Here’s the post-mortem from our central midfield pairing of Mick Langan and Nick Boyle…
“After four wins on the trot, Rami’s tired and fatigued heroes finally yielded to, in honesty, a very average (and cheating) Spanish side. Decimated by injuries to Rich and Stuart Gibb, not to mention a faulty alarm for tall and attractive midfielder Karim, Rami was again forced to shuffle his pack a little. His starting line up was as follows: Hutch, Tom, Mike, Omar, Reece, Kirky (a controversial choice in front of the back four), Nick, an over exuberant Michael, Ismael, Charles and Binny.
After a minute of play, Chaz Boyle entered the referee’s book, for a poorly timed challenge, but a booking which set the tone for the game. Britanico, uncharacteristically, began the game slowly, and scrappily, with the midfield never really seizing control. Aided and abetted by some questionable officiating, married with some abysmal gamesmanship, Britanicos never really found their rhythm. The front three, while faultless in terms of effort, often struggled to show for the ball from the midfield, and too often, hopeful balls were being played from defence towards a slight forward line. Despite the slow start, Britanicos took the lead after some decent wing play by Binny, followed by a convincing finish from Nick (arriving in the box like a young Paul Scholes), although the goalie will watch Match of the Day and lament the loss of a goal at his near post (couldn’t get anywhere near that textbook strike). At the half hour mark, Britanicos could count Chaz, Reece (ridiculously booked for dissent), Nick who unfathomably took it upon himself to make a name for himself (for a perfectly executed slide tackle) and Michael in the book.
Just before half time, a soft free kick led to a very soft equaliser and, for the first time in weeks, Britanicos looked a little brittle. Despite this, Britanico managed to get themselves, or at least so they thought, back into the lead, only for the goal to be questionably ruled offside. Ismael talked his face into the book, however, with some industrial language. As the referee blew for half time, Britanicos were ushered into the half time, emotions were running high, with disappointment at our own performance, coupled with the theatrics of the opposition team, and a referee determined to make the game about himself seemingly.
Fresh from a famed Rami rollicking, Britanicos began the second half well, with the midfield finally beginning to see more of the ball and influence the game after a frustrating first half. However, the goal never came, and Rami began to change the side, moving Martin back into centre half and introducing Hatim, before Nick was replaced by Dave Pugh.
Again, the old demons were beginning to creep in, the fluidity and passing which has been so integral to Britanicos success thus far was forsaken for individuals running into trouble, taking far too long on the ball and panicking in possession. After 77 minutes disaster struck: Britanicos were reduced to 10 men following a selfless, necessary and heroic challenge from Mick (a horror lunge which cost us the game, cheers). Following a degree of confusion as to exactly how the side was to be reshuffled, Britanicos conceded possession cheaply and a ball over the top, followed by a composed finish left Britanicos staring down defeat. While the remaining ten men on the park rallied, save a decent free kick effort from Hatim, there was little prospect of an equaliser, and Britanicos unbeaten run came to a sad end.
Despite this, the response in the changing rooms was positive, and the 9 in a row spirit (a team that drinks together wins together) persisted, but the big test comes next Saturday now and how we respond. As such, be nice to have a big effort this week, and get as many of you lads down to training as possible and get the serious heads on.“