Thursday, 31 July 2014
Loony Toon-Strike Clinches Town Win
Chelmsley Town 2-1 Pilkington XXX
This was a hard fought and interesting game, rather than an expansive, attractive one but it was won by the right team, for Town often displayed creativity, mostly along their left flank, where left-back Steve Sadler combined so clinically with Ben Toon, who assisted for his team’s equaliser and netted the winner himself, despite a cartoon-like deflection off a Pilk defender. The hosts had gone behind against the mood of the game when Kyle Turner, a striker I saw score for Coalville in a recent friendly match, beat home ‘keeper Paul Smith (not the Studley manager, who of course doesn’t like getting his knees dirty) from an angle. Both ‘keepers made a diving save but in truth there was more hustle and bustle on display than goalmouth action, although tempers did rise like dough in a proving case after the interval and a couple of combatants were kindly shown the touchline by the referee, allowing replacements to appear, rather than red cards. Many thanks to the excellent Town manager for his written list of players (although he forgot to hand me his business card…) but at the time of writing, I still await the XXX line-up from either the Chairman or Secretary. Please excuse any errors in the report below, therefore…
|Realising that he wasn't allowed to show any leg, the Pilks skipper/goalie attempts to hide his knees... |
Are the officials going retro?
Three Sadlers and three Ellises took up more than half of the Chelmsley team, which ought to have run out to the sound of 1979’s ‘We Are Family’ by Sister Sledge and although the hosts began with purpose from midfielders Nicky and Robbie Ellis, defender Sam Sadler had be alert early on when a low near post Pilkington corner needed to be hacked clear. The solid, if not tall frame of Kurtis Braithwaite in the home attack was always going to be a physical challenge for the visiting defence and it took both the goalie and Pilks 5 to hold him off as he chased a long pass at inside-right. Pilks’ Turner tried a long shot, which flew a couple of yards past the left upright, chest-high but Town were finding it difficult to threaten the massive Pilks ‘keeper, who withstood one collision with Braithwaite well, as the clash of meat rang out like a side of beef slapping against a butcher’s slab. Finally however, Steve Sadler swung over a fine centre from deep left, somehow Braithwaite lost his marker at the far vertical but his header ruffled the side-netting.
|One Pilk has a ball for a head...|
Toon attempted to volley a shot from 22 yards in traffic, from a right-flank delivery and struck it well but it was misdirected by an opponent’s leg for a corner, which the ‘keeper thumped out with a clenched fist, like he was a Rugby League player angry with an opponent’s collar-tackle. More neat passing by the eager Chelmsley, including Toon, Steve Sadler and Braithwaite, led to a left-wing flag-kick, which landed at the far post for Mitch Thompson to rattle in a shot but the big goalie dropped quickly to beat the ball away. The ‘keeper was soon called upon again at his near post, as the hosts threatened on the left and the ball ricocheted straight to him off the unfortunate Braithwaite. Hard work by Turner ended with a shot from Pilks 14 but the effort was way over the crossbar, yet quite surprisingly the visitors took the lead, as the lean Turner picked up possession on the right and slotted a smart angled cross-shot just inside the left upright, with Smith at full stretch but helpless.
|Turner, facing the camera, has opened the scoring...|
Again Turner got in for XXX but at inside-right this time; he flicked the ball over a defender’s challenge but his barely-lobbed shot with the outside of his right boot was not well directed and dropped harmlessly past the near post. A fine run at the heart of the Pilks’ defence by the marauding Steve Sadler ended with a great delivery from the byeline but XXX survived and as the half petered out, Turner planted a free-kick off target from a decent position.
The second-half brought the expected substitutions, mainly from XXX but an early corner by Aaron Hughes for Town saw wholehearted central defender Sam Sadler rise well at the far post but head firmly too high- a chance scorned. Turner was still causing the occasional scare for Oli Burton and Sam Sadler in the home defence and shot wide on one occasion but finally and deservedly, the hosts regained parity when danger-man Toon ran on the left-side and squared the ball for the unmarked Scott Hewitt to side-foot carefully into the XXX net. A little anger was then evident, as the Pilks 10 was asked to leave the pitch, following his ongoing grumbling at the referee, like a mardy Year 9, unhappy at being told off for talking during a lesson about the Crusades.
|1-1, but where's the joy?|
|Pilks number 8 is lectured by the ref. |
He took no notice...
