DBFC 3 : 1 Spartans.

Squad: Travis, David, Phil, Josh, Kieran McK, Rainer, Warren, Yoon, Scott H, Matt, Gazza.

Venue: Shing Mun Valley Sports Ground, Tsuen Wan.  When: Tuesday 19 April 2016 kick-off 9pm.

This has been a long season. Another week, another struggle to get a team together. Moaning aside – by Tuesday afternoon we somehow got 11 players committed to play, which included Gazza, and 2 outside possibilities in Rafa and Yoon. Rafa didn’t make it but Yoon did, literally as the referee was about to blow his whistle.

We turned up at Shing Mun Valley Sports Ground 30 minutes before kick-off to see Spartans were already kitted and ready to go, warming up and nice and organized, obviously looking for revenge to the 5-0 drubbing we give them last month. It was also apparent that they had their full squad and what is proving to be a prized commodity these days for DBFC, “substitutes”. The venue was a typical Hong Kong sports ground with running track around a football pitch and it proved to be quite a nice grass pitch. Also it was only 20 mins from DB for the boys in the cabs and only a 10 minute walk from Tai Wo Hau MTR station (Tsuen Wan Line).

The team to start for DBFC was Travis in goal, Kieran McKnight at left back, David and Phil in the centre and Josh at right back. In the midfield we had Warren and Rainer at centre with Yoon and Reto on the right and left wings, respectively. Matt Z and Scott Holmes were to play up front. Gazza was the one and only substitute, to be used if absolutely and unavoidably necessary.

DBFC started pretty well. We kept the ball well and were quite compact in defence. That being said, the Spartans two centre forwards were the best we have come across in a long time and their interplay was proving quite difficult to deal with, but as usual Travis’s good communication (bellowing voice) kept us alert.

DBFC were getting a lot of joy down the left, with Yoon getting a lot of the ball but not managing to complete his passes. Our first goal came down the left when the solid Kieran put the ball into Zol’s feet and he was able to turn and shoot from the edge of the box. The ball took a wicked deflection off Yoon, wrong footing the Spartans’ goalkeeper and hitting the back of the net. 1-0 DBFC and another goal towards Zol’s second successive golden boot. He is now three ahead with a game to go for both DBFC and the top scorer for FWD.

Spartans quickly equalized. Set pieces are their strength and we fell victim to it. A good out-swinging Spartans’ corner was played in and Travis called for it but unfortunately the ball was out with his grasp. The shout resulted in the DBFC defence not jumping and allowed the Spartans CF to rise unchallenged to firmly head the ball into the top corner. This was a disappointing goal to give away but to be fair to Travis, the DBFC players should have jumped and not just assumed he would catch it.

The remainder of the first half remained a cagey affair, with few chances for either side, then suddenly DBFC go 2-1 up. A nice pass from Reto put Scotty Holmes in the box, who was tackled strongly. From the tackle the ball ricocheted off another Spartans defender on the edge of the box, beating the Spartans keeper and going in the bottom corner. An own goal and DBFC 2-1 up at half-time.

The half-time team talk focused on the positives – to keep the work rate and tempo high, be strong against the tough Spartans type of football, encourage each other as the tiredness sets in and try not to ask for substitution. Gazza reminded the team that Spartans would come out pushing for the equalizer and looking for free kicks and corners for the high ball into the box. DBFC had to make sure we mark and challenge on Spartans set pieces. Gazza also asked Scott H to drop behind Matt in a forward centre midfield role (5 across the middle) to help warren and Rainer tighten the play.

To sum up the second half, it was pretty much all Spartans. With the bare 11, DBFC were tiring and constantly unable to clear our lines. Despite this, Spartans had no clear cut chances and looked to capitalize on many corners DBFC conceded. However, the defence were switched on and jumped and challenge strongly against the big Spartan lads and Travis was fantastic in coming to catch or punch the ball clear. DBFC were very rarely able to get the ball up front to Zoeller to hold up the play. Scotty Holmes was forced to drop deeper and deeper as the half wore on to help out the midfield, leaving Zol even more isolated.

However we dug deep and out of nowhere Scotty got the ball about 25 yards out and rifled it into the top corner – great goal! DBFC were able to hold on with increasing ease as the half wore on and Spartans ran out of ideas.

A great win and a great 3 points.

A late night finish meant everyone shot straight back home, apart from Warren, Josh, Kieran, Rainer, David and Gaz who managed a cheeky pint at the Bounty sports bar in DB J

 

MOM – All.

DOD – None this time! Thanks for all turning up.

Reported by David