U.C.L. Academicals Football Club

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2003-04 Results - February

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Saturday 28th February

Latymer Old Boys 1 Accies 1sts 2 (Rick Hirst, Gareth Jones).

Accies 2nds 4 (Mo Alvarez, Andy Crotty, Ian Roberts, Paul Bernard) Pegasus 1.

Parkfield 0 (Matt Ramsden) Accies 3rds 2 (Ben Goodier, Scott Atkinson).

Leyton County Old Boys 0 (Danny McConnell) Accies 5ths 2 (Matt Redman, Graham Whitworth).

Accies 6ths 1 (Tim Leeson) Queen Mary College Old Boys 3.

Accies 7ths 0 Mill Hill County Old Boys 2.

Mill Hill County Old Boys 1 Accies 7ths 1 (Joe Coquelin).

LOB Cup Final day for the 1sts and 3rds. Joffsy's 1st team match report will doubtless follow, it always does, the 3rds never send one in, and moan about the spartan reports!!! 2 + 2 = 4. Anyone wishing to send something is quite welcome, just email it to me - don't leave it to Scott. 

The 1st team reached the LOB final with a hard fought 2-1 win over Latymer Old Boys. On a good surface Latymer started well but after 15 minutes the Accies hit some good form creating good pressure. Hayward released Houghton on the right and his cross was handled in the box. Hirst dispatched the resultant penalty with panache. Disappointingly Latymer equalised emphatically within a minute to make it 1-1 at half time. 

Accies continued to push in the second half and Jones secured victory after 1 hour with a glancing header from Hirst's cross. The lead should have been extended towards the end as Latymer pushed forward, but in the end 2 goals were enough. Hirst was MOM and Chantler was outstanding in shackling the Latymer no 14 who was tricky all afternoon. Special mention to a superb game from referee Alex McRae and the grace and goodwill of the Latymer players and spectators alike. Bring on Albanian! 

On a dodgy pitch at Harrow Arts Centre the 3rds should've beaten Parkfield more comfortably, but courtesy of Des Fowler's inability to locate the goal were reliant on Ben Goodier's penalty and Scott Atkinson's second half effort to seal it. Scott really must be losing it if he's letting other people take penalties! Another cheap clean sheet for Matt Ramsden who seems to be taking the golden gloves far too seriously. Time for an age co-efficient perhaps? Fox, Bobby, Nugget (!!!)????

Big league games for both the 2nds and 5ths. At Shenley, Pegasus finally decided to turn up with a team and perhaps wondered why they bothered. Despite the Accies playing some of their best football of the season first half, they couldn't score, and early in the second half a mistake gifted Pegasus a 1-0 lead. Here we go again? Absolutely not, from there the Accies simply dominated and ran out comfortable 4-1 winners, goals from Mo Alvarez and Andy Crotty from corners, Ian Roberts adding a third and the guesting Barndoor notching the fourth. To complete the day, the third title contenders Old Aloysians lost both games in a double header against Albanian.

The fifths faced Leyton County away, in what a few weeks ago seemed like a title decider until Leyton stumbled, but still had banana skin written all over it. In such circumstances, what you need is a first minute gift, and this duly arrived as a mix-up gifted Matt Redman an open goal. Check that. Gifted Matt Redman what should have been an open goal. Poor Matt, ever since failing to out score Spenny last season, Matt has failed to notch this year, but nothing is forever. It bobbled, it wobbled, but it went in, one minute gone, 1-0 up.

From thereon, Leyton County huffed and puffed (indeed, both sides huffed and puffed in extremis) but never really looked like scoring, whilst the Accies looked likely to spring the offside trap at any moment. Halftime came and went, and with the breeze in the second half the Accies looked safe, though Leyton still threatened on the break, and required a sharp save from the Purple Turtle to keep them out. Five minutes later Graham Whitworth added a second, and as a snowstorm arrived to blow in County's faces they effectively gave up, leaving the only question for the last fifteen minutes whether Rob would die of hyperthermia on the sideline. Another good win. No help from Enfield Old Grammarians though, they also won to keep the Accies in sight.

