Saturday 27th March
Hale End Athletic 6 Accies 1sts 3 (Jon Houghton, Gareth Jones, Mark Esiri).
Old Tollingtonians 0 (Jorge Fernandez) Accies 2nds 4 (Lloyd Vanson 3, Ian Roberts).
Accies 2nds 5 (Lloyd Vanson 4, Ian Roberts) Old Tollingtonians 0 (Jorge Fernandez).
Accies 3rds 3 (Ben Goodier, Ed Jeremy, Andrew Blincoe) Old Woodhouseians 0 (Matt Ramsden).
Accies 4ths 6 (Michael Short 2, og 2, Dan Willoughby, Richard Favell) Hale End Athletic 3.
Accies 6ths 4 (Serge Sollo, Graham Whitworth, Marcus Whitmore, Andy Williams) Old Edmontonians 0 (Danny McConnell).
Accies 7ths 0 Old Edmontonians 0 (Tom Lloyd).
Old Woodhouseians 2 Optimists 3.
On 10th January Pat LaViolette scored the winner for the Accies 5ths away to Enfield Old Grammarians, and the following week Graham Whitworth's late equaliser secured a draw against Leyton County. At that stage Enfield trailed the Accies by eight points but with two games in hand. Until Saturday the two teams' progress was remarkable - Enfield won six on the spin, and the Accies matched them, winning seven on the spin and conceding a single goal, over two months ago. Win our final game next week and the title would be ours.
But football is a funny old game, and instead Enfield fell at the last but one hurdle, losing away to Old Aloysians and gifting the league title to the inactive fifths, who were golfing, shopping, watching West Ham and so forth. The first trophy for an Accies 5th XI, and now only the best record in the whole AFC to play for next weekend! The success is testament to the whole squad, whether regulars or irregulars, and also to Rob James whose skippering of a happy ship should receive much credit.
The 2nds had stumbled recently, and their lead at the top of Intermediate North was reduced to a single point. Probably the ideal remedy would be two wins in a double header against the bottom team, Aloysians stumbling badly in their double header against Egbertians, and Albanian beating Pegasus. Lloydy too has a had a rough patch, a dodgy hamstring and the prolific goal touch missing. A few goals wouldn't go amiss.
March 27th must be Christmas Day in Fewksworld, as all came to pass. Lloyd got seven as the Accies won 4-0 and 5-0, Aloysians took a single point in two games and Pegasus lost. Of a sudden the Accies need four points from their last three games, or a win next week to clinch the division. Lovely jubbly.
The 3rds title run continues, though has the longest to run. Old Bealonians were inactive, so all we could do was play and win to close the gap, and did so winning 3-0. Now level on points, the Accies have two games in hand.
Seasickness may be the biggest danger for the firsts, as they seem to have embarked on a major roller coaster. A frustrating end to a bad month. Away to a weaker than previous Hale end Accies started brightly, dominating possession and should have been a couple up at half time. Chances weren't converted and it was 0-0 at the break.
Defence then stood statuesque as a wide cross was met by the Hale striker who was the only person moving in the box. A very debatable penalty then sent us 2-0 down and then followed ten minutes where every time the opposition attacked they scored, a habit that has plagued the Accies all month. A double substitution and intense pressure led to a farcical last 15 minutes where it could have ended up 6-6, but Hale end held firm for a 6-3 win. Consolations for Houghton, Jones and Esiri. Back to the drawing board.
Forty minutes gone and 0-0 against Hale End, fifteen minutes later and five goals conceded. It's all extremes at the moment.
Fun and games at Shenley for the fourths, where Foxy's half-time analysis of "Hale End aren't interested, this is easy" saw a 4-0 lead turn into a 6-3 win. His own substitution was, to his mind, the key change (no, it doesn't count as half a clean sheet) but really more down to the Accies taking the foot off the gas and Hale End waking up. Nevertheless, the outside push for promotion continues, and is on target if Hale End can take points off Queen Mary's next week.
The sixths rough spell came to a resounding end with a 4-0 home win against Old Edmontonians, though the team needed a third goal early in the second half to seal it. A (ahem) relatively experienced Accies side are clearly capable of playing good football, but hit that hour mark and younger legs have the chance to take over, particularly in the wide open spaces of Shenley. Nonetheless a superb result, and a key one in the bid to avoid the relegation spots. The perfect tonic for the ill, touch-line bound, skipper Butlin.
