U.C.L. Academicals Football Club

(The Accies)

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2004-05 Results - November

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Saturday 27th November

Accies 1sts 3 (Neil Gillard, Ned Carabine, Gareth Jones) Old Wokingians 0 (Dan Saxby).

Latymer Old Boys 1 Accies 3rds 6 (Phil Stewart 3, Gio Martelli 2, Chris James).

Old Wilsonians 4 Accies 4ths 5 (Dan Willoughby 3, Si Valentine, Matt Field).

Accies 5ths 4 (Matt Redman, Graham Whitworth, Steve Brown, Matt Glynn) Old Woodhouseians 0 (Ethu Crorie).

Accies 6ths 8 (Jeff Mensah 3, Hugh Carling 3, Chris Phillips, Andy Penfold) Latymer Old Boys 0 (Danny McConnell).

Accies 7ths 3 (James Liang 3) Old Minchendeians 2.

Optimists 1 Old Aloysians 1.

1sts Report from Mark McGuigan: 

After beating Wokingians away the week before, UCL Academicals entertained them this week and saw some major changes in the opposition line up. A number of young players from the Wokingians 2nd team were drafted in and performed very well in a hard fought and entertaining game. The first 20 minutes were close with the visitors enjoying more possession, but it was the home side who broke the deadlock after 20 minutes with a Neil Gillard (aka the Loving Lemon) header from a Rick Hirst free kick. This gave the home side more confidence, and they were in control for the rest of the game, although the visitors never stopped competing. Second half goals were added by Gareth Jones after coming on as a substitute and finishing a fine move, and Ned Carabine for the second week running. Accies could have scored a few more and Dan Saxby was never troubled, protected by a strong home defence in which Innis was impirrious.

4ths Report from Dan Willoughby:  

One minute gone and the Accies are a goal up! a free kick from Steve McConnell into the box, was met by Dan Willoughby's head to loop the ball over the keeper into the far corner. Then we sat back and thought this would be a stroll in the park and stopped playing, gifting Wilsonians two easy goals and within 25mins we were 2-1 down.

This kicked us into action and the last 20mins were all Accies, attacking from both flanks, and creating many chances though none really clear cut. Eventually though Si Valentine collected the ball on the edge of the box, beat two players and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner. 2-2 at half time.

The team talk revolved around that fact that if we start the second half like the end of the first this game is ours and all we needed was a quick goal to settle us down. One minute gone in the second half and another goal for Dan Willoughby, Si Valentine scrambling the ball across the goal mouth and Dan Willoughby bundling the ball over the line, not the prettiest of goals but they all count, 3-2 to the Accies. With the Accies playing some decent football, switching play from one side to the other on a big pitch, we started to stretch the play and our 4th goal came on the hour mark, a half cleared ball fell to Matt Field for him to dink the ball into the net over the keeper. At this point the Accies could sense a bit of a goal rout, but a defensive error allowed Wilsonians to shoot from long range and then a  handling error allowed then to force a goal back, 4-3. Once again though the Accies established a 2 goal lead with Steve Hayes doing everything but beat the keeper but at his second chance he laid the ball off for Dan Willoughy to slot home his 3rd and the Accies 5th. After this point we had a further 5 clear one on one chances but either the keeper or the woodwork prevented the Accies from scoring any more. Then with 10 mins to go, a superb own goal volley into the roof of the net from Andy Tickle gave Wilsonaians a hope of a draw and forcing extra time, but 5-4 the score remained and we're through to the next round.

A typical cup tie and entertaining if nothing else.

5ths/6ths Report from Danny McConnell: 

None of the 6ths can write it seems (or like everything else, assume Bobby will sort it out!), so this may be the only match report of the season. With Pete Clothier's knee failing to survive Friday lunchtime (so he claims) the Turtle found himself dropped two teams in one week (more would have been deserved after last week's howler), as the resurgent 6ths faced Latymer Old Boys, and in need of league points.

From the very start this was a mismatch. Latymer were young, keen but in need of structure and organisation, and the Accies quickly built a two goal lead, with the strike force of Mensah and Carling (how's that for a confused Friday night out) looking dangerous at every turn. Jeff notched three before half time, and towards the end tried some sort of behind the leg flip that might have led to a lost ball and painful surgery, and Hugh added one as well as Chris Phillips scoring after his hundredth shot from distance. Andy Penfold, deadly in the 5ths from 6 inches and useless from other distances contrived to miss from a foot and score from 25 yards. At the back the defence was dominant and the Accies led 6-0 at half time.

