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Battling performance goes unrewarded but reasons for optimism emerge

19 Sep 2018

League match – 18th September 2018

Ealing Independent College 0-2 DLD College*

*Match awarded to DLD 3-0 due to late appearance by Ealing

Team: Abdullah; James, Jay, Edward (Sabaoon); Dominic, Abubakar; Lewis, Ronaldo

The new league season kicked off last night at Westway, with the week-long pre-season training schedule making the formation of an almost brand new team extremely difficult. Goalkeeper Abdullah and defensive lynchpin James resumed their duties at the back, but midfielder Brent’s serious injury meant that they were the only two survivors from the last season’s side. They were not the only new additions. Josh Vale took over in the dugout, with Allan Cairns relinquishing his management of the side. Vale had to form a completely new side in a very short period of time, and on last night’s evidence, despite being stranded by the absence of a mini-bus, was able to form a resilient outfit who will carry a considerable threat this season.

Due to the no-show of the aforementioned mini-bus, the game did not kick off until 6.25pm. The referee presided over two 17-minute halves, and Ealing started quite brightly. Exciting new acquisition Ronaldo had the DLD side worried from the off. His incredible close control and turn of pace fashioned a half chance which he drilled wide. It didn’t take long for last year’s winter champions to get a foothold though, and their superior athleticism, passing and movement had the men in white camped in their own half. Abdullah made some good stops, while a series of balls were played across the goalmouth but not taken advantage of. Debutants Jay and Edward were helping James to keep their opponents out, perhaps as much through luck as their defensive prowess. It was only a matter of time before DLD took a chance, and a swift passing move presented their number 8 with enough space to pick his spot, hard and low to the left of Abdullah.

This prompted Ealing, or rather Ronaldo, into some action. Again the diminutive striker got the ball and weaved his way past challenge after challenge. The bewildered defence could not stop him, and it took a good spread by the DLD ‘keeper to maintain their lead. He had one other chance in the half, again gliding past some bamboozled defenders before dragging his shot wide. An early worry for the new Ealing boss will be to find a way to support the young Antiguan, but there is time to work on this problem.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with DLD hogging possession and territory, while Ealing clung on. Sabaoon came on into central midfield to bolster the ranks there, while Abubakar was doing an excellent job of chasing down opponents. Lewis’ physical presence up front infrequently managed to get the side out of their own half, but largely it was down to Dominic, James and Jay to do the heavy lifting. What they did, they did well. Good tracking and honest challenges limited DLD to less chances in a curtailed second half. With seconds remaining, DLD got a free kick in a dangerous position, given for a foul on number 10. Abdullah, unsighted, could not keep out the resulting powerful drive through the wall.

Ealing kept fighting until the end, but couldn’t fashion any more chances, particularly as Ronaldo had to drop deeper and deeper to see any of the ball. The fledging side put in a good shift in this game however, and this is not a bad base to build from for future challenges.

Man of the match – Dominic. In a game where Ealing were mainly on the back foot, Dominic showed grit and determination throughout, halting some dangerous DLD attacks, whilst showing some superb leadership.

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