The Hungarian version of the seven dwarves song goes ‘Hiho, hiho, it is off to Mezokovesd we go.” Mezokovesd is a city renowned for its gritty working culture and desire to knuckle down to business. This is all lies. Mezokovesd is actually a town of some 17,000 people located between Budapest and Debrecen and within red wine spitting distance of the lovely Eger. It is also the birthplace of wonderfully named Hungarian rapper Funktasztikus.
MTK are away to Diosgyor (who the vaguely knowledgeable amongst you will know) are from the city of Miskolc whose stadium has just been knocked down so have temporarily relocated to Mezokovesd who (of course) for a town of 17,000 people have both a top flight team and a top flight stadium. Annoyingly, I had always wanted to visited the old Diosgyor stadium located in a part of the town of Miskolc well known for its rough edges and tough rhymes. Ah well.
The prospects for MTK look pretty bleak going into this game. Having not won away for nearly a year and a half in the league, having scored just 14 goals in 20 games and without Torghelle Sandor who has scored half of them. A 0-0 looks like the least worst option. Diosgyor sit one point clear of MTK who are second bottom (in a league that relegates two). Defeat and results going wrong elsewhere could see MTK four points adrift with only nine games left. The team is looking pretty bereft of ideas and a defence that has been pretty lean has now been shaken up by the retirement of Dragan Vukomir. New striker Yuri Kolomec fresh off the boat from Ukraine (it was an indirect shipping route via the Black Sea and up the Danube) needs to hit the deck running.
Diosgyor are not having a great time of it either. A couple of years ago, they were always a threat and could turn most teams over at their home in Miskolc. MTK beat them 1-0 earlier in the year in Budapest, but have not won away since way back in 2010. The team is built around Elek Akos who is back in Hungary after a year in China (he can probably retire now). A box-to-box midfielder whose grit and drive masks a lack of skill to make it any higher levels. On his day, he can run a game. Let’s hope it is not his day. Liptak Zoltan brings much experience to the centre of defence together with the glory that comes with scoring in the final of the Essex Senior Cup for Southend United versus Chelmsford City. Diosgyor started the spring campaign with a 3-0 defeat away (but kind of at home) to Mezokovesd. A very inauspicious start.
I haven’t made a prediction in a while (probably not since I realised a preview and review blog post was absolute overkill), but I will this time and you will have to trust me that if I am correct, I have not changed my prediction like a dodgy tipster company. I go MTK win 2-0. The team needs to break its funk and fast. Out of the next seven games, six are against teams in the lower to mid parts of the table. If we don’t start picking up points, it will all get a bit desperate against teams at the sharp end of the table.
This was the first time I had caught the MTK supporter’s bus. As far as I know the supporter’s bus is a fairly rare occurrence, but for a generous HUF 1,500 (EUR 5) I got a return trip to the game which on top of my HUF 500 (EUR 2) for match ticket meant a fairly cheap afternoon of (potential) entertainment. Upon sight of the bus, it was clear why the ticket had been so cheap (also there might be some club subsidies going on).
We chugged off three hours before kick-off for a journey which meant enough time for a stop or two. Having naively gone very low on my beer based luggage, the stop was welcome. We pulled up to the thriving metropolis that is Mezokovesd some 30 minutes before kick-off where we were met by the police for an escort to the ground (located about 500m up the road). Given there were 15 of us including the driver and no throngs of angry Miskolciek, it seems a little over the top. But this is Hungarian football.
The ground itself reminded me of Mansfield. Now I have never been to Mansfield, although I have spent most my life under the belief that Mansfield is the largest town in the UK without a railway station. I told someone this fact a few years ago who pointed out that this is a lie as Mansfield very much does have a railway station. Turns out it reopened in 1995, when my hitherto fact became a lie (I have strong doubts whether I would have told anyone this fact before 1995 so I suspect it was always been a lie). The winner is now Gosport. And that is my Mansfield based experiences… I assume that Mansfield Town’s stadium, Field Mill is small compact and yellow and blue and with plenty of breeze blocks. Just like this one.
The pitch was terrible. As Gy later commented of the photos, it looks like Mexico. Grassless and rutted. I imagine also like Mansfield.
Gera Daniel was back from injury. He had almost by killed by a Fradi player shortly before Christmas. And he was back with a bang, driving through the inside right channel to drive past a motionless keeper after 5 minutes. Yaas.
MTK looked dangerous going forward, but overrun in midfield. With youngsters Vogyicska and Katona alongside Kanta, there was an average height and weight of 1.50m and 50kg versus Diosgyor’s group of bearded Scandi demigods. That height became apparent as a free kick evaded all our shorties and bounced of Ramos’ head for an own goal. Minutes later Diosgyor broke and Katona’s attempt at halting the attack with a foul were equivalent to my attempts at tackling the big kid at rugby. Weak and pathetic and futile. The attack ended in a goal and we went in at half-time 2-1 down against a team that were physically dominating us (not the first time Diosgyor has done this in the past few years). It was looking bleak and relegation was now circling us like a vulture over a young gazelle with a gammy leg (do these animals even live on the same continent?).
Fortunately, that gazelle has more life in her that the vulture had an anticipated. Juri or Iurii or Yury (depending on how we are transliterating today) Kolomec pinged a ball to the wide right for Myke to head down to Kanta who found Kolomec on the volley in the area who calmed slotted home. Best goal I have ever seen was my first reaction. Upon reflection, this is an exaggeration, but an excellent finish for someone at this level. I like the way he was not surprised and a few casual high fives suggested that there might be more to come from him. But he has hit the deck running. There was more to come from MTK as a much maligned Kanta finally stood up and put home one of his trademark free kicks to send us into raptures with 2-3. Diosgyor pressed, but without looking threatening and their relegation predicament became far more sharply focused as the final 15 progressed.
I am in the light grey coat bouncing like a hyper kangaroo
A really valuable 3 points to take back to Budapest. A win against Paks at home next weekend will put breathing space between MTK and the bottom two. But that is for next week (actually for about 36 hours time because of my delay in writing the second part of this trite). The bus ride was a sleepy one with us arriving back in town to be caught up in the traffic for the Rapulogepek concert. This is a play on words with the word ‘rap’ and the Hungarian word for airplanes ‘repulogepek’. So much rap.
And it’s a rap for Horvath Ferenc, Diosgyor manager. He made it until Thursday afternoon, but no more. I have also made it until Thursday afternoon, but time for a beer.
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