Month: January 2014

Reserves run out of luck in cup semi

Sporting Hackney Reserves 2 – 0 Kensington Dragons Reserves. Division Cup Semi-Final

When you play against the same opponents 2 weeks running it is clear that things might go wrong. However, when Kensington Dragons Reserves beat Sporting Hackney Reserves last week they were sure it is possible to do it again. Unfortunately over the weekend all things around the team went wrong. Dragons Res Manager couldn’t use all available players as MCFL rules dictate all must have played 5 games for the team and no 1st Team cup fixture.  All became even harder just before kick off when Ade Akeredolu and Ashley Akrahm the starting CB pairing didn’t turned up for the game. Now with only 1 available sub,  it took a great attitude from Matt Finch who had to start on the central position at the back. Dragons started in a 1-4-2-3-1 with Justas Krisciunas as a right midfielder and Ali Suossi as a left. The final third was the kingdom of El-Habib and with an offensive formation looking strong, the defence line wasn’t that good. Abdullah Hussein and Matt weren’t the strongest Reserves couple of CB’s but both of them tried their best.

Dragons starred very very slowly. Players couldn’t find a quick answer for well organised opponents. Hackney created 2 clear chances in the first 10 minutes of the game. They hit the post once and missed the goal with the second shot. Unfortunately the game didn’t change after that. Dragons sat deep and tried to play quickly on the counter after winning possession. This way of play brought the team one great opportunity. El-Habib made a fantastic run but missed the target. That was all the incidents of note in the first 45mins with Hackney trying to play all the balls through the central defence line but Dragons dealing with it admirably.

At half time the manager was focused on correcting the team mistakes as well as inspiring them to adopt a winning attitude. Just after the restart  Hackney gave us a warning. They created a good chance but missed the goal. A few minutes later Hackney passed the ball into free space behind the central defenders leaving their striker to win the running competition with Matt Finch and pass unselfishly to his teammate who beat Dragons’ keeper. To compound matters,  just after that, injured Matt Finch had to leave the pitch. There were no subs available for his position so the team needed reorganisation. Hassan Osman went into the vacant CB position and Justas Krisciunas dropped into right back. The team tried to press higher and take control but it was not their day. Players were to slow in their play as well as some of the players not reaching their normal performance levels.

What is more in the 60th minute team captain Adam Finch got injured. Unfortunately Dragons Manager now without any available subs, was forced to leave his captain on the pitch. The players continued to try their best but a good scoring opportunity didn’t come. The team took a risk, went higher and opened the game. Our well performing opponents scored one more goal after a centre back mistake. A lack of pressure allowed a shot from distance and keeper Ryan Moore couldn’t do anything. The last 10 minutes Dragons played with 2 injured players as El-Habib couldn’t make any runs with a muscle injury.

It was one of the most difficult games for Dragons Reserves this campaign. Players didn’t perform well in opposition to their opponents and off the pitch things were also far away from the expected commitment levels.  Despite the result Ali Soussi showed good performance and he was Kensington Dragons Reserves Man of the Match. There is nothing more to dwell on but to look ahead to the league and play a great match next week and come back in the right way.

Regards

Coach Marcin Rusiecki

Reserves unite to beat league leaders away

Sporting Hackney Reserves 1  – 2 Kensington Dragons Reserves

Link below for Kensington and Chelsea Chroncile courtesy of Paul Warburton.

KDFC Reserves v Sporting Hackney 18-01-14

It was clear straight away even before kick-off that Dragons would be playing one of the most difficult games of their season away in Hackney. With the grass pitch called off due to heavy rain the game was rescheduled last minute to a nearby 3G astro pitch. Hackney sat at the division summit 3 points ahead of the visiting Dragons. The coach Marcin had opted to bring a 15 strong squad with club captain Luke O’Donoghue included for his first game in 5 weeks coming back from injury adding experience to the youthful academy graduates of Hassan Osman, Andrew Scheck, Will Conway, Ali Soussi and Justas Krisciunas.

The team started as they are used to with 1-4-2-3-1 formation which provided a lot of options in the middle area of the pitch but left the wings open. Dragons started slowly and let Hackney create shooting chances. It was nothing dangerous but it made the team sure they had to all show their best performance. In the 5th minute of the game RB Hassan Osman made a fantastic individual run, passed 3 opponents and hit towards the goal. The ball hit crossbar then post and came out into the box. Although the team looked strong, they were not always sure how to deal with a physically strong hackney attacking game in the most effective way.

The 1st goal for Dragons came at the best possible time. Both teams tried to score and created ‘small chances’. After one of these plays, Dragons won a free-kick in the attacking third. Captain Adam Finch stoked a beautiful pass over the hackney fullback and the ball landed in front of the onrushing CM Luke O’Donoughe who stayed calm to bring the ball down with his left and finish with his right and beat the keeper, placing the ball in the bottom corner of the goal. This score made Dragons calm and put our opponents under big pressure. Just before half time the boys put themselves in big trouble and gave keeper Ryan Moore a chance to show all his skill. Fantastic throughout the game, Moore made two point blank saves for Dragons in two incredibly bad situations. His saves maintained the clean sheet in the first half and helped build up the team’s confidence.

At half time Matt Finch replaced the injured Ali Soussi. Also a short tactical analysis of the game from the coach made the team sure about what was expected from them. The players were sure they would have to be as strong and united as they have all season.  After the restart Hackney tried to score a quick goal. They put a lot of pressure on every player with the ball and it was clear that they would create situations particularly at set pieces but Dragons’ goal remained un-breached. Tough tackling Hassan, the smallest player on the pitch had to remember about an early yellow card on his account. It was an absolute pleasure to watch Dragons second half as they played like a real team!

Hackney were pressing hard for the equaliser. A 25 yard thunderbolt from the right back brought another top save from Moore, tipping the ball onto the bar but it needed CB Will Conway to make a last ditch clearance to deny the Hackney striker an easy tap in. Hackney hit the bar again moments later and missed an open goal with the midfielder putting over from 2 yards. It was under pressure, that Dragons broke to extend their lead. A cleared ball found its way to the excellent lone striker Jamanhi Henry who secured the ball, laid it back to O’Donoghue who lifted a ball in behind for the winger Andrew Scheck. Scheck crossed from the left to reach Osman who had made an underlap the length of the field to get the ball and beat Hackneys goalkeeper. 0-2 and Dragons thought that the game was over. Unfortunately it was not a reality as Hackney scored straight away after the restart. Their winger crossed the ball across the goal which hit the crossbar and landed two yards in front of the empty goal for an easy tap in.

Unfortunately the physical battle was starting to take its toll. Adam Finch and Will Conway had to be replaced by Justas Krisciunas and Mohammed Al Faisal because of injury. This pushed O’Donoghue back to partner John Hammond at centre back and the last 10 minutes Dragons were focused on defence and winding down the clock. The team worked very hard. Opponents created 3 clear situations but Moore was unbeatable this game! His performance was absolutely amazing! When 4 added minutes passed and the ref made the final whistle the score on the board still was 1-2.

It was a fantastic performance by the group. Players showed brilliant performance and commitment. They were a unit, they were a team, they were Dragons!!

A nice moment for the Dragons family with a special bond between the two goal scorers. O’Donoghue who scored the first has been at the club for 8 years and began coaching the U13s when Hassan Osman was a 12 year old central midfielder. Hassan scoring the second goal with former youth player and coach now in the same team. Strong individual performances from debutant Jonathan Kasongo and Andrew Scheck but man of the match went to the keeper Ryan Moore for a near perfect display. The win puts Dragons joint top with Hackney but also with 2 games in hand.