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2004-05 Results - January

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Saturday 29th January

Accies 2nds 6 (Steve Hair 2, Kieron Jennings 2, Ian Roberts, Gareth Jenkins) Old Meadonians 0 (Mark Dawson).

Accies 3rds 3 (Scott Atkinson, Lloyd Vanson, Ed Jeremy) Old Camdenians 1.

Albanian 4 Accies 4ths 3 (Chris Wall, Jon Logie, Steve McConnell).

HSBC 2 Accies 7ths 1 (Spencer Gore).

The Voice of Reason??

The following is reproduced without permission from yesterday's Sunday Telegraph! I have posted it here purely out of duty to the Accies, and in no sense in any attempt to fulfill any self-egotistical requirements!

Patrick Barclay's Sunday Telegraph Column 

I was reeling under the impact of a report that one in four youths in England and Wales is a multiple law-breaker - surely it's more like one in two - when Danny McConnell got in touch. McConnell is football-mad and by that I do not mean he wears a replica shirt and speaks almost entirely in clichés; his main interest is the amateur game and, in particular, London's extensive Amateur Football Combination. He even plays for UCL Academicals, a team of graduates, and he talks a lot of sense.

Having read my piece last Sunday about crime and punishment and the wisdom of relating fines to disposable income, McConnell corrected the assertion that, while Arsene Wenger was fined £15,000 for calling Ruud van Nistelrooy a cheat, a park player who uttered the same word in the direction of a referee might expect a £25 fine and'short suspension'. In fact, he said, the player would be banned from playing any football for 35 days - "and it's the ban that always shocks them, not the fine''. The reasons for this, McConnell added, were (a) that the tone set by the professional game determined behaviour at lower levels and (b) the professional game was soft.

On the latter point, I could hardly have agreed with him more after watching Blackburn-Bolton last Monday. Forget El-Hadji Diouf's dive, which, although politically incorrect, was no worse than Steven Gerrard's less-successful attempt to win a penalty at Watford the following night. There was a challenge at Ewood Park, a two-footed stamp on Robbie Savage, for which Kevin Nolan deserved to miss the rest of the season, yet the Bolton midfielder got away with a yellow card - and still argued vehemently with the referee. It reminded me of the young fare-dodgers you see on the trains, bristling with resentful defiance as the conductor confronts them; at least, it was perturbing in the same sense.

McConnell was proud to draw a distinction between the game he knows, in which the FA had just introduced a 42-day ban for'head-to-head contact' (actual butting gets 112 days), and the rich, glamorous but spoilt Premiership. He ridiculed the so-called'touchline bans' of managers, which the media take delight in their circumventing with a mobile phone: "If you want to ban someone, do as we do and tell him not to go near the ground on match day - let him spend the afternoon at Lakeside or Bluewater!''

If the nonsense that sometimes passes for discipline were not part of what, to judge from the crime-figures report, would appear to have every chance of developing into a national tragedy, it would indeed be funny. But listen once more to McConnell."In the end,'' he said,"I don't care what happens to professionals except as it affects us. The fact is that players at my level take their lead from what they see on television [so it's safe to assume children and youths do] and in one sense I feel genuinely sorry for players when they are banned for as long as 35 days.

"They see heroes spew out all sorts of abuse to referees, and they see the referees take it, and they listen to idiot pundits excusing it because the ref got a trivial throw-in wrong five minutes earlier and then, when they ape it, they get sent off and a 35-day ban. I agree with the bans -but I understand their surprise.''

2nds Match Report from Danny Fewkes

I arrived at Wednesday's selection meeting with little on my mind, expecting a straightforward task of naming the eleven who had performed admirably at Challenors last week and moving on to consideration of the mix for the sub's bench. It was then my wife dropped a bombshell. 'You have been dumped for Steve Hair...' ' I don't understand' I replied...' The man is in Australia, anyway do you really want to give up what you've got for a third rate rug, a physique suffering an identity crisis and never be able to shut the windows, or light a naked flame in your house for the rest of your life???'

'Oh no, not like that' she responded. 'It's just he's back from Australia , and will be starting in the line up on Saturday. You are the man to step down'.

And so to the game itself , a league encounter with Old Mead's 2's at Shenley.

Accies took an early lead with a soft goal on 5 mins as Meads keeper failed to hold Jenkins' left foot shot from eighteen yards. The Welshman's recent injury jinx struck within minutes as he then hobbled off to be placed by your correspondent. Accies settled fairly comfortably with the defence looking solid and the midfield beginning to readjust their game from recent weeks, to a slick greasy surface that made a decent first touch vitally important, but assisted a quick passing game. Mead's only real moment of danger in the first period was thwarted by a magnificent covering tackle from Finch, and Accies continued to press.

Our second was earned at a crucial time on 35 mins, as Meads minds may just have started to wander with thoughts of reaching the break still well in touch. Again it was a goal that could/should probably have been avoided, as my slightly under-hit inswinging corner skidded through the near post line of defence and was bundled home from close range by Hair. A quality third soon followed as Jennings atoned for dragging wide an earlier gilt edged chance. Found by a right wing cross in a couple of yards of space just outside the box, he demonstrated an exquisite touch to cushion the ball down and drill home into the bottom corner.

