NOVELDA CF – 2   CD THADER ROJALES – 0

BY STEVE HIBBERD

Thader were hoping to extend their unbeaten Preferente division run to 5 games last Sunday evening, but a poor 2nd half showing put paid to that record.  Deprived of the services of Quino, Rafa (both suspended) and Nino (injured), they were forced to include a youth team player on the subs bench.

Prior to this mid table clash against Novelda at The Magdalena Stadium, the hosts were 1 point and 1 place ahead of Thader, who now have slipped back a place into 10th.

The game started at break neck speed, for as early as the 2nd minute, Novelda’s striker Puerto was through on goal, before being halted by an offside flag.  Up the other end a few mins later, Kike (in for Quino) had his shot pushed aside for a corner, then Borja disappointingly shot way over the bar.

Dani Lucas headed a cross from the right firmly against the bar, as Thader started to boss proceedings early doors.  When the ref got in the way of a Thader move, the resultant drop ball to Lloyd, saw the captain strike a 25-yard effort agonizing over the top.

When a delightful cross by Javi on 35 mins was headed inches wide of the target by Thader full back Nano, it appeared it would be only a matter of time before Novelda’s breeches would be cracked.

In fact, the first time a Novelda player had touched the ball inside the visitor’s penalty area, was on 40 mins, only for Puerto to once again be ruled offside.  Although Kike headed home on 43 mins, his celebrations were cut short, for the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play during the build-up, thus denying Thader a thoroughly deserved half time lead.

Novelda’s first corner of the match arrived on 48 mins, producing a careless fumbling of the ball by Thader keeper Sergio, although he did redeem himself by blocking the resultant shot.

A warning sign of what was to come, involved Puerto putting the ball into Sergio’s net, but thankfully the offside flag once again came to Thader’s rescue.  But the reprieve was short lived, for on 63 mins, a loose ball inside the box fell invitingly for Luismi, who made no mistake from close range to put the hosts ahead.

When Verdu made it 2 from the edge of the box on 77 mins, it was game over for the visitors.  Sergio produced a worldly save on 85 mins from Novelda substitute Isaac’s drive, but in all honesty, a 3rd goal always looked to be on the cards.

How a team can look so competent in all departments for 45 mins, then look so out of their depth for the rest of the game, is a mystery that only the men in blue and white striped shirts can answer.

But, onwards and upwards they shall go, and with Easter fast approaching, 2 matches in quick succession are on the horizon.  Unfortunately, fans are still not permitted in stadiums, but this will hopefully change after the next Valencian government review on 12 April.

It will be home sweet home on both Thurs 1 Apr (prov 8pm ko) and Mon 5 Apr (ko 11.30), when Struggling Elda Prom, then lowly Orihuela CF ‘B’, arrive at Moi Gomez Stadium.

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