Updated: Dec 28, 2019
The Brits combined defiant defence and sublime scoring to punish their rivals in a resolute team display.
Ecotisa (2) 3
Ramos 7, 11, Civeira 44
Los Británicos (2) 5
Morris 5, 41, Borque 16, Peribañez 36, 38
Parque Ebro 17/02/19 19:15
Cabañero, Wells, Rooney, Peribañez, Ferns, Shaw, Morris, Kinsella, Verenka, Borque
The Brits were coming into the eagerly anticipated derby optimistic but uncertain. Despite a victory last week, the team sheet would be missing key names once more. Gilman will be in rehabilitation for some time post surgery and as the match approached the pivotal Peruvian Pernas would also be missing after his ankle had not recovered sufficiently from the persistent hacking he received last week. Slater was unavailable but other names were making a welcome return. Ferns returning along with Cabañero alongside an enthusiastic new signing, the Lithuanian engine room Verenka. Ecotisa were at near full strength and felt confident after their 3-1 victory earlier in the season and an impressive second half display last week they had turned a 5-2 horror show at half time into an 8-5 victory. It was destined to be a determined contest.The match had drawn a record attendance of wives, girlfriends and offspring, pushing the crowd into double figures, and they were in for a treat.
Ecotisa kicked off with Ramos looking to strike goal from the off, but Morris blocked the effort and the Brits found themselves surging down the right through Shaw, narrowly losing out on the byline. It was a curious start to the match which was to continue in a furious and unpredictable pace. Ecotisa enjoyed the lion's share of the early possession, attacking with dynamic and direct determination, a front line that surged in unison, stretching the Exile's defence. The pairing of Rooney and Wells withstood the bombardment. Ferns playing in the centre was working had alongside Shaw and Peribañez to provide a more substantive defence , but resulting in the team being pinned in their half. Ecotisa dribbled at the Brits with a combination of close control and lucky second balls. They moved as anticipated, a team accustomed to playing together, full of confidence. Rooney was imperious in the air and a brick wall on the ground. Wells harried like a terrier making interceptions or sending attackers back into the swarming Brit midfield. Ecotisa felt momentum was with them only to go one down. As an attack broke down the ball was played forward to Morris on the half way line. Shaw and Peribañez streamed forward either side of him and Ecotisa were overrun, either option would have put a player through on goal, but as Morris turned, he shaped to shoot with his left. The ball looped over the hopelessly out of position keeper and without warning, the Brits were one nil up in some style.
The lead was short lived, although Ecotisa were resisted by the defence as they doubled down the attack, a flurry of corners resulted in Ramos scoring at the far post with an audacious flick of the heel, finally getting the better of Rooney. The tall defender was aggrieved a few minutes later as he had his pocket picked by Ramos once more who clinically finished before the defenders could regroup. The Brits faltered for a moment. The next goal would be significant in the psychology of the game. Ecotisa pushed to extend their lead. The defence wavered but Cabañero was at hand to deny a further goal.
The save reinvigorated the Exiles and they started to enjoy more of the ball with more impact. Some rotation of players saw Verenka come on in the middle of the park. The Lithuanian had spent most of his life living in Ireland and was immediately nicknamed "Guinness", as most of team failed to pronounce his name, He was to earn the Irish epithet, ploughing a furrow in the middle of the park with his boots toiling the ground and opposition players alike. His strength and build proved effective in breaking up and slowing the Ecotisa attacks, giving the Brits more outlets going forward. The shift in balance in the match brought a rapid change of fortunes. Borque intercepted a pass in front of goal and battled through the Ecotisa lunges to level the match with a clinical finish.
The Brits started to press higher up the field and Ecotisa struggled under the renewed pressure. Rooney was unlucky not to convert a throw at the far post and Peribañez terrified the opposition with his driving runs. The half came to a close with the match evenly poised. Both teams had the ability and opportunity to take the three points. Would it be the team that wanted it more or the team that worked more?
As the second half got underway it was Ecotisa that seemed to be the answer to both questions. They swarmed forward and from the off and pulled the Brits out of shape causing chaos at the back. Cabañero made several astounding blocks as the Brits seems on the ropes. Rooney, Shaw, Ferns, Kinsella and Wells all threw their bodies on the line to prevent scoring opportunities but it seemed only a matter of time before they conceded. As the pressure mounted Ecotisa threaded the ball to their talisman Ramos inside the box but Wells was on hand to snuff out the danger with a bone jarring, but legitimate, tackle that had Ramos on the floor. It gave a brief respite as Ramos seemed a little less committed in chasing the ball after that and then the Brits, pulled themselves off the ropes and started to counter punch with devastating accuracy. A free kick was the first sight of goal they had in the half and it was thumped into the wall, but as the opposition broke forward once more, Ferns broke up the play and pushed forward to Borque who played the ball into the box to find Peribañez. The smiling assassin, jinked his hips and put the keeper on the floor, went forward and pulled back once more, putting another defender onto the turf. He then dribbled back past the lunging keeper once more, leaving him flapping like a furious fish on the deck of a Floridian pleasure craft and proceeded to junk past two more lunging challenges before tucking the ball away. It was an extraordinary moment. The Brits ran to celebrate as half the Ecotisa team lay forlorn on the ground, having been put there, by one man.
As they reeled from the goal, Peribañez delivered a further devastating blow a mere few moments later, once again, interplay with Borque saw the Brit number 9 bury the ball in the far post. In a matter of two minutes or so, the match had been turned on it's head. Ecotisa lost their shape and their head as they reeled from the double blow and the Brits punished them further. "Guinness" drew the keeper to try and collect a long ball, he was hopelessly outmatched against the Lithuanian's strength, almost bouncing off him and once more floundering hopelessly on the deck. Verenka laid the ball off to Morris who scored his second, once again with his left foot.
The opposition continued to press with determination, but the game was won. A consolation goal hit with full force managed to beat Cabañero, but the Brit shape held. Wells, rolling back the years moved on to right wing and almost delivered a sixth, stretching his sinews but just failing to get on the end of a clever cross from Shaw.
Ecotisa had played well up front, but the Brit defence had been disciplined and when at full stretch, determined to ensure they shall not pass. The Exiles had exacted a just revenge on their former team mates, delivering a performance of maturity and lethal determination to take the few chances that came their way. The Sheffield steel and Bulldog bravery in the Brit defence was what Ecotisa lacked, and Peribañez and Morris had punished them accordingly.
The league position looks far more respectable for the Brits after this result. Tired and heavy legs will be hoping to make it three wins in three and continue the second half of the season renaissance that the whole team knew was possible. There is nothing to fear but fear itself....and age...and appendicitis.
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