At this point yours truly substituted himself, which had multiple benefits. Jeff moved into goal and any risk of embarrassing surgery ended, as well as Scott owing me some beers come Christmas (another golden boot rival nobbled), yours truly didn't have to risk hypothermia and Chris didn't have to worry about who to take off (few volunteers at 6-0 up). I was therefore able to return to the 5ths, where Rob ignored me as a substitute so took the opportunity to cuddle Ruth on the sideline (Chairman's perk) and offer Dom helpful tips to reduce his "in-game" stress levels via humour. This may need more work.

Credit should go to Latymer - they never resorted to silliness despite the scoreline and kept trying to play football, and in the second half had much more of the game and acquitted themselves well.

7ths Report from Sam Samra:

In the past 6 months the 7's have played Minch 3 times, scored 23 goals and conceded 0. Far too many players arrived at Shenley on Saturday expecting a
very easy game and a rugby score victory.

The opening 45 mins provided a rude awakening. Pathetic is a very kind way of describing the Accies performance in the first half. Countless midfielders and defenders made lazy attempts at tackles, watched people go past them (with and without the ball) and were content to point at team mates in the hope that they would get them out of trouble. The Accies were lucky to go in at half time only 2-1 behind and the only player to come out of the half with any credit was James Liang who broke the Minch off side trap just past the half way line, sprinted through on goal and produced a very smart finish to give the goalie no chance.

Not much of what followed during the half time break is printable on such a family focussed web site. Suffice it to say that one of the 6's who were playing on the next pitch said "We didn't bother having a team talk as we couldn't hear a word anyone was saying because of your tirade."

The Accies were certainly better in the second half, although they would have struggled to get worse. A combination of more ball won in midfield and
a tactical switch to isolate the ageing Minch defenders against James Liang's blistering pace eventually paid dividends with two further goals from James guaranting him the most obvious man of the match award yet this season.

The 7's maintained their 100% start to the season but will be disappointed to have conceded their first league goals and will certainly have to lift their game several notches for tougher games in the coming weeks.

Saturday 20th November

Old Wokingians 1 Accies 1sts 3 (Dan Chantler, Jon Delaney, Ned Carabine).

Accies 2nds 5 (Kieron Jennings 2, Matt Jones, Matt Field, Ian Roberts) Old Woodhouseians 0 (Jorge Fernandez).

Old Aloysians 3 Accies 4ths 3 (Max Lovell 2, Iain Wagstaff).

Old Cholmelians 1 Accies 5ths 5 (Matt Redman 2, Dom Kearney 2, Paul Campbell).

Ravenscroft Old Boys 0 Accies 6ths 4 (Jeff Mensah 3, Dino Antoniades).

Old Finchleians 3 Accies 7ths 4 (aet, Matt Styant 2, Phil Harden, Dom Mignon).

1sts Report from Mark McGuigan: 

A solid victory for the Accies on a freezing day in Surrey. Snow was falling when the referee delayed kick-off in order to have dog excrement removed from the field of play, hopefully a sign that no more would be witnessed during the following 90 minutes. The home side started strongest, but the visitors were always assured at the back and dangerous on the break. The opening goal came from a corner on the right, when Dan Chantler headed his first goal in living memory after Ned Carabine had strongly challenged the keeper. Carabine then added a second after a typical Accies breakaway, sliding in with his left foot after good work from Rick Hirst and Mike Foster. The second half saw the visitors extend their lead after an
instinctive cross from Man of the match Carabine allowed Jon Delaney to swoop at the far post. The home side fought back in the last 15 minutes and
forced a goal back but the result was never really in doubt.

2nds Report from Danny Fewkes: 

The 2's selection board of two met in Balham on Wednesday night with much to consider for the LOB Cup tie: with Crotty away stealing hubcaps; Jenkins back in the valleys ; Finch walking his whippet, this left Foster (T) as the side's only serious 'footballing technician' and a new kick and rush game plan based purely on perspiration and not inspiration required. Far more serious was the absence of goalkeeping aristocrat Lord Nugget, required away in Woking at a job interview for a higher level of football. With Ramsden absent recuperating from over squeaking with excitement from his previous weeks clean sheet, and Jorge Fernandez AWOL, my wife included the item "The possible return of the Accies veteran 'animal' goalkeepers" in Any Other Business. The wisdom of Solomon was clearly required, but given the expected cold weather, it was decided the 'Turtle' may have taken too long to adapt to the conditions and the 'Fox' had pulled some fat in his back and groin, so all was well when contact was finally made with our nomadic Spaniard.

