FC Irlande 3rds

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François
Benedikt; Ryan; Villu; Paddy
Piet; Rafa (C); Bruno
Thor; Thomas; Ionut

Subs: Gregor (on for Paddy 35’); Sergiu (on for Thomas 35’); Pierre-Antoine (on for Benedikt 45′); Lucas (on for Rafa 45’)

Although missing a couple regulars, we arrived with a strong squad, looking to ensure victory and widening the gap between ourselves and bottom side Ettekijs. The match took place at the same venue as the 1sts and 2nds, so we were delighted to have President Dave and DOF Paul supporting from the sidelines!

We started well with a couple of dangerous attacks, testing out their defence early on. It wasn’t too long before we capitalised on our control of the match and got the first goal through a nice move to bring us into the box, first shot deflected up into the air, Ionut chesting it across the box to Ben, who volleyed it over the outstretched keeper into the back of the net. We almost got a second within a few minutes, Thor cutting in from the right wing and feeding the ball across the danger zone in between defence and keeper, but it was just inches out of reach for Ionut racing in from the left flank. We kept the pressure on them and the second goal eventually arrived, Ionut with a great solo effort adding to his tally as our top scorer and celebrating in usual style. Ettekijs grew more determined towards the end of the first half, which ended with a few minutes of our defence holding strong under pressure.

The first half ended 0-2 up but we knew we were by no means in a comfortable lead, given how the half ended. Two changes were made to bring in Sergiu for Thomas, who was just coming back from injury, and Gregor, in his last match as an ‘official’ 3rds player before he turns 38 and retires to Vets football.

Unfortunately Ettekijs came out showing the same spirit they ended the first half with. They started winning more second balls and closing us down faster. Their pressure eventually led to a goal about 10mins into the second half and suddenly our lead was looking much less secure. The remainder of the half was nervous to say the least, with Ettekijs pushing hard for the equaliser and our own opportunities few and far between. However the team showed their grit, with a number of strong challenges, great saves from Francois and our defence dominating any balls in the air. We held out at 1-2 until the final whistle and celebrated a valuable 3 points!

MOTM votes were spread with a number of good performances across the team, but Piet took the plaudits and was sent to buy the round. We made sure to raise a glass to Gregor in honour of his exploits and dedication to the club across all teams he has appeared for, in particular as a former captain of the 3rds. and wished him well on his way to the Vets.

No time to rest on this victory however, with a number of very important games in the following weeks against direct opponents just above and below us in the league. Keep the spirit lads!

Paddy

For this 1st game of the year 2019, the 3rd team of FC Ireland played Hermès, an excellent team essentially made of Greek players. They came also with a dozen of their dedicated fans.
On our side, to support the Turds, François and I were there to support our players. If the team did not suffer from my absence (suspension 1 game due to 3 yellow cards), the impact of Francois unavalaibility had bigger consequences on the pitch today.

As usual, in early January, there are always a lot of unavailability. This year too, it was the case specifically with the goalkeepers: only 2 available amongst the 6 teams of FC Ireland. While Francisco was called by the 1sts, Francois helped the vets 1 as they had a game they could potentially win. But had Francois not played for the vets, he would have played for the 2nds, there was no possibility to have him.

To replace him, Paddy volunteered to replace Francois. On first half, Hermes started strong and opened the score and quickly added a second goal. Hermes was very realistic and got a 3rd goal after 15 or 20 minutes played. FC Irlande never gave up playing and we manage to reduce to score thanks to a great volley by Thor after a free kick shot by Nicolas (who insisted to have his free kick considered as an assist). Unfortunately, on a corner kick, one of Hermes player got the ball and took his chance from the edge of the box and the ball went to top of the net. 4-1 at the end of 1st half though we could have scored a 2nd goal with Villu hitting the crossbar after a corner kick.

During the break, the idea was to continue playing, the score was not important at this moment. So we kept on playing, trying to play football and eventually managed to score a second goal. On a corner kick shot by Stefan, Thor on second post beat the keeper with a header. We had some hope that maybe we could have a momentum but Hermes reacted in the following minutes with another goal and sealed their success with 6th and last goal.

6-2 that was the end. Given the circumstances, it is difficult to be disappointed but every player (especially Paddy) today desserved credit for the spirit and good attitude during this game. Hopefully, this attitude will carry us to winning games these next weeks.

Line-Up: Paddy/Nicolas, Ryan, Villu, Stefan/Lucas, Bruno, Rafa/Thor, Damien, Benedikt

Subs: Luchino (for Damien 35′)

MOTM: Thor

For our last game in this year 2018, we were opposed to Braine Terminus, a very familiar team for the oldest members of the 3rd team. My first game with FC Irlande was against them on their turf 5 years ago and it was definitely one of the teams I wanted to play when we secured the promotion to third division last year.

Though we had several players unavailable, we entered the pitch confident in our abilities and started well the 1st 15 minutes. Braine was pressured high and started making a lot of fouls. On one of them, the referee gave us a free kick at the edge in an ideal position to give a nice curve to the ball. Only,instead of Stefan, Rafa took the shot and what a shot! Probably inspired by his recent trip in Messiland, Rafa curled in perfectly the ball and found the top of net. Too bad no one had a camera to record this goal, it seemed like the keeper dived in just to show how perfect this free kick shot was.

