Just as the saying goes, you spend ages waiting for a bus and two will arrive in quick succession. The first win may have been a while in coming, the second however was not. Boca have 6 points out of the last 6 with a very hard fought win over Sporting. With a match day squad of 15, the starting 11 were as follows. Joe Borg started in goal, with Ely and Bear in front as the centre backs. Neil was at left back and Colin on the right. Bosh began the game on the right wing, with Weevs and Cumbo in the middle of the park. Crawford was a surprising starter on the left wing, and fresh off his hatrick Seb began up top with Makepeace. How would Crawford cope on the left wing? Would Cumbo make it to half time for once? The answers would soon follow.
The match started well initially. After a matter of minutes the ball was played into Makepeace after an attack down the right, however his shot was straight at the keeper. The start had Boca fans excited. Sporting were keen to spoil the party however and quickly quietened the crowd with their first attack. They attacked down their right flank and crossed the ball into the box. After a good block from the first shot the rebound fell to the edge of the box and was smashed into the top corner. Boca were a goal down after no more than 10 minutes, a worrying start.
Refreshingly Boca did not let their heads drop and pulled the scores level almost immediately. A good free kick was swung into the box and Bosh went up for the header. He completely missed, however his presence must have unnerved the keeper somewhat who also failed to clear. The ball bounced and Weevs pounced (poetic I know), sweeping the ball into the net on the swivel to equalize. Boca were looking confident and the most likely to find a second. The 30 minute mark passed and Sporting needed to make their first sub after an injury. Cumbo had out lasted someone! Fairy tale stuff. Boca continued to attack, Seb with a blocked shot when he might have played in Peace. Moments later Crawford did play Peace in when he may have been better shooting. Peace had his shot saved from a tight angle.
Soon another Sporting player was down injured and a second sub was made. A team seemingly made of biscuits. Could Boca actually be a fitter team? Just before half time the ball landed close to the Boca bench which gave the Boca fans their first chance to see the BellenD’Or himself. He left the bench to collect the ball and found himself greeted with the hostile reception he deserves. Boca were then on the attack again, some very neat holding of the ball by Cumbo followed by a great defense splitting pass from Weevs put Crawford in through the left channel. He won the free kick with was placed just over from Cumbo. Boca had one more half chance before the break as Makepeace closed down the last defender and blocked the clearance. He was just unable to make it to the ball in time however and the keeper managed to save after being well placed. Unlucky from Peace. It was 1-1 at the break.
The second half began and soon Boca made their first sub. Nali was on for Neil, a straight swap at left back. The second half began like the first ended with Boca in control. Bosh played arguably the ball of the match over the Sporting defense and Seb ran clear. With the last defender committed to closing him down he played the ball across to the open Makepeace. Peace found the keeper again with his shot however and it remained 1-1. Boca then won a corner and appeals went up for a hand ball in the box, the ref was having none of it. It was then Crawfords turn to play a wonderful ball over the top, clearly not wanting to get out done by Mr Bosh. Again Seb was running clear before being cynically brought down on the edge of the box by the last man. The crowd were screaming for the red, chants of “Off! Off! Off!” could be heard, but it was only yellow. Cumbo took the freekick staight into the wall.
Cumbo was then brutally taken out by a Sporting player, not even a yellow given. Not only had me made it past half time, he was looking a great bet for Man of the Match controlling the midfield. Boca then earned a throw in down the right hand side. Step up Boca’s Rory Delap. Makepeace with the long throw which found itself to Cumbo’s feet. He knocked the ball past the defender who could do nothing but trip him, penalty given! Would Nali make the sprint forward? Of course he would! Suarez however fresh off his hatrick stepped up. He powered the shot to the left and into the next. For only the second time his season, Boca were in the lead!
Sporting then seemed to take a page out of the Paul Scholes book of tackling. They became extremely dirty. No cards were giving though as you seemingly need to throw a Mike Tyson style left hook to the chin in Gib to receive a yellow. How you manage to get sent off is a mystery to me, but ask Weevs, he managed it! A lenient referee would be an understatement. Boca then made a couple of subs. Makepeace was off, Bellend was on. The boo’s rang out from the stands. Kuka then replaced Crawford on the left. At this point in the season Crawford is looking a very serious contender for the John O’Shea award.
It then turned into a very scrappy and nervy finish for the fans. The players seemed to be feeling the pressure also and began struggling to keep possession. Constant fouls were being given, could Boca hold on? They infact should of made it 3. The Bellend played Seb through again! Sporting clearly had not learnt any lessons and were being repeatedly caught by holding a high line. Suarez was through and just as he made it into the box brought down from behind. It was a certain penalty, a certain red card. Except it wasn’t. The referee waved play on, the linesman had failed to give it despite his great view. I think that’s what you call bottling it! The crowd were not best pleased. Boca survived a number of penalty claims themselves and soon saw the game out. A hard fought victory and a great 3 points!
I do however have one slight issue I did not quite understand. Boca had a match day squad of 15 players, meaning 4 were present on the bench. Bill and Robert were both in the stands with the fans, and both declared they were fit, which is what left me confused. Boca have at times struggled to get a bench at all and today, with two players fit, they were not selected for the bench. With Bellend and Kow (Or Rice, whichever you kids call him these days) both on the bench it had been decided Bill would not be needed. Where is the logic? What harm could be brought from having a full bench of 5, even if 3 are strikers? Lets face it, Bellend has the first touch and hold up play of a cabbage, its not his strength. Kow is not exactly the tallest either. Why not have the option of Bill on the bench if he is available? Why not Robert? As unlikely as it is if Joe had been injured then Ely would of had to play in goal, meaning someone having to take his place at CB. All sorts of disruptions to the team and all that with Robert sat in the stands. This after a very good game last time out, he may have felt unlucky not to start. Its a small gripe I know, but from a team who have struggled with options all season, not using a full bench when one was available seemed a strange decision.
The players who played however, well they did us proud. Especially this weeks Man of the Match sponsored by Kit Kat. Cumbo not only lasted the whole 90, but he was heavily involved in a lot of Boca’s good work and unanimously voted MOM by the fans. Congratulations, your Kit Kat’s on its way!
On a side not, I would also like to personally apologize for “El Fan de Boca” causing all sorts of confusion with inaccurate posts of incorrect scorelines. Not even present in the stands at the time he posted the score of 2-2. A typo has been blamed for the mishap. His intentions may have been good but maybe he should leave the posting to the professionals next time 🙂