My first match report, here goes…..
Following a 4-2 loss against the Mercedes, the C’s are desperate to kick off the last stretch of fixtures with a win. At this point, we have amassed a total of 10 points (3 wins, 1 draw, 2 loss) in the 2nd leg of fixtures, bettering our start of the season form of 1 point in 7 games by a mile.
Barratt Reserve has always been a tough venue to visit. Pitch condition wise, it’s better than most pitches. The wind however, does not favour my liking. With that being said, I came prepared, expecting to sit on the bench, sipping hot tea and featuring in the last 10-15 mins of the match.
Immanuel are no pushovers. Despite our 6-3 victory against them few weeks ago, their successful attempt to score 3 against the Mighty Whites and their recent results (4-0 win against Unley) show that the Whites defence will have a tough time to contain them especially in this wet and windy condition. The Whites started with:
Matt G – Bocky – Scott – Ollie
Simon – Rob – Manny – Ian
Subs: Amos, Johnson, Fairuz
The addition of Scott in defence helped to fill the huge gap left by Chairman Tim (suspended) and Cam (ill). The Whites started brilliantly with expensive brand of football, keeping possession in the first 5 minutes. This led to an early goal scored by the C’s million-dollar striker, Alex, increasing his tally to 5 goals in 5 games. It all went downhill from this point onwards. We had a hard time in keeping the ball in the opponents half and credit to Immanuel, their midfield ran riots and imitated our style of football for most of the half. The C’s soon succumbed to pressure and conceded 2 goals in similar fashion. 2 perfectly weighted through balls split the defence and the striker scored from the resulting one-on-one against Matt. The second goal however inflicted much more damage than expected. I’m not sure of what had happened on the ground but Matt H got injured following a collision with the striker. Matt H chose to stay on the pitch despite obviously hurt from the incident earlier. Immanuel grabbed another goal before the half time whistle through a corner. Despite Matt’s best efforts, he attempted to punch the ball (the ball actually spun near him) and setting up the opponent for a clear opportunity at goal. The first half was rather disappointing despite the excellent start to the game.
HT score: Immanuel 3 Whites 1.
With Matt clearly out, Chris made some major reshuffling to the line-up. Bocky went in goals, Ollie partnering Scott in the central defence with Ian dropping to left back. I came on for Simon on the right wing and Amos came in to left wing. Still troubled by my hammie problem, I was unsure of whether I can last the half at right wing.
Early in the 2nd half, I was put through on the right wing and managed to receive a soft foul near the corner flag. Well, I ain’t complaining! Wez stepped up to take the resultant free-kick. The flapping goalie pushed Wez’s goal-bound cross/shot towards my direction and I headed it into the goal. A come-back is imminent.
The Whites continued attacking through the wings and using the pace of Amos on the left. I had a couple of chances to grab the equalizer, a right foot shot from a corner that just missed the post and 2 one-on-ones that I scuffed. Our efforts finally paid off. Ollie’s long ball down the middle due to his eagle-eye vision, manage to find the feet of our million-dollar striker and he finished it off beautifully for the equaliser.
Our celebrations were cut to a halt when Immanuel managed to grab a goal. A free-kick from just outside the box was punched away by Bocky only to find the feet of an onrushing opponent who latched on it and scored the winner for Immanuel. The defence, including myself, was at fault for ball-watching and not following our men. We were punished by our own lapse in concentration.
We continued to push for the equaliser. Johnson came in for Manny and Scott moved up to centre-mid and Rob taking his place in central defence. Our best chance in the final minutes came when Scott thread a through ball down the right, I beat the left back and squared the ball back to Scott who’s attempt just misses the goal.
It was close but the score was 4-3 to Immanuel at the final whistle. A first half to forget and a 2nd half to be proud of. Kudos to Bocky who stepped up between goals in replace of Matt and saved a couple of shots. Let’s not dwell on this loss and concentrate on winning Rostrevor this weekend. A real obstacle but I’m sure the Mighty Whites are capable of an upset against the league leaders. I will be sitting out this week and hoping to be fully fit against SHOC. Good luck lads!