Given our fine league performance against Woods 1's two weeks previously, Accies were in confident mood but did start a little slowly and for a short while were guilty of a few misplaced passes, dwelling on the ball and losing a few headed flick-ons . These incidents did however serve their purpose in reminding us that there was an important cup game to win and Woods were soon cut open by a slick passing move to release striker Jennings whose chipped finish was eventually scrambled clear. The first goal arrived from a similar move to free Jennings, Field's strong supporting run was well rewarded as a square cut back was wisely selected and eased by Field into the gaping net. 

A ten minute period of intense pressure was rewarded with the second goal as Woods keeper finally claimed the ball from a goalmouth melee , but followed up with a premature and poor clearance which dropped to Jennings just outside the box. The chest down and volley back gave Accies a lead that was unlikely to be threatened. The third came from the head (at least back of it!) of debutant Jones after good work from Foster (T) on the left, and the fourth was Jennings' second as he sprung the offside trap courtesy of an 'exquisite' midfield pass and accelerated away to round the keeper and side foot home.

4-0 at half time , and now the bad news.............

I apologise profusely but he's at it again. The buffoon Roberts has eagerly snapped up the 'guest' column in the report for the second game running, and picks up the story very early in the second half , in his own inimitable style.

"... with good work from Terry resulting in an early cross into the box towards danger man Roberts. The ball was whipped in with pace at an awkward height and asked a difficult question of Roberts, a man whose ability to score with the head has surprised all this season. Leaping like a Salmon, Roberts met the ball with the lethal precision of a Mongolian war lord. The keeper dived in vain but the accuracy of the header was unquestionable and the ball nearly broke the back of the net as it flashed in to take the Accies into a clear lead. An important goal scored at an important time by an important player whose versatility in attack is a thing of rare beauty. What odds on a 25 yarder next week to show he has every trick in the book? You wouldn't bet against it." - Will nobody contribute to save us from the ramblings of this half wit??

Following the crucial intervention mentioned above, we actually then lost our way a little, letting the game become stretched and taking the route one option on too many occasions. We lost some definition of the differing roles required in the middle of the park ; the strikers lost a bit of edge and awareness and were getting caught offside, and given we weren't going to troubled by pace at the back, possibly could have played a little higher up the pitch. All good lessons to think about for future weeks, but credit certainly should be given to the spirit shown by Woods who maintained their organisation but crucially raised the levels of aggression in their game, worked and competed extremely hard. 

Having acknowledged that, we could and should have added to our tally as Roberts hit the post twice in a minute and Foster was scythed down from behind just outside the area when clean through, but that was it and now an away match at Latymer beckons as we will bid for a quarter final slot.

5ths Report from Matt Redman: 

This was about the first time all the lads turned up on time despite the pitches being hidden amongst fields off some one-track lane in the middle of nowhere. Typically it was freezing and the changing rooms were not open. This was a re-shaped side with all our regular strikers away (Graham & Hugh on international duty staging it in Barcelona - has anyone heard from the stag?), which saw Scott Atkinson step in to help us out and yours truly take a turn up front. Having failed to notch all season I was pleased to get the chance. I'm not sure Matt Glynn was too happy to find himself out on the left in my place - leaving his familiar role of central midfield. This was pretty clear after kick-off when he continually pop-up all over the park - although with great affect backed by our efficient defending mopping up - total football! 

It was long before we started to move the ball around neatly and with threat despite the poor surface. The first opportunity fell to Scott who worked his way into the box beating the defenders and keeper only to be foiled by a large and very sticky patch of mud. A big let off for the hosts but this gave us a boost and we continued to attack with great link up play with Whyman, Paul, Matt and Scott on the left, Dom surging through the middle and Kid and Gary linking well with sharp passing cutting through their defence whilst Carl and Slater quickly broke up any threat Cholmeleians posed. One such move from Kid and Gary led to a great ball up the line from Kid and after some quick feet (yes I said quick) from me I dummied the defender which allowed me to get down the wing and cross to Scott who chested well and released a great shot that the 6ft"6 keeper did well to reach. The next time Scott shot the keeper just could not hold onto it and Paul "Goal Machine" Campbell popped up to bury the lose ball. 1-0, much deserved and half time. 

