Updated: Dec 28, 2019
Atletico Iberus (1) 3
20, 32, 35
Británicos (1) 1
Cabañero, Ferns, Wells, Rooney, Slater, Keane, Gilman (Y), Borque
@Parque Ebro 21/10/18 18:30
On October 21st 1805, Nelson signalled his famous message to his fleet as they prepared to take on the Spanish and French navies in the Atlantic Ocean. As FC Británicos took to their field of battle two hundred and thirteen years later, the inspirational words of Horatio Nelson on the morning of the battle of Trafalgar echoed in their minds, “England expects every man to do his duty”. Before the match a minute silence was impeccably observed for the passing of Clive Morris, the uncle of Británicos captain Ross Gilman, it gave this fledgling team a chance to gather round their captain and show unspoken support.
The match started as the sun had dipped behind the trees leaving the pitch in shade, but a glorious autumn evening was the setting for this historic first, as the exiles started their journey. The opposition started brightly, with energy and purpose. Probing the fledgling British defence. The Británicos had a nervous uncertainty to their game. Players settling in and learning from each other, left the Brits with defensive caution and they struggled to get effective attacking moves put together. For all their possession, Atletico Iberus were failing to break through the disciplined Brits, with a new partnership of Ferns and Wells developing a quick understanding. The Brits kept a solid structure and worked well as a unit. Slater and Rooney giving support to the back line.
As they soaked up the pressure, gradually the Brits started to build their own forays in attack, Gilman attempting to open up opportunities for the runners joining him from midfield as Británicos utilized the long ball with mixed results. As the deadlock continued Keane and Gilman reversed roles and the switch paid dividends almost immediately. Cabañero in goal launched a ball into the path of Keane who pulled off the shoulder of his marker and slotted home. Having resisted the the driving runs of the Iberus midfield the Brits had unlocked the opposition with a direct route one approach.
Iberus stepped up their efforts and continued to run against the Brit defence. At times stretched, the line held. Marking prevented freedom to shoot and Cabañero looked comfortable handling what got through. The equalizer when it came, was a combination of bad luck and sublime skill. From a corner the Iberus striker managed to get between Slater and Rooney and directed his header with ability under pressure into the far corner.
The Brits started to run with the ball a little more, growing in confidence. Borque looked lively and direct down the left and chances were denied by a bobble or deflection. Keane got in behind the defence but was unable to convert as the ball got away from him. Gilman saw shots blocked.
Iberus broke up the play, in an attempt to see out the half, appealing for everything to the referee. Slater had an impressive run through the middle halted by multiple tackles, Brits frustration built as several decisions left them feeling aggrieved. Free kicks seemed to be given even if the opposition were the aggressor. Half time saw the teams in deadlock, in an evenly matched affair.
The Brits felt confident in their shape and efforts and opened the second half with renewed confidence. Iberus had a lot of the ball, but once again the midfield and defence locked into their roles and kept shots to speculative efforts from a distance. The line was broken once but Cabañero came out with confidence to prevent the shot.The balance was shifted with a soft goal. A dubious freekick was conceded outside the box as Gilman with a thunderous challenge cleared the ball but was booked and the Brits were caught short, while arranging the wall. Iberus took their chance and played the ball through for them to snatch the lead. The Brits were incensed, expecting a whistle to restart play. It was a disappointing way to go behind and Iberus captialised on the frustration and scoring a third quickly after. An interception was quickly sliced through the defence and left Cabañero unable to prevent the goal.
Heads dropped by performance did not. Looking to salvage some pride from the game, the Brits came alive, surging forward in waves, playing the ball to feet and with nice interplay which had Iberus rattled. With defenders marauding forward, options were legion. Borque put Wells through into the box who was halted by two defenders and the keeper preventing the shot. Keane, Gilman and Slater showed delightful touches, Rooney towered over his opposite number and the Spanish started to pull thei rline deep to resist the onslaught, but in general, the attacks lacked focus or tactical shape. There was no let up in the commitment to the cause. Solid and assertive challenges even in a seeming lost cause. The Iberus players will know they had a game as the British steel was seen to full effect. A crowd of onlookers gathering to play the next game, found themselves drawn to the entertaining spectacle in the gathering gloom. Brit attacks met with enthusiastic appreciation, a joyous turn by Gilman on the touchline saw him bought down in desperation, garnering appreciation from the crowd. Despite the blood and thunder approach of the Brits and the protestations of the Iberus players, the final whistle was welcomed with dignity and respect from both sides. A solid game of football that was as enjoyable to play in as it seems it was to watch.
The Bits have learnt much from their first outing, eagerly dissecting the performance and analysing the faults and strengths in readiness for the next outing. Further debuts will take place as absent players will be available and others present today will be unavailable. The team will still need to adjust to each other and learn more but the general consensus was that there is a basis of a solid unit that have already bonded and cementing a team spirit to take on all comers over the long season with the expanded league numbers.
Británicos have become a reality in the space of just four weeks, from inception to first competitive match. Something that would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and eagerness of a hardy group of players, the patience and support of a number of girlfriends and wives and the generous patronage of our sponsors Gallagher Irish Tavern and Liberty English Academy. Británicos are honoured to be affiliated with our sponsors who have shown great faith in our absurd dream to put together a new English styled club to represent the Nelson spirit on the peninsula.
R.I.P Clive Morris 7th May 1942 - 1st October 2018