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CHAPDES BEAUFORT v 1ST XI 22nd FEBRUARY 2009
Pionsat had played against Chapdes Beaufort back in October and had won 1-0 against a team that, although bottom of the league at the time, didn't play too badly. I've never ever been to Chapdes so it was intriguing to come out here to see what the return match would be like.
The first thing that you notice here is that the stadium is somewhat intimidating. A big modern and doubtless expensive building. With a building like this, the team can be known as les serieux. I'd love to know where all of the money is coming from for these new local grounds.
No grandstand though, everyone clustering around the perimeter fence. That seems rather a waste if you ask me to spend all this money and not have a grandstand. You know what the weather is often like round here.
Early on in the game a good long diagonal ball found a Chapdes player in acres of space and it needed a good diving save from the Pionsat keeper to keep it out. He managed to scramble it behind for a corner.
But we have a new keeper in goal here. According to the Pionsat linesman the previous incumbent needs to "spend more time with his animals" such is life in a rural farming community and this one is available and will do a good job. But where has he sprung from? Especially as the club is crying out for another goalkeeper for the 3rd XI.
There were several bizarre refereeing decisions in this game too - which affected both sides, not just one. There was the free kick that he didn't award when a Pionsat player clearly had his feet taken from underneath him and another when a "foot up" caught a Pionsat player full in the face, to name just a few. No question of any advantage being played.
I've never seen anything like this.
We did manage to get a free kick at one point in the game - it was awarded about a millimetre outside the Chapdes Beaufort penalty area. Now I didn't see where the foul took place any better than anyone else, but the fact that it was given so close to the area - well, it was "suggestive"
The kick itself was a beautiful hanging cross that went right across the goal. How no-one got a head or a hand to it was totally beyond me. It was superb.
Well, I do know how come at least one player didn't get his head on it. You can see clearly that the Pionsat forward is being held down by the Chapdes defender and I'm pleased that I managed to get the pic. And look where the referee is - and he sees nothing wrong with this.
Ahh well sigh.
Like I said, it must be stressed that there wasn't just one team on the receiving end of some dubious decisions. Both of them were suffering.
Apart from the opening couple of minutes it had been all Pionsat. Chapdes had had a lot of the ball but they were not offering much up front. Their keeper had been earning his money with some fine saves, but there was nothing he could do about this shot.
There was some good acrobatic footwork and ball control from Pionsat followed by a nice ball over the top of the Chapdes defence that beat the offside trap (I was level with play at the time) despite the appeals, and the forward beat the despairing dive of the keeper to put Pionsat 1-0 up.
This was a good goal.
Despite the impressive appearance of the ground here it's very much a case of "fur coat and no knickers" as the pie hut was closed and there was nowhere to go for a coffee at half time. That was what I call depressing.
There was still plenty of snow lingering around here though - we were pretty high up in the shadow of a couple of volcanoes - and at half time there was a brief flurry to remind us that winter is still here.
The second half started as the first half finished with a clear foul right in front of where I was standing. It couldn't have been more than 2 metres away. The ref played on and even I was amazed to the point where I passed an audible comment. It was no surprise that the game started to become niggly with the odd outbreaks of "afters" and a fair amount of what can be best described as "intemperate remarks" from the players, officials and supporters of both teams.
But on with the football
The Chapdes Beaufort left-back had gone off injured and the replacement was, well, not of the same calibre. So there was a lot going on down the Pionsat right wing. The Pionsat players down that side were having a good day and this was one of those moments.
A beautiful ball across the goal found the right-winger in an open field and he cut in and unleashed a shot. He'd pushed it too far forward so it was unlikely that he would beat the keeper, with whom I was quite impressed, but he had a good go and the Chapdes keeper scrambled it away.
It doesn't matter how you stop them as long as you keep them out.
We then had what I can safely say is the second-best goal that I have ever seen - the best being that which I saw at Teilhet back in November.
Some brilliant footwork again by a couple of Pionsat players at the right corner flag. A couple of nice one-twos that led to a lovely cross into the area followed by a superb diving header to score. The keeper had no chance whatsoever to stop this.
We finally had a booking too. A quite disreputable challenge by a Chapdes Beaufort defender that no referee could ignore followed by a bit of dissent and the ref did what he should have done much earlier in the game and brandished a yellow card.
I've noticed a tendency for refs here to let things drift a bit too far. They need to assert their authority a lot earlier in the game to keep things under control. The only one I've seen who took a firm line in this direction was the young lad who refereed the match against St Priest.
There was also the moment when the ref overruled the Chapdes Beaufoirt linesman and gave an offside that he had missed . This linesman wasn't all that efficient at keeping up with the line of play, it has to be said.
And now we had a moment of real tragedy. Chapdes Beaufort had lost the original left-back a long while ago and his replacement was injured - you can see him wearing no13 in the background limping off the field - so the Pionsat forwards were making hay down the right wing.
Some more nice play down in the right corner and another cross - this time a low teaser. The keeper dived for it and got both his hands round it - and then dropped it. To compound matters it landed right at the feet of the Pionsat player-coach - the guy with the pony tail on the left-hand edge of the shot and who had played in goal for the 3rd XI the other week. He had the simplest of tap-ins.
You really had to feel sorry for the Chapdes Beaufort goalkeeper. He didn't deserve this.
Yes, it was exactly the same thing that happened the last time that Pionsat played Chapdes Beaufort. It wasn't such an easy win that the scoreline suggests. Chapdes were better than the result makes out but in all honesty they didn't have very much to offer and every team likes to get a flattering result away from home.
But this is Chapdes Beaufort's 2nd XI. I'd love to see the 1st XI's keeper in action if he's much better than this one here today. Apart from dropping the cross, he had another excellent game and looked quite the comfortable custodian. I'd be happy with him in my team.
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