MATCH REPORT: Republica 4:2 New Armley Res

A goal each from four different players led Republica to a 4-2 win over New Armley on Sunday as an impressive team performance saw the Reds earn three points and leapfrog their opponents in the table.

Republica started the match in a conventional 4-4-2 with Colm Fitzpatrick in goal; a back four of Peter Lines, Nick Hood, Liam Moran and Jack Smith; a midfield four of Wadah Alhasan, Josh Booth, Matty Booth, and Stephen Graham; and a strike partnership of Andy Kitching and Oliver Lines.

The Reds got off to the best possible start as they exerted some early pressure down the right before earning a corner. Although the initial delivery was cleared, Smith picked up the rebound and stepped round a defender on the edge of the box before shooting through the goalkeeper’s legs with the aid of a deflection. With control firmly established in midfield and Lines and Kitching putting in the hard yards up front, the home side continued to dominate and arguably should have had a penalty when a lungeing challenge on Matty Booth made contact in the box. At the other end, New Armley only threatened when Republica made mistakes although they had a great chance to level after 20 minutes when Smith and Graham were caught upfield and only a great save from Fitzpatrick and goal-line clearance prevented an equaliser. The visitors made it 1-1 through a similar error when Hood did well to intercept a through ball but then played a blind pass which picked out a forward who went on to finish past Fitzpatrick. Republica responded well to the set back and continued to press, regaining the lead just before half time as the Armley keeper could only parry Josh Booth’s thumping header from a corner and Moran - up from centre back - improvised well to hook the ball into the net on the rebound.

The start of the second half was disappointing from a Republica perspective as New Armley switched to a back three and started to establish control over midfield. Nathan Crawley came on at full back on 50’ in place of Stephen Graham and allowed Smith to move further forward. This nearly paid dividends immediately as Smith got in behind but his shot was well-smothered by the goalkeeper. Conor Walsh also replaced Nick Hood and Rio Goldhammer took the place of Peter Lines as Republica tried to withstand some heavy pressure but eventually they conceded an equaliser. The striker got in behind and forced a good save from Fitzpatrick but a mix up between the keeper and Josh Booth, now at centre back, resulted in an easy tap in for the away forward.

Having been pegged back twice, the Reds could easily have folded but conceding actually kick-started a resurgence from the men in red as Smith, Alhasan, Matty Booth and Walsh managed to get their foot on the ball and bring Kitching and Oli Lines back into the game. The pattern of the match changed completely and, after a set of good saves and scrambled clearances from around the Armley box, Republica retook the lead through Matty Booth who surged in between two defenders before curling a lovely finish over the advancing goalkeeper. Just a couple of minutes later, Alhasan and Lines applied pressure to the keeper and the striker played the ball through to the winger who converted with an accurate finish into the far corner. The two quick goals sealed the win for the Reds and they made the running until the final whistle without adding to their lead.

It was a great win for Republica who bounced back well from the frustrating draw against FC West Leeds the previous week. Several players were outstanding but the man of the match was Josh Booth for a towering performance in midfield and defence.