Långholmen fought back bravely to level against Hässelby, but will ultimately be disappointed after a horribly sluggish start that gifted the visitors two goals. Stripes fans witnessed a Jekyll and Hyde performance at the rock, which began with almost embarrassing apathy, and ended with a fierce intensity that demonstrated quite what this team is capable of.
Kick off was bathed in June sunshine, and it was good to see so many faces down to cheer the team on. Unfortunately Långholmen started poorly and were particularly guilty of conceding possession too easily in their defensive third. Credit to Hässelby, they pressed hard in the first 20 minutes and physically dominated the opening period. Their first goal came from the penalty spot, after Ahmed clattered their nippy winger. The second was a scrappy affair, possibly a foul and most definitely a handball in the build up, both unseen by an inexperienced referee.
At two nil down after 20 minutes it was backs to the wall stuff. But football is a simple game; if you treasure possession, play smart and trust your teammates… more often than not you will get results.
Oscar and Hampus combined well and might have pulled one back if the final ball had been better on a couple of occasions. The midfield combo of Billy and Otis found a bit of rhythm. And Hässelby started to struggle to cope with the speed and movement of the Långholmen attack. They also looked wobbly at set pieces and so it emerged that this would be the source of much joy for the Stripes during the game.
Oscar Hentmark was the catalyst for the recovery, sending in a dipping strike from a free kick that took a wicked deflection. The ball looped up and over into the net leaving a baffled keeper stranded in no-man’s-land. It was a bit of a freak goal but no less than the Stripes deserved.
Approaching halftime the signs were looking good to salvage something from the game. The confidence was high, the chances were coming, and Långholmen had a foothold. Defensively though the half ended on a sour note when skipper Andy McClelland was handed a straight red card for a reckless lunge right in front of the referee.
Langholmen reorganised and made themselves difficult to breakdown. They also came out and played the second half with the type of grit and determination that epitomises so much of what is good about this football club, and the spirit that has contributed to so much success over the past ten years. The 10-men of Långholmen played out of their skins in the second period. Down the right hand side, Morales had a blinder, while Leo played stylishly on through an injury before being forced off after 65 minutes. Zak was a constant threat breaking forward to support the front man, and Hampus worked his socks off playing as a lone striker
After Billy Harkness had a free kick tipped onto the bar, Oscar struck again. This time his vicious cross into the box was diverted into the back of his own net by a peachy diving header; sadly for Hässelby it was executed by one of their own defenders.
Not satisfied with a point the Stripes went for the jugular, pushing forward with every opportunity. Naturally this left some gaps at the back and Chris Allen made one excellent stop 1-on-1, while another effort was deflected onto the top of bar and away. But overall Tim had a dominant half at centre back covering for Andy Mac, while Luca put in a Rolls Royce performance alongside him, mature and composed.
There was time left for one final guilt-edged opportunity in the dying minutes, but Zak could not quite find the connection he wanted inside the box after fine build up play, and the chance was gone. On another day, this would have been a glorious and justified winner. But it was not to be and the Långholmen had to settle for a point; but it was a point won, rather than two points dropped.
We hope the team continues in this vein for the crucial derby match against local rivals Krukan on Wednesday night at Zinkensdamm (KO 1900).
Allen (GK); Norwood (LB), Luca (D), Mcclelland © (D), Ahmed (LB), O’Sullivan (LM), Harkness (CM), Olsson (CM), Costa Eriksson (RF), Hentmark (CF), Håkansson (CF) Subs: Burris (25), Morales (25), McDonald (45)
MOTM – Oscar Hentmark; Instigated both goals with his cultured left foot.
Ref Watch – Hopefully a learning experience 3/5.