Old I’s 1st XI 0-2 Clapham
Man: Liam D
Muppet: Jack B
The 1’s fine five match winning streak in the league came to an end with a loss and disappointing display against Clapham this Saturday.
We had beaten them 4-1 in the reverse fixture a few weeks previous, so maybe overconfidence was a factor, but right from kick off we lacked our usual intensity and quality on the ball.
We lined up with James in goal, a back four of Chris, Pete, Tom and Callum, two holding midfielders Steve and Sean, then an attacking three of Jack B, Liam D and Alex supporting Jake (captain) up top. Liam O’G and Jack R ready from the bench.
Neither side started well on a boggy pitch: a mis-control from their centre half almost allowing Alex in one on one, and the Old I’s struggling to retain possession due to poor first touches and a lack of movement off the ball.
About 20 minutes in, Clapham took the lead after a bit of pinball on the edge of our area led to a clearance deflecting fortunately (for them) into their striker one on one with James and he just sneaked it into the net. In the process James pulled his hamstring and had to come off, with Liam D volunteering himself as a replacement keeper. We wish James a speedy recovery, get well soon mate! Kudos to Liam for stepping up to the task of being a makeshift keeper, man of the match stuff!
The remainder of the half continued with sloppiness from both sides. Jack B almost found an equaliser after battling his way through a few challenges, but one too many body swerves and feints meant he missed the chance and picked up the muppet vote for it.
After a half time team talk focusing on firing each other up for a big second half we duly undid all the positive motivational messages by conceding only a few minutes into the second. A free kick to the back post was headed across our six yard box and left a free, easy header for Clapham to double their lead.
To be fair, we didn’t let this get our heads down, and we actually improved afterwards: forcing Clapham back, retaining possession a little better, upping the work rate all over the pitch – but we didn’t create any decent chances against a well organised defence, perhaps missing some of our main attacking options Ren and Conor (they’ll be happy to hear), who had swapped the winter weather for hotter climates elsewhere. A few dodgy yellow cards dished out by the ref compounded our frustration to see out the match.
A shitty feeling losing with a display like that, but it’s no good sulking, all we can do is put things right against Beals next week.
Old Ignatians 1st XI 5 Altis FC 2
Man: Callum B
Muppet: Dave I’m
Scorers: Jake 2, Tom, Alex, Conor
As the final fixtures of the year closed in. It wasn’t the best of football we were going to adere to. No amount of reseeding was going to help the boggy ground of Loyola. With both sides going to struggle with their first touch and perfecting their weighted passes timingly on the wet thick grass it was Ignatius who managed it better. This led to Alex shooting and a deflection on goal. With the nerves settled it wasn’t long before Tommy put his name on the scoresheet only 15 minutes in. We needed to put our mark on the league and there was no excuse not to, with this being the strongest squad we’d had all season. We started to play some beautiful tika taka football with confidence. The wet ground must of affected the ref as he seem to give constant dubious decisions. At one stage you’d of thought he had a pea in his whistle. Pushing 20 minutes in you got the feeling we were out to top up our goal difference. Jack Barton had a squandered chance which could of been a mirror image of Tommy’s goal. Constant long balls to Alex down the left wing who was whipping them in, we just struggled to deliver the final product to produce that much needed third goal. Twenty five minutes in James on his first team gk debut looked very calm in his old school pink retro looking arsenal kit as his first touch of the ball produces a pin point pass to our star striker jake who unfortunately was fouled on the edge of the box. Two minutes later another beautifully curled pass from Callum Barton seen Jake chase down Altis’ last man,who fumbled under pressure and put it out for a corner. End to end stuff now 30 minutes in Ignatius seen a great chance from jake saved which led to the sixth corner of the game. The corner quickly taken was cleared and gave Altis F.C the chance to counter attack. James quick thinking made the run out to the lanky No.12 Altis striker and make a class save. A nice long ball from Christopher G seen Conor O’g have a brilliant shot just sail over the crossbar.
Ignatius were cruising in 4th gear showing training’s 2 touch football kick into action. Altis not knowing how to deal with it started committing silly late tackles as they struggled to deal with Sean Mcdaddy and Steve turning and spraying scholesy like through balls. The ref soon picked up on it and noted the oppo in the book. The free-kick awarded left Conor O’G his chance to put his mark on the game. A well struck powerful shot on goal hit the keeper before he knew what hit him leaving Jake to finish from 2 yards out. 2-0. Back to the centre circle with Altis looking defeated already and team tensions rising they automatically lost the ball. Steve’s pass to Sean Mcdaddy who decided a dummy was the best action, which in fair he managed to pull off. Surprisingly nutmegged the oppositions player aswell. Thank God Ren was on hand to confirm, it still counted as a definite nutmeg. 50ppppppp in the kitty!! Altis through on goal 5 minutes before half time seen club/vet/legend Peter and his side kick Tommy deal with their men only to concede a free kick on the edge of the box. Free kick taken quickly and a corner gained for Altis. The corner was of no real threat till a quick clearance dropped nicely for the Altis player to strike a 30 yard shot. The ball landed awkwardly in front of Jake but still managed a great save. One last corner before the whistle blew for half time seen Peter save the day heading it on to the bar. Half time came around with Altis only having had a couple of corners and poor shots on goal. It was now time to make use the use of the subs that would of rival man city’s bench. It took Ignatians a good 5 minutes to get into a rhythm of play. The ball was constantly backwards and forwards. It was only a matter of time before Tommy usually hungover had to have the last say or kick and got himself a much beloved yellow. Fair play for consistency!!!
Meanwhile I was stuck between Steve who should of been calling the shots and Ren who was busy finger pointing. Altis started to find their feet and got two quick corners one leading to them breaking our clean sheet. We were under it as the famous Altis No.8 – Tommy’s mate – scored a pinger to add salt to our wounds. We were now under pressure and an Altis 2nd goal soon followed from a close range header. 2-2.
A corner ball seen James make another great save from a headed ball going top corner. Solid tackling from Christopher and vets Matteo showed Ignatians were in control.
Ren was calling out the oppos numbers as if he was on the lottery. We kept pushing the final 3rd and managed to gain 2 corners in a row. Jake found himself another goal very questionable as to whether he meant nut the ball with his eye. 3-2 The ball was back on the floor and some tasty football was being played. Finally Ren found himself and his touch, you’d think he was still jet lagged. Pulling off a Bergkamp like turn Ren put Conor O’g in on goal another strike on target but no goal. It was starting to become a game of corners.
After a good move Alex converted Jakes cross from close range – 4-2. The three in midfield finally had it sorted and you could see Altis were defeated. Quick thinking and passing put Conor O’g in on goal who converted his 1 in 6 for a very decent bottom corner Walcot like goal. 5-2. Altis given the opportunity to be shown the centre circle again saw the ref blow his whistle.
