U.C.L. Academicals Football Club

(The Accies)

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2004-05 Results - March

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Saturday 19th March

Accies 1sts 3 (Steve Hair, Gareth Jones, Simon Hayward) Hale End 0 (Dan Saxby).

Accies 2nds 5 (Ian Roberts 3, Kieron Jennings 2) Centymca 1.

Albanian 4 Accies 3rds 1 (Si Tinling).

Old Woodhouseians 1 Accies 4ths 4 (Paul Bernard 2, Anthony Locke, Steve McConnell).

Old Woodhouseians 0 (Danny McConnell) Accies 5ths 2 (Andy Penfold, Jubril Alao).

Accies 6ths 0 Mill Hill County Old Boys 4.

Accies 7ths 1 (Sameer Patel) Old Gladstoneians 2.

1sts Match Report from Mark McGuigan

Glorious sunshine at Shenley, as we welcomed a Hale End side struggling for form but always capable of beating anyone in this league. Accies were concerned to see the visitors warming up outside the changing rooms a full hour before kick-off. The home side peeked through the window at the professional opposition, like school boys finding a hole in the wall to the girls changing rooms, giggling and pointing. The Accies adopted their usual systematic preparation, swapping tales of last weekend's hedonism whilst awaiting the traffic delayed kit, being ferried by three of their number.

All duly arrived, and an enthusiastic team gambolled in the sunshine and agreed three points were necessary to keep the league campaign alive. Hale End were clearly worn out by their over-conscientious warm up routine, as they started by retreating to their own penalty area and allowing the home side space in which to flourish. The Accies accepted the gift with relish, growing in confidence and playing some of the best football of the season as they stretched the visitors this way and that. No goals came before the interval however, and frustration could have set in. The home team were confident still, and more patience and composure was all that was required.

One hour gone and still no score, so changes were necessary. Peter Kaye wanabee Woodrow was withdrawn and the system changed to 4-3-3 to allow Vanson into the fray to scare the visitors with his pace. The change quickly bore fruit, as Houghton headed down a long cross for Hair to thump home the half volley with some style. A second was added when man of the match Jones showed composure on the right to fire low into the far left corner after another move carving open the Hale End defence. Having spotted Hayward trying to mumble private words of encouragement to his own left foot on the touchline, the gaffer took pity and introduced him on the right hand side. Hayward bounded up and down the touchline like a pup, and then found the time and skill to add a third. Picking the ball up 40 yards out, he was allowed to run forward before lobbing the advancing keeper and making the points safe.

The visitors had chances to score but were so unfamiliar with the sight of the Accies goal, that they seemed uncomfortable and duly squandered them. An important result this, letting us have a well earned Easter break with a healthy points tally at this stage of the season.

2nds Match Report - belatedly from Danny Fewkes

For the reader eagerly awaiting the news of Accies 2's cup semi final success (including Ian Roberts' hat-trick), and our other readers (who are not eagerly awaiting this news, but may be awaiting talk of his penalty miss), patience is required. Your correspondent has been on an intensive nappy training course and the report will be filed on Tuesday 29th April. 

An eventful day started badly with the appearance of Lord Nugget as a spectator still limping from his mountaineering wounds, and worsened with some disappearing kit forcing a few late arriving Accies to don shorts of a bygone era, (pre even Nash and Shrimpton days) when Accies all born in the 50's and 60's were disciples of the Ewan Drummond kick and rush regime. I took pity on a high pitched squealing Roberts, whose five minute warm up has seriously damaged his chances of fatherhood (see P.S), swapped my 21st century version for his 'older number' and rolled back the years to slip the said hot pants on with an ease that left McGuigan and Woodrow watching/playing on the adjacent 1s pitch green with envy (quite how the two warhorses ever fitted in them 15 years ago is a mystery).

So to the game, a big one at that, an LOB Intermediate Cup semi-final against underdogs Centymca from South East London. The visitors didn't line up with as many 'fin' hair cuts or as much taped up jewellery as their postcode had suggested but started (as they meant to continue) with a physical approach conceding several free kicks and allowing Accies to pressurise and gain the upper hand. Our opening goal arrived on 10 minutes as Jennings found space in the box, his early shot was well saved but dropped to Roberts to tap in a simple opener. On 20 minutes a golden opportunity to double his and the Accies tally was spurned. Your correspondent was scythed down by a wild late challenge and a blatant penalty kick promptly awarded. Possibly distracted by his earlier short change the big man's previously unblemished spot kick record came to a sad end, but his effort still gave a Crotty a few tips to work on.