A goal, a goal, our kingdoms for a goal. The 6ths and 7ths' seasons have been plagued by lack of goal-punch, and the tale continued. Between them three games at Shenley, but only two goals. The 6ths might have sneaked a draw against Mile End Poly, but conceded a late third to pad the score, and the 7ths should've got more out of  double header against Mill Hill County than a single point. Plus ca change.....

No game for the 4ths, University of Hertford apparently not being able to find a pitch, and at 9am Sunday morning, no game for the Optimists either. Shenley in the midst of a blizzard, under 3 inches of snow, so a morning's football turned into a morning's snowman making with sundry kiddies......

Saturday 21st February

Accies 1sts 3 (Gareth Jones 2, Simon Hayward) Old Ignatian 2.

Old Buckwellians 1 Accies 2nds 2 (Lloyd Vanson, Simon Vaughan).

Accies 3rds 1 (Nick Crowther) Old Actonians 0 (Matt Ramsden).

Old Esthameians 2 Accies 4ths 1 (Max Lovell).

Egbertians 1 Accies 6ths 1 (Steven Hayes).

A funny old week, with more action Friday than Saturday.

Friday, 1pm, Shenley called to inform us the main sewer had collapsed and no home games could be played. S##t happens!!! By 4pm Dawson had managed to re-arrange four home games, with the assistance of Old Ignatians (again!), Old Actonians and Mill Hill Village. At 4.30pm Mill Hill found out they didn't have enough players for a 3rd XI, seemingly even they couldn't face playing at Burtonhole Lane, and at 5.30pm Latymer Old Boys' 5th XI captain counted up his players and one hand was enough. Suffice to say his own club fixture secretary told him what he thought of him.

Two Cup semis and one quarter were the highlights, and two out of three ain't bad.

The seconds faced Old Buckwellians in the LOB semi finals, and made hard work of a 2-1 victory, whilst the 3rds faced Old Actonians in the LOB quarters, and should've won more comfortably than the 1-0 margin suggests. Nick Crowther's loopiness being the difference.

The loss came for the 4ths in the AFA Semi Final away to Old Esthameians, in a manner all too typical of the Accies. A bobbly, narrow pitch in windy conditions in the middle of East London meant this wasn't going to be a day for pretty football, and a day for battling and adjusting style of play. Not enough on all counts for the Accies. The first half saw Esthameians open the scoring after 15 minutes, and they could've added more before the break with a huge wind advantage. Indeed, at 1-0 down at half-time it was probably advantage Accies, but with the wind in the second half we showed little sign of having adjusted to the conditions. A soft goal halfway through rather nailed the result, and whilst Max Lovell's goal with five minutes to go gave Esthameians an anxious moment the win was well deserved.

In the end, it's about attitude. Too many of the Accies had the all too common "we're better footballers, we can't play on that, we'd have beaten them at Shenley" reaction, during and after the game. B######t. We lost 2-1! It wasn't at Shenley! Deal with it, learn how to adjust, and be grateful you don't have to play there every other week. A huge pity that the team's AFA run finishes in the semis, but lessons are there to be learned for the future. Will we learn them? Often we don't. The Accies battled, and could've got a result, but there wasn't quite the belief there. It's a hard game Brian.

In league action an important three points battled out by the first on a ropey pitch at Donkey Lane after Shenley's sewage problems. A slow start saw Accies go behind, but Jones levelled when Nash headed back across goal for an easy header.  New boy Hayward put Accies 2-1 up with a good finish after Esiri and Gillard forced mistakes out of Ignatians defence. Jones had another 2 yard header to make it 3-1 but Ignatians scored on the breakaway to make it a tense last 10 minutes. Overall a dominant second half performance more than deserved the points. Gillard was the deserved LOM.

Away to Egbertians the Accies did well to pull out a 1-1 draw, Bobby Butlin pulling off a last minute penalty save to clinch the point.

