U.C.L. Academicals Football Club

(The Accies)

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2004-05 Results - April

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Saturday 30th April

Accies 2nds 3 (Ian Roberts 2, Rick Hirst) Brent 1.

Accies 3rds 2 (Lloyd Vanson 2) Hale End 4.

Accies 4ths 1 (Dan Willoughby) Old Parmiterians 5.

Albanian 3 Accies 6ths 0.

Old Edmontonians 0 (Tom Lloyd) Accies 7ths 5 (Graham Whitworth 2, Sameer Patel, Phil Harden, Dave Siggerson).

4ths Report from John Logie

The Accies 4ths title dreams came to a shuddering halt at Shenley on Saturday following a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the revamped Old Parmitarians, who earlier in the week had beaten the Accies 3rds 3-1. Knowing that we needed to take a maximum six points from our final two games of the season to overcome Queen Mary's for the third consecutive year, the Accies approached the game with focus and optimism.

Starting with an unfamiliar back four, which would rival George Graham's famed back line for experience (well, age anyway), the Accies got off to a flying start. A long throw from the left from Martin Woodrow and a neat flick on from Tony Locke was met at the far post with an emphatic Dan Willoughby volley into the net. One-nil up, and business as usual.

The rest of the first half was a tight affair, neither side creating many clear cut chances, but Parmiterians perhaps gaining greater control of the football. At half time, we knew we were in for a tough game but with more fluid passing, also knew the game was there to be won.

However after five minutes of the second half, the match had turned around. In the first 30 seconds a long ball into the area was misjudged by Fox who could only watch as the ball rebounded to the OP's striker to score from 10 yards. The second goal was even luckier, the loud-mouthed right whinger waddled down the line and crossed, only to see the ball fly into the corner of the net off the underside of the bar. Superior fitness and a very strong OP's midfield started to have more influence on the match, and three goals followed as the Accies began to tire and chase the game. 

A disappointing result, but everyone battled hard until the end against a team containing players that were playing below their natural standard.

Wednesday 27th April

Old Meadonians 3 Accies 1sts 2 (Ned Carabine 2).

Tuesday 26th April

Old Parmiterians 3 Accies 3rds 1 (Scott Atkinson).

Saturday 23rd April

Accies 1sts 2 (Martin Woodrow, Ned Carabine) Old Meadonians 3.

Accies 2nds 2 (Andy Crotty 2) Albanian 2nds 1.

Old Ignatians 2 Accies 3rds 5 (Chris Groves, Gio Martelli, Anders Lagerhammar, Ed Jeremy, Scott Atkinson).

Accies 4ths 3 (Paul Bernard, Dan Willoughby, Matt Wanford) Queen Mary College Old Boys 0 (Steve Woodrow).

Accies 5ths 0 Mayfield Athletic 3.

Accies 6ths 0 Old Parmiterians 2.

Accies 7ths 5 (Mat Styant 2, Spencer Gore, Sameer Patel, Joe Coquelin) Mayfield Athletic 4.

Who'd'a thunk? After four attempts the 2nds finally win a cup final, and Mr Atkinson notched his 300th goal for the Accies.

1sts Report from Mark McGuigan

The unbeaten league record of the Accies came to a frustrating end at Shenley against arch rivals Meadonians. The visitors had to win to retain credibility in their title defence, whilst the home side were looking to avenge their AFA cup quarter final defeat. The result, a 3-2 win for Meads, leaves the title race open and makes Wednesday's return fixture the biggest game of the season. 

In truth, this game never lived up to its billing as a clash between the two form sides in the Premier Division this season. Nerves on both sides made the game disjointed, and there was little football played in the first half hour, although the home side came closest to creating a good chance. Meads' defence were vulnerable to crosses, whilst up front, their twin strikers always looked dangerous despite precious little meaningful possession. This threat became reality after 35 minutes, when the Accies gave the ball away with most of the side committed, and a quick counter from Meads resulted in a chance from 8 yards which their striker took confidently. The Accies wobbled a little at this stage, but half-time was reached at 0-1 and there was all to play for. The second half continued much as the first, with very even possession, and no real territorial advantage for either side. The breakthrough came after about an hour, as Pirrie challenged his man inside the box and a penalty was given. 0-2 and now the Accies were in trouble. They responded with some urgency but no real penetration, and then disaster. Crowther this time tackled inside the box and yes, another penalty to the visitors, despatched easily. 0-3 and only 20 minutes left. 

The Accies changed formation and went gung go with nothing to lose. Some exhilarating football ensued, at last we looked confident and dangerous, and Meads were rocking. Woodrow threw in from the right, then attempted to cross twice before losing patience and thumping home from an acute angle with the aid of a deflection. 1-3 and some hope with only 10 minutes remaining. The Accies were pushing hard now, and Carabine's dainty boots were proving effective and scaring the visitors, prompted by some good work from Hair. Almost full-time and Carabine picked the ball up 30 yards out, ran past a few defenders, delayed agonisingly and then finished in style. 2-3 and Meads seriously on the ropes. The ref signalled 3 minutes to go and the Accies found even more fire for a renewed assault. In those 3 remaining minutes, the Accies won 4 corners, had the ball cleared off the line and also saved from close in, plus a couple of headers just over the bar. It was a great last effort but all too late unfortunately. We can count ourselves a little unlucky here, although we did not do ourselves justice for most of the game. We saw enough though to realise that Wednesday offers a real chance for revenge, and we intend to take it.

2nds Report (and assorted ramblings) from Danny Fewkes

A mixed weekend for football then; the good news obviously our own 2s cup win , and several other fine wins for mid and lower sides, the pick being the 4s victory over a 'less established' educational institute from East London. The bad news, not just a disappointing defeat for the 1s , but more worryingly hearing that, at a time when we're trying to promote the influence of younger, athletic players at the Accies (and I was also trying to recover from the mother of all hangovers from a late Saturday session) , the Turtle and Fox both played instrumental parts in victories for the 3s and 4s. These players are poor role models for a club attempting to take our players' fitness levels to a higher level. To be fair, any training program is a fine balance between the exercises and physical work rate of Mr Motivator, fuelled by the carbohydrate intake offered by Mr Kipling, but in my opinion (and I look forward to any law suits with anticipation), both players need, as a matter of urgency to swing the balance a little more in favour of the former.