We had not seen much of the oppo as an attacking force, but this let off spurred them on and they began to clear their lines more effectively and win some ball to feed a tall strong striker and a couple of skilful midfielders. Accies, however were gifted a second as their keeper misjudged a high bounce and Jennings pounced. On 35 minutes a crucial minute of play saw stand in keeper Pierre (who did a good job throughout) make a fine save from Centymca's best opportunity, Accies immediately broke in a flowing move the length of the pitch and Nat Keast's fine cross was met by an emphatic header from Roberts, a goal of high quality. All however was not done, the oppo were determined not to surrender meekly and showed great character to pressurise Accies, particularly from some prodigiously long throws and rattled our post moments before the half time whistle.

They came back out equally fired up and quickly gained a lifeline, (and a reward their efforts had deserved), as the ball was bundled home from close range when another long throw rained into the box. For a ten minute period Accies failed to raise their game physically or maintain possession and control through any quality passing. The visitors route one approach caused a few awkward moments and it took a fine 4th goal on 60 minutes to erase the furrows on the watching Lord Nugget's brow. Accies pressed on the left flank, Parsons drilled a low cross that was deftly flicked by Jennings into the top corner.

Fresh legs from Vaughan and Keast (A) were introduced to boost Accies as Centymca began to tire, and their shape became ragged as they chased the game. Our nap hand was duly completed on 70 minutes when Roberts finished from ten yards following further good work down the left channel from Parsons. Time was left for further Accies chances to go begging and a strong penalty shout turned down, but also for our rearguard to show their qualities.

All in a good afternoon's work against a useful side with several players Centymca 1s really ought to have a look at if they are struggling in the league. 5-1 flattered us a little, but another final beckons and we can look forward to the league run in with more confidence.

P.S A text from Vaughan arrived the following day noting a radiator 'loaded with shorts and socks' had been found in his house. Perhaps Roberts can sue though I suggest he doesn't act on his own behalf....

P.P.S I'm a firm believer the upper classes should put a little back into the society from which they've taken so much. Following the Easter break there's a nice bit of garden in Wimbledon that needs some work if Nugget is reading this and interested in helping out? A 'Mellors' role reversal , without any other action (of any type) of course.........

3rds Match Report from Scott Atkinson

The 3's were again forced to play a game with the bare 11 with the added handicap of James, Jeremy and Atkinson all nursing dodgy hamstrings. Not ideal for a game which would effectively decide the title. Albanian demonstrated in the home fixture that they were the best team in the league and having also beaten our 2's last season it was going to be difficult especially given the oppo 1st team had no game and their squad was not likely to have any weakness.

We knew that their biggest threat lay in the front 2 of Lenny and Sav and so it proved. Our back 4 had a torrid time especially the untried partnership of Jones and Tinling. In contrast Atkinson and Martelli were not able to pose any real threat against 2 quick fullbacks and a central pairing that saw Peely at his uncomplicated best and a giraffe like partner who even had a good first touch. A failure to tackle saw Albanian take the lead although they had earlier chances and more were to follow in quick succession with the oppo's only fault being composure in front of goal. Gradually, however we managed to play the bit of passing football and created a couple of half chances before Tinling reacted to a ball that was swung in after a corner and nodded the ball home. Albanian then regained the lead after some more bad defending and the writing appeared to be on the wall. Just before halftime a well worked move saw keeper Stewart fire against the post and the 3's went in with their tails up feeling they could nick something. The 2nd half started brightly but no chances were created and with Pugsy in goal presenting the only possible weak link it was a pity he was never tested.

Albanian were up for the game from the off and were first to the ball all over the pitch. The bobbly ground was not for playing football on and the oppo knew they only had to feed it forward to their danger men who would cause havoc either by good play or mistakes with the high bouncing ball. Our forwards couldn't do likewise and that was the difference. There was not much between the midfield a testament to our guys as James could hardly walk and Jeremy had to play within himself. The oppo worked very hard to deny space with even Buckley having toned down his highlights and matching that by toning down his usual fancy dan play and biting hard in the tackle.