And finally, continuing this column's occasional "are they really that stupid" Peter Taylor, touted as future England manager, suggested on Sky Sports that it was unfair Michael Owen had to wait two minutes to take a penalty whilst an injured Portsmouth player was treated on the field of play. Apparently the referee should have ignored the injured player, allowed the penalty to be taken, and then have him treated. Ignoring the more serious side (as we shouldn't), "sorry your husband died Mrs Smith, but we did have to wait for the penalty" at which point does the referee stop play? The ball rebounds, and before Owen has a chance to bang in the rebound the referee blows up? Or it rebounds to where the prone player lies?

And these people are allegedly at the top of our national game.........

Saturday 14th February

Accies 1sts 4 (Jon Houghton 2, Gareth Jones, Mark Esiri) Old Salvatorians 2

Norsemen 2 Accies 3rds 3 (Phil Stewart, Scott Atkinson, Ed Jeremy).

Accies 4ths 1 (Mark Hanlon) Queen Mary College Old Boys 1.

Egbertians 0 (Danny McConnell) Accies 5ths 3 (Matt Glynn 2, Steve Brown).

Old Bealonians 1 Accies 6ths 0.

Albanian 0 (Tom Lloyd) Accies 7ths 2 (Pat Brien 2).

Catch 22 2 Optimists 1

An early start to the weekend, with the Optimists facing Catch 22 and losing 2-1, courtesy of defensive assists to play their forward into a great position for a 1 on 1 with for the winner!! The game kinda got bogged down (a common complaint for the Optimists) in the midfield, with few real chances for either team, although they came through stronger towards the end. Youth, speed, skill, the usual downfalls for the Vets!!

Most notable was Mike Bailey walking off half way through as Karen decided she was going to have a baby. If it happens again this season we'll have to have words!!!! Rumours Fewksey had her induced to avoid missing a Saturday are rife...... 

So to Saturday, and all of Fewksey's efforts in vain. Pegasus cried off late Friday through lack of players, Bailey excused himself from a training session at Shenley, Ian only discovered late on Friday evening and had a tough tasking in catching up on alcohol consumption.

After good cup runs it was essential for the 1sts to pick up 3 points to stay in touch in the league against Salvatorians at Shenley. After a slow start Accies went 1-0 up after 15 minutes when Jenkins squared for Houghton to beat the keeper. An awful own goal by Vossy saw Salvos draw level but Houghton soon restored the lead after nodding in Gillard's flick from close range. After 35 minutes  pressure on the Salvos defence saw them lose the ball and Houghton squared for Jones to coolly finish. 

That really should have been that but a rather lethargic start to the second half got worse when in true Seaman style a floated free kick evaded all and wrong footed Dawson to make it 3-2. Accies lost a bit of shape and there were chances both ends with Voss almost redeeming his own goal but seeing a strong header hit the post.  With five minutes to go good work on the right by Delaney enabled Gillard to square for Houghton. His shot was deflected in by the diving super sub Esiri. 3 points and some good football, but will need to improve to make this season a really successful one.

AFA Junior Cup semi final action for the 3rds, and a ding dong thriller against Norsemen. 1-0 up courtesy of Phil Stewart, yet lucky to go in at half time 1-1. With ten minutes to go, Scott Atkinson poached the lead for the Accies, only to see Norsemen equalise. With extra time losing, not a nice prospect against rather younger opponents, Ed "I like to write my own headlines" Jeremy's shot from distance "arrowed" into the top corner. Great goal, even though he says so himself.

League action for all of the remaining sides, and a second remarkable performance for the 7ths. Resilience isn't exactly the word you'd use for these guys, in the seven games in which they have conceded a goal they've shipped 29 and lost the lot. Solution, don't concede. Facing top of the league Albanian, Tom Lloyd, after a brief midweek spell on the transfer list, kept his second clean sheet of the season, and Pat Brien added the icing with a brace to give the 7ths a much deserved second win of the season. Sam was quite excited!

