Threadbare Blues have enough for Bulien

Time: 10am, January 17th, 2010
Venue: Bai Ling Bridge Riverside Park

By John Phillips

An understrength Taipei City side overcame a spirited performance by Bulien to maintain their challenge for a second BML crown. In the end the scoreline flattered Bulien who scored their second goal with the final kick of the game and never looked likely to upset a well-drilled City side.

Missing regular starters Calvert, Ramirez, Christie, Conlon, the Njie trio and both goalkeepers through a mixture of injury, suspension and other commitments, City shuffled their pack but still had enough firepower to see off a Bulien team that worked hard but rarely threatened from open play. With defender Wharton taking responsibility between the sticks, City brought in Mamadi Colley to fill in at left back in a new look four-man defence, while Oliver Harley returned for a rare outing in midfield.

City dominated the opening exchanges but had to wait until after the half hour to open the scoring. Good work by Denser sent wing back Cartee through on goal and the American kept his composure to slot the ball neatly past the keeper.

Following the goal, City continued to create chances, but the game’s moment of controversy came at the other end. A speculative ball by the Bulien midfield appeared to find their striker a meter or so offside, but the linesman’s flag stayed down as the striker bore down on goal. The decision was immaterial as the striker fluffed the chance but City’s players and management were incensed and made vocal remonstrations.

Leading 1-0 at the break, Daly made way for Pangborn in defence leaving City with no cover on the bench. Bulien brought on Wang to strengthen their forward line, and the rotund striker showed some good touches in the opening exchanges. But it was City who doubled their lead on 50 minutes with Dawda Fatty popping up with a poacher’s goal from inside the penalty box.

And by the 55th minute City extended their lead to three goals with a finely worked goal. O’Gorman’s through ball found Denser in an offside position but the young German smartly let the ball run through to Cartee who had advanced down the left wing. He swung in a pinpoint cross to the far post for Steve Reymond to nod home a rare headed goal.

The game swung decisively in City’s favour when a seemingly innocuous challenge on Pangborn resulted in a straight red card for a Bulien midfielder. But the red card seemed to galvanise Bulien, as the ten men upped their game in search of a consolation. They were duly rewarded when a corner was played in low to the top of the box. Bulien reacted quickest and in the resulting melee, the ball was poked home past a helpless Wharton.

Any hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed when Dawda Fatty got his second of the game with a tidy finish to make it 4-1. And with the clock running down and the victory safe, all that was left was for Bulien to grab a consolation from a scrappy corner, but it was too little too late and City got the win that keeps their title challenge on track.

Taipei City 4, Bulien 2

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