DBFC 3 – 6 FWD
Venue: Kowloon Tsai Park Pitch No. 1 —– Kick-off: 15:00 on 12 December 2015
Squad: Gianluca, Alessio, Ben, David, Morse, Syd, Warren, Pascal, Matt O, Scott H, Matt Z, Phil, Robbie, Tom and Sam.
Scorers: Robbie x 2 and Scott H.
The weeks of planning to get DBFC’s best players out for this title deciding match was rolling on a flat tyre. In fact getting 12 players definitely committed was proving difficult in the week building up to this match. Nevertheless, with a late new signing we had 13 players plus three” if necessary” players; Robbie, Jordon and Tom having FA league duties that evening. The squad was looking reasonably comfortable until DBFC’s plans were further rocked when last minute additions Jordon and Jordan (new signing) pulled out leaving a post- DBFC Xmas party of 15 to turn up at Kowloon Tsai Park.
Scotty Holmes was back from a month in Manilla and KL, Sam valiantly turned up despite being diagnosed with pneumonia, Syd was playing his first match for five weeks following a knee injury and Robbie and Tom were to have minimum game time because of football commitments later. The starting line-up: Gianluca (keeper); Alessio RB; Ben & David CB; Morse LB; Syd, Warren & Pascal CM; Matt O LM;, Scotty H RM;, Matt Z CF. Subs: Phil, Robbie, Tom and Sam. A 451 formation.
The match kicked off and FWD, with their strongest side out, started as they meant to go on by pressing and winning a corner to create a shooting chance off a well worked corner routine. DBFC struggled to relieve the pressure as they were out-muscled and out-fought off their own goal kicks. Eventually the pressure told; a straight ball down the middle from the FWD midfield that their forward won, first to the ball, flicking it into space and as Ben came across to close he was beaten to the ball by FWD’s second striker (Everton) to shimmy the ball onto his left and rifle home at the near post to put FWD 1-0 up. FWD attacked again bombing down their right but they were halted as Alessio blocked off the run and was booked. A good ball into the channel saw Matt Z win DBFC’s first corner. The corner kick into the FWD box was cleared but picked up by Syd on the left and as he skipped inside the advancing FWD player he was tripped. The referee waved for advantage as the ball rolled to Ben who scuffed his attempted first time cross back into the box, packed with DBFC players, and see it easily headed clear. The referee should have stopped play at this point to call back the foul on Syd as DBFC had not gained advantage. In fact it was questionable whether there was initially an advantage. However, the referee allowed play to continue and the headed clearance was picked up on the edge of the FWD goal box by their centre forward (Everton) who rounded Pascal at full pace to initiate a clinical counter attack by FWD, racing into the DBFC box and laying the ball across the goal for a tap-in to put FWD 2-0 up. Another FWD short corner routine caused DBFC problems, Alessio making an important block as the danger was frantically cleared. Injured for his troubles, Alessio was replaced by Phil with Ben moving to RB. Immediately, Phil made a difference at the centre of the DBFC defence, coming out strongly to win a header and halt another FWD attack. DBFC looked to push to get into this game and a series of passes resulted in the ball coming out to Warren, 20 yards from the FWD goal, which he caught on the half volley. The shot was punched into the ground to take some pace off it as it went towards the FWD goal into their keeper’s hands. DBFC continued to push on and it was Warren again that did well down the right flank to put in a fantastic cross that Matt Z looked odds on to power into FWD’s net only to see his headed effort go marginally over the bar. DBFC decided it was time for a tactical substitution with Tom and Robbie coming on for Scotty and Warren and moving to a 4411 formation. Immediately, DBFC won the first ball from an FWD goal kick and after good play by Halder and Morse down the left, Robbie was released to cross the ball in front of the FWD goal for incoming Matt Z, who just couldn’t control a difficult first touch and watched the ball go wide for a goal kick. FWD continued to look very dangerous on the counter attack with their two forwards, especially their CF (Everton). He received the ball in the middle of midfield and turned Pascal before driving through the midfield, only to be stopped by David hacking him down and taking the booking. Just over 20 yards out Everton bent the ball over the DBFC wall and into the net just inside the post, with Gianluca’s full stretch dive nowhere near, to give FWD a 3-0 lead. Although DBFC were deflated they were not playing too badly, but had been outdone by the quality of the FWD strikers, particularly the boy Everton that was undoing the DBFC defence far too often. DBFC were passing the ball around with purpose now and a jinking run by Halder dragged a few defenders out of position, he passed it inside to Syd who saw Robbie’s forward run and released him through on goal but his right foot effort cannoned back off the inside of the post. Minutes later an almost identical scenario, after winning the ball back in midfield DBFC started another attack on the FWD goal and this saw Halder feeding Robbie with a through pass for him to stroke the ball home and give DBFC a glimmer of hope at 3-1 down. This was the score at half-time.
