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Gritty Ealing A2 edge past Collingham

11 Feb 2016

League match – 11th February 2016

Ealing Independent College A2 2-0 Collingham College

Team: Azim, Jamie G, Mohamed (Malcolm), Jamie C, Jamie R (Yuri), Hamza, Hamze, Evan

Goal scorers: Hamze, Jamie R

Title-winning sides of the past have enjoyed a hallmark of winning ugly and the Ealing A2 side are really beginning to take this mantle on effectively. This was not a great performance by any means, but when chances came up, they were taken. On the flipside, time and again, the whites proved resolute and resilient in defence, whether it was through the tough tackling and positional sense of Malcolm and the Jamies, C and G, or an excellent performance between the posts from Azim, who picked up his third clean sheet of the season thanks to a string of excellent saves.

A tight, tense start to the game brought few chances, only repeated foul throws which were a constant frustration for both sides. The referee was quite right in pulling each of these up, but when Jamie G was the only player on the Ealing team guaranteed not to be picked up for an illegal throw-in, you know that the game was not the most exciting this season. The ebb and flow of what seemed like a constant midfield battle was only ended after a neat piece of skill and power by Jamie R enabled him to pick out Hamze in some space. Predictably the lethal A2 playmaker buried a low drive past the despairing Collingham stopper. The whites were fortunate to have the lead, but knew that with their strong defence to rely on, even with the long serving Mohamed’s injury, they would be difficult to shake from it.

The second half saw a slight change in shape, with Hamza dropping a touch deeper to give more control. A sluggish restart allowed Collingham a few chances, with a goal being ruled out for infringement within the box, the tall striker in blue wrongly thinking it was okay to retrieve the ball in the box, take it out and then score. Just when the A2 side seemed to be creaking, Azim was there to save them. He made at least three key saves, one in particular keeping the blues out, to the striker’s disbelief.

Jamie G, who was having another fine game, dispatched a long ball towards Hamze, and his mercurial first touch baffled the Collingham defender on the right. He squared the ball for Jamie R to finish emphatically, increasing the whites’ advantage. As seems to always follow the whites around, there was a controversial flashpoint when Hamza was cut down by a poor challenge. After much posturing, a grab around the neck and the referee sending a Collingham man off for a period to calm down, Ealing played the rest of the game with their heads, closing as comfortable two goal winners. It could have been very different, but this team are extremely proficient at getting the job done.

They go on now to the second Ealing derby of the season, knowing that a win here would put them in an excellent position to go on and win the title for the first time in their brief history.

Man of the Match: Azim

Though the score line may suggest that the A2 team won this with something to spare, without some excellent saves from their ‘keeper, the end result may well have been very different.

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