Azzurri Lose To Champions
By Raphael Frascogna
A threadbare ICA team taste defeat in the penultimate match of the season
ICA Sports FC match result, sponsored by Seven Hair and Body
Manager Frascogna commented:
Rather than focus on the scoreline this week, I'd like to reflect on the performances of the 11 players that made the trip to face the newly crowned champions:
1. Jamie Stephens... our goalkeeper had been signed-off work with an ankle injury for the preceding week and advised against taking part in any sport for a further week, but still pulled on the jersey for us. In possession though you wouldn't have been able to tell though and his distribution short and long was as good as ever.
2. Charlie Amato... a difficult task facing one of the league's best wingers, but he put in a man of the match performance, always positive in possession and never caught out of position through sheer hard work.
3. Nathan Fryar... still picking up fitness after a season of sparse appearances, but put in bags of effort and was able to affect the game more when switched into more of a sweeper position midway through the first half. Really pleased with the way he motivated and encouraged his teammates.
4. Ben Johnson... another player with only a few appearances under his belt this season and had a tough job against a busy centre containing two physical and experienced midfielders but didn't stop trying to affect the game throughout the 90 minutes & always looked to play good football.
5. Raphael Frascogna... with only 20 mins of football with the first team this season it was always going to be a tough one against such an accomplished side, but it gave me an opportunity to observe some of our players from a unique perspective.
6. Gareth Knowles... a strong match from Gareth, starting at CB then switching out to LB. A few 50/50 challenges from him kept the scoreline to just 4-0 at the interval. Great attitude today too.
7. Liam Oliver-Smith... this is only Liam's second game with us and he improved even more upon a strong performance in his debut and was positive in possession, always providing an outlet and linking well with his RB.
8. Giuliano Staffieri... a dogged performance from one of our senior players after a few games missing, rarely losing out in the 50/50s and trying to drive the team forward in possession.
9. Rob Ames... ploughed a lonely furrow up top, with lots of wayward final balls or long passes in the air, which don't get the best out of him. Rob's the first to admit he is a 20/25 minute impact player for us, so for him to complete 90 for us - especially after a smash to the ribs - showed character.
10. Benjamin Moore... captained the side and worked incessantly to try and get the team up the field, dropping deep to receive when the ball wasn't coming forward into the right areas. As expected, he saw less of the play when moved out left, but still put a strong shift in for the side and always looked to try and get the ball into advanced positions.
11. Hamza Akram... started out left in an unfamiliar role and was always showing to receive the ball, but put under constant pressure by a busy opposite number. When moved inside he did a good job of preventing the penetrative balls through the centre, until the team succumbed as a whole through tiredness towards the end of the 90.
Overall I am still proud of my group, even after a heavy defeat. I think how you behave in adversity is the measure of the man and we were there to form a guard of honour for Moulton before the game and then afterwards the lads waited and applauded the trophy presentation before getting changed.
There was nothing but positivity and encouragement for each other on the field during this game and that is something that can't be coached. With that effort and morale as a base and with some wise recruitment in key areas, I'm looking forward to July when we will prepare ourselves for what we expect to be a much better season.
We now shift our focus to Polonia this week with management team back alongside me and what I hope will be a full squad to try and finish the season on a high. They won't be a pushover though as we know they are a physically strong side and have shown they can score goals lately, so we have to expect to play a tough match.
The Azzurri make the short journey to Candy Street this Saturday for their final PDFL Premier Division of the season, with a 2pm kick-off. Click here for more details.