Sunday, 10 May 2009

Ground 111: Arkādija, Riga

I only realised FS Metta and Valmiera were playing ten minutes before kick-off, and by the time I reached the stadium the visitors were one-nil up. There was an electronic scoreboard tacked to the fence on the far side of the pitch and the hundred or so spectators were all down one side, squinting into the sun from folding plastic seats. Directly across the road, Riga's Russian-speakers were commemorating the end of World War Two at the Victory Monument, the music almost but not quite drowning out the ten-year-old kid in front of me who insisted on banging on a drum and chanting "No! No! No!" whenever Valmiera attacked. Thankfully, that wasn't often.

Hoof it, hack it, head it seemed to be the limit of both teams' ability. What little skill there was came from Metta's left-winger, who looked like an 18-year-old Chris Waddle but had the pace of an 80-year-old Peter Beardsley. Nonetheless, he slammed home the equalising goal halfway through the second half, stumbling through a block challenege as the other visiting defenders helpfully cleared the area.

In the end a draw was a fair result.

Date: May 9th 2009
Admission: Free

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