To begin, how on earth McConnell can come on up front to change a game for the better is beyond me (ok he did have a 2 minutes appearance in the LOB Senior Cup earlier this year, bringing himself on when McGuigan's back was turned). Then to the Fox, and shame on any side that allows him another notch on the clean sheet post of his bed. Let us just say that genuine notches on the remaining 3 posts are far, far greater in number, despite starting his goalkeeping career in the Bournemouth Under 8s league, was it 3 or 4 years before his 'other' ?...

I'm getting distracted, we'll talk about the day and game itself, but as preparatory distractions go , this next one really takes some beating..

The prerequisite meet at the ground of one hour before kick off was largely adhered to, and at 2.05 pm we had 13 of our squad of 14 present (though if I were to say some 92.86% of the team, I'd qualify it by adding 85% of the body mass, but 99% of the brains). 2.15pm arrived , our gentle warm up was interrupted by Roberts on the phone, lost in East Barnet..... Directions given (again, and why?) all was well, 2.50pm creeping anxiety appearing , another call, now from the North Circular, no chance of making kick off and a late line up switch required. Would all readers (from any club) hoping to play in future cup finals, or indeed any football match please read the advice in P.S.

The game began and neither side settled particularly well, though on 5 minutes we arrived at the bizarre and incredible incident of the linesman's waving flag...... Accies knocked a direct ball forward which caused confusion in the their rearguard, the ball was looped over the keeper and bounced its merry way towards the goal, with Jennings in gleeful pursuit. Perhaps a little naively, he wheeled away as the ball crossed the line and a despairing defender hooked the ball out (from I later heard to be a yard over the line). The ref and majority of players, far from the action followed the cleared ball, Jennings was confused turning back as the linesman flagged to the centre spot, and the defender scarpered from the scene of the crime as quickly as possible. The game continued , and the required consultation between ref and his assistant failed to materialise until minutes later when practically (though unfairly) nothing could be done.

We will not dwell on the remainder of the first half as there is little to report. Albanian knocked the ball quickly into the channels to feed their dangerous strikers, but they were certainly in the main, isolated from their midfield, and generally well marshalled by Accies back 3. Accies had the edge with 60% of possession but our passing game was not at its best; not helped by a bouncy pitch surface that made control difficult, but certainly also due to the close attentions of the opposition midfield , and a failure to threaten physically or hold possession higher up the pitch.

0-0 at half time, Accies brought on the big man to give a little more power upfront ,though as we came back out, our concentration seemed to drop as we suffered our poorest spell of the game. During this 10 minute period, firstly the opposition danger men failed to link effectively when presented with a possible 2 to 1 numerical advantage, then they missed their one real gilt edged chance to score when a long throw into the box escaped our attentions and a free header from close range flashed over the bar. There was also time for a dangerous cross to flash along our six yard box. Accies dug deep however, and quickly responded with a flowing passing move (our best in the match to date) releasing the midfield runner Crotty clean through, bearing on goal. His initial shot was expertly saved, and this feat was immediately repeated when Roberts seemed certain to force the rebound home. Space was finally starting to appear and a game that had been tense, but largely disappointing, began to waken up.

Crotty was now beginning to stretch Albanian midfield with some strong running and having drawn a foul 25 yards from goal, earned the breakthrough on the hour with a low skidding free kick into the corner. We settled well (for 5 minutes!) but were caught by a disappointing equaliser. An Accies throw in, yards into Albanian territory, kicked up causing a slight mis-control which was punished as the oppo's 'stout' centre midfielder nipped in and struck the pass of the match to find Albanians lively skipper in a little too much space between centre half and sweeper. He advanced quickly and as the cover closed in (his mind possibly made up by an early advancing Nugget) side footed home from 20 yards.

Accies were not fazed however and are a stronger and far more resilient team than that of a few years back. We soon regained the lead, from another set piece. Jennings was found in space wide only to be hauled down as he skipped past their centre back. The cultured left foot of Jenkins whipped in a dangerous delivery to be flicked on by Crotty into the roof of the net from close range.

Albanian's 'never say die' spirit has given Accies many problems over the years, particularly in last year's LOB Senior final. They always compete hard , play aggressively and to their strengths, and it was of course no surprise that they refused to lie down and gamely chased the game. Another tall strong forward (creating a 3 pronged attack) and fresh legs in midfield were introduced, so Nash was forced to drop a little deeper and the defence required to be at their most resilient. As they threw men forward and bombarded our box with several long throws, a few corners and long clearances, Accies were now however at their most dangerous on the counter attack and created some great chances to kill off the tie: Field surged forward to support Jennings, took his pass superbly to break free only to pull his one on one chance agonisingly wide; Crotty fired over from long range with the keeper stranded, and Jennings was thwarted at the last hurdle by some fine late interventions.

The final whistle came with great relief and at last a Cup Final victory we can savour. I'll certainly note in my opinion it was a deserved victory and nobody should deny us credit following the disappointments of some recent years. Of course it was a tight match, nothing less than we expected and on another day we could well have been the team picking up the runners up medals, particularly if they had capitalised straight after half time. Overall though, we were denied a goal, played more of the football and despite ceding territorial advantage later on had much the better of the real chances in that period. They're a very good side, particularly dangerous up front and if their availability is consistent should be looking to do far more than just consolidate their position next season once promoted. 

It's now time to congratulate the match officials, (I've moved on from 5 minutes in!) ,seriously they all did a great job and I hope enjoyed their day. Finally thanks to our own players, though certainly not all at our best on the day. Shrimpton was probably the pick of the solid defence; Jennings was a constant threat up front particularly as the game developed; all midfielders and other forwards worked hard, but it's probably fair our eventual match winner was Crotty, the one midfielder on both sides who was able to do a little bit more than just cancel out his opposite number. ( He'll get the second goal then Jenks!) 

Lots of Guinness, lager and shots followed throughout the evening , ideal preparation for the concluding 2 matches of our League campaign, starting against a Brent side fighting to stay up this coming Saturday.

P.S. Team details, general instructions, motivational team talks and directions are all sent out, generally on Thursdays before the game. It is vitally important therefore to engage one's brain , read the right email, and print off directions for the appropriate game. On Saturday, the appropriate game was NOT our league fixture from the previous week away at Old Minchendenians, not surprisingly near East Barnet.... What idiot would do this job?

P.P.S. My thoughts about the question, 'Fox, a grandfather. Discuss?' will be aired next week.

