On a balmy evening at Bollstanäs IP the handful of travelling home fans saw Långholmen FC put on a classy performance to kick-start their 2011 campaign. The Division 4 team outplaying their Division 3 opponents for long periods and made a very good team look rather ordinary by the end.
As is customary in the Stockholm cup the difference in leagues is negated by penalties, so bizarrely LFC were one nil up before the first whistle. Stripes midfielder Harkness coolly sending the keeper the wrong way and slotting the handicap penalty into the bottom left.
The game started at a furious pace with Långholmen having the better of a frantic first 15 minutes. But the young Bollstanäs team, comfortable in possession and dangerous going forwards, soon started to threaten. Chances opened up at both ends in a real ding-dong of a cup battle, with some niggly challenges bringing a flurry of yellow cards from the official.
Chris Allen and Samba both looked lively for Långholmen, before striker Colm Kenny struck first blood for the stripes five minutes before halftime. It was a scrappy one from a corner, but they all count. Kenny winning the first header, before roofing the rebound inside a crowded 6-yard box.
Three minutes later and more joy for the stripes supporters as captain Andrew O’Sullivan charged onto a loose ball in the box and smashed an unstoppable drive into the top right hand corner of the net.
3-0 at the break to LFC, and stand-in manager Stuart Lascelles looked like the cat who’d got the cream after a very solid team performance in the first 45 minutes.
But goals change football matches, and when Bollstanäs got behind the back four to pull a goal back after 10 minutes of the second half, things did not look quite so rosy for the Långholmen camp.
But spirit is something that defines the classic LFC team; and by closing off the supply to the wide men, knuckling down and winning their individual battles, the stripes closed out the win. The midfield pairing of Larsson and Harkness got better and better as the match progressed, and Bollstanäs simply ran out of ideas and patience in the end.
Stripes goal machine Samba bagged a brace in the last 20 minutes capping off a fine individual performance. The first was a very calm finish under pressure after centre-back Vilhelm Sund had crossed to the back post. His second, coming 5 minutes from time was drilled into the bottom corner after Billy Harkness robbed the ball in midfield and set him free down the inside right channel.
A fine team performance from Långholmen should be rated even higher considering the quality of this Bollstanäs team. These boys can play and have a very strong youth set-up which was demonstrated by them bringing on some 14 year olds for the last ten minutes – by which time the contest was dead and buried.
Distinction must go to the outstanding centre back pairing of Sund and Mcclelland, both of whom were rock solid all night. While yin and yang full backs Karlsson and Philips both passed a very difficult test on the flanks.
Kelly (GK); Karlsson (RB), Sund (CB), Mcclelland (CB), Phillips (LB), Harkness (CM), Larsson (CM), Samba (LM), Allen (RM), O’Sullivan© (CF), Kenny (CF). Subs: Bodini, Gralla (75), Hentmark (30).
MOTM – It’s a cliché, but this goes to the whole LFC squad tonight.
Ref Watch – Excellent game from the officials. Firm and fair. 4/5.
Korvguiden – Chairman Mats was certainly tucking them away 4/5.
Pitch Inspection – Top-notch facility, but the showers were broken. 2/5.
Waiting in the next round is a very juicy home draw against Division 2 Enskede IK. If Carlsberg did third round Stockholm cup matches…
Långoholmen’s first league game of the season is on Sunday 17th April at Essinge IP against Djurgårdsbrunn FC: KO 17:00. Hope to see you there!