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8th October 2006 : First Home League Game : Another Draw !
Esprit drew their first home game, which was on average, a fair result but if only Esprit took their chances it could have been 3 points. The day started brightly for the purple boys, with new equipment available including new pegs, a mallet and a step ladder. The chairman had decided to spend some of his cash at long last. With everyone bar Daniel Parker available for selection. He was busy enjoying his 18th birthday and no one could hold this against him, but some of the lads will be asking him to buy the drinks from the bar from now on. Runo had a selection headache with 17 players on the side lines. As he could only name 11 on the pitch and a maximuim of 3 subs, three players were going to be disappointed. Runo unselfishly dropped himself even though he has been to every training session and warned the rest of the squad that he would take no prisoners if players didn't perform or if their attitudes were not spot on. Thankfully most of the players responded to the call and understood his difficult decisions.
Onto the pitch and it looked like Lonsdale brought a small army along boasting a sqaud even larger than Esprit's. After 20 minutes of both teams just sparring, Lonsdale drew first blood. Having gained possession in th middle of the park, Albanian Albert fed in pacey striker Stoney who sloted the ball into the far corner beyond the palms of Hanson. It was a good finish but poor positional play from the Esprit midfield and defence. Esprit had to work hard and a makeshift side gave it their all. In the end Wale gave what has to be one of the best assists of his career when he dumbed the whole defence with a smart side foot pass to Taylor just as it looked like he was going to shoot. JT didnt need an invite and stabbed the ball in the net to level the scores. Wale then has a chance of his own but Mark Trimble was on his toes and his experience kept out the little Nigerian. Just as the opposing managers, Paul Trimble and Runo Gokdemir were discussing the merits of the game their brothers were caught in a sick clash of heads. Mark Trimble and Olgun Gokdemir were on the deck after Olgun blocked a certain goal from a corner and Mark crashed into the back of his head. To the credit of both sides, they attended to the players immediately and unfortuntely Mark had to be taken to hospital and was led off like his hero, Terry Butcher, bleeding from the forehead with a bandage covered in claret. Thankfully Olgun was ok. The game was in the last minute of the half and whilst most thought it wuld be over, credit to the referee for playing the minute of injury time. In the minute Esprit could have taken the lead when Wale was fouled in the box by goalkeeper Tony Keifer. A stonewall Penalty. However as Trimble was getting in the ambulance he saw the half's final action as Keifer guessed correctly and saved Oshiyemi's penalty. Both sides went into the interval with a goal a piece.
The second half was far less eventful but equally as tense, with both sides desperate not to lose at thei stage of the season. Esprit took the lead shortly after as Webb gave a delightful pass into the feet of Oshiyemi who gained revenge on Keifer by superbly lobbing him to give Esprit the lead. There was then the chance to kill the game but Esprit just couldn't do it and lost the ball at crucial moments. This allowed Lonsdale to come back into the game and force Esprit onto the backfoot. Olgun gave way to Kuku but this made little difference. Esprit lost the momentum and the urgency and Lonsdale scored a tame soft goal as Esprit started to crumble. Several players looked off the pace and the defence and midfield started to look ragged. Greenhill was the only player to emerge with some real credit from the back, alongside Kulahcigil who played in midfield who didnt stop running and the 2 strikers were on form. Lewis, Dupree and Webb had below average games compared to what they are capable of, and others just seemed to be on standby in the secodn half. The introduction of the subs made little difference and Esprit need to improve fast if they realistically want this to be a meaningful season.
On the positive, Esprit are still undefeated in the league, the only team bar Spartans who are top of the table. However performance wise they need to imprive and fast otherwise it will just be a matter of time before they are embarassed on the pitch. Without a league game for a whole month, Esprit currently sit 11th in the table, with just 2 points from 2 games. It could easily have been 6 points out of 6. That is a long wait before Esprit have the chance to put things right, so training is a must to keep the match fitness up . However some players have to look at themselves and wonder if they really did enough for the Esprit cause.
Esprit Squad : Hanson, Blanks, Yeo, Greenhill, Lewis,(Murphy) Dupree, Olgun Gokdemir,(Kuku) Webb, Kulahcigil (Bull) , Taylor, Oshiyemi. Subs Not used: Burton, Alexander, Runo.