The second half began as the first had ended, and Hair gained further reward for an impressive first outing of the season , firing another crisp drive into the corner when granted freedom to drive into the box. Crotty, who had been at the heart of some great work and passing in the centre of midfield, then took a well deserved bow for the returning Vaughan. Mead's continued to compete hard and missed a great opportunity to net a consolation as their smaller quick striker should probably have done better on the rare occasion that Accies failed to clear their lines properly. This refocused Accies minds and we responded with several counter attacking passing moves of high quality, as good as anything we've shown this season.

We can now move to our first mention of the day for Roberts, who followed up from last week with another fine performance, much as it pains me to say. He posed a real physical handful throughout, worked hard and linked play to strike partner Jennings and the supporting midfield players. He slid home our fifth from close range to complete a quick break, and concluded his afternoon's work with a delightful first time reverse pass releasing Jennings to scamper away and bag the sixth. (Certain onlookers may have compared it to Kenny Dalglish in his prime). There was still time to have a look at the fledgling McGuigan, who demonstrated talent and an assured touch, but must work on his conditioning (youngsters just don't eat properly these days!) ,or just select himself anyway... if he is to realistically break into the Accies' top sides.

In summary it was a fine all-round performance from a strong Accies line-up, all of whom worked hard and did well. There is no doubt that the arrival of Jennings in early November has added an extra dimension to our attacking play from the troublesome early weeks of the campaign, Parsons enjoyed a good game (again), marred only by some erratic shooting, but it was probably most encouraging to see Nat Keast back to somewhere near his best with a tremendous display on the right flank. Again we must not rest on this performance and our squad will be fully tested by various absences over the coming weeks. League football is on hold for a week as we now welcome Salvo's to Shenley for the LOB Intermediate Cup 1/4 final. 

P.S A few words of caution for Roberts to heed, and help keep his feet on the ground following the glowing praise above. It was noted by last week's guest writer that the man mountain is a buffoon, and indeed that would be the opinion of the man on the Clapham Omnibus. His major asset is that when given instruction, he is as tenacious as a bulldog in executing those commands. He is not however, a thinker; his counsel is never sought on any matter of significance;and his opinions are quickly dismissed by the many who took a little more time to drink from the fountain of knowledge in their youth. Keep up the good work on the pitch, but be aware of your limitations.....

3rds Match Report from Scott Atkinson

3 points for the 3's at Shenley against Camdenians with a 3-1 win that did not flatter the home team by any stretch of the imagination. For the second successive game there were many missed chances and an excellent keeper making some fine saves (Ramsden was absent in case any readers are confused). The performance was much improved although we again had a slightly unfamiliar look with so many players absent -the skiing season is well and truly upon us. At times the football was excellent and it is a shame we couldn't quite find the end product to produce the scoreline we deserved and make the game safe earlier than we did.

The first goal came after the returning Topping galloped into the area and was needlessly brought down resulting in another peanut dispatched by Atkinson. Many chances went begging afterwardsand there was one unbelievable overhead goalline clearance after Stewart had smashed past the stranded keeper. Almost inevitably in the oppo's only real spell of pressure an equaliser arrived just before halftime. This also spoiled the previously unblemished clean sheet record of Fernandez which most of the squad are very upset about!

The Accies dominated the 2nd half and with Vanson added to the fray the oppo defence looked under great pressure. The lead was regained after a ball into the box was half controlled by James and the loose ball drilled home by Jeremy into the bottom left hand corner. The game was wrapped up after Atkinson was first to a loose ball setting Vanson free with a through ball from inside our half and no mistake from last year's top scorer in the ensuing one on one.

One other incident deserves a mention. Another fine ball delivered over the top put in Vanson. The central defender knew he was beaten and simply turned,with no eyes on the ball , launching himself Schumacher style at our forward leaving him in a crumpled heap. It was an horrendous challenge that could have resulted in serious injury unfortunately missed by the ref. Some of the oppo looked suitably ashamed at what at best was a cynical, dangerous professional foul and at worse common assault. What was even more disappointing was the laughing in the oppo changing room after the game when reliving the moment which one can only assume means there were players in there with IQs lower than their shirt numbers. There was no retaliation on our part only renewed desire not let Camdenians back into the game.

Cup quarter final next week and if we can take our chances we should be looking to progress in a competition that is our only real chance of silverware.

4ths Match Report from Jon Logie

The 29 January was a day of missed opportunities for the Accies fourth team, and one that might prove important at the end of the season.

Despite missing a couple of regular players, the Accies went into the game with a lot of confidence, buoyed by a recent good run and a solid performance against their opponents three weeks ago, in which the Accies should have taken all three points. Unfortunately a similar fate was to befall them again.

After an even 15 minutes, the Accies fell behind to a speculative 20 yard drive from the Albanians striker, who was to cause problems for most of the
afternoon. Danny McConnell, deputising for Fox, was disappointed that he was not able to push it over after getting two hands to the ball. The Accies had their chances, Jon Logie missing the goal after rounding the keeper, and Barndoor missing his third successive penalty. But it was Albanians who grabbed a vital second, swinging the balance of power firmly their way, a neat near post flick on and close range finish doing the damage.

