F..C Británicos (2) 4
Shaw, Kilduff, Lepore, Morris
Club de Los Olivios (2) 6
@CMF Pablo Iglesias 16:30 27/11/22
A very early kick off for the Brits this time round, a match played in daylight and would see clear daylight between the teams by the final whistle.
Morris made a return to the squad for the first time since the halted 2019/20 season and Wright was set to make his Brit debut. The team were missing stalwart regulars Rooney and Gilman but there seemed to be enough to offer to give sense for optimism.
The early exchanges demonstrated the Brits would have their work cut out. Olivios played expansive, comfortable passing and possessed multiple players capable of causing problems. In the early period of the half, twice the post came to the rescue as organised attacking moves probed the Exile defence. Their capacity to counter attack at speed was also demonstrated, a move that was to be pivotal later in the match.
It was the Exiles who took the lead with McDonough-Flynn unlocking Lepore with a long ball. The Italian maestro turned his man and centred the ball for Shaw to convert with ease. The opposition continued to play their game, Wells blocking a one on one attempt to level the game before Wright floated another long ball to Lepore, who once more turned a man and had his shot saved. Kilduff was on hand to mop up the loose ball and within a space of a few minutes the Brits were up by two.
The chink of light for the Olivios came through a freakish goal, as the ball was distributed to the wing, the attempt to cross the ball was sliced and looped agonisingly over the keeper into the far side of the net. Olivios had their tales up and started to squeeze the Brits, but the Exiles were able to trade blows. A well worked freekick by Lepore almost saw McDonough-Flynn restore the two goal cushion and Kilduff had a tremendous shot saved. The resultant corner saw the Olivios break at speed, only to be denied by Wells in goal, but the warning sign was clear.
Sure enough the equalizer came from a similar move, although this time the opposition broke with two attackers and were able to circumnavigate the keeper, albeit, via the post.
The second half continued to be a tight affair. Blows being exchanged, it was in no way certain which way this game would go. It was undoubted that Olivios were beginning to find their rhythm but the Brits were equally capable of snatching the lead on the break. In fact on one such break Lepore threaded the ball to Ferns charging up the centre and his deft touch span the ball just wide of the post. It was a turning point of sorts. From the resultant restart the Olivios played a delightful ball down the left wing and the first touch finish left Wells stranded and the game tipped in their favour. It could have been wrestled back almost immediately with Lepore unlocked in a one on one situation, only for the keeper to block his attempt. As the Brits pressed to try again the Olivios counter attacked with a single pass finding one man in acres of space. Wells attempted to close him down, but he skipped around him to convert in the empty net and the Brits were on the ropes.
In quick response once more, Leore tried from distance but once more the keeper was able to stretch and send it clear. The Exiles continued to press to force their way back into the contest. A short corner from Carr to Wright saw him whip in a wicked cross to Lepore who converted from close range only to be ruled offside. At this level a referee is working alone and has no linesmen and so offside decisions can be difficult to judge, and in this case, a deflection would have played Lepore onside, but replays show he was almost certainly onside anyway. The Brits protested and the Olivios almost extended their lead with a rapid reply that saw the ball bounce over the bar. Only moments later the lead was extended as tired legs pushing for goals left space at the back. A well placed pass saw another one on one chance and another first time take to leave the keeper dejected in no mans land.
Their final goal resulted from a moment of confusion between Ferns and Kilduff. The Olivios sprang to exploit the mix up and completed what now looked like a rout. The Brits snatched an immediate reply with a Lepore header from a well worked short corner and with the last kick of the game Morris converted a free kick. It was probably a fairer reflection of a well fought game that was decided by a few key moments and inches.
The Brits were frustrated to come away on the losing side of a good contest and have to pick themselves up for the next encounter.
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