Bar FC managed to contrive yet another loss yesterday by snatching defeat from the jaws of an honourable draw with the last action of a very even contest.
We started under sunny skies against Factset Athletico FC (and the watchful eyes of Ward CJ in Eq, Lindsay J and other keen supporters) with the welcome return of prodigal sons Free and d'Arville strengthening a lineup weakened by the (late) withdrawals of Di Michael and Hogan Doran. Santucci was also a very welcome late inclusion, materialising to the the acting managers delight unexpectedly on the sideline midway through the first half.
Kuklik (in place of the injured Harris) started brilliantly in goals, coming off his line with aplomb to repel a couple of early raids. Free and d’Arville dominated the centre of the park, combining well with Rico and Monteith. The defence of Griscti, Covell, Boyle and Philips seemed to have things mostly under control, but let things slip after about 15 minutes to allow the opposition centre mid to run of and slip a nice shot past Kuklik to go 1-0 up.
So Bar FC was unlucky to be down 1-0 at half time. Santucci was strongly encouraged to get some goals and early in the second half he duly obliged, running on to a lovely through ball from Boyle (after some great passing play down the right starting with Covell) and calmly slotting a low shot past the holes opposing keeper. Back to a deserved 1-1.
Soon after, we went 2-1 down against the run of play when the referee rewarded an excellent Boyle tackle with a mystifying free kick on the edge of the box and our opponent’s playmaker calmly lofted a brilliantly free kick over the wall and into the top left corner - nothing Kuklik could do about that.
Bar FC responded well to this setback, and were quickly back on level terms with an OG from a defenders head following strong pressure from Santucci and Rico chasing down and bobbling cross/shot from Free. 2-2 after Bar FC had scored a second goal in a game for the first time this season, and at least a draw looked likely with the score remaining 2-2 until the very last minute.
One last hopeful punt downfield was expertly dealt with by Kuklik, who took out the opposing striker and the ball with a brilliant (but legal) full body challenge right on the edge of the area and sent the ball spinning out for a goal kick. With only a few seconds left, the added managerial responsibilities took their toll on a weary Captain Philips who managed for the first time all day to drag the ensuing goal kick lazily straight to the opposition striker who, unmarked on the edge of the box, managed to get round a valiant Kuklik and get a cross in to another unmarked player who, despite flailing efforts (i.e. deliberate handballs) by both Philips and Covell, was able to force the ball home with literally the last kick of the game to ensure Bar FC recorded another heartbreaking but undeserved loss.
Special mention must go to Covell and Kuklik who were lionhearted in defence and goals respectively, Free, Boyle and d’Arville who dominated the middle and Santucci for really pressuring the opposition defence.
With effort like this being displayed week in week out, Sir Alex still believes a win is not far away. Next weeks game is on Tuesday 13 June 2017 at 1.15 p.m. against Investors Mutual.