Round 2 of the cup saw the White’s D’s take on Rostrevor B’s who are sitting 3rd in Div 1B. Obviously there’s a few divisions separarting the 2 teams, but anything’s possible in the Cup!
There were wholesale changes from the team that drew with top of the table Immanuel; Abdul, Martins, Sam and Marc were pulled up to the C’s, Kirsten and Michael went even further to the B’s, while the coach Matt was asked to don a shirt in the A’s.
Fortunately at the moment the D’s squad is enormous (which has now spawned a 5th team), so Matt had no problem locating 15 players for the game.
I forgot to do a Dave Wilson & have a quick look at our opponents pre-game, so no comment can be made on the hair-cuts, beer guts or general preparation of our opponents. The Whites warm-up was good though, with the customary game prior to kick-off being pretty quick & physical.
The coach made a tactical move for us to bottle up the midfield and plan to hurt Rostrevor on the break for this game, Kevin came in up front to try to inject a bit of pace, and with Ishmael, Homood and Aaron, our game plan was to hold Rostrevor at bay and then release our speedsters quickly whenever we got the chance.
Early on Rostrevor gained the ascendancy both with the ball and in general field position, but generally we were holding on well. Ishmael and Aaron proved to be a real handful for the Rostrevor defenders & we soon had a corner. Bobby’s ball to the back post was perfect & Kevin rose to meet it, only for his header to fly just a touch too high.. opportunity missed.
Not long after Sangers made an excellent tackle, but injured his ankle, bringing Stefan on at right back.
Around this time Rostrevor got the breakthrough, with their midfielders regularly overlapping, they managed a sweet one two, which allowed their midfielder to score from about 10 yards.
We continued to press & for the remainder of the half, with Homood and Ishmael managing shots, but nothing to really worry their keeper, whilst Rostrevor were restricted to a couple of blasts from 25 yards that were hopeful at best.
At the break, Matt was very happy with our endeavour, and asked us to stick with the defensive tactics for another 20 mins, after which we’d go for the win!
The boys continued to play well – with Andre and Bobby stifling the Rostrevor midfield and our wingers continuing to make chances. We looked particularly dangerous at corners, with Homood and Rob both going close. Rostrevor did have 2 chances to kill the game. The first as the striker broke free to the left of goal, only for Rob to lay a solid tackle, and again the striker found room to the right of goal, only for Bas to make a brilliant save, taking the ball (and a knee to the head) along the way.
In the last 20, Rostrevor looked spent, Aaron L was swapped for Aaron C, and Johnny Wilson came on for Kevin.
Motassem, Homood and Ishmael linked up down the left, but Ish’s strike only found the side netting, but late in the game a free kick from Rob was well headed on by Bobby and with the ball on the 6 yard box Johnny Wilson swooped in to head the ball home over a lazy Rostrevor defender. The boys were ecstatic! Only for the linesman to call a completely inexplicable off-side! The referee conferred and eventually agreed… Absolutely Robbed!
In the end the result remained 1-0. A loss that almost felt like a win, particularly as we’d scored against highly ranked opponents only for a pretty average decision to ruin our day.
Only positives to take out of the match though. Andre and Bobby were outstanding in the middle, our wingers Aaron and Ish ran rings around Rostrevor all day & the back line were solid all day.
The last few weeks have been solid, gutsy performances. I think this team has the quality to be very strong for the remainder of the year.
Bring on next week!