|La Paz Vallehermoso||0||3||3||Win|
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. As the winter sun shone down on Argayo, the normal post-match proceedings had begun. Joe Simmons wasn’t letting his sciatica stop him from having a good time and Dorus – standing on his own away from the rest of the squad eating a whole plate of bravas as quickly as possible – was the happiest I’ve seen a dutchman since Robin van Persie scored that header against Spain in 2014.
But something was up. People were staring into the middle distance; there were muttered conversations being had about formations and mentality and style of play; there was a flatness in the air. This is because FCB had just lost in embarrassing fashion, gifting victory to promotion rivals U. D. La Paz and continuing a run of poor performances that has been plaguing this team for weeks.
The game was lost due to a chaotic, disorganised and naive second half display from the Britanicos. The first half had been a battle, but resolute defending, high pressure and a brilliantly worked goal saw the home team go in one-nil at half time. The goal came from a beautiful outside of the foot chip around the corner from Josh – moving into midfield for this game – which found Calum who was able to place a cross into Padraig’s path.
There had been other chances, too. Will had hit the bar within the first five minutes, and Ish had found himself in useful positions before having to come off early for a pulled thigh. A lesson for FCB if ever they needed one to put the game to bed when possible.
It was immediately clear from the start of the second half that the rhythm of the game had changed. The midfield became bypassed, and FCB struggled to gain control up top as long balls were consistently repelled by U. D. La Paz’s experienced (RCB grey, LCB bald) centre back pairing.
The first goal was conceded when Will took the ball off Marco in goal and played into Calum’s feet. Back to goal and devoid of passing options, the opposition nicked the ball off the FCB captain and scored after a ricocheted shot fell to an oncoming midfielder.
In a trend that must be stopped, panic set in. Any remaining composure was lost, and FCB were unable to resist a La Paz team who sensed victory was theirs for the taking. It was not long before the opposition found the net again. This time a long ball catching an out-of-shape FCB off guard, which allowed their striker to slot the ball home.
At some point throughout this malaise substitutes had been made. Eric Murphy replaced Ish in the first half, and put in a valiant performance considering he was pretty much straight off the plane from a romantic getaway to Mexico. Arden replaced Josh, making his FCB debut, and Dorus and Luigi came on for Gonza and Karlos respectively.
Despite no real uptick in their performance, FCB were able to drag one back, after Harry got his toe on the end of one after a bit of a goalmouth scramble, and the boys in black were briefly hopeful of forcing an unlikely win. But those hopes were dashed just a few minutes later when another long ball from the keeper was not dealt with and a La Paz player was faced with no one but Marco to beat for the second time in the match.
Scenes were dismal in the changing room, and it is the responsibility of the squad to improve their performances, however going forward confidence is key and trusting themselves and each other is the only way FCB are going to get out of this rut.
Next week is a huge game versus Canillejas. There is no better opportunity to right the wrongs of previous weeks.
Man of the Match: Will Sewell
Goal of the Match: Padraig
Dick of the Day: Marco (for taking out Omar)