A North London derby and a return to the Racecourse. Marvellous. I shall aim to build upon the feedback of last weeks’ report which ranged from ‘boring’ (L.Fernee), to ‘occasionally amusing’ (M.Beard). We welcomed the Vamps for what is always a hotly contested affair, looking to build upon a decent opening day.
We didn’t start well and Vamps had the better of an open first 30 minutes. The skipper looked every inch a man who had started the day with a 13 hour flight with an emergency stop over in Mallorca.
Vamps had a few decent youngsters with legs, literally and in terms of their pace. After a back and forth where either side could have feasibly taken the lead, the first big moment of the game arrived after 20 minutes. After Patterson and Egan had defined ‘square on’ 40 yards from their own goal, our stand in keeper came flying out in the one on one situation. The Vamps striker rounded him, via a deflection off his hand and tapped into the empty net. The referee however had other ideas, having already blown up, he pulled it back for a free kick and a red card. Vamps were understandably livid but it didn’t really serve the interest of either side of the game at large.
Ozan donned the gloves and despite him responding in the positive when I asked if he was ‘any good’ in goal, I was worried about what lay ahead. That said, the sending off seemed to spur us into some kind of action and we improved our performance coming into the half.
The second stanza was a scrappier affair, we defended deeper, looking to play on the break. We mixed solid organization, with occasional desperation and regular, somewhat embarrassing cramp. The vamps probably created less than in the first half, Ozan was imperious coming off his line and made a couple of good saves. The one time he was beaten, the cross bar came to the rescue.
Down the other end, Kevin and Matt were still lively with minimal service. Ronnie’s introduction gave us a bit more potency and we actually left the game thinking what might have been. The skipper was played in on goal to the surprise of everyone, especially himself, and was denied by the combination of a mediocre side foot/decent keeping.
With almost the last kick of the game Ronnie surged away and squared for Alain Alexis. For all those who follow the top flight in the Seychelles, yes, that is the former Plaisance livewire (http://www.seychelles.net/seynat/ sports/20160503.html) and Seychelles U21 squad member. Those that were aware of his performances in SMB first division circa 2002 would be stunned and devastated to learn that he was unable to tuck home Ronnie’s cut back from 6 yards out.
Granted, a golden opportunity but we will not dwell on it. Alain has been a top addition to the 1st and has the voice of an angel. Next time you see him in the club house, ask him for any of his RnB verses and the reasons as to why he would win the UK X Factor.
So, a hard earned point, a not a bad one given the circumstances. We still have a fair way to go in terms of gelling as a tea, but the 10 men deserve a lot of credit for the attitude on show. On to Bank Saturday, which is always a great place to play. Be available and be on time!
MOM : Gunes. Great effort. Imperious between the sticks