Second Half: We started where we left of with lots of great movement a quick interchanges of the ball, which led to a great chance for me to get my first goal. Taken on the left boot, flicked up onto the right to pop it passed the on coming keeper.... if only I'd timed my run better to do the pass justice -sorry Dom! Offside and goal scratched. Another surge from Dom took it to 2-0 after Scott slid a ball in behind me but I could move my legs quickly enough and inadvertently set up Dom after it rebounded off my calf. Dom just couldn't stop, the next attack saw us swamp Chomlmeleians goal but with it looking like we'd over complicated things and heading towards the by-line, Dom cut back a shot from an acute angle to beat the keeper for his second and our third - we were cruising. Not so! They had some handy players and from a lose ball hit a shot so sweetly from distance it gave Lee no chance in goal. Lee had up to then had been dealing well with the conditions and we had looked like getting our first clean sheet of the season. 3-1...not another slip up please! 

Time to test my new boots and the offside again. Lots of top notch passing through the middle and I was released, all I needed to do was hold off the two defenders, pick my spot past the 6ft"6 (yes I will mention that again) and slot it low to the right to get our 4th. Well chuffed! 4-1.

Time for the substitution. Rob came on for the Terrier (Paul) bringing Glynn into the centre and Rob onto the right, Kid to left wing. It wasn't long until Kid got as much joy down the left as he had on the right and put me in for a first time shot from outside the box curling into the top right to beat the on rushing keeper -sweet finish!!!. 5-1

Was there one more goal left in us? Step up Rob for surely his first goal in 7 years! Rob launched forward passing accurately into my feet for me to flick a pass over the defender and was then beautifully trapped on the chest by Rob...could this be goal of the season??? nail it...the defender came back at Rob forcing him to attempt to use the outside of his right to flick it goal wards...and the defender must have got an important and hefty touch as the ball flew wildly out to the left to go out for a throw in. It just wasn't to be! 

Final Score 5-1 and a great team performance. The 5ths go marching on. Could we make amends for the disastrous Cup final of 2 seasons ago? Bring it on!

7ths Report from Sam Samra: 

When the velvet bag at FA headquarters dealt the 7's a tough away trip to Old Finchelians in the AFA Cup the question on the lips of many pundits was could they cope without the inspiration, speed, athleticism, stamina and sublime touch of their talismanic leader Spencer Gore. Somehow on this occasion those who normally assist the Gore roadshow managed to scrape to victory without the old warrior.

The Accies started the game stronger and were rewarded after 15 mins when a neat through ball from Matt Styant gave Dom Mignon a one on one with the
goalie. Dom showed that he has learnt a thing or two playing next to Spenny and slotted the ball effortlessly into the corner of the net. 5 mins later and it was 2-0. Sameer Patel bounded down the left wing showing Gore-esque pace and cut the ball back for Matt Styant to rifle in from 10 yards.

Unfortunately complacency bred from some recent easy games and the lack of a front man with Gore's ability to hold up the ball prevented the Accies
from killing off the game and meant they absorbed more and more pressure as the half wore on. A 30 yard curler (straight from the Gore scrap book) and
a free header (from the man Spenny would have been marking) put Finch back on level terms with their tails up at half time.

Under normal circumstances the Accies would have been picked up from the floor and sent back out into the fray refreshed and raring to go like a pack of hungry lions after a monumental and moving Gore team talk. Instead they got a rather lame 5 minutes from Samra. In the words of Gareth Southgate "we were expecting Winston Churchill and instead we got Ian Duncan Smith".

Into the second half and Finch made it 3-2 despite strong defensive work from Pat and Raman. Gradually the Accies fought their way back into the game and shouts of "Lets do it for Spenny" pushed everyone beyond their normal limits. After a number of near misses and time running out Matt Styant got his second to put the Accies back on level terms and cement his place as man of the match.

Into extra time and there were chances for both teams including nervous moments when Tom Lloyd reminded us of Spencer in his pomp with 2 good saves from the Finch strikers. Just a penalties looked inevitable Old Phil embarked on a mazy run, beat 3 players and smashed a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards. He was however lucky not to be booked after lifting his shirt over his head to reveal his vest with "We love Spenny" scrawled on it.