After stern words from skipper Dan Willoughby at half time, the Accies compounded their problems by conceding an extremely harsh penalty in the opening minutes of the second period. This was followed by an unseemly altercation off the ball which led to a long stoppage and much finger-pointing. 
When the game resumed, the penalty was scored and the Accies were three down, and it wasn't long before a fourth went in. The Accies continued to
carve out chances, Mark Hanlon skied from close range and Max Lovell couldn't find the right connection from Willoughby's cross.

Then followed an unlikely but spirited revival. With 15 minutes to go, Chris Wall scored his second in two games, a bullet header from Steve McConnell's
cross. Two minutes later, Logie chipped the keeper from the edge of the box to make it 4-2, and then McConnell rounded off a flowing Accies move with a
beautiful 30 yard half-volley in the stanchion of the goal for 4-3. There were still 10 minutes remaining and the momentum was with the Accies, but they could not find a breakthrough for the equaliser. In the end it was a disappointing result against an opponent we really should have taken six points off of this month, rather than just one.

Saturday 22nd January

Accies 1sts 4 (Jon Houghton 2, Lloyd Vanson, Ned Carabine) Old Salvatorians 0 (Dan Saxby).

Old Challoners 2 Accies 2nds 2 (Ian Roberts 2).

Old Edmontonians 2 Accies 3rds 2 (Scott Atkinson, Anders Lagerhammar).

Mill Hill Village 1 Accies 4ths 5 (Paul Bernard 2, Max Lovell, Chris Wall).

Accies 5ths 1 (Steve Brown) Leyton County 4.

Latymer Old Boys 2 Accies 6ths 4 (Bob Woad 2, Adrian Haysome, Tim Leeson).

Accies 7ths 2 (James Lliang, Dom Mignon) Enfield Old Grammarians 2.

1sts Match Report from Mark McGuigan

The unbeaten Accies were up against a Salvatorians side that had experienced mixed fortunes this season to date. The visitors website hinted at a gung ho attacking formation, but in the event they flooded the midfield and left their centre forward alone to enjoy the usual smooching with Chantler. This gave Pirrie license to go forward, something which of course should never be encouraged, and enabled him to indulge himself in his 'how hard can I kick it' game of forward projection. Hirst, enjoying his deep lying fulcrum role, raised one eyebrow at these antics and hoped that the ball would sooner or later arrive at his feet. The ever polite Gillard refused to complain about the incessant shoving from his opposite number, presumably smug in the knowledge that his tan, though fading, still firmly established him as a class apart socially if not always on the field of play. 

The Accies thus busied themselves in establishing some superiority, and can thank the visitors for providing Vanson with the opportunity to open the scoring. He accepted the invitation, coolly and clinically finishing from the edge of the box. More pressure resulted in a second goal from the boot of Carabine, but truthfully more chances were squandered than is acceptable, and Houghton and Esiri on the bench murmured conspiratorially to each other in the hope of an early introduction, whilst Crowther was in a world of his own trying to get beyond '2' in his touchline keepy-uppy solitude. 

The second half saw a more adventurous opposition, and a display of confident attacking from the now comfortable home side. Jones was withdrawn, unusually genuine in his protestations of injury and foul play, and Houghton arrived like a young stag, gambolling across the field enthusiastically in search of chances. They arrived soon, and he wasted no time in adding two more to his season's tally. The second of these was a fine thing to behold, and I am sure I saw him actually skip in delight as ball hit net. Such effusive actions should of course be mentioned only in a whisper, whilst a general clearing of throats and manly slaps on the back should be maintained as the accepted form of celebration.

Time remained for some sweeping attacking and splendid passing, and all should be looking forward now to competing hard for places in the quest for trophies. Well done gentlemen.

2nds Match Report from Mark Walker

The 2's travelled to Amersham to take on Challenors a team who remain undefeated in the league this year and have collected some impressive scalps in the cups. Following 2 very scratchy performances post Xmas the team really needed to produce something to blow away the January gloom. In the absence of Terence Foster, Parsons took on a central midfield role alongside Crotty and Taff. Challenors started with three tall, strong men in midfield and as the game settled it became obvious that Accies needed to compete physically in this key area. Our trio did very well against their bigger men and at times played some lovely stuff. Crotty and Parsons managed to link well with our strikers who in turn proved a real handful for their defence every time they were given service. The Welshman did a very good Savage impression screening the defence and linking well with the wing-backs. Having said the that in the first half the Accies were operating largely on the counter by soaking up the pressure and then putting together some incisive attacks when the opportunity arose. In this period Challenors created few clear-cut chances which was largely down to some solid defensive work from Finch, Walker (who did well despite enduring 3 days of extreme largesse in Paris in the run up to the game) and Shrimpton. Cool heads under pressure. Also Fewkes playing on the left rolled back the years after a frustrating period plagued by injury to perform with distinction. Thankfully he was able to keep very quiet the small midfielder who had been the danger man the last times the team met. A key contribution. At times he also managed to get forward shouting "Danny's coming, Danny's coming" at loud volume to the player with the ball. I'm sure DF's neighbours hear the same cries on nights after an Accies/Yeovil/Chelsea/Celtic win (Ed's note: he's married, his wife's pregnant, give him a break).

