Aljezurense 1 – 0 Armacenenses

On a blustery afternoon Aljezurense had a hard task to subdue the high flying Armacenense team who were 4th in the League. Aljezurense again fielded a side that had not yet played together either because of injury or the managers choice. It was not inspiring for the supporters to see Kieran and Noel on the bench and with the third string keeper in place due to injuries.

In fairness the keeper had not been seen by the majority of the supporters, but although not the tallest of custodians he was about to show everyone his ability.

Aljezurense started kicking with the swirling wind that favoured the home side slightly, everyone watching was pleased to see the first 10 minutes  pass as generally this was a time they went behind. Andre 20, restored now almost fully fit and  Tiago 5, gave the side some stability and with Eddy 14 seated in the heart of the defence, an unusual position for him, Aljezurense thwarted the visitors attacks.

Lawrence 8 and Dani 23 battled hard in midfield and for most of the first half they held the upper hand.  Joao 7, and Diogo 10, were released time and time again only to be stifled by an outstanding goalkeeper whose agility was first class.

Few opportunities came the way of the visitors and the odd chances made were smothered by the new keeper.

Aljezure were at least holding their own and as half time came the supporters were talking up a draw as a result to give them a much needed point.

Half Time Aljezurense 0 – 0 Armaceneses

 In the second half, Aljezurense faced not only the force of the visitors’ attackers, but also the wind which appeared to have strengthened. The visitors showed little  resolve and this gave Aljezurense the fillip required and their confidence grew.  A one-two played between Dani and Lawrence gave the opening required and Lawrence’s shot from outside the penalty area swerved into the top angle of the goal only to see the visitors’ keeper tip the ball onto the bar and safe.

Game on –  Joao, Dani and Diogo all hit shots goal wards but alas the goal required did not come. Three changes were made, Andre was replaced by the long throw specialist Rafael 15, Joao by Jardel 21, and Noel 17 came on to strengthen the defence.

The visitors were still trying to breakdown the home rearguard but anything that got through the back line was dealt with magnificently by the new keeper.

With time running out a point looked certain then up popped Rafael.  A clearance from the visitors, defence was challenged for, and Rafael chested the ball forward, his strength forced him on from the halfway line and he played the perfect pass for Pope 18 whose intelligent run had left the visitors’ defence flat footed.  One touch and his perfect cross was met by the marauding Jardel who smashed the ball home for a well deserved goal.

The last 5 minutes or so left to play including overtime, saw Aljezurense battle hard and at the final whistle were worthy winners.

Picking Man of the Match was a very difficult job as probably for the first time the whole side played well, battled and looked like they wanted to win. The new keeper was outstanding and his kicking a much needed acquisition to the side’s defence.  Lawrence and Dani bossed the central area with Eddy giving a bit of stability centrally, although this position is not really his forte. The movement both defensively and attacking was inspiring at times, and I am sure the opposition were stunned by Aljezurense as their league position is no indication of the game they played today.

May be the light at the end of the tunnel.  With Kieran to come in and Noel and Andre returning from injury, the defence is strong with Tiago leading as captain from the front. The midfield looks a little more settled and both Dani and Lawrence have a big part to play in the last 9 games. Joao and Jardel are battling hard to play centrally up front, both have ability although Jardel offers a little bit extra with his strength to force defences into errors.  The flanks look good as well and Diogo and Pope have great pace which unsettles defences.

Well done everyone –  a great win, and the beer, I am sure tasted much sweeter on Saturday Night.

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