Although a little rocky at times-particularly towards the finish-last night was far from a Hungarian Horror Show. Nor was it our best away performance in Europe,let’s not get carried away. In fact,it was a generally professional and efficient addition of three points to our tally,and it has guaranteed us a pop at European football after the New Year.
Whoopy-do,look out the passports!
I thought this was a really tremendous game of football,one which any neutral fan would have enjoyed. Coming as it did hot on the heels of the tripe served up on Saturday,where Livingston did their best to ensure football was stopped,or certainly denied the right to term itself entertainment,this was a largely enthralling match. Both sides knew what was at stake,and both sides played as if their lives depended on it.
From the off!
In fact,it only took us three minutes to go ahead,and it came out of nothing. That though does Abada a disservice. He has been struggling for form recently,but he pressed his defender,robbed him,played it into Kyogo around the penalty spot. A quick shimmie from the wee man gave him the space to stroke it home. Superb goal!
What was not so superb though was Abada’s part in the equaliser. He and Ralston tried to be too clever in the right back position,ball given away and spread across the pitch to enable a low cross into our box. Now,to be fair,I didn’t even know that Juranovic had a left foot,but he stuck it out to block,and the ball looped over Joe Hart and into the far corner. Ten minutes gone,all square.
The game then took on a slightly more physical aspect as both sides pressed early,not letting the opponents settle,but about halfway through the first period,Jota burst into life. Taking the ball wide on the left,he cut inside to the corner of the box and buried it into the near corner. Not much the keeper could do about it,particularly as the ball brushed the shoulder of an opponent on the way. And so it remained until half time,both teams looking for the opportunities and the other doing their bit to stop them.
Could the second half live up to that? Frankly,no. But it was still terrific end to end stuff. And we seemed to have put the game to bed on the hour when the move of the match doubled our advantage. DT carelessly lost the ball at a short corner but raced back to make the tackle and retrieve the ball at the halfway point. He fed Calmac who in turn fed Kyogo about 25 yards out. He played the most sublime of passes,perfect weight,inside the defender for Abada to run on to and finish in the far corner. A goal you could never tire of watching!
The reward for our goalscoring front three was to get the last twenty minutes of the night off,as they were replaced en masse by G-Mac,Jamesie and Johnston. I confess that the idea seemed a strange one to me at the time,and in truth it stopped our attacking plans in their tracks. The three have NEVER played together,and in fact any two have rarely been on the pitch at the same time. No matter,our loss of control which followed was inexplicable. The Hungarians came storming back into it,and with about ten minutes remaining,a poor pass from CalMac saw an attempted break by us lead to a goal for them. Johnson slipped as he tried to control it,the ball was fed to their left,and all our defenders stood watching as the ball was calmly placed into the corner from twenty yards.
Joe Hart was understandably livid! Gave them absolute pelters! We were now in a backs to the wall state,and with players going down like ninepins. However,we held on for a very important victory,and the three points gives us an outside chance of remaining in this tournament,though dropping into Conference play-offs seems more realistic.
I think we all knew what team AP would put out tonight,constrained as he is by injuries. I suspect though that the treatment table will be busier than normal over the next few days,with CCV and Welsh both looking as though they had picked up a strain,Bitton off injured and a few weary legs at the finish.
Let Sunday take care of itself,and we can relax for two weeks after that. Work on the fitness,and work on the routines,work on simply allowing the players to get to know each other. Rebus67 gave us a three-month “report card” the other day,and at this stage I would mark us as “Highly satisfactory,but can do much better”
I’d certainly have settled for that three months ago!!!
Above article by BMCUWP