A close contest that saw the Exiles emerge with a cherished three points and a Británicos record
Red Bull Razor (0) 0
Británicos (0) 1
@CMF Delicias 28/11/21 18:00
"It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life." Arthur Wellesley, The Duke of Wellington
The drizzle relentlessly swirled into a downpour and then blew out and through the bones as the teams warmed up for the match. The Exiles were looking to register three consecutive wins for the first time in the club's history., Perched in third, leading the chasing pack while the Razors had stumbled to a defeat after registering their first win and looked determined to return to winning ways.
The Exiles had to shuffle their winning line up from the past two fixtures. Rooney had declared himself unavailable for selection after celebrating his birthday the night before. The team felt a little aggrieved as they had almost to a man been celebrating with him and carried some extended hangovers. Cordoba returned to enjoy the triumvirate with Lepore and Bates that showed such promise.
The early exchanges saw both teams try and string together passing moves. Both had solid organisation at the back and creativity to exploit in the centre but the balance of the first period was with the Exiles. Bates prowled the line, giving the Brit midfield options to exploit, on two occasions he was unlucky not to be unlocked with through balls as the Razor keeper bravely intercepted, on the second occasion coming off second best from the physical clash. It was a third such opportunity that saw the temperature rise as Bates collided with the keeper, enraging the Razor players. There was no malice in the challenge, but Bates' strength and presence makes him a natural target. There were heated exchanges but both teams communicated well to calm tensions as Bates received a yellow card.
The half continued to boil away slowly. Wells rotated out with a clear disconnect between his eyes and his feet, a clear unwelcome effect of the celebration the night before. Munro made solid stint in the backline but it was the running of Shaw, coming back to break lay down that caught the eye. Wolfenden had energy to spare with rapid sprint up and down the pitch and Ferns is making himself the master of his domain at the back.
Lepore continued to make himself a nuisance in the centre of the park and could draw attention before releasing long distance passes for the wingers to beak out yet it was the Razors who first found the net in the latter stages of the half. It was the discipline of the Británicos back line in triggering the offside trap that saw the scoreboard remain untouched. Martin rotated in for Gilman and Shaw was unlucky not to open the scoring with a drive that started to rise a little too early and some extraordinarily accurate tackling on Bates was needed to prevent him from finding the net. As the half came to a close, a Razor corner from another excellent Shaw interception saw a moment of panic in the Brit back line. As the defence struggled to hook the ball clear the ball looked to be looping past the wrong footed Altrian who found the time to readjust and palm the ball away on the whistle.
The halftime observations were very much a case of "continue doing what we are doing" and keep shape. Wolfenden was eager to stretch his legs once more and the bench had to instigate a careful management of the line up as the game was increasingly looking like a single mistake might be the key to the three points. Shaw was asked to play out of position at the back after his impressive displays in the first half and on several occasions he was on hand to break up attacks, intercepting passes, harrying the opposition and looking all the world natural defender. It was such an interception that opened up the first serious goal chance of the half, with Bates turning the counter attack at speed, released by Shaw and then surging through the centre he played Lepore through whose shot was pushed on to the post by the opposition keeper's boot. It was a clear warning to the Razors. As yet another attack was broken down, Wolfenden showed his stamina once again as he made it to the ball first in the corner and released it for Bates to force another counter attack. He was prevented but Cordoba was on hand to take the loose ball. The Razor player took him out with a cynical foul and the referee gave the advantage. Bates played wide to Ferns who unleashed over the bar. The foul had angered Wolfenden who made his feelings known. The Razor was booked and they looked uncertain. The pace and fire power of the Brits was beginning to show.
Cordoba found a new surge of determination and started to try and force the issue and Wolfenden found him with a chance to run at the goal which forced a corner. Lepore ghosted in at the far post, seeing off the attentions of his marker to get his head down onto the cross from Ferns and the decisive goal was scored. The bench appealed for discipline and focus as the Razors looked to strike back but this obviously made things more open for the Brits to exploit too. Bates turned inside his marker once more to lay it off for Martin who was unlucky not to get a stronger shot off after finding half a yard ahead of his marker. Lepore continued to cause problems in the middle and was also at hand to make stunning interceptions and tackles at the back.
As the sands of time trickled out of reach for the opposition the attacks became more urgent. Brit discipline kept the, out but a fabulous dinked chip did finally unlock the defence but Shaw gave the striker no space and Gilman was on hand to clean up, the Exiles turned this into an immediate counter attack, threatening to punish the Razors but he ran out of yards.
Ferns made an imperious block which led to a Shaw long ball which was chested down by Bates to Martin once more who had the time and space to rifle the ball goalward but the keeper was equal to it. The Razors were held at a distance and were not finding the target. They had a vociferous claim for a penalty when one such shot deflected off Shaw. Altrian was able to reshape himself to push the ball wide, but the Razors were insistent the deflection had come off the hand of Shaw. The replay seems to agree with their case but the referee was unmoved.
The last few minutes saw Bates come back to the centre to use his strength to bolster defensive duties. Atkinson made a cameo to harangue the opposition and the team came together to slam the door shut. The last throw of the dice saw Lasierra well positioned at the back post to head clear and the referee brought proceedings to a close.
The game had been furiously competitive but upon the whistle the two teams warmly congratulate each other. It had been a scintillating affair and the Brits were rightly proud of registering a third victory on the bounce. One or two voices had expressed a frustration with the manner of the defeat on the opening day to Union Decadentes. They had also managed a 1-0 victory over Red Bull Razors, but also succumbed 7-2 to Black Falcons. It was that seventh goal by Falcons that left them above the Brits in the league, the two teams separated by that solitary goal scored.
The December matches will be a curious contrast with an intriguing third versus fourth before the Brits travel to league whipping boys Hunters to close out the year. Six points from those two outings would mean the Exiles could start to earnestly consider themselves in the hunt for promotion or even more.
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