Sunday 9th October 2011
Sportsmans League Division 4
Parklife 'B' 0 v Lokomotiv Londres FC 0
Loko Hang On For Dear Life
On a mild October day, Loko took to the pitch keen to continue with their fantastic start to the season. With free-scoring Bec Utd enjoying a day off today, Loko saw an opportunity to top the league for the first time ever. However, goalkeeper Junior’s first ominous comment on seeing Parklife warming up was that they had rather tall players and that we were in for a tough battle.
Loko were on the back foot right from the word go and were only able to venture out of their own half on rare occasions. Parklife were dominating across the field and it was a case of clearing your backlines as opposed to trying to build a good passing game from the back.
Loko often found themselves outnumbered. However, hard working Steve and Chris in particular were sweeping up very capably at the back whilst Junior showed great composure when threatened. Waves after waves of attacks saw our vocal goalie grab the limelight with his impressive saves and catches.
The only serious chance for the Railwaymen in the first half saw Imants one on one against their keeper after Morris (pictured above) had won some tackles in midfield, but his effort was saved with aplomb by their number one. Dave K did have a further effort when Dale chipped in a free kick and Dave almost lobbed the keeper with a good effort but the keeper saved well.
With the game proving very hard on our limbs and at a time when the whole team ought to have stuck together, an unnecessary confrontation between two of our players could have derailed our efforts. However, Loko made it to half time without conceding.
Half-Time Parklife 'B' 0 v Loko 0
At half-time, it was obvious that the players were disappointed with their first half performance but Junior piped up and reminded the team that there were some positives to be taken from this first half – namely that we defended well against a decent Parklife team.
The second half started very much in the same vein with Parklife getting the best of the action and Loko fighting tooth and nail to avoid conceding a goal. Midway through the half, Chris tackled his opponent hard in the box and fell to the floor and seemed to handle the ball but the ref thankfully – and surprisingly - awarded a free kick in our favour.
Five minutes later a forty yard ball by Dale over the defence sent Imants clear on the right hand side of their box but his shot flew over the bar.
Steve was doing very well despite being handicapped by a toe injury, Dave J and Ismail were covering every inch of grass, Chris was commanding in defence and communicating well with his fellow defenders, whilst Imants was showing great touches but was too isolated.
However, the aerial bombardment continued unabated with Parklife’s giants smelling blood and going all out to score the winner. From a corner, one of their forwards slammed into Junior who fell to the floor writhing in agony but our goalie was soon back on his feet rallying the troops despite a few aching ribs.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock, Imants danced past their left back but was tripped inside the box. This was a blatant penalty for all to see except the ref who was not having a good game who gave a free kick outside the box. Roger sent over the free kick and Dale got his head to the ball but could not get enough power behind it and the keeper saved easily.
At the other end of the pitch, following a cross from the left, their forward went all out like a rhino and almost knocked Junior out who lost his rag and complained to the subdued ref that he was getting no protection.
With Loko being outmanoeuvred, some players voiced their frustration and urged Roger to change his formation, which he did switching to a more cautious 4-4-2. This gave us more stability in midfield but with sounds of “how long ref?” becoming more and more frequent around the pitch, Loko were fighting for dear life which became a reality after a long 90 minutes.
Final Score Parklife 'B' 0 v Loko 0
Club Secretary Ivan Rahal's comments:
“What a difference a week makes. Today was simply a rearguard war of attrition against a vastly improved team. The other very satisfying aspect of this first goalless draw in a long while is the fact that we never gave up – a great team performance!”
Team Line Up
2. Dave J
5. Steve (c)
9. Dave K
12. Michael (Replaced Morris 50th Minute)
Man of the Match
Junior - There could only be one this week. Commanding, alert agile, brave and the added bonus of a winning mentality and positive attitude – well done Junior!
Match Report by Ivan Rahal.