October 16th – Shanghai Marlins 6-1 Krauts

After a break for the National Holidays, Steve Fishwick’s Shanghai Marlins took on their sponsor rivals, Krauts, at the Jinqiao pitch in their third game of the season.

Determined to come out of the traps early on and utilise his squad of 15, Fishwick opted for an anti-Mourinho (attacking) line-up that would go on to stamp its authority on proceedings.

James Moss opened the scoring following a one-two with Peter Rosselli before beating the Krauts’ keeper from the angle. It was Moss’ first goal for the Marlins and the start of what would turn out to be a very good game for the young Englishman.

Soon after, Jamie Lally capitalised on a goalkeeping error that not only doubled the Marlins’ lead but also forced the bizarre substitution of Krauts’ keeper who was understandably far from impressed by the decision. The disgruntled goalie had spilt Tom Ryan’s in-swinging cross allowing Lally to open his account for the season with a diving header.

Moments later, the Krauts clawed one back as they were able to create a chance from one of their many attempted counter-attacks down the wings. Their centre-midfielder halved the deficit as he struck his shot into the corner following a pull-back from the left.

Not to panic like Dale Johnson receiving a bill, Shanghai Marlins once again built up from the back and looked to get in behind their opponents’ full-backs with some neat interchanges in the attacking third. Lally managed to work his way down the right before cutting back onto his left and clipping a cross into the box. Rosselli, having held his run, headed into the corner from close-range to restore his side’s two-goal cushion.

The game’s first flashpoint arrived with around half an hour gone when Ryan and a Krauts winger clashed after the former had played a pass out wide. Referee, Kevin Doherty, sent both players off for violent conduct, reducing the teams to ten men.

Despite the adjusted formation, the Marlins still controlled the game and were close to extending their lead on several occasions. The only threat from their opposition came from a pacey winger who wasn’t quick enough to beat Marlins’ keeper Johnson when a long ball was played over the top.

Unfortunately, the Marlins lost midfielder Ash Reid as he pulled up with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon that has ruled him out for six months. It was a blow for the boys in blue with the midfield producing a very composed, balanced and solid display up until that point.

Minutes later, Moss nearly doubled his tally with a delicate chip having collected a loose ball on the edge of the box. Only the crossbar denied his best impression of Phillippe Albert but he wouldn’t be denied for long.

Andrei Ghicu was regularly involved throughout and provided the assist for Moss to break the Krauts’ backline before beating the keeper to the ball and eventually scoring into an empty net.

Half-time came and only one team wanted to stop.

The second period was much the same as the Marlins probed and probed in search of another goal. There was still the threat of a counter-attack, particularly down the Krauts’ right, but the back four, which included Peter Roberts filling in at left-back like a Welsh James Milner, was well-organised.

Although, one break through the middle saw captain Jon Banks commit a professional foul which left the Doherty no choice but to award him a second yellow card reducing the Marlins to nine men. Probably wasn’t a coincidence that two Scousers were sent off on the eve of a Liverpool v Man Utd match. Although this game was definitely more exciting.

In spite of the numerical advantage, the Marlins were still a threat in attack and a fifth arrived when Ghicu received the ball from Carl Edwards on the left-wing, and delivered a cross that should come with a kleenex warning to the back stick for Jamie Gerrard. The ever-running Ironman rose like a salmon to head back across goal, leaving the substitute keeper stranded.

It wasn’t long after that when man of the match Moss deservedly completed his hat-trick after racing through on goal thanks to a well-timed run and an even better ball over the top by Ghicu. Moss showed great composure to coolly slot past the keeper and bring an end to the game’s scoring.

The Marlins extended their 100% run ahead of their next match which is in two-weeks’ time against Galacticos. That’s then followed up with a double-header against reigning champions Lions and last season’s runners-up, Century Park in what will be two competitive and exciting fixtures.

The following is a link to James Moss’ hat trick sealing goal: