Grecian tourists win friendly tournament on idyllic Greek island
A depleted Exiles squad with a few borrowed local Greek Grecian veterans pulled off a shock result (or two) to win the annual Andros Cup!
There were four teams taking part: Exeter City Exiles, and Hydrousa Veterans, Youth, and their main team.
In a very close affair, the Youth pulled off their own shock to beat the main team 2-0 in the first semi-final.
In the second semi-final the Vets took a late lead against the Exiles after some neat build up through the middle left their striker one-on-one with Neil Le Milliere, who he sent the wrong way.
The Exiles’ equaliser was even later and came from a long throw by Richard Clarke with Kev Fitzgerald challenging at the near post against the Vets keeper and a defender. The ball eluded them all and dropped to a Grecian guest whose shin was in the right place at the right time to force the game to penalties.
Most were superbly taken giving the ‘keepers no chance, until a Vets player skied one to give the Exiles the advantage. However in a cruel twist our annual host and guest player for the event, Dinos, hit the post with his potential shoot-out winning penalty.
Sudden-death arrived and the first two were dispatched with aplomb before an extremely nervous Vets player stepped up and tried to slot one down the middle. Neil was diving right but managed to twist left and get a foot to it to keep it out. Another Grecian guest stepped up and fired us into the final!
In the third/fourth place play-off, the main side managed to beat the Veterans 1-0 in a keenly contested game.
And so to the main event – and the Youth team were buzzing with the chance to not only beat a ‘foreign’ team they had seen play against their fathers and older brothers down the years, but also to play against a couple of their fathers and uncles!
Desperate as they were, the old heads kept the youth at bay with some very organised and cool play. After the initial exchanges the Exiles were awarded a stone-wall penalty and Kev Fitzgerald stepped up to fire it into the goal with a near-perfect ‘side netting first’ shot.
Nip and tuck ensued with chances at both ends and keepers keeping their teams in it. As the clock ticked down the Youth got more and more desperate racing to retrieve the ball when it went out of play but only rarely finding a way through – Frank Flores’ backward tumble during this period had the 100 or so spectators in fits of laughter. Ben Ahrends had a penalty appeal turned down and an exhausted Steve Rudawski was subbed as the joint managers, Roger Pyne and Jim Shepherd tried to run the clock down.
The hearts of the massed Exiles supporters (Julie Le Milliere, Martin Clarke, Tina, Spike and Quinn Sussex, a number of ex-pats, plus Chis Woolcott who was also running the line) were in their mouths as the Youth finally breached the Exiles defence. But fortuitously (or using his considerable ‘experience’) Exiles stopper Neil managed to block the shot with his trusty left foot – and that was almost that.
With a few more minutes played out and no chances,j the final whistle went and the Exiles had pulled off a historic victory. It was especially poignant as this tour was in memory of the Exiles’ host of many years, John ‘Jonny’ Brown, who sadly died this year at the age of 68 and they had observed a minutes silence before the game. His partner Rena, the Exiles’ hostess at Villa Rena in Batsi on Andros, was the guest of honour and wore our number 9 shirt as that was always Jonny’s number.
Jonny played for a number of non-league teams after starting at Leicester. In his later years he top scored for Yeovil in the 1970/71 season as well as playing for Poole and Weymouth. He played against Exeter just once in a friendly for Yeovil at St James Park in his first game for them and, of course, he scored.
Jonny adopted Exeter after meeting Spike and Tina who had gone to Andros on holiday and was a founder member of the Greek Grecian Connection which has many members on the island and across Greece.
Now for the Exiles, it is time to relax and enjoy the rest of the holiday on the beautiful and idyllic island and bask in the knowledge of another trophy for the Exiles – but more importantly of another generation of islanders who will be watching out for Exeter City results!