#COYI’s Liam D.
OIFC 5s v Albanians 5s (01.12.2018 )
It was raining ahead of today’s match and Groundsman John confirmed it was still on after we heard the 4s away match was off when several Captains asked the question, the response:-
“I do let you know when games are off!”
On arrival at the Loyola our referee, the legendary John Daysh was sat in the Clubhouse with Walking Stick by his side. Let’s applaud this Gent who has been officiating for many decades now, rather than criticise him for still be committed to referee at a grand age.
At least 5 of the squad were in the Changing Room a quarter of an hour ahead of meet time, with the kit hanging off the pegs in an orderly manner with the accompanying Rainbow Laces for LGBT (Worn by many with Pride).
Let’s just say that lacing up needed the extra changing time! It felt like a mix of the Krypton and a Colour Blind Test as in the past, I have only been used to using black laces. We were also “lacing up” in American Prison terminology for a fight against high flying Albanians.
All were out to the side of the pitch with plenty of time to spare except Phil McLaughlin, who strolled out with time to spare like the lead in Swan Lake, as he made his entrance onto the pitch and became the first player to almost be sin binned before a ball had been kicked for dancing his way across the Paddock, when a pre-match pitch curfew was in a place.
Just before kick-off, John O’B Senior decided to take two match balls to the 1’s pitch, which delayed our KO by seconds as we waited for him to return to the 5s.
Line up (playing position) age
Andre Henry (GK) 35
Philip McLauglin (RB) 51
Michael Ward (LB) 50
John O’Brien Snr (CB) 54
Darrah Gallagher (CB) 18
Sean O’Brien (RM) 16
Austin Ndukwe (CM) 28
Liam Kavanagh (CM) 22
Hugo Connolly-Harding (LM) 16
Lee Farrance (CF) 39
CameronBocetti (Everywhere up front) 16
Josh Suckram (Winger) 26
The match started with many youngsters on show for both sides, who were all full of energy. It was the most rapid first 15 minutes that I experienced this Season and Credit to all in our side for making a great start and taking the game to high flying Albanians.
Lee “Flapper” Farrance broke the deadlock with a rasping half volley from the right side of the pitch and some 35 yards out, he hit a worldy which left their keeper routed, watching the ball fly into the far corner.
1-0 up and all to play for.
Our midfield quartet were battling well against decent opponents and Hugh and Sean were both great attacking outlets on either side of the pitch.
Lee was leading the line well upfront, supported by Cameron who plays with a great desire and no fear.
At the back John O’Brien Senior was talking all of us through the game and ensured that we were tight defensively.
The oppo crashed a shot against the underside of the crossbar which bounced out the right side of the white line for us.
Just prior to halftime Phil McLaughlin went off injured, replaced by Josh Suckram.
Half-time, Phil made a miraculous recovery and was able to come back on. (Rumour has it he wanted to save on his match day subs!!)
Our Captain unselfishly took himself off and we reverted from a 4-4-2 formation to 4-5-1.
Second half saw our Oppo ruthlessly take the game to us.
Darragh Gallagher was outstanding at centre back and he won everything in the air, and was tidy with his tackling and distribution too. What I also really liked though was the way he was shouting at his older defensive teammates in an encouraging and constructive manner.
Our oppo eventually drew level.
In the final 10 minutes they found the net again.
Neither goal was anyone’s fault, and came about due to the constant pressure they put us under.
We lost 2-1 to a decent opponent.
Man of the Match Darragh Gallagher, followed by Liam Kavanagh at centre midfield.
1st XI vs Meadonians II – 24/11/18
MoM – Jake Watson
Muppet – Joe O’Grady
Goalscorers – Alex, Conor O’G & Baby Barton
Spirits were high after our win last week against Clapham, and huge thanks for Tommy for inviting everyone round to his house for the social for a great night. Tommy and his brother’s plan to steal everyone’s money worked perfectly as he ensured everyone had paid their buy in before wizzing through the rules! He emerged the winner with his brother in second… suspicious? Most definitely.
At home this week, Mcdaddy ensured plenty of space in the packed changing room by showing off some funky skin (or what was left of it) and we made sure Marbs was well and truly still on the agenda for post season do with plenty of fines. Mcdaddy’s legs were wide open for business and Baby Barton just loves hitting the post pre-match.
English, Pete O’G, Tommy, Callum B
Mcdaddy, Liam D
Baby Barton, Conor O’G, Alex
Bench: Matty O & Chris
We kicked off and immediately found out what Meads were all about. They were big, aggressive and were looking to punt it long and feed off the second ball. Their number 11 moved well in the space between defence and midfield but whilst they had more of the ball in the first 10-15 minutes, they fell short of creating any actual chances, with the team defending well. Cue Alex on one of his mazy runs infield from the left, quick pull of the trigger into the bottom corner and we took the lead.
We started to pick the ball up a bit more and some good work in the final third left Jack in a bundle on the floor and Conor standing over the free-kick. Never in doubt, smashed it past everyone and into the far corner.
Joe O’G decided we were winning too comfortably, and came storming 25 yards out of goal, only to watch the long ball bounce straight over his head. More Hugo Lloris than Manuel Neuer…………
In true Old I’s fashion, we gave Meads a glimmer of hope, a poor throw by Steven in our own half meant the ball come straight back towards us, and a sliced clearance from Tommy left the oppo striker 1 vs 1 and he slotted home, with Joe O’G unlucky as he did get a hand to it.
Half time saw Liam D run off to harvest his potatoes in Ireland, Pete O’G had to take an urgent call from the senior nurse who thought he was trying to escape the nursing home again. Matty O slotted in for Pete, English moved into midfield to replace Liam D and Chris took up post at RB.
Second half saw us really step up our game, we got hold of runners, won second balls, kept possession and continued to defend well as a team. We were strong in the tackle, never stopped running and Captain Jake led fantastically from the front with a dominant all round performance right to the end. I even heard he has slept in the captains armband all week since..
With clearly the best moment of the game, Steven with some unbelievable footwork, channelled his inner Renaldo and put Jack clean through on goal with a sensational pass (all 7 foot of it) and Jack on his (weaker?) left foot smashed it at the oppo GK. Knowing how much of a strop Jack throws when he doesn’t score, the GK kindly pushed the ball over his head, and into his own net.
Matty O keen to get back into old habits took a suspicious tumble by the touchline. Home crowd gave him all 10’s. Referee didn’t.
A quick check of the watch saw Tommy pick up an ‘injury’ and he was changed and on the train to Wembley before you could blink. Pete OG finished arguing with the nurse and headed back on.