We definitely deserve to take the lead but we knew our opponent would eventually wake up and shortly after the opener they leveled up their game. They started to play their typical game made of long balls on the side in order to be deflected to their strikers. It might seem not elaborated and yet because this team has played together for a long time now (50% at least of the players were there on my first encounter with 5 years ago) they know exactly where they have to be on these long balls.

It was not easy to clear off the ball and Braine players were more present on the 2nd balls. They managed to have one interesting situation through a quick combination but the forward was not able to put himself in position to shoot. More aggressive, they forced us into conceding a lot of free kicks. Strangely enough, with their physicality and size, they never got the better of us on those situations and after 35 minutes, we maintain the lead.

2nd half started on the same basis the 1st half ended, we spend more time defending and were looking for a 2nd goal in counter attacks. We made a lot of fouls and once again, nothing good for Braine resulted from their free kicks. They were also committing a subsequent number of fouls on our forwards. It was not presumptuous to feel there was room for a second goal. That second goal, Marius, for his very last game for FC Ireland provided us by intercepting a pass of a Braine defender to his keeper and Marius left no chance to the goalkeeper.

At 2-0, Braine didn’t give up and kept attacking but we felt stronger than ever and we remained focus. Braine was dominating but never really had a real opportunity to score. After 70minutes of a good fight the referee ended the game. Final score, two neal for the Turds, our second victory in a row and an excellent operation in terms of points.

With 18 points so far obtained and 11 games still to play, we need now 7 to 8 points to secure our position in 3rd division . With the spirit shown this last games, we have reasons to see our future with optimism.

To be continued in 2019…

Line up: Gregor/Pierre-Antoine, Ryan, Villu, Paddy/Rafa, Bruno, Damien/Stefan, Marius, Nicolas

Subs: Julien (61′ for Pierre-Antoine)

Man Of The Match: Marius special mention also to Gregor a close second in the votes who volunteer to replace Francois and did a great job

The penultimate match of 2018 saw the IIIs battle to an invaluable and hugely deserved three points over fifth-placed Chiefs II in a blustery affair over at Nossegem. Despite going into the game as underdogs, FC Irlande put in an accomplished team performance – avenging the away defeat to Chiefs back in September – and were perhaps a touch unfortunate not to come away with a more convincing scoreline than 1-0.

The Green Army kicked the game off playing into a strong head wind, but in the opening exchanges immediately managed to put Chiefs on the back foot and build the early momentum. The three-pronged Romanian attack of Marius, Ionut and Sergiu were a menace, running the channels, pressing the Chiefs backline and setting the tone for the rest of the game early on. Around ten minutes in, a foray forward up the right flank led to an Irlande throw-in in ‘Villu territory’ – the big Estonian signalled his intent and began striding up the pitch to take the throw. Having already experienced the centre-back hurl one deep into their penalty area, Chiefs began organising their defence and were caught cold when Sergiu instead found Marius with a quick throw toward the corner flag. The striker cleverly jinked through toward goal, riding several challenges, and pulled the ball back to the penalty spot, right into the path of the onrushing Damien ‘Yaya’ Dotter from midfield, who coolly steered the ball past the goalkeeper and the desperate lunges of the Chiefs defenders into the back of the net for his first goal for the club. Get in there.

The early goal knocked the wind out of the pre-match favourites and they struggled to get any real foothold in the game. Rodrigo began to pull the strings in the centre of the park, setting the tempo with a fine range of passing, while fellow midfielders Bruno and Damien broke up the opposition play and linked up well with the front three and the advancing full backs Wannes and Stefan, who looked to get forward at every opportunity. A yellow card was produced for either side in the closing stages of the first half when the referee adjudged the Chiefs right-back to have cynically blocked a dangerous looking through ball with an outstretched arm, which was met with loud protests from winger Ionut, who would have been through on goal; his resultant booking was more a totting up of minor offences than for clear dissent. The sides went in at half-time with the scoreline still at a precarious 1-0.

The half-time message in the FC Irlande camp was very much ‘same again lads’ for the second half, this time with a strong tailwind to factor in. The momentum remained with the home side for the most part as they carved out several chances from both open play and set pieces, most notably a volleyed effort from Ionut which he lifted just over the crossbar and an ambitious long range drive from Damien which flew just wide, as well as a strong penalty appeal after Marius was brought down following yet another mazy run at the Chiefs’ defence. Nonetheless, Irlande were unable to capitalise on this pressure and the longer the game went on the more stretched it became. In search of an equaliser, Chiefs threw caution to the wind and started to look more threatening, particularly on the break. Alarm bells rang in the Ireland ranks when a quick breakaway found Chiefs in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Matteo, who was off his line in a flash to pull off a crucial save low to his left to deny the Chiefs striker. This was the first real chance of the game for Chiefs, but it was not their biggest. Shortly after, with around five or ten minutes to play, Chiefs broke at pace down Ireland’s right-hand side and squared a ball across the Irlande box, finding the Chiefs substitute striker with the goal at his mercy, when an incredible last ditch challenge came in from the recovering Villu, nicking the ball off the foot of the striker and behind for a corner when an equalising goal had looked the only outcome. It would have been a cruel end to a game that Irlande
fully deserved to win, but the defensive heroics of Villu proved to save the day as Irlande went on to close out the remaining minutes of the game comfortably. That win leaves the IIIs in ninth place, five points clear of the relegation zone, with a crunch match against third place Braine at home to come this weekend.

