Saturday 26th February
Old Challenors 2 Accies 1sts 3 (aet, Jon Houghton, Dan Chantler, Nat Keast).
Leyton County Old Boys 4 Accies 6ths 4 (Mike Epstein 2, Bob Woad, Andy Williams).
Old Woodhouseians 3 Optimists 4 (Danny Goldman 3, Dave Woods).
It was a funny old week. Five games fell victim to the weather, and two things I never thought I'd hear in the Accies:
1. Danny Fewkes (declining a spot in the 14 man squad for an AFA Semi Final): "Sorry, but I'd rather go shopping. With the baby on the way........".
2. Bobby Butlin (tactical masterstroke/clutching at straws as the 6ths turned around 4-0 down at Leyton County). "OK, the plan for the second half is for Adrian Haysome to play central midfield". It turned out to be a masterstroke, as the Accies came back to draw 4-4.
1sts Match Report from Mark McGuigan
The Accies travelled to Amersham in Bucks to play their LOB Senior Cup semi-final, against opposition that have been held to two draws by our own 2nds this season, and yet have taken some Premier league scalps along this cup run. The pitch was heavy, and conditions were in favour of a hard fought cup match.
The Accies were having none of this however, and set out to establish dominance early on with some good movement and swift passing. So it came as a surprise when Challoners made good progress down the right hand side, and a quality cross was met with an unstoppable header to put them 1 up. The Accies responded with energy and committment, and soon were tearing the home defence to shreds. After about half an hour Jones released Foster with a great pass inside the full back, and his early low cross was hammered home by Houghton at the far post, a superb goal. The pressure on the home defence was incessant, but some chances were spurned and the final ball was not always accurate, and half-time came with scores all square.
The second half was more even, with the home side attacking down the hill and the pitch now extremely cut up and hindering the Accies passing game. The visitors defence was rarely troubled however, and the Accies always looked the side more likely to go ahead. One attack down the left ended with Jones rounding the keeper and finishing well, but offside was flagged. Jones merely raised an eyebrow at the linesman and loped back to his position. Extra time beckoned and legs were tiring on both sides.
The Accies started the extra half-hour in better style, and began to put the home defence under severe pressure once more. A corner on the left, and Hair found Crowther at the near post, who flicked on for Chantler to arrive and and head in for his 2nd of the season. Last week's set piece work paid off in spades. The home side still had some fight left however, and in a penalty area melee in which Ramsden twice saved with his legs, the ball was finally forced home to level the scores before the second period began.
The Accies still looked the stronger, although the game was getting stretched and Shrimpton had to marshall his centre halves using all his experience. Six minutes to go, and the newly introduced Hayward crossed from the left, the ball headed on for Keast to send a looping header into an empty net. Much joy on the touchline, as the rotund Esiri bounced joyfully, and Hirst rustled his plastic galoshes with glee. This was too much for the home side to come back from, and the Accies finished comfortable winners in a good cup-tie. Only time left for an excellent after match meal, a kit-washing furore solved by Man of the match Crowther agreeing to a service wash. I think he wanted to keep some of the mud in the jar to remind him of his excellent performance, sad fella that he is.
Optimists Match Report from Danny McConnell
Ah, this was like the good old days. Three players on Tuesday, six on Wednesday, fourteen on Saturday evening, ten turned up. So the Accies consisted of nine Optimists, one "younger relation" (Jubril McAlao, my long lost nephew) and one bloke borrowed from the opposition (Dave, and many thanks to Woods for providing him). The pitch at Old Finchleians was in surprisingly good condition, bar one corner which was suitable only for pigs to frolic in, whence yours truly was duly dispatched.
The first half was a bit of a ding dong affair, with the Accies threatening on the break up the slope, but Woods looking the more likely to score, but held out firmly by the old firm of Kemp, Ballantyne (notably short of rants with the Ballantyne clan in attendance), the bloke who looks like the bloke who looks like Al Price and McConnell (immense, sadly literally). Up front, Dave and McAlao looked dangerous and as half time approached the Accies poached a goal for a 1-0 lead.
Into the second half, playing downhill, and within minutes the Accies had a second, Danny Goldman getting his first sight of the target, and burying a shot from 20 yards, leaving the keeper helpless (via a deflection). At last, a cushion for the Accies to sit on. Alas, poor cushion, within seconds it was destroyed, as the Accies defence allowed Woods to walk through and peg back. Desperate to show this wasn't mere schoolboy error, and a moment of relaxation, the Accies played the same way for the next half hour, and Woods steadily built a 3-2 lead. The Accies further handicapped by "Dave" going off injured, but Woods supplied yet another player, who to keep it simple we kept calling Dave (Del I believe).
