On the first day of the season we were on the losing end of a convincing 2-1 defeat to today’s opposition but hoping for a different outcome today.
The game started off well with a great through ball by Amirali to Irfaan who should have done better as his shot from the edge of the box went just over the crossbar. Moments later, we conceded a corner. This was converted by the opposition’s midfielder who towered over our defence to put them 1-0 up.
Their high press proved difficult to deal with when, midway through the first half, a concession of possession allowed them to take a shot on our goal. Although brilliantly saved initially by MZ, no one was there to clear the second ball and they doubled their lead on the follow up.
It took some time to find our rhythm. A few neat passes on the right side of the pitch almost led to a ball to our striker in front of goal but this was easily collected by their goalkeeper. We were perhaps fortunate to go into half-time only 2-0 down when a wonderful cross from their left winger was volleyed just over MZ’s goal from a couple yards out. Going into half-time with two goals down always increases the challenge heading into the second half.
However, the second half was a much changed performance (as usual). Stronger tackles were put in and the defence was more confident to step up the pitch. Early on in the second half, Stanmore’s breakthrough finally came. A well-timed through ball from Murtaza fed Yaseen brilliantly who clipped the ball over the keeper with composure to half the opposition’s lead. A tense last ten minutes were played when chances to score came at both ends of the pitch as well as a questionable offside call on Mo Karim, who was through on goal, was taken by the linesman. The game concluded with the opposition claiming all three points.
Although an improved second half performance was clearly visible, the slow start ultimately proved the downfall of the Stanmore side. A more intense and lively showing from the get-go is needed from now on in order to get results and climb up the table. On a positive note, despite a repeat of the first result, Stanmore stood their ground and gave the opposition a very hard time. There is still much more to come from this Stanmore team and the small developments will hopefully accumulate over the season to shape this team into an extremely tough opponent.
Match report by Irfaan Kanji