After a long preseason the first league match finally arrived as FC Britanico welcomed CD Carabaña to The Cage in the week 1 fixture of group 6 of Tercera Regional. The players arrived in confident mood especially new signing Andy Hodnett who was so keen he arrived an hour before the rest of the team showing his unquestionable dedication to the cause.
The squad included 5 debutants after a busy summer with numerous ins and outs, Pablo Varela was the new face in the back 4 alongside Seba Blasco, Dave Mullans & Allan Steele, with club captain Matt Hutchinson in goal.
FC Britanico 2011/12 player of the year Lee Armstrong was parented in the centre of midfield by Declan O’Brian, making his first team debut, with Zak Harry adding the attacking threat from the centre of midfield. The attacking trident was made up of entirely new signs with Andy Hodnett and Gabi Ureta on the wings and Barry Shiel playing through the middle.
The game kicked off in bright sunshine shortly after 10.45 and FC Britanico soon settled in to their stride carrying forward the hard work from preseason with the team looking well organised and prepared for the task at hand.
Midway through the first half Britanicos thought they’d taken the lead, an excellent Armstrong free kick found Mullans unmarked, the centre back took the ball down well before squaring the ball to Scottish hit man Barry Shiel who coolly slotted in at the near post. As the players celebrated what they they thought was the opening goal, the referee signalled for offside and ruled out what looked like a perfectly legal goal.
FC Britanico weren’t ruffled by the disappointment of not breaking the deadlock and continued to go about their business in a professional manner and were rewarded just before the interval. Excelent work from Gabi who picked up the ball on the right wing before cutting inside and threading a pass to Zak who guided the ball through the first defeders legs and slided the ball home with a cool finish to make it 1-0.
The half time whistle came and allowed the Britanicos chance to regroup and prepare the second half with the emphasis being on maintaining the defensive discipline whilst looking to Hodnett & Utera to exploit the space on the wings. The tactic seemed to be working as Britanicos began to stretch the opposition and when Adam de Silva came on to replace Gabi with over half an hour left to play the hosts began to strengthen their hold on the game.
The second goal arrived after another quality delivery from Lee Armstrong, this time he found the head of Mullans arriving at the back post. A threat from all set pieces, the big defender threw himself at the cross and powered the ball in to the Carabaña net to double the lead and underline the home sides domination of the game.
Tomas Antoranz soon replaced Seba Blasco, seeing Declan O’Brian move to right back after doing a fine job in the centre of the park. Antoranz soon put his mark on the game after nice play between the Spaniard and Steel at left back saw Hodnett set free down the left. The pacey Irish man beat his full back before playing in a fine ball which substitute Adam da Silva calmly slotted in to make it 3-0.
Britanicos had more chances to add to their lead in the closing stages of the game but were cruelly reduced to ten men after Armstrong who’d been on the receiving end of some rough treatment from the visitors, received his second yellow with just under 15 minutes to play.
The Britnaico defence held strong during the dying moments with a fine defensive display which saw debutant Pablo Varela named Man or the Match after his combative display at the heart of the back four marshalled by the excellent Hutchinson in goal, who’ll be happy to pick up the first clean sheet of the season.
Bigger challenges will come for the Brits, starting with next weekend’s trip south of Madrid to Orusco who were narrowly beaten 2-1 in their opener against promotion favourites S.A.D. Altamira, but a near perfect opener and 3 points on the board capped off a strong start for the club.
Hutchinson; Blasco (Antoranz), Mullans, Varela, Steele; Armstrong, O’Brian, Harry; Ureta (de Silva), Hodnett & Shiel
1-0 Harry, 2-0 Mullans, 3-0 de Silva.