On Sunday 5 June the Baltic Exchange Football Club set out to defend their title as Posidonia football champions at the Nea Smyrni stadium and become the first team to successfully win back to back tournaments at Posidonia.
It was a very slow start and the Baltic boys struggled to open with the 30 degree heat and ouzo sweats from Saturday night’s escapades at the island beach club. Although no defeats were registered in the Baltic’s first two games against American Bureau of Shipping and DCC Maritime, the boys in blue failed to convert even one of their 20+ shots on target which would later on cost them dearly.
Next up was group leaders and group favourites, a combined team of Maran Tankers and Golden Union, a team that the Baltic had beaten emphatically two years ago. The Baltic got off to a great start with Tom Buckley (GFI) opening the scoring with a great finish from 10yards….the Baltic had finally scored a goal! The BEFC continued to create plenty of chances via Andrea Bologna (Howerob) and Ben Cooke (Synecap) however they were made to pay when a freak own goal by Michael Potter (Clarksons) followed from a corner. The BEFC picked themselves up and went for the win however were hit with a second sucker punch when the opposition capitalised from a rare error in midfield resulting in a cool side foot finish into the bottom right corner by Golden Union’s top striker with only 30 seconds to go.
It was clear things had to change with the Baltic now needing three wins out of the remaining three games to make it into the quarter final stages. Adam Cook (GFI) brought the team together for a do or die team talk and asking the players to forget about their defensive nature which proved so successful in their previous tournament victory and go all out attack for the three wins. The change of attitude lead to two back to back victories against ICS and Campbell Johnson Clark but this came at a great cost as the Baltic’s top talisman Tom Buckley as well as creative midfielder Michael Potter both picked up injuries leaving the Baltic with the bare 5 players to contest in the must win game against Euronav ship management.
The final group game was all out attack for the Baltic with the boys going close through Alex Tsavliris ( Tsavliris salvage) however the Euronav keeper was in the form of his life making save after save and when the BEFC did manage to get the ball past the fine keeper, the Euronav side was saved by the wood work. With the Baltic pushing for the three points the inevitable gaps were left open at the back with Ben Regan (AM Nomikos) having to make many saves to keep the Baltic in the tournament, however with minutes to go the Euronav man mountain of a striker was able to turn and shoot from close range to bring the Baltics tournament to a premature end with the Baltic missing out on the knock out stages to American Bureau of Shipping on goal difference.
The tournament carried on without the previous champions with arguably the two best teams DHL and Ariston Navigation contesting the final, with Ariston scoring late on to take a well deserved victory after an outstanding performance in the final.
Whilst the boys at Posidonia didn’t get the result they wanted, the league team back at home managed to draw against league leaders Societe Generale 1-1 in a tightly contested match. Henry Potter (Hartland) equalised with a superb 25 yard strike and the superb Ali Donald (Island View Shipping) saved a last minute penalty to keep the Baltic within touching distance of the leaders in the race for the title.
If you have any interest in getting involved with the Baltic football club please contact Adam.firstname.lastname@example.org.