3rds Report from Scott Atkinson

With skipper Stewart away on a romantic getaway in Barcelona the captain's responsibilities reverted to last year's leader Atkinson for the vital away trip against Ignatian at Martelli Lane- sorry Donkey Lane. With Atkinson having to be driven to the match in his car by Christer and still seeping apple mojitos from every pore it was clear the responsibility and been well and truly forgotten about. However, tactical masterstrokes were not beyond him even in such a poor state. The first was the inspirational teamtalk in the dressing room with the stuttering stumbling utterances leaving all confused as to who was playing where. It was no surprise to find the Accies 2 down within 15 mins of the start. The players had actually started well but a questionable offside decision allowed the opener which was followed quickly by a second that should never have been conceded.

The heads did not go down and the Accies continued to dominate proceedings. Christer rampaged down the left and the midfield ran the show. Martelli showed all of his continental class at one stage when he controlled an awkward ball and then turned like a hippo falling flat on his face.

Chances came and went with the best falling to Atkinson. Groves sent over a delightful cross from the byline and with the keeper flapping at the ball Atkinson came in to meet it with his tried and tested shutting the eyes and hoping method. When he opened them again he saw the ball had gone the wrong side of the post. Soon afterwards the arrears where halved when a fine move culminated in Jeremy squaring the ball to Martelli who simply couldn't miss.

The 3's were very unlucky to reach the break still behind but there was a strong feeling that the match was there for the taking. Waggy and Christer gave way to Burchill and Black and the team carried off where they left off. The equaliser duly arrived after James passed to Lagerhammer who flicked on to Atkinson. His first shot was blocked but the rebound was poked home to notch his 300th accies goal. No histrionics in the celebration just steely determination to go after the next 300.

The Accies then laid siege to the oppo goal looking for a winner. Atkinson put 2 crosses along the goal line with Jeremy entering the miss of the season competition. Black nearly scored from a corner but it was looking like it may be one of those days especially when James pulled his hamstring. At this point Atkinson resisted the temptation to keep the hobbling James on the pitch at all costs and called for the Turtle to warm up. Our beloved chairman then did his bit up front and made a nuisance of himself. Within minutes Jeremy had scored a fine 3rd goal to take the lead. With the oppo gamely pushing on they were looking exposed at the back and Lagerhammer took advantage when reaching a ball before the keeper to score into an empty net with Groves screaming for a pass.

Groves wrapped things up after a typically mazy run and shooting in off a defender. The introduction of the Turtle clearly turning the match on its head.

Another good win for the 3's and if 3 more points are taken on Tuesday it will set things up for a showdown with Hale End on Saturday to decide the runners up spot. Tuesday's big news (and it doesn't get much bigger than this) is the return of Blincoe to the fold.

4ths Report from Ritchie Hinton

Days at Shenley surely don’t get much better than this….

After last week’s superb away win at fellow promotion chasers Wood Green, the Accies went into the game against league leaders QM wanting to ensure that those efforts had not been in vain. 90 minutes of committed and skilful play later, and the Accies had another fine win under their belt.

The game started in ideal conditions at Shenley, and Accies were the quicker of the two sides out of the blocks. Although the Accies were by far the more effective team in the first half, QM almost nabbed the opener when a slip gave a QM attacker an opportunity to lob the onrushing Fox. Perhaps slightly perturbed by the sight of the orange clad buffoon hurtling towards him, and by the prospect of getting decapitated by the head-high boot of Hinton which was inches away, the QM striker lobbed tamely wide.

The Accies soon took the lead though after a penalty was awarded for handball against a QM player, who may have felt rather aggrieved at the decision. These things seem to even themselves out over the season though, as Paul Thomas can testify after being on the wrong end of a dubious handball decision a few weeks back. Skipper Dan Willoughby despatched the spot kick with aplomb. The Accies pushed for a second, and QM were at full stretch trying to contain the slick passing and excellent movement of the Accies midfield and attack. QM’s job was made even harder as the Accies lads hardly lost a tackle or an aerial challenge during the entire first half, such was their tenacity and desire to win. The second goal came as Ritchie Hinton found Max Lovell on the half way line with a ball from the back, allowing Lovell to turn and thread an excellent ball through for Paul Bernard who had no trouble shrugging off the floundering QM defender and finishing in trademark style past the hapless QM keeper.

This seemed to knock any remaining fight out of QM, as their second half attacking play became even more sporadic and ineffective against a physically superior defence, although Fox had to react well to stop a wickedly deflected speculative effort from creeping in to ensure that the Accies kept a clean sheet. Sadly, this didn’t stop the QM players from rather harshly calling Fox ‘Grandad’ every time he shambled off to retrieve the ball. Anthony Locke continued to win important possession for the Accies in midfield, with Lovell and Bernard proving to be their usual attacking threat up front. A special mention should go to Paul Thomas, watched by his dad and missus, who beavered away on the right wing in the first half and played well in an unfamiliar right back role in the second half, remaining tight lipped in the face of friendly advice from Chester and Hinton to ‘stay the fu*k back’ with them to ensure a clean sheet. The game was finally put to rest with around 20 minutes remaining, when Matt Wanford (recently back from Herculean efforts in the Marathon - 2h 52m!) shot home brilliantly from the edge of the box.

This was the most satisfying performance of the season, with every single player putting in a determined and purposeful display. The clean sheet was testament to the solidity of the back five, and to the industry of the midfield and attack who defended from the front, as well as providing dangerous attacking options. A top-drawer team effort, continuing their recent excellent form, which leaves the Accies with every chance of gaining promotion as champions.

Tuesday 19th April

THE LONDON OLD BOYS' SENIOR CUP FINAL

UCL ACADEMICALS  0  OLD ALOYSIANS 3

played at Wingate & Finchley F.C. on Tuesday 19th April 2005 (report courtesy of Del Saunders)

"UCL STRICKEN BY WALLACE"

Two goals by Dave Wallace helped Aloysians to a well deserved victory against Academicals in the LOB Senior Cup Final. Probably playing their best football of the season Aloysians, despite starting shakily in the opening minutes, when they could have been 2-0 down, outplayed Accies for the majority of the game. Within two minutes a header back to the keeper was well short and a smart lob was hooked off the line by a retreating Aloysian defender. Four minutes later, a break down the left and low cross was stabbed towards goal by Ned Carabine but Lee Halligan in goal for Aloysians saved with an outstretched leg only for the ball to strike the eventual goal hero Wallace who was lucky to see the ball hit the crossbar and rebound to safety. Accies attacked in strength but were stunned after 10 minutes. In the first serious Aloysian attack, James Kay found Wallace with a fine cross ball from the right. A first time chip into the 6 yard box had the Accies defence all at sea and  in trying to clear the ball, it hit another defender and rebounded into an open net. For the next quarter of an hour play was restricted to the middle of the park with both sides guilty of giving the ball away. Wallace on the left was causing trouble with a number of low crosses but clear cut chances were few at both ends. After 35 minutes Aloysians forced a corner on the right and from the kick Wallace rose at the near post to glance a header into the opposite corner. Two goals up, Aloysians took control and Accies keeper Dan Saxby did well to take the ball off the head of Sean O'Donnell, from another right wing cross, to restrict the score to only 2 down at half time.

