Saturday 18th December
Old Aloysians 0 (Mark Dawson) Accies 1sts 1 (Neil Gillard).
Accies 2nds 4 (Kieron Jennings 2, Ian Roberts, Matt Jones) Old Salvatorians 1.
Accies 3rds 4 (Scott Atkinson 2, Gio Martelli, Phil Stewart) Old Bealonians 1.
Accies 6ths 2 (Marcus Whitmore 2) Old Buckwellians 3.
1sts Report from Mark McGuigan
The Accies final outing of 2004 was a major test of their character and skill. The pitch was small, restricting the Accies renowned passing game, and to make matters worse heavy rain meant that there was water lying on the surface. Chantler and Crowther licked their lips at the prospect and declared they had rarely seen a better surface suited to their talents, whilst the more urbane and gifted members of the squad added an extra pair of shinpads and prepared for battle.
The first half saw a disciplined and
skilled display by the Accies, with swift passing from midfield and positive movement up front defying the conditions and causing the home
defence all sorts of problems. Three clear openings were carved out, but Accies finishing was the only missing factor, and Hirst and Delaney both
spurned good chances. 0-0 at half-time and the pitch deteriorating, many neutrals would have thought the home side might have now moved to the fore.
Not so, the tireless and more and more effective Gillard volleyed home after another long Woodrow throw to put the
Accies in front. Now things got serious. Tempers were fraying amidst several controversial decisions, and
Aloysians started to put the visitors defence under severe pressure. They were not found wanting however. New boy Shrimpton (shows great potential)
was stalwart alongside Woodrow and Chantler, the latter receiving a 'nod' in acknowledgement of his superiority from an opposing attacker which
spoiled the essex glamour boys previously flawless good looks. Delaney was
At the final whistle, three excellent points earned, a worried look from the Meadonians manager observing, and a very well pleased gaffer. Merry Christmas gentlemen and well played so far.
2nds Report from Danny Fewkes
The 2's moved on from last week's disappointment with a needed and ultimately comfortable 4-1 home victory over Salvatorians 2's. It was not however, a vintage display. Accies again started brightly and caused Salvo's early problems, Alex Keast exploited space well on the left ; first seeing a teasing cross touched onto the post to agonisingly avoid the incoming forwards, then breaking with pace into the box, drew a good save with a low shot from an angle when Jennings was possibly better placed. It was therefore, of great surprise that the visitors went ahead on 23 mins with their first foray into our box. A long throw was touched on, and generous turning space granted for a player to hit a fairly tame shot, fortuitously through a cross section of legs into the corner.
We bounced back quickly and were level within 5 minutes as the 'Little and Large' strike force linked well. Jennings' pace and trickery opened up the back line and he teed up Roberts fifteen yards out. Another scientific conundrum was answered when the big man demonstrated the black void inside his caveman-like skull does contain traces of memory retention matter as he heeded the pre-match instruction and hit an early vicious strike that gave the keeper little chance. This however, was the disappointing prelude to a very mediocre patch of play. The Christmas party season malaise had struck, some of the passing (particularly cross field) at the back and in midfield was of Santa standard generosity, and if not given away , was at a pedestrian tempo that allowed Salvo's to regroup in numbers behind the ball. Salvos never seriously threatened, (Smith saved twice from straightforward long range efforts) with their lone striker comfortably marshalled, but began to find their way into the game as Accies didn't offer enough sharpness either physically or technically.
At half time it was quite correctly noted that there was no need to panic and a win should be earned if we upped concentration levels and the tempo of our play. Within minutes Roberts crashed a powerful header against the bar and assisted in our second soon after (a cool finish by Jennings) by fearlessly colliding (fairly!) with the keeper. We did enough to be in control of proceedings without ever really inspiring and a third was needed to settle matters. This was achieved following an Accies' corner on 70 mins by substitute Jones tucking the ball in from close range . Salvo's keeper made a couple of fine saves before their centre back hobbled off, with all subs used, leaving 10 men to fight a lost cause. There was time for a fourth when Crotty avoided the dummy runner to free Jennings for a one on one, which was finished with aplomb.
