BEFC pulled together a valiant 10 man effort to take glory and clinch the TML Division 2 title in a match for the ages. With key players absent and more dropping out on the day, struck down by a mysterious virus, the back line already had the welcoming of new goalkeeper Sei Katori to integrate into the team. BEFC were looking for a reaction to their previous match and only 2nd loss of the season which caused rumbles of disorder in the team unity. Unity and team work was the theme for this game where a win would see them seal the TML Division 2 title for the first time in 10 years. What made it more compelling was that their opponent JETRO had last week taken down the only other team to beat BEFC and 2nd place rival Musketeers with a convincing 3 - 1 scoreline.
So the opponent were well likely to be packing confidence and up for spoiling the Ambassador's party and not with Ferrero Rocher!
BEFC started brightly and went ahead with a beautifully worked goal. The reaction to the previous match was perfect, with everyone working hard to communicate and help their team mates overcome any problems. However more challenge was yet to come as Ballet earned himself a straight red for a Wayne Rooney style red mist kick out on JETRO player after winning a 50 - 50 collision. With the prospect of 60 minutes to play with 10 men, it was if -- If BEFC were to become TML D2 Champions, the football gods were going to make them prove it. Also at this point the captain feared his association to Tottenham Hotspur had brought the 'Spursy' curse to BEFC, and in defiance decided to Keep Calm and Crush Opponents.
To save this MOM turning into a match report (which will come), BEFC pulled together changing from the usual high pressure offensive style to a more compact counter-attacking game, to conserve energy and shut down any hope of a JETRO comeback.
They were rewarded with a Takahashi miracle goal, probably the best we've seen all season ('sorry Ewan'), but then by their own fault of trying to be too 'Guardiola' conceded a silly goal seconds before half time.
That allowed Captain Palmer to make a very British speech on the benefits of just punting the ball ('If in doubt, kick it out') and decisive play, when on 10 men and in the lead. The team banded together hard and fought like lions, putting everything out there in the biggest 2nd half of their season. When BEFC decide to defend, BEFC are very very good at it, and JETRO found this out that even with the man advantage they could find no way near the BEFC goal, from midfield through to the back-line. The intensity of the shutdown was so much it opened them up to razor sharp counter attacks as the disadvantaged 10 men raced clear to end the tie 4 - 1.
The last time BEFC won TML Division 2 was in 2006/7, with the BEFC 'Invincibles'. The only player on the pitch that day to be part of that triumph was Takahiro Yoshida, BEFC's ever passionate full back. At the time for man of the match there were plenty of players who all raised their level to stand out in the nominations. Everyone recognised the acheivement of the team, but as always there can be only one Adecco MOM!
With 60 minutes of 10 man pressure defending nominations focused on the relentless defensive shut down, and one man on the pitch examplified the commitment, spirit, effort and drive to stuff JETRO back at every opportunity. It was made even more stand out due to JETRO choosing to continually target the left flank for most of their attacks giving Yoshida no rest. When BEFC's remaining center back had to be subbed with cramp, and with no bench options for CB, Yoshida stepped into the middle and continued to battle, making numerous key tackles and cut outs.
Added to all his heroics were the constant shouts of encouragement and calls to fight, which team mates noted and love about Yoshida in all matches but especially this one. A favourite moment of the match was his rush to intercept a through ball, get in front of the JETRO striker, and follow through with a huge clearance while screaming 'COME ON EMBASSY'. The challenge and clearance was brilliant, the look of complete shock on the JETRO forward's face, priceless.
As the only player on the team who has been a champion of TML D2 before and for showing everyone the commitment and champion's spirit under extreme circumstances the Adecco Man of the Match versus JETRO, and game that sealed BEFC's second TML D2 champion's title after 10 years is Takahiro Yoshida!!