After the news that FCB’s Scottish contingent would be down to just three with the departure of Glaswegian midfielder and good bloke Sean McBride next week, the boys were even more keen than usual to beat arch-rivals Fausto’s in Vallecas and give him a send-off that his contribution to the club over the last year and a half deserved. The line up on the day was Jorge in goal, a back four of Ed, Rama, Ricky and Harry. Christoffer, Oscar, Calum, Sean and Dave made up the midfield with Joe the lone man up front. On the occasion of his last game for the club, Sean was handed the captain’s armband and lead the team out to rapturous applause from a full house of pumped up Brits fans in the bleachers.
The first half saw a largely even contest in terms of possession with neither team dominating for long periods and both sets of players largely cancelling each other out. A couple of half chances for Joe and Calum came to nothing before the opening goal of the came from a familiar situation. FCB conceded a soft free kick in a dangerous spot, the ball was delivered in towards the back past where a Fausto’s player had ghosted away from his marker and stuck the ball past Jorge for 0-1. This was a big disappointment for the lads as despite the experience and professional pedigree of the opposing strike force, the back four had restricted them to speculative long-range efforts. FCB rallied before halftime but couldn’t make their pressure count and get back on level terms before the interval.
The lads came back out more focused and perhaps less nervous after the break and immediately had Fausto’s camped in their defensive third for the first ten minutes of the second half. In typically frustrating fashion, FCB were denied by the lack of a linesman as Dave Kane was wrongly given offside when bearing down on goal after making a great run into the box from the right and being found from midfield with a rapier-like pass. Rami made some changes and brought on Luigi and goal-scorer from last week Matt in an attempt to break down a tiring defence.
The next chance of note was a superb turn and shot from Calum who smashed the ball against the base of the post from 20 yards with the keeper doing excellently to deny Joe from the rebound. Next Dave Kane blazed over from close range after electing to cut back onto his left foot when well placed. The away side were rocking now and barely able to fashion any attacks of their own by this point, and finally the pressure told with 15 minutes to go when substitute Matt sublimely found the back of the net with a marvellous first time shot from all of 25 yards out to bring parity to the scoresheet and set up a frantic end to the game.
As is customary in meetings between these two sides, there was to be a measure of bad blood and needless confrontation as Fausto’s players used all of their experience and pulled all of their time wasting tricks out of their repertoire to cauterize the flow of red shirts swarming all over them. Rami was sent from the dugout after using some threatening language and there was some minor argy-bargy, but ultimately FCB were unable to find the winning goal which would have secured the three points and sent Sean on his way with a smile on his face… (He went out and got drunk later and had a smile on his face then anyway).
Man of the match: Harry
Quote of the Match: Rami “….Hold my glasses!”