Fifteen minutes to go, and the Accies looked dead on their feet, though the engine room of Antonides and Emmerson kept working. Desperate measures meant Tony Minoldo up front, and yet the Accies still lacked that spark. Cue the Kempmeister, whose rant at the 17 year old referee and subsequent lectures in return were later compared to Kemp C and Kemp B (aged 5). Despite Carl's best attempts the referee refused to book him, and hypothermia became more of a danger until the situation resolved.
Suddenly, momentum for the Accies, and against the run Danny Goldman poached his second. Yet more pressure from Woods, and 6th team ranting from Danny and Dino, resolved only by Danny asking what more he could do, and being told to score a third. In the final minute, the chance came, with a free kick 25 yards out. Minoldo was confident, and told where to go, and Danny G stepped up and buried the kick in the top corner for a mighty win.
A fair result? No, probably not, but who cares. A superb game which had everything, played in a perfectly good spirit (Kemp aside) and the first win for the Optimists of the season. Keeper/Manager Christopherson's contract was immediately extended for another season......
Saturday 19th February
Accies 1sts 0 Old Hamptonians 0 (Mark Dawson).
Accies 2nds 2 (Lloyd Vanson, Terry Foster) Old Salvatorians 2, Accies won 4-2 on penalties..
Accies 3rds 4 (Steven Black 2, Scott Atkinson 2) Old Parmiterians 2.
London Hospital Old Boys 2 Accies 4ths 2 (Paul Bernard 2).
Old Edmontonians 0 (Danny McConnell) Accies 5ths 3 (Jubril Alao 2, Dickie Smith).
Queen Mary College Old Boys 1 Accies 7ths 1 (Matt Styant), Accies won 4-3 on penalties.
2nds Match Report from Danny Fewkes
All is well that ends well and Accies 2's progressed through to the semi's of the LOB Intermediate Cup, albeit by a 4-2 margin in the cruel method of the penalty shoot out. It was a victory that was thoroughly deserved on the balance of play and chances over the 110 (!?) minutes, though not without scare as Salvo's competed gamely throughout. 4 composed finishes by Vanson, Jenkins, Foster and Nash were complemented by two flying leaps by hero Harry Ramsden (to delight a baying crowd of his followers, buoyed by their earlier Cup victory).
So to the game itself. With Walker still (was he ever not !?) unfit, Finch away , Shrimpo and Lord Nugget displaying their wares at a higher level, we were again forced to reshuffle our defensive unit, but nevertheless fielded another strong squad of 13, which given the absence of Roberts (with due respect to the other four names above this obviously being the primary factor) was certainly the most intelligent we had fielded since his weekend away break in September.
The early part of the game gave another example of a malaise currently affecting our side. Start confidently, put the opponents on the back foot, and then concede a sloppy goal out of the blue to give the oppo a boost and settle more confidently into their game plan. We responded well without being at our best. Vanson, Jennings and Parsons linked delightfully at times in the last third, creating a succession of shooting opportunities, none of which were cleanly struck to fully stretch Salvo's keeper. The best chance of the half fell to Nash, who settled well into his new defensive role , but let his finishing do likewise when well placed from eight yards. Despite failing to get the breakthrough our play had merited, we noted no real cause for concern at half time as the belief was there.
On 55 minutes the equaliser arrived from last year's finishing machine Vanson. Stealing a yard of space in the left channel he confidently slid the ball past the advancing keeper for a goal that his overall display merited. To their credit Salvos then began to show their best moments of the game, forcing Harry Ramsden into a fine save. Overall however we continued to have the upper hand and play patches of nice football but with no reward. The head of Nash put a superb Foster free kick over the bar when well placed for another great chance, but it was generally a day when the shooting boots lacked any real power.
Salvos were a team strengthened by returning players from their pre Christmas league defeat by Accies, and well organised and competitive. These qualities were rewarded as disaster struck with 10 mins remaining, Salvos snatched the lead courtesy of an avoidable error from a soon to be hero, and Accies were contemplating the unthinkable.. Back we came strongly, (possibly a lesson there for the period of play after our equaliser) and we moved up the gears to batter Salvos rearguard, and the saviour Foster netted a fine goal; collecting the ball just inside the box, skipping inside the last defender to stroke home a composed finish. So to extra time , a bizarre 20 minutes (the only thing an excellent referee did all day that confused!). Again Accies pressed and pressed, but the best opportunity was blazed over by a Salvos midfielder when a free kick dropped in the box with 2 mins left on the clock. There was still time for Nash to strike the bar for the home side but the final whistle heralded the lottery of penalty kicks, allowing Ramsden to have his day.
We now look forward to a home semi-final against an unknown quantity, though first back to the league with a home match against Old Woods. Still a few things for all players to work on to get back to our best...
A last few words to wish all the best to our league rivals Aloysians (flying the AFC flag) in their AFA Intermediate Semi this coming Sat, concentrate on the Cup lads, the league isn't really that important!
