Category Archives: vs. Red Lions

City Tames Lions

Time: 10am, February 12th, 2012

Venue:BaiLing Bridge Riverside Park

By Michael Christie

Another hot weekend came around on the heels of a cold, grey week, and at 10am on Sunday morning the sun was shining bright for the long-awaited encounter between Taipei City and the Red Lions. Unlike in more temperate climes, if the sun is out in Taiwan it is already hot enough at 10am to stymie all but the fittest.

With twenty good players available, Coach Dan had to keep the squad size down to fifteen, so he decided on the usual guys, naming a starting line-up of Dale Neal in goal; a four-man defence comprising Matt Wharton at right-back, Tom Clarke and Brian McGuinness in the centre and Mamadi Colley at left-back; a four-man midfield of Danny Weir on the right, Alex Ramirez and Michael Christie in the middle and Luis Mayorga on the left; and a forward pairing of Oumar Senoussi providing for Dan Calvert’s poaching. The exceptionally strong bench had Brian Fitzpatrick, Omar Malcolm, Karim Cham, Neo King and ‘Dapper’ Danny Wilkinson sitting on it.

Now that the Red Lions are in possession of some formidable players, they are capable of getting results against anybody. Of course, everybody before the game was looking around and wondering whether this would be the day for an ‘upset’?

The first twenty minutes produced some good football, with some incisive passing from the Lions’, orchestrated by their classy midfield, and also some decent moves, mostly down the flanks, involving City. The Red Lions forced corners and fashioned a few decent chances, but managed only a few clear shots. Still, Dale had to be at his best to stop at least three shots in the first half destined for their target. The Red Lions edged the first twenty minutes, although City also had one or two chances early on which could have been better taken.

Having attacked with intent and pushed up on City, after their initial dominant period the Red Lions seemed to run out of steam. Perhaps this was a result of slightly better all-round fitness and preparation by the City players. Now City began to push up more and compress the play in the Lions’ own half. This was the pattern of play that persisted, with a few spells of Lions rampant, for the rest of the game.

To City’s credit, they did not give up putting pressure on the Lions. It was partly thanks to this kind of pressure that City got their first goal. Alex Ramirez and Oumar Senoussi both harried and the ball broke for Dan Calvert just inside the half-way line. Clear but still with a lot to do, Dan ran for twenty yards, with the pace and strength to keep a chasing Lion at bay, and took the ball round the keeper to finish with class.

At 1-0, City started playing with more composure. The Lions were still able to break sporadically but City looked more likely to score. The Lions often passed the ball out to a defender on goal-kicks , but this proved to be their undoing for the second goal, when Oumar isolated a defender and the ball bounced for the City forwards in the danger zone. In a matter of seconds, Danny Weir had lobbed the ball over the Lions’ keeper into the far corner of the net. It remained 2-0 at half-time.

In the interval, Luis made way for Omar Malcolm. Five minutes into the second half, Christie departed for Karim. The fresh legs of Malcolm and Karim immediately added renewed impetus to the slow-starting City line-up. The Lions still meant to make a game of it, and they mounted some forceful runs and clever moves in the opening stages of the second half, but again Dale saved excellently to deny the Lions sharp-shooting. At the other end, City continued to put pressure on the Lions defence. From a corner, Alex Ramirez sent a ball that squeezed through the cluster of players in the six-yard area, and after a melee the ball broke for Dan, who shot powerfully and got a deflection from Oumar Senoussi’s chest before hitting the net. Oumar deserved the goal!

A little later, Brian Fitzpatrick, Neo King and ‘Dapper’ Danny Wilkinson came on for Oumar Senoussi, Danny Weir and Matt Wharton. The new arrivals all helped make life harder for the Lions, and created more scoring chances. A lofted cross-field pass from Tom Clarke found Neo in space, who controlled precisely with his chest and turned – leaving his marker clutching at air – to slot the ball past the keeper into the net. 4-0! The Lions did not deserve to lose and City did not deserve to win this game 4-0 but while, as usual, the City defence and goal-keeping was excellent, the Lions were not as strong here as they have been in the past.

City gave a redoubtable performance without being brilliant, and was beholden to admirable defending. The City defenders had covered all the necessary space. The Lions were always dangerous in attack but just couldn’t find a way through. Dale saved three certain goals, which goes to show how different the game might have been without his class in goal.

The game was passionately contested but while the Red Lions had some good moves and their best players often won one-on-one challenges, Taipei City were able to spread the play and, without a noticeable weak link, overall had the better ball, especially as the game approached its end. On the day, Taipei City deserved the win.


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.

