It’s a funny old game. Skå IK entertained a threadbare Stripes squad on their beautiful grass pitch in Ekerö. This ground, out past the Royal Palace, has classic wood panelled changing rooms lined with the trophies of Skå’s past victories – and the game is traditionally a tough, physical affair against the elements and Skå’s direct style of football.
It is long ball from Skå really… or negative positive football, as we like to call it. It’s effective, but not particularly attractive. But if it works, and gets results then who are we to fault them with it. The big grass pitch and swirling wind makes them favourites at home, but on this occasion the Stripes will be kicking themselves for not taking all three points home.
Långholmen fielded a patchwork squad following injuries, suspensions and last minute absentees, and welcomed back Mattias Larsson into the fray. The little general slotted into centre back; fizzing the ball around and looking very comfortable after a few months out of the game.
Welcome also to Vasile, our new Romanian centre-back who filled the bench by himself. Manager Lascelles had to play in goal while Robbie Graham rolled back the years with a bustling performance in the Stripes engine room. Lascelles the cat had a Weston Super in the warm-up but didn’t put a foot wrong during the match.
The Stripes, playing with the wind and slope, controlled the game in the first half and deserved their lead at half-time. Chris Allen again showing all the skills that Ipswich Town are missing when he clipped a left foot peach in off the post from 20 yards.
But a one goal lead is never safe. The Skå keeper played a blinder; making a string of top reaction saves to keep his side in the game and then provided the assist for the equaliser. His long punt downfield (wind + slope) was allowed to bounce and the home striker was able to steal in behind the LFC defence.
At 1:1, the Stripes pressed hard for an equaliser. Allen and O’Sullivan both went close, but it was super-sub Vasile who grabbed the headlines. The big defender was thrown on up-front for the last ten minutes and his enthusiasm was rewarded when he latched onto a perfect cross from Otis to nod home with less than 3 minutes left on the clock.
And that should have been that. A deserved 3 points and all back to the Southside for the chips of victory. But no, the Stripes needlessly conceded an injury-time corner which was duly converted by an unmarked attacker at the back post. So, heartache for the loyal travelling fans who watch the Stripes lose a draw – but it’s not such a bad away draw really against a negative positive team that has beaten both the league leaders at this ground this season. Onwards and upwards.
Lascelles (GK); Phillips (LB), Larsson (D), Mcclelland (D), Thorell (RB), Sullivan (CM), McConnell (LM), Harkness © (RM), Graham (CM), O’Sullivan (CF), Allen (CF). Subs: Burris (75), Vasile (80)
MOTM – Erik Thorell; An old head on young shoulders.
Ref Watch At least he was consistent. 3/5.