UNITED DROWNED OUT IN RĒZEKNE
04 / 09 / 2016
Justin Walley and the team were left frustrated after losing 2-0.
Date published: 04/09/2016 - 22:23
Rēzeknes BJSS/VRS Optimists R. 2-0 Riga United FC
The game was played in horrendous weather conditions as the heavens opened from start-to-finish. The mood after the game was a mixture of frustration, annoyance but a lot of pride as Riga United, despite being the better team, left Rēzekne losing 2-0. This means both teams go into the last game of the season both needing a result against the top sides. Riga United are ahead in the league on goal difference and currently occupy third place.
“Yes, we should have put the game to bed in the first 30 minutes but when things turned bad for us, the whole team kept going and made sure we kept it to a 2-0 defeat. Hopefully it is going to be enough to secure us a third place finish at the end of the season.” said manager Justin Walley reflecting on yesterday’s game.
United, due to a lack of missing players for various reasons, managed to come to Rēzekne with just enough and field 11. Without substitutes and poor conditions, as a team they can be proud. The commitment shown from start to finish was outstanding.
They played some very good football for long periods of the game and in the first half should have scored on a few occasions. Both Liene Vāciete and Linda Kazlauska going close in the first half an hour. But the football on display was good. The passing and build up was decent and transitioning looked very good at points. However, United lost some of their composure in the last 15 minutes and Rēzekne were able to start finding their way in the game.
They stretched the play and started to develop their football down the wings. In their only shot on target of the half, they managed to score. In the 42nd minute, after a well worked passing move, they crossed the ball in and the Rēzekne player, free and unmarked, was able to head a soft shot in the net.
Justin Walley was left frustrated at half time: “How we weren't leading at half time after creating so many goal scoring opportunities was beyond me. I have rarely felt so frustrated during my time as a coach. They had one chance in the first 45 and scored it, just before the break.”
“At half time we talked about the need to keep going for the whole 90 because if even if we lost, we knew we can still finish third in the league on superior goal difference over the season.”
In the second half, United opened up the first five minutes as the stronger team. They kept the pressure on and communicated well. After that, they went quiet and started disappearing in the game. Some players had given up after losing the ball and passes started going awry. In the 52nd minute, a second goal was conceded from a long-range effort.
Despite the scoreline though, as a team United “stayed the course” and kept on trying to get something from this game. They were unlucky not to get penalties on two occasions in the second half. The first one; Marte Gronvold had turned the player beautifully on the edge of the area, got inside and was about to cross when she was clearly hacked down but the referee seemed to have other ideas. The second time happened after great pressure to get the ball in the area, a United player was clearly pulled on the back of the shirt, impeding her from getting to the ball near the goal.
Despite the best efforts though, United didn’t have the legs or the ideas to get the ball forward enough and with Rēzekne content just to pressure the players and sit back, there was no way through and ended United’s run of consecutive wins.
This is what Justin Walley had to say after the game, about the second half: “When we went 2-0 down I feared for us. Half the girls hadn't played a competitive match in a couple of months and it was clear that some of their legs had gone. Rezekne also looked really hungry and they suddenly had the self belief. But we kept plugging away with the eleven players that travelled and how the ref hasn't given us the penalty for the 100% blatant foul on Marte Gronvold, I will never know. But the same player has cleared one of the line for us and Evelīna [Romanova] made a couple of great saves late on to keep the score at 2-0.”
Player of the Match: Marte Gronvold. She was asked to do a tough job on the wing for 90 minutes but rose to the challenge. She was unlucky not to get a penalty after a clear foul and did exceptionally well to clear the ball of the line from a corner. She showed some great skill on the ball.