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Champions!

In front of a sell-out crowd of over 60,000 fans, Bridge Bandits were today declared Champions of IV.15, Season 36.

Fans rejoiced as black and orange confetti rained from the roof of Bandits Battleground; OrangeStar’s men getting the just reward for their efforts over the past four seasons. “It’s been a long, hard road to this point,” said OrangeStar in a press conference after the celebrations. “Last season, we got within two games of the title, but fell apart at the last. This time, after an appalling start, we managed to regroup. I’d like to personally congratulate the boys on all their efforts.”

Bandits secured first place today after Ravo Maniacs defeated Almonds AllStars, putting second place five points behind OrangeStar’s men, who defeated Wanganui Athletic 5-0. 14-year-old James McInlay, Bandits’ mascot for the season, was invited to hold the league trophy aloft in front of the packed stadium. “It’s a dream come true,” he said, before bursting into tears.

The results from this round give Bridge Bandits an unassailable five point lead with just one match to play, and pushes the side inches above the automatic promotion line. “We’ve always been a very determined club,” manager OrangeStar told the press. “We want to continue to move upwards in Oceania. Getting to Division Three now is a must.”

With Bandits sitting marginally above the auto-promote line, a win against long-time rivals Ravo Maniacs will be enough to see OrangeStar’s side move automatically to Division Three in a few weeks time. Any other result will most likely force a qualification match against a fifth- or sixth-placed Div III team.

With Francisco Zarzalejos and Johnny Nesjan leading the IV.15 Golden Boot standings, and OrangeStar leading the IV.15 Tipping Contest, Season 36 has been nothing short of a dream for this South Australian side. The one thing that will complete the dream of the fans and players though, is promotion to Division Three. A dream that is, hopefully, not too far away!

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Bandits give Shanghai the blues

Bridge Bandits have moved to second position in IV.15 after their third consecutive league win today against Shanghai Blues.

It was an historic day for OrangeStar’s side, with the team producing their best ever match performance in the dominant 5-2 win over petdr’s team. In addition to being Bandits’ third straight win, the side has also scored five goals three games in a row, proving the potency of their attacking force.
“The guys have been putting in the hard hours on the training pitch since the end of last season,” OrangeStar told the press after the match. “It’s great to see the boys hit a rich vein of form, but I know there’s more to come from them. At the moment they’re heading into every match knowing they can score, which is a huge bonus.”

Playing away from home, Bandits fans still flocked to The L Dome to see their team in action. Riccardo¬† Carosio opened proceedings with a cracker of a goal after just 14 minutes, silencing the vocal home fans. A probing attack down the right wing resulted in a pass to Francisco Zarzalejos, who rifled in a spectacular volley from the edge of the area to double Bandits’ lead after 26 minutes. However, the home side hit back almost immediately, Mark Fulwood scoring Shanghai’s first goal barely a minute later.

With the half time score at 1-2, Bandits started tentatively in the second half. Their shaky approach looked to cost them when, 68 minutes in, Rense Delen cut in from the right and levelled the scores at 2-2. Rather then letting their heads drop, conceding seemed to inspire the Bandits lads, who unleashed on the Shanghai defence, scoring three goals in the next six minutes to take the score to 2-5. Karl-Uwe Sellmeier, Johnny Nesjan and Francisco Zarzalejos did the damage, with a little extra help from Lorenzo de Piano on the wing. In fact, Nesjan had the chance to make the already emphatic scoreline a complete humiliation in the 80th minute, but failed to capitalise on the poor marking from Shanghai’s centre backs.

The win marks the second time OrangeStar’s men have got the better of Shanghai in three meetings; with the Blues still to return to the Bandits Battleground later in the season, the Bandit Brigade would be very hopeful of their side producing a better finish than they did last season.

Yet to drop points away from home, Bandits will host QldPoms next weekend in a match that looks like it could be a tricky fixture. Although the Poms don’t have the best team in IV.15, they are undefeated, securing draws against league powerhouses Almonds AllStars and Ravo Maniacs. Can Bandits do what none before them have been able to? Only time will tell.

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Bandits back in black (and orange)!

After an extended hiatus from Hattrick United, Bridge Bandits have made their return to the blogosphere, alongside a brand new team logo.

 

The logo, designed by Misfit (manager of American club Misfits) has been an instant hit among the fans, as well as managers across the globe. It is sure to be a feature at the club for years to come. The new logo currently has a 100% strike rate as well, with Bandits taking an emphatic 5-0 win against Wanganui Athletic today to open their tally for the season.

 

Stay tuned to Hattrick United for more Bandits news as it happens!

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Maniacal Mastermind Behind Bandit Masterpiece

Bridge Bandits have secured a Qualification Match in two weeks time after an emphatic 2-1 away victory over league-leaders Ravo Maniacs at the weekend. Bandits manager OrangeStar revealed to the press that while his boys played well, the result wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of his long-term mentor coach, Esquatcho_Mundo.

