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Ealing pegged back twice by determined DLD

18 Nov 2016

League match – 17 November 2016

Ealing Independent College 2-2 DLD (A)

Team: Danial; Zak, Jamie; Lucas, Egli, Kai, Hamza; Georges (Isaga)

Goals: Georges, Hamza

Last night’s top of the league clash lived up to expectations in a fiery encounter where both sides showed flashes of brilliance but couldn’t quite do enough to notch the victory they so vehemently fought for. Ealing, notorious for slow starts, heeded the advice of the coach this time by getting straight at their opponents. Superb work by Kai down the right got him past a defender. His square pass found Egli whose shot was deflected over by Georges. This warning of Ealing’s prowess was not heeded by the dark blues and two minutes later, Kai again skilfully drove post his marker before pulling back, this time to Georges, who made no mistake by drilling the ball clinically past the tall DLD goalkeeper.

Ealing grew in confidence after this, breaking dangerously when they had the chance. Kai again found an opening but couldn’t quite get his shot away, while Zak somehow managed to wriggle his way down the line past three challenges. He couldn’t quite find a telling cross however. Ealing could be happy with their start, but DLD regained composure and started to fine tune their passing game, through former Ealing student Danielle, to take territorial control. Any chances they made were half chances however, long shots which did not threaten Danial, or crosses which could not find their mark. As the half neared its end, the sustained period which DLD managed to camp in Ealing’s half finally reaped dividends. A dangerous pass out of defence by Zak was seized upon by the busy DLD midfielder who played an accurate pass into their striker. He took an excellent first touch before composing himself and beating Danial. The game struggled to really get going in the first half though, as the official took every opportunity to pause it for fouls, or, inexplicably, ensuring students took corners from the exact spot he wanted them to.

A tactical shift from Ealing manager Allan Cairns started to bring positive benefits straight away. Egli moved to the right and was regularly getting the better of the DLD left midfielder to get the whites back on the front foot. Unfortunately, the game continued to be stopped at regular intervals for niggly fouls, or the search for the perfect corner taking spot. It looked as though both sides were destined for a draw, and the end of their respective 100% records. A moment of brilliance changed that however. Hamza won a 50-50 challenge around half way before slaloming past two challenges. He shifted the ball to his right foot before guiding an unstoppable drive into the ‘keeper’s bottom left hand corner. Ealing fans on the sidelines erupted in jubilation as the ball buried itself in the back of the net. The side now just had to close out the final 10 minutes to ensure a victory that would put them in the driving seat to successfully defend their title.

DLD’s first equaliser stemmed from an Ealing mistake, and this was, annoyingly repeated in the closing stages to end Ealing’s winning sequence. DLD had again come back into the game, but struggled to make a clear opening, largely due to valiant defending by Jamie and Lucas. However, a goal kick clearance from Danial while both defenders were split across the pitch fell into no-mans-land, and was gobbled up by a DLD defender, whose intervention found it’s way to the DLD forward who had remained in position. He turned handily before firing strongly past Danial. The reserve ‘keeper had looked relatively untroubled while deputising for the suspended Sultan, but this error would cost his side the win. Ealing were clearly disappointed after the efforts they had put in, but had to lift themselves for the final 5 minutes or so. The final few minutes passed without incident though and both sides picked up the point which, arguably, they deserved. A share of the spoils, at the end, was a fair result.

Ealing now have four games before Christmas, with two next week. If they want to keep the trophy they won last year, one feels that they will have to come out of these games with 12 points.

Man of the match – Excellent, disciplined performances by Egli, Hamza and Jamie, but Lucas made some absolutely vital interventions during the match.

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