Players:

Radek Simunek
Garrett Parker Stephan Schuchardt Keyur Patel Jerry Lillard
Doron Raviv Christos Theodoropoulos Vitaly Klopot Dammy Olubokun
Pejman Taghavi Armand Guri

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. Pejman Taghavi
  2. Armand Guri

Report

Lots of reasons for Partisan to be fired up today. Trauma of the previous weekend's debacle. Hrdlorezy snatching a 90th-minute winner when we played them in the autumn. Seeing our charge for second spot turn into a slump to 7th. In the absence of Burgmans, Patel donned the captain's armband and continued his exemplary partnership with Schuchardt at centre-back. This freed up Theodoropoulos for the unusual role of holding midfielder. Partisan's first chance came just 2 minutes in, right-back Parker shooting just wide from a corner. We were ahead inside the first 20 minutes though, as Taghavi collected a pass about 20 yards out and chipped the keeper. Olubokun doubled the advantage with a turn worthy of Cruyff to slot past the keeper from 10 yards. The first half also saw a goal from a diving header by Guri ruled out, correctly, as the ball glanced off his arm as well. Not long after that he saw a shot parried by the keeper, before Child saw his drive from the rebound blocked by one of their defenders. There was a yellow card for Hrdlorezy's right-back for taking down Theodoropoulos when we were on the break, and their number 6 was fortunate to escape the same for an almost identical foul in the same position minutes later. Half Time: Partisan 2 - 0 Spartak Hrdlorezy Johnson came on for Parker at the start of the second half and was immediately in action as Hrdlorezy started strongly, putting us on the back foot for the first 15 minutes of the half. However, after the previous weekend's events, the squad was absolutely determined not to let the lead slip. Matthews came on for Child at around the hour mark to bring some fresh legs into the line-up, and as Hrdlorezy's pressure began to wane, we struck the killer blow with a quick counter-attack, Guri finally finding the net. At that point we made a tactical substitution, taking off Taghavi and bringing on Sheppard to shut up shop in midfield. In fact, Sheppard's introduction almost brought immediate dividends for Partisan. Hrdlorezy's number 6 again escaped a card, this time for kicking Klopot while he was on the ground and long after the ball had gone. Klopot picked himself up and quickly tapped the free-kick into the path of Sheppard, who struck a fierce drive from about 20-yards out. It was too close to the keeper however, and he gathered safely. Ultimately it was the substitute Matthews who was the architect of our final goal, going on a typically mazy run towards the right corner and then delivering a perfect ball for Guri to finish off. The Albanian could have returned the favour a few minutes later, but typically opted to try and barrel through three defenders instead, and our chance of a fifth went begging. Good result overall and nice to get the clean sheet thanks to hard work from the back four and Simunek. However, it was a performance of graft rather than guile: our passing and combinations were frequently poor, wingers were wasted, too many players held on to the ball for too long, and we made extra work for ourselves by conceding possession too cheaply. All things we need to improve over the next half a dozen matches, before we come up against the big guns.