The return match against Celts was going to be a tight one. The first game was famous for a shocking first half and then a dominant second but without the luck to find the net. This time it was similar but different!
Having struggled defensively in the past few matches BEFC revisited the roles in the current formation and reminded themselves about certain key aspects of how it needed to work against quality opposition. And in many cases it worked well, showing a vast improved in stability than previous games and an increased capability in moving and bringing the ball up from the back. However this time it was the other end of the pitch that couldn't find the mojo, as the attacking force and transitions into the final third continued struggling for penetration and seemingly without a clear plan or purpose. The match looked to have 0 - 0 written all over it, until right after half time a free kick given on the edge of BEFC's box resulted in a direct freekick finding the back of the net largely assisted by the low flood lighting of the venue.
That upset put BEFC in the position of having to chase an equaliser on a day where goals were looking hard to come by. The match went very much the way of the former and in towards the final stages as the back three switched the ball, Palmer was quickly closed down by the Celts striker before he could clear away the ball. A foot race to the byline went down, as well as the Celts striker in the penalty box much to the frustration of Palmer as the referee pointed to the spot.
Despite his protests there were none from anyone else and this serves a good warning and key point for defenders: It does not matter what actually happened, what matters is what it looked like! So if a striker decides to grab you and then fall over it's going to look messy. Katori did excellently to get his hands on the penalty but could not keep the ball out and the match ended same as the one before.
It was a disappointing loss, although the team felt it had played well, certainly improving on the last match and getting better in a range of areas. Where they struggled was in the final third and much discussion was had about needing to have a clear strategy for attack rather than pure spontaneous guile and cunning. Where there definitely was a plan at work and starting to look much more oiled was at the back superbly marshalled by James Pounder who performed the key lynch-pin role as center of the back three. He dealt with countless threats as well as organised the unit to keep the formation fluid yet tight. Not only in defence, Pounder continually facilitated the build up and ball movement around the back line which especially in the early stages gave BEFC a smoother, quicker platform for initiating play. This makes James Pounder the Adecco BEFC Most Valuable Player versus Kanto Celts.