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September 14th 2014 – Shanghai Marlins 3-3 Shanghai 2000

The first game of the new season took place at Carl’s hallowed turf in Century Park. Looking to get off to a winning start, the new look Shanghai Marlins were up against a fit, fast and young Shanghai 2000…plus a couple of Chinese muppets. The boys in blue got off to a poor start after just a few minutes when the young striker for Shanghai 2000 turned in the box and rolled the ball home. It wasn’t long though until the Marlins equalised with ex-Gremio striker, Zhu, scoring on his debut with a curling shot into the far corner. But minutes later, 2000 took the lead again as the Marlins were struggling for fluidity and shape. Two-one became 3-1 when the Chinese midfielder – who had the face of a bulldog chewing a wasp – clipped a freekick over the wall and just under the bar. As half-time approached, the Marlins got a vital goal back, again from Zhu. Despite stupid protests, the goal was given and at the break it was 3-2 to Shanghai 2000.

The Marlins started the second half well as they went in search of an equaliser. That eventually arrived when Zhu – like Fabrizio Ravanelli on his Boro debut (that mention is for Gerrard) – completed his hat-trick. The passionate striker did it in style too, as he turned one defender before running between two others and toe-punting a sharp finish at the near-post! At 3-3 the game was on a knife edge and both teams were quite rightly going for the win. Shanghai 2000 hit the post with a lucky bounce from a divot in the pitch while Zhu hit the post and then the bar in the final few minutes with two separate attempts. Unfortunately for Shanghai Marlins, they couldn’t find a winner and were left to rue another opening day draw. They’ll be looking to take out their frustrations on their next opponents when they take on the Bulls on Sunday. Man of the match honours quite rightly went to Zhu, who will be hoping to maintain his form right through the season.

Special mention for Jamie Gerrard who will be competing in a triathlon in Shandong this Saturday. Good luck fella!

October 19th – Shanghai Marlins 14-0 AVL Galacticos

After a three-week break or three Watford managers, the Marlins took on Galacticos in only their third game of the season. Anticipating a more difficult encounter than previous seasons, the Marlins let the gaffer do a Brian McDermott and take the weekend off. With a minor army of players that would only be matched by Japan, Shanghai Marlins took to the field knowing that there was plenty of strength and depth in the side. After controlling the opening few minutes, the Marlins – in their white away kit – took the lead when Pete Rosselli drilled his effort into the far corner. Straight from kick off it was 2-0 when Rosselli played strike partner, Zhu, through on goal and he made no mistake as he struck high into the roof of the net. Given the seconds that took place between the opening two goals, it was no surprise that Galacticos’ heads dropped and Shanghai Marlins grew in confidence. It was three when Rosselli dropped his good shoulder before scoring and then four when Gerrard tapped the ball home before hitting the post even harder. The post lost. Zhu made it five with a lofted finish from Rosselli’s cross before completing his first half hat-trick with another well-taken finish. With John allowed enough time to throw his visa (apparently heading for a round of golf afterwards) on the ball whenever it came near him, the defence in complete control, midfield dominating the ball while making incisive passes and the strikers regularly linking up, it was no wonder  Galacticos were having such a difficult game. And like Pele on viagra, it got even harder when Zhu supplied Rosselli with an unorthodox finish from close range and Gui struck from outside the area to make it eight before half-time.

Given the numbers, it was important for there to be plenty of squad rotation and to ensure the tempo didn’t drop during the second half despite the game already being won. The fresh legs made sure that the Marlins didn’t rest on their laurels as they went in search of more goals. Zhao got his name on the scoresheet with a cool finish and Zhu took the team’s tally into double figures. Rosselli was presented with an open goal thanks to Zhu’s unselfish play, which he scored. It was then 12-0 when Rosselli scored the rebound following James’ initial effort. Lucky 13 was scored by James after he dribbled past a couple of cones before finding the far corner from the sort of angle that would make Sylvain Wiltord proud! Zhu grabbed his fifth and the team’s fourteenth with another mazy run beyond some static defenders and a calm finish.

That completed the scoring but there was still ample time between the goals for Will to show off his new triangular haircut as he headed wide, James proved his goal of the season was a swinger with the left-foot while Gui was giving everyone a lesson in French swearing…merde! Special congratulations to Dave, Will and Banksy (the three hacketeers) for doing a Yaya Toure and not receiving any sort of card! A great win and an uneasy game to be motivated for but it’s always good to improve the fitness and goal difference, especially as the league this season appears to be less predictable than before.

Up next are Super 48 and Shanghai Marlins will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the table with another three-points!



Marlins back in action!

Shanghai Marlins FC finally kicked off their 2023/14 SPL campaign with a tough looking fixture against Japan. With the core of last season’s squad still with the club, the squad had a familiar look to it, bolstered by a few new additions. New signings Will Doar, Hamish Richie and Michael Yang were on the bench, along with Shanghai Shooters supremo Roland “Zippy” Broughton. As the massive (in numbers) Japanese squad ran through their impressive warm up routine, the Marlins concentrated on staying cool in the 30+ degree heat.

As expected the Japanese started at a fast pace, playing a high line and pressing Marlins every time they had possession. With both teams packing the midfield, chances were few and far between, the best falling to Croatian striker Fedja Selimovic who narrowly missed the target after a fine backheel layoff from Pete Rosselli. There were also some good interchanges of play between captain Jon Banks and footballing trickster Mike “McGoo” McGirr, with Gui LeClerq going close at the end of one slick move.

Marlins suffered a setback around the half hour mark when they lost winger Jonny Dicken to a hamstring injury, giving new boy Hamish the chance to make his debut. Centre back Lee McCluckie then picked up the game’s only yellow card, as the Japanese changed almost their entire team and pushed for the opening goal. Marlins defended comfortably however, and retreated to the shade of the clubhouse at half time reasonably pleased with their first half performance. Half time 0-0.

The start of the second half saw American holding midfielder Will Doar make his debut in place of Captain Banks,  and as the heat and pace of the game took it’s toll, Marlins manger Steve Fishwick rotated the squad to try and find the breakthrough goal. Youngsters Alex Hull and Luke Jones brought much needed fresh legs to the midfield, and jet lagged full back Tom Housden was replaced by Marlins stalwart Dan Griffiths. Upfront, the experience and footballing brain of Broughton were starting to create some half chances, whilst at the back keeper Dale Johnson had a couple of anxious moments dealing with the Japanese long ball game.

It was starting to look as if the game would finish goal-less, when an inspired double substitution gave Marlins the lead. Within seconds of being reintroduced into the game, Selimovic and McCluckie combined for the opening goal. Awarded a free kick on the left, Fedja’s inch-perfect delivery was met by a towering header from McCluckie which flew into the Japanese net. 1-0 Marlins, and scenes of wild excitement and bizarre  goal celebrations ensued.

Faced with defending their hard won lead, Marlins initially kept the Japanese penned back in their own half, with Hull going close direct from a corner. Japan then brought on another set of fresh players, and with Marlins pressed deeper and deeper, Fishwick reintroduced Banks to shore up the tiring midfield. It looked as if Marlins would hold on to take all 3 points, but with 5 minutes left Japan found their equalizer. A great run from their attacking midfielder looked a certain goal until left back Dave Watson intercepted with a fantastic last-ditch challenge. Unfortunately the ball broke free to another Japan striker who slotted home to give them a share of the points.

With no further chances the game finished 1-1. Overall a fair result against a team who will be very difficult to beat this season. Good defensive performances for Marlins from Adam Christy and Simon Moore, and a mention for the referee who controlled the game well. We now have a 3 week break until the league resumes, hopefully with some cooler weather.