Sunday, May 04, 2014

Match Report: We Kick Ball FC vs Loko

Sun 4 May 2014
We Kick Ball FC 5 vs Loko 3

Isnail saves the first penalty taker's attempt before conceding the final We Kick Ball FC 5th goal.
As our players turned up at Belair Park in West Dulwich for today’s 12pm friendly kickoff, it soon became abundantly clear that something was going awry. No access to the changing rooms. No goalposts up in any of the adjoining football pitches.

As it turned out, no pitch seemed to have been booked. We Kick Ball FC’s assistant manager therefore got on his bike and, to his credit, looked around for an alternative pitch instead of calling the game off. The good news was that he found a pitch. The bad news was that kick-off would have to be 2pm, ie too late for 3 of our players but, after much deliberation, the other 12 decided they were up for it.

After a quick snack at the local MacDonald’s, Tesco Express or one of West Dulwich Village’s Posh Eateries, the Loko-men reconvened just down the road at Pynners Playing Fields for the re-arranged game on a big and surprisingly good  quality pitch.

In the early stages, it soon became obvious that Loko would have to make their experience and older heads count against a skilful, pacey and…young…team who didn’t seem to suffer from the very warm conditions. We Kick Ball FC are quite adept at playing triangles in midfield and unleashing their fast wingers on goal.

The Loko vets in defence were finding it hard to contain them and, to compound the issue, Said, who was back after a long absence following his ACL injury was not 100%  and careful not to twist and turn for fear of a relapse.

It didn’t take long for We Kick Ball FC to score their first goal when their forward outpaced the whole Loko defence in the box and scored from a tight angle on 16 minutes. This was followed by a second goal where, again, one of their forwards made his youth count and crucified Ismail from 5 yards out on 22 minutes.

We Kick Ball FC 2 vs Loko 0.

At the other end of the pitch, Loko’s attacks were few and far between despite new boy Beni, who used to play second division football in Romania, showing great vigour in midfield whilst captain Matt was showing unhurried flashes of style and directing the game.

Interestingly enough, this being a friendly, Loko made history by fielding their first female player ever, namely Tanya, who came on for Stefano on 23 minutes. Tanya immediately showed the opposition that she was made of steel by tackling hard and passing her way out of trouble on more than one occasion.

However, Loko were not threatening the We Kick Ball goal much what with James B being isolated up front. Thankfully, though, our forward  secured a corner on 29 minutes. From the ensuing kick, Matt whipped in a targeted cross that connected with IVAN’s pelvis and rolled across the goal line and into the back of the net. An unexpected goal not only for Loko but also Ivan who was breaking his duck after almost 2 years…

Sadly, this was not so much a revival as a flash in the pan as We Kick Ball FC restored their advantage soon afterwards.

The first goal came about following a cross from the right where Ivan thought he’d headed the ball out of danger only for it to fly over Ismail’s head into our own far left corner.

A fourth one came soon afterwards and it looked like curtains for the visitors as the ref blew his whistle to signal half time.

Half time: We Kick Ball FC 4 vs Loko 1.

After this rather sorry first half, you’d have expected Loko to roll over for what promised to be a duel or rather a hammering in the sun. Not so. Loko were now playing out of their skins and We Kick Ball seemed to be the ones tiring. Lawrence and Andrei in the middle of the park were making their presence felt with hard tackles and constant forays into the opposition’s half.

On 59 minutes, Andrei lost his marker and crossed from the byeline and, with their keeper spilling the ball, JAMES B who was lurking in the box scored by nutmegging their keeper.

We Kick Ball FC 4 vs Loko 2

On 71 minutes, Andrei, who was tormenting their right back no end, got tripped just inside the box. James B decided to take the penalty but hit it straight into their keeper.

This didn’t dishearten the Railwaymen though and, 7 minutes later, Matt curled a freekick over the opposition wall that hit the post into the path of Ivan who tried to muscle their defenders out of the way but his kick rebounded off a defender and ended up at the feet of BENI who slotted the ball into the empty net from 1 yard out.  

We Kick Ball FC 4 vs Loko 3

Was this going to be yet another epic Loko comeback? Not quite. With 12 minutes on the clock, Lawrence scythed one of their forwards just inside the box and the ref pointed to the penalty slot. Their number 8 directed his shot to Ismail’s left but our smiling keeper saved the penalty in agile fashion (see picture above) but the penalty taker scored from the rebound.

We Kick Ball FC 5 vs Loko 3

All in all, despite the 2-hour delay and the fact that half of the regulars were not playing today, this was a very good run-out against quality, fair-play opposition before Loko head to Spain for their annual Old Boys’ Tournament pilgrimage. For the ones not going to Spain, meet in August for our pre-season friendlies.

M.O.M:  BENI who slotted into our midfield straightaway and showed great energy and conviction. Special mentions to Ismail, Matt and Andrei.

Line-up: Ismail, Stefano (then Tanya 23 mns), Said (then Stefano, 60 mns), Ivan (then Said 76 mns), Marcel – Gary, Lawrence, Beni, Andrei, Matt – James B

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