3rds Match Report from Scott Atkinson
Firstly,an apology. Last week's report made reference to various absent players. However, it made no mention of Messrs Blincoe and Short. They are obviously sorely missed and no offence was intended! If yet more have still been missed out then apologies again. This can only be put down to forgetfulness and the fact that others have been in regular email contact. The team is still hoping that these two may yet have a part to play in the current season.
Now to the game itself, which was rather spoiled by the 90 minutes of abuse from the opposition who did themselves no favours as they had a few half decent footballers and could well have caused more problems had they kept their heads.
Old P's results suggested league position may count for nothing and we would need to be on our game from the off. Of course we started in usual slow fashion and were outplayed for 10mins going 1-0 down as the oppo took a deserved lead. Failure to deal with a ball over the top let in their young striker who made no mistake in shooting past Pete Clothier. This was disappointing not least because it meant Pete could not keep another clean sheet which would have seen him draw level with Super Harry in the golden gloves stakes having only played 2 games.
Gradually, the 3's found their stride. The midfield quartet of James, Jeremy, Stewart and Black began to win ball and use it well and a couple of half chances were created. After 20 mins the accies drew level when Murden sprang their awful offside trap releasing Black who notched the one on one. Several more breaks were stopped by the ref's whistle for offside before Murden again slid a pass through to Atkinson who rounded the keeper to score. Cue an apopletic cenre half who let rip at the ref and was shown a red card. He continued his abuse from the touchline and was joined by many of his team mates on the pitch. The Accies defence had control by this stage and 2-1 at half time was a fair scoreline. We felt that another goal would kill them off and their own in fighting would do the rest.
After the restart a couple of wasted chances by the Accies looked to be a problem as the oppo drew level with their only shot of the half. The lead was regained within minutes after a great ball from James put in Lagerhammer (on for Martelli) who crossed for Black to smash in his second of the game. The oppo again screamed for offside and the tackles from that moment got nastier. Black was involved in a 50-50 and fouled their midget midfielder who went beserk and spat at Black as he walked away.
A bizarre incident followed shortly afterwards. First of all Atkinson chased a ball into the area which was collected by the keeper who then veered his run and kick so as to bodycheck our striker. An exchange of plaisantries ensued with the keeper accusing Atkinson of being fat. Now, we all know he has worked hard at the start of the season to lose some of the excess pounds of married life contentment and advancing years. This comment was like a red rag to a fat bullock. There was consequently much joy when he latched on to a through ball and smashed it in the net. Allegedly, Atkinson questioned why the not very thin female genitalia hadn't saved it. Then like Humpty Dumpty on PCP the keeper ran at the goalscorer and assaulted him. Although in view of the ref he escaped punishment partly due to the fact that one of the defenders then said Atkinson had spat at the keeper. Unbelievable. There is no point in cataloging every unsavoury incident from the game but a comment from the sidelines heard by Si Tinling tells you everything you need to know-" I hope you get AIDS". Nice.
A good performance from the 3's to advance into the semi finals where they face Actonians who will no doubt wish to avenge the defeat of last season. James had his best game in several weeks and Black proved what a useful addition to the squad he is with 2 goals. The defence looked good again and let's hope Tinling's groin recovers in time!
4ths Match Report from Ritchie Hinton
A less than impressive performance from an Accies team that although stripped of many of the usual midfield options, should have done better against a side that were easily beaten earlier in the season.
On a bitterly cold day at Fairlop, Accies started sluggishly but competed well enough to earn themselves the opening goal through Paul Bernard after a long headed clearance from Chris Wall caught the opposition defence out, allowing Barndoor to lob the advancing keeper well. Little else to note in the first half until Accies doubled their lead through a Barndoor tap in. So, 2-0 up at half time and seemingly cruising, although no-one was particularly happy with the disjointed and scrappy performance.
The standard didn't improve after the break, and the Hospital team dragged themselves back into the game soon after the restart after a scuffed defensive clearance allowed one of their forwards to finish well from inside the box.
Cue 40 minutes of defensive rearguard action.
Accies failed to trouble the opposition defence in the second half, with the ball being cleared by the Accies defence only to be returned with interest with monotonous regularity. It looked like Accies had done enough to hold on for a slender victory, when with 5 minutes left a through ball dissected the wrong-footed Accies back line. As the opposition forward attempted to round the advancing Accies keeper, Fox, he was brought down and the resulting penalty was converted to the level the scores at 2-2. It could have been even worse if a glorious chance had not gone begging in the final minute of the game, as a glaring missed header from point blank range spared the Accies blushes.
