Old Finchleans 7s 2 – Alexandra Park 9s 1 AET

ISEH Junior Novets Cup | February 21, 2015

Scorer: Lepkowski

A big game, a massive game. Its not worth downplaying and its not beneficial overplaying it. We knew a meeting with the top of the table would be a tough affair.they are the best team in the league by far, the result would surpass winning our second round AFA cup win.

The typical squad assembled, with a couple of late changes needed. Having played the opposition before it gave us areas to work on. After they previously beat us 3-2 after a late barrage from us. We adopted a new formation for the team, it wasn’t crazy it wasn’t untested. Just new. We typically start strong but that was not the case today. Even with a rigid defence the opposition caused us a lot of problems. They played a low cross in for their player to tap in at the back post, but a wonderful save from Gustavo, stuff of champions blocked a certain goal. It was a close shave and not ideal. As time passed we began to get in the game more, but we were still under the cosh on occasions. Charlie paced down the left hand side with ample trickery and gave us a chance, a cross into the box ended up and Gerry Lepkowskis foot, a turn and strike followed and it beat the keepers parry to give us a 1 goal lead.

The Finchleians team began to dominate the play again slightly and peppered us with corner after corner. I believe we had conceded around 10 corners in the first half, the corner pressure was high. We had defended them so well throughout 90 minutes, but on this occasion, their striker freed from his marker and blasted the ball across goal. What followed was a major disappointment, it struck my body (which is too large by recent photos) and went straight in. An own goal equaliser, the first of my career. Gutting.

1 all, we managed to keep it that way till half time. There were good performances out there, but there were average ones as well. We were getting beaten up a little. A textbook inspired team talk hoped to improve our fortunes in the second half.

Initially the opposition took advantage, but we began to get involved more. A change in personnel and position attributed to this. With us pressing further up the field, we couldnt find the cutting edge to get a goal. Mistakes in the final third made by all.

There was a moment of disappointment by an opposition that caused him to be given a straight red, it was justified, but rare in this well fought but good tempered game. We had a man advantage, this should of increased our chances going forward. The clock ticked down and we still couldn’t get that decisive goal. Our play in the final third was not ideal, the cutting edge was not there and the final whistle blew.

Another 30 minutes extra time required, we hoped they were tiring, we utilised our full squad throughout the game when the opposition didnt. The opposition gained momentum since the sending off and played well with 10, having better spells than they did with 11. They scored, a goal we typically dont let in. We just didnt clear the ball well enough and invited the pressure. 20 minutes of extra time to get an equaliser.

We pushed and pushed, a few goal line clearances but we just couldnt get the ball in the back of the net. A gutting end as the end of extra time went. The opposition appreciated the battle we gave them. We did well, we tried hard, but it was just not our day. A semi final defeat after being so close was tough to take……and it was a difficult evening after that. Full of small regrets.

Some great performances out there, Gustavo kept us in the game at various stages of the game with top class saves. Dave Treasurer commanded a solid face at the back. I had another woeful game. Now we have to focus on beating the rest of the teams in the league (including the 8s), to allow the 8s a clear path to promotion. It now also releases the reigns and allows a new formation I have been conjuring to be put into action.

9th Team / Match Reports