Positives arising were that Jennings in particular looked lively, Crotty demonstrated a bit more return in stamina and body strength, and Parsons settled well to produce a very solid performance on his first 2nd team appearance of the season. Although missing players of our own, to be fair to the oppo, Salvo's were definitely short of a few familiar faces and it was a good weekend to play the fixture. I'm sure they will regroup and climb the table in the New Year. For Accies our main objective was achieved enabling the evening Christmas drink to be enjoyed.
3rds Report from Si Tinling
On a day when the skipper had pleaded with his side for a bright start to the game, the Accies rather predictably took their time to shake off any ill effects from the previous week's Christmas partying. Old Bealonians knocked the ball around beautifully and it started to look like it could be a very long afternoon for the Accies as they struggled to cope with some impressive passing and movement off the ball. Despite their bright start to the game, the opposition created very little in the opening stages and slowly but surely the Accies began get a stranglehold on the game. For all the movement and interplay the Accies defence was relatively solid. On the occasion when the opposition's centre forward did escape the attentions of the Accies defence, Ramsden made a very sharp save to deny Bealonians a first half lead.
On the whole though, it was the Accies who had the better of the chances throughout the first half and yet Bealonians remained dangerous with some impressive passages of play with two very capable centre midfielders at the heart of most moves. Several chances were spurned by the Accies as once again they were guilty of some careless finishing after some intricate build up play.
Despite the good football from both sides, it was a long straight ball downfield which eventually unlocked the Bealonian defence, allowing Atkinson to register his first of the afternoon as he slotted the ball safely in the net. Santa must have arrived early for the Accies as there was more than a suspicion of off-side to the move and the good fortune should surely have spurred the Accies into a higher level of awareness. Unfortunately however, it was only minutes later when a poor defensive effort from a corner, all too often a problem for the Accies this season, allowed Bealonians to equalise, much to the annoyance of Stewart and his hearty band of followers.
With the score at 1-1 at half time, the Accies had emphasised that a strong work ethic would be a pre-requisite to any level of success come the end of the game. The first goal of the second half was always going to be important as both teams would surely have fancied the spoils early in the second half.
Within minutes of the re-start the Accies had gone in front from a goal from Martelli who latched onto a through ball to slide it under the oncoming keeper. Shortly after, when there looked to be very little on, Atkinson found himself on the corner of the opposition's penalty area. Looking up, he was clearly unimpressed with his level of support. Abandoned and alone, Atkinson then created a piece of magic to allow the ball to glide safely past a helpless keeper and into the top right hand corner of the goal. 3-1! A fine goal!
A re-think at half time allowed Waggy to sit a little deeper, in front of the back four and in doing so dominate their best player for the remaining 45 minutes. A player who had been at the heart of most Bealonian's moves in the first half, was merely a spectator in the second half he was beaten to every ball and every tackle! This left the defence a little less exposed and better placed handle attacking threats, which for the most part they duly did.
The score remained 3-1 for some time with the Accies looking the more comfortable of the two sides and the more likely to score. On at least three occasions in the second half, Groves came close to registering claims for goal of the season, each time gliding past three or four would be tacklers only to pick out the frame of a 3ft x 3ft keeper with a tame shot. A frustrating afternoon for a man who clearly deserved at least one goal. On a day when Groves just wasn't destined to score it would be the responsibility of another to kill off the game. Eventually, a final goal did arrive. Tidy work down the right hand side, which we have come to expect from James, resulted in the ball being squared to Stewart who confidently dispatched the ball from the edge of the box past an unconventional yet highly effective keeper.
On the whole, a good win for the Accies against a strong Bealonian side. There was suggestion that they weren't perhaps the side which the Accies failed to beat last season but nevertheless a side more than capable of beating any team at this level.
The Accies approach Chritmas in fine spirit. If they are able to resist second and third helpings of pudding over the festive period, they may even put together some strong performances in the new year.............
3rds Alternative Report from Scott Atkinson
"Twas the match before Christmas and most of the 3's
Saturday 11th December
Accies 1sts 4 (Jon Houghton 3, Neil Gillard) Old Malvernians 1.
Old Aloysians 4 Accies 2nds 2 (Mark Walker, Terry Foster).
