|8. Christopher Theodoropoulos: x1
||8. McLaughlin: x1
|11. Fernando Martinez: x1
|| 11. Evers: x1
|12. Michal Monoszon: x1
The challenges of veterans football hit home as both teams lost players to illness and injury before the match. Partisan were still calling players half an hour before kickoff, while both teams were treated to the rare sight of IFC main man Sellers pulling on the goalie gloves. IFC started the better, pinging the ball around with their customary combinations while Partisan were pressed back in their half; the Partisan defence held firm though, and as the game went on they began to look for opportunities on the break, using the pace of their front two. One of these paid off when Daninho broke free; his initial shot was parried by Sellers, but left winger Martinez was on hand to slot in the rebound. 1-0.
IFC were next on the scoresheet as a high ball into the box left the Partisan defence in all kinds of uncertainty. Keeper Valt came out to punch clear, but couldn’t get much distance on it and IFC’s Philbin was straight onto the loose ball. With Partisan’s defence napping, Valt dived for the ball, took down the man, and conceded the penalty. McLaughlin stepped up and converted with aplomb. 1-1. Partisan ended the half ahead following a solo run – one of many – by Theodoropoulos. Ignoring the calls of several better-placed team mates, he opted to plow through three IFC defenders and with space fast disappearing unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard shot into the top right corner, leaving Sellers with no chance.
Half-time subs included a keeper change for IFC and fresh legs for Partisan in the shape of Haig and Monoszon. These had an instant impact as Monoszon raced clear within 2 minutes and scored with almost his first touch. 3-1. After IFC got over the shock, cue relentless pressure and Partisan getting pinned back in their half again. Evers narrowed the deficit following a well-worked move by IFC that carved Partisan open. 3-2.
The last 15 minutes were hotly contested as IFC pushed for an equaliser while Partisan repelled wave after wave of attacks and tried to catch their opponents on the break, but there were to be no more goals. Final score 3-2. IFC Manager Iain Sellers said afterwards “Partisan deserved the 3 points as they defended strongly throughout and always looked lively on the counter attack. IFC had a lot of possession but we didn’t take our chances. The rumour that I was doing the ‘Y-M-C-A’ for Partisan’s second goal are unfounded!”
Match report by Mark Child