FC Oakley a goal away from winning the cup
FC Oakley v El Batan. Thursday the 28th of June 2012. 21:00pm Marzagan
On Tuesday night Oakley beat Pedro Hidalgo 3-2 to top their group and unbelievably book themselves a place in the Veteranos Cup final!
The final was just 48 hours later in Marzagan, probably the least glamorous place on the island!
Thursday nights final opponents were none other than the lovely El Batan. A team that has definitely left its mark on FC Oakley in more ways than once this season. Oakley's first encounter against El Batan was at home in the middle of November. El Batan were brilliant that night, winning emphatically 14-0. In March, Oakley had to make the trip to the equally less glamorous barranco of El Batan to play the local team. It was a horrible night. If you google 'battle of Batan!' you will remember why, Oakley losing 8-0.
It shows how far FC Oakley have come in such a short time just getting to this stage. However, even Oakley's most optimistic of supporters would not have had much hope for the boys in Green and White. This was Oakley's 36th game of the season and 3rd game in 6 days.
Cup final line up:
Frank Jose Tony
David Manu Lluco James
The team were all in a relaxed mood, trying to treat the game as just a normal fixture. Unfortunately there was no Kathryn Jenkins to sing the national anthems prior to kick off.
The young referee must have been warned about the two teams history as within 90 seconds he stamped his intentions by flashing a yellow card. Club manager Anthony Boyle accidently caught his opponent with a late tackle and despite apologising instantly got booked.
What was evident in the opening stages was that Oakley were not being out played and despite the gulf in league standings looked comfortable.
Oakley proved the local bookmakers all wrong by scoring the Finals opening goal. Ryan, who was playing upfront after his 2 goals on Tuesday chased down a long ball. There didn't seem to be a lot on but Ryan spotted the opposition keeper off his line and with perfect execution lobbed the ball into the far corner!
FC Oakley 1 El Batan 0 (9 minutes.)
Oakley could not have wished for a better start and incredibly, shortly after doubled their lead! Manu, once more showed his quality by hitting a shot from 30 yards out over the goalkeeper and into the same top corner as Ryans.
FC Oakley 2 El Batan 0 (13 minutes.)
Oakley were in dreamland. Maybe the talk prior to kick off of going on the Las Palmas open top bus ride was not so ridiculous!
El Batan were in shock. Maybe they underestimated their cosmopolitan opponents and they started to up their intensity. Oakley tried to stay tight defensively but their fat number 9 was clinical in front of goal. He had 2 chances in the remaining part of the half and smashed them both home to equal things up.
Half Time: FC Oakley 2 El Batan 2
Despite the disappointment of relinquishing a 2 goal cushion Oakley were delighted with their start. Oakley were just 40 minutes away from creating a big upset.
Oakley's dreams looked to be fading when El Batan, in their goldy,yellow strip scored the next two goals. With 25 minutes still to play
Oakley were now 4-2 behind. Neutrals would have expected at this point, that the game was over.
Oakley kept battling though, and with Mark and Ryan up front the one thing you always get from the English duo is tremendous work rate. With FC Oakley owner, Mr Donat just arriving on the sidelines Mark got the score back to 4-3. Mark got his head down and with sheer determination beat his defender and struck the ball into the back of the net! Mark, playing in his last game, must have ran back to his half to restart the game quicker than Usian Bolt!
FC Oakley 3 El Batan 4 (71 minutes.)
This was turning out to be a classic cup final. You could not tell that most of the team were playing their 3rd game in 6 games. Adrenaline was pumping as Oakley pushed for an equaliser. In almost identical fashion to Marks goal minutes earlier Oakley did the unthinkable and equalised. Ryan, surrounded by 3 El Batan players ran into the box. There did not look a lot on as he ran wide on the left but he smashed the ball with his left foot low into the near corner!!
FC Oakley 4 El Batan 4 (75 minutes.)
What a heroic comeback! Oakley didn't sit back and look to see out the final minutes by only defending. El Batan looked to be on the ropes. In the last minute El Batan were awarded a soft free kick in a dangerous position,just outside the penalty area to the right of centre. You would have expected a direct shot.Instead their free kick taker floated the ball to the back post and their fat number 9 was in the right place to head home the winner and seal his hat trick. Heartbreak. Oakley didn't know this at the time but they were just 40 seconds away from the match going to a penalty shoot out.
Final score: FC Oakley 4 El Batan 5.
Oakley were obviously devastated but everybody gave everything and walked off with their heads held high. The majority of the team had played in the 2 previous fixtures against El Batan so the level of improvement was massive.
MARCA STAR MAN: Ryan. Scored 2 great goals and his overall 'link up' play was top draw.
The Oakley boys looked exhausted as they sat outside in their kits thinking about what could have been? Beers were shared out and after 36 games the season was finally over.
It only seems like yesterday I was writing goodbyes to Jeff Pilgrim and Gregg Parsons. Unfortunately we have to once more say goodbyes to 3 more Oakley legends. Mark, who only played a season, but was the most dedicated Oakley player you could find. Finishing the season with 13 goals. We wish him well back in the UK.
Miguel, the Canarian Hasselhoff, is moving to Barcelona. Miguel has been an integral part of Oakley for over 2 years and i'm sure will play some part in the clubs future.
Finally if it wasn't for this man we wouldn't have an FC Oakley. 3 and a half years ago Gordon Succliffe got fed up playing for his mainly Canarian team. He spoke to a few of boys at Oakley and decided to set up his own team,the now extinct Salamentinas. After a season or so Gordon decided he wanted to focus more on his running so Anthony Boyle took over the reigns and this is where we are up to today.
On behalf of FC Oakley I would like to wish Gordon all the best in Essex/ Hertfordshire border.
Finally, wish everyone a great summer. Look forward to seeing you all in September for an even better season and more great memories.