Accies 3rds 3 (Adam Parsons, Anders Lagerhammar, Paul Holding) Old Buckwellians 1.
Accies 4ths 1 (Paul Bernard) London Hospital Old Boys 0 (Steve Woodrow).
Accies 6ths 3 (Chris Phillips, Marcus Whitmore, Jeff Mensah) Egbertians 0 (Bobby Butlin).
Mayfield Athletic 1 Accies 7ths 2 (Alex Parfitt, Joe Coquelin).
2nds Report from Danny Fewkes
The pre-match build up was distracted by an event of staggering incompetence involving a familiar guest writer to our column, that will be described further in the 'Hairy Jim awards' narrative - see the Golden Goals section. You'll have to wait another day to read more and the guest column, but the Executive Summary has been leaked......
- Reading University degrees should be used as toilet paper
- Ian Roberts is supposed to be stupid , but must not think he can abuse the privilege
And now onto footballing matters.
Our 10 week unbeaten run ended with a 4-2 defeat in the crunch battle away at unbeaten Aloysians as we failed to gain revenge for our opening league game loss. We have no complaints at all about the result, but there is no doubt it was a see-saw game that hinged on a key 5 minutes, and on another day could well have been a victory to the Accies by a similar score.
Accies started fairly brightly, passing the ball nicely, controlling the tempo, stretching the oppo on both flanks and creating some great chances in the first twenty minutes, but dwelled on the ball when well placed to shoot. In competitive matches like this in the higher division we must realise that we're never going to dominate and create chances for the whole 90 mins, and therefore must be ready and show the urgency to at least get something away, preferably on target, whenever the opportunity is presented. Our hosts ability to do this was a difference on the day. The second period of the first half saw a reversal in fortunes and was controlled by Aloysians, as they upped their game, using their dangerous forward and skilful wide players to good effect. This combined with a disturbing slip in Accies concentration levels all across the park to cause several worrying moments. A succession of half errors followed half errors, a poor header or pass would not be reacted to, or properly cleared; a missed tackle or poor touch was never redeemed by a strong decisive action, and we fell behind to a sloppy, though well finished goal. Smith produced a fine save and a penalty shout went our way as we hung on. A minute before the break a golden opportunity to equalise was lost as Crotty delivered into the box from a short corner and with unmarked players queuing up, a wasteful header flew over the bar.
The half time talk was designed to refocus minds, and appeared to work well.
We were back level within minutes of the restart as from a smartly taken free kick, Walker powered a header against the underside of the crossbar, and poked home the rebound. We moved up a gear and dominated for a further 15 minutes, rewarded by a fine second goal ; Vanson was released in the right channel and used his pace to run clear and bear down on goal from an acute angle, cutting the ball back for Foster (T) to sweep into the net. At this point most money would have been moving onto an Accies victory , possibly by a 2 goal margin; but ........
Their equaliser was a disaster, a mis-hit corner scuttled through our lines of defence and was turned in from close range, a very poor goal to concede at such a pivotal point in the match. Within a further 5 minutes we'd missed another chance of our own (firing straight at the keeper) , and witnessed the best goal of the game, unfortunately in our own net. A searching ball forward was smartly controlled by the 'Drogba' style Aloysians forward, who had been a handful all game with his pace and power. His quick turn stole half a yard of space, and an unstoppable shot was cracked into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
This was a real body blow, we continued to play some nice football and threaten, but Aloysians were settling well, the slight lack of physical presence in the team on the day began to surface and availability/injury meant we didn't have the options on the bench to really disturb their pattern. On 80 minutes another fine goal was really well finished in the corner , as chasing the game we failed to track a 'veteran' (I'm sure he won't mind the description !!) midfield runner who was teed up well by 'Drogba'.
As after the last league defeat we must take the positives out of Sat and bounce back, availability wasn't the very best but there was enough talent in Saturday's side to have got a positive result. A few individuals possibly need a little less chat about February, March , April , winning 11 remaining league games and the LOB cup, and just focus on getting a result in the immediate game at hand to consolidate our current position!
4ths Report from Jon Logie, tweaked by Dan Willoughby (I so hope he means the match report)
A fifth win in six matches proved difficult as the 4ths finished 2004 on a successful note, and perfect football conditions at Shenley and a good spirit among the teams ensured a close and enjoyable match.
