Storm clouds were gathered over Träkvistavallen before this eagerly anticipated clash. The league leaders Ekerö IK have taken maximum points in 2011 and are yet to concede a goal – so the Stripes expected a tough game; but gave as good as they got to claim a point in a hard fought 0-0.
The first period was a rather scrappy affair. The teams circled each other like prizefighters feeling each other out for weaknesses. The stripes struggled to find the fluidity in their passing game but still managed to create chances over the top of the Ekerö defence. Twice the long diagonal ball beat the offside trap but both times the keeper was quick off his line to smother the danger.
Ekerö themselves had come to play, and they had the ball in the net once only for it to be disallowed for offside. Other than that though they rarely threatened as the Stripes defence calmly went about their business.
The second half had more bite to it; the tempo and temperature went up as both teams wrestled for the upper hand. The stripes had their best period of the match, forcing mistakes and looking dangerous on the counter. Långholmen were unlucky not to create more with Ekerö on the back foot. The referee forced to dig into his pocket following a sequence of cynical fouls as the home team broke up the attacks. Chances were few and far between and Ekerö came closest to breaking the deadlock when a shot from distance was deflected onto the post.
The turning point came after 70 minutes. The Ekerö #9, who had been making a nuisance of himself, manhandled Billy Harkness to the floor just as the stripes captain found himself goal side and in a dangerous position. It was a simple yellow card for the Ekerö man, but after a bit of handbags, the linesman got involved and between them they decided that Paul Sullivan had also sinned. It was his second yellow so he had to go and from then on the Stripes had to survive with 10 men.
With their backs to the wall, Långolmen did well to hang on. Ekerö made a couple of chances and will probably think that they should have made the extra man count; but the Stripes held their shape very well and defended willfully from front to back.
So an entertaining game ended goalless between two teams that both have promotion ambitions. The return fixture will be huge and the Stripes look forward to entertaining their black and white rivals on the 3rd of September.
Kelly (GK); Thorell (LB), Mcclelland (D), Sund (D), Phillips (RB), Burris (CM) Harkness© (CM), Larsson (CM), Baydi (LM), Allen (RM), Kenny (CF). Subs: O’Sullivan (30), Sullivan (30), Flavio (35)
MOTM – Erik Thorell. Composed and committed; A complete performance.
Ref Watch – The young man managed the game well but the sending off rather spoiled things 3/5.
Långholmen FC’s next league game of the season is on Saturday 21st May at Essinge IP against Vasasällskapet FK – KO 14:00
Hope to see you there.