The Bandit Brigade travelled to Ravo central with both hope and desperation on their hearts. Hope, because Bandits managed to put three goals past the league leaders in Week 2 before being overcome 3-4; but also desperation, as the fans knew the club was staring down the barrel of relegation to Division 5. It was a very tentative beginning from both teams though, with neither side able to bring the ball out of the middle of the park for much of the opening stanza. It was this tentativeness that cost Ravo in the end, when Benhur Cearense went half-hearted into a fifty-fifty ball and came out second best, needing to be substituted in the 18th minute. Bandits stepped up the intensity from there, and looked to take control of the midfield, and the match. Despite Bandits’ strong presence on the field, it was Melvyn’s men who grabbed the first chance, when Vladimir Gombalik curled a devilish cross into the penalty box on 31 minutes. However, it was the Bandits defence who were able to recover fastest after a richochet, and they managed to clear the ball downfield. Paul German Chantan, a Bandits debutant, almost opened the scoring for his new club after he hunted down the ball and found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but his shot was well blocked. On the attack two minutes later, Francisco Zarzalejos was cut down by a Maniacs defender, resulting in a free kick right on the edge of the box. Urs Holzherr stepped up and managed to send the keeper the wrong way with a wickedly curving effort, and found the back of the net, giving Bandits a 0-1 advantage. OrangeStar and his men looked absolutely ecstatic heading into the changerooms with a one-goal lead at half time, and who could blame them.

The match fell back into a midfield battle for the opening twenty minutes of the second half, with neither side able to gain clear possession of the ball. Maniacs had definitely stepped up their intensity after the break, and often looked to send their attacks down the wing. It was a wing attack in the 73rd minute that gave Melvyn and the 66,000 home fans something to cheer about, when Danny Gueta rifled in a shot from the right hand side of the box that flew dangerously close to the near post before burying itself in the back of the net. With the goal-confirming whistle still echoing around the stadium, Bandits’ Johnny Nesjan took it upon himself to give his side the lead again. After weaving past the entire Maniacs defense, Nesjan saw his final effort denied by Hugo Drummen, whose fingertip save managed to push the ball around the post. Knowing what this match meant for their club, the Bandits players redoubled their efforts in the final fifteen minutes, with that pressure finally cracking the Maniacs defense with just seven minutes to play, with Paul German Chantan scoring his first ever Bandits goal. The 31-year-old Argentinian connected with a brilliant through ball played by Jacob Slipper, found himself one-on-one with the keeper and did not disappoint the travelling fans, bulging the back of the net for the 1-2 goal. Maniacs weren’t done though, and Ciclisto Garcia was unlucky to be denied by the woodwork in the 87th minute after a fantastic solo effort down the right wing. It could have gone downhill for Bandits in the 88th minute when Riccardo Carosio was cut down by a desperate Maniacs midfielder and had to be replaced by Attilio Vender, but the youngster proved very capable of holding the defensive line, and the visiting team was able to hold on for a shock 1-2 win.

While absolutely elated about the victory, OrangeStar was still able to remain composed enough to give a statement to the press yesterday.

“It (the win) is a brilliantly amazing result for us. We now know, thanks to other results, that we have been assured a Qualification Match this season, something I know all the boys have been striving for. This result is the perfect reward for all the lads. They have all worked so hard over the course of this season – and we have certainly had some ups and downs. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend and fellow manager Esquatcho_Mundo, who has been a mentor for me for the best part of four seasons now. In fact, I’d like to dedicate this win to him.”

With their final home game of the league season taking place next week, Bandits fans can relax knowing there is nothing riding on the TSK_Queensland match. At this stage, a fifth-placed finish looks likely for OrangeStar, but with a win next week, his boys may find themselves in third place. Of course, if the win doesn’t eventuate, Bandits will host a Division 5 winner in Week 15 to determine who gets the right to compete in IV.15 for Season 34.

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Bandits Score a Funk Beat

Local heroes Bridge Bandits have kept their hopes of securing a Qualification Game alive for another week, with a thrilling 3-1 win over funkii stuff. OrangeStar’s charges were defeated by rellis last time the teams met, but with The Bandit Brigade behind them, the result was never in doubt.

At a point in the season where every point is vital, Bandits took charge of the match from the opening whistle, with Urs Holzherr scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot just five minutes into the match. Bandits’ dominance of midfield almost paid dividends again in the 21st minute, when Lorenzo De Piano broke through the defence with a superbly timed dash. Despite Calvin Israel making the save for the visitors, he deflected the ball straight into the path of the charging Raoul Lodder, who cooly slotted the ball into the empty net, making the score 2-0. Johnny Nesjan’s trademark acrobatic celebration was again put on display, after the impressive young forward scored his fifth Bandits’ league goal this season – and his fourth in three matches! With the scoreboard reading 3-0, and 28 minutes gone, Bandits’ decided to pull back and focus on their defensive play, resulting in a scoreless final 15 minutes of the half. OrangeStar looked as though he was struggling to contain his delight as he led his men into the changerooms for the interval.