A strong Accies team were confident going into the game on the back of their recent run, but this did not transfer into flowing football in the first half. Strong defence performances from both sides meant that ther were few chances in the first 45, Richie Hinton and Andy Wall successfully restricting the opposition's strikers who had no serious attempts on goal.
After some harsh words at half time from Tony Locke (the Skipper couldn't get a word in edgeways), the Accies came out with more adventure and pace to their game. Paul Barndoor Bernard missed a one-on-one he would normally put away, and London Hospital's offside trap was proving effective. But a forging run into the heart of the defence from man-of-the-match right back Mark Hanlon created the break the Accies needed, followed by an inch-perfect pass for Barndoor to score.
An intense period of pressure by the Accies followed, Tony Locke should have done better with a header (that'll shut him up) from a Steve McConnell cross, before McConnell himself hit the bar with a screaming 20 yarder - the resulting 3 yard chance following to Lovell who did his best Kanu impression, skying the ball well over the bar.
It seemed it wasn't Lovell's day as just 5 minutes later a Dan Willoughby cross was met sweetly on the volley by Max only for him to hit the post and re-bound to safety. The last 20 minutes saw a dogged defensive performance, and the Accies held on for a vital three points that keeps them second in the table.
Saturday 4th December
Accies 1sts 2 (John Delaney, Jon Houghton) Old Camdenians 0 (Mark Dawson).
Parkfield 2 Accies 2nds 4 (Kieron Jennings 2, Steve Nash, Ian Roberts).
Accies 3rds 3 (Anders Lagerhammar 2, Phil Stewart) Old Buckwellians 2.
Old Parmiterians 0 (Ritchie Hinton) Accies 4ths 10 (Paul Bernard 4, Andy Watt 2, Dan Willoughby, Chris Wall, Paul Thomas, Max Lovell).
Accies 5ths 1 (Matt Glynn) Wood Green Old Boys 0 (Danny McConnell).
Accies 6ths 1 Leyton County Old Boys 1.
Old Gladstoneians 4 Accies 7ths 4.
1sts Match Report from Rick Hirst
The first XI had expected an easy passage to the last 16 of the AFA Cup against a supposedly much weaker opposition on Saturday. The result was apathetic and uncommitted display where the difference between the two sides was embarrassingly unspectacular.
The game started at a slow pace and the Accies couldn’t really muster much momentum to drive it on and impose themselves. Wayward passing, weak tackling and an uncharacteristic lack of attacking imagination sowed early seeds of frustration. The opposition didn’t threaten the Accies goal but as with all cup games a nil nil scoreline started to jangle a few nerves and what shape we had started to crumble as the volume of the back-chat and discontent amongst the team became ever more vociferous.
Chances weren’t however scarce; Vanson looked mobile and hungry and on several occasions was able to turn a half chance into something. Mike Foster and JD offered good width but the final ball from the Accies was consistently poor. Half time brought a simple and straight message from the gaffer McGuigan who used the word ‘embarrassing’ – enough said.
The second half brought a clear improvement – the shape and hunger were clearly more evident. Crowther and Hirst added some needed bite in the midfield, Pirrie, Chantler and Woodrow looked solid in defence. The deadlock was broken by a sweet right footed strike by Delaney from a pacy Hirst cross on the right. Houghton added a second when he surprised not only his team mates but the keeper as well hitting a shot on the turn when Vanson looked a clearer option.
At two nil the Accies relaxed again and let the opposition come forward. The result was a scrappy end to the game topped by a penalty by the author that was best forgotten. Woodrow walked away from the game with the MOM award with a landslide vote of two which says it all. In summary the performance was ‘like a pair of chinos – comfortable but shite’. At least Nugget managed a clean sheet. Roll on next week.
