Updated: Dec 28, 2019
A moment of hesitation undid an impressive, hard fought recovery
Gorilas de Algadon (2) 3
Británicos (0) 2
Morris, De Vicente
Parque Ebro 27/10/19 17:00
Beattie, Wells, Rooney, Ferns, Pernas, Martin, Shaw, De Vicente, Morris, Gilman, Peribañez
A fascinating encounter in the late light of a Sunday afternoon in riotous blaze of autumnal colours saw a talented group of youngsters take on the older and maybe wiser heads of the immigrants.
The first half fell into a rhythm that saw the Brits out of sorts. It was unclear whether the early kick off combined with Sunday lunch over indulgence from the majority of the squad was to blame or the heavy pitch with unpredictable bounce. The Exiles seemed to show their opponents too much respect and allowed them too much space and time on the ball. The opposition showed a keen eye moving forward, fast, fluid movement and energetic running. As the Brits soaked up the pressure, all too often the response was a long ball game that, although highlighting weaknesses in their back line, also meant the opposition were able to return to attack with great speed.
Beattie making his debut in goal looked assured and gave the defence a confidence which perhaps was why they backed off the mazy run by the opposition star. He placed his shot perfectly, deep into the corner and the Brits once again went down to an early goal.
The Exiles continued to persist with their long ball game and a general air of a lack of calm dominated their play. Snatching at the ball or playing the pass a touch too heavy. When they calmed themselves on the ball, they looked more dangerous and started to test the opposition underbelly. Their goalkeeper was equal to the questions asked of him although a striding run by Rooney saw him unlucky not to level the game as he was denied by the post.
Players were expressing frustration that they could not trust the bounce of the pitch. Morris felt the ball behaved in uncertain ways when in front of goal, Wells, in a rare foray forward was frustrated by the pitch sucking the speed out of the ball. It was then such unusual bounces that resulted in a second goal for the youngsters. A looping ball unsettled Wells at the back, and the impressive number 69 sneaked in behind him and centered the ball to be converted at close range. The Brits now had a mountain to climb.
A slight reshuffle of the deck saw Peribañez come on up front and Ferns move back from his central role in the field and his session in the second half of the first period started to settle the match more in the Brits favour. With Pernas starting to manage the midfield, Ferns started to bring the defensive line higher up the pitch and more enthusiastically on the back of the opposition players. He delivered a crunching tackle on the touchline that evoked winces all round. The referee did not produce a card but the defiance gave some steel to the Brit performance. The Brits rediscovered their game and gave the opposition a harder time on the ball. The passing game returned. Shaw, Pernas and Peribañez combined well, finding triangles within the final third. De Vicente showed guile and speed on the wing and the attacking moves were producing fruit. The first half came to a close with the Exiles far more dominant, and unlucky not to have found the score sheet.
The half time considerations were clear. The ship had been settled and this second half was now available for the Brits to play their game. The team retook to the field with a new found enthusiasm. The defensive line not only absorbed the attack but continued to repel approaches higher up the pitch. This enabled a quicker counter attack and opened up a more effective passing game. The Brits started to drive the game further into the opposition half and it was the high line and counter attacking runs that resulted in the first goal. Wells broke up an attack and released De Vicente on a run. The battling winger cut the ball back inside to Wells who had run forward with him, who then laid the ball off for De Vicente to overlap. His cross split the defence with precision and Morris converted into an empty net at the far post.
Brit tails were up. Another good use of rotation saw Martin and Peribañez combining with
instinctive movement and passing and suddenly the opposition were overrun and on the back foot. Brits surged forward consistently. Agonsizingly, Pernas hit the post with a quality effort. Peribañez created space for himself on two or three occasions but was either narrowly wide or denied by their keeper, who was now working hard.
Gilman was garnering attention for his strong and resilient challenges and De Vicente was showing a dogged determination and bulldog spirit in his play. Not only was he a tireless runner and a danger in attack, but it seems he was a player who refused to be dispossessed. If he was tackled he would immediately place his opposition number under pressure and frequently regained the ball. It was the defiant De Vicente who drew the teams level, collecting the ball in the middle of the park and lining up a quite spectacular strike that left the keeper no chance as he opened his account for the Exiles in exquisite style.
The opposition rotated their own pack and started to push back. The Brits seemed to hold firm but were straining at the bit to take the three points. The high line started to become a full throated attacking formation and the opposition started to find space and opportunity in behind the Brits. Beattie performed miracles to twice deny the attacks with outstanding saves. The Brits controlled the air so the opposition came at them on the deck. Gilman was working overtime to help break up the attacks with some solid tackling. On occasion conceding a freekick to bring the attack to a halt.
The deciding goal came on the back of such a challenge by Gilman. The opposition player flung himself to the ground and made much vocal play calling for a foul. The ball came loose and Wells hesitated to clear, half expecting to hear the whistle, half concerned he would strike the ball into the prone opposition player or catch him with his boot. The momentary confusion was enough for the opposition to steal through and punish the Brits, converting cleverly to finally get the better of Beattie in his impressive second half. The back line were devastated. Having done so well to stifle the attack for so long, the goal had come from a curious moment of confusion.
The Brits had five minutes to pull the game back and committed to a defiant finish. Pernas, who has been seen as a target for solid challenges in both games, was furious not to be awarded a penalty and had increasingly demonstrated frustration with the referee for not giving anything in his favour. The opposition were pinned back and attempted to clear with urgency.
The Brits with a succession of throw ins pushed toward the goal but were unable to get a shot on target. A rapid counter attack was broken up by Wells who once again laid the ball out wide for De Viciente who cut back in for Pernas, only to be fouled. This time, the referee awarded the free kick and it was to be the last effort of the match. Pernas hit a solid effort at goal and the Brits descended on the goal to collect a spill. The keeper blocked the shot and the ball infuriatingly spun off toward the corner beyond all the arriving Brits.
Both teams had played in a good spirit and appreciated the talents and sportsmanship of the opposition. The Brits came away frustrated that they had not taken more from the match but spirits are high. The squad has a good understanding and play with awareness and confidence. There is no reason why they should not be challenging for the top position in this league this season based on their first two performances. This could be a memorable year for the club! There is no match next week for public holiday so the squad can rest
Many thanks to Ana Sofia Aznar González for her excellent reportage photographs that feature in this report.
Thanks to our sponsor Gallagher Irish Tavern for your continuing support.