Bandits still looked to have the upper hand as the sides came out to start the second half. The funkii players looked deflated and disinterested, but some of the Bandits players also seemed to be struggling with the unseasonally warm conditions; Lodder and Giampietro Negro in particular started to look quite lethargic. Francisco Zarzalejos was putting on a show for the fans however, demonstrating his entire arsenal of skill moves and making the opposition defenders look quite foolish on occasions. With a three-goal lead, and their recently earned goal difference advantage, the Bandits players looked to be in complete control of the match. However, a lazy tackle ten yards outside the box gifted funkii a free kick in the 84th minute, where Hassan Multerer slipped free of the defense, and produced a wonderful finish right in front of the travelling fans, cutting the defecit to 3-1. It was to be but a consolation goal for the visitors though, with the match finishing with the same scoreline.

While it was too late for funkii to salvage any points from the match, the goal allowed them to move back above Bandits to hold 6th position on the table. Despite the win, Bandits fell to 7th, and into the auto-relegation zone. Facing Ravo Maniacs this weekend, and a rampant TSK_Queensland on the final day, it is going to be an incredibly tough finish for OrangeStar, but he has committed to see this season through to its grand finale.

“Yes, we are facing an uphill battle to secure a Qualification match from here, but there are still two weeks left in the season, and anything is possible. If everything goes our way, three points from our last two matches would be enough to see us through, scraping a sixth-placing is better than the expectations we had at the start of the season! Don’t forget, the gap between seventh and third is just two points; absolutely anything can happen in these last two weeks!”

Bandits final home game of the season is against TSK_Queensland, taking place in just over a week. TSK looks a totally different outfit from the team Bandits defeated in a shock maiden victory for the newly promoted team back in Week 1. The match next weekend is set to be much more hotly contested. In a crucial period for Bandits, they will need every player firing for the next fortnight if they are to keep their lofty dreams alive.

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Brave Bandits belted by Bellarine

Unfortunately, Bridge Bandits suffered a decisive 2-4 loss against league-leaders Bellarine Wildfire last Sunday, pushing the club ever closer to relegation.

With almost 60,000 fans in attendance at The Furnace, OrangeStar knew his men would be up against it from the start. Facing off against the league leaders, who defeated the valiant Bandits 4-0 last time the sides met, the odds were stacked well and truly in Bellarine Wildfire’s favour. With Archie777 looking to take his team to the 3rd Division, there would be no easy goals for the Bandits boys; something that has been a rare commodity this season.

It was, however, a fairytale start for Bandits, with Lorenzo De Piano producing some speedy work on the wing to get the ball to Johnny Nesjan, who scored his 4th goal of the season just five minutes into the match. Marco Santi should have made it 2-0 barely two minutes later, when he was left unmarked in the box, but he couldn’t capitalise on the glorious opportunity presented to him. With the travelling fans in raptures, and the visiting team playing with confidence, Archie777 looked slightly anxious on the touchline, knowing his side was 0-1 down. He didn’t need to sweat for long though, as Giuseppe Belluccini made the Bandits’ defence look like statues as he wove between them and slotted the equaliser in the 14th minute. The Bandits boys rallied though, and Francisco Zarzalejos again put the visitors in front, scoring the 1-2 goal in the 19th minute. The visitors again seemed to have the edge in the match; while they weren’t producing any brilliance up front, they were shutting down the Wildfire offence in the middle of the park. Wildfire managed to equalise with an emphatic goal from Donny Duncan in the 38th minute, as he powered home the 2-2 ball from the right side of the penalty box.

Bandits’ performance only deteriorated in the second half, despite having more of the ball than their opposition. While their opponents fashioned many chances in front of goal, the Bandits’ strikers just couldn’t get the better of the Wildfire defence, and were only able to produce one shot on target for the entire 45 minutes. In comparison, the home side added a few more nails to OrangeStar’s coffin, scoring in the 53rd and 68th minute to hold a 4-2 advantage. Archie777 adjusted his line-up after his side’s fourth goal, as he looked to hold his lead for the final 20 minutes. Ricardo Carosio gave Bandits’ fans a glimmer of hope in the 76th minute with his powerful strike at the top corner. However, Bellarine’s goalkeeper was somehow able to get his fingertips to the ball, and deflect it over the bar. At the final whistle, Wildfire had hung on to earn a 4-2 win.