In the second half, with the benefit of the slope the Accies were able to put Challenors on the back foot. A number of long balls were turned into good pressure by the strikers. Roberts (the lumbering fool) then scored two goals in quick succession to put the Accies in the lead. Credit to the buffoon he took his chances with aplomb. Thankfully he had no time to think before shooting otherwise he would no doubt have missed. The team then went on to exert some good pressure. Parsons clearly enjoying his central role covered loads of ground. He harassed Challenors into losing possession and linked very well. Great stuff. At this stage there looked like being only one winner and the opposition appeared to be losing focus. However, on a day which produced many positives, a negative was that we appeared to sit on the lead and lacked the confidence to go for the jugular. There were chances to finish the game off which were not taken. A lot of credit must go to Challenors who showed good spirit in coming back. They are a strong team and it was backs to the wall for the final 20 minutes. Unfortunately 2 goals were conceded and in particular the question will be asked: how was a player allowed to head in the equaliser unchallenged from all of 2 yards? Negatives aside, this performance is something to build on for the remainder of the season. All thirteen players stood up and were counted when it mattered. The challenge is to produce this type of performance every week from here to the end of the season irrespective of the quality of opposition.

PS - it was interesting to hear that one of our players is a "father". Congratulations Nat. Everyone should do the necessary (Crotty) to ensure they are available for the Ale Train next Saturday for general beer and the return of the Hair. 

PPS - the skipper would like to express his appreciation to our two substitutes on the day Alex Keast and Matt Jones who were restricted to a far shorter run out than he had anticipated and than would certainly usually be the case. He continues.. "Accies as a club have enjoyed a measure of success in recent years and (certainly within the higher teams) a big factor behind this has been the understanding and patience of all of our players of the importance of this role, to give cover for injuries and tactical options when required".

3rds Match Report from Our Correspondant

The 3's travelled to North East London Pikesville needing a win to keep any sort of pressure on leaders Albanian and remain clear of the Walthamstow pikes breathing hard down their necks. After a friendly and a stroll in the park last week, this was always going to be a sterner test and it was no surprise when the Accies got off to a very slow start and came close to conceding an early goal. After 15mins the football started to flow and a fine move ended with Lagerhammer cutting the ball back and Atkinson's shot being handled on the line. Normality was restored as Atkinson tucked away the peanut and more chances arrived which should have put the game beyond the home side. It is difficult to inject humour into a report such as this but most players probably had a chuckle at the sight of Groves arriving midway through the first half. I can only surmise he has lost the exquisite timepiece he was awarded at last season' prize giving. Astonishingly, he was again accompanied by a lady who really is being treated to a tour of some of the finest parks in the capital. I would certainly not suggest that a female had anything to do with his tardiness.

Shortly after the arrival of Groves Old Eds drew level. Several opportunities to clear the ball were wasted and then the oppo forward was allowed to waltz into the area before Waggers intervened giving Ramsden the chance to show whatt he could do when facing a striker from 12 yrds. No heroics to report I'm afraid, a Ramsden squeal of frustration confirming Eds had drawn level.

Stewart's half time team talk called for more urgency and passion and if there had been any we may have won the game. Groves and Christer were introduced for Waggers and the skipper but quite early on we found ourselves behind and staring defeat in the face. Eds had a number of chances to kill
us off but thankfully we woke up for the latter stages and also caused their defence some problems. The equaliser came after a free kick from Atkinson
was deflected onto the post and Lagerhammer lashed home the rebound after bundling Jeremy out of the way.

On balance it was probably a fair result. Eds are a useful side and had a few very good players and an outstanding goalkeeper. However, we coudn't afford the slip up and we all know that if we had performed at the top of our game we would have left with 3 points. Jeremy was head and shoulders above the rest of the team and we need everyone to match his effort next week and return to winning ways.

4ths Match Report from Ritchie Hinton

Playing on a diabolical pitch at Mill Hill (mud almost over ankle level before kick off and ridiculous slope), Accies adapted admirably to the conditions and to the novelty of a female referee. 

A well drilled defence denied Mill Hill any shots on target in the first half, despite the home side starting with the advantage of the slope. The midfield and attack were competitive and sharp, and combined well to ensure Accies were dominant from the start. Chris Wall soon opened the scoring with a fine diving header at the near post from a corner to give Accies the lead. Paul Bernard made it 2-0 before having a penalty well saved by the home keeper, who to be fair was probably man of the match. Accies could easily have gone in at half time 4 or 5 up after missing some excellent chances. 

Nothing much to say at half time apart from "keep up the good work and take our chances", and this is what happened, with an own goal (scandalously claimed by both Mark Hanlon and Jon Logie) increasing the lead to 3 soon after the restart. Continued tight play and commitment on the difficult pitch saw Bernard tap in number 4, and he could've had a hat trick if he had not missed his second penalty of the game and the opportunity of a hat-trick (penalty taking duties have obviously now been reallocated!). The goal of the game came towards the end of the match, with Max Lovell finishing crisply to make it 5-0. The moment of the game came when Chris Wall fell face first into a deep muddy sandpit in the middle of the pitch (serves him right for showboating with diving headers). Mill Hill looped a slightly fortuitous deflected consolation right at the end past Fox to cruelly deprive him of a clean sheet, which was a shame as he was rarely employed during the game, such was the dominance and superiority of the Accies. 

