It was an unusually early start for GAS on Saturday as they prepared to take on French opposition (mostly) again in the form of Red Star with most players arriving before the morning was out, unlike our opponents.
After such a comfortable victory last week the message was clear and more of the same was expected from the boys. GAS got off to a pretty good start and creating some good early chances, most notably a lovely flowing move ending with Julian curling a peach off the top of the bar. With the opposition rarely threatening the GAS back line the forwards continued to press forward and got the lead their early dominance deserved as danger man Julian drove forward down the left hand side and cooly lifted the ball over the keeper into the bottom right hand corner of the net. However, in applying the finish the left winger immediately pulled up and signaled to the bench that he was in trouble and all hope it’s nothing serious.
The midday heat continued to beat down and eventually took its toll on CM Tommy, who was still recovering from the Patong flu and was clearly suffering out there and had to be replaced. It was a bitter blow to lose 2 key players in such a game but those on the field battled on and went into the break deservedly 1-0 up.
The HT break provided a timely opportunity for a pep talk and some rehydration away from the blistering heat and some extra re-inforcements for the opposition.
With 2 players out there was a fair amount of reshuffling of the pack during the second half as Colombian export Oscar was brought in to sure up the defence and was doing a magnificent job marshalling their key attackers as Do was rarely troubled up until this point. However, around midway through the second half Red Star were gifted a chance to draw level as a lofted ball in from the right resulted in a rather soft penalty awarded and their forward stepped up to smash the ball home, despite Do getting a touch to the ball.
The boys were required to really dig deep now to try and stay in the game and get themselves back in front and had a great opportunity when Dominic played a lovely ball over the top and right winger John had a great chance to put them back in front but took too long on the ball and their defender got a toe in to stop the chance. Fortunately, moments later after another ball over the top, Philip was in on goal and this time their defender took him out instead of the ball and the 2nd penalty of the game went to GAS. Dominic immediately grabbed the ball and put it on the spot, before stepping up and sending the keeper the wrong way with a drilled finish into the bottom left corner. GAS back in front!
The final 10-15 minutes turned into a real battle and there were a number of scuffles in the middle of the pitch with their midfielder “Camara – definitely not his name” the instigator on a number of occasions and they were lucky to end with 11 men after a clear grab of the throat from their CM on Philip.
Despite one glorious chance at the end of the game for Red Star, the boys held on to win and kept up their winning run with a really hard fought 2-1 victory.
MOM – Oscar, with a solid display at the back!