Accies started the second half looking for an early goal and were unlucky when a low free kick just eluded the advancing Joffsy Houghton. Almost on the hour mark, Houghton again went close, shooting just wide from the edge of the box. With Kay outstanding in midfield, Aloysians began to take total control. Kevin Smith nearly created a third with a fine cross from the left, but no-one was able to convert the cross. After 67 minutes a snap shot from O'Donnell was kicked off the line and with Accies now in disarray it seemed like target practice for the marauding Aloysians side. Billy Gillard struck a beauty from the edge of the box into the side netting and four minutes later Wallace did the same thing. A third goal had to come and after 73 minutes Wallace found space to deliver a delightful chip over the keeper into the far corner of the net. Further chances came and went begging but at the final whistle a 3-0 scoreline was fully deserved.

After the game, Andy Booth, President of the LOB Cup Competition, presented the trophy and medals to both teams and the four officials who controlled the game well.

Officials:- Referee: Pat Morrissey. Assistant Referees: Alan Hobbs and David Cunningham. Fourth Official: Peter Panayiotou.

UCL Academicals:- Dan Saxby, Martin Woodrow, John Delaney, Dan Chantler, Innis Pirrie, Nick Crowther, Mike Foster, Rick Hirst, Neil Gillard, Steven Hair, Gareth Jones, Joffsy Houghton, Ned Carabine and Lloyd Vanson.

Old Aloysians:- Lee Halligan, Steve Surridge, Akinola Fayoyin, Billy Gillard, James Kay, Adrian Hedley, Francis Birch, David Wallace, Kevin Smith, Sean O'Donnell, David Boateng, Gregor McMillan, Anthony Egbinola, Paul Ayers and Tony Smith.

Ed's Note: such a disappointment shared by the whole team, as collectively we simply failed to show up and perform. Ironically the first ten minutes probably contributed the ennui, as it gave the impression it'd be a cakewalk. S### happens. It's Wednesday, and the game should now be forgotten, but not the memory of how it feels. Congrats to Aloysians who gave 100% and on the night, well deserved their win.

Saturday 16th April

Old Minchendenians 0 (Greg Smith) Accies 2nds 4 (Ian Roberts 2, Lloyd Vanson, Andy Crotty).

Accies 3rds 3 (Gio Martelli 2, Steven Black) Clapham Old Xaverians 3rds 0 (Matt Ramsden).

Wood Green Old Boys 2 Accies 4ths 3 (Paul Bernard, Steve McConnell, Max Lovell).

Ravenscroft Old Boys 1 Accies 7ths 5 (Graham Whitworth 2, Chris Coates, Phil Harden, James Mullins).

2nds Report from Danny Fewkes

Accies 2's continued their post Easter string of league victories, and warmed up for the forthcoming LOB Intermediate Cup Final with a solid display and comfortable 4-0 win away at Old Minchendenians. We'll start with an update of the old story , move on to the miracle that shall be know as 'Roberts strike' and conclude with the remaining 88 minutes of the match itself. 

Firstly, Nugget was again absent through injury; his insignificant boots were again overfilled by the competent Smith, now moving high up the Opta assists index. Will the Nugget return for Sat? The jury is still out, probably dependent on a world's first two day fitness test. Nugget flies to Zurich on Wednesday to visit to a renowned Eye Clinic and then on to the skin graft specialist for final treatment on the 3rd degree blister burns on the palm of his right hand.....

Now then, its very rare I'll admit I may have made an error in judgement, and I won't start now, but in the warm up to each game this and previous seasons I have approached Roberts and reminded him that under no circumstances should he attempt to strike the ball from outside the penalty box. Given the paucity of his technical ability and powder puff shooting he should purely concentrate on being a nuisance and making life difficult for the opposition defence. Thinking and footballing decisions are to be left to others.

We live in a democracy, and much as it pains me the man himself can pick up the story, 2 minutes into the game;

"....... The watching crowd was then treated to something very special reminiscent of Mathew Le Tissier and Eric Cantona in their pomp. Accies keeper punted a long speculative goal kick up field. Vanson and Roberts were on their own and marked by no less than 6 players. There was nothing on and no way to predict what was about to happen. Vanson gamely challenged 2 of the defenders for the ball. Out muscling the pair he managed to head the ball on to his strike partner Ian "the tree trunk assassin" Roberts. As the ball began to drop the remaining 4 defenders swarmed around Roberts seemingly snuffing out the danger. How wrong they were. Despite being 35 yards out, Roberts met the ball first time and hit a sweet strike flying past the keeper with pace and curl. The keeper stood no chance - true "Roy of the Rovers" stuff. The ball had travelled from the safe hands of the Accies keeper to the back of the oppos net in little under 3 seconds (Ed's note: I calculate this to be an average speed in excess of 75mph! Shome mishtake shurely). It was a joy to behold and a lesson for the younger members of the team as to how to strike the ball with power whilst maintaining accuracy (take note the Keasts (head over the ball)) and Crotty (aim between the sticks)...."

1-0 up after 2 minutes, Accies settled reasonably and were a yard sharper than last week's first half performance all across the pitch. The defence in particular looked tight and repelled any attacks mustered by our hosts, who at least were competitive in the challenge, rallying around the lanky Junior, (well marshalled by Nash in aerial challenges throughout the game). We had the better of possession and created a few chances despite being frustrated by several 'very' close calls against Minch's offside trap and high defensive line which without wishing to patronise was an accident waiting to happen. Accies utilised our squad strength at half time with two substitutions leaving the watching warhorse McGuigan as the only cover.

We'd barely had time to implement our cunning new game plan of encouraging the midfielders to run with the ball, when the second goal was gifted on 46 minutes to effectively seal the match. A long clearance was flicked by a retreating centre back over the oncoming goalkeeper and left Roberts with a simple tap in, which the buffoon, buoyed by his earlier strike, finished with confidence. This was the cue for a twenty minute spell of some glorious chances as Accies sprung the hosts' suicidal offside trap with regularity. Crotty in particular was in his element carrying the ball well, the strikers showed good movement and crosses were drilled in from both flanks. We lacked, however, a bit of killer instinct and this must be rectified in our chance taking (if indeed we create any! ) against Albanian on Sat.

