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Non Sibi Cunctus.
Match : 2nd XI v Harlequins 3rds
Date : 2002-09-28
Venue : H
Score : 0-4
By Stuart Campbell
Last Saturday saw the 2nds take on Harlequins, relegated from Junior 4 last year, this looked a tough one on paper.
Quins came to Ballysillan with an aging but very capable team who have obviously played quite a bit together.
On the other hand East had youth and enthusiasm and a team who although have played together, still need to develop a higher level of understanding.
The game began with Harlequins keeping possession in midfield, we think they were playing 4-4-2 and found this very difficult to counter.
Harlequins always seemed to have a free man avaialble in midfield and more often than not found him.
With five minutes on the clock Harlequins got their first short corner, ball to top of circle a shimmi from the striker and a ball to the bottom left corner giving Cookie and Gordon Gillespie no chance.
Ten minutes later and a carbon copy, same routine, same outcome. 2-0 down and being outplayed almost everywhere on the pitch.
We did have our chances in the first half, Nicholl, Johnston and Young were industrious but were lacking a bit of luck. This was illustrated when Aaron Young crafted a chance in the circle, dragging the ball away from the keeper, lifting the ball over him for a superb goal only to watch it be cleared by the last defender at shoulder height.
Harlequins continued to strive forward and were awarded another short corner. By now you would have thought we knew what to expect. Well the final part of the trilogy had a twist in the tail. Same ball to top of circle, same shimmi, same shot, but this time Gordon Gillespie stopped it on the post, only for the ball to roll onto his foot. Penalty stroke!! There could be no arguement. Although try telling that to the boys at the time.
The stroke was converted and Cookie went to give David Menaul (umpire) a piece of his mind. (note to Cookie. Keepers can be sent off as well. And I am not doing kicking back).
East finally began to play a bit with Phil Irwin coming on at right mid looking lively at every opportunity.
We were awarded a short and with Paul reid off Soupy opted to strike (greedy so &so). But this was not a bad decision as the goalbound shot was cleared of the line at the last minute.
Half time arrived and we needed inspiration.
The fact was we were not playing that badly. They were actually quite good and used the ball well.
Scott Hamilton made his 2nds debut at right wing and looked impressive at every opportunity. Definitely one for the future.
The second half was same story as the first Harlequins assaulting the East circle, with only breaks when the umpire was kind enough to show mercy. Soupys hitting,(playing sweeper) left a lot to be desired, as did the tackling, so midway through the second half Rambo went into sweep and Gordon Gillespie took the hit out. Jim Strange came on for the injured Mark McDonald.
Harlequins were awarded another stroke Midway through the second half, awarded for exactly the same as the first but this tiem Cookie was ready and made a brilliant save.
Harlequins did not add another goal until five minutes from the end. Another short corner a shot & save then the scramble for the ball, which Harlequins won and slotted the ball into the net. 4-0 and a bit dejected.
We still pushed forward and in one attack Soupy actually hit the post after a great run and cross from Paul Reid with good link up play from Nicholl.
All in all we should not be dishearted by this result. Harlequins beat Raphoe 5-0 last week and will be one of the contenders for promotion this season they are a good mature side who play well together.
On the day we had two cleared off the line, one hit the post and with a bit of luck could have got something out of this game. Harlequins did not score from open play, for all of their possession, credit to Cookie for this, but did take their short corners very well.
On the down side we talked far too much to the umpires and not enough to each other. On occassions when we did speak to each other they were not words of encouragement. This will not be tolerated in next weeks match and if it persists I am sure there will be major changes in the months ahead.
The seconds is built on committment, loyalty and willingness to work had for each other, I hope to see thses in abundance at Bangor next week where we are surely looking to open our league account.
MOM. Rambo. A battling performance in the middle of the park.