MATCH REPORT: Oulton Athletic 6:1 Republica

Republica suffered a heavy defeat in the first round of the District Cup away at Oulton Athletic this Sunday. Despite competing well for the majority of the game, the Division 1 side ran away with the game in the final twenty minutes to book their place in the next round with a 6-1 victory. Matty Booth was on the scoresheet for Republica.

The Reds adopted a 4-2-3-1 formation with Greg de Boer in goal; a back four of Nathan Crawley, Andy Kitching, Nick Hood and Jack Smith; Seamus Lundy and Josh Booth as holding midfielders; an attacking midfield trio of Stephen Graham, Matty Booth and Jordan Thomas; and Mourad Shoushan up front.

After an evenly balanced opening period, Republica had the first big chance when Thomas took advantage of a defensive mix up and tried to lift a finish over the keeper one-on-one. Unfortunately, the stopper managed to get a fingertip to the winger’s effort and all 22 players held their breath as the ball dropped agonisingly over the bar. Instead, it was Oulton who took the lead as they broke from the resulting corner and a through ball found the striker who rounded de Boer to score. The rest of the first half was keenly fought out with the hosts controlling possession but struggling to breach the Red defence. At the other end, Thomas had a second decent chance when the ball fell to him from a free kick but his effort was blocked. De Boer, meanwhile, made an excellent sprawling save at the feet of the opposing no. 9 when he was released down the middle. The half-time whistle blew with the score 1-0 to Oulton.

Republica made a change on the left of midfield at half time with Pablo Martinez replacing Graham but immediately found themselves further behind as long throw in was allowed to bounce, leaving an Oulton player completely free to finish from close range. The Reds responded well, however, and immediately pulled one back with a fine goal from Matty Booth. The skilful midfielder arrived at the back post to meet a low cross after the ball had been well worked down the right through Thomas and Shoushan. The finish was simple and Booth made no mistake. With the match in the balance, both sides had chances, notably Josh Booth and Shoushan who both saw headed chances kept out.

On 70’, Oulton made another breakthrough when Lundy was put under pressure close to his own goal and his back pass was intercepted. The striker ran through on goal to convert past de Boer. The fourth was an excellent goal as the ball was controlled and volleyed cross field before being laid off and hit first time across the keeper from outside the area. The hosts then pressed home their advantage in the final few minutes as they twice broke down the left to score two more goals.

It was a disappointing end to the match for Republica after largely competing well with a side two divisions higher in the pyramid for the majority of the game. Goalkeeper Greg de Boer won this week’s man of the match vote after making several good saves and commanding his area well throughout the match.