On 70 mins Vanson, set up by Crotty, grabbed a poacher's goal his efforts had deserved (particularly after earlier seeing a fine downward header superbly tipped around the post). Minch's continued to battle gamely and threatened when a firm drive from an angle clipped the outside of the post, but Smith was rarely threatened. The fourth and final nail in the coffin was clipped, rather than driven home on 85 minutes by Crotty after another break from midfield. 

In conclusion, a good performance and work out for all. Alas, Aloysians and Challenors continue to win but I expect our pride to make us see out the league campaign with 2 similar efforts to Sat, of course before that the big Cup clash with our old friends Albanian, which will certainly take centre stage in the London Amateur footballing world this weekend above some 'minor' game at Shenley!

3rds Report from Scott Atkinson

We can confirm that no children or animals (bar one hog) were harmed in the making of this Cup Final (unless you count dressing a toddler up in a Middlesbrough shirt).

The 3's successfully defended the LOB cup with a 3-0 victory against Clapham Old Xaverians putting on a strong showing and making a nonsense of their poor form in the previous few weeks. The signs had not been good. last week's report had not been posted but consisted of " We were fuc*ing average - put your money on Clapham to win next week". 

The venue was Civil Service and a late 4pm KO at the request of the oppo. At 3pm Christer and Atkinson were kicking their heels in the changing room as the oppo manager went through a well rehearsed team talk. Quick as a flash, Atkinson showed why he was a successful skipper in previous years by clamping his ear to the wall in an attempt to listen in on the tactics. 20 minutes later he was in danger of getting cramp as the longest prematch speech ever rambled on. Martelli and Lagerhammer then produced the first shock of the day by arriving next and the remaining players arrived in dribs and drabs. All that is except of skipper Stewart delayed by Groves due to his oversleeping. At 3.30 still no skipper and no kit as the oppo went out for the first of their warm ups. It was then that we were asked if we intended playing and how many supporters did we expect as the first Clapham coach load had arrived with another on the way. As the kit turned up we could only guess at how many would be there to cheers us on.With the first team having no game and the 2's kicking off early surely a record turn out was on the cards. Certainly we had considerably more than last year. I think I counted 12! Tickle had clearly been so disappointed at last season's showing he had taken it upon himself to father a 2nd child in a bid to boost numbers.

As we trotted out for the obligatory booting of footballs over the bar we walked passed a hog roast. Not the sort of roast that usually gets Groves excited and not sure whether he got want he wanted by the end of the night. "The Golddigger" was on top form (at least off the pitch) but fans of the Mrs Mills problem page in The Sunday Times will have noted the statement to one of her readers "the most successful ladies' men tend to be a bit poncey. This is why other men are distrustful of the them". Now just ask yourself whether you would like to leave Groves alone in a room with your sister, wife, girlfriend, mother.

And so to the game. Stewart started with Christer, Fowler and James on the bench and we all hoped that the absence of the watching Jeremy would not prove crucial. Despite the absence of our most consistent player this season, the Accies started the match well and competed all over the pitch. Clapham were up for it and had a couple of tricky players who were a handful early on and fair amount of pressure was created. The oppo corners were whipped in dangerously looking for the heads of the tall midfield players. Stewart and Tinling were rocks at the heart of the defence. You couldn't tell that Tickle was the senior player by ten years and with their combined looks age of approaching 90 the oppo must have been frustrated and not being able to breach their immense defence.

As the half progressed the 3's started to play some decent football and created a few openings. Atkinson had a half chance but could only shoot the wrong side of the post and Stewart had a shot saved well. Some decent passing moves down the flanks started to stretch Clapham and Martelli was on his game. Finally with about 10mins to go until the break Murden and Stewart combined before Stewart sent over a deep cross to the far post. It dropped over the keepers head and Martelli scuffed it in from 2 yards from a very tight angle. Atkinson was released by Murden just before the whistle but hit his shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

A solid first half performance with Clapham only really having one attempt on target tipped over by Super Harry. The game was there for the taking but similar effort was required. The players did not disappoint. The 2nd half was dominated by the Accies. It was 2-0 after Stewart chased a long ball into the area and robbed the keeper who made a hash of it. His square ball was then knocked into the empty net from 3 inches by Martelli. That was really it. Atkinson created a chance pouncing on a mistake by the defence and rounding the keeper but failing miserably to put into the goal from a tight angle. .The subs were all brought on and did their jobs well. It could have been interesting if the oppo striker had converted a one on one but Ramsden came to the rescue once again. Instead the match was wrapped up after Martelli whipped in a vicious free kick that was met by the head of Black and bulleted the ball into the net off both posts to cap a fine performance. Everybody played well. Defensively we were outstanding. Black and Waggy dominated the centre of midfield. Lagerhammer and Stewart gave balance to the flanks and Martelli was my MOM.

The referee was good and the opposition played their part in a good game. There was not one bad tackle in 90 mins and to their credit they did not stop battling even at 3 down.

The 3's record in cup finals in the last 3 years is now played 4 won 4. A tremendous achievement by all concerned.

And then the post match celebrations began with the first decision to be made as to who had the most horrible shirt on-won by Ramsden . The plan had originally been to have a couple at Civil Service and then on to a riverside pub for a pleasant drink before some dancing and then maybe a nice meal. However, the local rugby were having a funday and the Hants and Dorset ferret club was in attendance. Cue Tinling getting everyone involved in betting on the ferret races revealing his brother owned a shotgun and flat cup and demonstrating he was an all round expert on this northern activity. Several beers later and everyone was outside shouting themselves horse at the stupid little c****. Forfeits for the losers-thanks Si!

Infernos was next on the agenda and from that moment the writer's memory becomes quite sketchy. Groves has revealed Atkinson gave a rendition of Filthy Nasty which it sounds like could have got him arrested. I have also been informed that I went for a curry with Crister and fell asleep after one mouthful. I hope everyone got home in one piece and at least we could all sleep save in the knowledge that Danny had taken the cup home to prevent us from losing it.

The other benefit of our win of course is another pass for the marrieds and those with children to the AFC dinner!

4ths Match Report from Ritchie Hinton

A great team performance saw Accies outplay one of the top teams in the division away from home (not only that, but with a bare XI and facing a team with one or two first teamers drafted in, by their own admission).

