhorted the team to put the first 45 minutes behind us and concentrate on winning the second 45 and salvaging a result out of the game despite the poor performance thus far.  City managed to do just that, aided greatly by the arrival of Dawda fatty who made a big difference being a target and holding the ball up for City.  Although Shin Kong certainly kept City honest, the second half was much more even, with City generating more chances than before.  City went 1-0 up when Steve served a beautiful corner kick and Tim Murphy powered home a header.  It was Murphy again who made the score 2-0 by converting a penalty after a Shin Kong defender pulled a hard-working Denser down in the box.  There was action at both ends as City still had plenty of defending to do, but towards the end of the match City finally had a few moments where they managed to tease Shin Kong with a little bit of possession, although City still weren’t controlling the tempo of the game as firmly as they usually do.  In the waning moments Cartee and Dawda nearly combined for a third goal off a break, but the Shin Kong goalkeeper came out well to deny the chance, and the final whistle the score remained 2-0.



Overall, City will be glad to get 3 points out of the encounter despite not being on top of their game.  There is something to be said for the toughness and character proven by overcoming adversity and gutting out an “ugly win” in a hard game.  Nevertheless, this contest didn’t have to be as difficult for City as it turned out to be, and City will be eager to get back to classier footballing ways in their next outing.  Shin Kong deserves some credit for posing a stiff challenge; they pressured City aggressively on defense, and their forwards made a lot of slashing diagonal runs which were dangerous as the City defense sometimes was a step slow to track.  Having said that, the City defense is to be commended for their dogged attitude:  on a day when they had a lot to do, they held.  Neal also had a superb game in goal, coming up big on several occasions and keeping the clean sheet with determination.  Finally, although recovery runs and defensive hustle don’t make highlight reels, every player on the City roster dug deep and made those unsung plays that enabled the team to survive a tough game.  Winning is the bottom line, but City will want to get back in the rhythm of playing well the next time they take the pitch.

Taipei City 2, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 0

Unprecedented Penalty Saves City’s Skin

Time: 7.30pm, November 11, 2009
Venue: Bai Ling Bridge Riverside Park

A cagey affair saw City edge out a resilient Shin Kong Mitsukoshi side 2-1 last Wednesday evening. In an unprecedented turn of events, the City boys had the referee to thank when they were awarded a very dubious penalty midway through the second half, at a time when neither team had yet managed to score. Mitsukoshi’s central defender was adjudged to have tugged at Dan Calvert’s jersey as he tried to get on the end of a cross from the right wing. Whether the incident happened in the box–or even happened at all–is debatable, but nonetheless proved critical to the outcome of the match. They say these things even out over the course of a season–let’s see how that theory pans out.


Tim Murphy had to wait an awfully long time before the Mitsukoshi players’ and management team’s heated protestations at the decision finally petered out and the game could proceed. Despite the uncertain nature of the penalty award, however, some were left wondering how a five-minute, on-pitch tirade at the officials by the Shin Kong delegation was allowed to go unpunished. Thankfully, the final whistle was not quite blown as the opposition’s “extra” men eventually trundled off the pitch, albeit reluctantly (and noisily), leaving Murphy free to take the spotkick. Surprisingly, he was still able to remember what he was doing there after the long hiatus, and held his nerve to slot the ball low and hard to the keeper’s right, putting his team in front.

Not long after, Calvert added a second when a high chipped shot was batted into the net by their keeper’s flailing arm. Not the prettiest goal ever, but it gave City a two-goal cushion that was crucial to them holding on to the three points at the 90-minute mark. City struggled to break down the Mitsukoshi defence all night and looked bereft of ideas going forward. They lacked penetration throughout the game and were lucky not to be caught on the counterattack on a number of occasions after successive attacks broke down.

Mitsukoshi’s international striker Johnson looked particularly impressive and was very unlucky not to score a couple: the post once saving City and stand-in keeper Matt Wharton pulling off an impressive save in the second half.  By the time Mitsukoshi scored, it was too late to mount a real comeback against a patched up City side that, by then, had lost its keeper and centre backs to injury.

The game was a cheap lesson to the City boys as their title challenge gets fully under way. Mitsukoshi have certainly improved this season and will prove a stern test to every team they play.

City hands Mitsukoshi another defeat

by Michael Christie

Location: Bai Ling A
Time: 1pm
Opposition: Mitsukoshi
Conditions: very hot and humid
Formation: 3-5-2
Team: Sam, Spencer, Christie, John, Steve, Chris, Tim, Alex R, Danny (Rojen (Alex D)), Gustavo, Dan.

The last time Taipei City played Mitsukoshi the score was 6-2. It was the same this time. In the hot midday sun, City put together a good performance against uninspired opposition. Though not without talent in some positions, it seemed like Mitsukoshi were firmly put in their place after just a few minutes. Even for the first ten or so minutes, when the City midfield hadn’t yet clicked, Mitsukoshi didn’t threaten much. When the midfield did start playing neat, passing football the domination was near total. Alex R, Tim and Chris started combining very well with short passes, cutting through with regularity, and they also spread the ball wide to Danny and Steve a lot. The widemen worked hard coming back but were certainly able to enjoy themselves most of the time going forward, which they did to great effect. Mitsukoshi sat back quite deep and tried to stifle play around the penalty box. Most of the time they succeeded in limiting chances; given the possession enjoyed by City, 3-0 at half-time was hardly cause for celebration.

The goals in the first half came from deflections. The build-up was always good, but the ball didn’t seem to want to go in for the best combinations, which is a shame because sometimes it was excellent from several players in succession. Anyway, it took sharpness from Gustavo, Alex and Dan to put those bobbling balls away.

The defensive three in the first half held their own although they were hardly tested. Mitsukoshi relied on the long-ball up-field break-away, but they only ever had two forwards on their own against Spencer, John and Christie. There were no incisive balls for the Mitsukoshi forwards to feed on and they never received any meaningful support from their midfield when they did have the ball. They were on their own!

For the second half Danny gave way to Rojen. Unfortunately, Rojen suffered an ankle injury quite early on and so had to be replaced by Alex D. This gave Spencer the chance to move up into the right wing-back position. He performed well here, just as he’d performed well as the right full-back in the first half. Steve moved over to the left and was just as effective on that side.

Very early in the second half, there was a balls-up somewhere when the City defence stopped still for an off-side decision that never came. Sam was powerless to prevent the Mitsukoshi forward, as carefully as he liked with all the time in the world, slot home. This was 3-1, and perhaps there was now going to be a game! A matter of minutes later, first Dan and then Alex scored to make it 5-1. For the rest of the game it was literally a walk. Tim netted a fierce shot to make it 6-1 and then Christie hit a cross-field pass too short from deep to gift Mitsukoshi a late consolation, but these were bizarre spasms of life in an otherwise dead game.

The sloth near the end was understandable given the conditions and the fact that many City players were playing their second game on the day, but it would have been dangerous against a team like the Lions, say. Against a good team there are no hiding places for 90 minutes.

Linuep

Steve Reymond advances the ball down the field.

Alex scores a goal.

Spencer Pangborn battles in the midfield.

Tim Murphy crosses one in.

Taipei City sticks it to Mitsukoshi

Clear day, warm, little to no wind.

Alex R. scored in the first 5 minutes.  Then Dawda scored 10 min later.  And then again 10 minutes later.  3-0 halftime.

A few changes at the half with the guys coming over from the TPL to help out. Dawda put another one in the back of the net for a hard fought hat trick on the day.  Shawn also scored 2 goals with one coming from a nice run through the defense inside the 6-yard box.

Final score 6-1 for the blue team.