The 5th team machine marched on, albeit with an uncharacteristic win away to Egbertians. The usual soporific start didn't materialise, and the Accies led 3-0 at half time running rampant. The second half was much more even, some impromptu (and not to be repeated) positional changes ruining the Accies shape and threatening to let Egbertians back into it. But the nearest they came to scoring was an indecisive one on one and a shot that pinged off the bar, and aside from the danger of Apollo 13 landing in the lunar landscape that were both goal mouths the Accies were safe.

The 4ths and the 6ths faced key games in their attempts to escape from the clutches of mid-table mediocrity, and alas we have no Houdinis. For the 4ths, an excellent game, played in good conditions (no wind at Shenley - makes a change). Queen Mary's opened the scoring after 20 minutes with a route one ball which fell kindly into their striker's path who converted. The Accies 4th team have been here before though but this time we knew how to play the game. Throughout the whole 90mins the 4's took the game to Mile End Poly's 2's, winning the midfield battle and eventually leveling with 25mins to go. From this point on it was all Accies. Queen Mary's were on the edge but Accies couldn't find the second goal to kill the game - in the end a draw a fair result, with Queen Mary College Old Boys, who looked primed to choke on yet another league title, and the 6ths huffed and puffed away to Old Bealonians, but couldn't stick the onion in the bag. Plus ca change........

Saturday 7th February

Civil Service 1 Accies 1sts 2 (Neil Gillard 2).

Accies 2nds 2 (Andy Crotty, Simon Vaughan) Old Camdenians 1.

Albanian 0 (Matt Ramsden) Accies 3rds 2 (Phil Stewart, Dave Yeo).

Accies 4ths 6 (Paul Bernard 5, Max Lovell) Old Edmontonians 3.

Latymer Old Boys 0 (Danny McConnell) Accies 5ths 4 (Graham Whitworth 2, Steve Brown, Chris Coates).

Accies 6ths 1 (Dickie Smith) Old Finchleians 3 (aet).

Five wins out of six is always good, and three wins from four AFA quarters as well, a good day for the Accies.

The day started well, with the 7ths rising from the pits of the North without ever kicking a ball (probably a blessing), Mayfield calling off their game for lack of players, and leaving it until the Saturday morning means they'll be deducted a point. Sam Samra found himself without a game, then promoted to the 6ths bench then in a starting spot all without even waking up!

Then the football started, with four AFA Cup Quarter Finals. 

The 1sts travelled to Chiswick to face Civil Service in the highest profile game of the day, and it rather turned into the return of the prodigal lemon, with Neil Gillard proving the difference in the game after a rough few months, and good to have him back to his best. The pitch was exemplary given the previous weather and the Accies started strongly with some tidy possession. Just as Civil Service started getting into the game Woody' deep free kick saw Gillard loop a header over the advancing keeper to go 1-0 up. 

The second half brought the wind advantage , but Civil Service were more spirited with several penalty box scrambles, one of which resulted in an equaliser when a good finish left Dawson rooted to the spot. Accies stepped up a gear immediately and five minutes later Gaz Jenkins sent a deep corner to the back post and Gillard volleyed in off a defender to regain the lead. The last twenty minutes was frantic stuff, but an organised and motivated rear guard ensured the deserved victory. Next up, Old Meadonians, should be a close and intriguing semi final. With Hamptonians dropping points against Ignatians in the league, a good day on all counts.

Third time lucky for the 3rds. Obviously confirmation from Albanian that the game was on when we'd booked a standby pitch was too much to ask, and with their 1sts off Albanian figured an ideal opportunity to give some of their 1sts a stretch. But justice was served, the Accies won 2-0 and move on to face Norsemen in the semi finals next week. Even good news in the league, with Old Bealonians dropping points as they only drew away to Southgate.

The fourths were, to be frank, the recipients of lucky goals, and a home referee. At least, that was according to Edmontonians. How unlucky can you get - the AFA appoint a referee we've never seen before, who's never been to Shenley before, and he favours the home side, who score six (count them) lucky goals. An alternative perspective, is that the Accies turned around 2-0 down having played into a gale, dragged Edmontonians back to 2-2, conceded a silly goal and then battered them, running out 6-3 winners. You takes your choice.......

