Metro: La Elipa (Line 2)
Autobus: 110, 113, 210
A delightful Saturday morning at la Elipa saw FCB play host to the side that pipped them to the title last season. Like their opponents, Bar la Piscina came into the game with a 100% record from the first two games of the fledgeling season and even this early the matchup with FCB had the feeling of a crucial encounter in deciding the destination of the apertura trophy.
A strong squad was named by manager Majid with promising young Jorge keeper making just his second appearance for the club between the sticks after being ‘tapped up’ by the gaffer last season. The defence was unchanged from the previous match with Rama and Omar paired at centre back with Ricky and Ed occupying the flanks. Midfield was made up of Sean, Calum and Mathi with the returning ‘Kane Train’ playing in his favoured right-wing position after a gruelling 3 weeks rehabilitating various injuries on a Malaysian beach. Up front were Venezuelan poet Luigi and Spanish mountain Nacho. The bench was comprised of Joe, Pete, Macca, Marcel, Harry and Sam.
The game kicked off with a degree of intensity not seen in the two previous games as the sides looked to get the measure of each other with no quarter given in the midfield. A string of early corners for La Piscina lead to a half chance which was smartly parried by rookie stopper Jorge while at the other end Calum shot wide from just inside the box after some nice work in the final third. The next action of note was a good FCB chance sparked by a rare error from the ex-professionals in the Piscina defensive line. An innocuous backpass combined with a possible lack of sleep for the opposition goalkeeper and lead to Luigi smashing the bar from the resulting indirect free-kick. In terms of action at the other end, Jorge was in the wars as he was clattered by an onrushing opposition midfielder and looked to be in some pain as he claimed the ball ahead of the out of control Piscina veteran.
The intensity in the second half was upped further and although the game was punctuated by more than its fair share of throw-ins and free-kicks on tight confines of the Elipa pitch the level of football on display from both teams was at times of a standard rarely seen in the Bunwer league. The first goal was accurate in its execution and capitalised on a moment of hesitation on the part of the FCB defence. With the defence slightly out of position, a gap was left for the opposing striker to run onto and lob the on-rushing keeper for 1-0 to the away side.
The reaction from the boys in red spoke volumes of their desire and resilience. In the fifteen minutes immediately after conceding the first goal, FCB upped the intensity and there were missed chances for Ed and substitute Joe. Eventually, a free kick on the left was chipped in by Uruguayan set-piece specialist Mathi to the head of Nacho whose header made no mistake and got the lads back on level terms. The momentum, however, was to swing back the other way in the last quarter of the game. The later period of games, usually dominated by the younger fitter FCB men after running their opposition into the ground on the vast swathes of their Vallecas pitch was this time dominated by the canny old campaigners of the Getafe based team. Some good defending from the home side was eventually undone by an uncharacteristic defensive error which was pounced on by the opposition striker whose shot was parried by Jorge but agonisingly had enough on it to dribble into the net for 2-1 which despite the best efforts of the home team in the last few minutes and a difficult headed chance for the excellent Calum Cant was to be the final score.
The boys will be looking to bounce back against Banco de España next week. Tune in to Facebook and Twitter to see how the lads get on!
Man of the Match: Sean McBride/Calum Cant
Miss of the match: Joe Simmons
Quote of the match: Rami Majid “A scorpion doesn’t change”
A new season, new players and a new home greeted the men of Albion on their return to the Bunwer League after a few months with withdrawal symptoms over the summer.
One thing that is had not changed over the break was veteran manager Rami who remains his old cantankerous self and was smartly dressed and in fine fettle from the off today in his delightful shirt and chinos combo. The gaffer went with an XI including a back three of son Omar, Rama and Ricky with Ed and Sean as wing-backs, a midfield of new boy Oscar complemented by fellow new boy Mathi and returning starlet Calum Cant back from his ill-advised misdemeanors in Liga Preferente. Joe and favourite outlet for rage Luigi completed the lineup on a perfect day for a game at La Elipa.
The first half was predictably strewn with errors as the men in yellow attempted to play the ball forward too early rather than making their older opponents Bar Hermanos Arribas run around. The fluency of the game in the early stages was not great as the lads attempted to get used to the smaller confines of their new home ground. Fortunately, FCB weren’t to suffer a Spurs-like hoodoo at their new residence and were off the mark after 15 minutes when Omar powered a header in from a corner. The second followed soon after when a cross from the right was headed onto the bar by Sean and the rebound stuck away by Luigi to get his pursuit of the golden boot up and running for the season. The men in pink struck back in very controversial circumstances, however, as their striker was played through whilst in a clearly offside position ( honest guv, I swear down) and slotted home for 2-1.
At the half BFG Marcel and new boy Nacho came on in place of Luigi and Mathi and the boys got about their work as Joe slotted home a nice through ball from the right. The cohesion at the back was lacking thereafter despite Macca and Pete being brought on as FCB conceded two sloppy goals from corner routines to give the men from the bar a slither of hope at 3-2 and for a while, the game was very disjointed and punctuated by dodgy offside decisions. That was until a freekick was awarded to the home side 25 yards out and mysteriously nobody stepped forward apart from the captain who for only the second time in his life put a dead-ball into the back of the net for 4-2 and a palpable sense of relief. To be fair the keeper was not exactly spry and was also just a wee fella.
That was the cue for the bench to be emptied with Alberto and Sam coming on for the closing stages. The next action of note was of some note indeed; not content to be outdone by his opposite wingback Sean sunk a bouncing ball across the keeper into the right hand side of the net for a Charlie Daniels-esque screamer and contender for goal of the season to put the Brits 5-3 up and the game was rounded off by Sam who slotted home with the outside of his foot whilst being dragged down in the area. Final score 6-3 to the home side and the post match beers (and chilies for the new lads) were deserved despite the unconvincing early season performance.
Man of the match: Oscar Walet Turner
Game of the match: Sean McBride
Miss of the match: Joe Simmons
Quote of the match: “You can’t get to the 10th floor from the ground floor” Rami Majid