End of Backward Progress – Haladas (Away) Review

     DSC_0070  I am sure there is probably some etiquette about quoting yourself, but never mind…

I cannot see past a comfortable MTK win so I go with 0-3”. 

Wise words indeed.  But more of that later…

The Town

Whatever happens on Saturday in Szombathely, definitely does not happen on Sunday.  Well, unless the square root of not very much happens on Saturday as well because this place was desolate.  A solid three hour journey from Budapest was met with the quick realisation that maybe three hours pre-game was more than enough to have a look around.  Fortunately, we found somewhere that served a decent beer even though it was slightly odd that it was named Gekko and had some sort of reptile theme going on.  The fact that the reptilearium (is that a word?) was empty was somewhat disconcerting. 

The town was probably them most different to any other visited thus far.  Had a rundown Austrian feel going on and not in a particularly good way.  Given that Austria is less than ten kilometres away, Szombathely seems to have missed out on the wealth that could/should have poured across the border.  The town square was ok if somewhat bereft of life.  It did have this funky little building going on…the future from 1983.

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The Stadium

Take a look for yourself.  Quite possibly my favourite of the year.  Concrete Soviet bowl (small) with portaloos/toi toi and plants growing through the stands and classic concrete indoor sport centre next door.  Stadium is also built in Soviet housing estate.  One of the home stands also had a proper terrace, which is pretty unusual for home fans in Hungary.  Away section was tucked away in the corner with a classic steep terracing section.  It also had an excellent view of the nearby main road (there was not much to look at pre-game although fortunately a printer not working properly meant that we only had ten minutes to kill).

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Did you know that you can build buildings that are both grey and without windows?

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There were 13 away fans.  Would this be an unlucky omen?  Although given that I have already advertised the final score above, I shall answer this question now.  No.  The number of MTK fans was not an unlucky omen.  Speaking of omens after last week’s disappointing debut of my MTK 99/00 away shirt, I was willing to give it one last try.  Fail this and you are relegated to running shirt only my friend.  Again, you will all now know that the MTK 99/00 shirt will live another day.

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The Game

Torghelle, Hrepka and Vass (P) started in the front three.  Obviously Garami Jozsef has learnt English and reads my blog suggesting a return of Vass.  Team was more or less unchanged apart from Kalnoki-Kis coming in for the suspended Vuki.

Given the descent of darkness mixed with an Autumnal mist, Haladas were kind enough to wear shirts that had been attacked by luminous green highlighter pens.  Cheers!!

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The game started wonderfully.  Poloskei hitting one from 30 yards (probably 20 in reality, but 30 makes it seem better) against the underside of the crossbar with (the much maligned based on FB comments I read) Adam (thank you for Gyor) Hrepka nodding in the rebound as the goalkeeper stumbled like a man losing his footing on a boat in rough weather.  Raar.  0-1.  Football is so easy.  Haladas had not scored in some 270+ minutes of football so we could pack our bags up and avoid the mad dash across town to get the last train back to Budapest.  But wait…

The high-visibility boys actually started to play after Kanta showed his lack of pace in being unable to convert a potential one-on-one.  Two good/outstanding saves from Lajos kept Haladas out.  MTK basically relinquished possession, put men behind the ball and aimed to hit on the counter.  This is not my favourite tactic, but to be honest it is probably the reason why MTK are currently in second.  Hrepka was seemingly constantly being dragged/drifting into the centre from his left flank leaving Hidvegi exposed including an improbable two man overlap at one stage.

Quick note to the man in the Haladas stand with the foul mouth.  Relax before you give yourself a heart attack/stroke cocktail.

Half time was a blessed relief for two reasons.  It looked like a matter of time before Haladas equalised and I needed the toilet.  FYI – The left portaloo/toi toi is very unstable.  Anyone who uses this should be very careful as standing on the edge by the door causes it to tip dangerously. 

Vass (P) was left in the changing room at half-time (metaphorically) and replaced by Bese Barny.  Not sure what is wrong with Vass (P) at the moment.  He looks like a shadow of the player that was tearing apart the left side of defences at the end of last season.  He looks like he is lacking match fitness and/or a bit of confidence. 

MTK had a bit more of a foothold in the game and Haladas did not really threaten in the second half.  The home fans seemed to get on their back a bit and they played with more nerves and less inhibition in the second half.  I think MTK retained the ball much better, which suffocated Haladas of opportunities to attack and the game gradually drifted away from them.  I took the opportunity to start my first ever football chant with at least 80% of the away section joining in!

MTK put the game to bed with Torghelle finding himself totally unmarked from a corner and guiding the ball way on the volley.  One thing I like at football matches is that slight delay between the players celebrating and the fans realising what happened. 

Bese Barny scored a third ninety seconds later as his terrible cross alluded everyone and ended up in the far corner.  Woohoo.  Another time for a Tim chant and Gy to confidently release a correctly timed ‘Szep volt fiuk’!!

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The final whistle followed shortly after and my prediction success rate increased to 50%.  Another Poor Patrick wave put the icing on the cake, as he seemed rather pleased/confused by the cries of ’Patrick, Patrick’ at the end of the game and before he goes off to join the Hungary team for the first time.  (We love you too Vass (P)).

Now, we had thirty minutes to get across town to the station.  Oh no.  We were locked in again.   But wait those MTK fans are outside the ground.  Ah, the side door is open.

We made the train with time to spare to pop into Gekko for a takeaway beer (still no real Gekko). 

Whisper it around these parts, but I would quite like Szombathely to get relegated!  Still I will hold off on my relegation predictions until the new year.  Rado Andras was nothing special by the way and Torghelle is still not doing it.

Hajra MTK – four points off Vidi after they were held by ten-man Kecskemet!!DSC_0080

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