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The Battle of the Ebro

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

A torrid and engaging match that had it all, leaves the Británicos empty handed and frustrated.

Británicos (2) 2

3 Keane, 7 Morris

E.L Toma, Pan y Moja (2) 3

17 O.G Wells, 25 P, 32

Parque Ebro 25/11/18 18:15

Cabañero, Slater, Wells, Pernas, Keane, Gilman, Morris, Kinsella, Shaw, Rooney, Ferns

Sometimes life gives you lemons, sometimes Sunday seven a side football gives you astonishing narratives. No one could have anticipated the drama that was to unfold in this eventful and helter skelter match when the sides lined up for kick off.

The Brits started with verve and poise. Looking assured and dangerous. Slater had moved back into defence, ringing in the changes as Ferns was still recovering from his tight hamstring from last week’s match. The passing and penetration was immediately successful. Before the opposition was able to settle into a rhythm, The Exiles struck, with a long throw from Morris sailing over the heads of all in the box and finding Keane at the back post with the easiest finish he is ever likely to have. The opposition protested, it was not clear what they felt the infraction was, but it was to be an indicator of what was to come. The Moja team tried to regroup and push forward, but the Brits doubled their lead with another long throw. Morris once again causing panic in the defence and the Keeper spilled the throw and the ball into the net. The opposition were once again furious, claiming it was not a goal. If the Keeper had left the ball, things might have been different, but as it stood, The Brits were in dominant mood and two to the good.

The game started to even out, but the Brits looked solid. Pernas was running the defence ragged on the left and the Brit shape was confident and solid. The opposition started to find opportunities to run at the Exile defence, but, despite some fancy tricks, they were not finding much luck. Unfortunately it was a Brit error that let them back into the game.

Pernas and Wells were caught by opposition pressing and their player exploited the chance running into the box. He rounded the keeper and Wells put the ball into the net on the goal line.

It was the first real chance they had carved out and the Brits had the right to feel aggrieved at allowing them back into the game. The Brits continued to press but the opposition started to sour the game. Diving and harassing the referee. Aggressive blocking off the ball, and all the while, their contingent of travelling fans howling at every challenge, calling for cards on every occasion. Morris was angered by a dive and told the player to get up. The opposition surrounded him, and tempers frayed. Mere seconds later Gilman delivered a hefty challenge on the wing and the match seemed to collapse into an ugly mood from then on in. There was a lengthy delay as the referee spoke with the opposition at length. It was unclear whether he booked a player, but then instructed two of their players to remove jewellery. Perhaps the intent was to allow a spell of time to help calm the nerves, but the die had been cast and the incessant harassment from the sidelines ratcheted up.

The Brits continued to hold firm, the opposition continued to fall to the floor and claim fouls at all opportunities, their supporters frothed at the perceived injustice. As the half came to a close they pierced the defensive line and surged goalward, Shaw tackled and the player went down immediately. The referee had no hesitation but to point to the spot. It looked like a clear penalty, but Shaw insisted he got the ball, spectators behind the goal also backed up his claim, insisting there was no contact. The penalty had been sold to the ref and the Brit bench equally. The penalty was well taken, right at the post, Cabañero, got to it, but could only push it into the side netting and the referee blew for half time. The Brits were disappointed to be pegged back.

The second half began with the Brits continuing in the same mould. The opposition were now attacking the goal in front of their supporters and that gathered crowd were relentless in their derision and vocal rage. Despite all the energy and drive, they were not finding a way through. Their goal came out of nothing, their attack resisted at a distance, a speculative shot at the near post was seemingly comfortable for Cabañero in goal but he misjudged, suspecting the ball was heading wide. It was a hammer blow but the Brits had more than enough time to get back at them. The team attacked with passion, demonstrating some nice passing moves and a growing understanding as a unit. Yet, attacks were constantly halted by the referee calling the game back for opposition players sprawling on the floor, crying in pain. Consistently such injuries were the result of their own aggressive and over zealous tackling.

Keane was causing them problems in the centre, Shaw was impressing on the wing and the Brits moved forward in determined waves. Wells found himself making a surging run through the centre only to see his shot saved, then a well struck shot caused the keeper problems.

Rooney and Gilman were causing problems with their height in the box, and the opposition defended with desperation, but the game was not allowed to flow. Cabañero was called upon to make an outstanding save from a freekick but otherwise the Brit goal was not troubled. The Exiles persevered in pushing for an equaliser, the crowd jeered the Brits as hooligans, their team played for time and the game petered out to a sullen end.

There were handshakes all round but disgruntled supporters and bitter recriminations filled the air. As the teams walked toward the changing rooms, one of the players girlfriends confronted Pernas, and her boyfriend launched himself at Pernas. Morris stepped in and as Brits tried to diffuse the moment, players and supporters piled in on Morris. Putting him in a headlock and drop kicking a ball at him. Further players and supporters ran to join the melee. Brits tried to calm the madness and the referee instructed both teams to head to their changing rooms. The Spaniards issued threats and promises of revenge for the return fixture, their girlfriends continued to hurl abuse. The situation was absurd.

The performance was outstanding, and the Brits continue to grow every game. They deserved something from this curious affair but over the next two matches are playing struggling teams with a clear chance to get further points on the board, but this match gave some light. The Brits had their first fans turn up to watch them after reading of their exploits in these reports. The team were honoured to have received such interest and enthusiasm and hope there will be more coming to join us in our exploits. All are welcome for our forthcoming Christmas social on December 14th at Gallagher Irish Tavern. We are confident that we will be celebrating a further win once we meet.

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