Match report Soho Spartans 6 v CIS 0, Sept 27
We made a welcome return to winning ways on Sunday with a comfortable dismantling of patchy opposition at sun-drenched Kowloon Tsai, smashing 6 past CIS without reply. The usual raft of late call-offs saw our squad depleted from 17 to 13, but our starting 11 looked strong as we lined up 4-2-3-1 with Taylor in goal, Mike V, Pablo, Dan and Christo across the back, H and Dashti in the double pivot, Coombes, Jorgen and Eric in the attacking midfield roles and Damo up front. taking the game to the opposition from the off, the first goal duly arrived just a few minutes in as Damo controlled a Rory Delap-esque long throw from Christo in the six-yard box before knocking it past the CIS keeper on the turn. The opposition defence and keeper looked shaky, and we turned the screw with a second soon after, H notching with a sweetly struck free kick that swerved past a lacklustre defensive wall and a despairing dive from the keeper on the way in. To add insult to injury, H called ‘goal’ right after he hit it and was already celebrating by the time the ball hit the net. Next to try his luck was Jorgen, who saw a goal-bound effort acrobatically saved by the keeper, and at this point it looked like we might run up a cricket score, but CIS had a couple of decent players up front and started to come into the game more and more, keeping our defence on their toes to restrict them to half-chances. Just as CIS were having their best spell of the half we hit them with a classic counter attack, Coombes finishing with aplomb after a crisp passing move on the break. 3-0 half time.
A couple of changes at the interval saw Jamil on for Eric and Tony Choi for Christo as we set out to kill the game with a quick 4th, but it was CIS who grabbed the momentum early on, throwing players forward in numbers and putting us under a sustained bit of pressure. We soaked it up well though, Mike V snuffing them out time and again on the right and Taylor comfortably dealing with a series of shots from the edge of the box. Having kept them out at one end, we knocked the stuffing out of them with another sucker punch from Coombes, who robbed the ball off one of the CIS defenders and played a quick one-two with Damo before finding the top corner with a great hit from just inside the box. The CIS heads went down visibly after that, their only tactical change seemingly to keep changing keepers so that each one was smaller and angrier than the last like some sort of weird footballing Russian doll. They can hardly have been surprised then when the third and smallest goalkeeper got lobbed twice in the last ten minutes, first by Jorgen and then by Dashti, with Damo racking up the assists. Jorgen also hit the bar before going off with a hamstring injury. Final score: 6-0
CIS were, to be fair, not a great side, but as the old adage goes, you can only beat what’s in front of you and we did that in style. There were good performances right through the team, and it was particularly pleasing to see quality goals from 5 different players and to keep a clean sheet despite some decent pressure from the opposition in spells. The new formation gives us a lot of options in attack, and providing we can keep a settled team, we’ve got the players and the spirit to win this league. Maccabi dropped their first points of the season with a 0-0 draw, meaning no team has a 100% record, so it’s all to play for.
Next game is a six-pointer against league leaders Bridgehead, who beat us in the cup final a couple of seasons ago and are a handy side. We’ll need a strong squad for this one, but with our full complement of players available we should fear no one.