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Match report: Summer Palace vs ISB Dragons

Match report for Summer Palace vs ISB Dragons, IFFC first Division league, Saturday 20th October, Lido
On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon Summer Palace played its 5th league game of the season against the high-school team ISB Dragons.
Early on in the game, Palace had the lion-share in terms of ball possession and created numerous chances, with in particular Ian Crouch, playing up-front and giving their central defenders a hard time. However, the lack of luck (we hit the bar 3 or 4 times during that game), combined with a lack of composure in front of goal meant that it was still 0-0 after 10 minutes. It was then the high-school boys who drew first blood on one of their rare incursion into our half of the pitch. Loose marking at the back post from Patrick R. let the little Dragons plenty of time to head the ball on Jason D.’s cross-bar and then get the rebound into the goal off his back…
Palace, 0-1 down but not panicking, re-took control of the game and quickly equalized as Peter H., with a simple tap-in, could take advantage of the Dragons’ inability to defend corner kicks.  In the rest of the first half Dragons were getting more of the ball as the (older) legs of the Palace were tiring. The young Dragons, deceptively short-sized, grew more aggressive too and Gabriel de T. had to leave the pitch injured after a clumsy challenge. Then, 5 minutes before half-time, a through-ball caught our central defense off-guard and Jason had to dive in the feet of the on-rushing forward. Being at least twice as big as his opponent, Jason got the ball and the boy too! The ref had no hesitation, penalty against Palace! The well-taken penalty kick left no chance to Jason, and Palace were once again behind. Fortunately, just one minute after the restart Mike Zheng could convert one of our chances with a great demonstration of shooting on the turn. A great tackle from Adam Nowak saved us from conceding a third goal in the dying seconds on the first half. 2-2 at half time.
Early on in the second half, Palace were the quickest off the starting block and managed a great move involving at least 7 or 8 passes with the ball going from one side of the pitch to the other before Chris Lupton could release a nice ball in the feet of Charles Wharton who coolly converted the chance by slotting the ball under the Dragon’s keeper. 3-2, Palace was finally leading on the score-sheet in this game. We however could not extend our lead, despite having most of ball possession and a few more opportunities to score. As a result, the last 5 minutes of the games were a bit nervous as the Dragons were pushing for an equalizer. But we hold-on to preserve this narrow lead and to claim another win and the 3 points associated to it.
Few people made it to the bar after the game and Peter was voted Man for bringing friends to support us during the game, while Adam N. got Donkey for playing chess while in the bar.

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