2 late goals killed the game and the 3's were deservedly beaten by a better side. It was terribly disappointing for the 11 guys who did their best in such circumstances and there appeared to be a determination to ensure that the runners up spot will not slip from our grasp. MOM jointly (in the writers opinion) to Murden and Groves.

4ths Match Report from Ritchie Hinton

Yet another visit to Firs Lane, though this must be the first time weíve played there and not required thermals or waterproofs. I think itís also the first time weíve got changed in an asbestos-lined spider-infested coal shed too, but you canít win Ďem all. It was not ideal having to field a bare 11 with no substitutes available given the unusually hot conditions, but luckily everyone battled manfully on and we didnít pick up any injuries, so in the event it didnít really matter. And we had Ronaldinhoís body double on our side, so we feared no-one (I still donít believe you Max).

On a hard bobbly pitch, neither team started well and the level of play was average at best for long periods. Both teams appeared ponderous and wanted too many touches on the ball, and it was more like pinball than football for a while. It took a defensive mistake for the deadlock to be broken, with Rich Favell getting an unlucky bobble as he attempted a back-pass to Fox , leaving the opposition striker to round Fox and finish well to put Woodhouseians 1-0 up. Accies began to settle down and controlled the ball for long periods of play without really ever threatening, until Tony Locke was brought down on the edge of the box after a typically powerful surge, and Steve McConnell curled a beauty into the top left corner.

1-1 at half-time, and despite the less than impressive first half performance, Accies were confident that if they concentrate on doing the simple things well that our superior ability (!) would show through. That theory came a bit unstuck early on in the second half when the referee awarded Woodhouseians a penalty, harshly adjudging Locke too have pushed a striker in the back off the ball. No-one seemed more surprised than the opposition too be awarded the penalty, and no-one was more surprised that the Accies when Fox guessed right and made a great save to his right, holding onto the ball.

That seemed to be the turning point in the match, as Accies dominated the game from this point. Paul Bernard finished Van Nistelrooy-like from a right wing cross, darting in front of the defender too divert the ball home. Almost straight from the restart, Bernard notched his second and Accies third goal when an attempted defensive clearance was well charged down, leaving Bernard too coolly slot home.

Despite having two lively young strikers (one with an odd choice of a Dot Cotton blue rinse hairstyle), Woodhouseians had no response and a combination of the weight of a two-goal deficit and the warm conditions seemed to be too much for them.

Accies had all the possession, yet never really came to grips with the tricky surface, and didnít finally put an end to the game until on the stroke of full time when Locke got the goal that his efforts deserved, bursting forward to rifle home from 12 yards after an unintentional Matt Wanford dummy.

You canít play sexy samba football all the time, and itís a good sign when a team can Ďwin uglyí in difficult conditions. Overall, a well deserved win which sets Accies up for a promotion push.

5ths Match Report from Rob James

Requiring another 3 points to stay on track for snatching second place in the League, the 5ths completed their season's travels with a trip to Old Woods at Friern Barnet - a sixth consecutive away fixture. Fittingly, the Accies behaved a little like children subjected to a long tedious car journey, and maybe the Old Woods pitch was the decrepit grandparent awaiting them when they arrived (rather unkempt, unpredictable, and with too many wet patches for comfort). Whatever it was it certainly made us fractious in the warm sun.

Accies created first half chances, but were unable to to get a clean strike when openings occurred. Too often crosses were over hit, or players picked the wrong run or pass. Old Woods came to grips with the conditions much quicker. Realising that the ball was far more dangerous up pitch regardless of who had it, they started to stretch the Accies defence and cause plenty of problems. McConnell pulling out one great stop when a goal looked certain.

When half time came the game was scoreless and tension had set in amongst the players disappointed not to have made a better fist of things. The second half saw an marked improvement, as the Accies were more positive in defence and more watchful of the bobbling ball in all cases. Whitworth replaced the Coates, sore from a first half clash. More pressure was asserted, the Accies moving Kearney in to midfield, leaving a back three and the attempts got closer. Finally, the breakthrough came as a penalty was awarded for handball in a congested box, after continued Accies pressure. Andy Penfold confidently stepped forward, to score with a slightly mis-hit penalty that the keeper nearly deflected over. 

