Well, it was the best of times, it was the wost of times.
The Bs – with what looks on paper the strongest overall squad we’ve had for some years – went down to a strong, physical Pembroke side 5-2.
The score seems brutal, but it was clearly a case of what could have been.
First 15 minutes, the Bs looked competitive at least, and matched the run of the Pembrokers. Amir putting in some extra grit against his old team, and tempers firing up, but a few good signs. The Whites were playing their rehearsed moves, playing out from defence OK and keeping it pretty tight.
Over the next 25 minutes, however, the Whites conceded some goals from basic defensive mistakes in a manner so reminiscent of recent seasons. I think all agree that the less said about these the better, but the end result 3-0 down and the Whites struggled to keep their shape and put together the formations out of defence, with too much of a gap between defence and midfield.
But to their credit, the Whites refused to pass blame or lose their heads, and came out in the second half with little to lose. Pressing high was the key and it wasnt long before they got a reward. After a nice move down the left wing, Justin Kanga won the ball away from a Pembroke defender and pulled off an audacious chip over the stranded keeper which sailed into the net.
Suddenly, the Whites had a sniff and the tempo lifted. Ten minutes later a peach of a cross from Juan and Superman Harris rose like his namesake managing to flick the cross into the top far corner above the goalkeeper’s desperate dive. Celebrations were suitably ecstatic, with the gathering crowd of whites supporters urging them on.
The Whites were now in the ascendancy, pressing high and forcing mistakes. Justin casuing all sorts of problems on the left wing in particular, and Long Nguyen taking up some great positions, with one sharp chance to bring the game equal that he could not quite execute, and another flying past his outstretched foot. For about 25 minutes of the second half the momentum was all white.
But then it all came crashing down. The Whites defence, having regained their early composure, lost their focus for a flash of a moment, a Pembroke attacker seemed to just stroll through and suddenly it was 4-2. This quickly turned to 5-2 with another simple mistake, and the game was pretty much all over.
The last ten minutes was played with ten man, after a lung bursting run from Emran at left back into the box left him clutching his ankle, but the whites at least did not concede any more.
Tough to lose, but some good early signs, and impressive resilience was something to take out of the game. Justin Kanga was Whites best on ground, causing problems all day for the Pembroke defence and a lovely goal that nearly inspired what would have been a memorable comeback.