With Christmas just behind us, and the Gafa celebrating his birthday, hopes in the stands were high for a good Boca performance. Unfortunately, the crowd were sent home disappointed. It didn’t take too long to go wrong with a number of errors leading to the opening goal. A ball was swung in from the left, a ball which Neil felt he had to deal with. His header however was poor, straight back into the danger area. It fell straight to the striker who calmly lobbed the ball over the keeper on the volley. Grech was left standing in no mans land on the six yard line and was easily beaten. It became clear after the match that he had called for the ball. If this is the case he needed to continue his movement forward and claim the ball, even if it meant taking Neil out. If not, stay on the line and attempt the save. He did neither leading to a soft opening goal.
Soon after it was two. A long ball was played over the top and allowed to bounce, a cardinal sin for a defense. The bounce caused problems and a moment of bad communication between Neil and Robin left the striker with an easy one on one. Again, a soft goal to concede. Boca were beginning to feel sorry for themselves, and it soon got worse. A corner came in from the left and easily headed in for a third. Robin later admitting it was his man who got away for the free header. Although not playing at all well, the opposition had hardly been great either but found themselves with a commanding lead due to the second rate defending.
The only positive from the first half came when Karl Balestrino was forced off with an injury. This allowed new signing Joe Borge to make his debut. His calmness on the ball and ability to keep possession was immediately noticed and despite not playing for much of the first half did enough to be one of the better players. Crawford was playing in a midfield role for the first time this season, and although his passing was not quite perfect, he did show signs that it might be his best position. Boca were 3-0 down at the break and many of the fans feared the worst in the second half.
TrevA Garcia came on at half time to make his first appearance of the season. The crowd attempted to lift the team to a better performance. Although by this time many were not expecting a win (with the exception of Mr Kainth, happily singing away with “were gonna win it 4-3”) they at least wanted an improved performance. The second half did start better, but soon disaster struck. A long ball was struck forward and Robert ran out of his goal towards the left. He got to the ball first and all that was needed was to tap it out for a throw to allow the defense to regroup. Insted, he seemed to just pass it directly to the striker who passed it into an empty net. The striker who had been booed repeatedly by the Boca crowd now had the last laugh. Grech with his second mistake of the game, and this time a massive one. I believe he has not taken up my advise in a previous blog that it might be time to start training, so now I have some more. Stay home! With the signing of Joe Borge, and the skipper performing admirably in goal last time out (Boca’s only clean sheet may i add) i feel its time for a change in goal, he’s had his chance.
By this point the crowd were beginning to look for ways to keep themselves entertained, and abusing the referee soon became a big hit. The ref to be fair deserved the stick. He hardly broke into a jog all match, let alone a sprint and choose the referee the entire game inside a 10 yard circle on the far side of the pitch, even if the ball was nowhere near. Added to the fact he is a manager for a different team in the league, it is beyond me how he was able to officiate. His appalling performance however did give the crowd arguably the highlight of the match. David Montegriffo easily winning shout of the match with “Ref, wanking makes you blind” A bit of comedy genius which had the crowd in stitches and even some of the players afforded a giggle.
The constant abuse of the officials did seem to have an affect however with Boca being awarded a penalty which can only be described as soft at best. Despite Nali’s 80 yard sprint forward to offer himself for the pen it was left to Seb Suarez who easily slotted the spot kick home. The crowd erupted, finally something to cheer. The confidence it gave the team was clear to see as soon after they strung together 8 or 10 passes in a row. May not sound much, but it was more that had been managed up to that point. Not long after the crowd were treated to a second, Mr Garcia beating the offside trap to slot past the keeper to add a second. Suddenly there was genuine hope of a comeback, could it actually happen? No. It ended 5-2 with yet more comical defending as a free kick was floated in and knocked in at the back post. Marking was nowhere to be seen.
Although some slight positives with Garcia back among the goals, Joe with his debut and a typically industrious performance from Adrian, the defending has to be a big concern. Neil must improve, with his pace especially causing concern. And well I’ve said my piece on the keeper. The unfortunate situation is that even with Joe singing, and being a keeper by trade, he is still one of the better outfield players. We would like to urge the Gaffa to stick to today’s 4-1-4-1 formation in order to attempt to retain better possession, and as repeatedly sang in the stands by today’s record attending crowd, wish him a very Happy Birthday, shame Boca could not provide the present he wished for. A special mention must also be given to the crowd, A record attendance today of 44 managed brave the cold and despite the poor display never stopped encouraging and cheering for the team, some top supporters, Forza Boca!