Sep 11 2011

Slovan Juniors 4-3 FC ŠTK 1914 ŠAMORÍN

Published by at 11:15 pm under Domestic and tagged: ,

On hearing the name ‘Slovan Juniors’, I suppose the natural assumption is that we’re talking about the Slovan youth team.  That is not actually the case; Slovan Juniors is the name given to Slovan Bratislava’s reserve team.  Slovan Juniors play in Division 2 West, now known as Division 3 which makes more sense; this is the third tier of Slovak football.  Spartak Trnava and FC Nitra’s 2nd teams also knock around in the West section of this division, along with Kosice, Presov and Banska Bystrica’s collective reserve teams in the East.  Interestingly, the only Slovak outfit with a reserve team in the 2nd Division is MFK Ruzomberok.  This being the case, one assumes that promotion is possible for any of the aforementioned teams.

What makes the Division interesting, in my view, is that you get to see reserve players from professional squads mixing it with some ambitious local lads.  Slovan v Samorin was a typical example of this.  Most matches in this Division do kick off on a Saturday afternoon, but there are always one or two on a Sunday morning.   Interestingly, on this particularly beautiful Sunday in Bratislava, a groundhopping football fan like myself had the choice between FC Petrzalka v Tatran Liptovsky Mikulas (1-2) in Division 2 or the Slovan match for a 10:30 am kick-off .  I’d missed the 1st team’s 0-0 draw with Nitra the evening before, so I decided to plump for the Juniors.  No regrets to be had.

Training pitches adjacent to Pasienky host Slovan Juniors

Turning up at Pasienky, I was only 90% sure the match was being played at that venue.  The 10% proved right, in fact the match was being played on a training pitch adjacent to the stadium currently subject to multiple UEFA reviews ahead of the upcoming Europa League group stage fixtures.  No problem there, this could be considered another new ground!  I made my way through the flea market occupying the Pasienky car-park and a quick flash of the season ticket saw me in.  It wasn’t quite so straight-forward though; another steward called me back for further ticket inspection; they were obviously adamant on acquiring €2 entry from as many people as possible.  Compared to FK Raca (who played in the same league last season but got relegated, charging free entry to matches), I was slightly surprised.

I’d actually seen Šamorin at Raca last season, and knew they weren’t bad, so I was expecting a decent match.  Pleasing to hear was the Slovan team selection which included Bosnian striker Kresimir Kordic and a talented attacking midfielder Radoslav Augustin, who we saw playing on loan for Petrzalka at the end of last season.  A Petrzalka-supporting friend of mine felt slightly bitter that Augustin returned to Slovan this season, but he was there on loan, so there are no complaints to be had, I think.  Augustin is on the verge of the Slovan first team, and watching a match like this it is clear to see why.  Even to a non-tactician like me, players of that quality simply have more space, more time on the ball, a better touch and vision beyond the majority of players around them.

Aspiring 1st-teamers, Augustin & Kordic

The level does bring players down and there were plenty of fouls and long balls in this match, but this didn’t stop Augustin and Kordic doing their thing,  and the pro-duo were rewarded through a decent opening goal for Kordic.  Šamorin equalised with a penalty on the stroke of half-time, and it was 1-1 at the break.  5 minutes into the 2nd half, things came to life, Šamorin’s striker Kuba gave the visitors the lead with a finish equal to Kordic’s in the first half, and the visiting support (of whom there were plenty scattered around the crowd of approx. 200) made themselves heard.  Immediately thereafter though, a calamitous own-goal brought Slovan level, and a minute later they were ahead through a thunderbolt from left-back Čejtej.  A fourth was added after a speculative punt forward by a very junior looking substitute right-back was superbly flicked through by Kordic; his run led to Augustin finishing a goal of the quality the senior team would die for right now; 3 domestic matches goal-less is slightly worrying ahead of the Athletic Bilbao match coming Thursday.

