Sunday, March 25, 2012

Match Report: Lonsdale FC v Loko

Sportsman's League 
Sunday 25th March
Division 4
Lonsdale FC 3 vs Loko 0


Today’s game was played with a full complement of 14 players albeit with two late arrivals including Vincent who last played for the club many months ago following an ACL injury and Kevin in full gear following a night shift trying to fix the tracks that have bedevilled London commuters for so many years.

Loko started very slowly and were unable to develop their game against a team that never smelt the sweet smell of success against us in 6 encounters. Lonsdale were dominant in midfield and always threatening on the break whilst Loko were in complete disarray.

Very few chances came our way with the exception of a long shot by Imants and a swerving shot by Matt that could have found the back of the net.

Yet, against all odds, Loko got a golden opportunity to change the course of the game on 24 minutes when the ref pointed to the penalty spot after one of their defenders committed handball in his box.

Once again, three Loko players were up for it, namely Dave F, Imants and Terry. Despite two other Loko players’protestations that Imants was the best man for the job and that Terry would be in trouble if he missed his penalty and had to run the whole length of the field to his goal in case of a miss, Terry was the most assertive and placed the ball on the penalty spot. This was Loko’s chance to restore confidence following a nervy start but Terry’s shot to the right of the keeper was too weak and easily saved. This proved to be the turning point of the game.

Five minutes later, following a corner from our left, the ball failed to connect with our and their heads but ended up two yards out to the right of Terry and with James B facing his own goal and failing to clear, their winger lashed onto the ball and slammed it into our net past Ivan and Terry.

Lonsdale 1 v Loko 0.

This goal filled Lonsdale with confidence and they started pumping more balls forward, especially on the left hand side of the defence where Marcel was putting in a valiant performance but was often outnumbered because he didn’t get the necessary support from his winger and the midfield.

With 9 minutes left before half time, a long ball from midfield carved the Loko defence open but quick feet Steve (pictured) sped down the right side of defence to cover for James B and prevent a cross from their winger who was now on his own and in an extremely dangerous position. The cross did make it into the box for their big number 7 though but Ivan managed to head the ball out of danger. The defence were trying to cope but it was becoming more and more difficult although Steve was making his presence felt across the back four, urging his team mates to lift their game, but it wasn’t happening for Loko.

Half time: Lonsdale 1 v Loko 0

Ten minutes in and with Loko playing slightly better but still failing to threaten, captain Steve got Kevin and Luiz on with the hope of shaking things up. Despite some more intricate play in midfield and James T and James P pulling tricks and outrunning their defenders, Lonsdale were proving very solid including their giant of a central defender who wasn’t taking any prisoners and fouling our forwards time and time again.

On 62 minutes, a freekick by Dave F on the edge of their box saw the ball fly just above the crossbar but apart from that, chances were few and far between.

On 69 minutes, as Loko were digging their heels in, Lonsdale scored from 15 yards out when their unmarked forward low shot drive found Terry’s bottom right corner.

There was still time for Loko to grab a goal and then equalise but the majority of the railwaymen simply gave up the fight, something we haven’t seen for a long while.

With 73 minutes on the clock, a long effort by Kevin from 25 yards out went wide and this seemed to become the pattern where we didn’t really get any clear chances.

Sure enough, a third goal quickly followed when a long overhead ball was headed away by Steve then Ivan but not far enough and their winger chipped the ball over the defence to their diminutive forward who scored from what looked like a blatant offside position. Matt, who’d come off and was now running the line, declared that the goal should stand though, because it was scored by a player who was onside when the ball was played to him. 

With 7 minutes before the final whistle, James T got the ball on the left hand side of the Lonsdale box and placed a beauty down their keeper’s right hand corner and into the net. Unsurprisingly from a team that were such bad losers last time we played them, though, their linesman flagged for an imaginary offside so the rather pliant ref disallowed our consolation goal.

Loko were now dead and buried and technical error after technical error ensued where Ivan, Terry and Kevin failed to control dangerous balls, clear their lines or weresimply  messing around with the ball in dangerous positions with no chance of a comeback.

Club Secretary Ivan said: “Our grudge match turned into a botched match.  We were very poor today and didn’t deserve a draw let alone a win. There is no shame in losing a game against better opposition but we simply gave up the fight after their second goal. Yes, we haven’t won since December (ie in 9 games) but we have quality in the team so we need to get it right in our heads and show more fighting spirit instead of just rolling over – how about next Sunday’s game against league leaders Bec United, who after all only beat us 1-0 last time around?

Man of the Match: Although he should have supported Marcel more, Imants put in a flawless attacking performance today and hardly ever lost the ball. Steve at the back played well too after a 3-week absence so this week’s M.O.M goes to both Steve and Imants.

James B
Marcel (then Kevin, 55 mns)
Dave J (then Luiz, 55 mns)
Matt (then Vincent, 60 mns)
James P
James T

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