Venue: Happy Valley Pitch 4 —– 20 February 2016 3:00 pm KO

Squad: Gianluca, Ben, Matt R, David, Morse, Sam, Pascal, Kieran D, Cristian, Warren, Yoon, Scott H and Gazza.

Scorer: Kieran Donnelly x 2

Another difficult week getting a squad together, but in the end, with late confirmations from Warren and Kieran D, DBFC was looking in good shape.

We all arrived at Happy Valley in good spirits, enjoying the good sunny weather, which was a change from the more recent foggy grey cold days.  Kieran D was handed responsibility for the team as Captain for the day and proceeded getting the guys together for a mental and physical 10 minute warm up. Gaz named the line-up, which was easy because Yoon hadn’t turned up, leaving a 4 – 4 -2 formation of : Gianluca in goal, Cristian RB, David and Matt R at CB, Morse LB. Kieran D and Warren CM with Sam LM and Ben RM. Scotty was up top with Pascal sitting in behind him. Yoon arrived just as we kicked-off so got changed as our only planned substitute.

Krauts kicked off the first half, and it became immediately obvious what the game plan was – they passed it back and hit it long, over and over again. In normal circumstances this would be of little concern, but the Happy Valley pitch is ridiculously small – and most long balls were landing in the box with ease. The bizarre nature of the Krauts one dimensional play took a bit of getting used to and they were having some joy down our right hand side. However, a quick reshuffle put Ben at RB and we started to take control of the game. Kieran D, Pascal and Warren were doing well to win the ball in midfield and get the wide guys (Sam and Ben) and Scotty in to play. On a few occasions the ball broke kindly to Sam who was unable to finish. After a while the DBFC pressure began to tell and we won a succession of corners. From one of these the ball broke kindly to Kieran D, who slotted the ball calmly into the bottom right corner of the Krauts’ goal. DBFC, at 1 – 0, were in control of the game but this didn’t stop Krauts from being a slight threat on the break and on one occasion another long ball was missed and the Krauts forward got around Ben to run at the DBFC goal, one on one with Gianluca to pull off a top class save. This was a warning sign to the DBFC defence not to push too high on this short pitch and keep focused and not complacent. DBFC settled and were soon 2-0 up with another goal coming from a corner where, once again, the ball broke to Kieran who slammed a header towards the bottom right corner of the Krauts’ goal that squirted under the diving Krauts keeper and into the net. Soon after this the referee whistled for half-time.

The half time team talk focused on keeping positive and not allowing Krauts to play the long ball over the top of us. Gianluca highlighted a bad knock to his ankle that was causing problems so we had to identify a possible replacement and Cristian was the only one to put up his hand. Therefore it was Cristian that came off; to be replaced by an extremely hungover Yoon to go RM. Gianluca went back on at keeper to see if he would last.

The second half started with DBFC completely on top of the game and pressing forward at will, creating chance after chance. All that Krauts could offer in reply was the hopeful long balls up front that the DBFC defence coped with easily. After 10 minutes Gianluca signaled he couldn’t continue and as planned Cristian re-entered the game to take over goal keeper duties. DBFC were having success down the wings with Yoon, Sam and Scotty finding space to run at the krauts defence. DBFC were not finding the 3rd goal to put the game to bed and this was made more difficult by a Krauts keeper that had found form in the second half, getting his angles / position right and pulling off some good saves. Yoon had 3 good chances to score but did not have the luck (maybe his hangover played a part) : From a corner, when the ball broke free in the box, he smashed it wide from 8 yards; from a cross he got a good header towards the top left of the Krauts goal only to see a great diving one hand save by the Krauts keeper; and he was put through for a one on one with the Krauts keeper but shot straight into his hands (with 3 DBFC players screaming for a pass inside). Scotty was also close on a couple of occasions; one when he came across to the DBFC left wing and take the ball in his stride as he rounded the Krauts defender to get a shot away from a narrow angle that was just wide into the side netting and a looping header that went wide of the far post. All these missed chances, which should have had DBFC 4 or 5 goals ahead, were to come back at DBFC in the closing 15 minutes. Krauts started to get a bit more of the ball in midfield, as the forays forward by the DBFC midfield had sapped their energy and the space between attack and defence opened. Krauts were pumping the ball high into the DBFC defence and with the sun dropping low in the sky it was difficult to see it. DBFC reverted to some desperate defending and a little bit of unsureness crept into the DBFC ranks and Krauts capitalised. However, Krauts didn’t seem to have the skill to punish DBFC and even some speculative efforts on the DBFC goal were well handled by Cristian. Krauts got a corner with 10 minutes to go and this was miss-hit, but because the distance from the corner to the goal post is 19 yards the ball zipped in low and hard, evading the DBFC player that had left the front post, straight at Cristian who ended up palming it into his own net as he attempted to catch it. This was a soft goal that gave the dead and buried Krauts a glimmer of hope. However, DBFC were able to see out the game without any further issues, but really should have been very comfortable winners with four of five goals. Also to mention that Tom Halder hobbled with his broken foot down to the Happy Valley pitch to cheer on the team and Gazza (who had to get ready at half time as the only substitute once Gianluca came off) came on for a 10 minute cameo at the end.

MOM – Kieran D: An excellent Captain’s performance. Involved throughout in all areas of the pitch and controlled the game, with two good goals.

DOD – Ben Roberts for taking a throw in from the 18 yard line as opposed to the side line (less than one yard separates them). The ref or the Krauts didn’t notice, but all his team mates did — to record their first ever for such a thing. There is only Ben that would do this and not notice himself — priceless.

Report by David / edited by Gazza