And so it came to Mladost Apatin. Alex, Terminal Disease, Janker, The Turd, Boggy the Elder, Knobber and The Invisible Man were all unfit. It didn’t look good! Come the day of the match, Boggy the Elder was in contention and got a place in the starting line up. Mirkin returned for Alex, and the might of Mladost Apatin was faced by a downcast and dreary bunch. On the plus side, we had got the mini bus back, and it was still raining!
Mladost Apatin were the superior team in the first half, and Novi Sad seemed almost be their own worst enemies, losing the ball cheaply and trying long range shots from positions were even the most foolhardy would think twice. Mirkin went off injured at half time, and Janker – who got clobbered in the first half – wasn’t going to last more than 10 minutes of the second. Terminal Disease was holding the defence together, and when a clearance from the box found Darko on the halfway line, he cleared off and made it 1-0. A few minutes later Darko found himself once again clear, and only the post denied Novi Sad a second. The second half was going Novi Sad’s way, until Zoran Ciric equalised against the run of play. While Darko has working his arse off, Boggy the Elder was having a day off, and was waiting to be switched for Nikola when he found himself in the box. Goran Habenschuss went through him like a dose of salts, and the referee pointed to the spot. The Turd despatched the penalty, and when Darko picked up a cross field ball from Boggy the Elder a few minutes later and beat the goalkeeper with an audacious lob, it became a case of Novi Sad trying to see out the remaining 13 minutes without conceding twice!
Nikola came on for Boggy the Elder, and Janker was replaced by Enigma. The team switched to a defensive style, with everyone behind the ball, and in a boring but necessary rear guard action, left the field 3-1 victors!
Three games on the road against bitter rivals, local giants and promotion favourites ended with six points and an exit from the cup. Boris would have taken that at the beginning of the week. On the negative side, the club was losing money, and the team really did seem to lack any consistency. Novi Sad was top of the table, which was thrilling. However, everyone knew it was going to be bloody hard staying there. On the return journey I told Boris that the media was predicting we could move further up the table. He nearly choked with laughter, asking how much higher they wanted us to go!
NB. As I said before, this is not my own work. It is Vic Flange’s. The original work can be found on TheDugout, right here. TheDugout is dying, so I’m rescuing the story and giving it the attention it deserves.