Updated: Jan 4
The exiles are beaten by the brilliance of one player in a tactical contest
Británicos (0) 1
Real Zalarraza (0) 3
Parque Ebro 10/11/19 20:00
Beattie, Rooney, Ferns, Pernas, Martin, Gilman, Morris, Wells, Shaw, De Vicente, Clapson, Wolfenden
The bitter cold of a late Remembrance Sunday kick off saw the Brits gather to attempt to put their first defeat of the season behind them. They cam up against a well organised outfit in Real Zalarraza. The early exchanges set out a pattern that would be adhered to for most of the encounter. The opposition had a clear plan and operated well together as a unit. They attacked with purpose and were effective in their turnover from defence to attack. The team revolved around the bright talents of their number seven. It took the Brits no time at all to focus their efforts on attempting to shackle his talents, this requirement placed greater strain on the Brit style of play. Man marking one player led to greater space and opportunity for their other players. The Exiles were stretched between their desire to attack and their need to defend. This saw frenetic activity in the Brit final third, pinned to the edge of their own box, getting the ball off the opposition boot on several occasions before shots were unleashed. Beattie performed outstanding saves at least three times in the half, to frustrate the waves of attack. Wells cleared off the line from a Beattie save at a corner, Ferns, Rooney and others all got vital interceptions in, but the ball just kept coming back.
The Brit game was uneasy, a potential degree of panic, passes were going astray, midfield was unable to track effectively with the opposition and the defenders increasingly growing in frustration as they fought to stem the tide. Some long ball passes started to find some luck and despite the run of play. Some expansive play, with defenders making runs into the opposition half managed to show glimmers of hope but, in general, there was a lack of creativity and the Brits showed an inability to stamp control on the game. Martin showed a growing confidence and Pernas combined weel with him, linking forward to Morris but in general the wings were struggling to maintain the pace of the game that demanded constant running from defence to attack.
It was pleasing to go into the break goalless. The Brits by no means overrun, but certainly not showing any ability to take control of the game.
The deadlock was broken by the opposition star player early in the second half. Managing to resist the attention of both Rooney and Wells to dribble into the box and place past Beattie. Both defenders had intercepted the ball on his surging run, but he had managed to claim possession back on both occasions. It was by no means the signal for a defeat and the Brits started to assert more of their character on the game, drawing some saves from the opposition keeper and winning a series of corners. Tenacity from debutant Wolfenden and Gilman around the box with the running of De Vicente, Martin and another debut Clapson started to show promise, only for a second goal to take the wind from the Brit sails. Once again, the same player, overcame the dogged shadowing of the exile defenders to convert. Beattie was on hand to perform some further outstanding saves as the Brits wavered, but a third, this time, a truly outstanding solo effort from distance that found the far corner had the game won.
A Brit consolation did come after a powerful passing move saw De Vicente unleash Pernas to cross to Morris to convert, but it was too little too late. It was not a bad performance, but it was one that lacked authority and creativity.
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