The firsts started off with great intensity against the Albanians and took the lead within the first few minutes, Kyle connecting at the far post to Eli’s excellent low cross. We continued to play spiritedly, but gave away some free-kicks as the Albanians stepped up their level of play. Eventually the pressure told and we conceded a penalty, which Ben came agonisingly close to saving. As the half wore on the Albanians continued to put us under pressure with quick and physical football – and frustratingly trying to influence the ref at every opportunity – winning the midfield battle until George dropped back to help out late in the half. We started the second half still playing five in midfield and managed to hold the Albanians at bay, catching them on the break on a couple of occasions. But, with about 20 minutes to go a cross from deep found the large and imposing Albanian striker open on the edge of the six yard box, and he headed in with great precision, leaving Ben with no chance. As we pushed men forward late in the game we gave up a third goal and had no chance of salvaging a point.
TEAM: Ben, Mike N, Paul, Pat W, Pat O, Danny, Shareif, Mike N, Eli, George, Kyle
SUBS: Dan Riz, Kwesi, Shane