The Accies kept the heat on and Jubril headed home from close range to seal the result. Old Woods threatened on the break several times, but never quite looked like breaching the last line of defence.

Certainly not running quite like a well oiled machine, but the 5ths churned out another win and hopefully better for the experience, and with some confidence regained. Old Woods sporting throughout, capped the day with a fine fare of sausage and chips at the pub. Two more wins required from the final two games, both at Shenley. The 5ths season will be exciting to the end once again. 

Saturday 12th March

Albanian 1 Accies 1sts 2 (Mike Foster, Jon Houghton).

Old Meadonians 1 Accies 2nds 0.

Accies 3rds 2 (Chris James, Scott Atkinson) Old Actonians 0 (Matt Ramsden).

Ravenscroft Old Boys 2 Accies 4ths 7 (Max Lovell 2, Dave Anson 2, Paul Bernard, Jon Logie, Andy Watt).

Old Bealonians 1 Accies 5ths 2 (og, Dom Kearney).

Accies 6ths 1 (Bob Woad) Southgate County 2.

Mill Hill County Old Boys 3 Accies 7ths 1 (Pat Brien).

1sts Match Report from Jon Houghton

An important 3 points for the 1sts after 2 league draws in a row. It looked a tough fixture on paper, away to Albanian, and so it proved. 

The game started chaotically with nobody knowing which pitch the game would take place on and Neil Gillard arriving 3 minutes before KO following his now customary Friday night revelleries with the fairer sex. To say that Albanian adapted to a small bumpy pitch quicker than the Accies was an understatement when after about 40 seconds the Albanian centre forward went unchallenged on the left side of the box before arrowing a drive into the far corner leaving Saxby helpless. Last season, a set back like this would be fatal, but the Accies gradually regrouped and a couple of good chances went begging before Foster was brought down in the box from Carabine's through ball. Houghton converted the resultant penalty and Accies were in the ascendency. Shortly after the restart a pinball of passes between Jones, Houghton and Carabine enabled Foster to score at the far post to make it 2-1. 

The rest of the game was fairly even on a difficult pitch. Albanian had 2 further glorious chances in the last 15 minutes and Accies themselves hit the post from sub Jennings neat turn and shot. However 2-1 it stayed and a deserved victory with Accies just shading it. Not pretty, but effective and we need to be able to win on good pitches as well as bad, of which the latter continue to dominate this league. The Accies celebrated with a few beers in the oppo clubhouse (Thanks lads) and of course plentiful Walkers, as or course Accies love crisps. 

2nds Match Report from Danny Fewkes

It would be very easy to neglect my duty, put out a few flyers of 'Lost Report - Reward £20' and add further to the worrying trend among Amateur Football websites across the AFC and SAL in failing to report the bad news and leaving their readers with the impression that all is always well!

Accies suffered a significant knock back to our hopes of challenging Aloysians and Challenors for the available promotion slots with a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to an Old Meadonians team who were battling for survival, and played with a great deal of pride to avenge their defeat in the reverse league fixture. Accies had been in hibernation for two weeks and further shuffling of personnel on the day was required when Finch's partying lifestyle finally caught up with him. Combining these elements with a cold wind and a bobbly pitch, the setting was not ideal for free flowing pass and move football, but adapting to these types of hurdle are a pre-requisite for any side with promotion ambitions, and something we have shown we can do over the course of the last season and this one to date.

The game itself was no classic and asking a scribe such as myself to report on such is a bit like Fox asking Saxby to proffer advice on his goalkeeping game, when the likes of Nugget and the Turtle could quite adequately do the job.

Accies dominated territorially in the opening exchanges , and fired several crosses and freekicks into the opposition penalty box, but without ever seriously threatening Meads resolute rearguard. Our first decent passing move on 20 minutes worked a great chance for Parsons whose shot rolled agonisingly wide. This should have been the spur to move up a gear and seize control, but alas Meads seemingly greater desire to compete, earned reward, and they edged their way back into the game, winning a few tackles and pressurising upon any hesitancy shown by the Accies. A very scrappy goal was conceded on the half hour as we failed to effectively clear our lines and a half saved shot trickled agonisingly over the line. We soon responded with Vanson breaking into the box from the left channel, his shot from an angle was well saved by the keeper, but reached half time with all disappointed by our overall display.