For his tireless running, first-class attitude and a tidy little assist, MOTM went to Marius, who terrorised the opposition defence all game.

Line Up: Matteo/Stefan Ryan Villu Wannes/Rodrigo Bruno Damien/Sergiu Marius Ionut

Subs:Pierre-Antoine (for Stefan 67′) Paddy (kidnapped by the 2nd:)

On Saturday 1st of December, the thirds played away against Sicula at the Jesse Owens stadium. The objective was to maintain our invincibility against our nemesis, get a win if possible and celebrate this victory with a glass of hot wine at the Yeti, a bar where is located the only astro turf ski track of the Brussels.

Last year, we produced our best collective performance on this pitch. Quickly, the development proposed a classic scenario involving two teams knowing each other, neutralizing every offensive moves and a lot of fouls. Mourinho would have enjoyed this game, the amateurs of beautiful football probably less!

As usual, when two teams can’t make the difference through sequences of play, there is still one option: set pieces. On one of them, Sicula made the difference with a header that got between the legs of the unfortunate Francois. 1-0 for the locals.

During the break, not much was said. Though our use of the ball lacked so far creativity, the attitude was good. We were definitely into the game. We just needed to be more effective.2nd half did start well for us as we found ourselves reduced to 10 men against 11 after only 10 minutes. After some hesitation, it was decided to play with 3 central defenders 3 midfields and 3 forwards.

More than this reorganization, we had more impact on the game and started collected more free kicks. On one of them, Stefan from 30m scored. The goalkeeper was only able to touch the ball but he was too short to deflect it effectively. At 1-1, we really had hoped to get a win even with 10 men. Sadly, on a free kick, one of their men left unmarked scored on a header with a huge rebound. Once again, Francois could not do anything. This time we defended poorly with a few Sicula players left unmarked.

We kept fighting to get a second goal and obliged Sicula to defend. In vain, Sicula made to close the spaces and on our hand we lacked precision. For the 1st time in 3 years, Sicula got the better of us and won 2-1. It was a disappointing loss. There was room to get another result but it reflects our record this year when playing away: only 2 points earned in 7 games.

While we are not in position to be relegated we definitely have a short margin (1 point) on our opponents fighting for the relegation. We will need to get at least one victory on our 2 games of the year 2018.

Line up: Francois/Gregor, Nicolas, Villu, Pierre-Antoine/Rafa, Bruno, Piet/Sergiu, Marius,Ionut

Subs: AJ (for Sergiu 45’)

On the 24th of november the 3rds had a very important game to play against St-Georges 3, one of the teams that will fight to avoid relegation like us.

FC Irlande began the game with great determination putting pressure on the St-Georges defenders who appeared to be quite slow on the pitch. On numerous occasions Marius was able to make the difference. As a consequence of their lack of speed, St-Georges multiplied the fouls. However, we didn’t take advantage of these situations and slowly St-Georges got into the game showing some quality in the transmissions and so the game got quite balanced.

Fortunately for us, Marius stole the ball from one of our opponent and then left no chance to our keeper. A few minutes after, the ref ended things. Though we didn’t control the game, it was a quite convincing 1st half. The most important for the 2nd half would be to play with less precipitation as is it seemed more than plausible to make the difference through sequences of 2-3 short passes.

The 2nd half began with the same intensity and progressively each team allowed more space. St-Georges could have equalized but Francois remained vigilant. We also had our fair share of opportunities and on corner a great volley from Thor left no chance to the keeper. A 3rd goal quickly followed Rodrigo delivered a perfect assist to Ionut who pushed the ball into the net.

At 3-0 the team lost some concentration, some defenders felt like they could play in attack and we lost discipline. So it was no surprise that on a free kick they reduced the score. Fortunately for us, we got a 4th goal thanks to St-Georges keeper who failed to intercept an assist from Ionut. Rodrigo, who has always a good instinct in those situation, followed up and added a goal. 4-1 that would be the final score, our first win after 4 straight consecutive losses.

It was not only necessary for the dynamic of of the group but also for the points. After ABSSA’s last results, it appears quite clear that we will be 5 teams fighting to stay in 3rd division: St-Geroges, Brussels Galactics, Ster’s and Bousval. Ettekijs, last on the table with only 5 points is last and will probably keep this last position. Now it is up to us to score the points when there is the opportunity to do so. If we play with the same determination we will get those points.

Line Up: Francois/Wannes, Ryan, Stefan, P-A/Rafa, Rodrigo, Damien/Ionut, Marius, Sergiu

Subs: Gregor for Wannes (55’), Benedikt for P-A (50’), Mario for Damien (35’)

Man Of The Match: Thor

The game against Sayano was the last of a serie that began the last week of October against Hermès. Since Hermès we only played top teams and unfortunately for us we ended losing all of them. This was the fourth and last game of this serie.