City Get the Last Laugh

Time: 5.30pm, February 8th, 2010
Venue: Bai Ling Bridge Riverside Park

By Michael Christie

Agreeing to put the start of the match back to 5.30, the match referee wasn’t very sympathetic to the eight City players kitted up at 5.25 when asked to delay it further. Still, within seconds of a 4-3-0 formation taking the field, Dawda, Tim, Mamadi, Ebou and Yunusa arrived. Niklas also showed up, but he’d lost the keys to his rooms so he didn’t have a kit and had to watch from the sidelines.

The starting line-up was Matt Wharton in goal; John Phillips, Tim Murphy, Mamadi Colley, and Yunusa Njie at the back; Spencer Pangborn, Oliver Harley, Ebrima Njie, and Ed Cartee in midfield; and, Stevey Reymond and Dawda Fatty up front. The Lions started the game with hard running. City kept the ball a lot but the passing was slow and often predictable, so the game was even for the first twenty minutes. Worryingly, Onur Dogan was in good form and looked threatening every time he had the ball. He was an effective outlet for the Lions, carrying the ball into the penalty box. One time he outpaced everybody and only a memorable tackle from Murphy stopped him.

The City attack created some openings in the first twenty minutes but rarely tested the Lions keeper. The wide players were not used enough, and the Lions were content to soak up pressure through the centre. With about twenty-five minutes gone, Onur Durgan was through again and this time he got a hard shot off which Wharton palmed away. The ball bounced back to the Lions ten yards from the box, where City conceded a free-kick. Driving hard and low, the ball took a deflection off the wall and Volker Nagel was in the right place to poke it home past Wharton. This was a lucky goal for the Lions, but no more than they deserved.

City came back with conviction but made no new inroads after the goal. City kept the ball well, but were restricted to long shots and corners. Shortly before the half-time whistle, Dan Calvert came on for Spencer Pangborn.

Begining the second half, Michael Christie replaced Oliver Harley. There didn’t seem to be much happening when, without any great effort, the Lions threaded the ball through to Onur Durgan at the edge of the penalty box. His curling shot took a slight deflection off Murphy before it found the net. (Whether or not his shot would have beaten Dale Neal or Alex Moga is a moot point. Matt Wharton did everybody a favour by volunteering to keep goal in the absence of a regular keeper.) About five minutes later, Wharton’s goal-kick was uncharacteristically short and, unluckily, came straight to Onur Durgan who controlled and shot quickly. 0-3!  With the game seemingly beyond City’s reach the Lions begin to defend and soak up the pressure and see the match out. A moment of madness from Jan Meidinger cost the Lions a defender. Swearing aggressively at the referee for a questionable decision over a corner kick, there was no question of a card. Was it going to be yellow or red? When the referee was finally given enough room by Lions players to take out a card, sure enough it was red. At this juncture City saw fit to switch to an attacking 3-5-2 formation with Alex Ramirez replacing Mamadi Colley.

City refusing to accept defeat began to apply the pressure. The Lions obviously thought differently, though, because they took off their best player and concentrated on defence. As a result, City soon had the Lions on the back foot.
Still, the Lions didn’t look like conceding. The Lions keeper, Rob Fowler, held on to most of the City shots on target, and the Lions defenders put enough pressure on the City forwards to make shooting difficult. There was plenty of pressure but nothing to show for it until Alex Ramirez tried to cross the ball on the volley, but hit it higher and closer towards the goal than intended. The ball took one bounce in the no man’s land between the defenders and the keeper and then bounced higher than Fowler, expected – over his head and into the net. Now it was 1-3.

A quick check with the linesman confirmed there was twenty minutes remaining. Clearly unnerved, the Lions decided to camp in their own half. Newly encouraged, City pressed forward. With attacks down the flanks, City looked to get the ball behind the Lions defence. (Some of the central City players were even complaining they were not getting enough of the ball at this point.) Finally, a move involving Yunusa, Ebrima and Reymond finished with Dawda in space just inside the box. Dawda swung his right foot in a smooth arc to bend the ball past the flailing arms of Fowler, the Lions keeper, into the bottom-left corner of the net. 2-3.

There were only about fifteen minutes of the game remaining now, so how would the teams play out the game? The Lions had dug in their heels and now they had no choice, really, but to try and weather the pressure. But how much did City have left? Too much, in the end. Yunusa and Reymond were now running the show on the right flank, and Phillips and Cartee were almost equally superior on the left. A driving run down the right beating three players and a perfect pass from Reymond made it easy for Christie to finish from six yards. 3-3!

“How long?” was the question. “Eight minutes,” was the answer. Now feeling utterly deflated, the Lions did not know how to respond. With just a few minutes left, a quick pass from Cartee gave Ramirez the chance to flight a lovely cross to Calvert, who calmly swiveled and flicked the ball home. It happened so quickly nobody had time to enjoy it. 4-3. And, after a couple of minutes of keep ball, that was that. City Get the Last Laugh.

