Jungnang Mustang Chorus v Seoul Martyrs, Saturday 24th March 2012, 1pm

The third tier Challengers League expanded from sixteen to eighteen teams this season with the additions of Jungnang Mustang Chorus and Paju Citizen. Seoul based Jungnang Mustang Chorus are owned by a firm of lawyers who are apparently keen to use their involvement in the league to help them in their quest to represent players. I’ve no idea whether they have any top-level footballers on their books yet, but I’d imagine that the most likely opportunity that anyone would have of making money out of the lads in the third division would be if one team bus crashed into another at the traffic lights and sparked a flurry of whiplash claims.

However, whatever the motives of the owners, more teams means more options for watching a game and so Jen and I got the Jungang line subway toYangwon. We came out of the subway on the wrong side and had a bit of wandering about, but the pitch is right next to the Jungnang Camping Ground and only about three hundred yards from the station, following the route of the railway line.

I reckon the camping ground means that it could be a great fixture for away fans who fancy making  a weekend of it. It’s an ideal location for survival enthusiasts like Bear Grylls too, with all those big city five star hotels close by if it gets a bit chilly during the night. Today’s visitors were Seoul Martyrs though and so I doubt that many of the visiting fans would have brought their tents with them.

We’d left home a little bit late as I’d got the kick-off time wrong again, and so by the time we had messed about on the wrong side of the railway tracks for ten minutes the game was well underway.

The view as you arrive from the direction of the station.

We arrived just in time to see Seoul Martyrs take the lead. That was a bit of a turn-up, Jungnang had won their only game to date whilst the visitors had lost both of their league games and had suffered an eight goal beating at the hands of a student team in the cup the week before.

It got even stranger a few minutes later as the visitors got a second goal. At that point I was sure that the legal bods in the Mustang Chorus back-office would be frantically searching for the termination clause in the league constitution that would enable them to return to spending their Saturday afternoons chasing ambulances rather than lost causes.

It's Billy Ashcroft! He was subbed before half-time though.

At half time I met up with Foggy and Clegg, a couple of fellow lower league enthusiasts. Foggy is a fan of the Martyrs and after I’d congratulated him on his team’s performance he was able to put me straight as to which team were which. I’d got them the wrong way around. Jungnang Mustang Chorus were in the yellow and Seoul Martyrs, who were in red, were actually losing by two goals rather than winning. Despite my mistake, I reiterated my congratulations on their performance anyway as it was still an improvement on their usual four goal deficit by that stage of a game. I blame the scoreboard for my confusion, which used the American system of showing the away team’s score first. That and senility, of course.

The view looking towards the Camping Ground.

In the second half I was able to cheer the right team on, after all you can’t be rooting for the lawyers. Well, not unless they are appealing on your behalf against the death penalty. Or a parking ticket. Or indeed, against the Premier League deducting three points from your team and causing them to be relegated for something that had been accepted as an ‘honest error’. Bunch of bastards. Contrast that with the deliberate dishonesty and deceit shown by West Ham over Tevez and the Premier League decision not to deduct points from Trevor Brooking and his chums because ‘the fans would suffer’. Bunch of bastards, indeed. I’m not still bitter, as I’m sure you can tell. Still, looking on the bright side, West Ham have to put up with Fat Sam these days, which does bring a smirk to my face more often than it really should.

So, I suppose what I’m getting at is that there probably are a few times whan you could back the lawyers, however today wasn’t one of them.

I liked the stand, although it didn't provide much protection from the snow.

My properly directed support must have made a difference as Seoul pulled a goal back straight after the restart. I suspected that a few of the Martyrs players had also been told at half-time that they were the team in red rather than yellow, as a lot more of their passes were going to team-mates rather than the opposition. The occasion wasn’t helped by the changing weather. We had the odd sunny spell interspersed with snow showers. I’d brought a few cans of beer inside a cool-bag on the premise of keeping them chilled. In reality though, the cool-bag served the purpose of preventing the beer from freezing.

And that's the view of the end with the new houses.

The Martyrs had a few chances to equalise as the game went on, but the better chances fell to the home side who seemed incapable of placing a shot anywhere other than straight at the visiting keeper. There were no more goals in the second half and the win for Jungnang maintained their hundred per cent record. Martyrs, on the other hand, maintained their own record of having lost every game this season and remained bottom of the league.

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