Aioli Monkeys fell to a 3rd successive defeat on Friday night. A disorganised first 20 mins saw Rangers take an early lead, with the Monkeys having Daniele to thank for keeping the score to 1-0. After a slight reshuffle, the Monkeys managed to gain some control and created a couple of decent chances to equalize during a good spell up to HT, but it wasn't to be. After a decent start to the second half, a mistake led to Rangers 2nd and they sealed the victory with a third on the break late on. A much-needed weekend off for the Monkeys next week, before resuming against Hotspurs in two weeks' time.
For the first time in the history of TGA Rangers, two players decided to write a match report, feel free to pick exhibit 1 or 2. 1) TGA had picked up their first win of the season against a strong Vikings side a week earlier. Rangers were looking to continue to build the momentum in a tough encounter against Aioli. The game started at a frantic pace, both sides moving the ball well and holding nothing back in the early challenges. Spectators describing the scenes something like a Merseyside derby. Mr Sexton and Nate competing for every 50/50 whilst Taishi and Pat were chasing down every loose ball and pressing the Ailoi midfield. As the teams settled in, Aioli created a great opportunity putting their number 9 through on goal with a splitting pass, thankfully drifted wide of the post. Rangers then took control of the game. Sharples with a not un common run down the touch line, laid the ball on a plate for Aaron to dummy with his left, flick it off the heel of his right, scramble back 3 yards to then pivot and rifle it into the back of the net. Comical Sunday league moment, but a cool head to make it 1-0 TGA. Rangers continued to dominate, a flurry of clearances off the line from corners. Nate had a chance lobbing the keeper, narrowly missing. Sharples found himself through on goal, made a cup of tea before deciding to take a shot, eventually the Aioli number 1 making a great save. Aioli came into it more in the final 10 minutes of the half, but with our own Vidic and Ferdinand centre backs pairing of JC and Fraser, there was no way through. Second half - TGA knew it would be crucial to get the second goal to try and kill the game. The midfield pushed forward to pile the on the pressure in the final third. Eventually Nate had space for the shot and like any good number 9, Aaron was there to follow up on another good save this time parried into his path. With desperate attempts from the defender to clear the danger, pushed it into his own net. 2-0. Aaron finding a taste for goals now, much like his taste for protein. Long may it continue. TGA had steadied the ship, the back 4 playing as a unit and never really felt in danger. Hiro and Beatt pushing on to create overlaps. Chances came and went. There was a nervous moment with a header back to the keeper. Adam Usain Bolt showing a turn of pace we didn’t know existed, managed to stop the ball on the line. The third goal summed up the team effort. A nicely timed tackle at the back from Ferdinand, I mean Fraser, played into the path of Rich, to the newly deployed Ruffles. Ruffles found Sharples with a nice pass, who once again went off on his mazy run. A quick 1-2 and a nicely timed pass at the back post to Ruffles who showed Aaron how it is done. 3-0. Guardiola would have been proud. Age playing its part in the team, meant the subs were all used. Beatt growing older by the day, unlike Hiro, made way for Jonathan after a trademark unnecessary 100 yard dash. Jordan came on and steadied the ship, utilising his normal pass and move methods, ensuring TGA kept the ball. Another squad effort by the boys. MOM goes to Rich for his efforts in the middle. Meanwhile the Aioli number 9 took MOM, worked tirelessly and proved tough to deal with. A tough game as always, Aioli will be a force to compete with during the season. Good luck to them! 2) After some close encounters with Aioli Monkeys last season, we knew we were in for a tough game on Friday night. We started the game strongly and kept the ball well, creating a number of opportunities in the first half. Rich was putting in some dangerous corners, with one header from Nate being cleared off the line by an Aioli defender. Aioli were playing a high line which didn't always come off and Taishi played some great balls through for Nate and Rich who were unlucky not to score with Daniele having a great game in goal. The scoring was finally opened after Hiro made a great interception in his own half before sliding the ball into Mike's path down the left. Mike squared the ball across the face of the goal leaving a simple tap in for Aaron.... only for him to somehow miss the ball completely! Fortunately for him, the ball struck his standing leg and popped up into the air, allowing him to swivel and dispatch the ball into the corner of the net. Relief for Aaron who narrowly avoided a wave of abuse from his teammates for this atrocious air shot. We continued the pressure to try and extend our lead with Mike breaking through the defence on two occasions, only to be thwarted by Daniele again. Aioli had a great spell in the final 15 minutes of the half, with Harry pulling the strings and Joe making life difficult for Fraser and JC. Joe was unlucky not to score a header at the back post with the last action of the first half. We controlled the game in the second half, although we were not able to create as many chances as the first. When the ball broke loose on the edge of the box, a fierce strike from Nate could only be parried by Daniele into the path of Aaron, who again managed to shank it but was saved by a rash tackle from an Aioli defender, inadvertently knocking the ball into his own net. We were determined to keep a clean sheet - Beatt battling with a self-inflicted torn shoulder, Fraser and JC rock solid at the heart of defence and Hiro providing composure on the ball. Young Pat was playing with maturity beyond his years on the left wing. The 3 points were secured when Fraser won the ball back with a perfectly timed slide tackle in his own half to set up a counter attack. Rich played the ball into Ruffles, who then sprayed the ball over to Mike on the left side. Mike was able to beat the full back and drive towards goal, squaring for Ruffles who busted a lung to get to the back post for a simple tap in - great team goal. A welcome 3 points for us as we now look to have shaken off the cobwebs with our performances improving week by week. Thank you to Aioli for a competitive game and good luck for the rest of the season. Thank you also to Urs and the linesmen who officiated the game without any major issues.