Tuesday, 29 December 2015
Resilient Rugby Blunt Basford
Rugby Town 1-0 Basford United
I spoke with Basford’s manager Martin Carruthers pre-game, ex-Villa of course and I reckon I met with his best mood of the day, for his team’s inability to deliver even reasonably decent feeds into the penalty-box, especially during a frustrating second-half, annoyed him so much that his bellowing words could be heard on the opposite touchline. Blair Anderson, the main culprit from corners, looked on in disbelief as colleagues failed to get near his often overhit set-pieces. Rugby’s ‘keeper Sam Andrew, for the second time in a matter of days, was rarely troubled and was only called upon to stop a simple downward header, he slid from goal once and he managed a meagre touch to one Anderson corner. Basford’s shooting was otherwise wayward. I remember going to the cinema earlier this year and when the film’s certificate was displayed on the screen, it read: ‘Mild threat.’ That was Basford, mildly threatening. Home central defenders Chris Tullin and Tom Ryan dealt really well with the danger that Ruben Wiggin-Thomas and Stuart Hendrie customarily pose and full-backs Matt Curley (nice grandparents, by the way…) and Sam Warburton were in fine form too. The game was won by a great penalty-strike from the heavily marked Kevin Thornton but the award looked soft. As a Basford fan quipped: “You can tell it’s Christmas. You can see how he (David Kolodynski, who fell) gets so many goals…” Not my words.
|Flags everywhere during the tossing...|
Again a wind was evident and a good deal of quick kicking by both teams meant a frenetic beginning, during which Andrew caught a Billy Bennett corner, Basford custodian Jake Wood snatched the ball from Rugby’s Callum Powell, as the sprinter lurked and after a neat jinking run, Anderson drove a wild shot off target. Thornton and Kolodynski worked a short corner routine on the right for Rugby but the latter slammed the ball high and wastefully across the goal-face. Rugby fashioned the first actual goal chance but Powell was unable to take it; fine dribbling on the right by Kurtis Revan led to a partial block at the near post by Wood, Thornton slid a pass to the far side of the penalty-box but Powell, turning, hurried his rising drive over the crossbar.
|Wiggins-Thomas denied again...|
|Are these young bucks posing for jobs at Hollister, or what?|
Andrew caught a tame Hendrie header from Fabian Smith’s centre, then Revan’s footwork saw him dance into the right side of the 18 yard box again and this time, Wood flew to tip away the ball from the winger’s angled delivery. Wood looked relieved soon afterwards when Ryan lost Basford’s Rhys Myers at a free-kick situation, delivered by Thornton but the Rugby man’s inexplicably weak header was easy for the goalie to gather. A fine Ryan pass led to Kolodynski winning a corner, Revan’s neat skills saw Powell unable to capitalise again, before Smith passed the ball back to his ‘keeper. Wood’s control was a little lax and he passed the ball straight to Thornton, who attempted to veer right past the stranded goalie, who managed a touch on the ball, as well as tripping the bearded one. Basford breathed again…
|A Basford wag is about to pull Kurtis Revan's shorts down...|
|Martin Carruthers is so angry that he's set the sky on fire...|
A patient Basford attack seemed to last for minutes, with supporters begging a player to shoot and in the end, Kyle Dixon, lively throughout, ended up going backwards and feeding a defender but Rob Parker won the ball, fed Revan but his shot was sliced well wide. Basford’s best chance arrived soon afterwards when Hendrie linked up with his strangely quiet skipper Wiggins-Thomas to free Ash Grayson into the right side of the penalty-area but the midfielder’s low shot drifted wide of the far post, with Dixon straining to reach the ball. A neat Hendrie pass freed Wiggins-Thomas and although his shot bulged the net, he was flagged offside. A fine Curley interception saw space open up before him and with most people expecting a shot, he passed for Kolodynski to run onto, right-flank. Kolodynski hadn’t moved however and the ball rolled over the end-line for a goal-kick.
|Socks in boots. |
But were the boots new in socks on Christmas morning?
|Thornton looks to create...|
Pressure by the visitors led to a clever shovelled Hendrie pass over the defence for Wiggins-Thomas, who found his route baulked by the Rugby defence, another Revan cross was cleared by Basford and then Wiggins-Thomas beat Revan on the Basford left, cut inside and drove in a shot but it ballooned high and very wide from 19 yards. And then Rugby scored their precious winning goal. Basford were attacking with mild threat, Rugby counter-attacked and Ryan’s pass broke to Thornton, who fed Powell to his left, received a return pass at 18 yards, slipped the ball right to Kolodynski and Darkin fell into the forward, who collapsed. Thornton’s fine low left-foot penalty curled inside the left upright, despite the fact that Wood had dived full length and the correct way.
