FC Troitsk v SShOR Torpedo Moscow 2, Thursday 13th May 2021, 7pm

Recently I discovered an App that may very well be the best thing about the internet ever. Midget porn and bad taxidermy websites aside obviously. It’s called futbology and for seventy-nine pence a month it tells me of all the football matches going on within various radii of me.

In Russia it extends as far down as the sixth tier, way beyond any other site providing accurate information that I’ve found so far. It even has a getting there link which tells me how long it will take in current traffic conditions. I’ve a feeling that my attendances at football games, particularly lower league matches, will drastically increase.

The first game selected from the App list was at Troitsk. It’s around an hour away in a rush-hour taxi from where we live in south-west Moscow.

Jen and I were late in setting off and so we missed the first twenty-five minutes. I’m fine with that, I don’t need to see the whole game and on this occasion I was simply relieved that the App worked and that when we arrived there was actually a match taking place as described.

FC Troitsk were taking on SShOR Torpedo Moscow 2 in Division B of the Moscow League. I think that this is the fifth tier overall. Troitsk were in light and dark green but could just as easily have been identified by them being older, fatter and balder than their development side opponents. I’ll call the visitors Torpedo as I’ve no idea what SShOR means. The weird combination of upper and lower case seems correct as there are other sides with the same prefix. Maybe there will another App available before long to explain these things to me.

Stadion Troisk has a capacity of a thousand, mainly in the single uncovered seating area that runs the full length of one side of the pitch. When we arrived I’d have estimated that there were around forty people watching although I think a lot of them were just waiting to collect their kid from the football and hockey training at the adjacent pitch.

Right on half-time a Torpedo striker was clattered by the keeper Schumacher style. Harald, rather than Michael, although Michael wasn’t adverse to shunting someone out of the way if the situation required it. The striker screamed for a good few minutes or so and it was clear that he wouldn’t be taking any further part. The physio, who might also have been his manager, piggy backed him away and eventually someone else piggy backed him to a car and presumably to hospital.

With the body removed and a yellow issued to the keeper Torpedo tucked the resulting penalty away to take the lead. Six away fans to my right celebrated the goal.

The triage and piggy backed removal resulted in seven minutes being added to the first half which was enough for Triotsk to win a penalty of their own. The ref thought about it for a few seconds before giving it. I was a good fifty yards further away than he was and had no doubts but there’s no harm in taking your time. One all.

For a game so inconsequential I was surprised to see it all being recorded. At half-time the camera crew wanted a chat with us, no doubt seeking my expert analysis. Unfortunately, I had to tell them that I ‘net spraken ruski’. It’s all I’ve learned so far but it usually does the trick in warding off unwanted attention.

The second half coincided with the sun going down and small floodlights coming on which were more appropriate for garden security than a football match. In the gloom a few of the players looked to be trying to settle scores and ended up with yellows for their trouble. There were some outrageous misses as the play went from end to end but neither side could force the winner and it ended one each.

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