Elche CF 0 -1 CD Mirandés (By Kevin Rendall)
Elche slumped to a fifth consecutive defeat as their freefall down the Segunda División table continued in dismal fashion. A last minute goal when a useful point seemed certain was the story last week at Mallorca and it was a case of déjà vu yesterday at the Martínez Valero when lowly, and ten man, Mirandés came calling.
Fifteen odd thousand were there on a bright, sunny afternoon which quickly became gloomy for Elche who, once again, looked anxious and low on confidence. An early goal would have settled the nerves and, in all likelihood, led to more, it wasn’t to be, though, as both sides laboured to find any kind of rhythm.
Chances for either side were few and far between as a nondescript first half progressed to a goal-less conclusion. What Elche could have done with was ripples of appreciative applause, instead they got the usual moans and groans and jeers and whistles from their fickle crowd.
The only bright spot of a dull opening forty five was the dismissal of Urko Vera five minutes before the break for slashing at Rober Correa with his right elbow. Quite why he complained so much was a mystery.
Elche set about the second half with renewed energy and only a little more composure prevented them taking the lead. Substitute Sory Kaba squandered two decent chances, the product of better build up play than hitherto. Elche continued to press and always looked the most likely of the two sides to score. A goal-less draw would have yielded a precious point, something Elche looked to have settled for last week, too. Then history repeated itself.
Mirandés offered precious little offensively, save for flailing elbows – Provencio would also see red later for using his – until the dying seconds. It was his hopeful free-kick lumped in to the Elche penalty area that provided Carlos Moreno with the opportunity to win the match. Given too much space he deftly sent a flicked header beyond Juan Carlos to condemn Elche.
Former Elche Ilicitano coach Vicente Parras already had a massive job to do to prevent Elche being relegated and his task became even more difficult following this sorry defeat. He now has a further four matches to prevent the unthinkable becoming a reality. Elsewhere this weekend results went against the Ilicitanos, the upshot of which being Elche start next week deep in the red zone with only, ironically as it happens, Mallorca and Mirandés beneath them.