Real Tuesday 1 - 1 FC Farcelona
The Real extended their unbeaten run to two games last Friday with a hard-fought draw against their old adversaries FC Farcelona on the frosty astro pitch at Peffermill.
Longer serving members of the Real will remember that we played Farcelona on grass at Heriot Watt maybe five years back, with Simon notching both of our goals. Well, it was Simon who did the business again on Friday, beating the Farcelona keeper with a sublime lob from the edge of the box midway through the first half.
We had had our by now customary chaotic start to the game, with wee Craig not turning up at all and Pauline (AKA The Bench) only making it to Peffermill shortly before Simon lobbed us into the lead. By that time, the numerous Farcelona substitutes had taken pity on us and suggested that one of them play for the Real to ensure that we couldn't blame our ensuing defeat on the fact that we only had ten players. The guy that came on (Scott) was sent to partner John up front, and did OK for us, though it does have to be said that a) he seemed to lay the ball off to one of his erstwhile Farcelona team mates on a couple of occasions and b) he was a hell of a lot better when he came on for Farcelona in the second half. Still, that's social football for you.
Pauline came on for us at half time, thus allowing us to field the forward line that had done so well in our last game against the Forbes GunnErs. We had, to be honest, been pretty shot shy in the first half, and it was only some poor finishing by Farcelona (coupled with some great saves from goalkeeping debutant James) that prevented them from getting on the score sheet in the first period. Our defence, with Muzz and Mike out wide and Bill and Al in the middle, had been reasonably well organised up till then, but Farcelona had a couple of speedy players (DAMN those under 35s!) who caused us a lot of bother with their direct running.
We were largely on the back foot during the second half, too, the absence of both wee Craig and Gary from the midfield meaning that we only had limited attacking options to take the pressure off. We also struggled to string more than a few passes together, and, when Andy, Simon or Zyco went off on a run down the flanks, all too often they found themselves isolated with no one to pass to. Similarly, while John gave another masterclass in holding the ball up, we lacked an attacking midfielder to build on his good work and get some shots in.
The end result was that the ball kept coming right back at us, and there were a number of occasions where the defence got into what can only be described as an awful fankle. James was, once again, kept pretty busy, making two or three top class saves to keep us in the game.
We did still manage to rouse the Farcelona keeper on a number of occasions, with John almost getting on the end of a fantastic cross from Zyco, after the Lewis Lunatic had made a mazy run down the left touchline. Zyco also came close from a corner on the right, taking the ball with his back to the far post, pivoting on the spot then ... shooting wide with his left foot. John then came close to scoring the Goal Of The Century with what can only be described as a Skid-Induced Bicycle Kick - though our trowel wielding frontman will no doubt deny that the slippery underfoot conditions had anything to do with it.
The equaliser came after maybe twenty minutes of the second half, and was really down to the pace of the Farcelona attackers. A through ball was played down the middle, one of their midfielders ran onto it then hit a strong, low shot which James did well to parry. With our defence hirpling back in installments, the attacker then had plenty of time to tap in the rebound as James untangled his sidies from the astro.
That pretty much killed the game off, with the Real players probably happy enough with the draw and Farcelona lacking the energy to muster another telling attack. They still managed to make it into our penalty box on another couple of occasions, though, only to be thwarted by some awesome slide tackling from big Graeme. I assumed at the time that this was down to our tireless midfield general wanting to help out his beleaguered defence, but he later confessed that he was basically knackered by that point in the game and just wanted to do what came naturally to him (i.e. kick people and bleed a lot) until the final whistle ...
Overall, then, this wasn't a vintage display by the Real, although, to be honest, 'vintage' is about as relevant to the Real as it is to Buckfast. So let's celebrate the fact that, despite having a few key players unavailable, we managed to hold on for the draw, and look forward to an already planned rematch against Farcelona in the Spring. And remember - we won on Foul Throws!
Thanks to all those who turned out on Friday - not the best of nights, but, if we can play in those conditions, nothing Mother Nature throws at us in future need faze us in the slightest!
(Match Stats to follow)