2nds Match Report from Danny Fewkes
Accies 2's were back in league action with a tough away encounter at Parkfield, and picked up a valuable 3 points with a fine 4-2 win. Our hosts settled quickly and pressed without seriously threatening, as a series of long balls, throws and deep crosses were repelled by a solid rearguard. It was therefore against the run of play that Accies took the lead on 10 minutes. A well worked short free kick by Foster (T) released Jenkins whose cross from the left wasn't properly cleared and the loose ball was clinically despatched by Jennings from 12 yards. This spurred the Accies on to dominate the remainder of the 1st half; giving nothing away at the back; competing strongly and playing football when possible in midfield, but most importantly creating chances and scoring 2 further goals. Nash made amends for an earlier 2 yard miss, tucking away another loose ball from close range as a whipped free kick from Jenkins had caused havoc in the box, and then Roberts consummately stroked home the third from the spot after a handball. Given the opposition, pitch/conditions and being away from our home environment, the all-round performance [although (hopefully) not our best in a pure footballing sense] across the team was possibly as good as we'll produce this season.
We knew Parkfield to be a very experienced and physically strong side, and it was no surprise that they came back out fired up, more aggressive in approach, and executing a game plan that far better suited their strengths, by not dwelling in defence and playing percentage balls into the danger zones. Within two minutes a fine header was buried in our net and they almost gained further reward from an indirect free kick bizarrely awarded when Jorge picked up a Parkfield midfielder's pass !?? Justice was done as he responded with a splendid save. A glancing header also flashed by a post before we finally began to resettle and regained the 3 goal cushion. It began with a flowing move the length of the pitch releasing sub Crotty, just back from injury. His initial shot was well saved, Jenkins fired the ball back into the 'mixer' (for a dubious third assist!) and Jennings pounced for another poachers finish.
All was not finished as we were then soon caught on the break having committed too many forward runners. A resulting overlap enabled a dangerous cut back from the right that could only be bundled into his own net by Finch. There was still time for the brave Nash (Accies very own Monty Python Black Knight) to dislocate his shoulder, and your correspondent (not far behind with yet another knee injury) to hobble on up front and see out the last 15 minutes.
No guest column from Roberts this week, but the turn of 1st team show pony Lemon, bitterly upset at failing to get a mention in the 1s match report, and ruining my Sat night with a pint of brown lager. Tuesday quote - " I agree that there are very few people in this world whom I couldn't justifiably accuse of having a relatively small nose"
Next week a massive game of Aloysians away, with injury lists growing and Christmas absences in abundance, we may need a bit of luck and will certainly have to dig deep to get any reward.
3rds Match Report from Matt Ramsden
Injuries, work commitments and Americans meant the 3rd's were missing 5 regular players for this important match against a team who were on a good run of form. The 3's started brightly playing some decent football and carving out some half chances. However after a few scares (including their striker missing from 2 inches out - you would never catch an Accies player doing that . . .) a Buckwellian corner was not cleared and their midfielder curled a 20 yarder into the top corner. To the Accies credit, they never let their heads drop and a combination of great passing and a hard work rate meant that the Bucks lead always looked fragile. 5 minutes before half time, Gio, who was playing just behind the striker and was at the heart of nearly all the Accies moves throughout the afternoon, picked the head of Lagerhammer out who made no mistake - 1 a piece at half time.
Right from the KO in the second half, the Accies outplayed their opposition and after just 5 minutes, a James corner was not dealt with by Bucks and Lagerhammer bundled over for his second to give his team the lead - Now all that remained was for the Accies to keep it tight at the back. Unfortunately, within 2 minutes, Bucks were level. Their surprisingly agile striker managed to walk through 4 challenges before falling over and miss hitting the ball, sending Harry the wrong way and making it 2 apiece. The Accies piled on the pressure in their quest for a deserved victory. Incisive play from the midfield with James and Stewart running rings round Bucks and the defence looking solid with the 'retired' Tickle having a great game. Centre back Matt hit the crossbar from 25 yards with a thunderous shot and other chances went begging. The only chance Bucks had after their equaliser was dealt with by the new self proclaimed 3rd's hardman Chris 'The Cruncher' Groves who made an amazing tackle to deny their striker who was clean through.
Then with 85 minutes on the clock, a great ball in from James found Lagerhammer on the line; 'He's got to score', 'Surely he can't miss from there', 'It's easier to score than blast it half a mile over the crossbar' . . . . . . . . . he did. 2 minutes later, Lagerhammer was spared his blushes (though he has guaranteed the miss of the season award). Another incisive through ball found Stewart who rounded the keeper before running in on goal and snuckling the ball in the back of the net - 3:2.
