with players dropping like flies we started off with a bare 11.
watching the opposition wander in it looked like a lab in China was churning out clones of Viera and we found out this team had not fought their way from the lower divisions but had been parachuted into the top division…..
Opting for a defensive line up we plumbed for the 4:1:4:1 formation that has been serving as well recently. Rob took on Nathan’s roving role in front of the back four with Andy in goal, our 2 paciest players Cowley/TonyC in an attaching left/right back role, Colin & Skurno in central defence, Matt & Scott in midfield, Ed & Varun on the wings and Patrick alone ontop.
We started brightly with some nice passing football however the opposition looked dangerous on the counter however we snuffed out their advances but conceded a number of corners, one floated in towards the back post only for Cowley on the line to head the ball in off the cross bar.
With our heads up we had some neat play down the left wing with Rob linking well with Ed and Patrick, Rob carried on his run and floated a ball into the box onto Matt’s head to level the score at 1:1.
The game continued with end to end action, our back line managed to keep them from breaking through however we were conceding a lot of corners. Patrick and Scott had a couple of chances from far out however as the half progressed we failed to track back when attacks broke down as well as holding onto the ball to long at the back and getting caught in possession. Their increased pressure resulted in 3 more goals brining us in at half time 4:1 down.
Only one sub so off came Ed who had run tirelessly down the wing and on came Raul. A change in formation from 4:1:4:1 to 3:5:2 / 5:3:2, Raul moved up front with Patrick, Varun moving into a 3 man midfield with Rob and Scott leaving our superfit wingbacks Cowley/TonyC the space to motor up and down the wings and (errrrr) track back and defend as well. Again we started the half well with the extra pressure up front delivering 3-4 corners one of which pinged in the box before Rob converted. Rob and Raul and Scott were linking up well and feeding the ball to the wings. However we got hit on the break again making it 5:1.
End to end stuff for the remainder of the half before Scott was harshly sent off for a 2nd yellow outside the box, in the final 10 mins with only 10 men we conceded another 4 goals making it a whopping 9:2 – which off the top of my head must be the worst defeat for niteSpartans in 4 seasons.
Bit hard to find good things to say about the results, only consolation was some of our attacking play with people feeding the ball around well and not running around like headless chickens. With some key players dropping out we were exposed at the back, however they put away every chance they had including a bullet of a free kick from near the half way line the swerved and dipped past Andy’s hands. If we have a full squad out next time we can definitely get a better result than this although these guys are clearly going to be challenging for the title this season.
Goals: Matt, Rob
Sent off: Scott (2nd yellow rescinded post match by Henry Ng so does not miss next match)
MOTM: Rob – solid all round performance while everything went to sh*t around him (well not quite that bad but close…)