So this was a game that I had been anticipating for a while, but I more or less stumbled on by accident after the fixture was announced at the previous day’s MTK-Ujpest game. It was Sunday and I was off to see MTK II-ESMTK in the MTK derby.
MTK II are MTK’s reserve/youth team who play in the one of the regional groups of Hungary’s third tier. ESMTK (full name Erzsébeti Spartacus Munkás Testgyakorlók Köre Labdarúgó Egyesület) have absolutely no affiliation to MTK beyond a partially shared acronym. Still, the MTK derby. ESMTK (like Ujpest from the day before) also hail from the North of the city: the team has been knocking around in various guises for the past hundred years without ever really making any impact on the annals of Hungarian football.
I arrived three minutes late, but was delighted to find that it was a ticket free occasion at the ever spectacular BKV Elore stadium. I was immediately greeted by the sound of studs on concrete, which I found odd until I saw that about a quarter of the pitch (that in the shadow of the stand) was still totally frozen. I have no idea how the game went ahead as one whole quadrant was rendered unplayable (and pretty dangerous). Still it made me chuckle. What didn’t make me chuckle was that I left my phone (and embedded camera) at home. This was not good for two reasons. Firstly, I was now loose in the home section of the BKV stand (having previously been holed in the less aesthetically enthralling away section) (thanks to a Marco Schnitz for the photos that I am using without your permission). Secondly, I had to spend the next couple of hours gripped by the paranoia that I had lost my phone. (It transpired (as expected) that I had not.)
There were probably about 50 people in attendance including some fairly vocal ESMTK fans. Fairly vocal at this level meaning that there were a couple of guys that shouted every ten minutes or so. The game was not a classic primarily down to the fact that the team defending the ice end could effectively leave half of the pitch undefended on the basis that no attack was ever going to succeed due to the ice rink conditions. This meant everything was very congested at one end of the pitch.
MTK II are a team full of youngsters, a couple of whom are on the fringes of the first team. Szatmari Istvan has made a couple of appearances from the bench, but was an unused substitute against Ujpest. He started as CF for the reserves and has the pace and strength to suggest he could go far. He didn’t get much time on the ball and I think he will be better used as a wide man for the first team. His clever back heel set up the best chance of the first half with ESMTK making a superb save from point blank range.
The second half started with an instant goal. MTK II who had been defending the ice rink end were stretched at the back before ESMTK’s left winger found himself alone at the far post to slot home. And that was that. MTK II huffed and puffed, but never looked like getting anything against an ESMTK side who took time off the clock at every opportunity. They were excellently assisted by the absence of ball boys, which meant a goal kick took apart a minute for a game to restart.
ESMTK celebrated a victory that kept them out of the clutches of the relegation zone going into Christmas. MTK II look safe in midtable with promotion to NB II looking a step too far and a step too much for the youngsters at this time.
Previous – Northerners in Purple