Keen to grab his last chance to win the Muppet vote, Pete goes and orders Pineapple on the post match pizza. Pineapple. On a pizza.
All in all a great win over a good opposition and keeps the winning momentum going and see’s us head up to 3rd in the league. Next week we host Altis FC and will be looking for more of the same.
Up the I’s.
There are a handful of dates that will forever be embedded in history where we will always remember where we were.
The 30th of July 1966, England defeat West Germany to the lift the World Cup.
The 16th of July 1969, Neil Armstrong takes a stroll on the moon.
And the 24th of December 1986, the last time Phil McLaughlin got a round in.
We now have a new one to add to your list…..the 17th of November 2018, the first time an old Ignatian XI has met another competitively in a league game.
Yes, since the news was announced in the Summer that the 5’s and 6’s would be battling it out for elbow room in the 7th Division North like 2 fat birds on a Ryan air flight to Benidorm excitement levels had been building.
Lee had been awake since Tuesday frantically shuffling around the magnets on formation board in a desperate attempt to start with a 4-4-3 line up.
Tim found him self in deep water with the Met’s finest since he’d kidnapped 3 Spurs youth players from the training ground but had been rumbled when the AA discovered his illicit haul after his 40 year old Mercedes had broke down on the A10. Fortunately the rozzers saw the funny side and felt it wouldn’t have offered him any advantage if the Tottenham first team were anything to go by and released him in time for the game.
And so to match day……John O’Brien had been at the clubhouse since 4am trimming the paddocks turf with a pair of pedicure scissors and putting the nets up, as ever hammering the pegs in with a 35 ton pile driver – If he’s gonna put them in every week you lot are gonna bloody know about it when you try and take them down!! Fate then dealt JOB a cruel blow when he received a call from Teresa May that she was looking for a new Brexit secretary and could he help. John, ever polite couldn’t refuse via text so travelled in person to explain his reasons for being unable to accept and the 5’s were a key man down.
Unperturbed, Lee was strutting around the bar area like Foghorn Leghorn (look him up kids). Tim Circled him like the M25 circles London, reaaaalllly slowwwwly…… The stand off was only broken when. Wardy Crashed through the window screaming profanities intercepted with “respect the ref” and “no getting involved”. Game on Michael.
The 5s lined up with Dillon in goal fresh from his totally intentional finish last week. The back 4 was Rob, Dan, Stuart and Mark. Sean, Hugo, Christy and Darragh were the engine room, all the pace was up top with Chaz and Andre the Giant.
Our bench resembled the worst game of see-saw ever with Lee planted at one end and Steve Daly perched the other.
The 6’s had Tim in nets, Farrell, Wardy and Billy at the back. Their right back had been dispatched to lay bets on the minute Farrell went off injured with 1 being the overwhelming favourite. The rest were Daniel, Nick, Don, Josh, Jack and Jamie O’Brien with a late sub rumoured to be on his way from Sunny Chingford.
The enormity of the occasion was only heightened when a star guest made a welcome appearance. Connor McGrr, had taken a few days off from body doubling for Hugh Jackman in the latest Wolverine movie to watch this epic occasion. Good to see you Connor, rumours of a come-back maybe…?
The game started off at a frantic pace, I say frantic, it was reasonable but only in comparison to a bunch of Zimmer frame burdened geriatrics making their way to the dinner hall.
We didn’t have to wait long for the game’s first moment of controversy….A sliding Mark admirably managed to keep the ball from going out for a throw on the left hand side, however the usual unflappable Don remained unconvinced and having been charged up by watching football factory on loop the night before, put his case forward vehemently. The ref waded in a like an Angry Silver back Gorilla and what followed was a lot of chest beating with both refusing to back down. There was only one ape packing a red and yellow card though so Tim took the executive decision to and ask Don to have a 10 minute breather, helped by Mick……John…..Rob, Connor, Tb, the Kings head door staff and the entire defensive unit of the Miami Dolphins.
Mark “Mini” Mardell (not because of his height you’ll be surprised to know but rather what his wife caught him in when she came home early from the bingo one night) took full advantage of this. After coming out from behind the tree where he’d been hiding from Don and having spotted Tim trying to resuscitate a baby sparrow behind the goal which Sean had earlier struck in a tree 15 feet to the right of the post during the prematch warm up Practising free kicks. He struck a speculative shot towards the top left hand corner – which of course ended up in the top right. 0-1.
The rest of the half was well contested with neither side able to add to the score line. Dan Woolley did his best to assist the oppo with a goal but somehow managed a a 15 yard sliding challenge taking the ball off the forward’s toe, nothing to do with your missus being on the side of the pitch then….
Half time entertainment was TB prancing around like a posing peacock seeing how much medallion he could expose in the direction of the 2 ladies who’d come to watch on false promise of “it’ll be a great game luv” effectively making this a record attendance. Connor coaxed him back in his pen using old copies of Playboy he kept for just such an eventuality and the second half could begin.
The second saw the introduction of ex-Braintree town trialist (that’s a bit like admitting you’d been the only person in the team who’d been turned down Jordan) Sam Pullum-Ward who’d been allowed off cleaning duties by the Wife to clash with one time team mate Dan Woolley. And clash they did, all combined 40 stone of them, it was like Matt Le Tissier and Neville Southall in Sumo suits, but less graceful.
The 6’s battled and won every 50/50 and whilst without really creating many clear cut chances certainly deserved more then they got. So in typical fashion they went on to concede an unfortunate second. Lee Flapper Farrance who plys his trade up from these days (damage limitation we call it) picked up a ball on the left hand flank which seemed to offer no threat. Tim, reassured by the position and the payer mentioned decided now was a good time to try and look for some more injured wildlife to breath new life into and went for foraging into the under growth. Lee spotted Dan Woolley who was on the edge of the area having sulked off after being shouted at by Steve Daly, aimed his best cross at him….which proceeding to totally evade him and sail into the top right hand corner again. 0-2.
This coupled with the complete shock that John Farrell was still on the pitch totally killed the game off as a contest and final whistle was blown soon after.
It proved to be a valuable consecutive win for the Lee’s 5’s who now miraculously sit just 4 points off third but a heartbreaking defeat for Tim’s lads for who a draw wouldn’t have been undeserved.
Most importantly the game in the main was played in the right spirit and it was encouraging to see so many old and young I’s back in the bar enjoying Christina’s Farm foods Pasta Bolognese washed down with Tony’s flat Coors.
Lee’s promotion hunt gathers pace in NW7 next week as they face Woodhouseians. Tim takes his warriors to The fringes of East London to take on Beals….God I hope you beat them!!
Stay safe, be seeing you….
