Muscat: Storm was reduced to just nine players, but managed to secure a comfortable 5-2 victory recently against the U19 team of British School Muscat (BSM).

Storm got off to a quick start and found itself with plenty of ball possession, with Ryan French and Kirk McPherson dominating theearly exchanges in midfield.

Storm should have taken the lead in the eighth minute when Malchus Hilton outpaced the BSM defence, only to see hisshot go wide of the goal.

There were early signs that Storm would create many chances. When Mark Lennon and Oli Myhill linked up, their final pass found Hilton, who side-stepped the BSM defence and smashed the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 for Storm.

BSM kept pushing, looking for an equaliser, but it was finding it hard to gain time on the ball.

Soon, Storm had its second goal when McPherson wasbrought down in BSM’s goal area and he duly slotted home from the penalty spot.

BSM was pinned back into its own half, but it defended well against a Storm team in good form.

With only a few minutes to go for the half-time whistle, Davis Rizzolo joined the goal fest to make it 3-0 for Storm. There was still time before the teams went into the break for McPherson to net his second and the home team’s fourth goal.

BSM started positively in the second half. The 4-0 scoreline did not deter it from pushing forward.

Only a few minutes into the second half, Hilton’s game was over after he twisted an ankle. Storm, having already lost its substitutes to first-half injuries, continued with ten men.

The home team was still passing the ball well, with Lee Ebbutt and Billy White dictating the pace of the game from the back. BSM tightened its defence and Storm found it difficult to find the space it had enjoyed earlier.

Storm suffered another blow in the 55th minute when Lennon had to leave the field due to an injury, leaving the team to see out the last 35 minutes with nine players.

The visitors made the most of their numerical advantage, enjoying more ball possession.

In the 65th minute, BSM counter-attacked and although Storm’s goalkeeper saved Omar al Farsi’s effort, the rebound was slammed home by the same player.

The goal seemed to energise BSM and as it pushed for a second one, a tackle by Storm’s Polson in the goal area saw the referee award a penalty. Abdullah stepped up and his spot-kick was brilliantly saved by the Storm keeper. But the BSM player reacted quickly and found the target to make it 4-2.

Storm continued to look for opportunities and BSM kept on counter-attacking, which led to a lively contest in the closing ten minutes.

Storm’s McPherson finished the game in style. He ran from just inside the BSM half and netted his third goal and Storm’s fifth.

Storm’s manager Ebbutt said after the win, “The first half was excellent and the game was all but over. But when you go down to nine players, it’s difficult and BSM took full advantage. They never gave up and kept coming at us, which was good to see.

“It was nice to win again and I hope we get the opportunity to play them again as they like to play the same style of football as we do – it’s enjoyable to watch.”

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