Old Edmontonians also for the 7ths, though seemingly sporting a few guests from their 2nds and 3rds. Hard as both sides battled neither could find the net, at least not without the aid of a forearm slap (rightly disallowed by the referee).
Saturday 20th March
Old Danes 2 Accies 1sts 3 (Ned Carabine, Neil Gillard, Jon Houghton).
Old Edmontonians 3 Accies 2nds 1 (Ian Roberts).
Accies 3rds 1 (Ben Goodier) Alexandra Park 1, Accies won 4-3 on penalties.
Accies 4ths 4 (Paul Bernard 2, Dan Willoughby, Michael Short) Old Camdenians 1.
Accies 5ths 2 (Chris Slater, Matt Redman) London Hospital Old Boys 0 (Danny McConnell).
Accies 6ths 2 (Justin Armstrong, Marcus Whitmore) Wood Green Old Boys 5.
Old Minchendenians 0 (George Hamon) Accies 7ths 7 (Matt Styant 3, Spencer Gore, Ollie Court, Gareth Bowles, og).
AFA Junior Cup Final day, could the thirds retain their trophy?
So much in the preparation for players. Do you have a drink Thursday night? Or even Friday night? What do you eat? Carbo-load? Bed early? What time to get up? How long to abstain from carnal pleasures?
None of these relevant to Nick Crowther, whose midweek concerns were more mundane: "Any tips for getting mud out of white socks? Two washes in and there's still a brownish tinge. Arsenal never turn out for cup finals with grimy socks. Currently I'm using a 40 degree wash with prewash, Ariel colour care and the blue Lenor softener. Am I taking this too seriously?". He'll make someone a good wife one day.
To the Saturday, and remarkable conditions. Come the spring and the equinoxial gales blow up the channel, putting sailors and Accies alike in fear of their lives. Quite simply the worst conditions I've ever had to play football in with gale force winds gusting throughout games and reducing many to a near farce.
From the AFA Junior Cup Final, at Old Parkonians (got that Ed) we present your reporter Adam Parsons:
"The mood in the Accies camp was buoyant after a week of banter that saw Andy Blincoe take the brunt of the quips, but we knew those wide shoulders could cope. Alexandra Park would not have feared a team that worried over how best to wash the kit, or what to wear to the game, or that we seemed more interested in planning the night out after our inevitable victory. However, they did not have this information and could only go on a record that speaks for itself – unbeaten in all competitions this seen that has seen the Accies 3rds march to two cup finals and left them in a strong position to win the league. Despite the statistics, we had not won anything yet and Saturday’s game could well have been a turning point for the season. Defeat could have knocked our confidence and thrown dreams of the treble out the window, but our team spirit has been second to none this season (despite attempts by Parsons and Jeremy to focus on what team-mates are doing wrong during games). There were only two ways that could ruin the Accies chances of retaining the AFA Junior Cup: Alexandra Park loading their side with ringers, or awful conditions on the day. Unfortunately, the latter almost did just that.
On a blustery day that had but the sturdiest centre-back leaning into the wind, the Accies almost had the AFA cup snatched from them by a mediocre Alexandra Park. Kicking into winds of up to 80mph in the first half, meant the initial 45 minutes would be a battle. Free kicks, corners, throw-ins and even our own goal kicks became dangerous weapons for the opposition. However, the defence, marshalled by Crowther, let very little through on Ramsden’s goal until a cross that was not dealt with fell to Alexandra Park’s target man deflected shot left ‘Super Harry’ with no chance.
Under intense pressure and being penned deep in our own half by the gales made the Accies free-flowing football very difficult, but we were dangerous on the break a couple of times. On the stroke of half time the Accies should have equalised but for poor finishing from Parsons. A neat move found Parsons in space who fed Jeremy. The right midfielder’s pull-back was on a plate for the afro-haired Spaniard, but he guided the ball just wide of the post.
Blincoe replaced an inspired Andy Tickle, who won everything in the air in the first half. As usual the robust centre-half arrived at the ground last after abandoning his ’88 Metro somewhere near Gants Hill. Reports that the suspension failed under the strain will be confirmed later in the week.
Minutes after the restart, with Alexandra Park already under pressure, a throw-in found Atkinson in the box. Holding a defender off, the captain flicked on to Goodier who spun and shot in one fluid motion to smash the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net. One all so soon after half-time and with the wind behind them, the Accies thought they had the game all but sewn up. However, despite bombarding Alexandra Park’s goal with dangerous free-kicks and corners, the wind made putting a telling delivery into the box all but impossible.
