The Brits come up against some lethal finishing in an impressive effort that lifted the spirits.
Británicos (0) 1
Old School (3) 5
Parque Ebro 09/02/20 18:15
Beattie, Wells, Gilman, Pernas(Y), De Vicente, Wolfenden, Shaw, Borque
The Exiles came into this tie with a major disadvantage, a significant number of players were unavailable, some enjoying the stag do for their team mate Morris as they indulged in excessive drinking in Logroño. It was a challenge to put together a near make shift team line up. Clapson, Keane, Peribañez and Martin were all unavailable along with Ferns, Rooney and the stag, Morris.
Borque was a late confirmation to provide the team with at least one change and so Gilman started at the back with Wells and De Vicente took duties up front. The opposition had a wealth of changes to call upon and the Exiles knew that they would struggle with tired legs so put together a strategy to play a passing game with no nonsense at the back.
The opening exchanges demonstrated that such plans were hopelessly optimistic. The Brits came out the blocks with fire in their bellies. Wolfenden on the wing immediately showed drive and hunger that put the opposition on the back foot. Tearing into the defence and creating openings with energy and commitment. De Vicinte seemed to relish the chance to play the hit man and equally gave the old School defenders food for thought. Pernas, although playing a little deeper, sitting in front of the defensive two was singled out for hatchet tackles from an early stage as his twinkle toes saw him drift through their midfield. The defence, although not a natural pairing seemed comfortable enough, the team organisation seemingly paying off as Gilman fulfilled an unfamiliar role. Despite the clever interplay and fast movement of the Old School attack they found no way through.
With a lack of personnel that usually made a claim for set pieces, Wells was able to step up to drift a free kick onto the head of Pernas who was unlucky not to score and a couple of throw ins that equally caused problems. With Shaw marauding down the right offering options that overloaded the opposition with impressive pace, it seemed the Brits had found a style of play and a heart for the game that would confound expectations.
It was to be some uncharacteristic errors from the usually unflappable Beattie between the sticks that saw the game unfold in the way it did. Despite the astonishing waves of flowing attacks by the Brits, including De Vicinte hitting the bar, Wolfenden unlucky not to drive home on the far post, Pernas curling past the post, Wells heading wide and failing to stab home a goal line scramble, the OldSchool had three shots on target in the first half, each one finding the net. Beattie felt he should have prevented the first, the second was ruthlessly dispatched after Gilman was unable to close down the runner and the third was a torpedo smashed low at Beattie's near post. It had been devastating to head in to the half time break having conceded three despite holding the majority of the game. The defence had held the oppoistion at bay to a real degree and Beattie had performed heroics on more than one occasion when called upon, with two double saves that saw him push rebounds clear from incoming strikers. Borque had cycled into defence with Gilman taking Shaw'saws role on the wing and this seemed to give more steel and confidence. Come the half time discussion, the belief was still that this game was by no means out of reach, the opposition defence was porous whilst the attack had an eye for goal. If the Brits could claw a couple back quickly the opposition might begin to doubt themselves.
The Brits continued their flowing football at the restart, turning the opposition onto the back foot and threatening to score. Once more they hit the woodwork and the early minutes looked like the opposition were in trouble. It was De Vicinte who pulled one back from a free kick after Pernas had once again been the focus of some over exuberant cynical tackling. The Brits pushed forward and came close to pulling back a second as De Vicente pulled the ball across for Pernas who placed his shot narrowly wide. It was then that the Old School demonstrated their efficacy in front of goal, even as they were restricted to long distant shots, one was hit with enough force that Beattie was only able to push it onto the post and in and they hit a second for the half shortly after that left the keeper rooted to the spot. The Brits pushed one defender higher up to assist Pernas in midfield and this simple adaptation of the tactic nullified the opposition attack to a great degree. The Brits ploughed forward with determination. Beattie started to play more as a sweeper keeper and acquitted himself with aplomb. The Old School started to commit more and more fouls to break up play, but as the Exiles pushed higher in attack the Old School started to find some success on the break. This led to reciprocal fouls from the Brits and Wolfenden, who had played an outstanding game was then lucky to stay on the field after going in very enthusiastically on a winger.
Shaw found his legs and Wells bombed up and down the field, taking a long distance pot shot and almost stealing off the keeper. Pernas continued to show menace and De Vicente was desperately unlucky to not add to his tally, including one occasion that saw him round the keeper only to have his shot cleared off the line.
The game came to a crunching halt with both teams exhausted. The result had not really been in doubt for the majority of the second half but the game had been played at a furious pace and with unrelenting energy from all concerned. It had been a well contested and highly competitive affair and the Old School warmly thanked the Brits for a serious contest that the score line did not fairly reflect. The Brits felt encouraged by their efforts if not frustrated by the result.
The defeat leaves them in the lower end of the league still but with the third best defensive record in the league. If they can convert some of their chances, they should surely take some scalps in the weeks to come. Sadly, this season, scoring goals has clearly been a struggle.
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