Despite the late kick-off and lack of warm-up brought about by Anthony Locke’s car (containing not only himself, but Max Lovell and the kit) finally giving up the ghost somewhere near St Albans, Accies started the game brightly on a narrow pitch which would’ve benefited from having been cut at sometime since New Year. 

Accies neat distribution and superior possession led to the opener, with Lovell finishing well from a tight angle (albeit via the post and the keeper!). Accies continued to play some great football, with Steve McConnell’s passing and the left wing wizardry of Murray causing problems for the home team. McConnell was unlucky to see a far post header go narrowly wide after a pinpoint cross from the left by Murray evaded the defence. Lovell was unfortunate not to add his second when clean through, with a bad bobble resulting in him shooting over (you owe me one for that, Max). Despite the Accies dominance, Wood Green drew level against the run of play to level the scores at half time, with a screamer from at least 25 yards out which left Fox helpless in the Accies goal. This did little to dissuade Accies from their positive mindset however, and the good football carried on in the second half, with Murray embarrassing the Wood Green right back at every opportunity. Accies looked dangerous from set pieces too, with McConnell and Murray swinging in a succession of threatening crosses from either side. Indeed, a McConnell corner led to the Accies second goal, with Paul Bernard losing his marker and heading home well. 

Accies looked solid at the back, with Mark McGuigan marshalling the back four superbly, Hinton tackling with his usual gusto, and Dan Willoughby and Mark Emmerson proving typically sound in the full back roles, allowing Murray and Paul Thomas to push on in the wide positions. The third goal came after further tricky wing play down the left by Murray saw Bernard unluckily hit the post with a header, with the ball rebounding for McConnell to finish well from an angle. Wood Green managed to pull one back with around 20 minutes to go after an unfortunate slip in the box following an innocuous cross, yet this didn’t result in the bombardment one might have expected from a team looking to win the title. Although there were a few concerning moments for Accies towards the end, one drawing a good save from Fox, the result was never really in doubt after the Accies third goal. At the final whistle, Wood Green could have few complaints, and knew that they had been beaten by the better side on the day.

Overall, a very satisfying performance, perhaps the best of the season, which augurs well for the final games of the season with promotion still a distinct possibility. The key was that nobody hid on the pitch, with all eleven players taking responsibility and winning their own personal battles. Chances were created and taken well, and mistakes kept to a minimum through good organisation and communication. Accies look very dangerous in this form.

P.S. This report wouldn’t be complete without reference to one of the let off’s of the season. A long ball was flicked on for a Wood Green striker to try a speculative effort from an acute angle which Fox seemingly had covered at the near post, only for the ball to somehow evade his grasp and trickle agonisingly through his legs into the back of the net. Looks of disbelief turned to wry smiles as the referee (quite rightly) blew for offside, sparing Fox’s blushes….

Saturday 9th April

Old Hamptonians 1 Accies 1sts 2 (Jon Houghton 2).

Accies 2nds 3 (Kieron Jennings, Gareth Jenkins, Andy Crotty) Old Woodhouseians 2.

Accies 3rds 1 (Scott Atkinson) Egbertians 2.

Accies 4ths 4 (Paul Bernard 4) Old Woodhouseians 3.

Egbertians 3 Accies 6ths 1 (Dino Antoniades).

Accies 7ths 0 Mill Hill Village 2.

Mill Hill Village 3 Accies 7ths 2 (Sameer Patel, Nick Pring).

1sts Report from Mark McGuigan

The Accies travelled to a resurgent Hamptonians, anticipating a difficult match. They were not disappointed, but the visitors certainly started the brighter of the two sides and put the home side under a lot of pressure in the first 15 minutes. Clear chances however were hard to come by, despite Vanson revelling in his start up front and some energetic movement from his colleagues. The deadlock was finally broken when Houghton seized on an opportunity and hit a half-volley with such ferocity that the touchline observers could scarcely believe such power could be generated by a man of such slight build. General agreement was that the ball had flown in off the left hand upright, but it moved so quickly that we must await the slowmo replays before we can be sure. Throughout the first half, limbs and joints were giving way at an alarming rate on both sides, and Delaney was introduced before half-time for a hamstrung Hayward, whilst Hamps lost two players for similar fragilities.

The second half was a continuation of the Accies holding the edge, but chances were again elusive despite some good approach work and excellent movement. The Accies switched to a 4-4-2 formation using a diamond midfield (geezers all of them) and remained solid at the back whilst still not threatening enough to score. All of this was forgotten when the Hamps centre-half presented Houghton with a chance to clinically score his second, with only minutes remaining. Time still for the home side to score a consolation last minute goal, but 3 points were by then secure.

2nds Report from Danny Fewkes

Apologies to our readers, but a bread and butter report this week.... I'll start as I don't mean to carry on; 

1) Is good to see the Fox back to his old tricks and about time (see 4s report) 

2) Was not good to welcome back the Nugget 

3) Was Roberts missing still stranded on the A1(M)? 

The players must earn reports like Walker's masterpiece. 

Accies continued their league campaign as they welcomed the Old Woods to Shenley in fine conditions. Woods had been struggling for most of the season but now seemed to be building again as a much younger side (still speckled with 3 or 4 of the old faces from the 90's) appeared than that put to the sword by the Accies at Firs Farm back in November, and gave us a far sterner test. 

Accies began into the sun and breeze but disappointingly failed to match last weeks first half effort all across the park. Several players were below par, few showed any appetite for the graft, desire or quick thought and movement needed to play at our best. Woods took the lead on 20 minutes following the unnecessary concession of a free kick 20 yards from our penalty box. A decent delivery was firmly clipped to the oppo's big centre forward in a yard of space, and he planted a header past the floundering Nugget. The wake up call was not heeded and Woods missed a great chance to double their lead when a midfield runner was given far too much freedom to drive deep into Accies territory and release their striker for a one on one saved by the Nugget using a most unorthodox goalkeeping tactic. Accies did begin the fight back, and made a little more of their possession advantage to cut open Woods on a couple of occasions, but were hit by a sucker punch 5 minutes before the break, appealing in vain for offside which gave a little more time for the Woods striker to turn on the edge of the box and strike a fine shot into the top corner. A 2-0 deficit was a little harsh reflection of the general run of the game but we could have no real complaints given the lack of urgency in our workrate or passing. 