It can't be much fun for opposing players to be confronted by a team including players of the physical nature of Chris Wall, Andy Watt, Ritchie Hinton and Anthony Locke. Equally, opponents will always struggle to deal with the Accies combative and creative midfield, and forward movement and finishing power of Bernard and Lovell. One thing is for sure - it is definitely not enjoyable for a female referee to be asked by Anthony Locke to meet him in the showers after the game. She'll probably never officiate again.

5ths Match Report/Pep Talk/Tactical B######s from Danny McConnell

Three games since Christmas, and three losses. The first was reasonably disappointing, an 8-1 loss away to Albanian on a typical Albanian pitch (cows wouldn't be amiss) and an all too typical Accies performance, utterly failing to adjust to the conditions, trying to continue to play football even from the back, when Albanian played the game in thirds. Own third, lamp it, no frills. Middle third, hit it in the channels. Final third, cross it into the box, where the lottery begins. And hard work rate, and at the time the Accies had had five weeks off, and boy it showed.

Last week was more even. Enfield Old Grammarians have been a match last season and this, and every game has been close. We sneaked a win before Christmas at their place when a draw might have been fair, and they returned the compliment. Honours even between the two games is fair enough, and this week it wasn't to be. If there was any criticism, once again we ran out of steam in the last twenty minutes.

So to another tough game, Leyton County at home. And another disappointing result. The scoreline could have been higher, but both sides had chances. Leyton took theirs, we didn't. Going forward, the problem is simple, a lack of confidence and a lack of luck. We're creating chances, playing good football, and the goals simply aren't coming. They will, it'll happen, but we need to get the balance between defence and attack. Sometimes I find myself wondering if Lord Cardigan is about to appear!

Defence is a worry, and today's game again showed the mental errors. Perhaps the team think they've got Rio Ferdinand behind them (they haven't), but we defended too high, and too tight, and got continually caught on the break. Part of it is reading the game, we react to runners rather than anticipating them, and today reacting meant starting a yard behind, and after a 30 yard sprint still being a yard behind (or more) but second is about defending. All too often we're trying to nick the ball, diving into challenges. It's fine if you win it, but if you don't, the forward is gone. It's basic defending. In midfield you can gamble on 50-50's, in defence it has to be 90-10, until you've retreated to the edge of the area, then really compress. All too often we're doing the opposite, pressing and gambling 40 yards out, and then retreating in the box. Plus which we don't defend from the inside out, all too often a forward is sprung inside of a player, rather than outside. You go out to a player, but not vice versa.

Enuff of the sermon - the actual match today. Both sides started spritely, and it looked like chances could be created at both ends, but the clearest came as a Leyton County player broke through the inside right channel from the half way line, not tracked and not covered, calmly drew yours truly and slotted home. 1-0 down but no-one felt disheartened. Fifteen minutes later, and a potential killer blow. Another break, this time with a narrower angle, forced a save from the Turtle, but as the ball broke in the area more Leyton players had followed up than players tracking back. This was not all Leyton though, and how Jubril failed to net we'll never know, it just didn't quite happen. Half time, and 2-0 down, but this game was still there to be won, and with the errors ironed out we had a chance.

Much Turtle wisdom at half time, and the initial shape was better - shepherd the breaks down the flanks, force them to deliver a decent cross. Within ten seconds Leyton did just that, and crossed to the back post where no-one attacked the ball. What little credibility I have survived. For the next half an hour it was much tighter, and the killer blow came as a loose ball in the Accies area fell to a Leyton player - unlucky, nothing more, nothing less. The Accies fought back, and with 15 minutes to go grabbed a goal back, 3-1 down, 15 left.

A year ago we'd have got something from this. The last fifteen minutes of games at Shenley we owned, as we outran and outlasted teams and blew them away in the final fifteen. Today we got outrun - we huffed and we puffed, but we didn't really look like scoring, and with two minutes to go Leyton added a fourth with a free header from a corner.

So three losses on the spin, and a turnaround needed. A little bit more fitness is required, that five week gap at Christmas still shows, a little more confidence (no-one has become a bad player overnight, we ARE better than this) and a bit more tactical awareness, we're all brighter than this. Today's loss is gone, learn the lessons and start afresh next Saturday.

7ths Match Report from Spencer Gore

A very disappointing result! Not that we deserved a win, we didn't actually deserve a draw. Having seen probably the best performance of the season last week, we promptly followed it by possible the worst! 

Against Mill Hill we all battled so hard that we deserved to win, and judging by the look of most people this week they obviously thought we'd done enough for two weeks!

Having gone 2-0 down, this still didn't seem enough to get people going, to be fair the football that we played (occasionally) was quite good and for 15 minutes at the end of the 1st half we looked a better side. The problem however wasn't the standard of football we played it was the lack of commitment! It was like watching a practice match, with no one wanting to get hurt!

With 15 minutes to go a double substitution was made a the fresh legs certainly made a difference, with James Lliang scoring on a quick counter attack, and then Dom Mignon equalising with pretty much the last kick of the game! Get out of jail is an understatement!

With two quarterfinals in the next two weeks, the biggest fear is not our skill levels, we're as good as any side in our division if not one or two above, but for most games we get bullied! Simple as that. I'm not for one minute suggesting getting booked is a good think but I don't think the sevenths have ever had a booking! That tells you something! If we want to win even one trophy this year let alone 3 we have to toughen up!

