French Championnat de France Amateur 2
Stade Jean Deconinck, Grande-Synthe
Team sheet: Free
Attendance: 150 (estimate)
Match Rating: 2
Having spent the morning exploring the beautiful city of Amiens, I then headed north and caught a further game on my way back to Calais with a game in the regional fifth tier of French football, hoping for another entertaining game after yesterday evening's excellent game at Amiens, with this north coast derby.
The Stade Jean Deconinck is located in the north of the western Dunkirk suburb of Grande-Synthe. Unfortunately, it is a rather sterile athletics arena, with a running track around the pitch meaning spectators are distant from the pitch. Entering in a corner, there is quite a large grandstand along the opposite length, housing the only seating in the stadium in one half of the stand, whilst on the ground floor of the other half has the rather bland clubhouse, selling just drinks and cold snacks. Around the rest of the ground, behind the railed off running track, is just hard standing. A double sided team sheet was provided for this game.
With three games of the league game season to go, both teams are battling against relegation. Grande-Synthe were in seventh place in the 14 team division, with 51 points from 23 games, four points clear of the relegation zone and six points clear of second bottom Marck, who are in grave danger of immediate relegation back to the sixth tier, three points adrift of safety. When the two teams met back in January, the match finished goalless.
On a sunny early evening, gale force winds across the ground made conditions very difficult for football, with the swirling around and being held up whenever it went airborne. Considering their league position, AS Marck were the stronger team in the first half, without ever really looking like they would score, and indeed, it was the home side who had the best chances to open the scoring, just after the half hour mark. On 32 minutes, Dimitri Santrain crossed the ball low from the right and Kevin Chateau drilled the ball just wide of the near post, and three minutes later, some poor Marck defending ended with Chateau running through on goal, but out of nowhere, a covering defender made enough ground to put in a fantastic sliding challenge before Chateau could get a shot away.
Into the second-half and Grande-Synthe had another great chance to open the scoring on 50 minutes but Maxime Carney slashed horribly wide from a central position 10 yards out. That turned out to be the last real opportunity of the game, as the play in the last half hour became ever duller. Marck continued to battle hard but just never looked likely to score, whilst Grande-Synthe always looked the more threatening on the rare occasions they attacked. But a goalless draw, Grande-Synthe's seventh of the season, was a predictable result. A point from today's game extends their cushion to five points from the relegation zone with two games remaining, whilst Marck had clawed to within two points of safety after Saturday's game, however Le Havre's surprise win against leaders Arras on Sunday meant that survival for AS Marck now looks unlikely, 5 points adrift of safety with just two rounds left to play.