Pilks’ 6 hacked clear after a long and deep free-kick by Steve Sadler had been headed down but the hosts nosed in front of their guests when Toon swivelled, spun and swiped a bouncing ball from 24 yards, a shot which deflected off a defender and took enough of a diversion to loop beyond the substitute XXX ‘keeper and into the left side of the net. Pilks’ 8 was getting into some biting tackles, like a mastiff mauling a lounge full of poodles and from one offence, a long free-kick by Hewitt found the head of Blaxland (I believe he wore 17) at the right stick, whose header flew wide. Toon was then tripped 20 yards out but Ross Casey’s free-kick from 22 yards rose over the trees and probably threatened the roof at Coleshill Heath Primary School. Moments later though he produced a prodigious tackle in defence, before more handbags were swung between players and Pilks’ 8, involved again, surprisingly remained on the field, after Nicky Ellis was ‘relieved of his duties’ by the referee for hacking out at the opposing aggressor, which maybe was a little harsh on one of the Ellis Boys. Smith produced a fine diving save from impressive Pilks’ replacement 17, who drove in an 18 yard effort, the goalie turning the ball away to his left then fine interplay once again by Toon and Steve Sadler led to a left-wing delivery and a far post header by Blaxland (17) but this time the ball bounced off a covering defender and a corner was awarded, which came to nought. The young Pilks goalie raced to the left edge of his penalty-box as the game came to an end and managed to deny Blaxland, who had chased a lump forward and the referee blew for full-time.
|The Chelmsley celebrations are nearly marred when a snooker triangle is thrown at the players from behind a tree...|
|Town plot to hit a squirrel in the trees behind the goal...|
|Not really a dismissal, more a|
"Take a breather, my good fellow..."
The game over, I chatted to the Pilks’ Chairman and was chauffeured home, wondering whether I would ever find out the names of the XXX players… Certainly their number 8 was combative, the bigger goalie looked strong, Turner could be a useful goal-poacher this season but the number 17 was impressive at times during the second period too. For Town, their midfield was eager to pass the ball, their strength on the left flank was evident to all and the ‘keeper looked useful, although he was rarely stretched, in all honesty. I liked the performance of Sam Sadler at 5 but the foraging and distribution of Nicky and Robbie Ellis were generally productive. Naturally, Toon would be pleased with his contribution, Steve Sadler too and later that night I dug into a bowl of Honey Cheerios, still checking my phone for a list of XXX players.
It never came...
|The Bodging and The Mowdog find themselves @ Chelmsley Town...|
|Nice entrance to the pitch and the Town manager bows his head in prayer for a pre-season victory...|
|Behind the clubhouse end...|
|...& the other end...|
|Neat building, smart sunset...|
|"Team-tactic today, lads? |
|"0-1 ahead lads, just keep it going..."|
|The goalie suddenly became aware of a spaceship landing nearby and mulled over whether he should accompany the aliens on their return journey...|
Monday, 28 July 2014
Hamson the Harassed
The fellow strode from the facilities
In deep conversation
With his son who kept up, to be fair,
Unwilling to demonstrate procrastination…
The Manager was hauling coloured cones
To lay out upon dry grass,
Of a warming-up on a warmed-up afternoon
At Rolls Royce, whose groundsman’s inabilities
Had caused consternation
By overbooking just two available pitches:
Hence Gary Hamson’s agitation,
And such an admirable demonstration
Of hands-on managerial skills
But surely, one would suggest, cock-ups of that kind
Are limited to St Andrew’s: Birmingham City’s enterprise unrefined..?
|Gary Hamson (a little greyer than me...) tells his players not to be scared off the pitch by an angry groundsman...|
The Mowdog. July 2014…
Gate 1, Rolls Royce and Mickleover Royals’ manager Gary Hamson did what all good German holidaymakers do too:
...he got his belongings down first...
