Iceland still unbeaten against England.
It was all square at Sassco’s third encounter at the Stadium of Light. A loss in 2016, a win in 2017 and now a draw in the most prestigous game against our Icelandic guests and their cut and paste team name.
We were resplendent in our white Awdis shirts, provided again by Woven Inc. while the Icelanders were all kitted out in black. Pre-match from Sassco consisted of ourselves begging Jake not to slice the ball, while the Icelanders did their huddle. The first half seemed quite balanced. Sassco had the majority of the play, but clinicially were off the boil a little bit. However, at the other end, Sassco looked reasonably secure, with only a few threats. The back line was the same as last year, with Sangha, Dixon, Dyke and Gourlay. A lot of Þróttur’s through balls were a little too long, and Davey “Pie Face” Smith gathered most up.
Video footage of the game was from a number of cameras. A Nokia Lumia 920 was the main side view, but there was also a static 4GEE camera behind the goal. A Samsung S4 was used briefly for the start. When the Nokia failed due to sun glare, the action switches to the 4GEE. There was also a Facebook Live Stream video of the entire game (using a Samsung Galaxy Tab)
Midway through the first half, Aden Bannister, the most excitable player on the pitch took a ball from Curtis Newbold to fire one in and put Sassco 1-0 ahead. Sassco then started a period of close calls, where they could have added another.
Second half saw massive changes from Þróttur’s 28 man squad. Sassco assumed it would put the team out of sorts, but Sassco’s one change caused more problems; not Hembrough (who was Man of the Match) coming on from camera duties to replace Sangha, but Dixon coming off and Sangha coming back on briefly, then Curtis coming off with Dixon back on and then Sangha off. In the meanwhile Þróttur had equalised. Ótthar Edvardsson firing in the goal. Surprisingly, Sassco then equalised. Dave Gourlay, receiving an assist from Dom Brown, Newcastle’s only presence at the SOL this year, fired one in from inside the area.
By now, Sassco were a bit disjointed and struggling. A bit of switching occured. Barker and Aden swapped, while Billy and The Spaniard remained in the middle. The game opened up and eventually Ótthar Edvardsson scored again. A late smash off the crossbar, a cross which glanced across the far post and a last minute free-kick were all scares for Sassco, but they managed to hold on for a 2-2 draw.
A great event for Sassco. Although the team have played at the SOL before, playing against esteemed overseas opponents, with such an enthusiastic and large squad was an amazing experience.