In summary its a good job Spencer is back next week.

Saturday 13th November

Hale End Athletic 1 Accies 1sts 3 (Mike Foster 2, Gareth Jones).

Accies 3rds 2 (Kieron Jennings, Phil Christer) Mill Hill County Old Boys (Matt Ramsden).

Accies 4ths 11 (Max Lovell 5, Dan Willoughby 2, Danny Fewkes, Jon Logie, Paul Thomas, Dave Atthis) Mill Hill Village 0 (Steve Woodrow).

Accies 5ths 4 (Graham Whitworth 4) Old Bealonians 4.

Old Minchendenians 0 (Spencer Gore) Accies 7ths 9 (Spencer Gore 2, Sameer Patel 2, James Liang 2, Phil Harden, Joe Coquelin, Dom Mignon).

1sts Report from Jon Houghton: 

The 1st team progressed in the AFA cup thanks to a 3-1 win over league rivals Hale End. Accies started comfortably and Foster should have opened the scoring from 8 yards following an excellent 6 man move, but the keeper saved with his feet.

Foster made amends 5 minutes later when he connected with Delaney's cross. The ball took a slight deflection which was enough to steer the ball past the Hale End keeper. Shortly afterwards Foster again made no mistake with a vicious drive into the top corner after good work from Hirst on the right. Just before half time Accies made it 3 when Gillard's perseverance paid off and he managed to push the ball on to Houghton. Houghton's square ball across the box found Jones free on the left to coolly slot home.

Hale End made a fight of it in the second half gambling on pushing men forward and it paid off with a well taken goal despite Saxby's initial excellent save. Accies had a few more half chances but saw the game out well . Another brave save from Saxby thwarted Hale End in the last minute and it ended 3-1. 
The 1sts are getting back in the winning habit but will need to be on form to beat league newcomers Wokingians next week.

3rds Report from Adam Parsons: 

The first round of the 2004/05 LOB Cup brought the visit of the North 4 joint leaders to home of the reigning champions. The Accies were hoping for a goal glut against a team several divisions below them, but after 2 demoralising defeats in previous weeks confidence was at an all-time low and the avalanche of goals never materialised against an unambitious Mill Hill County side.

The Three's went into the break just 1-0 up despite dominating possession. The goal was scored after on-loan striker Jennings neatly turned his man and squared the ball to the back post where Christer finished with great aplomb, side-footing the ball back where it came from to nestle snugly into the bottom corner. It was a well-taken goal but the opposition were left a bit bewildered by the celebrations from the northerner - little did they know it was almost 2 decades in the making. The Accies continued to dominate and could and should have finished the game off before half-time, hitting the woodwork twice.

The second half saw the goalscorer replaced by James and Waggy also entered the fray in the centre of midfield. Waggy brought some much needed composure to the game and James added some pace and craft on the right side of midfield.

On several occasions James threatened to undo the County defence with some clever wingplay. His efforts were eventually rewarded when a defence-splitting pass from Jeremy left James to square for Jennings to tuck home the second and finally kill off the visitors. The Irish leprechaun got what he deserved after setting up the first and being a constant thorn in the County defence.

Although is was not the awe-inspiring, free-flowing football of a few weeks ago the defensive partnership of Tinling and Martelli was a definite positive to take from the game. The Swiss banker was particularly impressive in his new role. Although he lacks the natural pace to keep up with the sprightliest strikers, Martelli's reading of the game was reminiscent of the great Franco Baresi, which more than made up for his deficit in the pace department.

4ths Report from Dan Willoughby (late arrival due to "a bathroom emergency at home" - sad when they get to this stage): 

This week's opposition started the game well organised and up for the challenge and it wasn't long before the 'Fox' had to pull off yet another top class save from a long range shot, this was the kick start the Accies needed and eventually with 20mins on the clock the goals started to come, far too many to mention (or remember) but 5 goals from Max Lovell, 2 for Dan Willoughby, and goals from Dave Atthis, Paul Thomas, Danny Fewkes and a belter from Jon Logie sealed a comfortable 11 - 0 win.

