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Champions disjointed despite comfortable victory

21 Oct 2016

League match – 20th October 2016

Ealing Independent College 4-0 DLD College (B)

Team: Sultan; Gursavek (Thomas), Jamie; Lucas, Egli (Ibrahim), Zak (Kai), Hamza (Jake); Georges (Isaga)

Goals: Hamza 2, Georges (Pen), Kai

With familiar faces in the shape of title winners Malcolm and Hamze looking on last night whilst many players made their debuts, Ealing got the defence of their league title up and running with a comfortable win. A late start and some odd refereeing preparations failed to hold the whites back from a fast start. Told to be positive and look to get some shots in on the DLD (B) ‘keeper, Hamza duly obliged six minutes in with an unstoppable drive which caught the stopper out at his near post. There was a hope that this would settle down the home side, but they struggled to get passes hitting their targets, and the players didn’t quite seem to be on each other’s wavelengths.

Egli had been brought into the starting line-up for his positivity and aggression, and that manifested itself in two brilliant efforts which almost doubled the Ealing lead. An excellent curling shot from the angle produced a great save which Georges failed to turn in on the rebound, while a shot on the turn after some tremendous control flew inches wide. Georges himself missed a few openings, while Zak was too unselfish on one or two occasions. Where he could well have shot himself, he chose to try and feed in Georges without success. Out of nowhere, Hamza again strode out of midfield and drilled a low shot beyond the despairing dive of DLD B’s goalie to finally make it 2-0, a score which, in truth, flattered the whites.

Brutally honest at half time, Ealing boss Allan Cairns told his team that they were fortunate to be leading and needed to sharpen up. The pattern of the match carried on however, and Ealing struggled to impose themselves on the encounter. Georges managed to fashion himself a chance by pressuring the DLD defence to break clear, but couldn’t keep his shot down. DLD B started to assert themselves and gained the upper hand as the half wore on. They gifted the hosts a third though when their replacement ‘keeper inexplicably ran out of his box to clear an errant through ball. Georges made no mistake from the spot, placing the ball firmly in the bottom right hand corner. Despite the comfort of the scoreline, players were becoming frustrated. Cairns made changes to freshen things up, while calming the likes of Egli and Zak.

Strong performances by Jamie, Lucas and, despite the odd error, Gursavek at the back ensured that Sultan was largely untroubled in the Ealing goal. His handling was reliable but he still needs to work on his distribution. As the game moved towards its climax, some positive play by Isaga down the right meant that he was able to rob a DLD B defender deep in opposition territory before pulling back to Jake. He seemed bound to pull the trigger, but unselfishly squared to Kai who took a touch before calming slotting in at the near post to increase Ealing’s lead further. Ibrahim and Thomas also made contributions in the final few minutes.

An encouraging result for Ealing then but there’s a great deal of work to do to ensure that performance levels reach the necessary standards of aspiring champions.

Man of the match – Two superb long strikes lit up a drab first half for the whites. Hamza drove the team forward from midfield with excellent commitment.

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