On reflection, Accies deserved no more than the draw and the Hospital side may feel aggrieved that they didn't snatch a win, such was their territorial dominance in the second half. With the cup semi-final ahead, Accies need to improve on this performance if they are to progress in that competition. Saying that, the return of the likes of Si Valentine, Tony Locke and Steve McConnell should provide the attacking edge that was so painfully absent in this game.
Post-script from Fox:- "I would like to add that this was one of the worst performances from the 4th team that I have ever witnessed. It was pointed out to me on Saturday night, and this is female logic, so I can't vouch for it's validity, "You need to get rid of your bad performances before next week".....we've had bad performances since beating Parkfield, so I hope it'll be the case of alright on the night....we need to raise our performance for this weekend, we need to replicate the performance that we had against Parkfield for commitment and quality, unless we like being to made to look like idiots (I know I don't like it). We're not a bad team - bad sides don't get to the Cup Semi finals and gain promotions year after year - we need to do it every week. Let's hope female logic comes good."
Saturday 12th February
Accies 1sts 2 (Jon Houghton 2) Old Meadonians 3 (aet).
Accies 2nds 2 (Ian Roberts, Kieron Jennings) Old Vaughanians 1.
Egbertians 0 (Pete Clothier) Accies 3rds 2 (Iain Wagstaff, Scott Atkinson).
Accies 4ths 1 (Steve McConnell) BB Eagles 0 (Steve Woodrow).
Mayfield Athletic 0 (Danny McConnell) Accies 5ths 2 (Steve Brown, Chris Coates).
Accies 6ths 7 (Bob Woad 4, Tim Leeson, Tim Bethel, Dino Antoniades) Old Edmontonians 2.
Enfield Old Grammarians 0 (Tom Lloyd) Accies 7ths 4 (Spencer Gore 2, Joe Coquelin 2).
There's more to football than simply winning and losing. Respect for the game, respect for the club and your opposition. Sometimes it's a hard line to draw, sometimes the edges are blurred, but there comes a point when one has to say "enough is enough". Saturday was one such example, when perhaps an insignificant event tarred the (generally) good name of the Accies. Some might choose to keep this quiet, pretend it never happened, but a public admonishment seems to be the best solution, so that others may learn from the folly, and the event not be repeated. However painful, this task falls to me, and I make the point with no pleasure whatsoever.
Walker - please don't wear that "come to me Camilla" hat again.
1sts Match Report from Mark McGuigan
The AFA Cup quarter final, and the first meeting this season between the league's top two teams. What a game. Pulsating from start to finish, and ultimately heart-breaking for the Accies, who had given everything and can count themselves unfortunate to lose. The conditions were difficult to say the least, with a classic Shenley gale blowing across the pitch.
Early pressure came from the visitors, who enjoyed more of the possession throughout, but it was Houghton who scored first for the home side, a superb unstoppable free-kick from 30 yards into the top right hand corner. Much joy on the touchline, and more was to follow when the Meads keeper misjudged a Houghton cross, and it sailed in for his second goal. At 2-0 with only a few minutes of the half remaining, the home side looked comfortable even though they were having to defend stoutly. The visitors' pressure paid off though, as they made ground down the left and a low cross was finished low into the corner. The half time whistle blew a minute later, 2-1 and a significant lift for Meads I think.
The second half saw more pressure on the home defence, and the Accies worked tirelessly to stop attempts on Saxby's goal. Two free-kicks were the only real chances created, and both tested the home keeper who was not found wanting. Hirst was withdrawn after ten minutes of the second half, unable to recover from a bad challenge early in the match which hampered the Accies ability to hold possession. The visitors stepped up the pressure further, searching desperately for a way through a truly heroic Accies defence. Pirrie and Chantler refused to let them pass, and Woodrow kept a cool head and organised his troops. Crowther was making tackle after tackle, but the pressure was maintained as the Accies found it difficult to retain possession once they had won it. The referee decided that the game was such a good one, he intended to make it last as long as possible. The minutes ticked past the 90, and the tension was palpable as we waited for the final whistle. Still he played on, and in the 52nd minute Meads made ground down the left again, crossed low and the striker flicked the ball with the inside of his heel toward goal. Agonisingly it rolled beyond Saxby's reach and into the corner. All square, and a further 3 minutes of stoppage time followed before the ref blew.
Extra time, and the home side dug deep for 30 minutes of effort. The final half-hour was more even in terms of possession, but both teams were tiring. Then with only two minutes left, a free kick on the edge of the Accies box. The Meads midfielder struck it low round the wall with his left foot, and into the corner. 3-2 and it was all over.
A massive match and hard to bear for the losers. On reflection, some lessons were learned. We need to retain the ball better, and we need to impose ourselves more in the opposition half. Despite that, there were positives. Our commitment was complete, and this is essential in any side. We can work on the other areas and improve. Meads will know that they have a fight on in the league, and that is the prize that we want most. My thanks to everyone in the side for a terrific effort, we look forward to a return to winning ways against Hamptonians next week.
