Fritz puts the icing on the BML cake

by Michael Christie

Location: Bai Ling A
Time: 4pm
Conditions: Wet and muddy

Starting Line-up: Steve, John, Tim, Christie, Spencer, Jamaican Ollie, Canadian Ollie, Alex R, Danny, Dan, Gustavo
Subs: 0

A Game of Two Halves:
There was a good shape to City as they begun the game. The midfield settled early and were able to thread quick balls all around the park. The midfield and forwards worked extremely hard to keep Fritz penned in deep. This compressed the play and put Fritz under a lot of pressure so Dan and Gustavo were frequently able to intercept the ball and renew the attack. The two Ollies won a lot of the ball and Alex never stopped harrying. Spencer and Danny were also sharp picking up loose balls. Both were able to cut in or break out wide and do good work. It was very hard work, though, because Fritz are an extremely good passing side. That was in the first half, because the second half was a different story.
For the first ten minutes, City were more direct going forward. Without creating any clear chances City kept most of the possession and kept Fritz on the back foot. It was Fritz who struck first, though. Working the ball to the left flank, the winger stroked a low, crisp cross-field pass toward the league’s sponsor, Billy, who dummied by letting the ball through his legs into the path of an oncoming Fritz midfielder. A sharper defender would have intercepted between Billy and the actual recipient, but Christie’s foot was an inch too short. The Fritz player deserves credit for a good first touch and being strong enough to resist a strong challenge from Tim as he finished. 1-0 to Fritz.
A goal down from nowhere, City set about putting the match to rights. The reply was almost immediate, City working the ball into the danger zone. It came out but only as far as Canadian Ollie, who fed Spencer. Spencer’s cross was finished well by Danny from a tight angle at the far post. 1-1.

It was following the goal that City enjoyed their best football of the match. For at least fifteen minutes it seemed like every move ended in a credible chance. Unfortunately, only that one chance was converted.
Towards the end of the second half, some Fritz player took a punt at the City goal from a long way out. It was a bit of an insult, really, except that this time by an outrageous fluke it squeezed through Steve’s hands. If it had been a more dangerous shot it wouldn’t have gone in. Nevermind, City still played the better football up to the half-time whistle. 2-1 to Fritz.
In the second half, Spencer stepped in between the posts for Steve, who took up Spencer’s first-half position on the right flank. If the first half had belonged to City, now the second half was all Fritz. The first ten minutes were predictably rocky, with Fritz looking to put on the pressure. The game was still fairly even, until a strange refereeing decision gave Fritz a free-kick outside the box. It was taken before the referee had given any signal, hit the bar and bounced kindly for the senior referee, turning out for his employers in a player’s shirt for a change, who gratefully headed the ball into the net, 3-1 to Fritz.
From here the performance from City was mostly downhill. It wasn’t so much a lack of effort as a lack of nous. The movement dropped off and nearly every player held on to the ball too long. Credit goes to Danny and Alex R for continuing to perform well in these circumstances. John and Canadian Ollie also deserve a mention for continuing to do a good job.

Halfway through the half, Tim swapped his sweeper’s role for Jamaican Ollie’s defensive midfield action. Rescussitation for City, however, was a forlorn hope. The short, threaded balls which had worked so well in the first half were now quickly pounced on by the sharper Fritz players. There’s no point dwelling on the second half performance, except to say that City had obviously run out of steam.

Near the end, Fritz’s fastest player thought he’d have a last effort at Christie and this time he beat him – a little too easily. He got to the byeline and set it up for one of three who were waiting. This was 4-1, perhaps flattering on the day but Fritz had won.

Shaking hands at the start of the game

Halftime

2nd place

1st place

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