Långholmen saved their best until last, overturning a 1-0 deficit with a spirited second half display against a talented Järla side. This result was the perfect demonstration of the stripes bouncebackability and means they can enter the Summer break with something positive to build on in August.
Despite the evening sunshine, the game did not start brightly for LFC who went behind after just 5 minutes. Långholmen keeper Ben spilled a routine cross into the path of the lanky Järla striker, and he ruthlessly punished the mistake. Too often this season the Stripes have wobbled after conceding goals, and the first half was really a case of just digging in and not letting the game slip away. So it became a scrappy affair, with both teams guilty of panic football – rushing and gifting away possession far too easily.
The game was not helped by a fussy referee who felt inclined to book several players for dissent and several more for innocuous looking challenges when perhaps a firm hand on the shoulder was all that was required. LFC playing in their Facebook Blue away kit did manage to steady the ship and put together some sustained pressure of their own – Wille Karlsson was very unlucky not to score following a nod down from Kenny. The same man causing problems for Järla down the left before a heavy collision with the keeper caused him to suffer a burst six-pack.
Järla are a talented side, and their position in the league table is wholly justified based on this evidence. They created a couple more gilt edged chances in the first period – only to be denied by a top class save from Ben and some rather desperate last ditch defending.
The Stripes management seemed keen to get their team in at the break and whatever was said certainly had the desired effect. A stiff upper lip was required – which is always easier said than done – and Långholmen powered out of the blocks, pressing higher up the pitch and dominating their opponents from the first whistle. The three changes were pivotal in the turnaround; Sammba was a constant threat upfront, Sullivan anchored the midfield and Öhman got plenty of joy out on the right.
Whenever the Stripes put four or five crisp passes together they caused Järla problems. Baydi flashed a shot just wide and the confidence seemed to flow from there. After 55 minutes the ball was worked smartly down the right, Kenny rolled the ball inside to Paul Sullivan who hit an unstoppable left foot drive that fizzed into the net. Game on.
Ten minutes later Harkness ran onto a perfectly weighted pass and waltzed around the fullback who was done all ends up and his clumsy challenge earned the Stripes a penalty. The stripes skipper took the penalty himself, which was saved at full stretch, only for Mattias Larsson to smash the rebound into the roof from a narrow angle. Cue Bebeto 1994 style celebrations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbhaDnd-5kg
The stripes were rampant after this, and Colm Kenny ‘wrecked’ the final quarter with a brace that will go down in Stripes legend. The first was a Colly Classic – executed in the sort of effortless style that we have grown accustomed to. With his back to goal, and several easier options to choose from, the big man rolled his marker and curled a beautiful left foot strike into the top left corner from 20 yards. The fans went berserk, and Kenny hurdled the advertising boards to hug the travelling support. The ref to his credit saw the funny side.
His second was even more unusual – put clean through down the inside right channel he took his shot early, completely baffling the keeper with a googly finish inside the near post. Never before have the poor kids at Järla witnessed a more obscene celebration involving Kenny, the corner flag and an unspecified sexual act.
Everyone was pretty exhausted after that, and the game was played out firmly by the stripes who showed their true character and ruthlessly closed out game. Success in this league is built on the team’s toughness as much as it is their ability, and LFC showed that they can fight for a result and win ugly when necessary. This second half performance should be a benchmark for the rest of the season.
Ben (GK); Philips (LB), Ahmed (D), Mcclelland (D), Sund (RB), Harkness© (CM), Larsson (RM), Burris (CM), Karlsson (LM), O’Sullivan (CF), Kenny (CF). Subs: Sammba (45), Öhman (45), Sullivan (45) Goldberg (75)
MOTM – King Colm Kenny; simply one of a kind.
Ref Watch – A bit fussy, but also consistent which is all we can ask for. 3/5.
Långholmen FC’s next league game of the season is on Friday 5th August at Björknäs IP against Boo IF – KO 20:00.
Hope to see you there.