Updated: Dec 28, 2019
Los Británicos once again provided entertainment and style and were unlucky to come away losers in an engaging contest.
Los Británicos (1) 3
Perbañez 14, Rooney 35, Morris 42
Alianza Planet (1) 4
15, 37, 41, 45
Parque Ebro 20/01/19 17:30
Wells (Y), Slater, Rooney, Gilman, Pernas, Shaw (Y), Morris, Kinsella, Peribañez
A crisp Sunday afternoon at the riverside which saw the Brits kick off under the setting sun and battle out the second half under the rising super moon in an extraordinary match. Alianza were an impressive team. Organised and confident on the ball. They immediately ran at the Brits from the kick off. Before the team had settled into a shape Wells had to leap across his goal to push away a long distance free kick. The Brits then had Rooney launching a bullet header goal ward from Shaw's corner only to see it come off the post. The game was barely a minute old and was set to continue in this vein.
Alianza were camped out in the Brits half. Plenty of possession but with little penetration, falling back on long distance efforts which Wells seemed comfortable handling. Slater and Rooney at the back were worked hard by the opposition attacks, but they were successful at breaking up opportunities with well placed tackles, but the Brits were struggling to build out from the back and found Alianza coming back at them with the ball, but when the exiles were able to break out, they looked dangerous and determined.
The Brits broke from the resulting corner in one of the most scintillating passages of play the team had provided all season. Slater intercepted the corner and headed out to the ever impressive Pernas. The Peruvian ran back toward his own goal riding two feverish challenges then turned and started to drive down the wing, turning another two opposition players inside out and staying on his feet despite the clattering challenges being offered up. He played the ball on the deck into the box as Peribañez nonchalontly flicked the ball across the keeper to the far post. He was peeling away to celebrate with Pernas before the ball was in the back of the net. It was an extraordinary goal and despite being against the run of play, the Brits thoroughly deserved their lead.
It wasn't to last long. The opposition played a ball into the box which the impressive Slater went to head clear, inexplicably the ball just dropped at the feet of an Alianza attacker. He finished from short range without hesitation and the teams were back on terms.
As the half wore on, Alianza's long distance shooting started to win corners, and the set pieces provided their best opportunities to test the Brits. They came close with low passes to the near post, one effort nicked in, deflecting off Rooney and under Wells, but the keeper got a foot to it and everyone held their breath as the ball spun along the goal line and brushed the post to go out.
The Brits continued to hold their own, with little to scare them. Wells made an error in picking up from a throw in which led to an indirect free kick inside the area, but Alianza spurned the chance. Slater, continued to impress, went on a may run toward the end of the half, with almost the entire opposition team attempting to take the ball from him, but the attack broke down after he passed the ball forward and the teams went into the break level.
The half time break enabled the team to reinforce their strategy. The Brits were confident that they could push for more opportunities in the second half. As the opposition were focusing on Pernas it opened up the wide channels for Gilman and Shaw or Kinsella to exploit. The second half certainly did see the Brits test the opposition defence with much more regularity. The game became an end to end fast moving spectacle..
Morris was unlucky not to restore the lead on a couple of occasions and meanwhile at the back Slater was having a determined battle with his opposite number and Rooney continued to be imperious alongside him. The two attackers were strong and physical and had plenty of running in them. Slater especially was successful in frustrating his opponent and the two were in a constant war of words off the ball. The Alianza attack finally broke the defence wide open with a slide rule pass across the centre that pulled the persistent defenders out of position. Alianza had the goal at their mercy. Wells had spotted the danger and launched himself at the attacker whose shot he blocked. They came back at the Brits almost immediately and won a free kick on the edge of the box. The shot was hit with power and seemed destined to find the top far corner, but Wells was once again up to the challenge, pulling off an impressive save which drew admiration from his team mates, it really started to feel like the stand in keeper was worthy of the number one shirt after all.
The Brits retook the lead from their trademark long throw set piece. The move as dangerous as a corner or free kick once again caused panic in the opposition defence. Kinsella came in at the far post to meet the ball and prod it goalwards, Rooney got a clever back heel on it redirecting it past the keeper and into the net. The goal was the catalyst for the madness of the closing stages of the game.
Alianza drew level almost immediately once again, much to the frustration of the Brits who had worked so hard to regain the lead. A cross was met by an attacker who ran at goal with Slater tight on him. As the shot was unleashed the defender got a touch on it, sadly it merely redirected the ball slightly and instead of being blocked by the keeper it went under his hands and in off his shoulder. It was desperately unlucky.
There was a renewed vigour in the opposition attack and they ran at the Brit defence feeling a shift int he balance of the game. Rooney blocked one such run with a solid and impressive tackle, taking the ball off the attacker who went down. Inexplicably the referee gave a free kick, which the entire British team protested. This time the shot beat Wells. He could have been better positioned but he was expecting another player to take the kick and never saw the scorer from behind the defensive wall. His disappointment was short lived though as Morris levelled the game from the kick off. It seems that scoring from kick off and long throw ins are the Brit specialties.
The game was on a knife edge and either team could take the spoils or capitulate. It was a shame that after such an impressive performance in goal that the winner came from a keeper error. As Alianza attacked down the wing Wells read the cross and managed to intercept it, but all he succeeded in doing was wrong footing his defender. The ball fell to an attacker who converted beyond Slater's desperate lunge. Morris was unlucky not to once again draw level from the kick off and the Brits committed to the attack to salvage the game, This inevitably opened up opportunities at the back and it seemed they would be punished when Alianza broke with three men charging on goal in behind the defence. Wells had no choice but to come off his line and narrow the angle, the Alianza attacker chose not to play the ball to his team mate and tried to round the keeper. Attempting to tackle, the keeper brought down the attacker just outside the box. The opposition roared at the referee for a red card and the referee reached into his pocket to pull out a yellow. He recognized the tackle was a genuine attempt to take the ball and not a cynical foul but it was a nervous moment. The free kick was effectively in the same place as the earlier strike but this time was repelled. The resulting goal kick marked 90 seconds of play remaining and despite the determination of the Brits they were unable to pierce the opposition. Shaw was booked at the death as his hand made contact with a defender's face as they tussled for the ball by the byline.
The Brits deserved so much more for their efforts. They are unquestionably, a difficult team to play against and have given all opponents a tough challenging match. Pernas, Slater and Rooney were the stand out performers in another solid team display and Wells was awarded plaudits from the team for at least two exceptional saves but he felt responsible for the defeat all the same. With one more game to go before the half way stage in the season is reached, the Brits are still languishing near the bottom of the table but the team are confident that they have victories in them in the second half of the season. The growth of the team and their confidence has been dramatic. Skill and vision emerging alongside an increasingly impressive organization and discipline.
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