2nds Match Report from Danny Fewkes
The 2's returned to action following last week's cup cancellation and picked up a hard earned 3 points from a vastly improved Vaughanians, whose performance bore no resemblance to their position at the foot of the table. We were able to select from a strong squad of 13, but, with Shrimpton reporting for duty in the 1s squad , and Walker suspended for his part in the Edmonton IKEA fracas, were forced into a formation change to adapt to the shortage of defensive personnel.
Playing with the elements we started brightly, pressing the visitors back, and missed a glorious early chance to take the lead when Jennings' free header from six yards flashed wide. Disappointingly we failed to build on our start, Vaughan's demonstrated they had some strong midfield runners who were comfortable on the ball, and looked to break with numbers when the opportunity arose. Collectively it was a period when Accies were not quite focussed to the task at hand; possibly expecting the result to be based on league positions rather than the day's specific endeavours. Defensively we failed to provide as solid a base as usual; the full backs were on occasion a little too eager to push on and stay wide than tuck in and provide cover when needed, compounded by the midfield pushing forward in a line with little discipline, leaving gaps that could be exploited. Our worst crime however, was continually trying for a killer pass rather than working the ball quickly to an available man and moving on accordingly. Vaughans took the lead on 20 mins after the otherwise impeccable Finch brought down a striker as he broke into the box (his first error in 2005), and the resulting penalty was comfortably despatched past Nugget. Both sides then squandered a couple of half chances in a period disjointed by continual whistle blowing and an ' interesting' incident involving a spectator ejected from the field of play!
Turning around in arrears we needed to begin to play some of the passing football we are capable of, improve the defensive organisation and most importantly show a bit of character facing the adverse conditions. To everyone's credit Accies came back out and put in an effort of which we can be proud, and may yet be important at the end of the season. We passed more accurately and quickly, showed more composure and control in our defensive work and battled hard, particularly into a 10 minute spell of some of the fiercest wind and rain I've seen at Shenley - dating back to 1987! Vaughan was introduced on the hour and did well to add a little more aggression to our midfield, and the equaliser arrived within a further 5 mins. The ball was won in midfield and worked to Roberts in the left channel , who advanced and squared to Jennings to clip a fine delicate finish over the advancing keeper. We thought the turnaround was complete moments later, as Jennings twisted and turned in the box to return the compliment for Roberts to side foot home, alas denied by a hotly disputed offside decision.
Accies pushed on again and set the stage for our second substitute Terry Foster to enter the fray and create the winner with a real moment of quality. Avoiding the earlier example of Crotty in smashing a free kick into the wall, his 25 yard effort was denied by the underside of the bar, but the rebound was pounced on by Roberts to head (just!) into the gaping net. Accies held firm with no further scares, though much credit should be given to the performance of Old Vaughans, who, as noted earlier were unrecognisable from their earlier season performances. For the Accies, we have much to work on for next week's rescheduled LOB Cup 1/4 final, but encouragingly can also take several positives from the game.
Re the league, at last we finally have a week when we know for sure that both of Aloysians and Challenors can't take 3 league points! The result of this coming weekend's clash is awaited with much interest.
Sorry a comment re Roberts was almost missed, see below, not my words, but those of a well known criminal against fashion......
P.S (by Mark Walker)
Great contributor that he is to the cause... Despite several attempts from people asking him not to. Absolutely mystified at what makes Roberts (a member of the 3rd team of Reading Poly in his youth) persist with those speculative flicks and back heels thereby throwing away hard-won possession. He is not f*king Ronaldinho. Needs to play the way he is facing.
3rds Match Report from Scott Atkinson
Afluenza Tartskiitus is an affliction that sweeps through the Accies every year between January and March leaving most teams shorthanded on a weekly basis. Saturday was no exception and with Lagerhammer, Jeremy and Groves all suffering, Skipper Stewart again had to shuffle the pack for a tough away fixture against draw specialists Egbertian. When one also considers the loss of Goodier, Wilko, Crowther and Parsons who were all starters in last season's best starting 11 there was a real danger of dropping vital points in the title/promotion battle. When the team saw the state of the pitch ,which was not something you would choose to play football on, hopes were not especially high. However,in the circumstances the 3's put on a very creditable performance and came out deserved winners. A number of players returned to the side after absences. Tickle and Clovier gently raised the average age but this was a game that cried out for wise heads and combined with the oldest looking 27 year old we know, Si Tinling ,these 3 were instrumental in denying the oppo any real chances.