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Royal Gaffs Spoil Mickleover’s Rolls Day Out
Mickleover Royals 2 Glapwell 3
|Glapwell kick off as the ref chats to his mum on his mobile...|
This game was played at Moor Lane, Rolls Royce, Derby, despite a huge error by the groundsman, who managed to over-book the soccer pitches. But who would argue with Gary Hamson when he has a frown on? There are only two pitches at Gate 1 in fact, so not very difficult to deal with, I would have thought… Great to see Jordan Hall with Glapwell, following his time with Mickleover Sports and I was grateful to the Glapwell Tweeter and the Royal Dynasty of Hamsons for giving me lists of their players beforehand, although the Royals replacements’ names needed some pursuing afterwards. I apologise therefore for any understandable errors in my report of a game which looked in the bag for Royals, who were 2-0 ahead at the break, but their influx of substitutes, including a goalie who suffered a tough time, was seized upon by the visitors, who had constantly changed one or two players throughout the game, to edge a 2-3 victory. Also of course, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, you accept charity, and a couple of bad errors by Mickleover were ruthlessly punished, whilst the Royals’ second-half finishing looked as feeble as a toddler’s at times.
|Glapwell's Trigg kicks, er, a young lady in the head but his marker Simpson head-butts the ball...|
The Royals began with confidence and soon, Sam Bartram was scythed down from behind by Glapwell skipper Tom Robley, like he was doing an impression of Norman Hunter in his Leeds days and although the free-kick was quickly taken by the hosts, winger Alex Marshall was correctly adjudged offside by a strip of a linesman, who appeared as though he could use a week’s holiday at McDonald’s. Jordan Simpson failed to connect properly with a header from Ash Foster’s left-wing corner for Royals and the lively hosts, passing the ball whenever possible and exploiting a bit of a weakness on the right defensive flank of Glapwell, managed to threaten again, following a lumped punt forward, not quite their neat passing game but hey-ho, only for Foster’s lobbed effort to drift well off target with Bartram in attendance. Marshall fed Bartram for an instant shot, which beat goalie John Styring but flew wide then a fine centre from the left again by Marshall saw Bartram flying beyond the far post, like a relay triathlete diving into a loch for the swimming-leg but his header across goal was cleared and the chance duly lost. However, Bartram and Marshall forced Styring out to 18 yards to intercede from a through-pass, the ball bounced straight to Bartram and he clipped a 20 yard effort into the right corner of the net and the hosts led, with their own idle ‘keeper Ash Warner no doubt thinking about fetching a sun-lounger from his car to bathe upon in the warm July sunlight.
|Bartram (9) is congratulated: 1-0 to Royals...|
Derrick Miller was defending stoutly for Glapwell and would do so more effectively later, Jason Foster was looking to be creative but tall, languid striker Oli Trigg was being held too easily by home defenders Simpson and Oli Buxton, whereas for the hosts, full-backs Chris Martin and Rob Grey were willingly supporting their offensive colleagues. Marshall continued to enjoy the space to sprint into on the far left for Royals however but after Jason Foster’s fine diagonal pass to the right for Glapwell, the right-sided Sam Bartram (same name as Royals’ 9, or was someone winding me up?) sliced a poor cross behind the goal-frame. The visitors still hadn’t settled and they were soon 2-0 behind when again an attack formed left of centre, as Ash Foster moved forward onto Gregory's pass and lifted a fine right-foot finish over the again stranded Styring and high into the right corner of the net from 17 yards. A fine finish and the hosts were well on top.
