1st XI v FC CLERMONT FONTAINE DU BAC
29th OCTOBER 2011
No - you aren't seeing things. This is twice in a week that you are seeing Pionsat's 1st XI at home against Clermont Fontaine. Last week was in the league, and this week we are playing them in the Cup. And it isn't the same team that we saw last week. This is their 1st XI, who play at a couple of divisions higher than Pionsat.
I was late arriving at the ground this evening, but so were Clermont and so I didn't miss anything. In fact it was very nice of them to hold up the start until I arrived.
First thing that I noticed was no substitutes - and that applies for both sides this evening. And Pionsat's team is something of a makeshift affair. Julien, who has been playing so well in the centre of defence and who has been something of a revelation this season, he's out injured. His brother, who normally plays in the centre of defence for the 2nd XI, is playing right back. There's no Gaëtan at left back, and his place is taken the other Gaëtan who normally plays just in front of the back four in the 2nd XI.
Up front, there's no Jerome and so Thomas starts on the right wing, and on the left wing in Michael, he who impressed me last week. It seems that Matthieu isn't available either.
Early on in the game Clermont open the scoring in an action that catches everyone by surprise, including Matthieu in goal and also Yours Truly. It stems from a cross from the left side of Pionsat's defence that is headed away cleanly by one of the central defenders. He puts it about 30 yards out as well, but it falls kindly to one of their midfielders who catches the ball in the air with his foot and lifts it up over everyone, including Matthieu, into the far corner of the net.
Nothing really that anyone could have done about that unfortunately. What a depressing way to start the match.
And as the match progresses, it's clear that the absence of Julien in central defence is going to be quite important. It's nothing like as solid as it was in previous matches and already Clermont have gone straight through it a couple of times.
There's another break through the centre of the Pionsat defence. This might be the third or fourth time that they have gone straight through it. This time the shot is wll on target and Matthieu has to be at his very best to get to that one and push it around the post for a corner.
This, I reckon, may well be the story of the match this evening if Pionsat don't concentrate in there. It's looking rather onimous.
But Pionsat equalise with a free kick a few minutes later. It's about 25 yards out and with no Matthieu this evening Cedric takes it and puts a beautiful curler right around the wall, right into the corner of the net with the keeper not all that far away.
Still, a miss is as good as a mile, so they say, and Pionsat deserve to be on level terms again as Clermont's goal was rather fortunate and Pionsat have been working hard to get back into the match.
But the rejoicing doesn't last all that long, and Pionsat fall behind once more. And it's rather a tragic cirumstance this one because it all stems from a Pionsat free kick upfield that was intercepted by Clermont's defence in their own penalty area.
It takes just three long kicks downfield by the Clermont players and it ends up in the back of the Pionsat net, with no central defence around to stop it. It is looking all rather ominous this evening.
And Cedric almost scores there with yet another one of his curling free kicks, right round the edge of the wall yet again. And he hits them with incredible force because this one clanged off the post with a noise that could have been heard back in Clermont Ferrand, with the keeper just standing there watching it.
What is really nice to see is that there are no less than three Pionsat players running in on the ball and one of them makes the rebound off the post but knocks it wide of the post.
It wouldn't have counted anyway as the linesman flags for offside.
"Who?" shouted one of the attackers
"all three of you" shouted back the linesman
Still, it's nice for a change to see the forwards following the ball in. Now all they need to do is to work on the timing.
A few minutes later, there is something of a cunfusion on the field. Cedric has the ball and is racing through the defence when the linesman flags for a foul or something. Cedric, seeing the flag go up and thinking that it might have been for offside, stops in his stride to complain to the linesman that he was never offside.
This makes something of a change because normally we have the Pionsat defence stopping play thinking that they have caught the opposition forwards offside, and thus letting the attackers have a clear run at goal when the linesman waves "play on" (and we had one of these this evening as well, the first of the season for the 1st XI if I remember rightly). Play to the whistle, Pionsat!
And at the start of the second half, Pionsat almost equalise. And that's a shame as they deserve to be back on level terms. They were getting into their stride at the end of the first half.
It's a free kick out on the right wing, played hard into the area and although the keeper gets his hands to the ball he can only parry it out and Thomas, running in, lets go a first time shot but it sails, with some force I have to say, right into the arms of the keeper who manages to hang on this time.
I've noticed now on a couple of occasions that this keeper's handling is not what it should be for someone at his level of the game. That's a couple of shots now that he's spilled out or fumbled, and Pionsat need to be on the lookout for some half-chances that come from this sort of occasion.
And Pionsat pull back into the game and it's Michael playing on the left wing who puts the ball in the net. He's quite pleased about that as you can see, and the Clermont defenders are holding something of an inquisition about that.