We came on the pitch with the idea to get a result for Sergiu after the dramatic loss that occurred earlier this week. A minute of silence was respected in memory of his son Dominic. The party started and quickly the host took control of the game setting a high tempo. Sayano was multiplying dangerous situations and 10-15 minutes into the game, Sayano opened the score.

Sayano continued their work and had some serious opportunities but Francois made a lot saves and when it was not Francois it was one the defenders feet that prevented another goal. Sayano on this 1st half managed to project forward with 4 to 5 players. In 2 or 3 passes their midfields were already in positions to shoot or assist their strikers. Logically a 2nd goal was added due to a combined mistake between one of our player and our keeper François who lost the ball to a Sayano player who caught the ball to put it into the net.

We never had any real opportunities on this first half, we played poorly with the ball and were suffering greatly whenever we lost it which quite a lot. A few minutes before the end of the game, Sayano got a 3rd goal.

During the break there was not a lot to say. As annoying as it is, we had no other choice than playing and taking more risks. At that point, the score didn’t matter. In 2nd half, Sayano made their substitutions. Sayano was less aggressive and seemed to wait for situations of counter attacks. As a result, we got closer to Sayano’s cage and Ionut scored on a long distance free kick. At 3-1, there could have been hopes for a remuntada but Sayano reacted immediately on a lethal counter attack. 4-1, that turned out to be the final score.

You can’t have any regret when the opponent is far superior but it’s never good for the moral of the team to lose repeatedly. That was the fourth defeat in a row. Our situation has become quite complicated. Let’s hope we’ll soon to find our way back to victory.

Line Up: Francois/Pierre-Antoine, Stefan, Ryan, Paddy/Mario, Piet, Damien/Marius, AJ, Ionut
Subs: Wannes (for Paddy 35’) Virgil (for Marius 55’)
Man Of The Match: Wannes

After two weeks on the road, Thirds were back home with hope to renew with victory. The opponent was Goalois, a young team promoted like us. For this game, the 3rds got into action quickly fighting from the very beginning. There were some situations, we got a lot of fouls called in our favour showing we were the more aggressive team on the pitch. However, we never managed to find a breech and Goalois almost scored on a long distance shot that touched the crossbar. By the end of 1st half, there were no clear domination from both sides and it was still 0-0.
Several changes were made by both teams right after the break and as a result Goalois started to win a bit more possession and maintaining a higher position on the pitch. Though Francois so far did not have to get his hands dirty, he had to remain more vigilant than in first half. While there was 15 minutes still to play it seemed a draw would be a good and fair result.
Unfortunately, 10 minutes before the beginning of the game, Goalois managed to make the difference, a perfect assist found their right winger unmarked and his shot rebounded just in front of Francois who even without any rebound may have been beaten. Goalois kept his advantage until the end preventing us from attacking. Final score 1-0.
Overall, we delivered against a very solid team a good performance. We were discipline and brought definitely more character than last game. It was not enough but if we put the same efforts we will be able to earn some points in this difficult group.
Line up: Francois/Pierre-Antoine Nicolas Ryan Paddy/Mario Damien Rodrigo/Sergiu Marius Ionut
Subs: AJ (for Sergiu 35’) Stefan (for Paddy 35’) Pierre (for Pierre-Antoine 55’)
Man Of The Match: Nicolas

Iris United vs FC Irlande 3 – November 3rd 2018

Line-up (4-3-3):
François
Pierre-Antoine (C); Stefan; Ryan; Paddy
Seif; Mario; Piet
Sergiu; Marius; Ionut

Subs: Gregor (on for Paddy 35’); Lucas (on for Seif 35’); Julian (on for Pierre-Antoine 60’); Villu (on for Sergiu 67′)

Iris started at a high tempo that caught us off guard and were immediately causing us some problems with quick interchanges in the midfield and using their fast wingers to break through our defensive line. We initially held them off quite well but it only took one moment of dwelling on the ball too long for them to pounce, stealing possession to get through and score the first goal. Another followed shortly after, with Iris being awarded a penalty for what looked to be a completely unavoidable hand ball. Before the half was over they slotted in a third goal to take control of the game. We offered little in response before the half time whistle was blown and retreated to our bench.

We simply weren’t at the races in the first half and were told just as much by captain Pierre-Antoine during the break. He read us the riot act but at the same time encouraged us to show more intensity and desire in the second half.

His speech worked to a certain extent, we took control for large parts of the second half, although it could also be said that the opposition dropped a level in the belief that they had a comfortable lead. They were slightly naïve to do so, since we created a number of very good chances to reel them back in, however it was just not our day and those chances all went abegging.

At least we held them off at the other end and the match ended 3-0, Ryan winning MOTM for a solid display under pressure at the back.

The jump up a division has certainly tested us so far and we need to continue to learn from every result, good or bad, in order to be able to establish ourselves in the league. Hopefully by the time Iris come to Nossegem for the return fixture, we will have become sharper, show more intensity and desire from the start, and give them a proper test for the 3 points up for grabs. As always, this can only be achieved if we knuckle down and work hard together on the training ground.

