Muscat Storm started its new year with a 4-2 victory against the British School Muscat (BSM) U19s, but only after surviving an early scare.

The seasonal break had taken its toll on the Storm players as they were slow out of the blocks against a young BSM side. In the initial stages, the game seemed to be under Storm’s control. However, BSM repeatedly broke up play and applied pressure every time Storm was in possession.

After half an hour, a quick break down the left flank saw BSM getting in behind Storm’s defence. The ball was whipped in and was met well by Alfie Goodman, who put the visitors in a 1-0 lead.

Less than five minutes later, Mark Lennon nearly pulled one back for Storm after Johnny Murphy’s cross eluded everybody, but the finish was pushed wide.

As half-time approached, a mistake in the Storm midfield was latched onto by James Ogilvy, who outpaced the BSM defence and calmly chipped the ball over the Storm keeper to put BSM into a 2-0 lead at half-time.

After the break, Lee Ebbutt’s men came out as a very different unit. BSM was not given an inch of space and Storm threatened every time it went forward.

Lennon was causing all sorts of problems for BSM and when he linked up with Ebbutt, the latter’s cross was perfectly received and headed in by Nick French, who reduced the margin to 2-1.

The assault continued as Storm looked for a second goal. After a cheeky back-heel from Lennon found Ebbutt, the latter’s pass sliced open the BSM defence and it left French with plenty of time to pick his spot for his second strike, making it 2-2.

The game was by then well under Storm’s control. Olly Myhill was breaking up everything down the middle and Ebbutt was finding space.

When he again linked up with Lennon, he brushed past the visitors’ defence, but was brought down in the box.

The penalty was hammered home to put Muscat Storm into a 3-2 lead.

BSM started to leave gaps and some impressive touch football between Di Spiga and Lennon found Hugh Davies. Davies’ shot was smashed past the BSM keeper as Storm went up 4-2.

Ebbutt said, “The team’s reaction to the half-time talk was fantastic. After a lacklustre first half, our response was immense.

“I saw some of the best football we have played. The team showed great character, we thoroughly deserved to win,” he added.