Half time brought a substitution and shuffle in personnel positioning, but most importantly the team came out with a far more positive attitude to take full advantage of the elements and put Woods on the back foot. It took 2 minutes to reduce the arrears. A well worked short corner found Jenkins in the box, and a nice first touch did enough to force a clumsy defensive challenge with Jennings tucking away the resulting penalty kick. Accies were now well on top using the full width of the pitch and penned Woods back with persistent pressure. The equaliser came just before the hour and was a quality goal; Crotty's clean strike at the far post from a fine deep left flank cross gave the keeper no chance. The 3rd goal (and eventual winner) on 65 minutes had an element of luck, (unless Jenkins intended to pull his 'cross' into the near corner) but was a just reward for a now rampant Accies. The introduction of Woods young substitute (who showed great pace and a willingness to receive the ball) gave them an outlet to relieve a little of the pressure but they failed to threaten the Nugget throughout the half, and Accies could and should have added more goals, the pick of the misses being Jennings' side footer from two yards onto the post before his watching dad! 

All in a lot of character shown in coming from behind to win the game 'relatively' comfortably with time to spare in the second half, but all players should be under no illusion that they can and should improve. Some of these matches are a bit like groundhog day , in six games (all won) currently played against the 4 teams propping up the table, we've been down at half-time in 3 and conceded first in 4. 

Enough of the lecture, we'll take the positives from Sat, look forward to an important league game next week, and then turn our thoughts to the big Cup final clash with Albanian. 

4ths Report from Ritchie Hinton

The score line may suggest a tight game, but the truth is that the Accies were easily the better team throughout this match, and but for a few examples of dubious defensive play and a penalty decision, Fox might’ve kept a clean sheet. The starting XI was an odd one due to several regulars being unavailable for selection. The defence in particular had an unfamiliar look, with Ritchie Hinton being the only 4th team regular in the back four when the game kicked off.

The game began in much the same vein as the corresponding away fixture had started just a few weeks back. That is to say that we began sluggishly, with a central defensive slip following a long hopeful through ball allowing Woodhouseians' lively young striker to finish well past an exposed Fox. This seemed to galvanise the Accies into action, and the introduction of Anthony Locke, on as an early substitute for the hamstrung Canadian debutant Frank Mandarino, helped to gradually turn the tables in Accies favour. The reshuffle also saw Dan Willoughby revert to right back, adding some experience to the defence. The equaliser came from Paul Bernard, grateful for the appearance of Locke on the pitch, which allowed him to push up into his more familiar and prolific striking role. A special mention should go to the Flying Fox, who made a couple of vital interceptions, including one excellent tip over to keep Accies heads above water before half time.

So one all at half time, and Accies started the second half brightly, looking to capitalise on the slight down slope and following wind. With Steve McConnell and Anthony Locke dominating the midfield areas and Max Lovell and Bernard causing all sorts of problems up front against an ageing back line, Accies started to play some decent football. Bernard grabbed another to put Accies ahead at 2-1. Cue the comedy. A three-man muddle involving Locke, Rob James and Fox saw Locke attempting to shepherd the ball back to Fox (despite the horrified keepers’ screams of “AWAY! AWAY! AWAY!!”). It somehow ended in James smacking the ball off Fox and into the net to gift Woodhouseians an own goal from nothing to make it 2-2. That setback was against the run of play though, and it wasn’t long before Bernard notched two more to put the result beyond doubt. Only a handball decision in the final minute allowed Woodhouseians to finish the game just one goal behind at 4-3.

This was almost a carbon copy of the recent away fixture, with Accies once again requiring an early kick up the backside to get them playing some decent football. However, it is reassuring to know that the team has the ability and strength to get back into games after going behind, and promotion is still a distinct possibility, with much hinging on next Saturday’s crunch match against our old friends from Wood Green.

Saturday 2nd April

Latymer Old Boys 2 Accies 1sts 5 (Gareth Jones 2, Innis Pirrie, Jon Houghton, Lloyd Vanson).

University of Hertfordshire 1 Accies 2nds 5 (Kieron Jennings 2, Neill Shrimpton, Matt Field, og).

Accies 3rds 1 (Scott Atkinson) Latymer Old Boys 1.

Accies 5ths 1 (Graham Whitworth) Egbertians 2.

Old Buckwellians 2 Accies 6ths 0.

Accies 7ths 14 (Sameer Patel 4, Matt Styant 3, Dom Mignon 3, Spencer Gore 2, Phil Harden, Simon Vaughan) Old Parmiterians 1.

1sts Report from Mark McGuigan

The Accies travelled to Botany Bay for this important league fixture, and leaving aside any more puns than were inflicted upon his colleagues on the touchline by the manager, they did so with some conviction... Latymer needed points to improve their chances of survival in the league, while the Accies were convinced that a win was necessary to maintain their push for the title. The weather asked for sunshine football, and in the first 15 minutes the Accies duly provided it. Jones, making light of his dramatic warm up injury, was aggression and skill combined, and he had two goals in the first quarter of an hour to show for it. The first was a tap in after some swift passing and movement and an invitation to score provided by Houghton. The second, a sublime chip from 25 yards after he had spotted the keeper off his line, the chance being provided by some Keystone Kops defending on the part of the home side. Jones then decided that the world was against him, presumably because he hadn't secured his hat-trick in the first half-hour, and managed to get himself booked after the aggressive half of his brain briefly outplayed the skill side. This lapse was accompanied by a terrible middle period of the first half for the visitors, who allowed Latymer back into the game with a messy first goal after some penalty box pinball, and a second passed in from 40 yards as Saxby briefly lost his bearings and assumed his goalposts were several yards to the right of their actual position. The managers already furrowed brow began to concertina further, not a pretty picture and frightening for any attending children to witness. The Accies were in danger of collapse at this stage, but summoned some character and started to regain their early good form. The half ended with a stunning move of first time passing which was finished swiftly and powerfully by the galloping man of the match, Houghton. Great goal. Half -time and some home truths were discussed, and a more solid formation adopted to counter the fast breaking of Latymer's midfield. 

Inside the first few minutes of the restart, Pirrie ventured forward and collecting a short clearance 30 yards out, he advanced briefly and then struck an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner. The photographer present granted the wishes of those on the touchline and made sure that this excellent goal was definitely not recorded on film. Much better to publish Chantler falling over the ball when he experienced vertigo on entering the opposing half, we all advised the compliant photographer. Should be nice to see. A fifth was added by a sprightly Vanson, who was relishing the less than adroit attentions of the home defenders, and many more in truth should have been achievable. Nevertheless, in the final analysis this was a very sound display  by an ever more confident Accies side, who remain unbeaten in the league.

