MATCH REPORT - Republica 3:2 Bramley Amateurs
First home fixture of 2018-19 sees a hard-fought victory for the men's division...
Republica men recorded their first win of the season with a last-gasp victory over visiting Bramley Amateurs on Sunday. A hard-fought contest was settled with seconds remaining by Oliver Lines after the Reds had earlier gone behind and taken the lead only to be pegged back in second half injury time. Republica lined up in a classic 4-4-2 with Josh Moos between the sticks; a back four of Nathan Crawley, Liam Moran, Josh Booth and Jack Smith; a midfield of Mahmoud Khdeir, Conor Walsh, Matty Booth and Wadah Alhasan; and a strike partnership of Oliver Lines and Mohammed Hamaway. After a relatively quiet opening twenty minutes, Bramley began to exert more influence over the game and frequently turned the Republica defence round with some long balls over the top for their speedy strikers to run on to. It was simple and effective and both Josh Booth and Moran had to make excellent last-ditch tackles to prevent almost certain goals. Moos also came out well and made a some great saves as the visitors enjoyed the better of the first half. The momentum was eventually killed by a string of stoppages and Republica started to press. Khdeir went closest for the home team when his header from a corner was cleared off the line but the sides went in at half time with the match still goalless.
A substitution at half time saw Alhasan replaced by Abdelwahab Osama and, in a tactical move by injured captain Joe Bishop from the sidelines, Republica switched to a 4-1-3-2 to try to squeeze the play. Peter Lines entered the fray a few minutes later as he replaced Crawley at full back. The match burst into life all of a sudden fifteen minutes into the second half when Bramley took the lead with a scrappy finish from a corner. The response was immediate with some good passing that sent Hamaway racing clear and the striker slotted a low finish past the keeper to equalise. That was immediately followed by the pick of the goals. A flowing move went through several players before eventually ending up with Oliver Lines who finished from close range to give Republica the lead.
With the match in the balance, Jordan Thomas replaced Khdeir in midfield and Republica continued to have the better of the chances. Bramley's goalie was forced into several good saves as Hamaway and Lines continued to surge forward but, as time ticked away, Bramley began to launch the ball into the box from set pieces and throw ins. Despite some great saves from Moos and tenacious defending, it looked like they would head back down Scott Hall Road with a point when a corner was half-cleared and a shot from the edge of the box wormed into the net in injury time. It wasn't yet over, however, as Matty Booth found space to move forward and picked out Oliver Lines with a superb ball to the back post before the striker squeezed a shot across the keeper to earn all three points. Booth and Moos shared this week's man of the match award but the whole team should be proud of a well deserved win from a battling performance.