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Ealing held to draw in tough Albemarle test

31 Jan 2018

Friendly match – 30 January 2018

Ealing Independent College 1-1 Albemarle College

Team: Abdullah; Danial, James, Jack; Josh, Luc; Chifum, Brent

Goal: Brent

Coming off the back of two straight wins, a buoyant Ealing side approached their reacquaintance with old foes Albemarle last night with confidence. The whites had enjoyed an impressive record against their opponents previous to the match with six wins and a draw in their seven meetings so far. Games between the sides, however, have always been tight and this encounter went exactly the same way.

A feisty start saw very high tempo play, with both sides keen to get on the front foot. Chifum skied an early chance, before snatching at another, with the ball going narrowly wide. Meanwhile, the dangerous looking Albemarle number 12 was evading his marker Danial with ease. The Ealing central defender was struggling to keep tabs on the blues’ frontman, and employed a strange and particularly risky marking tactic of standing in front of him. Albemarle’s strong central midfielder, wearing a Chelsea shirt, had been shackled by Luc, but the men in white could not do the same with the front man in blue.

It was a matter of time before Albemarle fashioned a chance. Ealing didn’t heed the warning when they hit the post, nor when Abdullah was called into action during a period of sustained pressure. Finally, just before an extremely long half of football ended, number 12 took his chance, slotting low and to the left of the Ealing stopper.

Coach Cairns called on the side to focus on tighter marking, while looking to get Jack in to the game more down the left. Brent dropped back into midfield to get on the ball more, and started to have an effect immediately. Chifum drilled a shot narrowly wide, and Josh’s probing runs started to make some openings. One of his movements created enough space following Danial’s pass to Brent. The striker turned midfielder drove forward and struck an accurate drive into the bottom left corner, with Albemarle’s ‘keeper left with no chance.

Ealing were visibly lifted and started to look the more dangerous. The odd scare at the back however was never far away. An Albemarle free kick went close, before James misjudged a header to bring on a close shave for Abdullah in goal. When they did break, they did so with purpose however. Chifum found an opening, and it looked like he would steal the win for the whites but his shot went over. Jack then found himself a few yards out with his back to goal. His intricate flick beat the goalie but trickled agonisingly wide.

When the referee blew for full time, cordial handshakes were shared, and both sides walked away with a share of the spoils. The draw was a fair result.

Man of the match – James - Despite Brent’s tireless and selfless display, and some excellent destructive work by Luc, James was sure in the tackle, marked tightly and battled with conviction.

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