By Richard Beale…
3 goals in the opening 6 minutes barely left time for the ink to dry on my notepad in this evenly matched BTM League encounter.
Result: MEHMETÇİK TCBSK 2 GEÇİTKALE GSK 2
Saturday December 10 : BTM League 1 Red Group : Mehmetçik Stadium.
Another foray for me into the BTM League (3rd division of TRNC football) and this time a visit to Mehmetçik, a place I have not been to since pre Covid days.
A lovely journey up through Kaplıca, Büykkonük, the mountains, the sea and hardly any traffic. Glad to see the London Kebab restaurant in Mehmetçik was still trading, where I enjoyed a chicken Döner washed down with a Efes (28 TL). Last time I was at the Mehmetçik Stadium it was dilapidated and run down , but in the last few years it’s had a makeover and a facelift plus a refreshment bar and refurbished toilets.
A crowd of around 120 were treated to an explosive start, in Geçitkale first attack after 3 minutes they scored through their recent signing the prolific goal poacher IRFAN BOŞNAK – a goal I missed fiddling about with my camera lens! 0-1
I didn’t miss the next goal in the 5th minute an equaliser for Mehmetçik after Geçitkale defender Tanju was harshly I thought handled a cross from Velat. Up stepped EROL KORKMAZ to score from the penalty spot sending Gürcan the wrong way. 1-1
Straight from the kick off Geçitkale scored again in the 6th minute, when Irfan had a shot blocked by goalkeeper Namik the striker reacted quickly to the rebound squaring the ball across to the far post where another good signing MUSTAFA ARNAVUT swept the ball home to open his account for his new club. 1-2.
Geçitkale were on top and felt they could score with every attack, Irfan was on the end of most attacks shooting just wide of the left-hand post in the 13th minute.
The match was fast and furious, Mehmetçik came close in the 23rd minute when their man mountain centre back Özgün headed a free kick, goal wards that brought a good leaping save from goalkeeper Gürcan pushing the ball over for a corner.
Just before the break Geçitkale almost increased their lead when a good run down the left by Mustafa Arnavut sending over a low cross that Irfan shot at the near post which was parried by goalkeeper Namik, Irfan’s second attempt was cleared off the line by Özgün. Geçitkale had created the more chances in the first half and deserved their lead.
HALF TIME SCORE : 1-2.
Geçitkale carried on in the same vein at the start of the second half , Irfan controlled the ball, turned and shot that brought a good save from Namik.
Irfan was involved again in the 51st minute being put through by a defence splitting ball from Rifat, but the much-travelled striker screwed his shot wide.
Geçitkale would live to rue those missed chances as in the 56th minute Velat broke free on the left, finding substitute Anıl who crossed to the near post where an unmarked BAYRAM TEMEL fired past Gürcan. 2-2.
Match became bad tempered littered with fouls, with the occasional handbag fight, but overhaul referee Mehmet Volkan Çelik managed to keep a lid on the proceedings. It was end to end now with the midfield being bypassed but it was the home team who created the better goalscoring opportunities, in the 71st minute a free kick on the right taken by Erol found an unmarked Anıl who fired over from a good position.
80 minutes Mehmetçik came even closer when Bayram lost his marker an advanced into the area, where he beat Gürcan only to see his shot cleared off the line by Andreas.
Both teams slugged it out with each other in the last 10 minutes with a draw being a fair result.
FULL TIME SCORE: 2-2
MEHMETÇİK “Man of the Match” ——- MURAT ABUZET – an inspirational figure to his team, who covered every blade of grass.
GEÇİTKALE “Man of the Match” ——— İBRAHİM CAVIT —- his speed on the wings kept the Mehmetçik defence on their toes, and I was very surprised when he was substituted.