|Foster, right, seems pleased with his goal...|
A long Glapwell Bartram shot was very wayward and Jordan Hall then made a couple of substitutions, then tactically instructed his players to use their voices for calling, supporting and aiding each other; his words meant: “Are we going to talk? Please open your mouths…” He actually said: “Are you going to f…..’ talk? Open your bas…. gobs…” I preferred the second interpretation. Made me laugh. We discussed it at half-time… Ash Foster ran at a Glapwell defender and Styring, who were too slow in sorting out their defence and the Royal forward charged the ball down twice, eventually reaping no reward as it rolled out for a throw to the visitors. Suddenly, completely out of character thus far, Glapwell attacked on their left, following loose passing in the Royals’ midfield, where skipper Danny Martin was being allowed no time on the ball and Sean Carter made a brilliant run, beating two defenders and finding himself faced by the rather forbidding form of the advancing Warner; Carter chose not to shoot however but passed right for Trigg, who was slow to pull the trigger and fired almost lazily at goal, where midfielder Shaun Roberts had perched himself, like a crow on a telephone wire, from whence he cleared the ball away.
|Bartram and his marker swing an elbow or two...|
|Formation turning by Glapwell...|
Royal Bartram latched onto a diagonal pass at inside-left and set off for goal with the Glapwell coaches screaming for offside, in vain, but after rounding the advancing Styring, Bartram was too wide and his angled shot from the byeline was fenced away like a wasp from a window by the ‘keeper’s right forearm. The young referee then bravely jogged across to the Glapwell coaches and told them to refrain from giving the slim linesman verbal stick or they would be dismissed to sit in their cars! I liked that- playing at Rolls Royce and being threatened with banishment to a car… Bizarre. A low, not well struck left-wing corner by Ash Foster for Mickleover somehow found its way across a startled 6 yard box but Buxton lifted his shot too high. Ryan Booker, who proved to be a real character, had replaced Gavin Wiley, brother of another Mickleover Sports player, who had taken a knock to the head and needed to sort out his hair; Ash Foster threatened in the inside-right channel but sliced a shot badly wide of the right angle of vertical and horizontal, then Booker defended the speeding Marshall superbly, they fell together like a pair of scrapping cats and the referee was forced to point a stern finger at both, which I’m sure the humorous Booker was tempted to bite. Finally, as the half petered out, Royal Simpson was adjudged to have handled the ball but Jason Foster’s 25 yard free-kick rose, and rose. It kept rising. He would use that skill brilliantly later in the game...
|The players audition for Swan Lake at the Royal Ballet...|
The interval arrived, I managed a couple of left-wing centres for the replacements, Jordan Hall was good to chat to, the sun shone and home defender Robson Grey thanked me for looking after his water-bottle; a veritable Jeeves to his Bertie Wooster, that’s me…
Roberts had been replaced by Paul Moran for the Royals at the break, and immediately after the restart, a volleyed centre from the left by Marshall fell onto the lively Josh Gregory’s boot for a far post volley but a fine block by the effective Carter stopped the shot. Wiley replaced the hurt Jake Wharton for the guests, as midfielder Callum Dovison began to affect the game a lot more for Glapwell. Excellent interplay between Ash Foster, tricking his way to the left byeline, and Grey, who repeated the dose, saw the full-back cross well but the ball drifted beyond Gregory and then Booker made a gargantuan run along the right flank for Glapwell, received the expected long pass from the now more influential Wiley and won a right-wing corner, which forward substitute Ash Barber flicked in at the near post, as Jason Foster’s flag-kick fell onto the inside of his right boot. Warner was unsighted by the presence of the diminutive Adam Barrett directly in front of him and he was unable to stop the shot.
|2-1 and Barber celebrates his goal by offering to shave Booker's chin growth...|
Booker slotted in at central defence then and he had such a great, committed attitude, constantly moaning about the lack of ball retention, etc, which the coaches simply nodded at and no doubt ignored! Grey threatened for the Royals, Ash Foster messed up a 25 yard free-kick attempt, which rolled and bobbled wide of the left upright as if a badger was shoving it, then several substitutions took place for Mickleover and the game changed dramatically. Davy Hamson fed Marshall for a shot, which was blocked by the Glapwell defence at the expense of a corner on the left but replacement forward Steve O’Connell planted his subsequent header well wide from a good position. O’Connell did release Marshall for a one-on-one with Styring at inside-left but the winger’s hurry saw him lift a finish almost vertically, which was as inaccurate as it would prove costly. Marshall grimaced at me as I described the miss on my dictaphone, and he knew…
|I was always told to keep my eyes on the ball.|
How things have changed...