The Accies did have one great opportunity to save the match going into extra-time when Gio “eh, I can’t tell the difference between unleaded and diesel” Martelli went through one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Following some excellent individual play the Swiss hitman had his shot well saved by the outstretched legs of the Alexandra Park stopper. At least he shot this time instead of passing the responsibility to someone else.
Extra-time went much as the game had done with only substitute Lagerhammer coming close for the Accies when he shot from an acute angle into the side-netting from yet another wind-hindered cross from Wagstaff. It took a wonderfully agile save from Ramsden to keep things level and send the game to penalties.
The volunteers were Jeremy, Wagstaff, Blincoe and Crowther. Goodier was slightly more forced into the decision by Captain Atkinson – it proved to be a poor choice. Alexandra Park went two-nil up after Goodier saw his penalty easily saved. Up stepped Jeremy to lash his shot confidently into the roof of the net. A superb save by Ramsden followed by coolly slotted side-footer from Crowther levelled things up after three penalties each. The quick-footed Alexander Park striker sliced the worst penalty of the match well wide leaving Blincoe to rifle his in using “The Hammer”. Despite a superbly converted penalty from the Alexandra Park substitute, Wagstaff held his nerve to send the ‘keeper the wrong way and hand the Accies their first trophy of the season.
Retaining the AFA Junior Cup is no small feat but with luck it will not be the last trophy this team gets to drink champagne from this season. Seven games left; can this all-conquering side be stopped in their quest for treble glory?".
Chaos is now the byword for a thirds cup final. AP were presented with the winners medals, so the two sides played swapsies. Last year's winners were apparently ULC Academicals (nice to know the AFA are still confused about who we are). Gio ended up being towed home after putting unleaded petrol in his diesel car. Scott almost unable to climb the stairs at Tottenham Court Road needing a toilet, leading to a fascinating discussion on the most satisfying wazzes ever, and finally having to get a cab to the pub because he couldn't find it. Can the hat-trick be done next season?
Key stats: goals scored 1, goals conceded 1, penalties scored 4, penalties missed 1, penalties conceded 3, opposition penalties missed 2, motor vehicles killed in the process of winning this cup 2.
Team (first picture, left to right). Back row: Andrew Blincoe, Matt Ramsden, Chris Groves, Gio Martelli, Anders Lagerhammer, Ben Goodier, Andy Tickle, Adam Parsons. Front row: Ed Jeremy, David Wilkinson, Nick Crowther, Scott Atkinson, Des Fowler, Iain Wagstaff.
Click on the thumbnails below to expand the pictures.
In league action the first got back to winning ways winning 3-2 away to Danes. With the wind blowing directly across the pitch some semblance of football was possible, and the Accies started purposefully with good strikes from Carabine and Gillard giving a 2-0 half time lead. Shortly afterwards Houghton made it three and it threatened to be a rout. Danes scored a good goal shortly after and a second 10 minutes later meant a nervy finish, but Accies fully deserved the points after a superb performance given the difficult conditions.
Two weeks ago after beating rivals Pegasus and Aloysians, the 2nds controlled Intermediate North and the title was theirs to throw away. They've risen to the challenge! Away to Edmontonians they somehow contrived to play with the wind first half and concede three goals. A spirited fight back followed, but goals didn't come. The title run in will be much more interesting than we'd have liked.
Shenley is windy at the best of times, and this wasn't them. Wind direct down the pitches reduced all games to a lottery. The fourths battled to a 4-1 win over Camdenians, making as much use as the could of the breakaway against the wind, whilst the 6ths lost to title chasing Wood Green, despite a spirited effort. Playing against the wind the Accies turned out just 1-0 down, and all looked promising. But Wood Green turned on the power, and ran out 5-2 winners. Sass made his long awaited comeback for the 4ths and felt sluggish and slow, which we've put down to the wind! Fox and myself are absolutely sure the same applied to us....
The 5ths title challenge continued. Playing with the wind first half it was all Accies, yours truly not touching the ball until 35 minutes into the game, yet the Accies solitary goal came from Chris Slater's long range shot as a corner was cleared. 1-0 up at the half meant a battling performance was required, and it was produced in spades. Second half the Accies were superb, managing to play much of the game in the London Hospital half, and a second goal from Matt Redman settled the nerves. Final game is two week's time, and an Accies win guarantees the title.
