“Tervakoski! So you’re going to Puuhamaa, then?” my girlfriend asked when I told her how I intended to spend that the evening.
Not exactly. The town is famous for Puuhamaa (“Finland’s most diverse theme park“), and mighty exciting it looked too, as well as a paper mill and lastly, a rather physical football team. NFN’s journey started from Sampola, the usual pick-up point for football teams, fans, day-trippers and school excursions in Tampere, and our transport was something special.
“Ah good, we’ve got the new bus today,” said a relieved Petteri Tyni as our transport rolled up. The TKT press officer had invited me to join their trip, and explained that the club own three buses that they use for their own transport and rent out to other clubs to help with running costs. It’s an admirably entrepreneurial way for atraditionally leftist club (the ‘toverit’ in their name means ‘comrades’) to pay the bills.
This was the first game in NFN’s 2009 Suomen Cup odyssey where sausages were grilling, and as such, marks a significant leap up the league pyramid. Both these clubs are in Kolmonen, the fourth tier of Finnish football, and as a result the game was much more evenly matched than the previous two.
There is a grass pitch in tervakoski, but the game was played on a sand field instead. I asked the PATO assistant manager why not, and his reply revealed that the common battle between Finnish footballers and their local councils is also fought in Tervakoski:
“I have absolutely no idea, it’s green and ready. The municipality said we had to come here.”
The game was pretty scrappy. PATO have a physical style, something the senior members of TKT’s party said was a common theme down the years, but the Tampere side tried to play a little bit more of a passing game. Sometimes soo much of a passing game, as Petteri Tyni often pointed out as TKT players made near-suicidal passes in their own half instead of hoofing it clear.
The pitch had been painstakingly raked and watered before the game, to prevent the dust clouds that can exacerbate asthma and allergic conditions, but the game was too keenly contested to allow the calm to remain for long.
The match turned on a couple of mistakes by TKT’s goalkeeper. He came out of his goal and failed to collect the ball, with PATO able to take full advantage. Their 16 year old substitute Aleksi was instrumental in both goals, scoring the second, and after that TKT looked deflated.
The crowd steadily grew as the evening wore on, and I tend to think there was little else to do in Tervakoski that evening. Certainly the men enjoying the sun on Wanha Mestari’s terrace looked bored as they stared silently at their pints, and before long a small crowd had gathered, including Stephane Alingue, who was still injured, and his uncle, Jean Marc who had finished work in Helsinki. Adding in Jean Marc’s two kids, the Tervakoski crowd must be getting on for one of the most ethnically diverse in the early stages of the Finnish Cup.
PATO threw on Vesa Virtanen up front – he had been a central defender in the first game against Pipo and ruled out through work commitments in the second against VAKP/2 – in an attempt to change the game, and he played well enough in his new role. In extra time the tiredness of two amateur teams showed, and we really just waited for penalties. TKT’s keeper saved one, but PATO’s stopped 3, and the Tervakoski side went through to face FC PoPa in the next round. The game will be played on the 13th of May on the grass at Tervakoski rec.
You can see Petteri Tyni’s highlights of the game at youtube.