Scorers: Kyle x2
Rovers paid the price for a poor first half performance and suffered their second league defeat of the season with a 5-2 loss to Manchester Maccabi, who maintained their 100% winning record.
Despite a slow start to the game, Rovers had a couple of chances early on but unfortunately the final ball wasn’t there against a sold Maccabi defence. Each time Rovers advanced forward, they were punished on the break against pacey opposition.
Sloppy passing resulted in Maccabi cutting the Rovers’ defence open and they took the lead after some slick counter attacking football. Soon afterwards, they doubled their lead to make it 2-0, finding the target with each clear opportunity.
Fortunately for Rovers, they were handed a lifeline after some attractive football down the left resulted in a free kick which was sent into the box. In their efforts to clear, a Maccabi defender could only find Kyle with his header, who made no mistake in finding the bottom corner of the net from a tight angle, halving the deficit to 2-1.
Sadly, this failed to galvanise those in green, with the remainder of the first half typified by lapses in communication and more wayward passing. Maccabi eventually capitalised on this and added another and the first half ended with Maccabi 3-1 up.
After a switch in formation and strong words at half time, an improved second half performance followed. As Rovers attacked, they started to create some decent opportunities and Sam won a penalty after being tripped in the Maccabi area. Taking it himself, he didn’t manage to convert as the keeper guessed the right way. Following up, Gilly squared the rebound but nobody in green was there to tap the ball in.
Maccabi attacks were far less frequent in the second half and Rovers continued to push, feeling that they were still in with a chance. When a Maccabi free kick was crossed in, goalkeeper Ric parried the ball. Nobody in green chased in which left Ric to attempt to collect the ball but a Maccabi attacker beat him to it and was brought down softly by a sliding Ric. The referee pointed to the spot and Maccabi went 4-1 up as the resulting penalty was confidently dispatched.
Credit can go to Rovers for continuing to push and lots of that credit can go to top scorer Kyle, who scored yet another header after Bills sent the ball into the box, which made the score 4-2 to Maccabi. This came from a corner and Rovers looked very dangerous with the ever-growing tally of corners, though only Kyle was able to find the net from these deliveries.
Continuing to push, the final moments of the game saw Rovers caught on the break again and Maccabi added their final goal of the day to make it 5-2.
After five league games, Rovers have three wins under their belt and have certainly not had an easy run in terms of their opponents. If they are serious about aspirations of silverware this season, which they should be given the strength of their squad, performances like today’s cannot be repeated.
6. Tom Dale
11. Sam R