Maffeo heads in the winner. | CATI CLADERA

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RCD Mallorca squeezed a hard-fought 1-0 win against a young Almeria side in front of 12,687 fans on a blustery Saturday afternoon.

Mallorca dominated early doors and went ahead in the 25th minute with a strange goal. Copete put over a cross which the Almeria defender Chumi headed aimlessly into the air, our right wing back Pablo Maffeo was first on the scene to head in the spillage past a well beaten Fernando (who certainly didn’t hear the drums as the ball sped past his outstretched arms !) 1-0.

It’s difficult for a right back to have as much influence in a game as Maffeo had on Saturday. Not only did he score the game’s only goal, his goal-line clearance near the end made sure we won all three points and gave us our first home win of the campaign.

The game wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, spoilt somewhat by the wind (no, not my pre-match vindaloo !) but Mallorca without being brilliant (and with the help of an omnipresent Maffeo) won ugly!

What matters most after just six La Liga fixtures is that we continue to accumulate enough points to remain one more season amongst the greats in Spain’s La Liga Santander come June.

Before the game even started, new Serbian midfielder Nastasic felt discomfort in the pre-match warm-up, causing coach Aguirre to being in Copete to the starting XI. Just why Copete wasn’t in the original line-up only Aguirre knows, as he’s had a good start to his RCD Mallorca career.

Copete wasn’t the only change in the line-up. Battaglia picked up a knock in the Bernabeu defeat and was replaced by Galarreta in the engine room. He was flanked by Sanchez and Grenier. He looks class but seems unable to play any more than an hour.

With Mallorca going in at half time one goal ahead, we looked to be in the driving seat but without any recognised wingers we once again failed to create any decent goal-scoring chances.

Almeria’s coach Rubi (who didn’t take his love to town!) must have read his young side the riot act because after the break they were a different side altogether.

They began to take charge and our goal led a charmed life culminating in Maffeo’s heroic goal-line clearance in the 84th minute. With seven minutes to go, a frustrated Muriqi (who hardly had a touch all game) was substituted by Abdon Prats. The Kosovan hitman did not look happy.

With time running out, the Andalucians had the upper hand without creating too much as Mallorca took refuge in their penalty area to safeguard their three points.

SUMMING UP: The Palma side get to the first break in the season, and the last one before the World Cup in November, in exactly the same place as we were this time last term, with two wins, two draws and two defeats – eight points – three clean sheets and mid-table.

A bigger, stronger La Liga side would have surely punished us as Lady Luck smiled. With Barcelona here on October 1, damage limitation looks to be the name of the game.

We’re going to find goal scoring a big problem if we don’t put more balls into the penalty area for our isolated striker Muriqi to deal with.

On Saturday we were non-existent in attack. Playing without recognised wingers is a no-no for me, and Muriqi cut a frustrated figure before being substituted. There’s little point in paying a club record fee for a player who’s probably the best header of a ball in top flight Spanish football but never gets enough support to let him do his job properly.

Exiting after the game (as I made my way to the bar for a glass or two of the foaming cleanser !), I overheard several murmurings from fans not happy with coach Aguirre’s tactics. It’s a tricky situation but he will NOT change his five-at-the-back system. Some critics are describing that system as “lacking ambition.”

Pablo Maffeo had a memorable match and was the saviour and provider of our three points. The young Catalan-born defender must surely be knocking on the Spanish national team’s coach Luis Enrique’s door as a potential squad member for the troubled right back position in the national side.

The catering problems behind the new East stand have been corrected, I was told. There were several food trucks doing all sorts of goodies from hot dogs, wraps, pulled pork sandwiches, pizzas and burgers. PLUS something I mentioned a few days ago was needed – FREE WATER! As it turned out, temperatures were more agreeable for a 2pm kick off. Nevertheless, fans still protested in the 14th minute against lunchtime starts in high summer.

PS The commentator on Sky Sports Football apologised on Sunday during the game between St Mirren and Celtic for some foul language being used by a section of fans. Football crowds tend to use industrial language. It’s a long time since I heard anyone remark “I say, that No. 6 is an absolute bounder!!