(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat Storm hosted Barka on Wednesday night at its Seeb club ground in what turned out to be an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Storm's manager Lee Ebbutt tried out a new formation aimed at playing a more intense pressing game, and the move worked as his team dominated its opponent for the majority of the first half.
Oli Myhill and Jay Wynter were controlling the midfield. With Luis Miguel setting the pace from the back, Barka was just not able to settle down. Storm often pushed Barka back to the edge of the box and spent most of the opening 30 minutes camped in the Barka half.
Despite all the pressure, chances were few and far between. When Mikey Henderson set up Myhill, who looked clean upfront, it was only the linesman who thwarted the opportunity.
Chris Graham and Steve Vickers were working tirelessly down the flanks, and every time the Barka players broke away and tried to make inroads, they were frustrated by the Storm defence.
In the 35th minute, a harmless ball inside the Storm box took a bobble and bounced straight into the path of a Barka striker, who was five yards out and made no mistake with his attempt on goal.
Barka went 1-0 up against the run of play, but Storm's reaction was swift. Some good play beeen Myhill and Kirk McPherson opened up the Barka defence and Myhill's persistence paid off as he slotted home the equaliser.
The second-half pace dropped as the humidity was beginning to take its toll on the players. It seemed to affect Barka a little less as its players found more space and had more time with the ball.
Both teams played some good football in the second half, but neither was able to score for the second time. The closest Storm went to scoring was when Darren Deschamps set up McPherson, whose shot didn't trouble the Barka keeper.
As the game drew towards a close, Storm's defence remained solid with Ewen Bailey and Neil McCoy clearing everything. With minutes to go, tired legs in the Storm half gave Barka a chance, but Lawrence Baker pulled off a sharp save and Ron Polson cleared the ball away. Storm had one final chance from a corner. The ball bounced into the Barka goal area, but no one was able to capitalise on it.
Ebbutt said after the match, "That was a great game, we really gave Barka no time in the first half. The team responded really well to the change in formation. We need to turn ball possession into chances and be more clinical. The team worked hard tonight and deserved to get something more from this game."