Gyeongju HNP v Yongin City, Wednesday 1st May 2013, 3pm

0 - opening shot

Wednesday was a public holiday so I knocked off work early on Tuesday afternoon and Jen and I caught the train to Singyeongju. It’s the newish KTX station on the edge of Gyeongju and it means that you can be there in not much more than two hours from Seoul. You’ve then got to take a cab into town but it still makes it a lot quicker than getting the train to the old Gyeongju station or catching a bus.

Our cab dropped us at the bus terminal where they are plenty of motels. We went for the Dollar Motel, although at 50,000 won its name was somewhat misleading. For our money we got a smart room, fast wi-fi and a packet of condoms carefully presented in a stand on the bedside table.

The Dollar Motel, Gyeongju.

The Dollar Motel, Gyeongju.

The following afternoon we walked for half an hour up to the stadium. We’d been there as recently as six weeks ago to watch an FA Cup first round game featuring fourth tier Gyeongju Citizen and so it would have been a little disappointing if we’d managed to get lost.

Photobombed by an old lady and her dog.

Photobombed by an old lady and her dog.

Gyeongju Hydro and Nuclear Power moved to Gyeongju at the start of the season. Previously they had been Daejeon Hydro and Nuclear Power. I’ve a feeling that with a team already playing in Gyeongju then the new fellas are unlikely to attract many locals. Not to worry though, there’s always the option of busing in one hundred and fifty employees for a team-building day out.

Whilst if I had worked there I wouldn’t be too keen on giving up my public holiday, I can think of worse team-building activities than an afternoon at the football. As you would expect, they all showed commendable enthusiasm, waving flags, banging inflatable sticks together, blowing vuvuzelas and proudly wearing matching tee shirts.

"We all love our jobs!!"

“We all love our jobs!!”

I’d estimate there were another seventy or so people sat in the main stand apart from those seeking to improve their career prospects and that left the rest of the bowl to Jen and I. We’d watched the first of the new seats being installed six weeks ago and now that it was finished it looked very impressive. Completely pointless, but impressive nevertheless.

Never to be sat on.

Never to be sat on.

Hydro Nuclear Power were in red shirts and shorts whilst Yongin wore all blue with a red trim. The teams seemed fairly evenly matched over the opening half hour, although with them occupying third and fourth places in the table I suppose that’s not too surprising.

Ten minutes before half time the ref awarded the home side what I thought to be a fairly dodgy penalty. We then had a four minute hold up whilst the ref and fourth official argued with the Yongin bench. Eventually one of the coaches was sent to the stand.

Off you go.

Off you go.

The Yongin keeper then added to the delay by walking twenty yards away from the goal and adjusting every bit of kit he had on. He just stopped short of removing his socks and trimming his toenails.

Eventually Ju Song hwan sent the keeper the wrong way to open the scoring.

One - Nil.

One – Nil.

At half time most of the people on the team-building exercise disappeared and we didn’t see them again until the game was nearly over. I presume that they wouldn’t want to have to walk home or miss the roll call on the bus.

Gyeongju had the better chances early on in the second half, Yu Joon Soo going close with a shot that was deflected out for a corner.

A few minutes later the coach who had been sent off in the first half was spotted back on the bench and so received his marching orders for the second time. Having shown that he couldn’t be trusted to stay in the stands he was sent to the changies instead. Unfortunately the door was locked and so a compromise was reached whereby he could loiter at one of the stadium exits and smoke a fag.

And stay away this time.

And stay away this time.

Yongin upped their efforts as time ran out whilst the Gyeongju players did their best to take the sting out of the game by rolling around on the floor for a minute or two every time one of the opposition got within a yard of them.

The visitors almost equalised in the final minute when Jeong Hui Jin found himself clear on goal but he tamely rolled his shot straight at the keeper.

Yongin on the attack.

Yongin on the attack.

At the final whistle the HNP employees celebrated as if they’d just  been told that they could spend the next public holiday with their families. The result kept Gyeongju in third place and dropped Yongin down to fifth.

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