A clean sheet and an emphatic victory delivers a much needed tonic
Británicos (2) 5
Morris 2, Martin, Peribañez, Gilman
Gorilas De Algodon (0) 0
Parque Ebro 01/03/20 19:00
Beattie, Wells, Rooney, Ferns, Wolfenden (Y), Martin, Morris, Gilman, Shaw, Peribañez, Borque (Y)
The Brits have seen a distinct upturn in their results since the decade had been ushered in. Six games have been completed since the turn of the year, with one victory, two defeats and three score draws. Both draws should have been victories having relinquished the lead deep into the end of the second half of each match. The squad were building in quiet determination though and with another opportunity to steal a march on a team in their neighbourhood on the table.
Morris declared himself available despite a bruised ankle sustained in the previous match, Peribañez was able to rejoin the squad for his first match since the start of December. Long term absentees Clapson and Keane were also joined in the treatment room/departure lounge by Pernas. De Vicente was unable to play through injury but was enthusiastic to join the team on the touchline.
The opposition on this storm laden evening had experienced a bit of a wobble in recent weeks and had been a little fortunate to overcome the Brits 3-2 in the previous fixture between the two early in the season.
The game got underway with the Brits showing determination and rapidly exploiting space. The Exiles were quick to put themselves in the driving seat, passing around the opposition defence with Martin completing the move stroking the ball into the net. The Gorilas tried to break out and showed some alarming turn of pace and clever inter-passing in front of the defence but Rooney and Wells seemed resolute with Ferns dropping in to help break up play. Before Beattie had been properly tested the Brits had then doubled their lead with a solid conversion from Morris catching the opposition goalkeeper flat-footeddirectly.
The Exiles took their foot off the gas a little feeling they could soak the pressure and snatch further goals on the break. This seemed to allow the opposition the confidence to grow a little and the Brits started to make unforced errors as they almost seemed to have too much time on the ball. Wells managing to pass the ball direct into an opposition player to cause a little panic. Wolfenden then gave the team a headache by launching into a challenge that warranted the booking it received.
Some of the ghosts of the battles of previous matches stated to roll in over the match, with free kicks being given for slightest contact and the increasing frustration and nervousness making some o the Brit decisions questionable but the Exiles held firm, limiting the opposition shots on goal. Gilman made some hefty but legitimate challenges on the right and both opened up little cameo runs for Wells on the wing. Borque and Peribañez started to connect and interchange and both looked hungry. Borque took the game by the scruff of the neck and charged through the fragile defence. He should have scored when played through by Martin and then everyone watched in astonishment as he then struck both posts with a brutal shot. As the half came to a close he left the keeper stranded but saw his shot whistle wide.
Half time gave the team a chance to regroup and settle. One of the greatest enemies they have faced has come from their own nervousness and if they could hold their nerve they could see out this game to confirm three points.
The second half saw the opposition throw the kitchen sink into the attack with a hope to try and pull back the tie before the Brits extended out of sight. A period of defiant attacking pressure crashed against the storm wall of Rooney and Wells and as the waves of attacking grew more urgent the Exiles found attacking on the break a source of great joy. It was not long before Morris doubled his tally and put the Brits in an increasingly strong position.
Rooney was rotated out by De Vicente shuffling the pack from the sideline and Ferns fell back to the defence with Wells. The Brit had a brief period of instability as they regrouped their line up and reallocated players to the wings but Beattie and the defence held firm. The Gorilas seemed desperate to salvage some pride from proceedings but there was now a degree of calm in the Brit squad and attackers were shepherded to the sidelines and as they ran harder to chase waning opportunities the Brits started to see the pitch open up in front of them.
In a significant passage of play Borque and Peribañez terrorised the Gorila defence but seemed determined to pass their way into the goal rather than let fly. Increasing frustration was voiced from the bench to shoot at goal and Peribañez complied just moments later. The opposition goalkeeper saw his frustration boil over and he charged upfield with the ball in an attempt to provide a chink of light. His attack was snuffed out and the ball played out to Peribañez. He steadied himself and took a moment to position his body and send the ball delicately sailing over the defence and retreating keeper from a considerable distance to extend the lead further.
The opposition continued to battle, Borque was booked for a late knock on a player who had attempted to scythe him down previously. The focus of the match increasingly became the pride of holding a clean sheet. The honour of that outcome did bring some urgency to the defensive line to ensure their team mates did not leave them exposed but perhaps this was the vocal communication that has been often decried as lacking. They resisted corners and free kicks and probing runs before surging forward on the last move of the match only to have the counter broken by a foul. Ferns eagerly hoovered up the ball to launch a speculative effort which the entire Brit team descending on for rebounds. It was Gilman who won the race of the keen white shirts and he stabbed home on the whistle to cap off the victory as a handful of goals to no reply.
By no means a perfect performance but a satisfying victory and much cherished clean sheet sees the Brits move up the table and sets their sites on the pack ahead of them.
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