The first game back after the long break saw us narrowly defeated by current table-toppers TGA Rangers, in a game that only really came to life in the second half. The first half wasn’t much of a spectacle with both sides struggling to get into any rhythm. We had the better of it before the water break, Rangers the better of it after, but there wasn’t much to write home about. We were happy enough at half time but it was always in the back of our minds that this game might be following a similar pattern to our 1-0 defeat earlier in the season. Turns out it wasn't as the second half started in disastrous fashion, and the HT team talk was immediately out of the window. Despite not looking in too much danger, Rangers got a break-away goal to make it 1-0 and a massive sucker punch followed minutes later, when Sharples curled in an absolute beauty from what seemed an impossible position to make it 2-0. Great strike. We reacted well though and were back in it soon after following a slick passing move involving JJ and Marko, which was rounded off with a nice finish from Peter for 2-1. Hopefully this signals a return of the free-scoring Peter Besselink of days gone by... With about 25 left captain Harry was given his marching orders for tugging Sharples back when through on goal and it looked like a long way back for us at this point. Probably the right decision according to the strict letter of the law but on another day might only have been a yellow . We actually had the better of the game after the sending off and JJ was unlucky not to equalize when the ball got held up by the wet pitch, which by this point more closely resembled a swimming pool. Well done to Rangers on the victory and we wish you all the best in the title race. MOM for Rangers – CB, Fraser had a very good game (could’ve been Sharples for his goal, but he always gets it) MOM for Monkeys – Harry was having a cracking game up until his red card. Still gets my vote.
First game back after the winter break, actually our halfway point of the season after the late postponement during the OG game. A few regulars were out but never the less we had a strong starting 11 against an opponent looking to seek retribution for the narrow loss on the opening day. The game started with a ‘first game back’ feel, both teams trying to kick off the cobwebs and string together some flowing football to get back in the groove. This took a lot longer than expected with both teams really just jousting and neither keeper having too much action to deal with. Harry was doing an excellent job in keeping Sharples quiet and Rangers defence looking solid too. HT: 0-0. Rangers came to life in the second half, albeit during a period of play where Aioli had significant possession but couldn’t find the incisiveness to cut through the great wall of JC and Frando. Yuto, our Japanese import, was found in space by Sharples after a quick break and he cutely passed the ball into the net past the onrushing Daniele. 1-0 quickly became 2-0 with Sharples cutting in from the left, after practically everyone at Turf City hearing him complain about being fouled, and curling a beauty in off the post. Great finish from the lad. Unfortunately we decided to step off and were punished immediately with Pete running through 1-on-1 to finish past Gigi. 2-1 game on. Aioli then pushed and probed for a while, nearly equalising, before Harry was sent off for bringing Sharples down as the last man. Unfortunate for the guy as he was having a cracking game but was the right decision as it was outside the box. The 10 men then decided to stay on top of the game, Rangers struggling to get possession and keep it. The heavens opened up near the end causing the last 10 minutes to be played in difficult conditions, credit to Rob for keeping the game going to the end. FT: 2-1. Another important 3 points on the board before OG next week. In truth our performance was very patchy with Aioli playing the better football but we managed to grind out the win. Harry gets their MOM for his excellent defensive display but the usual suspects JJ and Addy deserve credit also. MOM for Rangers goes to JC after he heroically returned from minor hip surgery, and the emotional effects of his engagement, to put in a commanding performance against the close contender of Frando.