|29th October 2023||20:00||Tercera Regional||2023-2024||90'|
FCB were back in action on Sunday, with a late kick-off under the Cocheras lights against mid-table side S.A.D Altamira next up for the team currently sitting 2nd in the table. Spirits were high in the FCB camp after a resounding 10-2 victory last time out, however unfortunately for them, the referee was surely just as high, if not higher. The final score? A nail-biting 2-2 draw that left those watching scratching their heads, but mainly left the Britanicos boys wondering what on Earth the referee had been smoking in the changing room pregame! The warning signs of what was to unfold were there before the game had even begun, with the ever astute Rami voicing his concerns over the referee’s odd requests prior to kick off.
The boys in black lined up with Marco behind a back wall of Joe, Omar, Gonzalo, Josh and Ed. Calum, EQ and Will formed the engine in the middle of the park, with H and Ish as the frontmen up top.
Despite Rami’s “polite” pre match requests to the contrary, the FCB boys started slowly in what is becoming a bit of an unwanted but familiar pattern this season. The lads found themselves 1-0 down after 18 minutes and were struggling to find a rhythm. This was not helped in the slightest by the referee who made a number of perplexing calls, much to the dismay of those on the side. Coach Simon and Paco both found themselves in the referee’s book for their protestations and it was obvious that the Britanicos were in for a tough night.
Things got worse before they got better for FCB as they conceded a 2nd, a glancing near post header just evading goalkeeper Marco. This was the kick up the proverbial that the boys needed though, with Bagsman H responding almost immediately after a sumptuous through-ball from skipper Calum. It was all FCB from here on in and they were almost level after Ish fired narrowly wide from close range after a trademark ball in from H on the left. They didn’t have to wait long for the equalizer however, with H prodding home from close range after an inch perfect cross in from the right from Joe. 2 all at half time and all to play for, the boys went into the changing rooms with their tails up. 4 goals and 7 yellow cards after 45 minutes, and the madness had not yet even begun!
FCB were much better after half time and imposed themselves from the beginning of the 2nd 45. They kept the ball well and remained patient, knowing the chances would come; and come they did. First up was Ish, who in almost a repeat scenario to the chance he missed in the first half, found the net, making no mistake as he fired in H’s cross. The celebrations were cut short however as the ref judged Ish to be offside. Quite how he was able to make that decision based on his poor positioning when the cross came in is anyones’ guess, but the goal had been chalked off all the same. The chances continued to flow for FCB, namely for EQ, who dragged a golden opportunity just wide of the far post. Despite this, the boys would not be deterred and soon had the ball in the back of the net for the 2nd time in the half, with Josh powering a header in over the line from an inswinging corner. This was despite the Altamira’s defender’s best efforts in replicating Suarez in South Africa 2010, the player punching the ball out of the goal in almost comical fashion. However, the referee, who was determined to be the star of the show, blew for a penalty and a red card for the defender. The decision was a mental one, as everyone and their nans could see the ball had crossed the line completely. A penalty and playing against 10 men for the remaining 20 minutes wasn’t a bad conciliation prize I suppose. Up stepped Ish, who fired agonizingly against the outside of the post. Penalty missed and game on.
With the opposition down to 10 men, Rami and Simon smelled blood and sent on striker Paco for EQ, with sights set on getting the 3 points despite the referee trying to sabotage the game time and time again. The lads would’ve been forgiven for beginning to think that this wasn’t to be their day, but testament to their character and mental strength, they refused to let their heads drop and continued to create chances. Then, in what would’ve been an absolute fairy tale ending, the FCB boys thought they had won it right at the death. Paco poking home after an almighty goalmouth scramble with the ball bouncing off players in all directions. Complete bedlam ensued with the hoards of FCB fans and subs flooding the field to celebrate what looked like being a worthy winner for Britanicos. But alas, they should’ve known better, as the referee never would’ve allowed for anyone to take the spotlight away from him. In the midst of the celebration the ref inexplicably, unbelievably, and heartbreakingly blew his whistle to again chalk off the goal. This time for an apparent handball in the build up. The players were left astonished and those on the side were in uproar, with Joe, Rami and Karlos all getting into handbags with those on the opposition bench. Shortly after the craziness, the ref blew up abruptly and pranced off to the locker room, presumably to congratulate himself in the mirror for such a show stealing performance. 10 yellows and a red says all you need to know really.
The FCB boys were equal parts crushed and enraged. Could they’ve played better? Absolutely. Were there mistakes in the 1st half? Definitely. However, they can hold their heads high knowing that they did more than enough to win the game. They had 3 perfectly legitimate second half goals scrubbed off for no good reason and were the victims of a blatant robbery.
No time to dwell on what could’ve been though, the boys will dust themselves down and go again this weekend against another tough opposition. 1 thing is for certain however, they’ll be crossing their fingers that they don’t have to cross paths with this referee again throughout the season.
|Calle San Lamberto, 21, 28017 Madrid, España|