A late kick off on the Saturday meant that the boys were raring to go after having a whole day to think about the game. TGA had a snatch and grab result the week before against SFC, giving us much needed momentum into what would be a stubborn German team. With a quick pep talk from Fraser and the ever almighty Ousby coming into the number 1 shirt, the boys were feeling confident. A frantic first 10 mins, plenty of energy on the field as the sun went down, eventually lead to TGA having the better of the early possession. Chances came and went. Some good build up play lead to Nate taking a strike and the ball eventually fell to Sharples who calmly slotted the ball home. 1-0. The team looked solid, JC and Fraser holding firm with strong communication from the new stand in…. ‘the ousb’. Hiro and Jordan continued to move the ball forward quickly after the water break upping the tempo. Neil and Rich making the Germans run endlessly for the ball, chasing the game. There were few clear cut chances, but Aaron had Nate through on goal, but was rugby tackled by the keeper. Even the German bench shouted penalty. The crunch was heard at Raffles, but still…. No pen. Probably the right call as Nate suggested he’d been through WWII at half time. Credit to the Germans for holding firm and showing good shape to stay in the game. Second half… and the encouragement was much of the same. We knew at 1-0 the Germans would continue to press as long as they remained in the game. With an extra man in midfield and a couple of subs for the Germans they suddenly had more possession. After a couple of chances came and went, they found the back of the net. 1-1. Probably deserved. Time for super subs. All five were used and the impact was almost immediate. The early work in midfield by Nate, Aaron, Rich, Neil, Sharples and Taishi had tired the German legs. Before we knew it, Takashi was through on goal and slotted home. Victor and Patrick were causing more havoc and the German defence were struggling to keep up with the U21’s. Sharples claimed he broke a rib after his first header of the year, but the team quickly dismissed any complaints. Luckily the quality Sharples possesses meant despite the punctured lung, he put through Takashi again. 3-1. In the end the squad fitness and early work did the damage. The Germans were competitive for 80 mins, but unfortunately it is a 90 minute game. Thanks to the Germans for a fair and competitive game, all the best for remainder of the season.
GAS started the day honouring the Swiss connection with pulling out the old Swiss Club jerseys. The old shirts must of rubbed off on the players as well as the numbers because the first 30 minutes showed a mature performance. Rangers had the majority of possession but created little in the way of threat. GAS had an excellent shape defensively and kept organised. GAS looked the more likely to score with some good chances to counter but the final ball or that cutting run never materialised to create a clear chance. The Rangers captain number 5 at the back was at part the reason for this with good positional play and the pace to nullify GAS speed coming through from midfield. Some subs for tired legs and a move in some positions from GAS was the break in concentration the Rangers were looking for. Rangers showed good players only need one chance with putting their first clear chance in the back of the net. After the goal the game went back to the first 30 minutes with a disciplined performance from GAS but not taking advantage of the counter and Rangers having possession without threat. No changes at half time from GAS and being behind we started to press a bit more with some better build up play chances started to get created. A change in shape to 3-5-2 was immediately rewarded and the break came from a quick turn and smart cross from Arnaud to Ant at the back post who was composed to control and pass it into the net. GAS kept the shape feeling on the ascendancy but this left some gaps and tired legs. Rangers replied not long after with a long switch exposing the space and it was clinically finished from Rangers number 9 for his second of the match. As GAS pressed for a response Rangers showed the fitter team and more chances started to appear. Rangers finally sealed the game with a third goal over running GAS at the back. For 75 minutes 1-1 looked a fair result but the last 15 proved a fitter Rangers team sealing the win Despite a fantastic and impeccable performance by Nick and Joe, MoM goes to Arnaud for a tremendous running effort, being found everywhere, and giving the assist.