- Sam Thompson
Mighty Shane 5-3 Taipei Warriors: Paruch Hits 4 as Shane Reach Mid Season on a High
The Mighty Shane triumphed 5-3 over a dangerous Warriors side in a roller coaster of a match to win 2 games on the bounce and go 4 games unbeaten. Having to start the game with so many first team players unavailable and in the hottest conditions of the season, it was never going to be an easy match.
Shane started strongly however, and quickly went two goals to the good through this season's top scorer, Zach Paruch. The first came when a nice move down the right side saw winger Diego Ballesteros deliver a perfect cross for Zach, who duly fired in low beyond the keeper. The next came from the left, as debutant Patrick Krogh skinned a defender and played a dangerous ball across the net. It was striker Jonty Chang who go on the end of it, before he unselfishly and smartly played it into the path of Zach to smash in--for his second of the day.
Shane were cruising, and largely dominated the first half proceedings. As a result of their dominance, they managed to add a third before the break through midfielder Mamadi Colley. Some great build up play saw a through-ball played into Zach who, having been forced wide by the onrushing keeper, turned and delivered a great cross into the box for Mamadi. The Gambian midfielder made no mistake, taking the ball onto his chest before giving the keeper no chance with an accurate finish into the bottom corner.
The second half was a different story, as a combination of Shane complacency, the searing heat, and renewed vigor from the Warriors saw the opposition get back into the game. First, a mix up in the Shane defence saw a Warriors striker lob the ball home, despite the ball clearly going out of play beforehand. Shane hit back quickly however, as the silky Dane Patrick capped a fine debut by playing a brilliant ball over the defence for Zach to run onto. Shane's talismanic number 7 showed great determination and composure by running half the length of the field with the ball before dispatching the ball into the net for his hat-trick.
At 4-1, the game should have been over, but the Warriors had other ideas. To their credit, they pulled themselves back into contention with two quickfire goals to make it 4-3, with both goals coming from their impressive number 42. His first was contentious, as he left a boot in on Shane keeper Toby Shaw before rolling the ball into the empty net. His second however, was excellent, as he fired into the bottom corner from outside the area.
Shane were rattled and staring down the prospect of losing a three goal lead. An on-pitch team talk from influential captain Jamie Smith re-energized the lads however, and we were able to take back control in the closing 15 minutes. The match was sealed when Zach, again involved, won a penalty as his shot was blocked by a handball. The American completed his best performance of the season by rocketing the resulting spot kick into the top corner, cueing relieved celebrations all round.
This vital win sees Shane continue their impressive form and move up to 7th in the table as the league takes a break for mid season. The boys can reflect on what's been a successful first half of the campaign and start gearing up for when the OTPL resumes in September.
Man of the match:
Zach Paruch. Without question the standout performer, grabbing 4 goals and an assist. The attacking midfielder is in fine form and takes his goals tally to 9 in just 11 appearances.
Patrick Krogh. An excellent debut for the young forward as he grabbed an assist and showed great technique and composure in giving the defence trouble every time he got on the ball. He looks a wonderful prospect.
Pete Williams. In the absence of Shane's usual centre back pairing, the American stepped in to give a dominant performance. He thwarted the Warriors attack on numerous occasions and was smart in possession. He also showed his character by playing on after receiving a nasty cut close to eye.
Jonty Chang. The striker was full of running and commitment throughout, also showing his intelligence by dropping deep to receive the ball and allowing space for others to exploit. Marked a great performance with a clever assist when he easily could have taken the shot.