Alexandra Park 9s 5 – St James Old Boys 3s 5

SAL Minor Div 4 North | March 19, 2016

Scorers: R.Holder(4), F.Wells

It had been a while since the 9’s had a run out, and we were facing top of the league who turned us over 10-5 about a month ago. A few regulars unavailable meant that we became creative in filling the gaps, but a full squad of 14 turned out to Albert RD ready for battle.

We started the game well, were completely on top, with Tim making some fantastic runs. One of them he broke into the opposition penalty area and was sweeped from behind as he was about to shoot. A more obvious penalty I have never seen in my entire life! However for some mind boggling reason it was not given. Within 5 minutes we were 2-0 down, a poorly defended cross and an own goal from a corner!). However the 9’s are nothing if not resilient, we dug our heels in and started creating chances. Some fantastic play between Tim and Freddy on the wings, linking up with Crofty in AM and Robert up front led to more than a few chances we should have put away. However we did eventually pull one goal back. Just a shame they also got one (I forget how), and we finished the half 3-1 down, although in my opinion the better team.

There was some discussion of tactics at half time, but mainly it was about whether we were playing uphill or downhill after the break. Either way we were second best at the restart and they went close on a few occasions, with some fine defending and even finer goalkeeping ensuring we didn’t fall further behind. Eventually we started to string some passes together and create chances again. Soon we pulled back 1 goal, then 2, both from Holder, we were level! Shame it lasted less than a few minutes, with us giving away a needless penalty, and going 4-3 down!

Lesser teams might have given up at this point, but not us, with a cheeky chip from Robert, we were back level and pushing for a winner! Unfortunately ourt oppo were also pushing for a winner, and the game got very stretched, with both teams going close. Again fair play to Thanos for some great keeping! It seemed inevitable one team would score again before the end. Then finally in the 85th minute, a strike from Robert led to a keeper save, which was parried to Freddy who put it past the keeper and a defender on the line to put us ahead for the first time in the game! We only had to hold out for 5 minutes to get 3 points against top of the league! Unfortunately, a second officiating mistake led to an equaliser. With Thanos making a great double save, the ball was kicked out of his hands (and yes he had both firmly on the ball) and into the goal. With less than a minute left there were no more chances and the game finished 5-5.

A great point for the lads, but the manner in which it came about made it feel like a loss. But I was impressed with the whole team performance and their never say die attitude!

MOM: Hard to pick this week, I think literally every player was a contender. In the end I had to go for Thanos for some great saves at crucial moments.

N.B Apologies if this report is inaccurate or missing important details, my memory is not what it used to be!

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