2nds Report from Mark Walker

By popular demand following Fewkes' inability to meet copy deadlines for these anxiously awaited reports, a more talented writer has been asked to step into the breach. This reporter will attempt to treat the oversized clown that is Ian Roberts with more respect than has been granted him in recent reports. 

The team travelled to Hertford to play the return fixture against the University of Hertford ("Hertford") expecting a tough encounter against one of the stronger teams in the division. The facilities we were presented with were something to behold and far too good for us: a team which has lost or drawn most of the important games this season. As a man who has never shirked the burden of taxation I was amazed at the opulent surroundings enjoyed by these work-shy fops. Surely the university education should require some sacrifice? Talking of work-shy idle fops, the Nugget continues to be absent. No response has been received thus far to Fewkes' generous offer of employment as a weed[er] in Wimbledon. Passers by have also reported that the curtains in the living room of Nugget Towers remain drawn for long periods each day. There can be no doubt that the Nugget has reverted to old habits. Local power surges confirm that his DVD is in constant use as we assume he watches his extensive collection of "Dutch" cinema classics alone with just a big box of Kleenex for company rather than doing an honest day of work. Parsons dropped to the bench after an impressive run of games and first team regular Hirst was brought into the team for his debut following an injury lay off. To the obvious joy of his grateful team mates Walker also returned to the squad following a lengthy and painful absence. 

The match started with the Accies dominating possession but creating few chances. The first 20 minutes saw Hirst knitting some good passes together alongside the Welshman Jenkins who suffered terribly in the tropical conditions. Poor old Taff really didn't take to the heat being accustomed as he is to the dreary, miserable weather and lifestyle offered in the valleys. Few clear cut chances were created though as a couple of the usual suspects looked to play the killer ball rather than retaining possession and waiting for a more obvious opening. The opposition did not start the game with any great enthusiasm either and looked a different team to the one defeated narrowly at Shenley earlier in the season. The conditioning of a number of their players also left something to be desired a clear testament to a miserable student diet. Having said all that it came as something of a surprise when the Accies actually took the lead. Greg Smith with the benefit of a trailing wind booted a long ball downfield from hands. Roberts ran interference and the Hertford keeper could only palm the ball backwards into his net: 0-1. 

Following that initial breach, the floodgates opened and the players on the bench were treated to a rare sight: a canter forward from Field. As if by magic the student defence parted and Field strode on unhindered to place a shot into the corner of the onion bag. Good to see. With the midfield and wing-backs pulling the strings the Accies started to dominate and the remainder of the half was one-way traffic. Jennings looked very sharp indeed and created a couple of chances for himself. The "midget" then scored two goals by reacting quicker to through balls than the Hertford defenders. Two good finishes, 0-4 did not flatter the Accies and it could easily have been more. Roberts was guilty when Hirst nominated the big man and then carefully placed a free kick on his head by way of a late Easter gift. The resulting header from the "striker" was poor, very poor. Just before half time there was a further indication that this was a special day on which the normal rules of behaviour would not apply. Shrimpton found the ball at his feet. He beat a man then pondered for 10 seconds before rifling home a shot from just outside the area. The keeper never moved and the referee blew for half time with the job as good as done. 

As is often the case when the result of a game has been decided so early in proceedings, the side on top lose the impetus slightly. In the second half chances were still created but Keast (A) and Roberts lost concentration and missed a couple of sitters. Fewkes also took the opportunity to introduce himself, Walker and Parsons to the fray. All 3 slotted in well and contributed to the cause. However, the game seemed to lose direction although Hertford did score a consolation goal. Their red-haired midfielder got hold of the ball on the right and too easily beat a man before striking a great shot against the bar. After an afternoon of comparative inactivity the defence failed to react and the same player headed home the rebound. To be fair he looked a quality player. The Keast twins also deserve a special mention here. They played with good energy throughout and even (surprisingly) managed to provide some decent quality crosses. Although it has be said that these deviants seem to enjoy playing the game in absolute silence: mute football. Strange. Instead of shouting for a ball then winning it they prefer to leave team mates in doubt as to their intentions right until the last moment before challenging. 

Breaking news - a message from a clearly relieved Adam Parsons. "Roberts kindly offered to give me a lift towards central London following the match, but after only a couple of miles down the A1 (M) south of Hatfield, the lanky striker's clown car cut out. Not only was I going to miss a date with the girlfriend, it also looked like I was going to have to endure the wait and tow back to London with only Ian for company. Anyone who has heard Roberts' post match analyses/rants before would not envy being in my position. Thankfully, Shrimpo, driving towards London, recognised the broken down car (a crappy brown Sierra) on the hard shoulder and pulled over to offer me a lift. To you Neil, I say thank you again." Surely this is yet another example of the defence coming to the rescue of the rest of this team? 

3rds Report from Scott Atkinson

2 points dropped at Shenley by the 3's seeking to secure the runners up spot in the league and looking to hit form for the forthcoming final. The 3's were again missing bodies but in truth were still much the better side throughout and dominated possession. This was not the best display of the season by any means but the football was reasonable at times and there were no real scares at the back. The problem was the final third and the final ball where all too often the wrong decision was made. Coupled with some atrocious refereeing decisions the effect was a lack of clear cut chances. The referee was the kind that gives others a bad name. Constantly whistle blowing and giving offside whenever the ball was hit over the top it was difficult to gain momentum and impossible to get in behind the oppo. 

The 3's had the ball in the net twice in the first half.Stewart lashed the ball home but was correctly adjudged to have controlled first with an arm. Christer then swept in but was given offside to unfairly rob him of a 2nd this season and no doubt a career high total. The half time team talk centred on continuing to pass the ball and trying to make the right choice when attacking and a belief that 3 points were there for the taking. The 2nd half was almost identical to the first with the oppo looking even less dangerous and the accies frustrated by the ref in attempts to push forward. It looked as if even one goal would be enough .This arrived when Groves attacked down the right flank reaching the byline before whipping in a cross that was met by Atkinson who nipped in between 2 defenders to score with his bonce for the 3rd time this season-definitely a career record. Unfortunately, the points were shared courtesy of the oppo's substitute left back who hit the only shot of the half from 30 yards using his right shin and using the wind to beat Harry with only 5 mins remaining. The 3's still had time to force a couple of corners but couldn't nick a winner.

Lack of football over the last few weeks has not helped and not to win was disappointing. A step up is required next week in the last game before the final and an opportunity for all to make their case for the starting line up.

 

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