Temple Rangers F.C. 6 Queen’s University IIs 4

Queen’s struggle to pick themselves up from last week’s defeat to miss out on a potential three points against Temple Rangers FC.

Queen’s turned up to Langley Road Playing Fields around lunchtime on a sunny, yet crisp, autumnal October Saturday, the leaves on the trees were turning brown and scattered around the pitch which was situated directly below the changing rooms in a slight valley – an idyllic setting for a football match I’m sure you’ll agree.

With the players maintaining the professionalism that is so synonymous with QUBAFC, they all turned up on time and adorning their Queen’s Football Club gear, an intimidating sight for any team to bear witness. Continuing on the players’ and managements’ professionalism, the away team were obviously the first to be changed and warmed up, looking fit and ready and raring to go; their passing was slick and work ethic, as always, top notch. Despite this, as I will explain, Saturday 24th October was not to be QUBAFC’s redeeming grace they so desperately deserved after a disappointing loss the previous

Luke Ogilvie (a.k.a The Gaffer) had the boys well trained and well drilled, each player in their respective positions knew exactly what role they were to play, what they were to do in this position and how best they could achieve their goal. Ogilvie opted this week for a slightly different approach to the game; playing a 3-4-3 formation:-

GK – Tom Empsall                             Subs:-
LB – Hugh Maguire                          Hugh O’Connor
CB – Eoin Watts                               Eoghan Maguire
RB – John Nutman                           Fintan Devine
LWB – Robin Renshaw
RWB – Matty Andrews
ST – Anthony Abladey
CF – Jason McDermott
ST – Tomás Diamond

The game was poised to be a great spectacle for the neutral and a tough fought game, with spoils of victory going to who wanted it more and out-battling the other team in terms of physicality and football. From the first whistle QUBAFC looked to assert their confidence on the pitch and indeed for the first third of the first half Queen’s did see some joy from their classic brand of stylish football and quick passing – especially down the left wing and left channel with Anthony Abladey’s pace and forethought proving difficult for the Temple defence to handle. With the addition of Robin Renshaw putting a terrier like shift in at wing back and making runs along with Anthony Queen’s were in a comfortable position with creating a lot of chances, however, that illusive opening goal seemed to escape their grasp. Especially due to the fact that the opening goal unfortunately fell to the opposition; Temple picked up the ball in the midfield/advanced full back role and floated a lovely Crossfield ball which was brought down by their right back and Renshaw narrowly missed the ball as the winger touched the ball down, after which he slipped a clever, perfectly paced ball behind the defence and despite Eoin Watts heroic last ditch sliding tackle the shot narrowly avoided Empsall’s gloves.

Temple were indeed 1-0 up at this point however the University team were not phased or panicked by going a goal down and continued to try and play football and again got quite a lot joy with a lot of chances falling to them but they just couldn’t capitalise on them. Temple equally had their fair share of chances and did indeed play some good, slick football, as such it is no wonder that in such a finely based half Temple scored once again. The score now 2-0 and the end of the half is drawing ever closer – Queen’s know they need a goal before half-time to stay in the game and go into the changing rooms with the wind in their sails as opposed to Temple’s. Thus far, the away side “upped the ante” and pressed for that goal which had eluded them during this half – up step Tomás Diamond to slot home for the boys from the “Big Smoke”, a lovely passage of play involving the back three, the midfield four and the attacking three was finished off after Abladey slipped a naughty little ball through into Diamond’s path. Diamond pulls the trigger and the ball ripples the back of net, pick that one out of the onion bag as my old man used to say!

The half-time whistle follows shortly after and the Uni boys flock to the changing rooms where Ogilvie and Boyd were to dish out their orders and tell the lads what they needed to do to get back to their winning ways. The second half comes and again it is quite an open game with both sides creating chances, however, this half’s first goal was to be scored by the away team, Matty Andrews. The ball was played back to our very own Xabi Alonso in Jack Homan and he played a superb, penetrating ball into that channel every defender hates (just between the full back and centre back), Andrews showed his pace to get to the ball and slot home for the boys equaliser – a ‘John Barnes-esque goal’ as Assistant Manager Niall Boyd described it after the game.

However, not one’s to take a goal lying down Temple once again came out of the blocks and really started applying a lot of pressure and were intent on levelling the game. There consistent pressing and excellent work rate led to a move from Queen’s breaking down and Temple found themselves with a bit of space in which to strike for goal and indeed that is exactly what they did, with a midfielder letting fly from twenty-five yards plus to finish on the bottom corner. A goal the Southampton legend and long shot extraordinaire that was Matt Le Tissier would have been proud of.

Similarly, Queen’s pressing having just as intense a work ethic as their opponents and not wanting to lose a second game on the bounce they “dug their heels in” and equalised once again. The goal coming as a result of their penetrating play which ultimately lead to Temple conceding a corner, as such Eoin Watts – a regular in the box during set pieces – stepped up to the plate and did what needed to be done. Watts showed great strength to hold off his marker and great skill to gamble and judge the ball floated in by Tomás to cool and calmly tuck a first time volley away down to the left hand side of the keeper. Truly a Trevor Sinclair-esque goal, great skill shown by the big centre back.

Nonetheless, as the aforementioned score will reveal, QUBAFC were unable to hold out against a good Temple Rangers FC who were obviously up for the game and were also equally as well drilled and trained. The remaining three goals were goals of the highest quality showing the vast array of skills and attributes the Temple players had – one a well-timed and precisely aimed header, another a dangerous ball into the corridor of uncertainty whipped in from the right hand side and the other coming from good pressing and hounding on Temple’s part, a running rhetoric of this game. There was also another goal in the locker for Queen’s coming once again from Matty Andrews buring it in the bottom left corner across the keeper.

Next week will hopefully see a turnaround in Queen’s fortunes and see them getting back to their winning ways once again. Well done to both teams, especially Temple Rangers FC who were in the end deserved winners.

Next Game –
Sat 31 Oct 2015, NAFL Division 2B, Drumbo F.C.
KO 2:00pm – Home