Sunday, February 19, 2012

Match Report - Lokomotiv Wimbledon - Loko

Sunday 19 February 2012

Lokomotiv Wimbledon 1 v Lokomotiv Londres FC 1

Draw is good Loko-motivation
Records shows that there are only 3 FA-affiliated Lokomotiv teams in London so Loko made history by challenging Lokomotiv Wimbledon to a friendly following the Railwaymen’s 3-week football-free spell.

Unusually for Loko, 50% of the squad comprised forwards - a windfall under normal circumstances but a tricky situation on this occasion. This meant that acting Manager Ivan had to play several players out of position and in a more defending role that their natural instinct dictates.

Following the heavy downpours the day before, you would have expected the pitch to be in a terrible state but the surface was relatively smooth. This enabled Loko to play the ball on the floor through the midfield where Dave J was darting backward and forward, Imants was pulling the strings whereas James was harassing their defenders. Upfront Dave K and Greg were going on numerous mazy runs dribbling past their defenders at will.

However, very few chances were created. This also applied to Loko’s end where stand-in keeper Ismail (pictured) was on top form and handling shots coming his way assuredly. On 27 minutes though, following constant firing in the general direction of the Loko goal, Wimbledon saw what looked like a sure winner head towards goal only for Ivan to save on the goal line.

Our defence was often stretched - one of the reasons being the lack of defensive cover from the generally attack-minded midfield, who, credit to them, were playing in roles that didn’t come naturally to them but were acquitting themselves well.

On 38 minutes, Imants found himself on the left hand side of their box and his rasping shot missed the target by only a few inches. Luiz was showing some very nice touches upfront and Kevin was getting stuck in and was combining well with his fellow midfielders. In defence, Serik also came to the rescue and cleared a few minutes  later in what looked like another sure goal. All in all, this was an even first half.

Half time: Lokomotiv Wimbledon 0 – Loko 0

Despite numerous - and potentially destabilising -  substitutions intended to give every squad player at least three quarters of the game, Loko were still doing brilliantly, passing the ball around crisply. This might also have to do with Wimbledon not pressing too hard. Yet, it was a joy to watch and in sharp contrast to some of our performances over the past 2 months. 

On 60 minutes though, their forward got fouled by Morris in the box and the easy-going referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Their number 10 dispatched the sphere capably to the right of Ismail for what looked like the opener. However, the ref disallowed the goal for encroachment in the box. Take 2 and, predictably, the ball clipped the cross bar to the jubilation of the Loko team.

Five minutes later, a Wimbledon attack saw their forward dribble past two of our defenders and his shot hit the outside of Serik’s foot and ended up in our net.

Lokomotiv Wimbledon 1 – Loko 0.

Then ensued a series of attacks and counter-attacks where the stars included Ismail who pulled off some magic saves, Marcel who cleared a deep ball that was destined for their winger who was about to outflank him and James whose speed must have surely sent defenders in a blind panic.  With less than 15 minutes to go and the clock ticking ominously, the crossbar and the upright also came to Loko’s rescue. Was this going to be Loko’s day?

Indeed, on 82 minutes, James passed to Imants who took his chance from the edge of the box but his shot was deflected by one of their defenders only for ALEJANDRO to spin and tuck the ball to the right of their keeper and into the net from 5 yards. Point saved and mission accomplished! 

Club secretary Ivan Rahal said: “Sounds like everybody enjoyed themselves today. We were all composed and encouraging each other and many of our players were prepared to sacrifice their attacking flair in favour of a much needed defensive display. Plus the two newcomers Kevin and Luiz slotted in seamlessly. Thank you to Lokomotiv Wimbledon who contributed to a friendly encounter played in a very good spirit. A very motivating team performance all around, well done to everybody!

M.O.M: With their speed, determination and marathon running-like ability, Dave J and James did particularly well today. However, M.O.M goes to Ismail who saved us on many occasions with his instant reflexes and excellent ball handling.

Stefano (then Marcel, 46 mns)
Morris (then Ivan 80 mns)
Ivan (then Stefano, 65 mns)
Marcel (then Serik, 20 mns)
Dave J (then Greg 60 mns)
Alejandro (then Kevin 20 mns)
James (then Alejandro 46 mns)
Imants (then James 65 mns)
Dave K (then Imants 65 mns)
Greg (then Luiz 20 mns)

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