Saturday 17th November 2018
1st Team vs Clapham
MoM: Callum Barton
Muppet : Conor O’Grady
Scorers: Callum B, Jack B, Jake, Conor O’G
Having beaten UCL in the cup last week we packed our bags, passports, said goodbye to the children / grandchildren and headed across the river to the dark side of London to play a league game vs Clapham hoping to continue our good run of late.
The pre-match warm up saw the end of season bash fund enhanced with fines for lateness, post hitting, megnuts and could yet see us jet off to sunny climates post season with Marbs looking favourite. Keep the fines coming boys.
Clapham took to the pitch with only 10 players and I believe sub consciously we assumed an easy victory was in sight. Unfortunately the Clapham boys let us have plenty of the ball in our own half but prevented an easy route to goal without causing us too much problems in defence. Eventually our persistence prevailed and a cracking cross from the right from Conor saw Callum arrive at the far post and a sumptuous volley found the back of the net. A few moments later a rare break from the oppo saw Tom hauling back their attacker who was bursting clear and was lucky to escape with just a yellow card. Another attack from us before the break saw Jake being taken out by the keeper in the box giving Conor the chance to give us a 2 goal cushion. Unfortunately a powder puff penalty drew a fantastic save and left us with just the 1 goal cushion at half time.
Fortunately for us an 11th man turned up at half time for the opposition allowing us to play our normal game. The Gaffer made a couple of changes bringing on Jack and giving a debut to new boy Chris in place of Steve and Liam. We gradually took control with some fine passing moves and one such move saw us awarded a free-kick from which Conor managed to do from 24 yards what he couldn’t do from 12 yards and sent an unstoppable missile past the keeper to give us a 2 goal cushion. Clapham responded by going long to their lightning fast attackers but we managed to resist most of these until Tom did a Superman impression and handled in our area giving the oppo the chance to get a goal back from the spot. The spot kick was dispatched beyond Joe and in doing so saved David from spending any of his pension on a clean sheet jug; I do believe he actually cheered. Clapham had another chance moments later when a shot hit the post and the follow up sitter was missed eventually coming down with snow on about 5 mins later. Joe also pulled off a couple of cracking saves to keep us ahead. Having survived we again took control and some intricate passing saw Jake smash a shot past the keeper to give us a 2 goal cushion again having missed an easier chance moments earlier. There was still time for Jack; who couldn’t hit a barn door last week, to score his first ever 1st team goal with a neat right foot shot. I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.
Victory was ours although it was tougher than the 4-1 result would suggest. What have we learnt? Fitness is going to be key throughout the season, I’m not a 100 years old yet, Ren was shot by the same sniper that got JFK, Jake looked like he was running in mud despite us playing on Astro and we still have a long hard season ahead. When everyone is fit and not doing household chores we will give David some difficult selection decisions to make but then again that’s why he’s paid the big bucks. MOM went to Callum; not just for his goal, but for his all round display narrowly beating Joe. Muppet went to Conor for his penalty miss, harsh but fair.
Saturday 10th November 2018
UCL 1’s 1 – 9 Old I’s 1’s
Man – Peter
Muppet- Jack B
Goals: Jake (3) Conor (3), Alex, Sean McD, Peter.
Having had no game for 3 weeks, the 1’s returned to action to face UCL 1’s in the last 16 of the LOB Cup. UCL are in the Prem so we were expecting a good battle ahead to blow off the cobwebs.
The game was hosted at the Watford training ground so we knew to expect a slick playing surface. The portacabin facilities also provided a ‘wee’ chart to show how the level of dehydration can affect performance. These charts are not too uncommon. However they also had a ‘poo’ chart. Tommy’s pre-match ritual dump scored a level 5 on the chart which is defined as ‘small and soft with defined edges’. Less of the curry and bottle of red before a big cup game I think Tommy.
The warm-up was thought provoking and we all extended our vocabularies with Ren introducing words such as exacerbate into the warm up which had to be explained to the rest of the team. Jake still looked puzzled after the explanation.
The team lined up as follows;
Steve Pete Tommy Calbo
Sean Liam D
Conor Ren Alex
Bench: Jack (3 goals in 4 before today)
A special mention goes to Liam O’Grady who dropped out last minute to lend the missus a hand with the hoovering. Matty O returned to training during the week but was not fully fit for selection. Sean Nolan was called up to the 6’s
Before kick off both teams respectfully observed the one-minute silence for Remembrance Day.
We dominated the early stages and took the lead after 20 mins with a well taken goal from Alex.
With the oppo making a quick counterattack, Tommy slid in to halt the attack. In a complete accident and no intention from the UCL player, his boot managed to follow through and catch Tommy in the nose. A broken nose ensued, claret everywhere. With no physio in sight no-one had the nerve to click the nose back into place. Off Tommy came who made his way to Barnet A&E, Calbo (still horrendously hungover) slotted into centre back and on came Jack Barton at left back.
And Then came the rain….
A 10 minute period of rain, sleet, hail, golf balls fell from the sky which made play almost impossible. A couple of the softer players were begging the ref to pause play to take shelter. Poor Peter and Dave had little hair on the forehead to protect them from the hail and both looked to be in a bad way.
The 10 minute blast of rain soon stopped however the damage to the pitch was severe and was a little short of becoming waterlogged and match abandoned. There were a few comical moments of the ball getting stuck in a puddle. Either that or we need to get on the leg weights to make sure our passes found our man.
Against the run of play, a substitution for UCL saw a new right winger come on, and with his first few touches he had skipped inside to beat Jack at LB and stuck the ball in the net with their first shot of the half.
Half time 1-1 (somehow). We should have been out of sight at half time. The message was essentially be more calm and clinical In front of goal and take no chances at the back as the ball could easily get caught up in the puddles.
To summarise the second half, the 1’s scored 8 with no response from UCL and the game finished 9-1.
The stats for the second half would read as:
Possession : 90%
Shots : 27
Pass completion : 35%, due to puddles stopping the ball
Shots faced: 1, Joe looked bored in goal. Their striker promised he would get a shot off at some point, but this never came.
Cuddles shared between Calbo and their striker to keep warm : 2
Strops thrown by Jack: 6 , Jack looked desperate to continue his scoring run and failed to break a smile for the rest of the afternoon when the ball was not squared to him when in a decent position. This, as well as a few votes for personal footballing reasons, was enough to seal the muppet vote for the day.
The goals: Shout outs to both Jake and Conor who each had a hat trick which will boost their confidence. Alex, Sean and Pete also got in on the action.
Pete had a solid game at the back, however it was his 87th minute sprint upfield latching onto the end of a through ball and the dink over the keeper that helped to seal the man of the match vote for Peter. He was like the Duracell bunny, no idea where he gets that energy from.