Martelli (the oldest looking 28yr old we know) had been absent earlier in the season visiting Switzerland for a wine festival and donkey racing (rumours he came runner up in the latter event have yet to be confirmed) but on his return on that occasion he slipped straight back into the groove. This time, although the pitch was suitable for donkeys, his shooting boots had clearly been left behind as he missed a couple of early chances to take the lead. Striking partner Atkinson also failed to capitilise when bearing down on goal and neglected to either square the ball to James or test the keeper and was shut down by a defender. Moments later good work down the left from new boy Black, Murden and Atkinson allowed MOM Murden to get to the byline and tee up Wagstaff (impressive throughout save for one moment late on when he dawdled on the ball for about 5mins before losing the ball in the mud) who struck low and hard to give the Accies the lead.
The oppo fought hard and had spells when they created a bit of pressure but the clear cut chances continued to fall to the Accies. The 2nd half saw Fowler and Field enter the fray and both proved effective. Martelli and Atkinson both missed further good opportunities and both blamed the pitch- rightly so! The game was wrapped up after Murden put in Atkinson who pulled the trigger for a trademark shot across the keeper into the right hand corner but thankfully mishit it into the mud and it trickled in at the near post. 2-0 was the final score all the more impressive when one considers the 2's did not manage a win against them last season-sorry Fewksey!
So, a very important 3 points and we can approach the rearranged cup fixture in good heart but we will need more of the same spirit to win through to the next round.
4ths Match Report from Jon Logie
It was quarter final day for the 4ths and the tension and expectation was palpable in the changing room. Nearly everyone had turned up on time, even Tony Locke, although Richie Favell managed to keep up his 100% record. Locke's inspirational team talk relaxed the team before the game, having most of the team unintentionally in stitches with his ability to bring out football cliches that would embarass Big Ron.
But there was no doubt that the boys were focussed, and playing with a strong wind at their backs, got off to a good start. After only 10 mins skipper Dan Willoughby's throw was controlled by Jon Logie who laid it into the path of Steve McConnell. Without breaking stride the midfielder curled a 20 yard drive into the top corner of the net. It felt like the first in a feast of goals but it wasn't to be. BB Eagles fought back, and were awarded a dubious penalty before half time, offering them a lifeline back into the game. The offending fullback Willoughby questioned the decision with the ref using lots of short words, but it was given nonetheless. A strong kick only found the post though and the Accies were reprieved.
Paul Thomas and Paul Barndoor both had opportunities to extend the lead before half time but at the break the Accies maintained their slender lead. The wind had dropped by the second half but the disjointed nature of the game remained. Chester headed wide from a corner, Locke's lung bursting run into the box was only to be let down by his first touch. At the other end Fox defied his advancing years with a superb close range save from a rare Eagle's effort on target.
Despite more frenetic attacks from the away side as the game wore on, the Accies held on quite comfortably to record a 1-0 victory and advance to the semi-finals.
5ths Match Report from Rob James and Graham Whitworth
The Accies 5ths put in a good performance in difficult conditions at Firs Farm against a resolute Mayfield side who, despite their 2nd from bottom position in the table battled for the full 90 minutes. The 5ths looking to build on lasty week's victory which ended an uncharacteristic run of defeats.
The Accies began the first half playing up the hill in fairly unpleasant conditions, with a heavy pitch, strong wind and, at least to begin with, some driving rain, with Mayfield making the better start and looking strong across the back. Despite this, the Accies put in a very good half's football, managing to put together some good moves without ever looking threatened at the back and slowly adjusted to the blustery conditions, keeping the ball on the ground and stretching the game where possible. Numerous chances were created, Kid, Dickie, Penfold and Whitworth all probably should have scored and Rob looked destined to break his now 2 season long (or is it 3?!) duck, until the Mayfield defenders cleared off the line. The Accies turned around then at 0-0 confident that we would get the deserved breakthrough eventually.
Lacking some of the confidence of old, the Accies started the second half a little nervously, and despite having plenty of possession, Mayfield defended well and prevented any early chances. With two strikers on the bench a positive move was the only option, and 20 minutes to go a change in formation from 4-4-2 to 3-4-3, some brilliant work by Dom, playing at right back (inspired tactical switch from left back with E2!) put Stevie Brooon in for a well taken goal for a 1-0 lead and enhanced Steve's rather enviable goals to games ratio. Back to 4-4-2, albeit with strikers occupying the wide midfield berths, to hold on to the lead saw Jubril creating a lot of problems for the Mayfield left back and some more pressure from the Accies. The 2nd goal came for a short free kick, which Kid put his boot behind, a freak 'twister' picked up the ball and landed it in the roof of the net from 30 yards over a 6ft 6in goalkeeper! Fluke of the season or goal of the season? And to boot, the second time Kid had scored in seven days!
