Arctic Tigers- Third Time Is a Charm
The Vikings, Scandinavian Arctic Tigers (SAT) competed for the third consecutive year into the fight for glory in the Norwegian Supporters Cup.
The last two years we have missed the play-offs by the slimmest margin possible. This year the goal, again, was set on qualifying for the cup-stage. This year, again, we aimed to have a full squad of 15 players. This year, again, we started with 10.
To update those who are not familiar with SAT and the cup. The cup is a competition between the fans of the British Island. Celtic is represented every year. Through the 22 years this cup has been around 59 teams have been represented. In the marathon table you find various teams such as Stockport, Maccelsfield, Woking and Barnet. Hull was represented once before we picked up the flag. We are now moving upwards the marathon table. We are in 42nd place before this tournament. 9 games with 3 won, 1 drawn and 5 lost as results. As England went into Euro 2012 with no pressure so did SAT this year. On Saturday the 2nd June with blue sky and 19 degree temperature it looked like a day that could bring us some glory. The teams we had to face on the green battlefield where Cheltenham, Wolves and Portsmouth
First game kick off was at 10.15 and we started, as usual, in a fanatic pace. As usual not thinking that we only have 3 subs and shall play at least two more games. SAT is living in the moment. SAT played well and dictated the pace of the game. Both teams struggled with opening game nerves…. or lack of skill. Some players in SAT struggled with a phenomenon called stamina. 10 minute into the game SAT got a free kick close to goal. The manager/trainer/leader of SAT on the sideline ordered with a smile that Free kick 2 to be executed. Neither the opposing team nor SAT knew what was coming. Afterwards we know that this special Free kick 2 is a good one. It was almost seeing the Brolin free kick from 1994….almost. Cheltenham was shocked over the flair and skill and we saw their momentum drop.at pushed on and with the lethal Riebe-Knutsen on top the Cheltenham defence had to be alert. A swift counter attack in the 15th minute gave our striker the room and time for a massive strike that songs will be written about. 2- 0 to the Tigers and the enormous crowd of Hull supporters ( 4-5) started singing ” I cant help falling in love with you”. SAT was in control but a lack of concentration ended with a penalty for Cheltenham. Luckily they found the net. After a nerve wrecking last 30 seconds the ref blew his whistle after 20 minute. Another 3 points for the Marathon table.
Sitting down in the lovely green artificial grass we summed up the game and evaluated pros and cons…… well we went buying breakfast to be honest !!!! We saw out two other opponents in the group and some hope arose. Portsmouth won 2-1. Next up was Wolves who looked like the weakest team. Kick off at 12.20 and we continued in a frantic tempo that our skills did not keep up with. A lot of passes that had no address or a receiving end. There were people on the sideline that betting which team that could make a completed pass first. SAT produced a bad game and in the 13 th minute the punishment for bad playing resulted in 0 -1.
The Tiger spirit had to be picked up again and with guts and will we fought our way through and created a lot of chances. it looked like a loss but the saviour Riebe-Knutsen again after some swift moves put the ball in the net. Final score 1-1. Finally a strike of luck looked the SAT way. Cheltenham and Portsmouth drew 0- 0.
So the last game vs Portsmouth could end an in a draw and SAT would be through for the first time. At 14.25 this historic game began. Now when the lack of stamina occurred the SAT team played better than ever. Passing and movement were like seeing Barcelona playing…..almost.
We controlled the midfield, secure in the back and pushed on creating great chances. Two lovely goals from…. you know by now…. Riebe-Knutsen and all seemed clear. BUT as always when you are in control and harmony something happens. With 5 minutes left some sloppy defending resulted in a throw in. Bad marking and it was 2-1. We told ourselves to fight and ride this out. They pushed on and with minutes left they got a corner. Some idiot (the author) used Gods hand to clear the corner (according to the bald ref who had hair covering his eyes) so a very unfair penalty was the result. 2-2 and a fear of history repeating itself were at hand. BUT the Viking spirit emerged once again and SAT came out alive. WE WERE THROUGH TO THE CUP STAGE……………….on the slimmest margin possible… same points, same goal difference but with one more goal scored.
In the last 16 final we had to meet LIVERPOOL 2. Sadly 2 stands for all the young lads that (20 -25) that do not have the contacts or age to be in the first team. SAT cursed the pre-season/cup training we forgot. Now we had to use all our experience, brainstorming, lady luck to have a chance. Hope never leaves us. The game started and continued as expected. They ran us over by pace and created a lot, a lot, a lot chances. Luckily they wanted to score like Messi or Ronaldo with spectacular goals. that gave us time to clear and interrupt. BUT finally our walls crumbled and they scored 1- 0. They felt that they could outplay us and tried to make it to complicated and extravagant. We defended and defended. 3 minutes from the end we read their game and counter-attacked. Flag flying high, a couple of decisive passes and…. guess who… came through… Riebe-Knutsen. Calmly thrashing the ball into the net for 1-1. Lady luck smiled and 30 seconds from the end we had a great shot hit the post. 1-1 was the score going directly to shoot-outs.
We were happy to get this great score against a team that were half our age and double the skills. Could we thrash their youth spirit once again. The two first rounds resulted in 2 great goals for each team. Their number 3 blasted the ball to the left and we saw hope. Then SAT second in command went to the spot and…..keeper saved it via the bar. After 5 penalties it was 4-4. The SAT first in command felt the pressure and took responsibility over the 6th penalty. In his defence….cant find any…he usually puts it safely to the left side of the keeper. BUT this time the tiredness just made him blast it in the centre of the goal. The fat keeper did not move and was luckily hit. Liverpool scored and honestly we felt happy to exit the cup. The beer sale was about to close !!!
NEXT YEAR WE WILL TAKE IT FURTHER. We need support both on and off pitch from you over there. Many old players visited this year. Joe Corrigan, (Man City), Ash Hoskin, Ian Brennan, Ian Britton and Trevor Morley (Burnley) played in the all-star game. Next year we hope that Captain Ash and Dean Windass and more will come over for this annual happening first weekend in June.
TIGERHEAD: SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC TIGERS