Paddy

For the last game of October, the Thirds played away against Hermès FC ranked 2nd. Once again this year, we played on a good pitch. Our opponent, not only played on a good pitch but also had their very own ultras though not as hostile as can be some factions in Greece, country of origin of many players who were communicating in Greek during the game.

It took us some time to get into the game. 10-15 minutes. Problem, after barely one minute, on their 1st opportunity, Hermès took the lead. The right winger delivered a good cross to their striker who perfectly volleyed the ball to beat François. Though the execution was perfect, we showed some passivity that was immediately punished. Fortunately for us, Francois was into the game and made fantastic save to keep us in the game.

We had two problems. First, we struggled defending them individually: they had two strong midfielders, one playing like an old fashioned number 10 the other from a lower position distributing the ball and never losing it. Their striker was also a problem technically and physically. 2nd problem was collective: they played very well with each other thanks to their midfields and rarely gave away the ball. When they did, they immediately pressured us and kept us from counter attacking effectively with our strikers being isolated from the rest of the team.

After 20 minutes, though we were dominated and had less possession of the ball, we started having more situations. No real opportunities but our forwards found some space on counter attacks. On one of these, Marius ran with the ball, got into the box and was fouled. The foul was a bit curious as Marius was not in position to shoot and few offensive support but it was definitely a penalty. Sergiu took the ball and with calm converted the penalty.

Boosted by this goal, we got more aggressive and made more interceptions. One of them could have led to a lethal counter attack as we were 4 against 3 rushing to the enemy’s goal. Instead, the movement was stopped and the hosts scored right after the 2nd goal after a cross from the right wing to the 2nd post where one of the forwards unmarked just had to touch the ball to put the ball into the net. It could not be a worse timing for us as this 2nd goal happened just before the break.

Some changes were made from the very beginning of 2nd half. Some tactical adjustments were made too. Mario got in and took a lower position in the midfield while Rafa was positioned a bit higher on the pitch. As a result, it became less easy for Hermes to maneuver and we managed to have more possession but Hermes showed great discipline and never really allowed us to be dangerous except on corners where Ionut almost equalized with a header deflected by the keeper. That would be our last opportunity of the game.

We ended the game painfully. Sergiu twisted his ankle then Villu had to leave the pitch after he stretched his hamstring (later Rafa said it was not too severe). That complicated a lot our situation. All substitutions were made at this stage so we spent the last minutes with 10 men. Hermes had at least some great opportunities to add a 3rd goal but Francois made some great saves and on some other situations Hermès forward shot off target. No other goals would be scored: final score 2-1 for the locals.

There is nothing to be ashamed at our performance but we lost. We still have to figure out how to be competitive against the big teams. It’s not easy because the top teams we played so far, Hermes and Chiefs, are better than us. That said, I think we did not play our best game yet and we have chances to win some valuable points against stronger opponents. Hopefully, sooner than later.

Hermes FC 3-1 FC Irlande 3.

Goal: Marius (30′)

Man Of The Match: Francois

Line Up: Francois/Nicolas, Ryan, Villu, Stefan (Pierre-Antoine 35′)/Rafa (Gregor 55′), Bruno, Damien (Mario35′)/Sergiu (Wannes 50′) Marius Ionut

This Saturday we were facing Brussels LTC, a promoted team like us. Of them we knew they had a good attack but also one of the worst record in defense. With our trio of Romanians forwards back after we missed them for 2,3 weeks, the 3rds received the visitors with a solid line up.

After a good warm up, the 3rds got into action very soon. Sergiu created the danger after just one minute with a shot well deflected by LTC’s keeper. A few minutes later, Sergiu again got fouled in the box by the keeper and the referee had no hesitation to give a penalty. Our official penalty shooter Stefan unavailable, Rodrigo was in charge to convert the penalty kick. Unfortunately, Rodrigo’s shot hit the post.

The 3rd team was not discouraged though and kept playing and dominating the game. Brussels LTC through long balls managed to get a couple opportunities but Francois twice kept one of their wingers to score while in good position.

A few minutes before 1st half ended, we finally got the opener. Ionut took away the ball from one of the central defenders, then perfectly chipped the ball from the 25m. At half time we were leading one neal and it was well deserved. The plan was to continue with the same intentions: playing with the same intensity and trying as much as possible to make passes to make the difference.

A few minutes into the 2nd half, we added a 2nd goal after a great collective effort. The action started with an interception of Villu in his camp. Then 3 to 4 players touched the ball and the ball moved from the left wing to the center. As Rafa received the ball he was in position to make the final assist and he delivered the perfect one to Sergiu. With great calm, Sergiu beat LTC’s keeper.

At 2-0, the game seemed decided but Brussels LTC was not decided to give up easily. Skipping the midfield, they constantly used long balls to find their forwards. The problem with these long balls is that LTC players afterwards found on several occasions the way to get a free kick.

15 to 20 minutes into the second half. They got a free kick on the edge of the box. We knew they would not kick it directly and we were ready to block the shot. Unfortunately, the shot found through some legs and Francois was able only too late to see where the ball would go.
With only one goal difference, LTC believed in their chances repeating the same tactic. They put us under pressure but never really had a real opportunity to get even. Though we didn’t control very well the end of this game, we got some good situations on counter attack. Only an inch kept Virgil from successfully chipping the ball in. A few minutes after, Rodrigo got fouled in the penalty box. This time, Ionut shot the penalty kick and sealed the victory. Final score 3-1.