A great win which keeps the thirds in with a realistic chance of challenging for the title.
4ths Match Report from Ritchie Hinton
Despite yet another 'bare-bones' line-up, the IV's continued their good form this season with a comprehensive away win in Walthamstow. The Accies went in at half-time with a six goal cushion, including a couple from Chester who appeared to have drank far too much Red Bull before the game, judging from his marauding Philippe Albert-esque performance. The Palmerians team continued to struggle against the physical presence of a well-disciplined and experienced Accies team in the second half. Barndoor moved closer to Max Lovell's golden boot total with 4 goals as Max could only manage one from his right wing berth. Accies rattled in another 4 in the second half to complete a resounding victory and record a clean sheet - an improvement on last week's performance in the cup win at Old Wilsonians, with a return to form from several regulars. No-one will relish playing the Accies in this form.
7ths Match Report from Spencer Gore
The Accies played Old Gladstonians on Saturday with both teams having a 100% record. Glads had scored by far the most goals in the league (36) and the Accies had let in by far the least (2) So it looked as if it would be and interesting game!
As the Accies arrived at the ground they were all bang up for it as they were going out to have there Christmas Dinner later on. Then they walked around the corner and saw the pitch! At this point the Glads manager came over and said "I bet this will be a bit of an eye opener for you guys?" Understatement of the year, its times like this you realise how lucky we are to play at Shenley. The pitch even made Mill Hill look like Wembley!
This obviously set the Accies in to the right frame of mind! Happy Joe suggesting the we just make the most of it! well words to that effect!
The game got underway and it was always going to be a scrappy affair, The Accies the older and bigger side, Glads the younger fitter side. The Accies started much the stronger side and went a goal up after minutes after a good movement and a good finish. This seemed to lift the side even more and about 10 minutes later the Accies went 2-0 and it looked as if the Accies would continue there good run. All the second goal did though was to make the team take there foot off the pedal.
Glads gradually started to play there game and it seemed like going two goals down so early had been the kick up the arse they needed. They dominated the next 20 minutes and and got the goal they deserved. Although still winning 2-1 panic seemed to set in and although for the first 30 minutes the Accies had looked in control even if they had been under pressure this started to change. People weren't working hard enough from the strikers right through to the goalkeeper. Glads were getting too much space and time on the ball and at times just not being pressured at all. This of course led to Glads getting the equaliser before half time and would have gone in the happier of the two sides.
The second half started as it was to continue for 45 mins. It really was end to end stuff with one chance by one team being cleared only for the other team to break. The accis were the first to make there pressure count with Styant scoring a 2nd goal in his worst game off the season. Both goals were very welcome though.
It was not long after this with the Accies winning 3-2 that the skipper and vice skipper did all they could to ruin the game. Firstly with Sameer having already scored one he broke down the right and and put in a great cross to beat the last defender and the keeper. All that was left to do was for Spencer to head home from 2 yards to put the game safe at 4-2. But oh no, Spencer's raw pace meant that he had actually got in front of the ball and managed to in the end do well to just about get a head on it at all never mind miss!! (well that's my version)
Not long after this Sami Samra decided that he wasn't involved in the game enough. So as Glads broke for the umpteenth time Sam thought it was his time. With his lack of pace this was made all the easier! Knowing he wasn't going to get near the player or the ball he waited for them to shoot and did well to increase his chance of playing in goal next week. The ref was left with no choice but to award penalty which they tucked away past the fast falling Lloyd!
Glads went on to score a 4th meaning that with 15 to go they led 4-3. Its at times like this Skippers need to stand up and be counted and get the team going! So I took myself off!! Absolute stroke of genius, two things happened after this that proved vital. Gareth who had been running the line came on and Alex took over running the line. You might wonder what's so good about that, well firstly Garth scored a great goal having taken the ball from about 50 yards to drill home past the keeper from 12 yards. In the last few minutes Glads scored the winner only to have it ruled out by the linesman for offside! Alex insists it was and a draw was a fair result in by far the hardest game the Accies have had all season! here to return to the 2004-05 results menu