Half-time team talk centred on the fact that we had given ourselves a life-line in a game we were well second best in. We were now playing football and creating chances against their average defence. However, defensively we needed to be stronger in the tackle and communicate effectively to stop the two very good FWD forwards.
The second half kicked off and within minutes DBFC had a glorious chance as Matt O drove down the left hand side and fired in a low cross for Tom Halder to fake an air shot in the centre of FWD goal and see the ball run through to Robbie at the back post. Unfortunately, with the goal at his mercy, Robbie’s strike caught his standing foot to affect the direction and speed and allow the FWD keeper to palm the ball wide. The game was now end to end as DBFC threw caution to the wind determined to get goals back. FWD won a corner from which again they looked threatening as the incoming ball was not dealt with by DBFC and it bounced around the box, eventually finding their striker beyond the back post and he casually chipped Gianluca and the covering goal line defender to put FWD 4-1 up. This was another knock for DBFC as they looked as if they were battling their way back. However, to make things worse, soon after another cheap free-kick was given away at the edge of the DBFC box and again the FWD CF (Everton) done the damage. Despite the time taken to line up the wall and get set for this free kick the FWD CF repeated the trick he managed in the first half, lifting the ball up and over the DBFC wall to just under the bar and just inside the post to put FWD 5-1 up. A few DBFC heads were down but soon recognised a need to fight for pride and not give in. DBFC stormed forward, winning a succession of free-kicks that Matt O disappointingly delivered into the FWD keeper’s hands. A deeper free kick by Alessio was flicked on by Robbie to release Scotty H who expertly controlled and fired home with his left peg and give DBFC some faint hope at 5-2 down. DBFC immediately pressed again and Robbie won the ball in the middle of the park and laid it to Matt Z who spread the play wide to Matt O on the left. Matt O surged towards the FWD by-line and crossed to the near post to Matt Z who turned and crossed to an incoming Robbie at the back post to sweep the ball home and make it 5-3. FWD were now looking concerned and their attempt to get back the upper hand was foiled by Phil putting in a big and vital block at the edge of the DBFC box. Syd kept possession well as he collected the ball in midfield and laid it off to Robbie on the left who made a first time pass by curling the ball over the top of the FWD CB through to Matt Z for a run straight at the FWD goal. Normally a situation you would bet your life savings on for Matt Z to score but in this case he pushed his one on one shot wide of the advancing FWD keeper and unfortunately wide of the post. With DBFC committing men forward, FWD were dangerous on the counter and their forward was released down the left channel, he cut in and his effort was well saved by Gianluca getting down low to his left. A good ball over the top by Syd/Pascal found Scotty H but he couldn’t bring it down well enough and his effort went wide. FWD broke again and this time down the right side of the box an effort by Everton whistled wide of the post. As DBFC pushed for another goal, Sam’s scuffed cross from the wing was cut out by the FWD defender who immediately played it long to Everton to ran through on to the DBFC goal, despite the valiant efforts by Morse to stop him, and calmly dribble round the DBFC defender and keeper to tap home and make it 6-3 with only a couple of minutes left to full time. DBFC were really outdone in this game by the FWD player called Everton.
In true spirit the DBFC team put their bad day quickly behind them and shared beers and stories at the Pier Bar before players went their separate ways for a Saturday night out. Thanks were expressed for the dynamic duo (Robbie and Tom) that missed the Pier Bar as they rushed to another football game.
Man of the Match – FWD’s two forwards out-paced and out-muscled the DBFC defence on numerous occasions. These were two very good players (especially the boy Everton) and it is no criticism that DBFC were troubled by the two’s performance. However, it is worth mentioning that when Phil came off the bench he competed very well, adding a determination and strength to the back line that we had been lacking before his introduction at 2-0. Morse too kept going and stuck to his man and the two forwards when they ventured out his way. Gianluca made two fantastic saves but could not do much about the goals. Warren had a very good spell before his tactical substitution and was perhaps the wrong player to be removed at the time. Scotty Holmes competed well and took his goal well. However, man of the match goes to Phil for adding some bite and communication to the side at a period in the game when it was much needed.
Dick of the Day – FWD player number 82/28 was identified early on as a contender for screaming to the referee in the first minute for a yellow card to be issued (DBFC players being calmed by Robbie’s declaration from the side-line “Guys we have now established that no. 82 is a ****”). DBFC’s Jordon and Jordan (new signing) are also contenders for their very late pull-out. However, it is Matt Z that takes the cake this week for turning up as a pimp/court-jester for post-match beers at the Pier Bar.
Report by Robbie / Gaz