A lovely evening turned sour for the Stripes when they conceded late on in a hard fought encounter down at the Rock. A young Järla side showed good spirit throughout and deserve credit for their victory, but Långholmen will be disappointed that they let the points slip through their fingers after clawing their way back into the match.
The Stripes started well in an eventful first 20 minutes. The tempo and passing was good and Långholmen looked the more threatening side; but a long diagonal ball over the top caught the LFC defence square and the tricky right winger for Järla went through on goal. He scuffed his shot wide but Ben caught him late and the ref had little option but to point to the spot. The penalty was dispatched with ease into the bottom left to put the away side in the driving seat.
Only two minutes later and the same searching ball over the top sprung the LFC offside trap again. The same winger sprinted through on goal only for Batman to tumble through the back of him and save the day. Unfortunately it was another penalty and probably a red card, but the Argentinean referee had obviously seen much worse on the back streets of Buenos Aires and only issued a yellow. Bizarrely Järla changed their penalty taker, and this time Ben made an excellent save diving high to his right to parry the ball wide. Reminiscent of Dave Beasant’s against Ian Rush in the 1998 FA Cup Final. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgUJYQKZA0U (minus the hair).
The Stripes were under the cosh for a while after this, and did well to steady the ship. A couple of decent chances came their way with both Sammba and Allen looking dangerous on the counter. O’Sullivan had the best chance of the first half when a lovely dummy from Allen put him clean through on goal; the Järla keeper stood up well to save when the striker looked destined to score.
The half-time whistle brought some respite and LFC made a couple of tactical changes to try to turn the game around. These almost had an instant effect as the Stripes started to dominate the second half. Järla lost their rhythm and control of the centre of the park and the Stripes flooded forward in search of an equaliser. Sammba, who had a superb game all round, was denied by a fingertip save as the pressure mounted.
The Stripes equaliser was moment of class. Luca Ohman showing great dexterity for a big man to dazzle a couple of defenders before feeding Hentmark on the edge of the box. Despite preferring his left foot, he took a touch a cracked a right foot dipper that pinged in off the underside of the bar. Phenomenal.
Långholmen were in the ascendancy after that and pushed hard for the winner, knowing that a draw would probably not be enough for them to challenge the league leaders. And the winner almost arrived from a set piece, Sullivan curling in a peach of a cross, which Allen nodded just over.
Sadly for LFC, the footballing gods were smiling on the young guns of Järla and with four minutes remaining they carved out a rare shooting chance from the edge of the box. The shot was not struck cleanly and what looked like a routine save for Ben somehow squeezed inside the near post and into the net. Tragic.
But Långholmen have been on a good run, they have managed to recapture the form and sense of belief that had been lacking the early part of the season and with some fortune and a stronger bench they might well have earned all three points again here tonight. Bigger challenges await, and who knows, the Stripes might even do Järla a favour before the end of the season.
Ben (GK); Thorell (LB), Thornley (D), Mcclelland (D), Karlsson (RB), Sullivan (CM), Ohman (RM), Burris (CM), O’Sullivan © (LM), Sammba (CF), Allen (CF). Subs: Phillips (6), Hentmark (45), Graham
MOTM – Baydi Sammba Sowe; A potent combination of power and pace.
Ref Watch – Talked to the players and got the big decisions right(ish). 3/5.
Långholmen FC’s next league game of the season is on Monday 29th August at Stadshagen IP against Vasasällskapet FK – KO 20:00.
Hope to see you there.