June 27, 2015 League 1 Ontario--ANB Futbol vs Oakville Blue Devils (from League 1 Ontario press release)
ANB Futbol 1 - Oakville Blue Devils 2 . Sun Jun 28 Written By: Staff, League1 In steady rain and gale force winds, Oakville Blue Devils and ANB Futbol squared off in men's matchweek nine play, with the Devils running out of ANB's home ground of Country Day School as worthy 2-1 victors, and padding their lead at the top of the table to six points. "The weather conditions were terrible – wind, rain, and cold throughout the entire match made controlling the ball and playing the ANB system of possession play very difficult," admitted ANB assistant coach, Marcelo Almeida. "OBD pressed the entire the match and although we broke through a few times, we could not capitalize on the opportunities presented to the team." Under pressure from the greasy surface and unfavourable conditions, both teams were susceptible to causing turnovers from mis-timed touches or unpredictable bounces, and the match quickly became a contest of high pressure defence and opportunistic counter-attacks. Blue Devils were the first to blink, as a move down their left flank resulted in Anthony Novak being stripped of the ball and, although the Devils briefly regained possession, an inaccurate square pass was picked off by ANB, pushed quickly down the field, and then laid into the centre for Blake Jones. From 20 yards out, Jones pivoted, turned, and slammed the opener into the top left corner of the net. It looked like an upset was in the cards. However, Blue Devils wasted no time figuring out a reply. Only a minute later, the Devils simply played the ball wide to Tyler Wason, who knocked a diagonal ball over the top for Anthony Novak to run onto and finish simply into the bottom of the ANB net. Eight minutes played, and 1-1 on the scoreboard. "The first being a wonderfully struck left foot shot from outside the box, into the roof of our net by former Toronto Lynx Academy captain Blake Jones, to give ANB an early 1-0 lead," said Oakville head coach, Duncan Wilde. "My team responded one minute later with an excellent sequence of play, finished off by the returning Anthony Novak to level the game after only eight minutes." Proceedings then settled into an obvious pattern. As the ever possessive-minded ANB attempted to play out of the back, Blue Devils harried and chased their opponents, forcing quick decisions. Although ANB was often up to the task, completed passes into the forwards were regularly chewed up by the Oakville defence. ANB forwards appeared prone to hesitation, appearing unsure of whether to dribble, hold-up, or direct play into the wide channels. In the end, they often did neither, as double Blue Devils' marks closed time and space rapidly, and with aggression. Oakville did not suffer from a similar disposition in possession. Constantly looking to turn the ANB defenders with quick vertical play, the strategy paid off in the 31st minute as a simple defensive clearance duped both centre-backs - Shiquan Lowe and Michael Calder - breaking nicely to Oakville's Felice Vilela, who calmly stroked a second tally for the visitors into the low left corner. Similar indecisveness appeared in the 40th minute, as Lowe hesitated under pressure to play a forward pass, instead turning back and laying a poor backpass directly into the path of an onrushing Wason. His breakaway was prematurely halted 35 yards away from net by the sliding block of ANB netminder Praveen Ahilan. Blue Devils' bench were livid with the lack of a call on an alleged Ahilan hand-ball, and play continued to the interval. "GK Praveen Ahilan made some outstanding saves, especially in the second half, to keep ANB in the hunt for a tying goal," said Almeida. "He dove at feet, tipped balls over the bar, and challenged to stop 1 v 1 opportunities." Ahilan certainly would feature prominently in the second half, as the game stretched with both sides attempting to hit on the break, and the ANB keeper would also have to palm away a Gary Giffin free on fifty-five minutes that was arcing inside the upper right of the goalframe. The goalframe had already proven to be his best friend in the fifty-fourth minute, as Oakville's Al James shaped a beautiful outside of the left boot strike that left Ahilan rooted in position, only to slam directly into the left-hand post. "Another solid second half performance on the road secured the three points and to be fair, we could have scored more if not for some excellent goalkeeping by the ANB GK, and a wonderful effort from Al James coming back off the post," said Wilde. "We worked hard in training this week to prepare for what we knew about ANB." ANB striker Brandon Mills and Oakville's Tyler Wason had back-to-back shots on target stopped by the respective keepers in the sixty-fourth minute, with Oakville's Karman Saini eager to show he wouldn't be upstaged by his ANB counterpart. Mills would have a glorious chance on seventy-three minutes, after a quick ANB counter and ball across the face of the Devils' net took Saini out of the play and left Mills with a tap-in; incredibly, the resulting effort went high and wide. Although ANB would gather a certain amount of momentum, Oakville were resolute on defence and saw out a narrow, workmanlike, result in the second half. "This was a vital road win for us and the three points now opens up a little more room at the top of the table," added Wilde. "I am extremely pleased in the way we went about our business, particularly with the immediate response to going a goal down so early in the game."
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