Monday, November 17, 2014

Match Report: Loko vs Accrington Stanley Bowles

Sportsman's League,
Senior Amateur Division

Sun 16 November 2014
Loko 0 vs Accrington Stanley Bowles 3


Following two heavy defeats in the last two fixtures against league leaders St George, Loko had a great opportunity to get back to winning ways against a team we’ve had some good results against in recent years.

Unfortunately, in the run-up to the game and with less than 24 hours to go, Loko lost 2 key players (Beni and Adil) which resulted in Manager Matt needing to whatsapp for support on the morning of the game as it looked like we were going to be down to 10. Thankfully, as the game kicked off, with the support of Chris and Colin and Ivan on standby, we got back to 14.

In the first few minutes of the game, it was quite reassuring to see that, although Loko were not at their best, the game promised to be much more balanced than in recent weeks with a lot of the action taking place in the middle of the park as both teams were lacking penetration.

Regretably, on 6 minutes, an attack that developed on the left side of our defence saw their number 5 cross across our box and with our defence unable to thwart their forwards, their winger on the far right connected with the ball, passed across our defence again and with Dan R tracking back to protect John, their number 9 was the most prompt as he slotted the ball low past John and into our net.

This was a sucker punch so early in the game but, to their credit, Loko didn’t seem to be too affected and tried to play a passing game from then on.

However, it was clear for all to see that with James T isolated upfront and having to contend with up to 4 defenders at times, it was going to be difficult for Loko to score.

On 29 minutes, though, following a long punt upfront in his direction on the left hand side of the pitch, it looked like James T was going to shake off his defender and head straight for goal. This is when his marker held on to James T, committing a blatant professional foul but, oddly enough, the defender protested his innocence to the  Scottish ref and even blaming James T as he brandished his shirt which, somehow, James had  pulled off a la Houdini!

The resulting freekick was taken by Dave F and a Loko head connected with it in the box and found Danny 5 yards out on the left but his shot hit the woodwork.

Loko were still at the mercy of a counterattack though….

On 38 minutes, an Accringtron clearance found their nippy number 8 chasing the ball and with Neil hot on his tail, their forward managed to outmanoeuvre our trusty central defender and beat John from 15 yards out. Cue complaints from John and Neil directed to the linesman for the day Ivan but as confirmed by sub Chris, their forward was 100% onside when he received the ball.

Half time: Loko 0 vs Accrington Stanley 2

The second half was relatively even except when it came to chances.

On 67 minutes, their central defender handballed a shot in his own box for all to see but the ref, who had been excellent up until then, missed it.

At that stage, the Loko men probably realised that it was not going to be their day as their body language betrayed a total lack of ambition with only very few players showing that they wanted to fight to the very end.

Again, John was superb in goal, as he made at least 5 extraordinary saves from pointblank shots that looked destined to end up in the back of the net. John also got saved by the upright on one occasion and one of their goals was disallowed for a clear offside.

Despite Matt attempting many long passes from midfield, Loko seemed outnumbered in the middle of the park.

With only 20 minutes on the clock, Chris came on for Dan R and showed great fitness whilst many of the Loko-men were visibly suffering from exhaustion.

With only 10 minutes to go, John launched yet another attack with one of his long goalkicks buit the ball bounced straight back to our nemesis for the day, namely their number 8 who outran our last defender and chipped John from 15 yards out.

Again Loko were resigned to their fate today – let’s wake up and show some pride in our next game!

M.O.M: Sensational performance by the flying Irishman who saved our blushed on many occasions today.

Line-up: John – Tom, Neil, Mark (then Ivan 85’), Dan R (then Colin, 67’) – Gary (then Chris 73’), Danny, Matt, Haydn – Dave F, James T                

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