A rare shot by Glapwell, who, in fairness, were taking more control, ended with Barratt’s effort being deflected for new ‘keeper Spencer to gather, Dovison became even more of a feature and Booker was slogging it out in the visitors’ defence with relish. He set off on another astonishing run, to some effect but was so shattered by it that he was replaced again! And then the rot set in for the Royals; substitute Ash Day (15) received a short pass at left-back from Simpson, who had done well to win the ball in the centre-circle but Day pushed his own pass straight to Jason Foster and the midfielder looked up, moved 2 yards and clipped a high shot at goal, for Spencer was some way off his goal-line. The ‘keeper did have the sun in his eyes to be fair but his attempts to turn and get back reminded me of the antics of Frank Spencer and the ball dropped over him into the net: 2-2…
|"Foster from the half-way line..." sang his team-mates...|
Frequent substitutions kept Glapwell fresh but the Royals wanted their replacements to get uninterrupted time on the pitch, which proved crucial as Spencer advanced to the left edge of his penalty-box, with Day, Simpson and Buxton all present to clear up but somehow the ball squirmed past the ‘keeper and there was the shocked Trigg, alone, at walking pace and nudging the ball goalwards like a contestant in the old Jeux Sans Frontieres programmes on BBC1, then from a slight angle, embarrassed no doubt, the striker poked the ball home. Oh, dear.
|The embarrassed Twigg walks past the Mickleover Hands-On-Hips Royals...|
Troy Black, I think, played a one-two with Hamson but shot badly wide, then Glapwell conceded possession and the ball was switched to the Royals’ right and to Black, whose centre landed directly onto O’Connell’s head but his attempt at goal lobbed upwards and away over the crossbar as if a game of head tennis had begun on Copacabana Beach. Day soon controlled a pass with his shoulder/upper arm and the official awarded a wasted free-kick to Glapwell, which was delayed because Day was still chuntering and infuriated and a forced substitution was made at the request of the dogmatic referee, allowing for the introduction of Josh Bowler at left-back for Mickleover, where Chris Martin was being sorely missed. Spencer later contrived to tread on the ball as he prepared to clear from his 18 yard line and nearly fell like a tightrope walker at an American Circus and finally O’Connell procrastinated as he looked to fire an equaliser and a fine challenge by the massive Miller saved Glapwell.
|Ash's Day is over... (Geddit?)|
The game ended, Royals’ manager Gary Hamson realised it was the first time I had seen a team of his lose but there was enough on display from both outfits to suggest reasonable seasons ahead. Certainly Jason Foster, Carter, Dovison, Booker and Robley all worked and performed fairly well for the visitors and Wiley improved hugely, but the quick movement of Ash Foster, Marshall and the full-backs for the Royals was impressive before the break. The home defence looked fine in the opening half too and striker Bartram will surely score goals for his team. Marshall and Davy Hamson will be problematic for defences too and Gregory seems to have a good deal to offer. Danny Martin will no doubt have many more effective matches.
I drove home for eggs and chips and to go to bed later feeling relaxed, after enduring two more episodes of season 3 of The Wire, which were actually far more lighthearted than the BBC news...
Saturday, 26 July 2014
|The Bodging's ice-cream has melted from his cone.|
|Moor Lane, Gate 1, Rolls Royce...|
|Glapwell's players warm up by doing impressions of storks...|
|...and the Mickleover players do a bit of bird-watching...|
|Just prior to kick-off, the Glapwell players retreat to their dressing-room for mug of hot cocoa and a Wagon Wheel...|
|...and the Royals do a bit of listening, as a coach tells them about the itch he's got between two of the toes on his right foot...|
|Big metal aliens have the best view at the ground...|
|One linesman has a louse up the right leg of his shorts...|
|Jordan Hall lines up for a team photo but nobody else seems bothered...|