Category Archives: vs. Fritz F.C.

Old Grey Fritz Just Aint What They Used to be…

Time: 5pm, March 13th, 2011
Venue: Bai Ling Bridge Riverside Park

By Michael Christie

On a hot, dry Saturday afternoon, City gathered a squad of twelve to take on the once mighty Fritz. In previous seasons, facing Fritz with such a small squad would have been dicing with ignominious defeat, but Fritz are not what they were. (It seems like they’ve gone downhill a lot since last season, never mind from when they were at their peak.)

The pattern of the game was established quite early. City applied pressure high up the field, Fritz tried to clear or play themselves out of trouble but couldn’t and City invariably got back possession. The game wasn’t ten minutes old when Alex Ramirez struck on the edge of the box. With City dominating possession and Fritz making mistakes, City were forcing corners and looking to build on their lead. Next, Tom Clarke spotted a high ball and leapt clear of the Fritz keeper to glance a great header into the corner of the net. 2-0. After this, yet more chances came City’s way. However, owing to some good goalkeeping mostly, City failed to extend their lead. At the half-time team talk, Dan put it well: with the City forward line and midfield applying enough pressure, Fritz were reduced to launching long balls for their forwards but the city defence were winning everything in the air. At the restart, Fritz briefly looked liked threatening, but very soon Dan Calvert had made it 3-0 from a low cross by Ramirez.

After this, Fritz let themselves go. Their one dangerous forward, no.10, got himself sent off for a kick at Ramirez. Then, the fight went from the match and City were able to keep the ball at leisure. The last goal from City was from Lionel Gonzalez – his debut goal – a clinical finish from a narrow angle. Bualien awaits now and surely they will give City a much tougher match than Fritz did.

The Season So Far

By Michael Christie

After twelve games played, with ten victories, one draw and one defeat, Taipei City face into the penultimate game of the BML season in top spot. So, how has the season actually progressed for Taipei City so far…? Read on…

Game 1: An Easy Opener against JFC

Taipei City was lucky to have their easiest game of the season first. New to the BML, JFC strangely decided to field a weak team. Or maybe it was too early for some of their better players? Anyway, Dan, Dawda and company had a field day. The final score was 11-1 and that was a fair reflection of the match.
JFC improved later in the season, but after losing to the Red Lions on January 23rd missed out on a chance to claim sixth spot and with that a place in the top league for round 2.

Game 2: A Second Convincing Win against Feng Ching

Buoyed by the previous week, Taipei City struck again to inflict a big defeat on Feng Ching. Dan and Dawda led the scoring with goals galore! Some others chipped in with a few beauties, too!

(Feng Ching has done little to suggest they don’t deserve to be near the bottom of the league this season. They won’t need to worry about us again this season as they battle it out for seventh spot.)

Game 3: Mitsukoshi Give City their First Test

This was City’s first competitive game. Mitsukoshi have one of the meanest defenses in the league and City needed to work hard before Dawda or Dan delivered in the last few minutes before half-time. It was 1-0 but it had been a really even game in all areas. After the break, City again worked hard and played some fair football to make it 3-0 before Mitsukoshi scored a deserved consolation.

(Mitsukoshi have a really mean defense and keep the games tight to the very end. Nobody else has come close to beating Mitsukoshi 3-1. Dan and Dawda were in excellent form in this game. The results tell us Mitsukoshi beat Fritz 2-1 and drew 2-2 with Bulien. Apart from losing to City, Mitsukoshi were beaten 1-0 by Dentway. They also got a few 0-0 draws against lower-ranking teams. They are as hard to score against as Bulien and Fritz but less likely to score goals – only ten in eight games this season. Anyway, they are certainly capable of beating anybody in this league. With the acquisition of a really good striker, they might be giants!)

Game 4: City Stumble and Fall against Bulien

After four straight wins, Taipei City suffered a well-deserved defeat against the under-regarded Hong Min Bualien. Lateness and arrogance (thinking we could still perform against a football team just by making sure we turned up a few minutes before kick-off) were the undoing of City. Credit should not be taken away from Hong Min. They were clearly the better side and deserved the 3 points on the day. Every Taipei Citizen who came to the game was justifiably upset and disappointed with himself. This was a low point for everybody connected to Taipei City FC.

