First team secure 3-0 win over last place Knonau

Building on a strong performance against the league leaders Uitikon last week, FC Hard burst confidently into action on a bright sunny late-April morning in Brunau.  Reinforced in midfield by Irish duo Brian and Paul (called up from the seniors), the team started confidently, building possession in the midfield and keeping it tight at the back.

Just before the break, Hugo opened the scoring with a header at the backpost from Craig’s looping cross after a sustained period of pressure.  After a string of wasted opportunities, the collective relief was palpable and Hugo’s lap of honour clearly showed his personal relief at breaking a long running scoring drought.

Soon into the second half, our Aussie centre-half Evan headed in at the back post from a perfectly flighted free kick from Paul, in a move that was almost straight from the training ground.  It helped somewhat that their keeper didn’t fancy it much. From then on, Knonau went all-in sending two more players up front, including their powerful centre-half, in what you could call a power play.  However, this risky tactic backfired as Knonau were left exposed by swift Hard counter attacks.  From one such attack, a well weighted pass from Brian to Paul, who broke from midfield, lead to a well-timed pull back for Pat to precisely slot it home for our number 3.

Perhaps due to their lack of experience in leading games, Hard didn’t take the opportunity to kill the game off and retain possession in the opponent’s half.  As a result, they had to resist a series of late onslaughts from Knonau which were adeptly kept at bay by our tireless defense, including an out of position Matteo, and importantly another fine performance from our own ‘flying Scotsman’ goalkeeper/striker Brett.  At the same time,  Hard should have had at least another 4 goals to their name as clear cut opportunities in front of goal were repeatedly squandered.  Nevertheless, the team did the job they set out to and can celebrate the much needed victory before preparing for the next round, a tough test away to Galatasaray at Buchlern on Sunday – current joint league leaders.  Kick off 10am.

Paul Hughes

Second loss for 1st team despite spirited performance against league leaders

Despite a spirited comeback and a much improved performance, the second game of the spring season ended in a 3-1 loss to league leaders Uitikon.

After a nervous start which saw us concede a lucky goal (meant as a cross), we went into half time 1-0 down. Shortly into the second half, after sending on some fresh legs, we pulled back a deserved equaliser from a corner.

Many chances fell to both sides from then on. Man of the match Brett kept us in the game with a series of fine saves. We were then unlucky not to take the lead after the referee didn’t see the ball cross the line following a goalkeeping blunder by the Uitikon number 1. To compound the bad luck, Uitikon took the lead soon after with a close range tap in at the near post.

Hard took risks to try and salvage a result from a good performance, but were caught by a counter attack in the last minutes, resulting in a converted penalty to make it 3.

Hard could hold their heads high at the final whistle, and go into the next game with renewed belief and full confidence in obtaining​ 3 points from league strugglers, Knonau Mettmenstetten next Sunday morning at Brunau. Kickoff 10am.

Paul Hughes

1. Mannschaft mit unglücklichem Rückrundenstart

FC Oerlikon-Polizei 3 – 1 FC Hard

Der Frühling zeigte sich an diesem Sonntag eigentlich von seiner besten Seite. Bei 20 Grad und prallem Sonnenschein eröffneten die Männer von Silvano Zese die Rückrunde im Neudorf beim FC Oerlikon-Polizei 3. Die Voraussetzungen wären also perfekt gewesen, die frustrierend Hinrunde hinter sich zu lassen. Doch es lief nicht viel zusammen bei den Blauen, und eine Handvoll Unkonzentriertheiten führten dazu, dass es am Schluss eine 1:3 Niederlage setzte.

Die erste Halbzeit zeigte noch ein sehr ausgeglichenes Bild. Es standen sich zwei Mannschaften gegenüber, die sich in ihrem Potential nicht wirklich unterschieden. So stand es nach 45 Minuten auch nur 0:1, nach einem sprichwörtlichen Sonntagsschuss der Oerlikoner. Es war die zweite Halbzeit, in der das Spiel den Härdlern aus den Füssen glitt. In der Pause musste sowohl unser 10er wie auch der neue Stammtorwart verletzungsbedingt raus, ohne richtig ersetzt werden zu können.

Was folgte war eine Reihe von individuellen Fehlern, die ohne richtigen Torwart natürlich prompt vom Gegner bestraft wurden. Innenverteidiger Evan Moore konnte mit einem Penalty in der 75. Minute nur noch die Ehre retten.

Es geht jetzt während der Osterpause darum, das Selbstvertrauen, das sich nach einem erfolgreichen Abschluss der Hinrunde zu bilden begonnen hatte, wieder einzufangen und die nötige Stabilität in die Mannschaft zu bringen. Mit einem Kader von über 20 Mann und durchaus vorhandenen Anlagen sollte dies auch möglich sein. Es ist – wie so oft im Fussball – eine Kopfsache.

– Patrick McEvily

Seniors 30+: FC Hard 7 – FC Hellas 0

The second round of the 2016/17 championship got off to a flying start with a 7-0 thrashing of FC Hellas.  Tempers flared on this unseasonably hot April Saturday afternoon resulting in many yellow cards and one red card for Hellas.

While the three points and improved goal difference were something to cheer, the hit to our Fair Play points total was less welcome – ties in the league are decided by these points and not goal difference.

The players have a month’s break before the next game, at home to Bosna.

– Paul Hughes