Alexandra Park 1 – EBOGs 2

SAL Senior Div 2 | January 21, 2017

Scorer: Lanigan

Another January weekend and three games at the club, it’s almost unheard of. All we had to do was take advantage of the situation. After being mugged at Ebogs before Christmas we knew what to expect, a hard physical game, and lots of it. But we are a resilient lot and for two weeks on the trot it was practically a first choice squad.

We started really well with good possession throughout the pitch with Matt and Alex being willing outlets wide. Our quick passing was opening up opportunities for Emmanuel, Paul and Dan up front to get beyond their defence. Paul Banks especially had the beating of the defence nearly every time. The hard press gave us a couple of glorious chances early on with Dan firing wide from six yards and Alex having a shot saved that was then cleared off the line. Unfortunately, the AP way is to squander easy chances and then score with a harder effort. This duly happened from a corner that was cleared to the edge of the area where Alex lurked. He struck a low hard shot through the crowd with the pace beating the keeper. At this point Ebogs were giving each other the verbal’s for a change. We then forced their keeper into a couple more saves before the problems started, firstly Matt had to go off with a twisted knee then Paul had to go off with a dodgy ankle. These injuries threw us out of our stride and Ebogs created a couple of half chances that Martin comfortably dealt with. But on the touchline we could see the balance tipping towards Ebogs. Things were compounded when Jed had to come off. The constant reshuffle finally told when they equalised just before half time. A real kick in the teeth.

Unfortunately, the second half was a bit of a struggle. We had decent possession at times but could really penetrate the way we did early on. Sam and Elliott were superb at the heart of the defence thwarting Ebogs growing pressure. For all Ebogs possession Martin only had a couple of saves to make, one really smart one down to his right. By now Ebogs finally had a couple in the book for dissent which is  a shame because when they just play football they are decent but boy the antics they perform on the pitch (and from the touchline) can spoil it for oppositions, referees and spectators. Anyway I digress, finally we got caught out as the ball was slid through the area and Alex seemed to catch their guy who obviously went down. Penalty given. Still some mystery as the Ref did seem to indicate that it may have been a pull back by No14 (Emmanuel) that was the offence. Despite Martin getting two hands on the penalty the power meant he couldn’t keep it out. We battled on till the end throwing Elliott up top. We rattled them towards the end without having that clear cut chance. So mugged again by Ebogs which is hard to take as on both occasions we could or even should have won, beaten in the 94th minute first time then a penalty. But these are the fine lines.

Performance wise I can’t fault anyone. 100% asked for and 100% given. Unfortunately, it was really the first half injuries that compromised us. We were on top until then, but we have to deal with these things and we did to a point. Ebogs are a strong resilient side but we matched them and the fact that we could have been 2 or 3 clear early on is a real positive. Martin was not overly tested and the defence as a whole was excellent. Midfield was also superb and matched the physicality of Ebogs. Up front we were always a threat especially in the first half hour before Paul was injured. Weirside next week and a real must win clash, and after the last two performances we can be really positive.

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