More teams, more problems

I didn’t see this unfortunately

Last week I left off by tying my colours to the mast.  Polonia Warsaw were to be my team in the Polish Ekstraklasa.  But with that decision out of the way, new dilemmas have, somewhat inevitably, emerged.  I faced one of them full in the face yesterday as my English team, and first love, Reading were scheduled to play at the same time as Warsaw’s (and my) second team Polonia.  Some difficult questions needed to be answered.  Should I be following Reading’s scores more or those of Polonia and, If I did neglect the Reading match for that of Polonia, wasn’t it a bit like being unfaithful?  I faced the challenge with conviction, I was ready.

On Saturday Polonia were scheduled to kick off away against struggling GKS Bełchatów at 14.45 British time and Reading were to play against Fulham at the traditional English Saturday start time of 15.00.  However, as a result of the delayed arrival of Polonia supporters at Bełchatów’s stadium due to early autumn snow, both games eventually kicked off at the exact same time.  For Polonia the match presented the opportunity to carry on their good early season form against weak opponents.  For Reading the game was important for very different reasons.  Without a win in their first seven premier league games, a victory was crucial in their aim to prevent dropping back down to the Championship.  Reading’s opponents at the Madejski stadium were Fulham, a team which travels notoriously badly but has some very decent players, including the mercurial Dimitar Berbatov.

As the matches approached I searched various Internet feeds and luckily found both games would be shown live. With this established I decided to get a bit of work done in the meantime. Unfortunately the work took me rather longer than I had planned (when does it not?) and I was only able to turn in for the second half of the two games.  As I opened up the streams I found to my delight that both Reading and Polonia were ahead at half-time.  Reading led 1-0 via the boot of Mikele Leigertwood and Polonia, well Polonia were running riot in Belchatów.  They were already 3-0 up through goals from Pawel Wszołek, Łukasz Teodorczyk and Tomasz Brzyski.  The other big news from the first half was the heavy snow-fall in Bełchatów.  By the time the second half got under way the entire pitch was covered in snow. This meant that in the second half the game was played with the wonderful orange ball that comes out in these circumstances.

So which match should I watch? Well the choice was clear.  It had to be Reading as the match was much more in the balance, although I have to admit the sight of footballers running about on a totally snow-covered pitch was enticing just for the sheer novelty value.  So I watched the Reading game with the sound up, and the sound on the Polonia game down. The half unfortunately started inauspiciously for the Royals as they dropped deep in their own half attempting to defend the lead.  This and the continual long balls lumped up the pitch provided Fulham with the opportunity to come at Reading and it wasn’t a surprise when Bryan Ruiz equalised in the 61st minute.

This interlude gave me the chance to see how my second team were getting on.  Over in snowy Poland there was an enforced break in play.  This produced the rather comedic sight of Bełchatów’s intrepid ground staff attempting to shovel huge clumps of snow from the sidelines to make sure the game could go on.  Quickly returning to Blighty, the game was going from bad to worse for Reading.  Fulham were having more and more of the ball and they took advantage of this in the 77th minute by going ahead through Chris Baird’s header from a corner.  This depressed me so severely that I decided to watch a good chunk of the game going on in the tundra of Bełchatów.  Amazingly Polonia were able to keep creating chances despite the atrocious conditions and in the 80th minute the Georgian striker Vladimir Dvalishvilli made it 4-0 with a precise shot.

But what was happening over in Reading?  At this point I though the game was up but if there’s one thing the boys from Berkshire have, it’s spirit.  With five minutes left the substitute Adam Le Fondre crossed from the left, and after Jason Roberts’ mis-kick, Gareth Mcleary fired home.  It was now 2-2, surely a point had been saved?  But no!  Back came Fulham and with a couple of minutes to go Dimitar Berbatov (who else?) put away a chance with aplomb. Could Reading respond? Well yes as it happens. Just into injury time a free-kick from Nicky Shorey caused bedlam in the Fulham defence and Hal Robson Kanu was on hand to poke the ball away. 3-3! What a game and it had kept me from watching Polonia for at least ten minutes!  Indeed in injury time Reading almost snatched victory.  It wasn’t to be in the end but Reading came away with an unlikely point.

I think I saw this

With the Reading match over I was finally able to focus on one game.  As a result of two stoppages to clear snow from the pitch, 12 minutes of injury time had been added on in Bełchatów, so there was still a decent amount of time left.  With Polonia 4-0 up surely this would be the end of the action? Well it wasn’t actually. At the beginning of the 12 minutes Polonia’s want-away Albanian striker Edgar Cani was fouled. The resulting spot-kick was however saved.  This still wasn’t it though.  In the 7th minute of injury time Daniel Golebiewski headed home from a corner to make it 5-0 for Polonia. And that finally ended the day’s scoring.

So both games had come to a close. Reading came away with a decent point and Polonia with a resounding victory. Reading continue to sit in the Premiership’s bottom three, whereas free-scoring Polonia in contrast are up to second in the Ekstraklasa.  As for me trying to watch two games at the same time, well I have to say it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable experience. I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be looking, and wasn’t really able to focus on one game properly.  I hope Reading and Polonia aren’t playing at the same time too much in the future, but if they do, I’ll make sure to choose one game to watch.  Maybe supporting two teams won’t be as easy as I initially thought.

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