Taipei City 4, The Red Lions 3

City Take the Points in Weekend Double Header

Taipei City took six of a possible six points over the weekend with two wins in well-contested battles. Saturday saw the team face an old enemy, The Red Lions. The Lions, reinvigorated by the offseason’s most controversial signing Onur Dogan, looked lively up front and gave the City defence plenty to think about. The Turk scored two goals on the night, the second a fine finish on the turn and volley. However, his efforts alone weren’t enough to give this City side too much trouble, and they always managed to keep their noses in front of an otherwise ageing Lions’ side, running out eventual winners with a 4-2 scoreline with goals from Tim Murphy,  Alex Ramirez, Niklas Denser and Ebrima Njie.

Sunday’s game was a much cagier affair with Southeasterly content to sit back and try to catch Taipei City on the break. This tactic nullified City’s pace, and they were restricted to trying to thread short passes between Southeasterly’s tightly-meshed defensive unit. City failed to adjust their game sufficiently, and their final ball let them down time and time again. In the end, Southeasterly’s negativity became their own undoing as City eventually managed to put a couple of goals from Michael Christie and Danny Weir past the tiring opposition. With the score at 2-0, Southeasterly pulled a goal back, scoring from a penalty awarded for a dive in the box so obvious that even their players could see the funny side of it.

City added a third with the formidable Dan Calvert making  sure of the win and securing the six points they set out for over the weekend. Final score 3-1. The game was also a final farewell to Danny who was glad to get one final goal before he’s return to his native England, he’s exploits on both wings will be thoroughly missed.

City claim revenge on Red Lions

Match Report by Michael Christie

Location: Bai Ling B (the crappy pitch)
Conditions: Fair to firm
Referee: Wearing sunglasses before the game

Report: Starting in a 3-5-2 formation, Taipei City took the game to the Red Lions from the whistle. Most importantly, every forward and midfielder pushed up and put pressure on the opponent. On an uneven surface, the Lions were always on the back foot. It wasn’t easy for City to play good football either, but City succeeded in passing the ball and keeping possession. The breakthrough came from a Tim free-kick flicked on by Dan and Sean in quick succession to Paco. The pressure continued, with the ball often in the Lions’ box, although it took a special volley on the turn from Sean to put the scoreline at 2-0. There was no let up for the Lions this Sunday. The City defensive line marshalled by Tim was rock-solid, with particularly brilliant cover from Chris. Spencer in goal was authoritative when needed but that wasn’t too often. John and Matt were rocks, too. Alex and Steve both defended and attacked well on the left and right, so vindicating the 3-5-2. Taipei scored a third goal before the break through Paco, or was it Dan?

Heedful of the wise words of Dan and John, those wise old owls, at half-time, City started the second half at the same high tempo they’d left off the first. Steve was a constant thorn in the Lions defence. Early on he won a free-kick in ideal Beckham territory. Tim ran over to confer on how best to convert it. Tim: “Just tap it to me here.” Steve: “OK. Just here?” Tim: “Yeah, that’s right. Let me just take a few steps back first. OK, now.” (Steve tapped the ball a few inches. Tim looked at Steve.) Tim: “What’s this?” Steve: “Sorry, you’ve touched it now, shall I take it?” Tim: “No, that’s OK, I’ll take it.” (Tim now side-stepped two or three Lions before teeing up the ball to his satisfaction and steering it with his right. The ball flew like a plane at take-off, above the outstretched fingers of Rob, into the roof of the net.)

By now Matt was in goal an(?), Dan (or Paco) and Ricky when he came on. The Lions clawed back two goals mostly due to defensive mistakes from a clueless Christie in defence, but otherwise they had nothing. Taipei City walked off the pitch with heads held high knowing they’d done a good job.

Final score, Taipei City 7, Lions 2

Ricky helps take team photo

Early in the game with the score at 1-0

Red Lions defeat Taipei City FC

In a repeat of last year’s 1st leg of the BML, the Red Lions served up a healthy dish of revenge pie beating the reigning BML champions 2-1.

The boys in blue were up 1-0 at halftime but the Red Lions fought back hard in the 2nd half to score 2 goals and take home the win.

Taipei City did manage to score a goal, M. Christie in the 2nd half.

Photo courtesy of

Taipei City FC Defeat Red Lions to go top of the BML Standings

Taipei City’s 6th consecutive victory, a 5-0 beating of the Red Lions, came as no surprise as the team has played steady throughout the year.

The score came in quite handy, because Taipei City are now sitting on top of the league table, just ahead of Fritz on goal difference.