Accies were aware the following 45 minutes could make or break the league campaign, and to be fair we set about Meads with a new vigour and greater purpose. Meads certainly retreated a little too far into their shell, often struggling to clear the ball and help relieve pressure by pushing midfielders forward (as they had done in the latter period of the first half) in support of their lone striker, who battled gamely throughout. This resulted in a 25 minute period of complete dominance, during which I'm not quite sure how an equaliser failed to arrive. Roberts' header crashed the underside of the bar and the bounce miraculously evaded Vanson, headers flew over from well placed positions, shots were blocked and crosses rained in, but all to no avail. Meads sensed our frustration and began to believe the day would yet yield the points which both sides needed. They gained a second wind and settled more comfortably for the final 15 minutes, during which they began to cause danger on the counterattack as we threw men forward, and missed a great chance of their own to seal the game in the dying moments. 

On many other days we could or should have left with a 2-1, 3-1 victory that would have been described as 'a workmanlike 3 points' but we have no real complaints as no individual's performance stood out as exceptional. Credit to Meads and the best of luck to them as their spirit earned the reward that should see them safe. Although Accies have been fortunate enough to earn a measure of success in recent times we should be careful of over analysis and finger pointing when defeat rears its head. All individuals should be aware we have to earn the right to play football whatever the occasion and first look to themselves to see how they can add a bit more. There is a great incentive to bounce back next week with a Cup Semi final and I believe we'll all be ready to go out and perform at our best. We have a talented squad that still has much to look forward to as we aim to finally win a cup and suffer no more slips ups in the league run in.

Finally, all the best to rivals Aloysians for the AFA Intermediate Cup final this Sat, a few of us may see some of them at the LOB Senior final in April when we can cast a critical eye over the standard of play!

3rds Match Report from Scott Atkinson

Accies 3's squeezed into their 4th cup final in 3 years after a tough encounter against Old Actonians. Actonians must be sick as a parrot having been dumped out at the same stage last season at their place and especially as they dominated the game for long periods. It was always going to be a struggle with the Accies down to the bare bones with no subs and the 2 strikers suffering from hamstring injuries. The list of absentees is too long to mention but the 11 players performed heroically with the back four and Super Harry standing out.

The usual slow start saw the oppo create 10mins of pressure and a succession of corners before glimpses of the Accies breakaway football indicated goals
were possible. Actonians played high up the pitch and their offside trap was nearly breached on several occasions with the defence receiving the benefit
of the doubt. Mines and Wagstaff tried to get hold of the ball in the centre of midfield but Actonians were still dominating possession as all too frequently clearances were only being returned with interest. A slip by Tickle nearly allowed the oppo to take the lead but the shot flew across the face of goal. Against the run of play the Accies took the lead after a neat move on the right saw Atkinson popping up in unfamiliar territory releasing the inspector gadget legs of "Del Gazelle" Fowler to bamboozle the defence with a trade mark dance and neat pass to James. His crisp finsh gave the keeper no chance.

Shortly afterwards Mines sprung the offside trap and had an opportunity to extend the lead but was unable to convert the one on one having clearly attended the Groves school of finishing. Actonians finshed the half the stronger and Ramsden did well in the air to clear crosses and corners. Super Harry also produced one of his world class saves deflecting a shot over the bar with his feet on his way to achieving a well deserved clean sheet.

The Accies knew that 45 mins of defensive concentration would see them through and that is exactly what was provided. Groves played deeper than one
thought was possible to tie up the right flank and the Tickle /Tinling combination were outstanding. The oppo did hit the bar and the right winger blazed over from close in but other than that for all their possession Actonians srtuggled to make any clear cut chances. The Accies threatend once or twice on the break with Black and Murden getting forward well. However, the match was sealed by a wonder goal from Atkinson. An Actonians corner was hoofed clear and helped on by James to his striking partner. The ball bounced once and recognising in a split second that the keeper was off his line and that there was no chance of him running half the length of the field, he struck the ball first time into orbit. It soared high travelling at great speed over the keeper's head and into the back of the net. "Ave it!". The exact distance is unconfirmed but Ramsden was heard suggesting 60 yards- he obviously doesn't know much about pitch dimensions. Nevertheless, it was a feat that perhaps only Pele, Beckham and Peter Kay could have matched and finshed Actonians off.