(Hong Min have a disciplined and settled formation, work hard and absorb pressure. They are good at getting an early goal and then being patient. How good are they? Well, they are always solid and are a team who simply cannot be underestimated. They will give us a very stern test.)

Game 5: City Return to Winning Ways

Without player-coaches Ross and Dan, the Taipei City players were determined to redeem themselves after the loss against Hong Min. Alex Ramirez and Dawda ably managed this week’s incarnation of Taipei City to a hard-working 5-0 win. This was another potential banana skin for City, as Dentway have had a good season. (Indeed, after beating Mitsukoshi 1-0 on January 23rd they are neck and neck with Fritz on seventeen points!) This was a hard game until City put away some difficult chances with good finishing late in the game. City really had to work hard for the win, and the late goals were the result of some great finishing, which doesn’t always happen late in a game but is great when it does.

(Dentway are obviously a better side than this result suggests. A dominant performance by the City defense, in particular Tom on this occasion, nullified their attack. Dentway will be determined to beat us and should be ear-marked as potential champions. They will definitely give us a hard game.)

Game 6: City Bring it Home to Rogue

In City’s first “expat derby” Rogue seriously wanted to dent some pride. However, City just didn’t allow Rogue to get any foothold in the game. Rogue defended stoutly but couldn’t keep out Alex Ramirez’s sweet left-foot volley before half-time. In the second half further goals from Christie and two others sealed a 4-0 win!

(Rogue just haven’t had a good BML season. This was the one and only BML game we’ll play against them this campaign. Rogue will have to try to redeem themselves by grabbing seventh spot if they can.)

Game 7: City Bring it Home to the Lions, Too

This was City’s second “expat derby” in as many weeks, but like Rogue the week before, the Red Lions failed to give City much trouble. The Lions had assembled a good group of players for this game, including the excellent Mike O’Gorman, City’s Player of the Year last season, but collectively didn’t play their best on the day. The Red Lions went down to a Dawda strike and a Dan header and one more goal from Oumar.

(The Lions look like they will make it to sixth spot, in which case we will play them again. Don’t be fooled that they played anywhere near their best in this January 16th game. If they can improve in a few areas they will mount a challenge. They also have a new forward, an American who by all accounts has the ability to challenge Dan and Dawda for the title of best foreign striker in Taiwan.)

Game 8: City Spank the Boys

Poor, old Sanchung, firmly rooted to bottom spot. Poor, old Sanchung? Poor, young Sanchung, more like. Despite having a good coach, bags of running and great potential, the new-look high school team is simply too raw at this stage to compete against fully-grown men. Two goals from Dan, two from Dawda (including a penalty he won following an amazingly cheeky dribble around two teenagers very close to the goal) and more from Brian McGuinness and Alex Ramirez put paid to Sanchung. City had a good work-out in this game. Will they be ready to forgo the “Thank You, Coach” next year?

(When they learn to get stuck in they will be a good team. Let’s give them time. This season is a learning experience for them. They are still a little too nice and like all young people, don’t know who their real friends are. Hopefully, playing against Rogue will bring out the anger that is no doubt welling up inside their adolescent minds but needs an adequate outlet. Let’s hope they kick out against the Rogue!)

Game 9: Fritz have no Answer to the Pressure of City living

There was a time when Fritz was feared for their clinical sharpness and ability to keep the ball. They would make the opposition run all day. This time, even bolstered by a few new players in different positions, they struggled to compete on even terms. City pegged them back for most of the game and restricted them to breakaways. Against most defences they would have been dangerous, but with Tom Clarke and Yunusa Njie marshalling at the back they hardly got a shot on target. City played one of their best games of the season to win 3-0.

[Round 2] At this stage the league is split into two sections with the top 6 teams remaining in the top division and the bottom 4 teams relegated to the second division.

