Fri Aug 8
Written By: Fletcher, Duncan
After rough weather had played havoc with some recent fixtures, a balmy summer evening saw Sigma FC take on Masters FA Saints, with a chance to go top of the league while Masters were looking for just their third win of the league season.
The teams' respective records were shown to be fair by the end of a first half, when Sigma’s extra quality and technical ability shone through, though it did take a while for them to establish themselves.
Both sides had chances in the opening fifteen minutes: Sigma’s patient passing game bringing opportunities in the box, with Masters goalkeeper Shane Lopez having to make a good save from in-close. Masters, meanwhile, were more direct in their play, their best early chance a twenty-five yard shot from Jude Alanwoko that went just wide of the post.
Eventually, Sigma took control of the game, and their pressure paid off in the sixteenth minute when a move down the left wing saw Lopez make a good save on the initial shot, but the rebound was easily knocked in by forward Mark Wadid.
After that, the floodgates opened. The second goal came from a free kick on the edge of the box, Manny Morgado curling the ball over the wall and into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0 after just nineteen minutes. Two minutes later and it was 3-0, a quick ball out from Sigma goalie Greg Ranjitsingh found Emery Welshman on the right wing, and his hard low cross was knocked past the goalie by Chris Nanco.
Just two minutes after, Saints got back in the game - Ahjton Roberts breaking down the left wing and cutting into the box, where he was tripped up. There could be no complaints as referee Hassane Rifai pointed to the spot, and Alexander Dimitriu made no mistake with a shot low to the keeper’s left, just inside the post.
The chances kept coming at both ends, with Sigma in particular looking dangerous. The host's patient build up play was usually ending out on the wings, and it was just such play that led to the fourth goal; a cross in the box was stopped by a Masters defender, but the clearance just went straight up in the air. When it came back down there was miscommunication between the goalie and defender, which allowed Emery Welshman to steal the ball away and put it away into the empty net to cap a frenetic run of five goals in fifteen minutes.
Things began to calm down, though Sigma continued to look dangerous down both wings, and they had time for Mark Wadid to get his second goal just before half time, Sigma going into the break 5-1 up.
There were plenty of substitutions throughout the second half, some of the younger players getting into the game as the intensity was dialled down, though both keepers still had to make good saves, and Sigma’s Giuliano Frano hit the bar with a long range attempt.
Master’s got their second in the sixty-third minute, after breaking down the left wing. Sigma keeper Ranjitsingh raced from his line to try and clear the danger, but was beaten to the ball and eventually Alexander Dimitriu had an empty net to claim his second of the match.
Masters then began to carry the play and created a number of half chances, mainly from crosses into the box that just couldn’t find the final touch. Meanwhile, in a reverse of the first half, Sigma were repeatedly catching Masters out on the break, forcing Lopez to come out of his box to clear balls through the defence twice in the space of a minute at one point. At the other end, Wadid had a chance to claim his hat-trick, cutting in from the left and beating the keeper, but his shot bounced off both posts and out - that was as close as either side would come to another goal.
This entertaining fixture ended 5-2, and so Sigma move to twenty-four points, tied with TFC Academy at the top of the table, though having played two more games. Both teams will play Woodbridge Strikers next; Masters in the league on Saturday the ninth, and Sigma in the cup on Monday the eleventh.