Three quarters, three wins, and a shame the sixths couldn't make it four. 1-0 up through Dickie Smith's debut goal for the side, the Accies led until the 82nd minute, when Finchleians finally equalised. Into extra time and Finchleians took an early lead, and padded it in the final minute. Two quarter-final extra time defeats by this mob in three years, they're starting to get annoying.

League action for the 2nds and 5ths, and wins for both. 

The 2nds went some way to exorcise the demons of last years AFA Intermediate Cup Final defeat by completing a league double over Old Camdenians with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 home win. Accies started brightly and stretched the visitors defence on several occasions in the first half but lacked a little composure at crucial moments to reward their stylish build up play. 

Turning around at 0-0 into the breeze, the Accies moved up another gear, creating and missing a succession of chances before the breakthrough finally came on the hour, when Crotty fired past an unsighted keeper from 15 yards. The introduction of the old warhorse McGuigan led to the second goal, a clever pass freed Roberts whose well struck shot was only parried into the path of the ginger magician Vaughan. This kind invitation was all he needed to add to his burgeoning video tape of 'wonder goals' with another 3 yard cracker. Camdenians grabbed a consolation late in the game through their rep side striker who had been well shackled by Walker throughout. There were several strong individual performances but man of the match was Finchy, who has overcome the confidence loss from David Brent's Christmas put down, and combined impeccable defensive interceptions with intelligent and calm distribution.

Donkey Lane for the 5ths, against Latymer Old Boys, and kickoff time dawned with one referee, one kit and 16 players in attendance. Half an hour later we'd mustered 19 players and two kits, and after ten minutes both sides had eleven. The Accies were clearly the better side, but Latymer's work-rate was better, and for the best part of the first half, and the first half of the second, the sides cancelled each other out, punctuated by Graham Whitworth poaching a goal to ease the Accies nerves and reduce to a catatonic state. Finally, as Latymer tired, and the Accies vaguely woke up, three more goals materialised, giving Latymer a hiding they really didn't deserve. Finally, an honorable mention for the third goal - Matt "I didn't score today but I set one up" Redman's sweeping cross field ball was perfectly controlled and slotted from 20 yards by Chris Coates. You had to see it to believe it. In fact, I saw it and I still don't believe it........

An addendum. On Five-Live's 6-0-6 a West Brom supporter was bemoaning the club's lack of investment. "Where has all the money gone - we have a fantastic travelling support, we took 10,000 to Old Trafford last season. Why does the club have no money?". Are fans really that stupid????

Thursday 5th February

Accies 2 Old Belgravians 1.

A Thursday night in saff London, and a friendly for the Accies against Old Belgravians, hoping to join the AFC next season. A spirited game, with numerous cameo moments: Esiri's confusion pre-game, was it this Thursday or next Thursday, was it Southwark Park or Maida Vale. Shame when they start to lose their marbles. McGuigan phoning up to check he needed the Rotherhithe tunnel, 'cos last time he got lost. He did, he found it, he still got lost. More senior moments. Fewksey rambling on about tactics, football, Saturday's game, his Chris Sonne fixation. Sorry, that's normal service.

Then to the game, and the fun continued - Accies 1-0 up early doors following a keeping error, and then the dilemma about whether a clean sheet would count towards the golden gloves spoiled by a Belgravian equaliser. Into the second half, and Nasher starts bossing the midfield, coming back from injury ("I'm always coming back from injury" he sadly noted later), Mo Alvarez breaks up an attack on the edge of the area somewhat dubiously (frankly, it was either handball or travelling, but the referee spotted neither) before Esiri stuck his head into danger to bad the winner. The final comedy moment, McGuigan facing goal and under pressure gets a call of "Danny will have", briefly debates whether it means McConnell or Fewkes and decides neither is a good option, and lamps it safe.

Good evening, good game, good opposition. Nuff said.......