Game 10: City narrowly escape from Hungry Lions in a Fierce Encounter

The Red Lions gave City a much stiffer game this time. With some new players and new ideas, the Lions never gave City enough time to settle on the ball, and so the spectators were treated to an old-fashioned end to end game, in which anything might happen next. Thanks to some good forward play near the end of the game, particularly a good finish from Alex Ramirez to make the score 2-1, City still had enough class to edge this encounter, but it was always too close for comfort. Dale and his defence played well to keep the Lions to a single goal. The Lions hit the post twice thanks to their new forward, who impressed everybody. City were certainly lucky the Lions didn’t have a few more performers of the same calibre as him (the new forward) and Mike O’ Gorman, City’s Player of the Season last season. That’s probably why, in spite of playing poorly, City did enough to earn a 3-1 win come the final whistle.

 

Game 11: No Sale at Mitsukoshi on a Sloppy Saturday Night

On one of the wettest days in years, City was obliged to field a team to play a game of football on a swamp, which was a pond in places. The referee, seeing that City was ready to play, tried to cancel five minutes before kick-off at six, but Ross insisted on playing. It was the right decision because the only thing worse than being asked to play in those conditions would have been being asked to postpone when everybody was kitted up and ready to play. The game? It was not football. City went 2-0 up in the first half courtesy of two fine long range strikes from Michael Christie but conceded before half-time from a well executed free kick. Then, Mitsukoshi hit long balls in hope and eventually, near the end, somehow fluked an equalizer.

Game 12: City strikers dread trip to the dentist.

On the form they displayed in this game, Dentway are surely not capable of getting results against the best teams in the BML. Actually, they have a dangerous forward, so they relied on defending in depth and the break-away. City gifted the Dentway forward a goal in the first ten minutes and then, even with most of the possession, struggled to make any effective inroads in the Dentway penalty area. Just before half-time, Dawda managed to snaffle a goal at the end of one of the few meaningful City attacks, but the evening was looking bleaker and bleaker the longer City couldn’t put the ball in the net. With the second half, City brought on Ebu and Paco. There was more fluency in possession from City in the second half, but Dentway still held out. In the end, when nerves were really being fried, only a daisy-cutter from Dan separated City from a night of real embarrassment. 2-1 to City.

So with two games left to play Taipei City find themselves one point ahead of their 3-0 defeaters from earlier in the season, Hong Min Bualien.  The two remaining ties couldn’t be tougher with old rivals and 7 times BML champions Fritz this weekend and a final day show down with the aforementioned Bualien. It’s games like these that make the difference between good teams and champions.

Taipei City wrap up BML season in style with win

By John Phillips
Taipei Times
Tuesday, Mar 30th, 2010

Taipei City FC wrapped up a successful Businessman’s League (BML) campaign with a narrow 2-1 victory over last season’s champions Fritz FC at Shilin’s Bailing Bridge on Sunday. With City having already made their second BML championship mathematically secure last week, both teams went into the season’s final game with little to play for but pride.

The multinational expat side opened the scoring early in the first half with a fine solo effort from Alex Ramirez, the Mexican outpacing the Fritz defense to slide a neat finish past the ’keeper.

Ramirez’s goal seemed to act as a wake-up call for Fritz, who were soon back on level terms when a deflected shot from outside the box squirmed past Alex Moga in the City goal. But with the half-time interval approaching, Ed Cartee put City back on top with a moment of individual brilliance.

After gaining possession near the left wing, Cartee skipped past a couple of defenders before unleashing an unstoppable strike into the far corner, underlining just why a top Argentine club have agreed to give the 22-year-old American a one-month trial with a view to a professional contract.

In the second half, Fritz dominated possession as they went in search of an equalizer, but it was City who were guilty of profligacy at the other end, spurning numerous chances to put the game away.

In the end neither team could add to the goals tally and City held on for a deserved, if narrow, victory.

The win capped a triumphant season for City, who finished 10 points ahead of runners up Hong Min FC. Over the course of their 18 games, City dropped points on only three occasions, suffering just one loss in the competition that brings together some of the best local and expat soccer talent in the Taipei area.

City also scooped all three of the individual awards, with the MVP going to Tim Murphy, Coach of the Year to Ross Conlon, and Dan Calvert bagging the Golden Boot with a tally of 19 goals.

