Old Lyonians vs. Bank of England AFC 1’s
Saturday 11th April 2015
The first of the 1’s final four fixtures before the season draws to a close, Old Lyonians away. With second place and promotion still a realistic possibility, the team were reminded of the importance of this game. Old Lyonians were equally motivated with a relegation battle on their hands.
All of the squad arrived at the ground in good time, which was an achievement in itself with awkward tube line closures prompting some creative travel arrangements. As a result of the early arrival the Bankmen enjoyed an extended warm-up in the sunny but windy conditions.
A solid start to the game with a goal for the Bank of England within the first few minutes. A free kick was won 40 yards from the opposition’s goal, delivered accurately by McDaid into the box onto E.Pisano’s head who cleverly flicked-on into the path of prolific striker Reyes who showed terrific strength to breeze past their centre back and roll the ball into the bottom right corner from 5 yards. 1-0 to the Bankmen.
The rest of the first half was dominated by the home side; mainly through long balls from the centre back, doing his best to take advantage of the wind. These were dealt with well by the Bank back four with very few clear cut chances being created. Perkin was called into action 20 minutes in, with a cross falling to the Lyonians forward who managed to hit the target with force from close distance only for Perkin to block and parry away. Other than a couple of slightly problematic back passes to the keeper from Parrott and McDaid the Bank of England looked good for their lead and were looking forward to having the wind advantage in the second half.
The second half started with a chance for the away side, Reyes through one on one shot at the top corner that was saved well by the Lyonians goalkeeper at his near post. However, the following half an hour was utilised far better by the home team with some wasteful passes by the Bankmen in the final third resulting in counter attacks that were causing our deep-lined back four problems. Lyonians finally got their breakthrough 60 minutes in with a strike on the edge of the area that looked destined to go wide before catching a bump in the ground that guided the ball into the bottom left corner. 1-1. They doubled their lead soon after. A good save from Perkin provided them with a corner that was delivered and finished from close range after being poorly cleared by the Bank defence. 2-1. This prompted a positive reaction from the away team, with a higher line being played and effective pressing from the midfield and forwards stopping the Lyonians side from playing out from the back, which they had been allowed to do all too often earlier on. A determined run down the left hand side from Parmiter came good when he cut inside the opposition’s penalty area only to be scythed down by a clumsy challenge, which gave the referee no option than to award a penalty. Reyes stepped up to take the kick that he coolly dispatched, sending the keeper the wrong way and picking out the bottom right corner. 2-2.
The final 10 minutes was all Bank of England. With relentless pressure we created several good chances. A sweet strike from Reyes just wide of the target. A corner found the head of Page who directed the cross towards goal only to have his shot blocked off the line unwittingly by T.Brown. And the Banks final chance came from a Parrott pass that ricocheted off the opposing defender and into the path of the onside Reyes who was left with just the keeper to beat, T.Brown offering support made a run and gave the option of a pass into the open net that Reyes decided to take up. Unfortunately the linesman deemed T.Brown’s position as offside and the winning goal was sadly chalked off.
Final Score 2-2
A point each was probably a fair result, the Bankmen have a good record on the road but the three points were not meant to be on this occasion. Next up EBOGs at home before the eagerly anticipated mid-week fixture against NUFC Oilers.
Wearside Rangers FC vs Bank of England FC
0-2 (Reyes, Millers)
High winds were the order of the day as 41mph gusts saw any fans struggling to make kick off.
The BOE fielded a much changed side, with the under pressure manager Pisano unable to select the same team from last week. With both centre-backs, Page and McDaid, missing due to a holiday to Venice booked by his missus and something probably Scottish, respectively.
In stepped Connolly and Hadri, with Coward brought back into the side in the unfamiliar right-back position and Millers afforded a rare start on the right of an intriguing 4-5-1 formation with Pisano Jr dropping into a deeper No. 10 role.
Bank won the toss with the canny captain for the day Cale (D) deciding to change ends to take full advantage of the windy conditions.
The Bank started well, immediately settling in to a passing rhythm, as they opted to try and play football on the ground in a bid to avoid the high winds.
Cale (D), Cale (A) and Pisano Jr working hard, harrying the Wearside midfield / defence and linking well to create some good opportunities for Reyes. The Bank defence also working hard, Hadri and Connolly combining to snuff out any Wearside chances and start any attacking moves with the in form Para-meter marauding down the left.
It was the stand in right-back Coward who almost created the first real opportunity with a raking diagonal ball from right back perfectly weighted over the Wearside defence for Reyes to latch onto. Fortunately it wasn’t much later before they got the breakthrough.
Reyes consistently dropped deep to win the ball as the opposition struggled to cope with his movement and strength. Again putting the Wearside rear-guard under pressure, he took down a perfectly weighted ball from the back, turned the defender to find himself through on goal with just the onrushing keeper to beat. His powerful shot was saved, only for the rebound to land neatly wrapped, like a Christmas present, at his feet. The Striker wasted no time in taking full advantage, as he rounded the keeper and calmly stroked the ball home from 5 yards.
And when it rains… it dribbles a little bit more, as the Bank followed up with another goal soon after. A well worked move down the left from Cales, Pisano Jr and Brown saw Reyes with the ball on the byline. Following a clever bit of footwork he was able to create just enough space to look up and pick out Millers arriving late to side foot home a volley past the rooted keeper from the edge of the 6 yard box.
The bank then worked hard to maintain their 2 goal advantage into half time.
The second half was always going to be a different affair, Wearside buoyed with what they considered an advantage of the wind. They started by pumping as many long balls up the pitch as possible. The rock solid defence stood strong as they weathered the attacks, and dealt with the awkwardly bouncing balls.
60 mins or so saw the introduction of Hewes as Millers left the field in what I can only imagine was to rest the player.
The second half then continued much how it started, long awkward balls that were bouncing all over the place. A Wearside free kick saw them hit the woodwork via the head of their striker in what was one of few opportunities, as both sides struggled to make any clear cut chances. The only other real highlight came from the Bank keeper Perkin. In a brief lapse of concentration, where he must have forgotten the rules, he dropped the ball in his own area before quickly scooping it back up. An indirect free kick was awarded which was promptly charged down by the Bank defence, as the opportunity went begging.
A clean sheet for Perkin as the bank stood tough, managing to see out their 2-0 advantage and take all 3 points and maintain 5th position with the gap to 2nd place Alexandra Park to just 5 points with a game in hand.
A genuine chance of promotion still drifts through the air with 4 games to play, Old Lyonians, EBOG’s, NUFC oilers and the home return with Wearside.