Šamorin added a consolation goal in injury time, and the score-line did justice to the match; good entertainment on a hot Sunday morning in Bratislava.  I’ll monitor Augustin’s progress with interest, but I fear Kordic may return to his native Bosnia this winter; he produces moments of brilliance, but is inconsistent; frustrating and overall just not quite good enough.  Then again, until any Slovan striker starts scoring, there is always a chance he might find his way into the first team.

Sunny Sunday morning football; what's not to like?

The Juniors are 2nd in the league after this win, and for me this was a first experience of a ‘reserve’ team playing competitive football in a lower division, I can only see positives in it; for clubs like Slovan or Trnava just as much as Šamorin, who did themselves proud today.

A fine finishing touch was added, seeing Karim Guede watching on from the car-park, and having the time for a quick chat, topped a fine morning.


14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Slovan Juniors 4-3 FC ŠTK 1914 ŠAMORÍN”

  1.   James Baxteron 11 Sep 2011 at 11:47 pm

    The negative is that the strength of the reserve or junior sides can be affected by the needs of the first team, so that should, say, Augustin or Kordic get called up by Weiss next w/e, the juniors’ next opponents could be facing a weakened side compared with the one Samorin played against.

    There are also the extreme cases where a reserve side is in a relegation fight and the first team doesn’t have much to play for so throws a couple of established first-teamers the reserves’ way to help them stay up.

    In general, I think the strength of reserve/junior sides varies quite considerably over the course of a season and is that really fair on the other clubs in the league?

    It’s a tricky one. Ideally, I’d like to see lower leagues full of ‘proper’ clubs but I also agree that players on the fringe of the first-team do need the competitiveness of games like the one you saw. A dedicated reserve league almost certainly wouldn’t offer that.

    Enjoyed the write-up anyway, and it sounds like better fare than the 0-0 with Nitra the night before.

  2.   britskibelasion 12 Sep 2011 at 12:01 am

    Indeed an interesting one; I would like to talk to the players from a club like Samorin about it. They were definitely up for playing against Slovan’s pros, and having players like Augustin or Kordic lower down the league structure does improve the quality of the football.

    Agree with your points though, but that’s why it would be interesting to hear the players point of view .. and are there really that many ‘real clubs’ in Slovakia to make up a full league structure ..

    How are Zilina’s reserves getting on in their new form by the way?

  3.   James Baxteron 12 Sep 2011 at 9:25 am

    ‘and are there really that many ‘real clubs’ in Slovakia to make up a full league structure ..’

    In short, no there aren’t. Or at least there aren’t enough with stable sources of funding, and that’s a good argument against what I was saying!

    Just to take two random examples, Myjava are in I Liga this league for no other reason than that they have wealthy backers. In some cases (not sure about Myjava specifically) these clubs simply buy the places of less well-off ones and are thus effectively franchises. On the other hand, Banova (a club in a village district of Zilina) fought their way up to II Liga a few years back but lost their sponsors and have taken two voluntary relegations back down to the V liga and amateur football.

    Zilina B Kotrcina Lucka(!) are sweeping all before them in III Liga Stred – P7 W7 F29 A3. One thing that tells me is that their voluntary ‘relegation’ has skewed the competition in the league they’ve gone into. ‘What would the players of other clubs think?’ is indeed a good question.

  4.   Estojaon 12 Sep 2011 at 11:47 am

    I’m quite used to that because in Spain and Austria the B-sides (as called in Spain) play mixed with first teams. In Austria they cannot play higher than regional league (third level) and in Spain they just cannot play higher or in the same level as the first team, that means, 2nd league will be the top, for example, this season Barcelona B plays in the 2nd league, but other years it has been other teams in the second level: Málaga B, Atlético B, Athletic B, Sevilla B,…

    Not so long time ago there have been some discussions in Spain considering doing separate competitions for the B-sides, in a similar way to England with the reserve squads, but nothing has been done so far.

    To be honest, I’m not sure which of the systems is better. On the other hand, I’m also not so much familiarised with the system of the reserve leagues in England.