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City beat Fritz to go Top

Time: 7pm, January 9th, 2010
Venue: Bai Ling Bridge Riverside Park

By Alice Davis and Michael Christie

With lashings of rain for a week beforehand, some doubted if the game would go ahead. But the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, so it was surprisingly warm and dry when the top two teams of the BML took to the field at 7pm on Saturday evening. The preparations were good by all the City players, Dan and Ross gave a serious team talk before the game which was just what everybody needed. The starting line-up was Dale Neal in goal; a back four of John Philips, Tim Murphy, Yunusa Njie and Matt Wharton; Ed Cartee and Ross Conlon on the left and right flanks, with Mike O’Gorman and Ebrima Njie in centre midfield; and, Dan Calvert and Dawda Fatty up front. The new, experimental formation wasn’t really tested last weekend. Nevertheless, the management stuck to their strategy of providing more cover in defensive positions and nicking a goal at the other end rather than being drawn into a straight shootout with Fritz.

From the moment the game kicked off it was evident that both sides meant business, as did the referee who had awarded Ebrima a yellow card for a crunching tackle on the opposition before the first 60 seconds were up. Fritz looked commanding at first, but City didn’t lose spirit. Early shots from Dawda and Calvert helped the Blues reinforce a confidence they needn’t feel guilty of showing, and they had taken the reins from the champions by the end of the first ten minutes. Fritz, however, are not easy to tame, and the sides settled into a lively game at tempo, both looking for the attacking advantage.

Fritz took the first corner of the game, which was well-handled by City’s defence, but they kept possession and Fritz’s 18 tried his luck as he shot just over the bar. City persistently worked away at the opposition as Fritz tried to build up momentum. Their persistence prevented Fritz from taking the initiative and, apart from an edgy moment when a Fritz free kick went close at the 20-minute mark, City can be proud they looked like a strong, calm, organized team even under pressure.

The result of this was a string of chances, with almost everyone on the City side being able to have a go at goal. Dawda and Calvert kept up the pressure, and a long, low shot from Cartee skimmed the woodwork. But with nothing yet to show for their perseverance, frustrations were becoming visible as halftime grew nearer. As Calvert and Conlon tried to keep City from losing their calm, a couple of great saves from Dale ensured City hadn’t conceded as they walked off the pitch at 45 minutes. But they hadn’t scored, either.

At halftime, Alex Ramirez replaced Conlon on the left wing, but the game re-started mirroring the first half, this time with a Fritz player notching up a yellow card for a tackle on Ebrima in the first minute. City kept looking to score, and though the second half saw fewer shots than the first, play remained organized and the defence and midfield kept working hard to create the canvas for a goal.

An interesting piece of refereeing saw a Fritz player booked for shirt-tugging incident, but then, as if to balance out the punishment, the free kick was awarded to Fritz. As the referee grew more myopic the game became more heated. A foul near the City goal was so blatant everyone looked to the ref for the whistle. The whistle failed to sound though, and Dale was lucky Fritz did not manage to capitalize on his lull in concentration. He soon made up for the error as he was forced into making a couple of saves. At this stage Michael Christie replaced Ebrima who had worked tirelessly covering ground in the midfield all day.

At around 20 minutes, City finally reaped the rewards they had been working so hard for with a goal. The prolific Calvert guided a fine header into the Fritz net from a long speculative cross. Ten minutes later, Dawda and Calvert went close, but it was Ramirez who knocked in Fritz’s third failed attempt to clear the box to sew up what was certainly a deserved victory. Mamadi Colley replaced Calvert in the final minutes giving the Fritz defence more fresh legs to worry about. Solid teamwork was the backbone of this display, and all City’s players ought to congratulate themselves on a motivated, confident performance that had plenty of moments magic. A well-earned three points puts City two points ahead of their skilled opponents.

The defence held strong and the midfield always provided the cover to stifle the Fritz forwards. The spaces were unusually restricted so both teams had to be precise with their passing in all areas of the park. Eventually, Taipei City showed more dynamism and had more of the element of surprise going forward. Taipei City were the better team on the night. With a performance like that, some people were asking how we lost to Rogue earlier in the season. The answer is Rogue were the better team on the day, a lesson in preparation that City need to take into every game they play.