With other results in the league, Bandits have fallen into 7th spot in IV.15, as both Arsenal City FC and TSK_Queensland were able to produce wins. Manager OrangeStar had this to say about his side’s effort, and the future of the team in the 4th Division in the post-match press conference.

It was quite disappointing for us to go down 4-2, even though we weren’t expecting anything from the match. To be 2-2 with the league leaders at half time is a great example of our quality, it’s just unfortunate we haven’t been able to produce more efforts like that this season. Unfortunately, other results have pushed us out of the Qualifier spots, but that certainly doesn’t mean our season is over. There is still three weeks to go, nine points up for grabs, and everything to play for. To write us off now would not¬† be a wise move.

It will certainly go right down to the wire in IV.15 this season, with only four points separating third and seventh on the table at the moment, anything is a possibility. Bandits fans know the equation is very simple; their side needs six points from their last three games if they are to have any chance at contesting the 4th Division next season. The match against funkii stuff next Sunday is OrangeStar’s first chance to take points on his quest for a qualifier, and it is certainly Bandits’ best chance of coming up with the goods.

Stay tuned to the Bandit Blog for all the details in what is sure to be a nail-biting finish to the season!

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Bandit dream still alive

With their emphatic 5-1 win against Woz’s Fanatics on Sunday, Bridge Bandits have kept their dream of consolidating a place in IV.15 for another season alive; at least for another week.

In front of almost 35,000 fans at Bandits Battleground, OrangeStar appeared quietly determined on the touchline as he watched his charges warm up prior to the match. It can’t have been easy for the players, knowing that any slip-up against the cellar-dwellers could cost the team their spot in a division it took six seasons to reach. WozzaNoski was keeping his cards close to his chest in the lead-up to the game, floating the possibility of only fielding his B-Team, but never confirming it. With his side’s season all but over, the Fanatics were only really playing for pride.

It didn’t take long for Bandits to settle in, though. Johnny Nesjan produced a brilliant strike from the left of the box to open the scoring; his second ever goal in Bandits colours coming in just the 10th minute of the match. Nesjan added his second goal of the game three minutes later, giving The Bandit Brigade something to really celebrate – their team was two goals to the good! Tommie Nikau silenced the home fans when he came out of nowhere and headed a spectacular goal past Marco Cosi, who was left with no chance of producing the save. The 27th minute strike made the score 2-1; the fourth goal of Nikau’s fledgeling career inspiring concern among Bandits’ fans. However, that concern was eliminated almost immediately, when Giampietro Negro slotted Bandits’ third goal in the 29th minute, restoring the vital two-goal buffer. Johnny Nesjan almost had himself a hat-trick less than ten minutes later, but the young striker was denied by a brilliant save from the Fanatics ‘keeper. The teams went in at the break with the scoreboard reading 3-1.

OrangeStar returned to favoured position on the touchline at the beginning of the second half, obviously trying to contain his delight at his side’s exceptional first-half performance. With 45 minutes to play, Bandits had been the better team, running WozzaNoski’s men off the park. The home side continued to dominate play in the second half, making their possession tell in the 61st minute, with Heriberto Artilheiro scoring from close range after some well threaded passes on the right wing. Jacob Slipper, one half of Bandits’ talismanic pairing on the wing, had two good chances to score his first goal of the season, but was denied by the ‘keeper on both occasions. A lobbed through pass from the left wing set Artilheiro against the ‘keeper, and he powered the ball into the top corner from 23 yards; his 79th minute strike giving Bandits a resounding 5-1 lead. OrangeStar could not hide his delight at the result as the referee blew the final whistle, giving Bandits a vital three points if they hope to survive the drop this season.

After their emphatic win, Bandits moved to sixth spot on the IV.15 league table, two points clear of Arsenal City FC and automatic relegation. However, it is a tough run home for OrangeStar’s men in the final four weeks of the season, with matches away to Bellarine Wildfire and Ravo Maniacs, the top two teams in the league, being the sticking point for the manager.

“Yes, we have a tough run home. However, while we play the top two teams in the league, we also have some very winnable games against funkii stuff and TSK_Queensland, which should see us hold on for a play-off game.”

Bridge Bandits’ next home game is against fourth-placed funkii stuff in Week 12, splitting trips to Bellarine Wildfire and Ravo Maniacs in Weeks 11 and 13 respectively.

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Bandits United!

Bridge Bandits have joined Hattrick United!

The South Australian club, along with long-standing Manager OrangeStar, has decided to embrace the new and exciting technological age in the Hattrick Universe by starting a club blog.

This blog will contain musings from the man himself, OrangeStar, as well as Match Reports and other Press Announcements from BBFC. In addition, there may be some reports from matches played in the real world too, as OrangeStar experiments with his journalistic ability.

OrangeStar, the BBFC board and the playing group would like to extend the invitation to you all to join with us on this exciting journey to the new world. Please, stay tuned for plenty more updates!!