The only downer for the day was Danny Fewkes breaking his nose under circumstances I have been asked not to reveal, but lets just say it was not a elbow, head, foot or leg that did the damage, but some other part of the body, but fair play to him, he still managed about 6 pints after the game for medicinal purposes of course.

5ths Report from Graham Whitworth: 

NOT AGAIN! The 5ths managed to drop another 2 points in the last 5 minutes of a match, this time against what became the 10 men of top of the table Old Beals. However, unlike last week, there were a number of positives to be taken from this match, most notably the fighting spirit seen through all last season.

The first half saw the Accies playing up the slope and into a blinding sun which made life very difficult for the back 4 in particular. We started slowly, as always, and conceded a sloppy first goal following a short corner which was bundled into the net. Then the Accies came back into the match, as Glynn and Campbell started to control the central midfield and the width and channels of the pitch were used well. Good off the ball running from Redman, Coates, Brown and Whitworth started to open up the Beals defence and then a quality through ball from Dom sent Whitworth through one on one with the keeper. The chance was taken and we were back on level terms. Shortly after, Glynn was impeded in the box and the Accies were awarded a just penalty and the opportunity to go ahead just as Old Beals were starting to argue amongst each other. However, Kid must have thought he was playing right back and struck a superbly weighted back pass to the keeper who must have felt sorry for him as he decided to palm it out and make the strike look better than it actually was! No joy on the rebound and Old Beals lifted their heads for the remainder of the half, scoring 2 goals before the interval and taking a 3-1 lead.

The half time team talk from skipper Rob, while Danny calmed down a very wound up Chris Slater (admittedly wound up by Danny's Lord Cardigan impression for the third goal), saw the game turn on its head. We were told not to panic, play our game as we know we can and we'll get back into the match. Orders were followed, playing with the slope and the sun at our backs, the Accies dominated the second half. We were solid at the back, played some great football, and the team's efforts were rewarded as we drew level at 3-3. Matt Glynn and Matt Redman helping Graham Whitworth to his hat-trick. Old Beals were really falling apart now and reduced to 10 men. Old Beals lost their best player following some dreadful verbal abuse of the ref. The same Old Beals midfielder then decided to impersonate Paolo Di Canio, by pushing the ref in the back and then dancing around the pitch, fists raised to the ref, as if he was Prince Naseem. This may sound funny, it certainly wasn't, it was an absolute disgrace and fortunately, all credit to him, the ref was not too shaken up to abandon the game. 

Then came the push for the winner. and (we thought) it duly came. Steve Brooon, laid it off to Whitworth who lashed in the fourth. 5 mins to go, playing against 10 men, surely we could hold on this time at 4-3 up. But no, Old Beals broke down our left, stuck in a cross, they stuck it in the net, and we walked off slightly downbeat. At half time and 3-1 down, I think most of us would have been happy with a point, but having played so well in the second half and the 3 points within our grasp, it was an anti-climatic end to a great game of football marred by one very unsavoury incident.

Saturday 6th November

Accies 1sts 3 (Neil Gillard 2, Rick Hirst) Old Sedcopians 1.

Old Woodhouseians 0 (Mark Dawson) Accies 2nds 5 (Nat Keast 2, Ian Roberts, Terry Foster, Kieron Jennings).

Hale End Athletic 4 Accies 3rds 1 (Scott Atkinson).

Accies 4ths 5 (Paul Bernard 2, Tony Locke, Paul Thomas, Chris Wall) Ravenscroft Old Boys 2.

Accies 5ths 0 Old Actonians 4.

Mill Hill County Old Boys 5 Accies 6ths 0.

Optimists 1 (Calvin Lloyd) Phoenix Old Boys 2.

2nds Report from Danny Fewkes: 

After last week's disappointing performance (if not result), Accies regrouped in the palatial changing facilities at Firs Farm, designed in Bethlehem some 2004 years ago, and were made aware of some of the basics that were expected to be evidenced during the course of the afternoons game. It was good to see a much improved display with most a yard quicker in thought and movement. Accies start was fairly positive using the width to cause problems on both flanks and the defence were consistently first to the ball to regain possession. Keast blazed over (blaming a deceptive bounce) and Crotty's fine turn gave himself a great chance from close range which was pushed wide. It was no surprise the Accies took the lead half way through the period when a low drilled rightwing cross was stroked home with ease by Foster (T) who is starting to look the part. The lead (and Fosters tally) should have shortly been doubled, as ,with perhaps a little too much composure shown, another close range finish was blocked on the line by a defender with the keeper stranded. The accompanying yelps for handball indicated a possible excuse. The 1-0 half time lead was not quite the reward we could have had and a touch frustrating.

