DBFC 0 – 0 Ruby Murrays

Venue: Po Kong Village Road Park Pitch 1 —– 12 September 2015 —— 5:30 pm KO

Squad: Matt Z (Captain), Gianluca (Keeper), Ben, Matt Orr, Matt H, Sam, Scotty H, David, Sahil, Matt B, Jonny, Morse, Syd and Tom H

Scorers: none

This game had been originally schedule for pitch 3 at Happy Valley but after complaining about the ridiculously small size of that pitch, the Legal League officials thankfully switched us to play at Po Kong Village’s very large pitch No. 1. We had a decent squad of 14 players for this game, 9 of whom made their way to the ground by taxi from DB. The players all arrived in plenty of time to loosen up and Captain Zoeller led the warm up routine.

We started with Gianluca in goal, David and Ben at centre back, Morse and Syd at L and R backs, Matt H and Matt O at holding midfield, Jonny and Scotty flanking midfield, Tom H up front and Matt Z sitting between Tom and midfield. The start of the game from DBFC was poor. Not getting hold of the ball to create simple passes to keep possession and settle. Instead it seemed to be forward only and quickly get rid of the ball with flicks and hopeful first time passes. We were too keen to empty the midfield, pressing forward and leaving a gap in front of the back 4 that Rubies were exploiting, either to run at the centre backs or hold for their midfield coming through. When the midfield and forwards did come back it was all together and we ended sitting too deep. Gazza was frustrated as DBFC had loads of talent on the pitch but not working has a team holding position, making angles for players to easily pass and losing possession cheaply. Ruby’s took advantage and pressed with their full backs regularly pushing up forward. Ruby’s had a number of break-through that our backs managed to luckily recover from and Ruby’s wasted. Gianluca pulled off a terrific save from one such Ruby’s attack.

DBFC did have forages forward with Syd getting to the by-line and firing in a low cross in front of goal that the Ruby’s keeper got a hand too to push the ball behind the on-coming Scotty. Some rare DBFC possession in midfield found Matt O who fired a 25 yard shot at the Ruby’s goal that dipped and skimmed the top of the cross bar.  Tom H was not being serviced with passes to his feet or balls over the top when Ruby’s defence pressed up. At 25 minutes Matt B was brought on for Tom to see if his large frame could change things in holding up the ball in Ruby’s half.  In the last 10 minutes of the first half Gazza swapped Syd from right back to centre (holding) midfield, Matt O to right side midfield to work the flank and Jonny back to defender (right back). This seemed to be working in starting to settle things. Half time came and DBFC were lucky not to be behind as Ruby’s had the better of the first half.

Half time talk emphasised the need to be confident with the ball and trust ability. Players were to keep possession, working the ball backwards and across the pitch, play with a little more desire and belief in wanting to take control of the game and stop making the average Ruby’s team look good. The players all recognised the first half was a flat performance by DBFC. So the second half would see Sam come in for Jonny at right back and Tom H come back on for Scotty Holmes at left midfield.

The second half started and DBFC appeared to be more balanced and had more possession. Syd was doing a great job at holding midfield, taking possession and distributing effectively. The two centre backs (Ben and David) stepped up in confidence and started being more positive in challenges and winning their tough battle with the solid Ruby forwards. This in turn encouraged the DBFC backs, Morse and Sam, to press forward in support of the DBFC attacks. Tom was causing havoc for Ruby’s on our left side with his mazy runs, stepping inside for a right foot shot that was pulled out of its flight to the top corner by the Ruby’s keeper.  DBFC were pressing well and Rubies were confined to counter attacks, which on the big pitch was always a problem, but the back four, particularly Ben and David, were dealing with the Ruby surges through the middle. Ruby’s got a couple of free kicks and corners from these counter attacks. The free kicks went over the bar and did not threaten, whereas the corners were always a problem with Ruby’s relatively big side. One corner was headed in at goal by Ruby’s forward, who out-jumped the DBFC defence but the ball was blocked by (someone) on the goal line. DBFC got away with it again.

DBFC continued to press, and Matt O had an exchange of passes with Syd and Sam on our right flank to surge into Ruby’s box and strike the ball well, inside the 18 yard box, towards the far corner of Ruby’s goal. However, Ruby’s keeper was having a blinder of a game and as he came out of his goal line to close down Matt he held his upper body high and his hands wide to get fingers on to Matt’s shot and deflect it over the bar. Matt O soon followed that up with taking possession at about 20 yards out and firing a cracker of a shot that smacked the Ruby’s cross bar full on and came back out on the same trajectory it was going in. Matt Z and Tom H continued to have half chances at Ruby’s goal but no luck finding a way through as their shots were blocked. Matt Z received a pass on the right side of Ruby’s box and made a pirouette of a turn (his private ballet lessons paying off) to release a powerful shot towards the far corner but somehow the Ruby’s keeper was there again with a flying dive and out-stretched hand to deflect the ball around the post. A further powerful shot by Matt Z from 20 yards towards the Ruby’s goal hit one of their defender’s arm inside the box. DBFC’s vigorous appeals for a penalty were turned down by the referee (presumably because the shot was so hard and fast that the Ruby’s defender didn’t know much about it and couldn’t get his arm out of the way)  —– but irrespective a penalty should have been called.

Matt Z was taken off with 20 minutes to go holding his right breast and complaining of muscle pain. Gazza offered to massage his tit but was flatly turned down. Tom H was moved into Matt’s forward midfield role and Sahil came on to the left flank. Sahil had an immediate impact with his speed and energy, closing the Ruby’s defenders quickly and causing them to panic and lose possession. Sahil got down the left to the by-line and pulled his cross back out to Matt O who could quite get his shot away before being blocked out by Ruby’s defenders. Matt B came off and Matt Z back on as forward for the last 10 minutes. Tom H went over to the right flank as a direct swap of positions with Matt O. All the changing of positions was part of assessing future positions for players.

DBFC should have secured a win with a couple of goals in the second half but on reflection could have easily conceded in the first half. Given DBFC are a team still settling with new players I suppose 0 – 0 was an acceptable result.

Only 5 of us made it back to the Pier Bar for a few beers and spend 5 minutes going over the details of the game before discussing many other varied topics, a number of which can’t be mentioned.

Man of the Match: The two Matt’s in midfield (H and O) work hard as did Matt Z. however, clear winner in my eyes was Syd when moved to the holding midfield to settle the side.

Dick of the Day: (considered by David Rollinson)  Shortage of contenders for this accolade on this game day mainly due to the 0-0 score. Tom Halder could be in with a shout, for doubting David Rollinson’s pace. David Rollinson for the number of sprawling missed tackles in the first half. The winner however is Scotty Holmes, for running away like a little girl when confronted by a wasp during the warm up.