Perhaps the most remarkable turnaround of the season came at Minch. Earlier in the season they'd beaten the sevenths 8-1, but as the team rapidly gels the Accies turned it around and ran out 7-0 winners.
Saturday 13th March
Accies 1sts 0 Old Danes 2.
Egbertians 1 Accies 2nds 1 (Kieran Jennings).
Accies 3rds 3 (Scott Atkinson 3) Egbertians 0 (Matt Ramsden).
Leyton County Old Boys 2 Accies 4ths 3 (Si Valentine, Paul Bernard, og).
Accies 5ths 5 (Dickie Smith 2, Graham Whitworth, Ethu Crorie, og) Mill Hill Village 0 (Danny McConnell).
Accies 6ths 0 Old Bealonians 4.
Mayfield Athletic 1 Accies 7ths 3.
Accies 7ths 3 Mayfield Athletic 0 (George Hamon).
Old Minchendenians 2 Optimists 0.
Cup Final hangover. After last weeks humiliation in the AFA cup the first team needed a morale boosting win against the struggling Old Danes at Shenley. What followed was a morale sapping defeat. With 80% possession Accies failed to capitalise not creating enough good chances and missing the half chances. Danes took their chances and walked away with a 2-0 victory. It will take a strong show of character now to get anything out of this year's league campaign and with Old Meadonians winning away to Old Hamptonians, the AFC title looks all but sealed.
Better news for the other title contenders. Whilst the 2nds, tight on bodies again, were held to an unfortunate 1-1 draw away to Egbertians, nearest pursuers Pegasus lost one of their two games in a double header away to Edmontonians.
Good day for the 3rds, also playing Egbertians, and winning 3-0 only to find Bealonians had slipped up against Ignatians. The Accies now trail by just three points with three games in hand, and are definitely in the driving seat. Another cheap clean sheet for Matt Ramsden!
Fun and games for the fourths, coming from 2-0 down against Leyton County to win 3-2, in a stormy game.
The 5ths faced Mill Hill Village at Shenley, and after a season of struggles Mill Hill brought with them a few old faces. Good to see them supporting the club, but a wide open pitch at Shenley wasn't what they'd have asked for. Gifting an OG early doors just made the task worse, and from then on the only question was how many the Accies would score, whether something really humilating would happen, and whether the Turtle could keep a clean sheet. The answers: five, yes (Ethu bagged for the second time this season) and yes, despite a comedy performance including the old "fall flat on your face as you call for a backpass" and "knee the ball out of your hands" routines. Some clean sheets are earned, some are cheap. This was taking candy from a baby.
No such luck for the 6ths, when the referee tells you Bobby had a blinder and he conceded four you know it wasn't close. A young Beals side got the ball down and knocked it about, much to their skipper's surprise, and the Accies got a run around. A special mention to Bobby for his services to persuading UCL students to join the Accies, interrupting their game and ranting at them because they'd kicked off on the wrong pitch (which they had). Fortunately, there were another dozen spare pitches at Shenley and no lasting damage. Senior moment is the phrase!
It took six months for the sevenths to win two games, and Spenny had been reduced to grumbling about other clubs not being docked points in his attempts to lift them off the foot of the AFC. It took two hours to change all this, the Accies scoring a team record three goals in the first of a double header against Mayfield, and then doing it again in the second. Joe Coquelin missed two pens, which the Samra claimed if he'd taken would have meant Sam scoring a hat-trick. Or more probably, missing them himself!!!
Sunday, and the Optimists debut match against Old Minchendenians. Not the best of conditions, a strong wind down the pitch, a quagmire in the middle, and rain threatening throughout. Not the best for good football, but a superb game nonetheless, with special credit to the central midfielders Edwards, Branch and Harris (and deep suspicion of the locally resident McGuigan who dropped out last minute claiming a dodgy knee!). The Accies best play came in the first half, playing against the elements and restricting Minch to a few half chances. At half time things looked rosy.
Yet as the second half progressed, the assistance of the conditions wasn't enough to overcome the Accies conditioning. Indeed, with the wind against them Minch found themselves with more space on the break than before, and the further the game went on, the likelier Minch looked to open the scoring. Several last ditch saves and challenges simply put off the inevitable, and with quarter of an hour to go the home side finally broke the deadlock, and scored a second in the last couple of minutes. Nevertheless a good performance from a scratch side, and a thoroughly decent opposition who are exactly the sort of people we're looking to play against.