  5.   James Baxteron 12 Sep 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Good points, Estoja. I’m not sure which is best either. Coming from England, and being quite versed in the lower/non-league football over there, I instinctively prefer a league pyramid made up of independent clubs. Another thing I’d say about, say, Barca B in the 2nd league, Slovan Juniors in II Liga etc is that they’re competing for slightly different reasons than (eg) Betis or Samorin, given the bars on promotions.

    But the increasing problem in England today is the huge squads at some of the top clubs together with a definite decline in reserve team football ; the reserve league system in England is not in a satisfactory state at present, from what I understand. Man City, for example, must have a lot of players who are extremely well-paid yet hardly ever play meaningful football. And how truly independent are lower league clubs in England? Man Utd loaned out two or three players to Preston last year when Fergie Jr was manager at Preston. Fergie Jr is then sacked so Fergie Sr recalls the players and finds another club that will help develop them instead.

    Pros and cons both ways for sure.

  6.   Estojaon 12 Sep 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Another different thing is that in Spain you won’t send a player of the first team to play with the second team. I mean, if now Xabi Alonso would get injured for a few months, once he is able to play, he won’t be allowed to play some matches with Madrid’s B-side in order to get fit again. You need to be in the lists of the B-side for that purpose since the beginning of the season and then there would still be some limits of matches played in A and B-sides if you are older than some age.

    On the other hand, a young player of the B-side may play with both teams all through the season without limit, I think.

  7.   Estojaon 12 Sep 2011 at 11:27 pm

    By the way and changing subject, I went some days ago to Tehelné pole and took some pictures. Here are some of them if you want to see them. Don’t mind the text as it is in Spanish, just scroll down till the end and you’ll find some pictures:

  8.   James Baxteron 13 Sep 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Estoja, those are fantastic. Sad but fantastic. What about coming to do Zilina’s ground sometime? Admittedly, it’s a bit modern and boring.

  9.   George Mon 13 Sep 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Well after a few weeks of ‘holiday’ , perhaps the current rather mundane whitterings from Dan, just goes to show how good James has become in his match and other football reporting. I can only put that down to taking some of my advice ? Perhaps Dan is currently suffering from writers block ?

    By the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would want to watch a Slovak Slovan B side, as a way of Sunday morning pleasure ?? But then I don’t understand Trainspotters either .

    BTW. Interesting the pic’s of Tehelné pole wonders why the weeds and undergrowth grow quicker on one side of the ground to the other ? All encouraged by the Beer pee perhaps ???

  10.   Estojaon 13 Sep 2011 at 9:44 pm

    James, I really want to go to Zilina as well. No problem with visiting new grounds, they are also nice, not so nice as the old ones though :-)

    I won’t probably manage to go to Zilina before the winter break, but I think I can make it after the break.

  11.   James Baxteron 14 Sep 2011 at 12:31 am

    Estoja, great, just let me know.
    George, you know you can’t keep away from us for long.

  12.   britskibelasion 14 Sep 2011 at 12:47 am

    There we go! I was wondering where was George with a comment on this one.

    Even as I wrote it I was imagining the words that would appear below the article; I knew mention would be made of Sunday morning pleasure, of which we know what George’s preference is, quite right too, I say ..

    I guess it was a form of writers block, I’ve been getting rather unlucky with the draw recently, missing all the big matches due to my work schedule. The same applies this week, unfortunately, back off I go in the morning.

    Let’s see what you guys make of Slovan v Bilbao, any chance of a goal perhaps??

  13.   George Mon 14 Sep 2011 at 11:52 am

    Dan, you really must get over this terrible schoolboy rash and just accept that your voice has finally broken, you have hair in those private places ….and there are girls (or boys) out there to play with, rather than watching the kicking a leather football .

    Funny, I somehow feel in my water that Slovan can beat Bilbao, but will loose to the other two at home …ie Red Bull & the frogs . Time will tell .

  14.   britskibelasion 14 Sep 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I know George, so true what you say, and to think; I came to Slovakia just for the football, quite worrying, I’m sure you’d agree .. :-)

    Let’s hope you’re right about Bilbao, I’ve got a feeling it will be 0-0, but we’ll see ..

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