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Insipid Ealing struggle to goalless draw on Halloween fright night

01 Nov 2017

League match – 31st October 2017

Ealing Independent College 0-0 Ashbourne College

Team: Danial; James, Ibrahim; Abdul, Luc, Sultan H; Sultan A; Chifum

Following last week’s half-term break, Ealing were back in action against Ashbourne College at Westway last night, looking to improve upon the 0-0 stalemate which the two sides fought out in their opening matches this season. Before the match even began, the men in white were gifted a huge opportunity, with 2 students having been withdrawn from their squad due to absence and punctuality issues. This meant that the blues would have to play a man down for the whole game. This double-edged sword also meant that Ealing would have to guard against complacency. In past matches where this has happened, Ealing have often tended to over-elaborate on the ball, or have simply made bad decisions. Sadly, this was, again, to be one of those nights.

Ealing started brightly enough, showing purpose and dedication to the tackle, but enthusiasm dipped drastically after an opening flurry. The game fell into a pattern of Ashbourne understandably dropping deep and looking to hit Ealing on the counter, with their number 6 and number 7 particularly looking dangerous when afforded the space the slack marking of the whites gave them. Build up from Ealing was patient and slow, and rarely threatened the blues in a dull first half. Long shots were the only thing which they could muster, and these were always high or wide or simply blocked by the numerous Ashbourne defenders.

Without the heart of the side, Egli, the College drifted through a poor second half. Urged to pass and move the ball on more quickly by their manager, they followed these instruction for the first few minutes before reverting back to type, launching long ball after long ball to try to find a ‘Hollywood style’ breakthrough. These efforts amounted to little more than frustration and a general gnashing of teeth on the sideline. Ashbourne, in contrast, continued to look the more likely despite their depleted forces and could have broken the deadlock on a number of occasions. A fine tackle by James stopped an almost certain goal, while Danial used his feet to good effect to deny several Ashbourne shots, themselves preferring to shoot from range.

Even Ibrahim, usually reliable at the back, started to make errors, giving the ball away and inviting Ashbourne to have another crack at goal. The men in blue were only slightly less inaccurate though, and never enough to really trouble Danial, though he made a mess of coming to punch away a late corner. In truth, neither side deserved to find a winner here. Both were uninspired, lethargic and could have played for another hour without scoring. Ashbourne at least has the excuse of playing with a man less. It will take a far better performance next week if they are to have any chance in trying to avenge their only defeat of the campaign, earlier this season to DLD.

Man of the match – James – Steadfast in defence, James put his body on the line on several occasions to ensure Ealing kept the clean sheet they just about deserved.

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