Halley battle but are beaten
Balham FC 4 Halley Football Academy 2
On a hot day we suffered from having no substitutes to call upon, especially as Eduard was suffering from a back strain. The pitch was bumpy and both teams struggled initially until Balham scored after ten minutes through a fine individual goal by their right winger. Halley equalised a minute later when Edmar’s superb curling free kick was deftly headed in by Tola.
Aaron was making some good runs on the left wing and good link-up play by Leon led to a shot by Tola. Balham, a powerful team near the top of the league, then got on top and went 2-1 ahead after a mix-up in our defence. We threatened to score again when Edmar put Aaron through on goal but the keeper saved. Then Aaron shot wide with an overhead kick. However, for the rest of the half Balham were in control and our defence looked shaky. Strong defending from Marembo prevented another goal, Balham hit the post and Abdi made two good saves. Then Balham scored from a penalty. Tola, Aaron and Leon all had further shots on goal but it was 3-1 at half-time.
Our defence was much tighter in the second half and the whole team was more competitive. Tola created a good chance for Moses but he shot over the bar, then Leon shot wide from outside the penalty area. We were now looking the better side. Marembo made an excellent run from his own half into the opposition’s penalty area but was shut out. Then a fine pass by Ramzi put in Edmar but his shot was saved.
Balham remained a threat on the break. Ramzi had to clear the ball off the goal-line after a goalmouth scramble and Abdi made another good save. Edmar was now making a lot of good runs at the Balham defence and a good passing move led to a fine shot by Aaron. We looked the team more likely to score but instead Balham made it 4-1, in unfortunate circumstances. Leon was fouled but the referee waved play on, Balham attacked and Marembo scored an own goal as he tried to clear the ball on the goal-line. Leon was then sent off for dissent. Just before the end, Edmar played in Aaron, who scored to make it 4-2.
Balham were the better side overall but it was good to see how well we competed in the second half. Our full-backs, Neilas and Ertac, did better against fast wingers and Ramzi was outstanding, covering the defenders and driving the team forward from midfield. There were some good individual performances in the match. Edmar played well, creating both goals, and Aaron was a constant threat, particularly in the first half from the left wing.
Man of the match was Marembo, for leading by example. He made numerous headed clearances, tackles and interceptions, holding the defence together when we were under pressure.
David Hawthorn – Teaching Assistant, Sixth Form