On one of the first nice Sunday’s of the spring, the CPR Whites took on the lads from Lansdowne on Randall’s Island. Another must-win game for the squad in front of them, the Whites warmed up and prepared with zeal for the encounter. However, the enthusiasm exhibited in warm-ups and the team talk did not translate to the field as the Whites found themselves under pressure from the start. Lansdowne controlled the tempo from the whistle and it showed – deep balls into the channel resulted in the Whites midfield and defense on the backfoot. Sensing CPR chasing shadows, the opposition quickly took advantage with another testing long ball into Ben Lucki’s box. Lucki rushed out and made a nice tackle that appeared to be clean from everyone’s perspective except the referee, who pointed to the spot. The Irish converted to the White’s chagrin.
Despite the scoreline and the inequality in possession, CPR’s composure was maintained while their opposition continued to prod the Whites back line with testing deep balls. CPR did themselves few favors by giving the ball away cheaply when they did possess the rock, which allowed Lansdown to not only maintain the upper hand but continue testing the mental strength of the entire team. A cheap giveaway from midfield in CPR’s defensive third resulted in a quick counter, cross, and deflected finish that saw CPR down 0-2 in the first 25 minutes. A third Lansdowne goal quickly followed. CPR rebounded from the initial onslaught to close out the half down 0-3.
The team spirit that was exhibited in warm-ups but lost in the first half was quickly found during the half-time chat. This was evident throughout the second half as CPR dominated the game both physically and in possession. CPR’s spirit was evident as Lansdowne’s back line began to panic. The panic quickly turned into capitulation as the Whites turned their dominance into goals, bagging a quick tally via a well-worked play down the wing. Starting in the back, the ball found its way to Shane, who played it to Riso and then Eli. Eli whipped the ball across to the big fella George who followed his own advice for once – he can usually be heard yelling “get in the box” to those who are positioned well behind him – and got on to the end of the cross, where he finished well.
A second goal followed shortly after when Eli was played through for a one-on-one with the opposition’s GK. A quick shake and a calm strike saw CPR down 2-3 with 20 minutes to go. Lansdowne was very much under pressure now and had no answers for the Whites’ efforts. With their back line yelling “We’re being overrun,” CPR turned up the pressure even more and quickly found what they believed was the equalizer. A deep ball into the box saw Mike “Indiana Jones” Nelson get on his proverbial horse, race to the end line, and head the ball into the goalmouth where Kwesi slotted home. The ref and his trusty linesman found a way to negate the goal by calling for two different fouls – one an offside call and the other a handball.
CPR pushed on in search of the tying and winning goals but with no luck. Lansdowne saw out the scoreline despite CPR’s second-half domination. The White’s look to stem the tide when they take on the Pancyprian squad this Sunday.
Team: Ben Lucki, Shane Lennon, Nick Rudd, Mike Nieraeth, Mike Nelson, Andy West, Lasse Kokko, Charlie Fuentes, George Fenwick, Dan Riso, Kwesi Millsodoi; Subs: Eli Vovsha, Pat Ouckama, Paul Racines