In a show of talent, Honiara fans witnessed an entertaining game that ended up in a draw after both sides came near to scoring on many occasions.Had it not been for the safe hands of the national custodians, the score would have been different. The charity match played between the Solympic side and the would-be-national side gave a glimpse of what the public has been missing for the last 3 months; quality games. Honiara population came out in droves eager to support their heroes and the players did not disappoint the crowd.
Although it was a scoreless draw, it is not without action. It was in fact action packed and entertaining from the blow of the whistle. It was the Solympic sides that settled early and began attacking the national side. The experience of the national defenders, in the likes of Mahlon Haukarawa and Gideon Omokirio had to be brought to the fore; to keep the versatile young Solympic side from taking the lead earlier on.
Every time, the Solympic side threatens the national keeper, Felix Ray is up to the challenge. The same could be said for the custodians of the Solympic side, John Morgan who showed glimpses of his brilliance when he helped the young u-20 side beat New Zealand here at Lawson Tama in 2004. It was indeed a formidable task to keep a clean sheet against one of the deadliest strike force partners in the Oceania, in the likes of Cummins Menapi, Dudley Seda, the new find sensation from the Temotu province, Joe Luwi. In Joe Luwi and James Naka the national team has two very dangerous flankers who cause havoc in the Solympic half every time they touched the ball.
Even with the halftime talk from the coaches it could not unlock the defenses of each team. The first real opportunity was presented to Jack Samani who received the ball from the flanks and faked his way in, then took a first time shot; it almost went in only for Morgan to fend it away for a corner. The second was from a free kick taken by Menapi who timed the shot to perfection to beat Morgan only for the crossbar to deny the Oceania golden boot winner a goal. Solympic had moments of their own, when Judd Molea made a free run towards the keeper, with a good view of the keeper's position failed to place the ball past the keeper.
And so the game ended with a draw. Although, the game was heading for a draw, the crowds never left their seats until the end of the game. A witness to the quality of the game. The Solympic side is impressive and if they can keep playing together under different game conditions, we could be seeing our future representative in the Olympic Games, come Beijing in 2008.