The game was played in a good spirit and credit should be given to Actonians who played very well and will probably feel they deserved to have at least
taken the tie into extra time. Hopefully, we will have the full squad available for the final.

League action next week and a chance to close the gap on leaders Albanian in a clash bewteen the top 2.

5ths Match Report from Rob James

Seeking 4 wins in the remaining 4 games to seal promotion, the 5ths travelled to Old Beals, who may have harboured similar aspirations.

The Accies looking dangerous in the opening periods, it was Beals who took the lead. Chris Slater winning the header under pressure from a long free-kick, only to direct it into the top corner leaving McConnell no chance. An unfortunate blot on another commanding performance at the back for Slats.

The Accies showed good composure, and immediately reapplied the pressure. Matt Redman delivering some dangerous balls from the right, Glynn from the left, yet the final touch was missing. It took Old Beals to provide the missing touch, Dom Kearney dancing (in a manly way) his way through the defence and his cross/shot deflecting in (deemed an own goal after lengthy debate).

A second soon followed to give the Accies a deserved lead. Mike Bailey called the play, standing Dom on the penalty spot - then hitting him with awesome long throw. Slightly contentious again, but this one was Dom's, his header sailing for high and handsome into the net.

The half time team talk suggested that if we remained patient, played good football, more goals would surely follow. We did, but they didn't. Numerous chances were created with some tidy football. Some good saves, good clearances, along with bad misses and bad luck meant the Accies did not complicate the skipper's addled brain with more goals for confuse. In defence the Accies kept Old Beals well away from goal, leaving McConnell to concentrate on avoiding the big puddle in the goal mouth. Age is a terrible thing.

Another win keeps the promotion charge going. Let's hope our luck in front of goal returns when required over the final games.

Saturday 5th March

Old Danes 2 Accies 1sts 2 (Jon Houghton, Gareth Jones).

Nottsborough 2 Accies 4ths 1 (Max Lovell).

Wood Green Old Boys 2 Accies 5ths 3 (Matt Glynn, Steve Brown, Dickie Smith).

4ths Match Report from Dan Willoughby

No BA Barracus style jabs were needed for the Accies 4th team, after all it's only a trip down to South London, though that'll be the difference 
between North and South.

Play was even for the first 15 mins, the Accies who were playing into the wind in the first half, made some promising moves through a slow defence. Though after 20 mins a corner taken by Nottsborough ended up in the  back of the net helped on by the wind, 1-0 down to a fluke goal is not  the best start in a cup tie, but credit was due to Nottsborough for the  2nd goal, a couple of well worked passes and bang 2-0.

Then one of the classic moments of the day.. after going 2-0 up a chant from the oppositions sidelines was "let's get 5 before half time and kill this game off", "you're blinding me with your skill and passing" however the only thing blinding from the oppositions midfield was the orange glow from Dale Winton's brother (like I said north and south) I think the comment may have even embarrased the home team as they didn't seem to be able to replicate anything of the same throughout the rest of the half and as half time came 2-0 was the scoreline.

The team talk revolved around 'get an early goal' and were right back in this, true to our word the early goal came, a carbon copy of the earlier Nottsborough goal, with Max Lovell calmly slotting home from 8 yards out, following a run and slide through pass from Steve McConnell. This only spurred the Accies on and penned the home team back on there own 18 yard box, something I think Notts were glad off though as this meant less running for the home side, to say some of the oppo looked tired would be polite of us. The Accies changed things round with 20mins to go and the substitution 
should have brought the goal that we deserved, another well worked move opened up the defence again and saw Logie free on the right, two options in his mind, shoot or lay off to Max, he went for the latter which in terms of our team talk was the right option but a toe end from the defender saw it cleared before Max could get a chance to slot home (their goalie being in no-mans land at this point).

Again credit to Nottsbrough though, they must have practiced last ditch defending and whilst we had the opportunities to draw level it just wasn't happening for us. As full time approached the Accies still tried to bag the 2nd and take the game to extra time, but with the Nottsborough team relying on the old classic of 'if in doubt boot it out' the policy eventually worked for them.

Hats off to Nottsborough they won the game - end of, though this is perhaps one of those years when all of Accies 4's will be routing for 'Old Stationers' in the final - no offence mind.

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