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Sorry Ealing slump to second successive defeat

24 Nov 2017

League match – 14 November 2017

Ealing Independent College 2-3 CATS College

Team: Abdullah; Danial, James; Ibrahim (Marc), Luc (Josh), Abdul; Sultan A (Rahail), Jacob (Brent)

Goals: Luc 2

This was an opportunity to get last Tuesday’s debacle at the hands of DLD out of their system. The only purpose the game served was to show just how much it had scarred the men in white. Lacking long-term absentee Egli, along with the suspended Sultan H, finding some forward impetus was going to be difficult. Chifum also called off prior to the match for academic reasons. It was time to make some changes. Abdullah was brought into goal following an impressive performance at games, with Danial moving to defence. Ibrahim was pushed forward and a surprise debut was handed to the completely unpredictable Jacob. Coach Cairns was unsure how this one would go, for good reason.

The match began with a comedy of errors. CATS, despite their best efforts, could not manage getting a throw on the field legally. This seemed to lull Ealing into a false sense of security, and they seemed to relax into a passive mood of expecting a goal to come their way. CATS did not allow them to settle, and a jinking run by their tall number 8 made enough room for a low drive which Abdullah could not deal with. This should have provided a rude awakening for the whites, but they could not shrug off their lethargy. A ten minute spell of unbelievable ineptitude allowed the blues in for another, and when James diverted a dangerous cross into his own net, Ealing looked in complete disarray. On one hand, it would have been possible to count the amount of successful passes they’d completed in the half.

A furious Cairns unloaded on his team during the break, a verbal volley which implored his side to show some kind of fight. Cairns made it clear that he would not give up his hard earned time to put up with such an embarrassing display, and that, to a man, they should be utterly ashamed of themselves. Jacob was immediately replaced with Brent, who showed some willing up front, and at last there seemed to be some passion from the men in white. They huffed and puffed for the opening five minutes of the half, before a tame effort by Luc squirmed under the ‘keeper’s body to give Ealing a glimmer of hope. Sultan grabbed the ball and raced back to the centre spot – finally there was some urgency. The momentum had swung towards Ealing, and they quickly capitalised. Luc’s shot, this time far more powerful, took a slight deflection and the goalie could not keep it out, reducing the arrears to one.

With pressure building on a side who had lost all games in the league to that point, Ealing started to ease off again – possibly thinking that CATS might capitulate. Credit to the blues, they stood tall and actually enjoyed the better chances as the final minutes approached. An array of substitutions was all Cairns could do in an effort to change things up. Ibrahim, who had been a shadow of his usual self, Luc and Sultan made way for Rahail and debutants Marc and Josh. They were energetic, but none of them looked like forcing the opening which could bring Ealing what would have been a completely undeserved point.

Ealing have one more game left to play before Christmas and they must try to get some pride back. The side this year lack the skill and technical ability of the title winners of the last two years, but to lack the passion and pride to play for the College is something which can’t be accepted. The apologies offered to the coach at the end from the players spoke volumes, but Cairns does not want to hear ‘sorry’, he wants commitment to ensuring that the team embody the College ethos – playing in the right manner, and giving their all. Results will come if they stick to this.

Man of the match – Luc – An extremely difficult task to select someone who merited praise from this performance, but Luc’s two goals, though not memorable ones, at least made the score-line respectable.

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