Sausage sandwiches and chips followed after the game, however the lads will have one eye on the diet this week trying to shed a few pounds ahead of the beep test on Tuesday.
Next up is the first away day mission of the season as we trek to Clapham in the league. The lads hope for a speedy recovery for Tommy, not because he has any influence on the pitch, but because he is hosting a Poker night at his for next weeks social and we don’t want it to be cancelled.
Finally, another special mention for Conor Gaffey who is having surgery in Jan to rebuild his ACL. The lads wish you a speedy recovery and hope you will come back stronger !!
Saturday 13th October 2018
Ignatians 1st XI 6 Queen Mary’s 4
Scorers: Alex 3; Jake 3; Conor 1
The 1sts travelled to Fairlop for a league game against Queen Mary’s who took all 6 points from us last season
With Peter minus his zimmer back in contention and a last min appearance by Liam after his pre-season injury we had a full squad of 14 looking forward to playing on what is always a decent pitch
Extra excitement in the air this week as the clubs new centenary kit was being used for the first time – and hand delivered to the game by John O’ Brien. See pic of lads in the new club kit
Tommy did he usual pre-match ‘fine ritual’ – rifling through the lads bags to see if spare boots were clean – he’s taking no prisoners this season.
Dave was back on music so some decent tracks echoed around the changing room – even if only Peter and Tom appreciated having some proper ‘non -rap’ tunes for a change. ‘Daydream Believer’ by the Monkees will take some beating this season!
Last week’s decent performance against Prem side Meads saw the boys in good spirits and despite the gale force wind, the lads were keen to get going and we had a strong bench of Liam D, Jack Ryan and Liam OG.
The ko was delayed by 30 mins as the ref hit a cyclist on the way to the match – clearly not someone to mess with – so Rens pre-match warm-up routine was somewhat extended with more time for nutmeg and crossbar/post fines – none escaping Tommy’s radar!
So 30 mins late we began with the wind in our favour and what followed was a goal fest of ten goals – not so much a thriller but a scrappy wind affected affair that eventually saw us run out 6-4 winners and deservedly so although we do make it hard for ourselves and painful to watch at times
Although the wind was behind us, it made it difficult to judge forward passes and through balls and the start was scrappy with Queens Marys probably having the better half chances and spurning a good one on one chance- although Joe did well to keep his feet and not go down early.
Anyhow about 20 mins in, Alex went on one of his mazy runs, past 3 or 4 players and buried the ball in the far corner. Classic Alex goal. 1-0
Within 30 seconds (as in previous weeks), it was 1-1. QM’stricky midfield number 11, ran through unchallenged and his long shot somehow found the bottom corner 1-1
A couple of mins later the same player bamboozled Steve and James on the left, cut inside and fired home his 2nd goal 1-2
Shortly after this, Liam D entered the fray and replaced Steve – his remit was to get hold of the number 11 – a task that Liam relished!
At some stage Callum cut in from the left and unleashed a rocket that had goal of the season written all over it until the QM keeper pulled off a worldly save to tip over the bar!
We kept plugging away and about 5 mins before half time, Jake slipped a decent ball through to Conor, and with the oppo trying to keep him on his left foot, he used his right peg to lash home and draw us level. 2-2.
At half time we thought that playing against the wind in the 2nd half might suit us and this proved to be the case although we again made it difficult for ourselves with some really poor goals conceded as we will come on to. Jack Ryan came on for Sean McDaddy who had been breast feeding new son Freddy all through the night
Within seconds of the restart, Conor’s cross was fumbled by the QM keeper and Alex gratefully nodded home. 3-2
Joe and his back four of James, Peter, Tom and Callum, coped well with the gale force wind in their faces and Liam D stuck to his task and menacingly stalked he QM number 11 around the pitch
We had some good possession and after some good build up play, skipper Ren found a clever defence splitting pass that set Jake through with just the keeper to beat and after bagging 4 goals at training on Tues the confidence was high and Jake duly finished to put us 4-2 up.
In typical Ignatian fashion we then let QM back into the game when we switched off at a corner. We gave QM all the time in the world to take a short corner and pick out a decent cross that left our zonal marking in disarray and their number 11 thumped home a header for his hat trick and brought the oppo back into game at 4-3
After giving away such a poor goal we got back on the front foot although had to keep on our toes as QM were pacy and quick on the break. A Joe clearance was flicked on by Ren to Jake who turned his man and set off for another one on one with the same outcome – another goal. 5-3
Game over? No way. Amazingly we let QM take another unchallenged short corner with the same result- their number 11 smashed home his 4th goal to cut the deficit to one goal. 5-4
Fortunately, the last 10 mins or so wern’t nail bitingly tense as Alex was set through by Conor and with just the keeper to beat he put us 6-4 up and grabbed himself a hat trick and the Man of the Match vote.
There was time for the QM keeper to pull off another great save when a corner from Conor was met by a diving header from Jake which the keeper did well to tip over.
Steve came back on for Jake and Liam made a long awaited return when he came on to replace James Bell who has had a couple of great games at right back
So 3 points in difficult hurricane conditions, a new club kit, great music, healthy fine kitty, good spirit and a good general feel around the place. The new young lads James and Jack are settling in well. We have players coming back from injury and lads dropped to the 2nds who want their places back and Peter who is determined to reach his 70th as 1st team centre back. So competition for places is good and training has seen best club attendance for a good number of years
However, we have to cut out the sloppy goals. We look great going forward but have to work hard for our goals. The oppo don’t seem to have to work as hard as us as our mistakes and lack of concentration at times keep gifting easy goals – cut this out all round and we’ll be fine
1st team social is at Loyola next Sat for Paul Coyle’s Charity Race night – so social sec Callum Barton will be on your case this week to make sure you attend
Mom: Alex – hat trick and good all round display
Muppet: Dave – for thinking Callum was marking 2 players when a substitution was being made! (Thanks Callum for bringing this to the lads attention!)
Saturday 7th October 2018
1st X1 2 Meads 3
Scorers: Jake Watson; Renaldo (pen)
MoM: Renaldo Muppet: Conor OG
We started with Joe in goal, a back four of James, Tommy, Callum and Sean McDaddy, with Steve and a first nod for Sean Nolan in the central midfield. After weeks of unsuccessful auditions Sean Nolan was finally given his chance in central midfield, more to follow and how that went. Then we had 3 just behind the striker of Ren, Alex and Conor with Jake up top.
Ignatius started very slowly as not only had a few of the boys been out for a few jars on the Friday night but the weather conditions were absolutely awful. A misplaced pass in the midfield led to a cross that was delivered to the back post and a decent connection was made on target but one the Joe should, especially with the season he is having so far, have collected – 1-0 down.