Saturday 15th January

Accies 1sts 3 (Rick Hirst 3 penalties) Old Stationers 2.

Latymer Old Boys 2 Accies 2nds 3 (Neill Shrimpton, Kieron Jennings, Alex Keast).

City of London 0 Accies 3rds 6 (Gio Martelli 2, Des Fowler, Anders Lagerhammar, Chris James, Scott Atkinson).

Parkfield 1 Accies 4ths 5 (Steve McConnell, Anthony Locke, Paul Thomas, Matt Wanford, Max Lovell).

Accies 5ths 1 (Andy Penfold) Enfield Old Grammarians 2.

Accies 7ths 1 (Spencer Gore) Mill Hill Village 1 (Accies won 3-0 on penalties).

1sts Match Report from Mark McGuigan

After a month long lay-off the Accies were a little slower off the mark than usual, a clue provided by the abnormal panic rush for the extra large shorts from all players prior to kick-off. Starting brightly enough, the Accies failed to capitalise on their possession and then conceded during a good spell from the visitors, sounds of snoring from the usually lively Accies defence indicating why. The equaliser came when a clear handball gave Hirst the opportunity to re-establish his penalty credentials, which he took with confidence. Next up was the regularly prostate Foster tumbling in the box, penalty number 2 and Hirst duly obliged in the same corner. 2-1 up at half time and seemingly in charge despite a sluggish display. 

The visitors were nothing if not game, and they put the Accies under pressure in the second half. Hirst was presumably embarrassed at his numerous
penalties, and so handled in the box, and the referee deemed hand to ball despite evidence to the contrary. 2-2 and at this stage evenly matched. Accies then started to play a bit, and eventually the inevitable third penalty arrived after Jones was upended, with Hirst repeating his bottom left corner preference and giving the keeper no chance. A hat-trick of penalties has never been seen by anyone at the club as far as I'm aware, so Hirsty you have made history, almost an anagram as it happens.. rambling a little now. The home side finished in command, and a 4th penalty would have been given if Carabine hadn't been quite so thespian in his attempts to convince the ref. 3-2, last 8 and job done.

2nds Report from Danny Fewkes

Accies continued their 2005 tour of London's park pitches with an LOB Intermediate Cup match at the aptly named 'Donkey Lane' Playing Fields. 

Accies actually started positively and tore into the oppo for 10 minutes, stretching them on both flanks and with more direct balls 'over the top' to utilise Jennings' pace. The pick of the early action was a fine fingertip save from Parsons' drive, but possibly Accies then relaxed sensing a very straightforward afternoon's work, a sack full of goals and no laundry bill for Lady Nugget. Out of the blue, Latymer earned a corner on 12 minutes and although the initial defensive header was won, it fell to a free player on the edge of box, who struck a left foot drive past a stranded Nugget. If we didn't look too concerned at that, we certainly should have 3 minutes later. Although acknowledging I did see a lovely turn and crisp finish by the striker, it can't be denied that some footballing crimes were committed in the player and ball being allowed to get there..

Suddenly the team were facing a 2 goal deficit to a pumped up underdog on a small bobbly pitch, and personally I was also facing the shame of what on earth to say in my post match discussions with Accies goal legend Atkinson. Talking of the golden boot leader, his fear of losing that prestigious status has plumbed new depths (no pun intended on the individual with IQ over 150 in the River Thames rumour !! ) , throwing the ref a bung to disallow my 'cross/shot' on 25 minutes (most would put the emphasis on cross) for a Roberts offside, (quite how he interfered , if indeed offside is another matter). 

We proceeded to huff and puff a little without ever doing justice to our abilities. A succession of moves frustratingly broke down with a poor pass, and half chances when arriving were passed by. Latymer, to their credit were competing gamely, and maintaining their defensive organisation. The good Lord then provided a miracle as Shrimpton opened his account for the season (and career?). Making the most of his schoolboy experiences at the venue, a forty yard dribbler was dispatched and courtesy of a monumental goalkeeping howler, and some member's bounces trickled over the line. 

Half time brought a little calm and 'some' refocusing of minds. We soon levelled as Jennings finished smartly when the Latymer keeper failed to properly clear a Crotty free kick. Whilst now in control we still failed to make the best of the job in difficult conditions, but eventually the introduction of sub Alex Keast heralded our third goal (and the winner) as he met a fine free kick delivery from Finch with a towering header.

There was certainly (and rightly) some disappointment at the overall performance, but most importantly we have moved into the quarter finals, and if all players take heed of a few lessons, then it may be no bad thing. All should focus their minds for the tough games coming up.

4ths Report from Jon Logie

UCL Academicals cruised into the last eight of the AFA Cup with a 5-1 demolition of Parkfield.

Keen to exact revenge over the side that knocked them out of the LOB Cup in October, the 4ths started the match in difficult circumstances, against the slope and with little grass on a sticky, mud-strewn pitch. The Accies uphill task looked even more uphill when an impressive 20 yard strike was misjudged by the flying Fox who, instead of tipping it around the upright, only managed to help the shot into the bottom corner. However the team showed good composure and resolve to overcome the conditions and a solid but limited opposition. Top-scorer Max Lovell added to his tally after 20 minutes to equalise, and some impressive battling, particularly in defence, and passing in difficult circumstances brought the Accies control of the match. This was confirmed when the tireless Matt Wanford made a searching run on the right of midfield, showed impressive control before his shot squirmed under the opposition's ailing keeper.