Our hosts gave warning that more work would still be needed to secure a comfortable victory as within a minute of the restart a free kick in a wide position was fired dangerously across the goalmouth. Any fears were soon eased as Woods pressed the self destruct button; a wayward pass and some slack defending enabled the tenacious Nat Keast to break into the box, his first touch caused consternation (but not surprise) among the watching Accies as the ball was pushed a little wide, but the finish (which caused surprise, but not consternation) was emphatic.

Let us take a quick break and allow this column to be used by some of the unwashed masses to have their say. This week it will be the mouthpiece of Ian Roberts, a simple man with simple style and thoughts, no appreciation of the subtler arts of football and certainly no walking advert for democracy. The game was effectively sealed on 57 mins by the man whose prose (which makes no mention of another opportunity that went begging) you are about to suffer......

"Roberts, continuing his hard work, chased down the goal keeper for the umpteenth time and finally got his reward for a fantastic display of how a traditional number 9 should play. Entering into a challenge which the keeper was always favorite (sic) to win, Roberts gave the keeper "the eyes" before driving into the tackle with the power of a force 9 gale. The goal keeper never stood a chance as Roberts won the challenge with such ferocity that, from just outside the box, the ball flew into the far corner of the goal, as if being carried along by a hurricane Roberts had himself generated. Another contender for goal of the season. The Accies really were finishing in style...."

In truth the best was actually yet to come, as a magnificent 22 yard right foot volley from Keast ended a flowing move (Woods may never realise how unlucky they could be) for the fourth. This was a fitting reward for Keast's try, try and try again attitude to shooting that has caused several Micro light and small plane crashes in the South Herts and North London areas in recent years. Last season's top UCL student striker Jennings had come on for his first Accies 2004-05 season appearance and demonstrated great pace and good movement to show he'll be a real asset for the top Accies sides. He duly completed our nap hand with a composed finish, Crotty then hobbled off and the Accies were left to run out time with ten men. Woods hadn't given up and forced Dawson to make a couple of fine saves before the final whistle blew.

The last words will be deserved praise to a defence that had performed admirably, consistently cleanly winning possession to give the midfield a platform to play. Of course no names allowed as it is a team game.

P.S Special thanks to the defenders via a congratulatory call from a 'Mrs Dawson of Sunningdale', whose washing machine had seen much wear and tear midweek, but for the first time in 8 weeks didn't have to wash her son's soiled sheets of a Sunday morning.

3rds Report from Gio Martelli: 

The match started very well for the Accies, managing to put some pressure on the opposition with Steve dominating left hand side, Simon and Blincoe closing up well in defence and Ed running his usual marathon. Soon enough the Accies scored with usual suspect,
Atkinson, being the final target of perfect cross. Five minutes later the Accies could have doubled the score with a penalty that was never awarded by a referee who missed the 30 stone keeper chopping Gio's legs. The first half finishes with a couple of warning shots by the opposition, but the Accies managed to defend a 1-0 lead without too many trouble.

During half time Gio Martelli spoke a couple of words of wisdom: "Guys the aim of the day is to come out of the pitch without any broken leg...do not tackle if it is a 50-50...". And for the first time the Accies did follow his words...! The second half was poor in all areas with the strikers unable to transform the couple of chances that were created (Atkinson not transforming a 1-1 with a rather static keeper...), the midfielders unable to close down the opposition (Adam probably went out again on the piss and run out of steam fairly quickly) and the defence felt under huge pressure when a rather quick and skillful player started wondering around Blincoe and Simon. They therefore managed to open up huge spaces from which to create many chances and eventually scored 4 times. 

We are generally a rather calm squad...but I really cannot wait to see them in Shenley with a strong referee and show them what we can do.

4ths Report from Jon Logie: 

Cool heads (mostly) and cool finishing saw the Accies 4ths come through a tough test against a team who acted like they had spent the previous night partying with Adrian Mutu. From the opening three minutes it was clear that Ravenscroft would not be contending this year's fair play award - a van Nistelrooy-like lunge on Tony Locke and a subsequent tirade from sidelines were both to become common features in a particularly unpleasant match.