Ignatius were then let off as a counter attack broke from just inside the Ignatius half leading to one of the oppositions centre midfielders being put clean through on goal. As he was bearing through on goal Tommy has come rushing over to fill in for one of his midfielders and has taken out the: man? Ball? Only God will ever know, none the less a free kick was awarded and a yellow card was handed out for the foul/tackle. Ignatius were trying to play some decent football but again with the weather conditions it was difficult to get the ball under, without causing the opposition too many problems in the final third. Jake latched onto a fine near post cross to convert Ignatius first real chance. After an underwhelming telling off from the skipper the week before about, “silly little mistakes” he decided to contribute to our team’s willingness to occasionally not make it too difficult for the opposition to score. A very poor ball back to Callum was met by an equally poor touch allowing the opposition to surround him and steal the ball off him, who then went through to score, 2-1.
The oppositions wide players were causing Ignatius lots of problems towards the end of the first half and this was no more evident when another long ball over the top, set their tricky number 10 up down the right wing. Sean McDaddy looked like someone who has been getting no sleep at all at the moment and was unfortunate to see the ball cannon of him and fly over Joe for an OG. At half time, Nolan (not good enough) and Conor (abducted by aliens) were dragged off. The second half was much more of a true Ignatius performance, there was glimpses of sexy football being orchestrated by the skipper (for once) and some real dogged defending. Sean McDaddy had woken up and had the number 10 In his pocket, James was having a blinder down the right and Ignatius were battering a team in the Prem, as it should be.
After being given his first chance in central midfield with things looking bleak at half time, Sean Nolan was replaced by Liam D and the whole game seemed to change, #onemorechance? Conor OG was also replaced by Jack Ryan for his 1st XI debut.
After having a penalty turned down earlier in the half, Ignatius were given a lifeline after Jack was pulled down just inside the area. Although the pen was completely miss hit, it was converted by Renaldo. I suppose they all count. More persistent pressure came with Jake hitting the bar and squandering numerous other chances, it just wasn’t our day.
Saturday 29th September 2018
Old Minchendenians 5 Old Ignatians 1st 2
Man – Callum Barton
Muppet – Sean Nolan
We lined up with Joe in goal, Sean Nolan (right back), Tommy and Callum (centre backs), Jack (left back), Ren, Steve and Sean McD (midfield), Connor (right midfield), Alex (left midfield), Jake up top, with James on the bench.
Opposition’s 1st goal – The game started fairly open with both teams having chances early on …. However Minch opened the score sheet from a long ball deep into our corner which was defended well as Tommy stood the CF up and blocked the attempted cross causing the ball to go off the pitch. Minch then took a quick throw, to their tricky left-winger who had enough time to pick out the opposite winger who was left unmarked at the back post. The player hit to ball on the volley, which was smothered by Joe, but fortune was on their side as the ball dropped back to his feet for an easy tap in. We then stepped up a gear and started to play our normal football again. Having the majority of possession, we were able to create but struggled to convert. A complication started in midfield when Ren made a tackle that upset the other team. Minch’s captain then decided to chase Ren and plant his studs in his legs. The disgusting tackle on Ren ended with a debatable decision from the ref as their captain only saw yellow. With Jack Barton retiring off pitch with his minor hamstring injury, it was a straight swap with James going into LB.
Our 1st goal – Then with 15 minutes to go to the end of the first half, our patience finally proved worth it. The ball was defended well on the left of the pitch and with possession regained we were ready to strike. Steve picked up the ball high in our half, to then pivot and slip the ball into the the path of Alex who made a darting diagonal run, straight through the opposing CB and LB. Alex then took the ball straight to the goal line, where he whipped a low cross, right into the path of arriving Jake who was destined to finally put the ball into the back of the net. With our first goal under our belts, we thought the tides had turned and we were ready to get another.
Oppositions 2nd goal- The CM picked up the ball straight from kick off and passed it out their right-winger, with his fast pace James very quickly found himself in a predicament. He then took the ball to the side of the box so he could embarrass James one more time … which he did. The winger then weaved into the box where he found his teammate waiting to slot home their second goal in the far corner. On the brink of half time, the Minch skipper was able to pick the ball up from our sloppy play and fed the ball to the left-winger who turned made a decision to run straight at Tommy. This decision resulted in Tommy to commit a tactical foul.
With minch gaining a free kick on the edge our our box, their player lined his shot to go straight over the wall and into the top corner. The player hit the ball with sheer power, placing it exactly to where he intended it to go. However, Joe was alert and able to react by taking flight and stretching both arms out to parry the ball away from the goal. 2nd half After a disappointing first half, it was only right for us to talk about our sloppiness with the ball and when defending to stand our men and track our runners.
Opposition’s 3rd goal – Just 2 minutes into the 2nd half the ball failed to reach our attacking players due to a sloppy pass on the right hand side of the pitch. The ball was played directly over the defensive line to their attacking midfielder who we failed to track. Following an extra touch inside the box, Tommy stood the player up until the ball was chopped back onto his favoured foot and with Tommy’s leg left trailing, he caught the player, resulting in the Refbeing left with only one decision – to give a penalty. The ball was rifled straight into the bottom left securing their third goal.
Opposition’s 4th goal – With Nolan caught in two minds to pass or clear the ball, his decision led to a counter by Minch causing Steve to make a covering tackle that was deflected upwards and backwards to the winger who lined up the falling ball for a half volley. The winger caught the ball well, which led to the ball travelling at a fast pace off the inside of the post and into the back of the net. Opposition’s 5th goal – With possession lost around the half way line, the ball was lobbed back into the centre forward whose touch caused a scramble around 25 yards out. Then their centre-midfielder flicked the bouncing ball in the air then around Callum. Due to an unfortunate deflection from a tackle, the ball fell by the penalty spot. Joe saved his first strike, however, with the ball falling to them again they managed to slot it in securing a 5-1 lead.
Our 2nd goal – We kept the ball well, with patience, passing it out wide and back in field. The ball then floated over the defence into Nolan who flicked it up and volleyed it into bottom corner of the net, leaving the goalie stranded and securing our second goal. After a strong attempt to win the match, it was little too late for the team, with the final whistle blowing 5 minutes later with a 5-2 result.
Overall it was a very disappointing result for the team, with domination of possession, this was a game we definitely could have won if we had of played to our strengths and to our usual high standards.
Onwards & Upwards.
Saturday 22nd September 2018
Old Manorians Ones vs Old Ignatian Ones
Old Manorians 3 Old Ignatian’s 4
Scorers: Tom Martin; Conor OG; Alex Youngman: Jake Watson
MOM: Jubsey – Jake Watson
Muppet: Magic – Sean Nolan
After a big 5-0 win last week in the cup against Salvatorian’s, the One’s bowled up to Manorians hoping to get our league campaign up and running for the new season. There was a sense of déjà vu in the air for the Tottenham fans among the group, with another long trip to Wembley on the cards. The long trip accompanied by the downpour from the heavens, meant nothing other than 3 points was going to be acceptable to send the group home happy.