Saturday 6th March
Old Meadonians 7 Accies 1sts 1 (Neil Gillard).
Old Aloysians 1 Accies 2nds 2 (Ian Roberts, Simon Vaughan).
Accies 3rds 2 (Dave Wilkinson, Nick Crowther) Mill Hill Village 1.
Accies 4ths 2 (Paul Bernard, Ritchie Hinton) Leyton County Old Boys 2.
Accies 5ths 2 (Matt Glynn, Adam Mammon) Southgate County 0 (Danny McConnell).
Old Buckwellians 1 Accies 6ths 1 (Will Paxton).
Accies 7ths 1 (Sameer Patel) Albanian 2.
Optimists 0 Old Aloysians 3.
Two weeks ago Fox noted, just before the AFA Minor Cup semi final that the Accies had never lost an AFA Cup Semi. Now we've lost two. To beat Old Meadonians the 1sts either needed to hit their best form, or Meads have an off day. The reverse happened, and a
There is no doubt that Meads are an excellent team and we wish them all the best in the final. What was disappointing was that games between these two sides are normally hard fought, close affairs. The Accies didn't turn up today and changes will need to be made to rescue anything from this season.
Big day league wise, with bodies missing for the 2nds, 3rds and 5ths as they pursued titles. All won, which says much for the regulars and the guests.
The 2nds win away to Aloysians was exactly the sort of game that 12 months ago they'd lose. 0-0 at halftime, thanks to a superb penalty save by Jorge Fernandez, yet 1-0 down soon after. Instead of folding or attacking all out the Accies stayed patient, Ian Roberts bagging an equaliser, another superb save from Jorge keeping the scores even before Frank Hayward set up Vaughny's winner, and taking him into double figures for the season. Who'd have thought! Six months ago double figures for his career seemed unlikely.
Tough points for the 3rds too, in a battling performance against a physical Mill Hill side. Matt Ramsden's clean sheet spoiled by a screamer from 35 yards, and the Accies winner from a bicycling Nick Crowther after Dave Wilkinson had bulleted the first.
An excellent result for the 5ths as well, with a first half of chances at both ends, yet the only goal coming from a howler by Southgate's keeper who let Matt Glynn's dipping, innocuous free kick through his hands. Into the second half and Adam Mammon added a second, and a fourth clean sheet on the spin sealed the points. A guesting Simon O'Sullivan won't have seen one of those for ages.......
In the "playing for pride stakes" the 4ths drew 2-2 against Leyton County, a fair result all round, whilst the 6ths drew (of course) 1-1 (of course) away to Old Buckwellians. Finally, the tale of a season condensed into five minutes, Accies 7ths pressing and pressing but unable to score against a backs to the wall Albanian side who nicked the points to stay top of 9 North. Oh, and Chris Coates, subbing for a late referee on the 7th team pitch, gave a penalty against the Accies for a dodgy challenge in the area. Pots and kettles........
On to Sunday, and the Optimists at Shenley against Old Aloysians, the latter preparing for an LOB Veterans Cup semi-final. The result was never in doubt, and frankly it was simply a matter of how many. That the Accies kept it down to 3-0 (including an OG from Kemp and a possible second from Christopherson) was quite a credit. Man of the match was Al Price, the man who looks like Al Price, but the difference showed. Aloysians moved well off the ball, knocked it around, and made the Accies chase shadows, and when the Accies had the ball they had little to offer but long balls which we've long since not had the legs to chase. Tough game, and the sort we want once or twice a season, but not regularly.
A final aside, as the afternoon saw yours truly roped into refereeing a student game at Shenley, and quite an eye opener as it was UCL Ladies 1st XI vs LSE Ladies. Fill in your own gag here (though quite what I was meant to do when one team complained two of the opposition were wearing the same number - ask them to change shirts?!!) but this was a game a great commitment, players flying into challenges, giving 100% and yet not a single niggle, no abuse to the referee nor each other, no posturing, just 22 footballers out there trying to win and enjoy the afternoon. Rather puts men's football to shame!
And finally, a word of credit to Shenley. The pitches at the moment are absolutely fantastic, even by Shenley's high standards. In particular the top field, on which most Accies games are played was as good as I've ever seen it on Saturday. It's still relatively new, and some of us can remember it as farmland, but on Saturday it was a pure pleasure to play on it.