Kicking with the slope in the second half and 2-1 to the good, the Accies effectively killed the game off in the first 10 minutes. The Accies third goal involved half of the team in a slick passing movement, culminating in a great turn and cross from Paul 'Barndoor' Bernard and a towering header from central midfielder Anthony Locke. Before Parkfield could recover, Steve McConnell lined up and buried a 20 yard free kick into the bottom corner for 4-1. The heart seemed to seep from Parkfield at this point, and in throwing men forward to recover something from the game, they exposed themselves to counter attacks. After a few close calls, Paul Thomas broke through the threadbare offside trap, impressively lobbing the keeper for 5-1. The last eight approaches, and the Accies are growing in confidence by the week. 

7ths Match Report from Spencer Gore

At the start of this game, the Accies were 2nd in the league having only dropped 2 points and Mill Hill were 3rd having dropped none but played one game less. We knew it would be a tough game and that is what it proved to be, taking penalties to make the difference between the two sides. The Accies were missing a few players but battled hard against probably the best side they have faced this season. It was a very tight game with neither side looking like taking control. With all the team working hard no-one could be faulted for there effort if not there skill. It was scrappy but there were spells from both sides that showed why they are playing for the league title!

The deadlock was broken after about 30 minutes when Joe whipped in a corner to the near post and Gore was able to head home from the 6 yard box. This was to be short lived and true to form as Mill Hill who had matched us for most of the game so far went up the other end and scored within 5 minutes. The game stayed like this until the 90 minutes were up, with neither side making any real clear cut efforts. It was in extra time that the accis brought on two subs and the fresh legs seems to make the difference, as they gradually up the pressure and had 3 or 4 chances. The score however remained at one all as the whistle went for the end of extra time and so it was down to penalties.

Gore having never missed a penalty in nearly 20 attempts decided to play mind games with the opposition, instead of slotting it in the bottom corner as usual he decided to hit the crossbar! Stroke of genius! talk about lull the opposition into a false sense of security!!! Mill Hill stepped up and blasted over by about 5 yards! Siggy, Joe and then Phil all slotted their penalties away for the Accies and Mill Hill still seemed in a daze! Having, missed the 1st, Tom Lloyd then saved the second as the Mill Hill player blasted down the middle. All that was needed was for Tom to save again to stop Samra scoring the winner! He did! A great save ensured that Tom went home with the man of the match!

It was a tough game but the Accies did enough to make sure they got to there 2nd quarterfinal of the season! 

Saturday 8th January

Brent 0 (Mark Dawson) Accies 2nds 3 (Nick Crowther, Andy Crotty, Danny Fewkes).

Accies 3rds 2 (Anders Lagerhammer, Lloyd Vanson) Old Finchleians 5.

Accies 4ths 2 (Antony Locke, Paul Bernard) Albanian 2.

Albanian 8 Accies 5ths 1 (Graham Whitworth).

Accies 6ths 2 (Andy Williams, Scott Atkinson) Old Buckwellians 4 (aet).

Old Meadonians 0 (Tom Lloyd) Accies 7ths 1 (James Liang).

2nds Report from Danny Fewkes

Accies 2's regrouped after the Christmas break at the unfamiliar West London surroundings of Boston Manor Playing Fields to earn a comfortable 3-0 away victory over mid table Brent. Things did not start smoothly however, as Crotty and Roberts disrupted the pre match warm up (and the afternoon running of the Piccadilly Line Heathrow Branch) by blasting a succession of footballs onto the nearby rail track, and the first line up of 2005 then required a late reshuffle due to Finch's dubious geographical skills.

So to the game itself, which was not a spectacle to savour. A free flowing game was never really going to happen on a small, tight, slanting pitch, with a sticky surface and gales blowing down the slope. The home side began with the elements in their favour but failed to seriously threaten as Accies settled and took the lead on 15 minutes. Foster (T) broke well down the left channel and cut into the box with purpose. The ensuing opportunity was initially blocked, but the loose ball fell to Crotty, who, with the keeper struggling to regain position , steadied himself to drill the ball home from 15 yards. The team (and Crotty) could and should have had a second soon after, following another quick break and good set up play by Jennings. This time Crotty's shot cannoned off the bar and fell to Nat Keast. Alas, his shooting in early 2005 lived up to that displayed in 2004 (with the notable exception of Old Woods away). Our hosts did come back into the game slightly, using the wind assistance to win a few headers, constructing a couple of decent passing moves that were thwarted by strong defensive tackles, but really only managed to test the Nugget with a well struck long range free kick that was tipped over.

