Let’s be honest, this wasn’t pretty. But you know what they say about teams that win when they are not playing well. This was Långholmen at their gritty and resolute best; overturning a 1-0 deficit at half-time to win the battle 1-2. The Stripes squad depleted by injury and tired from 2 games already this week were looking down the barrel, but they stuck to their task and got the result that their hard work deserved.
Colonel Graham was marshalling the troops tonight and this result had his identity stamped all over it. Robust. Defiant. Hardworking and Honest. The lads deservedly pulled this one out of the fire with a display that could only be described as showing ‘real character’. If we could bottle that now infamous elixir called ‘Långholmen Spirit’ then without doubt we would all be sipping cocktails on a beach in Costa Rica; such is the quality of it’s vintage.
This was a tight and hostile match. Let’s make no mistake about it the Turkiska team are not mugs and they thoroughly enjoyed beating LFC on home soil earlier this season. Exposing the soft underbelly of a team in turmoil. But tonight they were outfought and outplayed and can have no complaints about the result, despite the tardiness of the final drama.
The first half was a scappy affair, with some meaty challenges combined with silky passing to entertain the locals. The home side took the lead after 22 minutes when a simple ball over the top caught the stripes defence square. Their bow legged winger raced onto the loose ball and clumsily lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper. 1-0.
Precision was lacking from the Stripes, who looked a little heavy legged at times after their exploits on Tuesday. Too many loose passes or heavy touches meant that the game lacked rhythm and the plum shaped Turkiska keeper did not have a save to make in the first 45. The stripes had seen enough to think that they could get a result, when a gorgeous move by Turkiska put their striker through on goal inside the box. His mishit shot rebounded off the inside of the post and across the goal line. Luckily the ball stayed out and LFC went into the dressing room only 1-0 down.
Orders were given at the break; the Stripes certainly looked hungrier in the second period as they gained the upper hand. The game became stretched, there were some unsavoury exchanges and a flurry of yellow cards as Turkiska used every trick in the book to disrupt play. Yet with 25 minutes gone in the second period the Stripes still lacked the killer ball to break down a stubborn defence.
Långholmen needed a moment of magic and it unexpectedly arrived from the left boot of Andrew O’Sullivan. Pulling down a cross from the right, and with his back to goal, he used one touch to steady himself before drilling back across the keeper and into the corner from the edge of the box. Unstoppable.
From this moment on the Stripes played with a ruthless expectancy of a team full of confidence. A smart move involving Luca, Allen and O’Sullivan put Sammba clean through moments later but he blasted over in what would be an eventful night for the youngster.
Bergström entered the fray with his signature gallop, bashing through challenges, thumping into headers, and intimidating people with his beard. He provided a foil for Harkness whose energetic defence and raking passes were causing problems for a tiring Turkiska.
There were some handbags, and the ref had his hands full dealing with both sets of players and the benches. One Turkiska player overstepped the mark with about 5 minutes to go and saw red for dissent. And unfortunately he missed the late drama that was about to unfold.
With only a couple of ticks left, Allen chased a lost cause and got behind the home defence. His collision with the keeper rebounded the ball into the path of O’Sullivan on the edge of the box. His first shot (or two) was smothered by the sprawling defenders, but he recollected the rebound inside the 6-yard box only to be chopped down. Stone wall PK.
Captain Harkness took responsibility for the penalty despite two previously unsuccessful attempts. His well placed side-foot was athletically saved high to the keepers left, and met with cheers and jeers from a relieved home crowd.
But what late drama as the resulting corner was swung in by Ohman and met powerfully by a charging Otis Burris. His first header was blocked but he made no mistake by roofing the rebound and circling off with shirt pulled over his head. Emotions running high; damn right they were.
LFC closed out the win, but an unnecessary fracas at the final whistle meant that Sammba collected a second yellow card and his marching orders. Långholmen meanwhile collected the points and can feel very content this evening nursing a 100% record since the break and a four game winning run. Buoyant.
Ben (GK); Thorell (LB), Ahmed (D), Mcclelland (D), Karlsson (RB), Harkness© (CM), Goldberg (RM), Burris (CM), O’Sullivan (LM), Sammba (CF), Allen (CF). Subs: Phillips (45), Bergström (60), Ohman (45)
MOTM – Billy Harkness; Courageous shift at the heart of the team.
Ref Watch – Handled the hostilities with droid like efficiency 4/5.
Långholmen FC’s next league game of the season is on Saturday 19th August at Essinge IP against Marieberg – KO 14:00.
Hope to see you there.