Anyway, all that mattered was that we got our 3 points, a clean sheet for extra confidence and a 2 game winning streak that if we go on to repeat the run we went on this time last season should give us 2nd spot and promotion. A good day out for the 5ths, two goals, a clean sheet, sporting hosts, an effort on target for the skipper and nice sandwiches for tea.
6ths Match Report from Tim Bethel
The 6ths came up against an Old Edmontonians team who arrived on the same number of points as us and the prospects were of a tight battle for much needed points. Unfortunately for Old Edmontonians they did not arrive with the same number of players as the Accies. In fact they had only nine men (originally ten turned up but one left immediately and our respect must go to the remaining players for staying to ensure the match went ahead).
Immediately the 6ths began to take advantage of extra space afforded them and some nice passing and movement in the first twenty minutes saw us move into a four - nil lead. The goals came from Bob Woad picking up two goals, one of which flew past the goalie from twenty yards out, one from yours truly with a neat little back-heel after some good work from Andy Williams who helpfully served it up on a plate for me. The other Accie goal from this opening period came from the "cunning" Dino Antonides who sneakily shouted to Leeson as if to cross then proceeded to lift the ball high into the swirling wind before it fell (quite slowly) behind the confused goalie and into the back of the net (barely). Shot? Cross? Let's just say that Dino looked a little too embarrassed by his goal to even muster a celebration.
This show of early dominance encouraged the Accies to ditch their thus-far successful passing and movement game plan for a shoot from all distances tactic. This had mixed results; from Adrian Jane coming in from right back striking a beautiful twenty-five yarder onto the far post only to see it rebound across the goal, to Tim Leeson stealing in at the back post in enough space to be able to wind up for a shot that, according to a global positioning system, did in fact cross the county border into Essex!
The visitors managed to drag one back through a fine individual goal from their number 9 who worked hard enough to test our defence several times during the match. Half-time and four - one up, Captain Rob made two changes with Sergei Sollo and Adrian Jane coming off to be replaced by Mike Epstein and Marcus Whitmore.
The surprise of half-time oranges left the Accies bemused and our lead was reduced to two goals as the visitors scored from a corner. At this point there appeared an ominous black cloud on the horizon (on the other horizon were Sergei and Adrian who had already spotted the cloud and were abandoning their roles as fans for the comforts of Shenley's dressing rooms!). The Accies fought back and as the clouds burst so did the visitors' defence and four goals soon became seven with excellent finishing from Bob Woad, who added another two to his tally (now seven in three games), and Tim Leeson also finished well to put his first half effort behind him.
7-2 and a match with table-topping Southgate County up next, the 6ths can take a lot from their performance, the passing was, given the conditions, excellent at times and the defence and midfield kept it tight with good tackling and positional play. If the 6ths continue to believe in themselves as they did here then they will soon be moving up the table.
7ths Match Report from Spencer Gore
The Accies returned to donkey lane the scene of much of last seasons crimes against football, they had however returned a different side, in fact they haven't lost in the league for over 11 months, shortly after they returned to Shenley and stopped using Donkey Lane as there home ground! The ground still haunts many of the 7ths and one or two were heard asking if we had to put up the nets again!
A lot has changed since then but a lot still needs to change. The football played by the accis is so different to the football they played when they first set out almost two season ago. Since Christmas a lot has been made of the commitment levels in the team and to be fair they appear to be a much stronger side of late, winning those 50 50 balls that we weren't even challenging for a few months ago, the team can not now be faulted here, the problem lies with commitment off the field, the team has now I think used over 30 players this season, and 14 of them were named for this match. It is disappointing that when I named the team 15 minutes before KO I only had 11 to pick from!
That aside, the players that were there more than made up for it, and produced the best display of 2005 and certainly a display that was up there with anything they have shown in their brief two year history. All starting 11 should expect to start the quarterfinal next week on that display!
Although it took 20 minutes to break the deadlock, the constant pressure the Accies had on Enfield meant that you could only ever see the outcome of this match going one way. As the Accies peppered Enfield's goal you sensed it was purely a matter of time as Enfield barely left their half. After about 20 minutes Enfield failed to clear after a good passing move from the Accies and Gore was the first to get to the loose ball to slot home from all of 5 yards. Gore was heavily involved in both of the next goals for two very different reasons. The first one was a free kick 25 yards out, Gore curled a sweet shot over the wall that just failed to drop in time and rebounded of the crossbar with Coqulin being first to react and he slotted in from inside the box. The second was the same combination that firstly saw the Enfield keeper drop a cross and as Spencer pounced on the loose ball tripped over the keeper who was trying to get up and sat on him for just long enough for Coqulin to slot home his second from inside the box. Its fair to say Enfield weren't to happy about that one!! The Accies went in at half time 3 up there was no doubt they deserved it with there defence barely tested.