Turning around with a 1-0 lead and the significant elements now in our favour , we made an enforced half time substitution with Jenkins departing for your correspondent (adding experience and improved fitness albeit 'probably' worsening the technical quality on display), but sensed one further goal was very likely to secure the three points. Indeed, the game was effectively killed off within 5 mins of the restart, as that somebody with experience delivered a whipped, in-swinging free kick, met at the far post and well finished by the head of Welshman Crowther. Accies continued to exert significant pressure and create several chances without ever playing any decent football. The pitch, conditions and Christmas rust from both sides hindered any chance of entertainment, further compounded by a continuous stream of whistle blowing that caused significant frustration to Brent in particular. These frustrations reached boiling point on 75 mins following the award of a handled back-pass free kick to the Accies, resulting in one players' second yellow and sending off for dissent. ( I will note the vast majority of Accies thought the original free kick was the correct decision! ).

The usual greedy suspects Crotty and Foster (T) hovered around the ball for some action, Jenkins indicated he was keen to come back on, but a few of the wise old heads among our rearguard indicated there was only one suitable candidate for the job and their trust was well placed. Accies watching 1st XI manager McGuigan could only nod in appreciation and take notes, as Foster (T) rolled the ball back and a clinical left foot curler eased into the top corner from 18 yards for Accies' third goal. Knowing that it will take a far more accomplished scribe than myself to properly describe the event (and certainly not an editor's postscript....) our report will move quickly on, and note that the enjoyment of lager, sausages and chips at Brent's warm post match hospitality was only slightly lessened by hearing 3 weeks worth of rubbish spouted from Roberts rather than the customary 1 !!

Tasks for the week ahead - Fitness and levels of both physical and mental sharpness can be improved on, and please consume some of those Christmas stocking bars of Toblerone and spend those 50p pieces so they aren't brought along to this Sat's cup game. 

Positives - A good 3 points, and further evidence that Accies are improving from years gone by in their attitude and game plan when away from the hallowed turf of Shenley.

3rds Report from Iain Wagstaff

The Accies starting this friendly with 10 men, as Matt Jones went to help out the 6ths, and playing into a strong wind were under pressure from the start against a physical and pacey Finchleians side. In contrast the Accies at times looked like they were out for a stroll after their Christmas lunch. Finchleians strong performance and the wind helped them take a 2-0 lead. It could have been more except for some good saves from Harry Ramsden and last ditch defending from Jones, who made up the 11 mid-way through the half.

In the last 5 minutes of the half the Accies started to show patches of their pre-Christmas form putting together some good passing moves. With the wind at their backs the second half started positively for the Accies who camped in the Finchleians half for the first 10 minutes of the half. Two break away goals put Finchleians 4-0 up and killed the game off as the Accies failed to deal with their quick passing and pace.

Mid way through the half, after some good work down the left, Lagerhammer won a free kick which he swung into the top corner of the net from 30 yards to make it 4-1. Further respectability was restored as Wagstaff found Martelli in the box who neatly fed Vanson who finished cooly to make it 4-2.

A further goal from the opposition before full time made them deserved 5-2 winners as their greater hunger for the game paid dividends. All in all a useful friendly against a good Finchleians side in preparation for the return to competitive action next week. Hopefully the Christmas hangover will have worn off by next week.

4ths Report from Ritchie Hinton

A tight encounter at Shenley in blustery conditions saw the honours even at the end of 90 minutes. 

Accies had the wind against them in the first half and battled manfully against the weather and a lively strike pairing. The ever reliable Fox in goal made a good one-on-one save to keep the scores even early on, but Albanians eventually struck first, benefiting from a fortuitous bounce after a fine last ditch tackle from Chris Wall appeared to have averted the danger, but unfortunately for Accies, the ball somehow bobbled back to the Albanians forward who slotted home. The opposition lead doubled after an excellent cross was swung in to the back post and put away well after a well timed run from a midfielder. Accies continued to battle away, with the Albanians keeper making a couple of good saves, most notably from Max Lovell, and were rewarded when a penalty was awarded for handball just before half-time which Paul Bernard tucked away.

The mood at half time was positive, with Anthony Locke and Dan Willoughby giving their usual rousing team talks, and the team looked forward to playing with the wind behind them. The second half belonged entirely to Accies, and it wasn't long before a good Jon Logie cross was nodded back across the goal by Max Lovell for Anthony Locke to bundle over the line. Accies then laid siege to the Albanians goal, and only a fine goalkeeping display denied Paul Bernard and Max Lovell from winning the match for the Accies. In the last 15 minutes Albanians were hanging on, with Steve McConnell hitting the bar and coming close on 2 other occasions, and in the dying seconds a delicate chip over the defence from Willoughby gave 
Chester the chance the slide the ball across the goal mouth only for the Albanian defender to turn the ball onto his own post which then rebounded out to safety - not our day.

The match was slightly marred by a couple of second half incidents, which saw one player from each side sent off, but those incidents aside, the match was a largely enjoyable one which Albanians will feel lucky to have taken a point from, as Accies hadmore than enough chances to have taken all 3 points.

5ths Report from Rob James

For their first game in almost a month the Accies 5ths faced Albanians on a heavy pitch. Despite the slope and wind against them Albanians created some early chances on the break and took the lead, as the Accies struggled to apply any continued presssure. The Accies hit back with Paul Campbell battling through the Albanian defence, beating all comers, then centring for Graham Whitworth to tap home from two feet. Then Albanians scored seven more and won.

Ed's note: they were better than us and played well, we were rubbish and didn't play the conditions either. On another day it might've finished 4-1, on yet another 12-1. Next!

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