This was a nice victory with a great spirit but not only. Before the game, we insisted on playing the right way, passing the ball, not just throwing long balls. It paid off on the 2nd goal. If we managed to respect those principles, we might be able to have an interesting year.

From now on to December we will only face top of the table teams. Precisely, we will play the next 4 weeks the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th on the table. If we show the same spirit and also the same care concerning the use of the ball we have nothing to lose.
FC Irlande 3 Brussels LTC 4: 3-1.

Goals: Ionut (x2) Sergiu Assists: Rafa for Sergiu

Line Up: Francois/Wannes Roman Villu Pierre-Antoine/Rafa Bruno Rodrigo/Sergiu Marius Villu

Subs: Luis for Rafa (45’) Pierre for Wannes (50’) Virgil for Marius (60’)

After suffering a tough defeat, a reaction was expected from the Thirds. With 5 points, we have started slowly against opponents that have shown more quality and youth. Our opponent of the day, Brussels Galactic, so far had only taken 1 point.

On a brand new synthetic pitch, we started the game with the right attitude and we largely controlled the game during the 1st half. Brussels Galactics, only had a few situations of counter attacks but Francois never had to let his skills talk. On the other side, Galactics’s goalkeeper had a lot work. Unfortunately for us he was very solid on the line and in the air too. AJ and Costi had the best occasions of the 1st half but one did not shoot target while the other’s shot was brilliantly defelcted by the keeper. At half time, while we should have taken the lead, the score was still 0-0.

2nd half was quite different as Brussels Galactic showed another face. They played a lot of long balls that with the wind against us caused us problems. They were also taking more initiatives with the ball and made some runs that break the lines several times. They almost made the difference and had the opportunity to score but their forward, who managed to get rid of our defenders, very hesitant on trying his luck against our very intimidating goalkeeper shot completely off target.

Though we were struggling on this 2nd half, we still had the best opportunities. Virgil, after a good collective effort to pressure the Galactics, was in good position to get the opener but his attempt to chip the keeper did not fool the keeper. Bruno, on a corner had also the possibility to score with a header but their keeper once again managed to tip the ball that was definitely going just under the crossbar. This game was not supposed to finish with a 0-0 but it did as the referee blew the whistle for the last game.

Difficult to see the glass half full after this game. They did caused us problems on 2nd half but our 1st half and the numerous occasions should have been enough to come home with 3 points. It was a good game for us, there were some good combinations and an effort to play the ball on the floor. If we continue to play with the same attitude, we will be rewarded with more points.

Line Up: Francois/Daniel Ryan Villu Paddy/Mario Rafa Rodrigo/AJ Costi Bruno

Subs: Pierre-Antoine (42 for Costi) Virgil (50’for AJ)

Man Of The Match: Bruno

It was definitely not a good Saturday for the Thirds. Opposed to Ster’s, the boys in green never found a way to control the game. On 1st half, we never managed to create any situations, many passes did not reach our players or were not well controlled. Ster’s was well organized defensively and was winning 1st balls and 2nd balls. Progressively the visitors started to put us under pressure and occupied most of the time our own half.

Eventually Ster’s opened the score after another ball we lost that their defender exploited well and gave it to one their forward who took his chance from the edge of the box. One minute later we got even after one of the defender deflected a pass in his own net. At half time the score was 1-1 and we knew we were lucky.

A couple of changes in attack was made early on 2nd half and the beginning was not bad. Unfortunately, Ster’s scored a 2nd time from a long distance shot. On that goal, we were punished by our lack of reaction on a loose ball. From that moment, Ster’s took control of the game adding a 3rd goal on a counter attack and a 4th on free kick. Final score: 4-1 Last time the 3rds conceded 4 goals was more than 2 years ago.

It is true that we were missing a few regulars in attack but did we did concede 4 goals just because they were missing? Definitely not. It would be an easy excuse. We are capable to play better than that. Ster’s was a solid team but we had the quality to get a better result this Saturday. Unfortunately, we did not have the spirit.

FC Irlande 1-4 Ster’s
Line up: Francois/P-A Nicolas Villu Paddy/Rafa Rodrigo Piet/Ronan AJ Julian
Subs: Giuseppe (35 for Julian), Pierre (45 for Ronan), Virgil (58 for AJ)
MOTM: Nicolas

Four weeks into the new season and the Turds have started to settle into the 3rd Division, with one draw, one loss and a win last weekend to get ourselves into the rhythm of the league. Today we traveled out to Genappe to take on a team we had come across some years before, not known for particularly beautiful football but a physical outfit who always posed a challenge. They had a good synthetic pitch and the sun was shining, setting the scene for a good game ahead.

