arriving at the pitch at 9pm it was encouraging to see 5 Spartans already warming up, unfortunately the entire squad of Xi Li was also there, kitted up and warming up as well, any thoughts of an equivalent to the A Leauge 5th division quickly went out the window.
L1 SohoSpartans 0 – Xi Li 1
Playing 4-1-4-1 we had SamE in goal from left to right Chi, Stef, Colin, Skurno, Henry in front of the defence, then Jo, Miles & JimR and Hao with Patrick alone up front. The opposition was well organised, had 2 players on anyone who had the ball and were quick running and passing. While our back 4 held there own and Henry was holding the ball up well in the centre we struggled to get out of our half and only managed to put 5 passes together once. Xi Li had one chance in the first half with a half volley that went across goal and out. Unfortunately we lost Joe around 15 mins into the game and Cowley came on in his place before swapping into midfield with Miles.
We all looked a little tired (prob from training) and were second to the ball a lot of the time and should have been winning more balls in the air. Coming in at half time 0-0 was a relief. 2 changes at half time, Hao and Colin off, JimK on the right wing, Ransford into the midfield with Henry dropping in defence and we reverted to 4:4:2 with Cowley pushing up.
We were pusing forward a bit more in the second half and then we lost JimR with Ed coming on the wing and Miles dropping into midfield. A random shot from half way caught SamE unsighted and the ball sizzled over his head into the goal 1-nil down with 20 mins to go. After this went in the delaying tactics started, slow substitutions, players going down at the slightest touch and balls kicked as hard as possible out of the pitch (3 balls lost for good), the ref joined in as well as giving a ridiculous number for free kicks and Miles, Patrick, Chi all picked up yellow cards for innocuous challanges (Ransfords push prob deserved a yellow)
We had one decent chance when Henry’s free kick could not be controlled by the keeper, Cowley intercepted the ball but shot over from a few yards out. Miles had a chance earlier in the half only to see the ball sail over the bar and so the match ended 1-nil.
Poor reffering aside Xi Li deserved their win if for nothing more than knowing how to close out a match Mourinho style.
Hopefully it was simply a case of an off day, noone played particularly badly but there was no creativity and our passing was very poor across the board, early days in the season so will put this down to tiredness from training, however this league won’t be a walk in the park.
upcoming fixtures for Soho Spartans below, I’ll send an email out nearer the time to get a squad together.
Sunday 5th September v ABC 16:30 Hammer Hill (finished 9/10 last season W2 D2 L13)
Saturday 9th September v Thunder 19:30 Hin Tin (new team)
A reasonable tunrout in the pub after and we are pleased to confirm that Yorkshire Pud have confirmed they will sponsor the Soho Spartans. discount key cards/fobs to follow later.