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Ealing powerless to halt rampant DLD

09 Feb 2015

Though the scoreline may say otherwise, Ealing can reflect on a good performance against the unstoppable league leaders where they held their own against their opponents for long periods but were severely punished for a lack a cutting edge in the attacking third. With Kai Siu unavailable for the game, Ealing boss Allan Cairns gambled by giving the mercurial `Hasan Al-Mafrachi his debut on the left side of the midfield diamond. Bik returned to play the anchor role after missing last week’s six goal demolition of David Game College. Cairns stressed the importance of getting the first goal in the game and implored his side to work themselves into the ground to get it. Last week’s sluggish start simply could not be repeated.

The quality on show from the start was above any game seen so far this season. Tight passing play from both sides carved out only half chances as defences held firm. It was clear that both sides were in no mood to give ground following their last, tightly matched encounter. Al-Mafrachi impressed early on with his sublime close control and direct running, and some nice touches by Abdi and Al-Taie were making spaces for long shots but not creating clear openings. Davies, whenever the ball came near him, was retaining possession well, and bringing his teammates into the game. Yagoub and Gadoura looked in control, and Bik was stamping his authority on the game with some great blocks and timely challenges. He was unfairly penalised for one challenge in particular where the ref deemed him to have gone to ground.

It was going to take something special to break the deadlock, and the DLD number 7, who had played so well in their last meeting, again rose to the occasion to get his side in front. A free kick in a central position was despatched with tremendous power into the top left corner of the net. Raja could do little but grasp at air in the ball’s wake. Following another harsh call by the referee, Bik again was adjudged to have fowled a DLD player, getting a booking in the process, and again the DLD skipper punished Ealing with a well struck shot, this time low to Raja’s left. Cairns roared at his side not to let their heads drop. After what was undoubtedly their best first half performance of the season so far, they found themselves two down.

Knowing that they could now let the whites come on to them, DLD played the second half more on the counter, and though Ealing huffed and puffed, a slaloming run by Al-Mafrachi, later booked for retaliating to a strong challenge, leading only to a tame finish. It summed up their night. DLD were coping without too much trouble. Ealing’s exertions in trying to get a way back into the game were starting to show and DLD picked them off with three quick goals towards the end. In fairness, the brilliance of Raja in the Ealing goal made sure that the margin between the teams was not wider. The Ealing side can now be assured that they have faced their nemesis DLD for the last time this season. Albemarle is up next, and if they are serious about getting second place in the league, they must bounce back with a win.

Man of the Match:

1) Raja – some superb saves. 2) Yagoub – strong and decisive in the tackle. 3) Bik – lead well.

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