Many regulars were missing this weekend but we arrived with a solid 12 ready for action. The starting lineup:
Francois // Paddy, Ryan, Gregor, Pierre-Antoine // Rafa, Bruno, Mario // Ionut, Marius, AJ
Subs: Julian (on 25′ for Ionut)

We started the match well, taking advantage of the nice surface to string together some passing moves and got into some dangerous attacking positions. Genappe were strong enough at the back, restricting us to a few tame shots from outside the area. When they took possession they launched it over our defence for their pacy wingers to chase down – a tactic they used throughout the match. We made the breakthrough around 15 minutes in, Marius laying up Rafa on the edge of the box who went for the shot. It took a deflection off a defender and looped over the keeper into the net (or had Rafa calculated the perfect shot off the defender’s foot knowing its trajectory?). Genappe upped their game in response, both with the ball and without. A few strong tackles on Ionut forced him off with an injury, so Julian came on as right winger with AJ switching to the left. Soon after Genappe equalised to make it 1-1 before the break.

Having created the better chances of the first half, we were confident we could come out on top of this game. We went into the second half fully motivated, but Genappe took the lead early on with a header from a corner. They kept the pressure on with their long balls pinning us back, our defence needing to make a number of last ditch tackles and Francois some great saves to keep us in the game. When we did get the ball however, the passes were still hitting their target and we linked up well to get the ball up to Marius, who was starting to run rings around their defence. That attracted some pretty borderline fouls to try and stop our attacks, but they couldn’t hold back Marius, who finished a great flowing move started with a break forward from Pierre-Antoine, laying up Marius to get through their defence and slot it past the keeper. We came close to creating another opportunity to win it, as did Genappe, but it ended 2-2 which was probably a fair result. With our full squad available, we probably could have edged it.

Marius was undoubtedly the man of the match, Bruno a close second. The team put in a real strong performance under pressure and it was definitely a point well won rather than two lost. Best wishes to Ionut on a speedy recovery. It’s clear that every match this season will be tough and we’ll need our full squad available as much as possible.

Next up a home game against the current bottom side, Ster’s, who have yet to register a point this season. We can’t take that for granted though, each of their defeats have been by just one goal, so we’ll need to be fully prepared for another tough match. See you in training lads!

Cheers,
Paddy

With 1 point after 2 games, we knew we had to start getting points, especially at home. Just before the game and following a good warm up, we insisted on taking early control of the game. From the beginning, we put the intensity requested. Ettekijs 2, our opponent was well organized, particularly in the midfield through their number 7, and often tried to find their right winger to make the difference but our defense was vigilant and after 35 minutes, Francois did not have any saves to make.

On this first half we created some good chances to score. As Ettekijs defenders showed they were lacking some speed, Sergiu was making differences and almost got the opener. Escaping the surveillance of his defender, he found himself alone against the gigantic goalkeeper but shot off target. Bruno could also have scored on a corner but his close range volley was way above the cross ber. AJ finally scored the 1st goal. After a shot was deflected on a post, he was there to get the ball first and to put it in the net. 1-0 at half time, that was desserved but it could have been more.

We continued our efforts on 2nd half. Piet Marius and Paddy made their entrances to bring fresh blood. Ionut had a good opportunity to add a second ball after intercepting a bad pass from a defender but the keeper denied that possibility. That did not discourage Ionut who with an impeccable timing finally scored the 2nd goal with a header.

After that second goal, Ettekijs tried to push to get back into the game but apart from a dangerous shout that almost find target, Francois had as much work as on 1st half. We could have added a 3rd goal on counter attacks. But it would not evolve. Final score 2-0. Man of The Match was Bruno.

It was a serious performance from the Turds and hopefully we will get more wins. But we are well aware it won’t be easy. Ettekijs 2 was maybe not the toughest opponent but they showed some discipline and we had to stay focused during the whole game.

Line Up: Francois/Nicolas Ryan Villu Pierre-Antoine/Rafa Bruno Rodrigo/Ionut AJ Sergiu

Subs: Piet (35’) Paddy (35’) Marius (35’)Pierre (50’)

For our 2nd game of the season, we were opposed to Chiefs 2.
Line-up: Francois/Stefan-Nicolas-Villu-Pierre-Antoine-Stefan/Giuseppe-Rafa/Sergiu-Marius-Ionut/AJ
Subs : Virgil (40’) Julian(55’) Pierre (65’)
The game started on an up tempo rythm but very early Chiefs started to put their footprint on the game. They combined a lot using the whole pitch and they seemed capable to accelerate at any moment. After less than 15mn, they scored the 1st goal. One of their winger made an incursion to the center and made a perfect assist to his forward who made a good call and got rid of Francois before pushing the ball behind the line.
Chiefs continued to dominate. We had a hard time building some sequences and it seems our only option was to throw long balls. These were never a worry for the defense of Chiefs never caught off guard. 15 minutes later, the locals added a second goal on a corner. On that action, we left the few Chiefs players that got into the box unmarked including and the same forward who scored the 1st goal made us pay for our mistake.
At half time it was 2-0. On 2nd half we started the game with three midfields. Chiefs was still dominating and creating the best opportunities for the 1st half but progressively the team finally found some dynamic. We touched the bar twice and their goalkeeper made a couple of saves too. To be fair, Chiefs begin their rotation quite early which explained also their less firm grip on the game but it was still positive to see the 3rds playing until the last minute.
Final score: 2-0 for the locals and 1st loss of the season for the Turds. A good lesson for us and a reminder for us that we are no longer in 4th division.
MOTM: Nicolas

A historic day for the 3rd team of FC Irlande, our very first game as a promoted team in 3rd division. And to inaugurate this season, we got to play Sicula AS, a team we know well because we are stuck in the same group for the 2 last years. The oppositions against them are usually very tense and colored with a lot of yellow cards, some red cards. Not a great atmosphere to play football but so far we managed to remain undefeated (3 wins and a draw).

