Greetings Kankas from Mr Optimistic himself. There we were (all 11 or was it 12 of us) sitting out in the sunshine and rain last Sunday in The Chopin Bar with our normal pre-match `refreshments` when Mrs Eski Kanka phoned to say she was locked-out of our house and could I bring the house key home to her. Well, there was only one answer for that question and for those of you who know me it is not necessary to explain it !!! The next piece of excitement came when a large group of Ankaragucu Gecikondu boys passed by our pub singing famous Ankaragucu songs and when they saw us they stopped and sang a song to us which requested an answering verse. Unfortunately, only Maniac Kanka responded and we were all suitably embarrassed !! It wasn't until Oz Kanka shouted something like `sing a simple song to us` that they came back with one that we all knew........ `sari`.... `lacivert`.....`en buyuk`......... `Ankara` and that was rewarded with lots of cheers all round from the punters around us and in neighbouring pubs. Yeah, what a start to the afternoon. Could it get any better I wondered ??? Well, after we managed to prise Oz Kanka away from his amber nectar it was off to the Stadium and unusually we only waited for a few minutes in the queue and were all seated before the match started. There was a big crowd in the Ankaragucu enclosures and the songs never stopped.
Ankaragucu kicked off into the away end and they started like an express train. It was all Ankaragucu and it was not long before Ahmet Bilal slotted in the 1st goal and the songs became louder. It was still all Ankaragucu and the whole team were playing the ball around and breaking fast. My comments in a previous blog about too many hopeful high balls up to Umut have no doubt been translated for Hikmet Bey from this blog and used to change the tactics of the team !!! Balic was causing all sorts of problems down the left, Bilal was giving the Antep defence a roasting on the right, and Umut was running everywhere as usual. The 2 full backs, Emre and Sedat were even joining in with attacking runs with quick breakaways. It was no surprise when the 2nd goal arrived just before half-time. Another fast breakaway and the ball was pushed out to Bilal on the right who sprinted away with the defender in his wake. The ball was crossed in at speed and there was Umut running in to slot it home. Yesssssss !! The Stadium errupted (mostly in relief I think) and we enjoyed the half-time break in anticipation of more goals at the Gecikondu end in the 2nd half.
However, it was not to be ! How many times have we all watched a game of two halves ??? Well this was one of them. Antep took control of most of the 2nd half and we were therefore denied all the excitement at our end of the Stadium. It was backs against the wall for the defence with some panic clearances. Orhan was immense in goal and the defence held until 15 minutes from the end when Antep scored a very good headed goal. Admittedly, Orhan should have saved it, but all credit to the Antep scorer for directing his header into the corner of the goal. At this stage you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife, but the Gecikondu boys kept singing and encouraging the team to greater efforts. About this time, Bilal, probably our most effective player, was yellow carded for time wasting at a free kick. Into the final few minutes and again Bilal tried to delay another free kick and the referee quite rightly sent him off. At this stage I had visions of a Sakarya cave-in (2 or was it 3 years ago ?!), but I didn't speak my thoughts this time (Oz Kanka taught me a lesson I'll never forget !!!) and the cave-in never materialised. The final whistle came with a great all round sigh of relief and a hard fought and well deserved victory was achieved. Another season in the top flight, but.......... lots of work needs to be done during the summer to strengthen the squad if we are to seriously challenge for YooRo footie again.
Just time to wish Gencler success next weekend and hope the other results go their way to bring YooRo footie back to Ankara next season.
All the best from a relieved and happy Eski Kanka Jim