The second half continued the way the first had gone although Enfield did put on some more pressure, helped by the fact the wind was making it virtually impossible for Tom to get rid of the ball from goal kicks! Both teams played some good passing football in the second half particularly both midfields. It was the Accies defence which was the stronger of the two though, and with around 20 minutes left, the Accies broke once again and Styant volley a half chance which the keeper could only parry and Gore was once again first to react as he reached to get his second.
All that was left apart from the 10 minute hail storm and Old Glads visiting scout leaving early to write up his report was for the Enfield midfielder to Christen the Accies keeper "The Flying Porkpie" a name I somehow thing is going to stick!!
Saturday 5th February
Accies 1sts 2 (Mike Foster, Ned Carabine) Parkfield 1.
Hale End Athletic 1 Accies 5ths 4 (Graham Whitworth, Steve Brown, Jubril Alao, Chris Whyman).
Southgate County 4 Accies 6ths 2 (Mike Epstein, Bob Woad).
A big week for the Accies, with a rarity of the top four sides due to play at Shenley. As such, we felt it appropriate to institute the "Vialli" standards in memory of the erstwhile Watford manager, and on Friday a major crisis - the scent of the shower water was just the wrong shade of lavender, and consequently the ground was closed for the weekend.
Of the four home games, only one was re-arranged (with thanks to Parkfield), so with a degree of symmetry the three sides who were cancelled last week for various reasons, found their games this week survived and vice-versa.
1sts Match Report from Mark McGuigan
The Accies were obliged to make their second visit to Parkfield's ground this season, after liberal do-gooding officious jobsworths declared Shenley's waters unsuitable for showering. Hopefully Pirrie's current illness is not the result of consuming said waters this season..
The game was a predictable battle, with Parkfield's affable number 10 attempting in the first minute to seperate Hirst's legs from his torso, thankfully unsuccessfully. The Accies started the brighter though, and were rewarded with one of the seasons best goals. Hirst released Carabine with an artful chip, and he duly crossed smart and low for Foster to fire home low in the corner. There then followed a stream of high balls and corners into the Accies' box, all of which were dealt with well, with Woodrow commanding and Saxby brave in the face of adversity. Carabine found some space in the box to chest down and score the second, and half-time was reached 2-0 ahead.
The second half was an exercise in character
examination, which was passed with merit. Crowther ignored injury to protect his back three with strength, Hirst kept his head well and Delaney
was outstanding on the right. The defence were all excellent, and Shrimpton blotted his copybook only with a final tackle which gave a penalty for the
oppositions single goal. A difficult fixture this one, but a good performance and a great spirit, with no reaction to some severe
provocation. Chantler's attentions caused the opposing striker to receive two yellow cards and his marching orders, and the tastefully dressed
5ths Match Report from Danny McConnell
No shower issues for the 5ths at Hale End, though a rather worrying post-match toilet episode involving Dickie (!) Smith and a 6 year old in the gents. Best to say no more.
Against Hale End's yoof team on a narrow, bobbly pitch, the Accies put in probably their best performance of the season, doubtless following wise words over previous weeks. The first half was fairly nip and tuck, with Hale End benefitting from a slight breeze, but rarely threatening the Accies goal as a solid defence held firm. Midway through the Accies took the lead as Steve Brooooon outleapt the keeper to nod home. With Rob James and Dom Kearney, imperious at the back, and some bloke who looked like Sam Samra but didn't play anything like him, sealing off the left flank and Whyman doing likewise on the right, the Accies turned around confident.
Early into the second half and Graham Whitworth nipped in on a dodgy back pass to extend the Accies lead to two, and suddenly the game looked comfortable. Chris Whyman, filling the "Ethu at Balaclava" role at right back added a third for the Accies before Chris Coates decided to attempt the old "I'm injured I'll have to play up front". No such luck for the Black Knight, who further suffered as Steve Brooooon was slow jogging round to treat him as he'd mistaken the call of "Kid's got cramp" for "Kid's crap". Fairy nuff. More followed, the bloke who looked like Samra revealed himself in a rare foray to the edge of the opposition box, lining up to blast the ball into the top corner and hitting an air shot. Samra revealed in true colours.
With a minute to go, the Accies were in deep slumber as a breakaway allowed Hale End to ruin a clean sheet (a "Harry") and in time added on for Sam wasting times at throw-ins, Jubril Alao, taking a few brief minutes out from his busy social life/learning the knowledge, to add a fourth to the Accies.
After a rough January, finally a win for the 5ths, and a promising performance with good contributions all round. Finally, with a sense of irony that may resound around AFC circles, a word of commendation for the (club) referee Andy Fletcher, who hardly put a foot wrong all day, and in this humble (sic) observers view had the best game of a referee I've seen all season (run close by Graham Poll last Tuesday in the Arsenal Man U game). Credit where credit is due, he was superb. here to return to the 2004-05 results menu