Fritz puts the icing on the BML cake

by Michael Christie

Location: Bai Ling A
Time: 4pm
Conditions: Wet and muddy

Starting Line-up: Steve, John, Tim, Christie, Spencer, Jamaican Ollie, Canadian Ollie, Alex R, Danny, Dan, Gustavo
Subs: 0

A Game of Two Halves:
There was a good shape to City as they begun the game. The midfield settled early and were able to thread quick balls all around the park. The midfield and forwards worked extremely hard to keep Fritz penned in deep. This compressed the play and put Fritz under a lot of pressure so Dan and Gustavo were frequently able to intercept the ball and renew the attack. The two Ollies won a lot of the ball and Alex never stopped harrying. Spencer and Danny were also sharp picking up loose balls. Both were able to cut in or break out wide and do good work. It was very hard work, though, because Fritz are an extremely good passing side. That was in the first half, because the second half was a different story.
For the first ten minutes, City were more direct going forward. Without creating any clear chances City kept most of the possession and kept Fritz on the back foot. It was Fritz who struck first, though. Working the ball to the left flank, the winger stroked a low, crisp cross-field pass toward the league’s sponsor, Billy, who dummied by letting the ball through his legs into the path of an oncoming Fritz midfielder. A sharper defender would have intercepted between Billy and the actual recipient, but Christie’s foot was an inch too short. The Fritz player deserves credit for a good first touch and being strong enough to resist a strong challenge from Tim as he finished. 1-0 to Fritz.
A goal down from nowhere, City set about putting the match to rights. The reply was almost immediate, City working the ball into the danger zone. It came out but only as far as Canadian Ollie, who fed Spencer. Spencer’s cross was finished well by Danny from a tight angle at the far post. 1-1.

It was following the goal that City enjoyed their best football of the match. For at least fifteen minutes it seemed like every move ended in a credible chance. Unfortunately, only that one chance was converted.
Towards the end of the second half, some Fritz player took a punt at the City goal from a long way out. It was a bit of an insult, really, except that this time by an outrageous fluke it squeezed through Steve’s hands. If it had been a more dangerous shot it wouldn’t have gone in. Nevermind, City still played the better football up to the half-time whistle. 2-1 to Fritz.
In the second half, Spencer stepped in between the posts for Steve, who took up Spencer’s first-half position on the right flank. If the first half had belonged to City, now the second half was all Fritz. The first ten minutes were predictably rocky, with Fritz looking to put on the pressure. The game was still fairly even, until a strange refereeing decision gave Fritz a free-kick outside the box. It was taken before the referee had given any signal, hit the bar and bounced kindly for the senior referee, turning out for his employers in a player’s shirt for a change, who gratefully headed the ball into the net, 3-1 to Fritz.
From here the performance from City was mostly downhill. It wasn’t so much a lack of effort as a lack of nous. The movement dropped off and nearly every player held on to the ball too long. Credit goes to Danny and Alex R for continuing to perform well in these circumstances. John and Canadian Ollie also deserve a mention for continuing to do a good job.

Halfway through the half, Tim swapped his sweeper’s role for Jamaican Ollie’s defensive midfield action. Rescussitation for City, however, was a forlorn hope. The short, threaded balls which had worked so well in the first half were now quickly pounced on by the sharper Fritz players. There’s no point dwelling on the second half performance, except to say that City had obviously run out of steam.

Near the end, Fritz’s fastest player thought he’d have a last effort at Christie and this time he beat him – a little too easily. He got to the byeline and set it up for one of three who were waiting. This was 4-1, perhaps flattering on the day but Fritz had won.

Shaking hands at the start of the game

Halftime

2nd place

1st place

Fritz 3, Taipei City 1

After a long Chinese New Year break, the boys in blue suffer a bad defeat to Fritz.

To quote Michael Christie’s email:

“In possession, City gave the ball away too easily. Only Ebu was able to impose himself on the game going forward, otherwise the passing was either too predictable, in which case Fritz easily intercepted, or wayward. There was hardly any play, just negative possession at best and frantic punting it forward at worst.

