Home league match played on 19 March 2019.
Kicked off at 8:00 PM

Playing against a side who you beat 4-1 with 10/9 men only a few weeks ago can breed complacency.

This was exactly what happened to a re-gigged Vegas side missing 5 centre midfielders but had 4 centre backs in the starting eleven.

Admiral went up 1-0 when one of the channel balls that where raining down the line was nodded on by their striker. His partner brought the ball down, turned and had the freedom of market road to run 10 yards and slide a cute ball between defenders for his winger to run on to and slot home.

Disbelieving looks from teammates in the Vegas ranks as to how it was allowed to happen when everybody was supposed to be fresh and be playing with early game intensity...

However, this 'woke' the Vegas boys up and within 15 minutes they were 2-1 up through Kadeem Gutzmore who pounced on a loose Admiral pass in the box and finished calmly, and Michel Bolou who slammed a swerving shot past the goalie from a Perry Price pass on the edge of the area.

Sadly, not long after that, Bolou who only reached the game at kick off and had no time to warm up, pulled up with a hamstring strain and was replaced by lone wolf Abiola Baloqun.

Vegas where making inroads but their usual quickness of passing and first touches were heavy. Nevertheless, a driving run by Deondre Dewar was found from a midfield pass that split the Admiral defence, he cut back and laid off to Price who struck a dipping shot from 30 yards that sailed over the goalie and in for a 3-1 lead.

Vegas came in at half-time with their tails between their legs as they looked like they were embarrassed about their first half performance.

But still, despite a good chat at half-time, they were unable to move the ball quickly on retaking the pitch, often taking 4 touches instead of 2 and regularly running with the ball towards their teammates rather than just passing it.

Ten minutes in and the returning Alby Miller was caught on his recently injured ankle and was brought off as a precaution for Daniel Loughney...

Mayhem ensued.

Manager Patrick Moore Jones thought he had instructed the lads to move into a 343 with Dewar switching sides and Loughney sitting at right wing back...assuming the players were adaptable enough to do it. But, suddenly players were running around with little to no idea about where they were supposed to be and conceded a goal with multiple players turning to the sideline and shouting to their manager that the formation was to blame for it.

Responsibility ultimately lies with the manager when it comes to formation, and in hindsight the shape, which was switched to a back four again soon after, had confused the players.

But turning and laying the blame on the manager directly after conceding a goal is not what a team of our quality should be displaying. I hope a little more perspective is taken in future situations, seeing as the manager is not even on the pitch.

The mentality has been one Vegas' strongest assets in their recent run, but letting the pressure of challenging for the title can not and will not weaken the side. The team are strong and can see out any situation, but they will need to focus on solving problems - not finding reasons to blame someone or something.

Be adaptable and stay focused on your job(s), that is the best way to succeed as a team.

They regrouped (once back in the comfort of a four at the back) but were unable to find much rhythm in their play. Wingers looked isolated, heavy touches cost possession, but Tre Thompson showed admirable calmness and measured control of the ball when it was in his possession to keep things ticking in tight situations, earning him the man of the match award.

The goal of the game came from the other outstanding performer of the night. Price was found by Baloqun on the left side of the Admiral half about 30 yards from goal, he twisted his defender inside out a couple times before taking the ball wide onto his left foot, a sweetly struck low finish across the goal put the game (finally) to bed and gave him his 28th goal in 17 games.

The game petered out after that and ended with both sides leaving with what they probably expected. Another 3 points is a must next week against bottom of the table Crown and Manor before some huge cup games in April where the Vegas boys will surely be up for some battles of the big guns.

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