Updated: Mar 1
The Brits battled the competitive M-Auto team in a relentless spectacle leaving the spoils shared
M Auto (1) 3
Británicos (1) 3
De Vicente 2, Shaw
Parque Ebro 16/02/20 18:30
Beattie, Wells, Rooney, Ferns, Gilman, De Vicente, Morris, Wolfenden, Shaw
This was an extraordinary affair. As the teams awaited their kick off, the match before descending into a full scale dispute that spilled onto the neighbouring pitch. Both the Brits and their opponents, a Romanian team, joked reassuringly with the referee that they would not be hurling "maricon" and other such epithets at eachother.
The match found both teams struggling with absence but this did not dull the blade as both set about the match with furious energy. It was a shaky start for the Brits, seemingly unable to settle on the ball and panicking in possession. Both the defending pair failed to get comfortable on the ball with their first touches, either swinging and missing or a lack of control. This seemed to infiltrate the entire outfield mood, the whole team looked skittish as they weathered an early sustained charge by M-Auto. Thankfully, the opposition were struggling to find their passing boots and squandered their early dominance with consistently woeful final balls.
It seemed inevitable that the Brits would concede under such sustained pressure and a degree of panic in their ranks, but the team seemed to be settling into their rhythm when the goal struck. An unusual header from a throw in, with a man ghosting in at the back post unmarked.
This seemed to spur the Brits into action and they started to find a degree of consistency in their passing. The opposition had less time on the ball and started to play long ball which benefitted the Brit back line. With the Romanians playing with two players upfront to use the knock down to open up shooting chances, the Brits could intercept with the height of Rooney or with Wells to block the second ball and the Brits had space to exploit the open spaces of the midfield. The Brits started to dominate the flow of play, opening up chances for shots from all parts of the outfield line up. Of all the shooting boots on display, it was De Vicente that looked the most dangerous and it was he who pulled the Brits level with a simply spectacular strike from distance that even drew admiration from the referee.
Half time arrived with the teams locked in a state were either could press on to win. It had been a fast moving first half and it seemed that maybe the Brits legs could withstand the pace more as the game progressed.
No one anticipated the astonishing developments of the second half though. The period started with the Brits showing more steel and drive and controversy struck as a defender leapt using his hands to block an impressive drive that was then palmed away by the goalkeeper. The M-Auto defender grinned sheepishly and the Brits protested furiously. The referee had not seen the infringement and waved the game on. The injustice forged a fire in the Brits as they started to pile the pressure on the M-Auto defence. Shots skimmed the post, left the keeper stranded or were blocked desperately by defenders. Wolfenden was playing with outstanding vibrancy. Pace and fire terrifying the defence. Shaw and Gilman were providing equally enjoyable foils in the wings and Ferns was enjoying the expansive role of the midfield in the absence of Pernas. Wells and Rooney still felt like they had struggled to find their touch but were maintaining a solid defensive role. It was in the full flush of this period of pomp that M-Auto got lucky and snatched the lead. A ball took a deflection past Wells and Rooney then got a touch on the cross which redirected the ball away from Beattie. The snatched shot was well saved by the keeper only for the ball to wickedly deflect back over him off the striker. It was a devastating piece of misfortune but the Brits were determined to not let this match slip away from them.
The Exiles returned to battering the M-Auto goal and were rewarded with a well taken goal from De Vicente on a narrow angle at the near post. M-Auto seemed to waiver and the Brits had their tails up. They continued to pursue the three points and took the lead after Shaw tried his hardest to not take his opportunity to slot home in front of an empty net. (Ed: They all count Jamie)
Gilman almost found the net with a header, Rooney was unlucky not to have scored from a considerable distance, M-Auto were struggling to keep up.
The game was now in a fascinating balance. M-Auto pushing harder with ever increasing urgency to try and avoid defeat. The Brits tried to find the balance between sitting back and exploiting the space opening up at the back. Beattie pulled off some breathtaking saves as Rooney and Wells tried to hold the line firm. As the game came to an animated conclusion, once more M-Auto found success from a throw in. Their tall defender came up for the attack and managed to get some height off the back of a colleague and headed down low and home.
Rather than crumble, the Brits surged forward to regain the lead and M-Auto also suspected they could snatch the victory. The last minutes saw the Brits throw everything at snatching victory. Morris almost pulled off a stunning recreation of Paul Gascgoine's strike against Scotland in Euro 96, lofting the ball over a tumbling defender before unleashing a volley that brushed the bar. As the referee looked at his watch Ferns was denied with a block that fell to Wells who thundered the ball goal bound from distance to be denied by the keeper fisting it back into trouble. The ball was scrambled away and the referee called time on a messy but well contested and absorbing draw.
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