It's Pionsat's turn to go for the long ball down the field and two or three Pionsat players hustle around just outside the area with the ball before it's passed out to Michael who this time is on the right side of the area. He barges his way into the area past a couple of defenders, and it's good to see someone in the Pionsat side being physical in the right kind of manner, and has a shot at goal.
His shot though, although it's out of reach of the keeper, is hit with no real force and it's soooooooooooo sloooowwwwwwwwww going across the face of the goal. It hits the post and gently trickles into the net. It seemed as if it took a week for that ball to go in and everyone stood around watching it instead of running after it, but they all count.
And as you might expect, this parity doesn't last too long and it's Clermont who go back into the lead again. They win the ball from Pionsat's attack on the corner of their own penalty area and it's another one of these really long balls out of defence and down the field.
It finds its way to the left corner of the Pionsat penalty area where the winger shrugs off a tackle and drives it in across the goal into the far corner.
This match is evenly poised and evenly balanced and for a neutral spectator it would be a really exciting match. I'm enjoying it tremendously and I have all the reason to be cheerful as within minutes Pionsat are back on level terms.
There's a handball by a Clermont player just outside his own area that was, I suppose, more of a case of "ball to hand" rather than "had to ball", although it did deny Pionsat an advantage up front.
Anyway, no matter. It was another Cedric screamer around the wall and into the corner off the inside of the far post, with the packed defence all watching the ball. But notice the Pionsat forward on the far post. If that ball had rebounded out from the post he would have been in a good position to pounce on it. It's nice to see this.
And with just a handful or so of minutes left, the next goal is scored by Pionsat and for the first time in the match they go in front and rightly so, because they have been the more inventive side.
This time it's Pierre who chisels his way through the pack of defenders on the right wing once he gets the ball from his colleagues in the centre of the penalty area. When he arrives at the corner of the area he just lets one go and that ball had "goal" written all over it from the moment that Pierre picked it up.
We could be in for an exciting finish here.
And I might be right as well. Jojo has just missed a sitter from the centre of the penalty area, curling one wide of the post with the goal right in front of him and just seconds later, Thomas is clean through but lets the ball run behind him and his fancy footwork lets him down with just the keeper to beat.
And noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. they equalise from what can only be described as a Pionsat disaster with just seconds to go.
Pionsat's attack has the ball and one of the players takes it down to the corner flag to sit on it and ride out the end of the match. But he loses possession here, and the ball is quickly kicked right upfield. A Pionsat defender, about 20 yards from his own goal line, is the first to reach the loose ball and goes to whack it back upfield.
He kicks it, instead of upfield, straight into the midriff of one of two Clermont players bearing down on him, and the rebound falls nicely to the other Clermont player who is on his own in the centre of the field with just Matthieu to beat.
And that is that. No wonded a Pionsat defender has his head in his hands.
And it's worse, straight from the kick-off. Clermont go back in front, and we must be in stoppage time by now. It's a free kick in the left-back position for Pionsat and with just Thomas in the wall, the winger curls it into the penalty area.
This high ball goes into the area unchallenged and an unmarked Clermont attacker has a free header into the net, and this game has been turned in its head in 30 seconds of madness. Pionsat's cup run has just come off the rails.
And so what can you say about this match? Pionsat had so many chances to win this match, and win it comfortably too, but lose it to three long balls out of the Clermont penalty area that the defence can't deal with.
What this match does do is to demonstrate to Pionsat the necessity of direct action rather than messing around. Fancy footwork cost Pionsat a couple of goals; wasting time at the corner flag instead of playing the ball into the penalty area cost them another; three long balls out of defence to break up three Pionsat attacks cost them three goals, a misplaced clearance under pressure when I have been saying for years that these are the kind of balls that should go into the stand or into the cemetery to give the defence time to come back into position - the Pionsat players need to look at all of this.
They have the skill and technique to beat anyone on their day. All they need to do now is to work on the basics.
And man of the match today? A couple of good goals and a handful of searing free kicks are pretty good going. But Cedric was on his best form again today, throwing himself about up front, winning almost everything in the air and putting the defence constantly under pressure. He was constantly harassing the keeper as well, chasing after all of the loose balls in the area and sliding in as the keeper went to gather them, just to "remind" the keeper that he was there and that he is big, heavy and dangerous
And not only that either. I noticed later in the game that on a couple of occasions Cedric was back in his own half helping to shore up the defence when Pionsat had lost possession up front - a far cry from what went on at Methanol last week . Well done, Cedric.
Back to the footy page
Il y a sans doute des francophones qui aimeraient lire cette page en français. Donc vous devez m'aider á la traduire!
En plus, si vous avez des choses á ajouter,