Worse than this, there was little covering from midfield. For both the second and third Fritz goals they had a free man. Whether the tactics had anything to do with this is a moot point. The players on the field simply didn’t have the energy or the tactical sense to track back when they should have. It made Fritz look much better than they really are.

The second half was not all glorious football from City. There could have been more width and both wide players were underused, but however that may be it was a massive improvement on the first half.”

Sean did manage to score for Taipei City, a singular bright point to the day.

Team lineup before the game.

Taipei City Wins the BML Championship

After a long grueling season, Taipei City finishes at the top of the BML after defeating the current champions, Fritz.

Read the report in the Taipei Times.

Team Lineup

Alex Daly goes in for a tackle

Wes takes a shot on goal

Steve and Ross celebrating the winning goal

Expat soccer team hoping to make history

By Tony Phillips
Taipei Times, Staff Reporter

Taipei City FC are on the verge of making a little bit of history as they prepare for a game which, should they win, could see them become the first expat team to claim the Businessmen’s Soccer League (BML) title for 16 years.

The feat would be all the more remarkable as the side are in their first season, and their initial campaign started unpromisingly, as joint club captain Ross Conlon recalls.

“After our first four games we only had four points, but we haven’t dropped a point since,” says Conlon, a 26-year-old Irishman from Ennis, County Clare.

The teething problems came from trying to get a new group of players to gel and from searching for the right playing formation.

“We started out with 4-4-2 but it was too defensive,” says 31-year-old Englishman Dan Calvert, the other club captain. “Most of our players are good going forward, so we switched to 3-5-2.”

Taipei City have their roots in long-standing expat side Taipei Animals, who both Conlon and Calvert played for.

“There were some differences of opinion — over tactics, the way forward,” Calvert recalls. “We decided to set up our own side but we still have good relations.”

The Animals play in the Tavern Premier League (TPL), composed almost exclusively of expat teams, while City stayed in the BML, which, apart from City and one other side, is made up of all-Taiwanese teams.

“The standard of play in the BML is better overall than in the TPL,” Conlon says. “There is a fair amount of overlap though, as most of our players also play for TPL sides.”

“There are eight expat teams playing in the TPL, so the talent pool is diluted between the clubs, but many of the best players in the league play for us too,” Calvert says.

Part of the reason for the split was a desire by Conlon and Calvert to be as competitive as possible and play at the highest standard they could.

“We aspire to be one of the best teams in Taiwan, not just the best expat team,” Conlon says.

The BML is one level below the top tier of Taiwanese soccer but still includes clubs able to field former Taiwanese internationals and, indeed, proficient expat players like Calvert, once on the books of English professional side Peterborough United, and Conlon, who played for highly rated Irish junior side Avenue United.

The style of play is another thing that marks the leagues apart.

“Teams in the BML tend to keep the ball on the floor, they pass and move,” Conlon says. “Expat teams tend to play more of a long-ball game and the TPL is probably slightly more physical.”

The BML is a national league, although all matches are played in the Taipei area because of superior facilities and the fact that it’s where most of its clubs are based.

Taipei City’s final game of the season on Sunday week is a winner-take-all clash against league leaders Fritz FC. Fritz are firm favorites to win their penultimate game this weekend, which would leave them three points clear at the top of the table.

Should City beat Fritz the title could come down to goal difference. As things stand, City have the edge on this score so things couldn’t be poised more tantalizingly.

Win, lose or draw, City have good cause to be pleased with the way things have gone in their first season. Even so, there is no chance of them resting on their laurels.

Although they lack Taiwanese players at present, it’s a situation City hope to remedy. Probably the most encouraging avenue for progress is young players.

Calvert coaches local children and hopes that some will eventually strengthen City’s ranks.

He is cautiously optimistic about the future of soccer in Taiwan, having been impressed by the standard of the kids he has worked with, but believes the game needs a higher profile before it can compete on a more equal footing with basketball and baseball.

City’s final game of the season against Fritz FC takes place at Bai Lin Bridge in Shilin, Taipei, on March 23. Kick off is at 4pm.

Taipei Times Article

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