An early scuffle involving the Accies' Dave Atthis and the opposition's skipper saw them both booked, and 10 minutes later a harsh yellow card again for Atthis for shirt pulling reduced the Accies to ten men. This decision so incensed the opposition left back that he argued himself into a red card and evened the score. The football, which had so far not played a prominent part in proceedings, emerged when Jon Logie curled in a corner from the left, which Chris Wall claimed to have got a few hairs on before it nestled in the top corner. This settled the team, and against an increasingly irate opposition, the Accies started to dominate. Logie curled a free kick against the post and Max Lovell hit the same post five minutes later, before a perfectly weighted through ball from Tony Locke picked out Barndoor to make it 2-0.

Ravenscroft grabbed a lifeline two minutes before the break when a mis-hit free kick sailed over Fox's head and into the far corner. The second half started with more non-football related action and the opposition trying to intimidate the Accies and the ref. It was not long before Ravenscroft were down to nine men, with the offending player having to be restrained from 'pursuing matters further' with the referee.

Victory seemed assured as space emerged all over the pitch, but slack marking from a corner saw the nine men draw level. However nerves were calmed with 15 minutes to go by a goal of the season contender from Paul Thomas. Logie's corner from the right picked out Thomas who volleyed it spectacularly into the goal. That settled the team once more and goals from Tony Locke and a converted penalty from Barndoor meant that the final score read 5-2 to the Accies.

A good win, but a game that will be remembered for the poor spirit in which it was played and one or two individuals from the opposition who were intent on disrupting the referee and ourselves. The remainder of the team were often embarrassed by the behaviour of their team-mates and conducted themselves in a commendable way, and after the game all involved were amicable. However it was gratifying to see the Accies keep their cool, not get involved and emerge with an important three points.

5ths Report from Danny McConnell: 

It's hard to draw positives from this game. The closest parallel is the AFA Cup Final a couple of seasons ago, when against an older side the Accies froze on the day and never played. Much the same here, though only four survivors so fairly irrelevant (but who cares, and at my age I do well to remember anything), with a quality Actonians side taking the initiative from the word go and never surrendering it. The Accies had younger legs and a spacious Shenley pitch in their favour, but never made them tell.

Actonians were up for this, from the early arrival, to the serious warmup with the team jogging across the pitch ("we don't do this every week" one confided, and it was noticeable how their skipper only did half the distance whilst shouting at the others to do it properly!). The writing was on the wall from the first five minutes, which Actonians spent camped in the Accies half. The first goal came after fifteen minutes, when a towering header from a corner was blocked on the line by Matt Redman. Three months ago it'd've been no big deal, Matt had "summered" so well the ball would have hit his beer gut and come out, alas he's lost weight since then and it needed an arm. Sadly, this doesn't apply for the Turtle and whilst guessing right on the penalty wasn't quick enough to reach it.

Nonetheless, against a slight breeze and slope, 1-0 down at half-time wouldn't have been a disaster, but ten minutes before Actonians stretched the lead to two, constant pressure on the Accies defence creating a loose ball that was buried for a 2-0 lead.

Halftime was positive, and if we could hang in who knows what the last twenty minutes would bring. Details such as our clear inability to even create a chance were glossed over, and quite right too! The second half followed much the same pattern, with Actonians looking the more likely to score throughout. The third goal came from a corner (yet again) and a header that would've been cleared by E2 off the line was half saved giving an Actonian the chance to bury the second ball. It's a cruel game.

Fifteen minutes to go, 3-0 down. Rob had a plan, but this was usurped by Danny's "we must to do something, this is something, we must do this". Plan Z was to go to 3-4-3, throw caution to the wind, and bring on 7th team super-defender Sam Samra as a sweeper to ensure the denuded defence was rock solid whilst the Accies poured forward. That would be the Sam Samra who within 30 seconds had the tough decision of hoof a ball out of play or lay a backpass under pressure back to the keeper. Or fall flat on his arse and let the striker score. So much for Plan Z.

Little was left for the Accies, except a particularly pathetic V-sign from vice-skip Coates (to the author, he disagreed on the "box-to-box" suggestion in five seconds with 85 minutes left and a particularly good refereeing performance. In the end the game came down to better players and good off the ball running, the tracking of which the 5ths have yet to master this season. Time to concentrate on the league (again).

 

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