|AFEN – Fraher||0||0||0||Loss|
The last few games leading up to last Saturday had been rough, with FCB winning only one of the last 5, conceding far too many goals and suffering some humiliating defeats in the process.
This would be worrying for any team, but when this happens to a prestigious club like FC Britanico, it becomes a crisis. Add over half a dozen absent players and a challenging rival to the mix, and you’ll get quite an ominous perspective for the game at hand.
However, this group of players showed once again that when they work together and stay focused they are the best team in the league.
Fleck and Rami started Captain Hutch on goal, and an unprecedented back four formed by Pete on the right, Tally and Ricky as centre backs and Sean on the left. A sturdy midfield with Fab and Ben flanked by Calum and Foxy and a very physical spearhead with Luigi and Hughes up front.
What was the game plan? Find your feet, and then strike. And that’s exactly what the Reds did.
They were cautious for the first few minutes, with the defensive line defusing some sneaky runs by the opposing striker while long balls appeared as the only attacking resort. Nonetheless, this start was followed by a more confident attitude, as balls were played more intelligently, MOTM Pete started to make furious runs up the right wing and Tally led the back line to dominate comfortably. But amidst this reaction, another run into the box resulted in a penalty and recent history seemed to repeat itself on the Vallecas ground. Then came the first of many brilliant saves by an inspired Hutch, who dove left to turn everyone’s frown upside down.
This was a turning point in the game. Spurred on by the Captain’s save, the Brits started to dominate every aspect of the game and quickly found a reward after Luigi found a loose ball and did what he knows best, placing the ball gently out of the keeper’s reach.
Meanwhile, Hughes was having a wonderful time enraging everyone in yellow, causing the game to be interrupted and earning a yellow card before half-time.
The second half was simply epic. Determined not to let this victory slip away, the boys in red besieged Guernika’s goal with 3 attempts by Hughes and Luigi in the first 15 minutes, but the goalkeeper and some poor decisions in the box meant the score remained inert. After “pocketing” the rival centre back, more Hughes shenanigans cost him a second yellow card leaving FCB with 10 men with almost 30 minutes to go.
The game shifted once more as FCB now focused a lot more on maintaining advantage than on augmenting it. This is when we saw the best defending in a long time, as the entire team battled every ball as if it were the last. Hutch continued to catch every ball in the box, even if that meant trampling a few players. Ricky aided Tally in erecting an impenetrable stronghold while Sean and Pete tucked in to help out and provided a start to quick transitions. Fab and Ben remained compact and firm as Cal blocked the way from the left and Foxy ran endlessly to cover spaces, press and play the ball to make time pass. After a lot of pressing and more runs a man can count, Luigi was replaced by Jose, trying to complete the task his teammates were carrying out to perfection.
After a dangerous free kick hit the post came the final whistle and with it, a huge sense of relief for everyone on the home side. With a simple but effective style, FCB went back to basics by keeping a clean sheet, striking at the right time, and defending with true grit. Let’s hope they can build from that and stay on the winning path.
Man of the Match: Pete Curran
Goal of the Match: Luigi Bosetti
Dick of the Day: Dave Hughes