Amid a flurry of media activity leading up to the match, Jade Tree United met Elany Arts away at PAL 1 on Monday, February 18.
Both teams had been in the papers leading up to the meeting, as inflammatory letters that were sent to the Jade Tree United offices surfaced in the media. According to reports, Elany Arts players allegedly wrote the letters, however, this has yet to be confirmed by representatives of either side.
Jade Tree United refused to comment on the scandal issuing a statement that “The game is played on the pitch, not in the media.”
With both team in the spotlight this week, the match atmosphere was intense from the very beginning.
It was Elany who were given the first opportunity to score when they were rewarded a penalty in the 5th minute. JTU â€˜keeper Brian Olden stopped the kick and made it a double-save when he pounced on the follow up shot from the Elany forward’s feet.
Having avoided yet another disastrous start to a match, the saved penalty seemed to inspire JTU forward with conviction.
8 minutes in and with both sides at 0-0, JTU took the led with a stunning shot from Alex Milne that handily beat the EA goalie.
Drama continued to ensue, as both teams’ off-the-ball play was rough at times, causing problems for the Jade Tree and Elany Arts camps.
Confusion at the Jade Tree back line-combined with a freak accident-saw the ball creep into the JTU net, allowing Elany to level minutes later.
Elany went one up when Jade Tree allowed Elany to gain advantage in the penalty box, failing to make up the distance and allowing Elany an easy shot on goal.
Jade Tree picked up the pace in response and were rewarded for their efforts when Darren Walters received a cross from Alex Milne in the Elany box, settled, and shot low into the right hand side of the net, tying the match at 2-2.
With both teams level at the half, the PAL was a raucous environment as supporters from both sides acting out of order and littering the pitch with garbage.
Returning for the second half, Jade Tree controlled the game, retaining possession, passing easily amongst themselves and pressing forward with pace.
Rich Emge’s took a shot on the Elany net that was parried wide. However, on the rebound, Emge was able to convert and put Jade Tree up 2-3.
Elany Arts were able to get another goal, once again leveling and forcing Jade Tree to respond aggressively, instead of merely defending.
Alex Milne eluded the Elany defenses and was able to get of a cross into the Elany box, where a EA player helped turn the ball into the net, giving JTU the advantage for the second time of the night.
In the final minutes, Elany Arts broke the tie and then added one more for good measure, putting the score at 5-4.
Jade Tree continued to keep their spirits high; attacking the goal and peppering the EA net with shots. Sadly, one by one they were turned away.
And for the second match in a row, Alex Milne fired off a shot and scored at the whistle. This time, however, the goal was not given and Jade Tree were defeated by a mere point. Dejected after a valiant performance, Jade Tree left the pitch with a loss yet again for the season.
Jade Tree’s next opponent, and the last for the 2007-2008 season will be Meet the Soccers, who they play on Tuesday, February 26 at Kirkwood Soccer Club.