The trip to Wembley was not without its troubles. The address and postcode that Dave had sent round to the team in mid-week, sent everyone to where the 2nd XI were playing. As a result, everyone in the team picked up double late fines except Noland, the Barton’s and a certain Tommy Martin, who all had the pleasure of listening to some ‘Careless Whisper’ whilst awaiting the arrival of the rest of the team.
We lined up with Joe O’Grady in goal, James Bell at right back and Mini Barton at left back. Jordi Calba and Tommy started as the two centre backs. The two sitting midfielders were Steven English and Sean McDaddy. On the left we started with Alex Youngman, Ren was playing the playmaker role in the centre and Cubsy was on the right. This meant Burley was up top to lead the line. On the bench were both Noland and debutee Liam Donnelly. This also meant that Home Alone O’Sullivan, Liam/Sicknote/Semiprizzle O’Grady (whatever we call him these days) and Gaffey were unavailable through injury. Cullycoys was probably off skiing somewhere…
We started off the game quite well, settling into our passing game and trying to get used to the wet surface. The team created a few early opportunities with Conor having a scuffed effort saved and Jack Barton hitting a half volley, just wide of the left-hand side post after a great ball in from Alex. Despite our want in trying to knock the ball around, the ball was breaking down quickly in the final third and Manorians were proving to be a threat on the break. Two dangerous balls whipped across the face of our penalty area, served as a caution for our defence. Some good link up play between Sean and Steve, ended up with Steve screwing an effort straight at the keeper. Alex also had a curled effort easily saved by the keeper after some good interchanges between Con and Steve.
Our first let off, of the half came from a simple long ball over the top. Joe O’Grady made the decision to come rushing out of goal and a vital slip at an inopportune time, presented the Manorians striker with a golden opportunity to open the scoring. The opportunity was squandered however, with the goal gaping at his mercy.
The team quickly got back into shape and some good work down the left from Jack Barton, saw an in swinging weaker foot cross, fall on the edge of the box to Conor O’Grady, whom blazed the ball over the bar. The game was starting to become quite open, with both teams having decent chances to score. A Manorians corner only just missed the unmarked head of their tall centre back, which would have been a sitter if connected with. Another corner from Manorians, saw the ball fall on the edge of the box to one of their players, whom hit a volley, which was well saved by Joe.
Our best passage of play in the first half came from another Manorians corner. Jake Watson led a quick break away, picking the ball up on the edge of our box and driving forward before releasing the ball to Cubsy. Cubsy directed the ball back to Jake on the edge of the box, whom saw his shot deflected over for a corner. Joe O’Grady was again called into action at his near post when a slip from Sean McDermott allowed their winger to cut in and hit a low drive towards the near post.
Just as it looked like we were starting to gain control of the game, we committed the cardinal sin and found ourselves a goal behind. A breakaway from one of our attacks, saw Manorians work the ball out to the right. The winger drilled the ball into the box and between the three sliding Manorians players, they managed to bundle the ball past Joe O’Grady and the defending James Bell. 1-0 Manorians.
In all fairness to the team, it was a scrappy goal to give away, however we did not allow our heads to drop. The team picked up the intensity to manage to fight our way back into the game. Our opening goal came rather fortuitously from a goalkeeping error. Conor’s high looping free-kick into the box, appeared to be too close to the goalkeeper, however the opposition’s goalkeeper fumbled the ball straight to the onrushing Tom Martin, whom smashed the ball into the net. Not long after celebrating our opening goal, another one arrived. Some great work from Jake, saw him pick out Con with a ball over the top and Conor smashed the ball into the net, despite the keeper’s best efforts to deny him. Half-time 2-1 Ignatian’s.
We made one change going into the second half, with Sean Nolan coming on for James Bell at right back. The talk at half-time consisted around the midfield starting to gain a better control of the game. For the first ten minutes of the second half, it looked a question of ‘when’ and not if we would score our third goal. Some great link up play down the right between Cubsy and Noland, resulted in Noland swinging a ball in towards Jakey. With the ball slightly behind Jake, he managed to get his first touch under control and unleash an effort, reminiscent of Drogba’s memorable effort against Liverpool back in the day. Unfortunately for Jake, despite beating the keeper, the underside of the bar was in the way to prevent him from opening his goalscoring account for the season. We had a few more efforts blazed wide and over from our forward players in the next few minutes. Sean and Steven English were starting to have more of an influence on the game from midfield and this was allowing our forward players to get more of the ball.
Despite our great start to the half, our reluctance to take our chances, came back to haunt us, with Manorians having a good spell of pressure. Throughout the entire second half, the referee appeared to favour the home side and some questionable decisions enabled Manorians to get back into the game. For a good 5-10 minute spell, we were being put under pressure from corners and free-kicks on the edge of our box. Eventually the pressure tolled as an in swinging corner was not dealt with between Joe and Jack on the back post, allowing the Manorian players queuing at the back post to bundle the ball home. 2-2
It did not take long for us to regain the lead. Some good football in the midfield, enabled Jake to slot Alex in on goal and an expert finish suitably followed. The game had now become extremely open and chances were falling at both ends of the pitch. Liam Donnelly had come on for his first team debut, in the place of Steven English, whom had taken a bad knock to his eye in the first half. The talk after going 3-2 ahead was to keep things tight, however it did not take long for the scores to soon be back on level terms. A cross into the box was cleared by the defence and fell at the feet of the unmarked attacking midfielder on the edge of the box. He seemed to have all the time in the world, before curling the ball past the helpless Joe. 3-3
With only 10 minutes remaining, the three points were there for the taking for both sides. Manorians had the first big chance to take the lead. With the Ignatian team high up the field, pressing to try and get a winner, a long ball over the top saw their striker left in a foot race with Nolan. Despite Nolan’s best efforts to keep up; ’flapping his wings as fast as he could’, the striker got to the ball first. With only Joe to beat, he fired a shot low down, which was stopped by a fantastic save from Joe, to keep the scores level. We continued to press forward in the hope of finding a winner and it soon came when the ball made its way to Ren. Ren played a defence splitting, Ozil-esque pass through to Jake, who calmly slotted the ball home to put us 4-3 ahead. The team were again indebted to Joe O’Grady who made a flying save down to his left in the dying moments, to prevent a fierce effort from nestling into the bottom corner. A long throw in to the box also fell to the feet of the Manorians winger whose shot was vitally blocked by Nolan. The final whistle soon went, resulting in a massive 4-3 win for Ignatian’s.
