Británicos (1) 5
Bates, Lepore 2, Pernas 2
Casa Serra (2) 5
@CMF Pablo Iglesias 06/02/22 17:15
"Coming back from the dead is not quite the same as coming back to life" - Sarah Winman
Another early kick off saw the Brits taking on struggling Casa Serra. As the match got underway, nobody could have possibly known what an extraordinary match would unfold. The Exiles were missing Atrian, their solid pair of gloves at the back, so Wells was between the sticks.
The opening exchanges were tense and tentative, with Casa Serra probing the Exile defence. The Brits looked to take some opportunities on the break with Bates and Lepore coming close. The match settled into a pattern of the Brits looking calm and assured on the ball but unable to find the killer pass. At the back the pairing of Rooney and Ferns looked impressive and Wells made a couple of good blocks to help the confidence grow. It was a shock to the system when Casa Serra took the lead.
Serra managed to get around the back but Wells cleared the cross, Rooney blocked the follow up which fell to a striker who struck it well. Wells once again saved well but was caught in two minds as the ball spun away from him. His hesitation was fatal and the ball spun back into the net. It was a devastating and embarrassing goal to concede after a promising performance for the half.
The Brits continued to play their game. Keeping possession and passing well. Lepore and Pernas weaving their magic in midfield and Rooney continuing to demonstrate outstanding prowess at the back alongside the confident Ferns. The strength of the fight back was almost ruined as a wayward pass from Pernas saw Casa Serra split the defensive line. This time Wells was up to the challenge and blocked the one on one effort with his foot.
The equalizer was to come a short time after. Rooney broke up an attack, brought the ball into midfield and released Bates who passed a challenge and converted with resolute determination and the Brits were back in the game.
It seemed that the half would come to a close all square but Casa Serra retook the lead with the last moments of the half. As the blues bundled through the defence Wells was up to the challenge of blocking the shot only to see the ball rebound back into the net off Pernas. It was another painful blow and the Exiles went into the break down to two own goals.
It had been a tight half and everyone expected something similar in the second, but there was to be an astonishing narrative to play out. Serra came close to extending their lead early on with a clever flick that came back off the post and then the Brits started to turn the screw. Lepore dancing around tackles and Bates unleashing the full power of his shot on frequent occasions. The Serra keeper was having the game of his life, preventing a Bates missile from within the area and moments later blocking another effort low and on the tight angle. Both these impressive saves were then outdone by a fabulous reactionary save to a Lepore first time volley. The Exiles started to wonder if this was not going to be their day.
Lepore was once again denied from distance but from the resultant throw Gilman found space in the box and went down under a challenge to win a penalty which was reassuringly converted by Lepore.
Unfortunately, the Serra response was rapid, managing to exploit a rare bit of space in the box they restored the lead. The answer was rapid and impressive. Shaw harrying down the wing led to a sloppy pass that Lepore pounced on and converted with some aplomb. Reshaping his body to caress the ball into the net to once again restore parity.
The narrative continued to unravel as a chaotic yarn. The pen dipped in battery acid and flailing across the burning page. Just as it seemed the Brits were about to wrestle the game to the mat, Serra broke once again and struck from a distance. The ball was placed delightfully behind the far post and Wells watched it drift past him with despair. To be fair he was still recovering from broken ribs and did not feel comfortable diving to his left but it left the Brits trailing once gain.
Before the Brits could mount a response the Casa Serra side looked to have finished the game as a contest. A mazy run across the box dragged the defenders and keeper one way before sending the ball back the other and doubling their lead.
From the kick off the Brits continued to press and Lepore struck just wide but moments later he ran at the opposition and then fed the ball to Pernas who ghosted in unmarked to finish superbly. This had set up the Brits with a slim hope of pulling level with two minutes to play.
Wolfenden crept around the back and put a ball into the box but the Serra keeper collected. He attempted some route one football to his striker who attempted to head the ball over Wells who collected comfortably. He threw the ball long to Wolfenden who won a freekick in the Casa Serra half. Wolfenden got himself booked for reacting to the challenge and as the teams prepared for the freekick some handbags in the area resulted in a second yellow card for Wolfenden. Extraordinarily, Lepore then delivered a perfect freekick that was met by Pernas with his head and the match was drawn level. The Serra players were devastated, The Brits elated, celebrating with relief and joy combined.
Serra attempted a shot from the kick off which drifted wide. The Brits took the goal kick short to Ferns who lofted a long ball to Lepore who was surrounded by three players and in a carbon copy of the fourth goal he laid it on for Pernas in space. It seemed the script was written and the Brits would actually take the lead for the first time with the last kick of the game but agonizingly, Pernas put his shot mere centimetres wide of the far post and the referee blew for full time.
It had been a whirlwind affair that had entertained all comers. The final whistle was greeted with all round applause from the spectators and good spirits between the teams. The result was frustrating for the Brits, with results elsewhere going against them and seeing the team drop down two places in the league. There was a genuine feeling of disappointment in the Brit camp as they felt they could have and should have taken the three points but came up against an outstanding keeper.
The next match will see the Brits take on XIXI Gols who are just one point above the Exiles.
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