Peacocks and City Share the Points

Time: 3pm, April 15th, 2012

Venue: Da Jia Yingfeng Riverside Park

By Michael Christie

In their previous match, City beat the Peacocks through a Brian Fitzpatrick goal. The Peacocks had given City a really tough game, and probably deserved a draw. This time, on a windy, overcast but still overly warm Taiwanese April day at Da Jia Riverside Park, the Peacocks gave City a similarly tough game.

City had not played for three weeks, which is a long time when it comes to playing football. Dan settled on a starting line-up of Dale Neal in goal, Matt Wharton at right-back, Brian McGuinness and Tom Clarke in central defence, and Mamadi Colley at left-back; in midfield, Danny Weir, Alex Ramirez, Michael Christie and Brian Fitzpatrick occupied the right, central and left positions; and up front, Luis Mayorga partnered Dan Calvert. The strong bench had Neao King sitting on it, later augmented by Ebu Njie and Oumar Senoussi .

Possibly City failed to frighten the life out of the younger Peacocks in the first ten minutes. City managed to have the lion’s share of possession in this opening period, but looked a little rusty in their link-up play. Seeing this, the Peacocks started to move and pass, effectively on occasion. Their attacks were sporadic, but the City defence needed to be sharp to stifle them. City pushed up on the Peacocks’ whenever possible and without looking sharp still had most of the possession. This was the pattern of play for pretty much the whole of the first half.

There were plenty of talking points. The frequency with which the linesman called offside had the City forwards seething. There were also two possible handballs from the Peacocks in their penalty area. Once, close to the six yard box, in a position to shoot, Fitzpatrick laid the ball off to Calvert. Calvert’s shot appeared to be going in but hit the post. Did it “brush” a Peacock hand close to the line? For all of City’s pressure, however, there were next to no clear cut chances.

At half-time, Brian McGuinness and Brian Fitzpatrick came off. Mamadi went to central defence and Oumar Senoussi came on at left-back, while Luis went to left-midfield and Neao came on up front. The second half continued more or less where the first had left off. City had most of the ball and the Peacocks were content to defend deep in the hope of getting a breakaway. Encouragingly, when the Peacocks launched a long ball Dale was always out of his penalty area in double quick time to beat the Peacock forward to the ball.

After the opening ten minutes, Ebu came on for Christie in central midfield and coordinated play well in the middle. City laid siege to the Peacocks and some desperate defending was needed, but there were still no clear cut chances for City. The Peacocks basically defended their penalty box tightly and restricted to City to long shots. For about twenty minutes only City looked like scoring, though.

The final stages of the game saw City tire and the Peacocks regain some initiative. The last fifteen minutes really were too close for comfort for City. The Peacocks began to launch breakaways and only poor finishing saved City on two occasions. Then, in the last ten minutes they took the game to City somewhat. Possibly City was more relieved at the final whistle!

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