Man of the Match went to Jake Watson, after having a terrific game up top and causing the opposition defence all sorts of problems. A special mention should also go to Tom, Calbo and Jack for their constant battling throughout. Muppet went to Noland, for playing the game Commando. The lesson to be learnt is not to forget your spare pair of underwear, when going out after a game.
We now have three cup games in a row, starting next week away to Minchendenians. This game will provide us with a good opportunity to get revenge for the loss in preseason.
Until Next Time
Saturday 15th September 2018
1st XI 5 Salvatorians 0 LOBS Cup
Scorers: Alex 2, Conor OG 2, Renaldo
MoM: Sean McDermott
Muppet: Sean Nolan
A the disappointment of the previous week’s loss in our first league game, a big performance was needed to put any doubts to bed and to show our bouncebackability. The squad was without Liam and Matty O due to injury and we lined up as follows:
James Peter Tommy Cal
Sean McD Steve
Alex Nolan Ren
We got off to the start we needed when a Peter O’G free kick delivery within the first few minutes was headed down to Alex to open the scoring. This was quickly followed up by a passage of the type of quick free-flowing football we’re capable of but failed to show in the previous game, leading to Alex’s second.
Another period of good football allowed us to feel comfortable in the game as we took control of possession and Tom and Peter dominating their 6 foot 5 striker in the air seemed to get in their heads. The third goal fell after another period of good football – the ball falling to Conor’s right foot to score in to a half empty net.
It took half an hour but the oppo finally managed to slow us down and stopped us playing football by adopting a hit and hope style. Whilst it didn’t threaten us, it was frustrating not being able to play our football. Other than one of their lads falling over when he seemed to have got in behind our back line and an edge of the box volley that forced a good save from Joe, the back line stopped any attempts to get forward, bringing us in to half time at 3-0.
We knew the next goal was crucial and it didn’t take very long, Conor’s cross setting up Ren for a tap in. Nerves gone, 4-0.
The game is never over at 4-0 though, particularly when your own players start shooting at your goal, Ren and Nolan both attempting remarkable Own goals at different points in the game. It was truly game over, though, when Conor’s inswinging cross somehow ended up in the far bottom corner.
It was good to have Jack and Jake back after some time out for travelling and injury respectively, even if the latter spent 90% of his cameo in an offside position, earning him a muppet vote or two.
Conor received a few votes for hitting the corner flag with a shot from kick off but Nolan’s near-OG earned him the title. Man went to Sean McDermott for a dominant all round performance In midfield, setting up the slowest whack-off of all time.
It was a strong performance with the bonus of that all important clean sheet that should inject some confidence in to the squad and we’ll look to bring that in to next week’s league game at Manorians.
Good stuff lads.
Saturday 8th September 2018
9th September 2018 – Albanians vs Old Ignatians
Man – Joe O’Grady
Muppet – Sean McDaddy
After a mixed pre-season with positives and negatives, we made the short journey to Albanians to kick off our league campaign knowing, as we do every year, that we are good enough to win this division if we perform consistently to our abilities. After last season’s shocking run up until Christmas, we know it is vital to have a far better first half of the season this year in order to not be playing catch up again. Albanians had been promoted from the division below after a great season last year and so we knew they’d be right up for it and wouldn’t give us an easy afternoon.
Despite banging on about commitment to the side, Dave decided he would skip our extremely important first game and go on the piss somewhere in Europe…even two of his sons disagreed at training on his exact whereabouts. Similarly, Jake continued his new fitness regime by eating Guinness in Barcelona. We look forward to his 10 minutes next week before he has to go off.
We lined up with Joe in goal, Callum left back, Matt and Pete CB, Nolan RB, Tommy and Sean McD holding and then Eoin O’G, Ren and Con behind Alex. Steve and James were on the side.
To be honest, it was a pretty boring game with not much to shout about for either side. However, unlike pre-season, we looked very solid defensively throughout the first half with good organisation and communication and players working hard off the ball. The only real chance for the oppo occurred from an out-swinging corner. What should have been a simple header away at the near post for Baby O’Grady, especially with a head the size of his, was made to look anything but. He glanced the ball in to the danger area and to the feet of the oppo. I think it was Ren and Matt who did very well to throw themselves at his feet and deflect the ball over the bar.
Offensively though, we didn’t create much and were reliant on shots from distance from Conor or Alex which became a theme of our game. Apart from a ‘tackle’ from Nolan that was a good 15 seconds late and a cute cuddle between Baby O’G and the poor ref, not much else happened in the half and we went in 0 0 at HT.
Our team-talk acknowledged we were well in the game and just needed to up it a bit in the final third and get a couple of goals to kill off the game. Unfortunately, we started sloppy and several minutes in to the half we conceded. A ball over the top led to Joe calling keepers ball but he never arrived and when attempting to clear downfield, Callum somewhat scuffed his kick which fell to their player midway inside our half. We were caught out by this and he crossed for the striker to finish, all be it slightly fortuitously with a bobble in to the corner.
Our heads seemed to drop for a period after this, the pressure off the ball from the first half had dropped away and we were still struggling to create any real chances. Despite keeping the ball well for periods, it was clear we missed feeding off burly Jake up top and having Alex on the wing to free up Conor more.
We went 2 0 down in very strange fashion and I’m not totally sure what happened. With the oppo attacking down our right side, Matty decided to take a wander across our box, claiming to have seen something that wasn’t actually there. The result of this was their attacker being completely unmarked in the 6 yard box to head home when the cross came in.
The nail in the coffin came fairly late on. After coming on at RB for the pigeon that is Sean Noland, our very promising young defender James Bell moved across to CB when Matty did his ankle and was forced off. Some of us wish him well in his recovery. A long punt downfield sailed over James’s head and the proper old, burly striker was left free to run through on goal and finish.
Arguably our best chance of the second half fell to Sean McDaddy. A cross in from the right found his well-timed run, only for the ball to skim off his grey head and fly away from goal. Another couple of inches would have helped I think…or so Chloe tells me…
All in all, a 3 0 defeat was harsh but it’s only game one of a very long season. We looked very solid and tidy first half and sloppy errors cost us in the second half along with our lack of innovation in the final third. However, we played some good football and kept the ball well at times and we know we can still win the league this season with a bit more cutting edge all over the pitch. We will improve.
Tommy had a great first half but Man of the Match went to Joe O’Grady for a couple of good saves and a more assured and confident performance. We also congratulate Joe and his dad Paul for raising money for charity while taking part in the Great North Run the next day! Muppet went to Sean McDaddy for his header.
Plenty to look forward to this season once Dave is back and Ren isn’t in charge…including our first social in a couple weeks, although Matt has already dropped out as he is in A&E that Saturday night.