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April 20th, 2003 -  Aegean Hawks 0 UAE 2
The Scottish phrase "for f#$ks sake referee" is one that comes to mind in describing the Hawks third game of the season against league rival UAE. In a fairly balanced game where both teams threatened, UAE came out on top with more than a little help from a eerily biased officiating crew. The game started well for the Hawks, who dominated the first 15 minutes of the game with crisp passing and a coordinated attack down the flanks. Newcomers Alan Golden and Alun Oliver orchestrated the attack from the center of the pitch, and veteran Richard Shaheen set the tone with strong defensive pressure to set up several dangerous Hawk attacks in the opening stanza of the match. The first half continued with the Hawks getting the better of the play, but with UAE slowly building confidence and threatening with an increasingly accurate short passing game that began to threaten the Hawks defense.

The second half saw momentum swing in favor of the opponents, who were unforunately helped out by atrocious officiating. A particularly horrendous non-call on a clear offsides led to the first goal by UAE in the 55th minute. The officiating crew was terrible all game long, and while the Hawks were clearly most effected, UAE could also claim righteous anger of several lost calls. After the first UAE goal, the Hawks battled back, but were unable to find the net after several solid scoring chances. UAE scored again after exploiting the Hawks defense with a beautiful passing sequence, but marred by a foul by the opposing striker in the box which allowed said UAE player to calmly slot home a low shot passed incensed keeper Irving Williams. The Hawks pressed hard after the second goal, regaining control of the tempo and pressing the UAE keeper to make several saves.

This game could easily have gone in the Hawks favor with the effort put out by the team, but a little luck and a particularly biased officiating crew saw UAE victorious. In all, the Hawks played fairly well and should have been rewarded with a couple of netters, but such is life in the beautiful game. The Hawks had many players at the game, and the constant flow of substitutions hurt the ability of the team to establish a rythm that would lead to victory. Congrats to all the players for making considerable sacrifices in PT. Irving Williams showed that he is a more than capable backup keeper, and he did not have to make any saves on the day. Both goals were the only clear opportunities (one clearly illegal) that UAE could muster in the game, and they both found home. The Hawks look to next week's opponents, Rangers FC, to regain their scoring touch.

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Scorers
UAE - 55', 75'
Assists
N/A
Saves
I. Wiliams - 4

 

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