We started the game with the following line up:

Francois

Pierre-Antoine Stefan Villu Bruno

Rafa Rodrigo

Sergiu (⚽x1) Marius Ionut

AJ (1 assist)

Subs: Paddy (50’), Julian (55’), Virgil (60’)

Our first 20mn were not very dynamic, Sicula appeared very motivated and got to win most of the 1st or 2nd balls. But as it was the case on their last games, they never managed to have real occasions and if they shot it was by far off target. On our side, there were two problems: we were not agressive enough to put our feet on the ball and when we had the ball we used it poorly trying some long balls or failing some easy transmissions.

Despite a slow start, we started to find some space and opportunities on counter attacks. On our first attempt, we opened the score with style. 25 minutes into the game, we had a counter-attack situation involving 3 of our forwards against 3 defenders and AJ served ideally Sergiu. Without control, Sergiu from the edge of the box found the top of the net thanks to a stylish and curved shot. As usual with Sergiu, when he scores you remember the goal.

With the lead on, we finished strongly this 1st half and could have exploited with more efficiency some situations. Sicula seemed a bit lost after this stunning opener but they remained calm and kept focused while in the past they would have started being nervous and yelling at each other.

2nd half started the same way. Sicula spent most of the time on our side and we had problem clearing the ball away. The wind was this time against us and Sicula used also their wings to attack us. We also started conceding a lot free kicks. On one of them , no player managed to touched the ball and Francois focused on the players realized only too late the ball was going to the 2nd post. The ball touched the 2nd post and then got behind the line.

Sicula boosted by the equalizer increased the pressure. We were definitely dominated. At this point, a change was necessary. Paddy got in and Bruno who started as a left back reinforced the midfield to help Rodrigo and Rafa. After a few minutes, the team found more unity and eventually regained some possession.

In the last 10 minutes, Sicula seemed a bit tired, and defended more. That said, we didn’t create some serious opportunities. Sicula would not either. Final score:1-1. Sergiu was named Man of The Match.

Overall, it is fair result. As usual, it will take a few weeks to be 100% but we are prepared to suffer and to face our future opponents with the right attitude we showed last year.

Pierre-Antoine

All fixtures and results

#1 September 8, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 1 - 1 Report Sicula AS
#2 September 15, 2018 Chiefs 2 2 - 0 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#3 September 22, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 2 - 0 Report Ettekijs 2
#4 September 29, 2018 Bousval Gennape 1 2 - 2 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#5 October 6, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 1 - 4 Report Ster’s
#6 October 13, 2018 Brussels Galactics 0 - 0 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#7 October 20, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 3 - 1 Report Brussels LTC 4
#8 October 27, 2018 Hermes 2 - 1 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#9 November 3, 2018 Iris United 3 - 0 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#10 November 10, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 0 - 1 Report Goalois 1
#11 November 17, 2018 Sayano United 4 - 1 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#12 November 24, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 4 - 1 Report Saint Georges 3
#13 December 1, 2018 Sicula AS 2 - 1 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#14 December 8, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 1 - 0 Report Chiefs 2
#15 December 15, 2018 FC Irlande 3rds 2 - 0 Report Braine Terminus
#16 January 5, 2019 FC Irlande 3rds 2 - 6 Report Hermes
#17 January 12, 2019 Ettekijs 2 1 - 2 Report FC Irlande 3rds
#18 January 19, 2019 FC Irlande 3rds 0 - 1 Bousval Gennape 1
#19 January 26, 2019 Ster’s - FC Irlande 3rds
#20 February 2, 2019 FC Irlande 3rds - Brussels Galactics
#21 February 9, 2019 Brussels LTC 4 - FC Irlande 3rds
#22 February 16, 2019 FC Irlande 3rds - Iris United
#23 February 23, 2019 Goalois 1 - FC Irlande 3rds
#24 March 9, 2019 Braine Terminus - FC Irlande 3rds
#25 March 16, 2019 FC Irlande 3rds - Sayano United
#26 March 23, 2019 Saint Georges 3 - FC Irlande 3rds

FC Irlande 3rds

  • Captain : Pierre Antoine Jaïs

Top goals scorers

  • Ionut 6
  • Sergiu 3
  • Marius 3
  • Thor 3
  • Rafa 2
  • AJ 1
  • Rodrigo 1
  • Stefan 1
  • Damien 1
  • Ben 1
  • Own Goal 1

Top goals assists

  • Ionut 2
  • Marius 2
  • AJ 1
  • Piet 1
  • Pierre-Antoine 1
  • Rafa 1
  • Rodrigo 1
  • Nicolas 1
  • Stefan 1
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