Brentham Reserves 2-v 3 Kensington Dragons Reserves
The most difficult games on the pitch always seem to be the easiest before the kick-off. Saturday’s Dragons Reserves game was one of these. Brentham haven’t won any games this season so on paper this looked like a routine 3 points! The Dragons were boosted by the inclusion of 4 first teamers who needed game time after suffering long term injuries. Unfortunately the mind-set of the Dragons was that of the opponent’s league position as opposed to the opponents themselves and as a result a very uncomfortable afternoon was in store which forced the team to work hard to get the 3 points.
Dragons started with a little bit of an experimental squad, 4 players from the first team squad and a 1-3-5-2 formation should have given the team a great balance between attacking and defending and confident, up the front as well as at the back. The team started very slowly and could not work out or counteract the opponent’s game plan. A lot of individual mistakes and impatience with the ball made the game more difficult. Dragons midfielders couldn’t win or dominate in the middle of the park which meant the strikers had been cut off from good passes. In a rare unexpected moment, the team captain, Adam Finch, made a great pass through the defence line into space where Elhabib Oumar could use his pace. He stayed calm in 1 v 1 with the goalie and beat him with a great passing-shot. That was the one good opportunity in the first half for Dragons and the team took it.
15 minutes for a half time interval is always not enough for the team to understand how they can improve their game. Dragons came back on the pitch and a few minutes later two individual mistakes in front of their own penalty box resulted in 2 goals for Brentham to put the team in trouble. The expectation of 3 points put massive pressure on the team and it started to show. . Dragons tried to up their game but it wasn’t very easy, especially with the referee who seemed at times unable to control both sets of players’ emotions. The team did however increase the tempo, and changed their formation to a 1-4-3-3 and started to gain control. When everyone was looking for more intricate team play, Elhabib took a ball almost on the half way line, passed 3 opponents and finished his individual run 2-2 with 3 minutes left. Dragons knew that they had enough time to score again. With time almost up and with Dragons in possession, a cross field pass found Ali Soussi on the edge of the box. He controlled the ball took an extra touch and hit a fantastic volleyed shot, just in the top right corner of the goal with the home keeper stationary. A brilliant goal to win any game certainly won this one. This was one of the most difficult games the Dragons have had this season but they showed good determination willingness to win and a never say die spirit which spoke volumes of the team. This was most definitely a case of playing to the final whistle! There is also a lot of work in front of the team but another 3 points and building that momentum is the most important thing at this stage of the season.