Reserves unite to beat league leaders away

Sporting Hackney Reserves 1  – 2 Kensington Dragons Reserves

Link below for Kensington and Chelsea Chroncile courtesy of Paul Warburton.

KDFC Reserves v Sporting Hackney 18-01-14

It was clear straight away even before kick-off that Dragons would be playing one of the most difficult games of their season away in Hackney. With the grass pitch called off due to heavy rain the game was rescheduled last minute to a nearby 3G astro pitch. Hackney sat at the division summit 3 points ahead of the visiting Dragons. The coach Marcin had opted to bring a 15 strong squad with club captain Luke O’Donoghue included for his first game in 5 weeks coming back from injury adding experience to the youthful academy graduates of Hassan Osman, Andrew Scheck, Will Conway, Ali Soussi and Justas Krisciunas.

The team started as they are used to with 1-4-2-3-1 formation which provided a lot of options in the middle area of the pitch but left the wings open. Dragons started slowly and let Hackney create shooting chances. It was nothing dangerous but it made the team sure they had to all show their best performance. In the 5th minute of the game RB Hassan Osman made a fantastic individual run, passed 3 opponents and hit towards the goal. The ball hit crossbar then post and came out into the box. Although the team looked strong, they were not always sure how to deal with a physically strong hackney attacking game in the most effective way.

The 1st goal for Dragons came at the best possible time. Both teams tried to score and created ‘small chances’. After one of these plays, Dragons won a free-kick in the attacking third. Captain Adam Finch stoked a beautiful pass over the hackney fullback and the ball landed in front of the onrushing CM Luke O’Donoughe who stayed calm to bring the ball down with his left and finish with his right and beat the keeper, placing the ball in the bottom corner of the goal. This score made Dragons calm and put our opponents under big pressure. Just before half time the boys put themselves in big trouble and gave keeper Ryan Moore a chance to show all his skill. Fantastic throughout the game, Moore made two point blank saves for Dragons in two incredibly bad situations. His saves maintained the clean sheet in the first half and helped build up the team’s confidence.

At half time Matt Finch replaced the injured Ali Soussi. Also a short tactical analysis of the game from the coach made the team sure about what was expected from them. The players were sure they would have to be as strong and united as they have all season.  After the restart Hackney tried to score a quick goal. They put a lot of pressure on every player with the ball and it was clear that they would create situations particularly at set pieces but Dragons’ goal remained un-breached. Tough tackling Hassan, the smallest player on the pitch had to remember about an early yellow card on his account. It was an absolute pleasure to watch Dragons second half as they played like a real team!

Hackney were pressing hard for the equaliser. A 25 yard thunderbolt from the right back brought another top save from Moore, tipping the ball onto the bar but it needed CB Will Conway to make a last ditch clearance to deny the Hackney striker an easy tap in. Hackney hit the bar again moments later and missed an open goal with the midfielder putting over from 2 yards. It was under pressure, that Dragons broke to extend their lead. A cleared ball found its way to the excellent lone striker Jamanhi Henry who secured the ball, laid it back to O’Donoghue who lifted a ball in behind for the winger Andrew Scheck. Scheck crossed from the left to reach Osman who had made an underlap the length of the field to get the ball and beat Hackneys goalkeeper. 0-2 and Dragons thought that the game was over. Unfortunately it was not a reality as Hackney scored straight away after the restart. Their winger crossed the ball across the goal which hit the crossbar and landed two yards in front of the empty goal for an easy tap in.

Unfortunately the physical battle was starting to take its toll. Adam Finch and Will Conway had to be replaced by Justas Krisciunas and Mohammed Al Faisal because of injury. This pushed O’Donoghue back to partner John Hammond at centre back and the last 10 minutes Dragons were focused on defence and winding down the clock. The team worked very hard. Opponents created 3 clear situations but Moore was unbeatable this game! His performance was absolutely amazing! When 4 added minutes passed and the ref made the final whistle the score on the board still was 1-2.

It was a fantastic performance by the group. Players showed brilliant performance and commitment. They were a unit, they were a team, they were Dragons!!

A nice moment for the Dragons family with a special bond between the two goal scorers. O’Donoghue who scored the first has been at the club for 8 years and began coaching the U13s when Hassan Osman was a 12 year old central midfielder. Hassan scoring the second goal with former youth player and coach now in the same team. Strong individual performances from debutant Jonathan Kasongo and Andrew Scheck but man of the match went to the keeper Ryan Moore for a near perfect display. The win puts Dragons joint top with Hackney but also with 2 games in hand.