A frustrating and unsatisfying performance sees Exiles succumb to heavy defeat
Real Solfamidas (2) 6
Británicos (1) 2
De Vicinte, Morris
Parque Ebro 17/11/19 18:00
Beattie, Rooney, Wells, Ferns, Gilman(Y), Morris, Shaw, De Vicente, Wolfenden, Borque
The Brits felt optimistic of managing to take something from this encounter. It was to prove to be one of the most disappointing matches in the short history of the club. The team lost Martin, Pernas and Peribañez to injury prior to kick off, with Keane still abroad unable to take to the field and Clapson unable to attend but the match day squad was well populated and enthusiastic. Starting with Borque in the centre of the park and a group of players who were clear in their roles across the ptich, there was no reason to not be upbeat.
The opening ten minutes were a stern lesson in organisation. Borque seemed a little off the pace in the centre and the defensive pair of Rooney and Wells were immediately over run a the back. With the wingers returning back to lend support deeper and deeper the Brits could not build and merely held on with grim determination. Despite Beattie being outstanding in the nets the Brits were exposed at the back time and time again and the opposition passed their way into a rapid two goal lead.
Ferns rotated into the centre of the park and the Brits focused on the basics of their game. Starting to pass together and adjust to the attacking moves of the opposition they started to curb the waves of attack and push the game back to the opponents half. The pace on the wings from De Vicente and Gilman or Shaw and Wolfenden started to get in behind the defence.
Despite some nice passing moves exposing some fragility the keeper stood firm and showed good hands when called upon. He was confident in plucking the classic Brit long throw from the air and it took a moment of De Vicente individual determination to pull the Brits into the game. Chasing down a lost ball near the corner, he picked the pocket of the opposition defender, turned inside and curled the ball goalward. Another defender squirmed to deflect the ball clear but only helped the shot on it's way and the Brits were back in the hunt.
The first half came to a close in a very balanced state. After a horrendous opening spell the Brits had clawed their way back into the match and had the opposition on the back foot. Whilst they certainly had a threat to be wary of, there was no reason why the Brits could not overcome them in the second half. No one could have predicted what was to follow in the latter parts of the second half.
The game continued in a similar pattern, with the Brits enjoying more possession and probing with more confidence. This was to turn out to be misleading as the Solfamides were happy to soak up pressure and play on a counter attack. The Brits defensive line held well under the questions asked, but increasingly it became clear that Brits were not converting their possession into real chances. The game ebbed and flowed in this style, but with some increasing frustration from the Brits to the referee decisions being given against them.
Rooney and Wells were playing a percentages game at the back, and on more than one occasion were able to steal a ball off a striker's boot at the last possible second, with Beattie looking solid if called upon. A blow came when Rooney turned his ankle and the team shape had to readjust, with Ferns moving back to the defensive line and then Borque moving to the wing and De Vicente into the centre. This gave more steel and drive in the centre and Borque made intelligent running on the flank. Wolfenden had been showing some solid tackling and running on the alternate wing and the game remained finely balanced .
As the deadlock continued it was becoming dangerously possible that an error could cost the game, either way.
Sadly that error came from the Brits. Beattie in uncharacteristic fashion, after playing to outstanding levels since making his debut, blocked a cross come shot that squeezed between his hands and found it's way into the net. It was a heart breaking blow to the Brits and what followed was a painful lesson in maintaining focus in key moments. As the Exiles lost their shape with that blow, the Solfamides attacked without mercy immediately. The attack saw a pass break the line, which the team all immediately claimed offside. The referee felt otherwise and the opposition scored once again. The Brits were furious. It was, they considered the most obvious case of offiside they had seen. Wells led the shouts at the referee in an unusual show of fury. Incensed they were unable to get the moment out of their minds and within a minute the opposition had scored once more, as Beattie diverted a shot onto the post only to see it spin back into the net.
In a crazy three or four minutes the entire game had been turned on it's head. The Brits felt cheated and the game turned ragged. Gilman made an outstanding tackle and the referee gave a free kick which saw the Brits further frustrated and moments later Gilman was once again involved as he clashed in the centre of the park. His tenacity this time won the freekick which was converted with venom by Morris.
The goal gave the Brits hope but the opposition almost immediately replied with an impressive curling shot and that finished the game as a contest. The Brits fought hard to retain some dignity but it was without question a sub par performance. The side had not provided one cross throughout the game and Morris had not got enough service. Football games are not won on possession but goals. The Brits were phlegmatic in defeat and were already learning the lessons of this unpleasant outcome as they shared a beer post match. A defeat was probably a fair result, the score and manner of the collapse has hurt the Exiles though, who will look to bounce back rapidly.
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