|Wiggins-Thomas: nice turn, shame about the shot...|
|Thornton has converted a penalty...|
|Kevin Redbeard Thornton is hoping for a part in the next series of The Last Kingdom...|
Basford upped their game conspicuously to slightly more mild threat and a Wiggins-Thomas shot was deflected, although Dixon was in a good position nearby, then Rugby had difficulty clearing a corner and after Revan had tricked his way forward for Rugby but sliced another shot badly wide, Andrew was mildly threatened by a Basford lob, which his defenders cleared for him, despite an offside flag waving. Andrew then dropped to stop a Darkin header on his goal-line from a left-side Anderson free-kick, following a caution for the rash challenges of Revan. A break by the hosts saw Powell flagged offside, as Kolodynski attempted to free him, then as the half expired, Wood kept his team in the game. Powell broke onto a Warburton pass but Wood narrowed the angle well to block the winger’s low shot, then rose quickly to make a flying recovery stop to deny Thornton’s goal-bound rebound effort. Fine goalkeeping…
|Anderson in control of both ball AND hair...|
|Bennett and Anderson press for Basford...|
|Revan suitably cautioned...|
Corey Grantham would replace Bennett for Basford after the break, as United appeared to go to a back-three, utilising Fab Smith on the left-side, which prompted speedster Powell to be moved onto the right-flank for Rugby after a while, rather than face the natural right-back Robbie McNicholas. Wiggins-Thomas and Hendrie needed more involvement for the guests and Anderson’s mild threat needed to be switched to ‘high’, if Basford were to nick one or all three points. Thornton, although less effective than against Daventry on Saturday, was still the go-to player for the hosts and Powell’s pace was always going to trouble Basford, with Kolodynski’s ‘ghosting’ needing watching too. The second-half would be one of Rugby challenging United to infiltrate their defence, which had been well protected by their foraging skipper Steve Towers and sidekick Parker thus far. Tullin reminded me of a roused Sergeant in the Somme trenches, having lost his helmet, but having also rolled his sleeves up to bully his lads into holding their ground. It worked, too.
|I liked this...|
Early jinking by Powell on the left for Rugby, led to a cross struck too hard and then a disappointing shot well wide, before Darkin trudged from the field for Basford to be replaced by a number 18, not listed on the team-sheet, but probably the splendidly named Jheryl Pickbourne. Kolodynski and Revan combined to win a corner for Valley and then Tullin showed his mettle for Rugby. A fine long pass by Fab Smith bounced over Warburton’s head and freed Anderson on the right side but after reaching the byeline, the winger’s low centre was brilliantly intercepted and despatched for a corner at his near post by the sliding Tullin. The corner was overhit by Anderson and Mr Carruthers leapt up and down like Popeye raging in a cartoon, after girlfriend Olive Oyl had been kidnapped by Bluto.
|Powell having a jink...|
Following a foul on Powell, Thornton’s free-kick dropped far too late from 25 yards, before Revan challenged Wood from a cross and then Wiggins-Thomas was cautioned, probably for kicking the ball away, or maybe complaining, following an offside decision. Andrew was alert enough to grab Warburton’s header to him, before Anderson could pounce and Rugby then made two surprising substitutions: Thornton and Revan, the Bearded Creator and the Tricky Initiator, were replaced by Jake Healy and Jetmir Esso, who was fuelled up ready to exhaust McNicholas. Jetmir surely saw his number on the Esso sign… Powell drove a shot at Wood, Curley stretched to make a fine interception at the other end and Hendrie, not greatly involved thus far, drove a cross-shot from left to right but well off target. A Wiggins-Thomas shot was deflected for a corner, taken short this time but Anderson messed that one up too, shoving a weak near post shot wide of the goal-frame.
|Men standing about...|
Powell then fell under a Fab Smith challenge inside the penalty-box, the nearby linesman didn’t react, the referee didn’t either, but Fab did: “Excuse me young fellow, didst thou attempt to win a penalty-kick with a flailing but rather unconvincing plunge?” he commented with mild threat. Powell rose but Smith shoved him down again. Fortunately for Fab, this happened OUTSIDE the 18 yard box and he was merely cautioned but Kolodynski wasted the free-kick by lifting it over the goal-frame, like Thornton’s previous effort. Andrew was unable to reach another Anderson corner, which again floated too far, before all the pace was removed from Rugby’s attack when Powell was replaced by another Smith: Ryan. Jack Wood replaced Basford’s Grayson, who had been full of running and had passed the ball with aplomb at times and the visitors took three corners, only one of which caused any problems at all, for Andrew flicked at it and finally the third was missed by all, leaving an offside flag to relieve Rugby and then I saw Tullin, on the 18 yard line, screaming at his troops… And he has such a babyface smile too…
|Fabian sees the colour of his shirt...|
Esso ‘braking’ (get it?) saw his road to goal blocked, Grantham was cautioned for diving a second or two after being tackled and the hosts went so close to adding a second goal near the end. Ryan Smith won possession, fed Kolodynski on the right touchline, just inside the United half, who released Healy to run on but his touch and Pickbourne’s challenge saw the ball roll for Ryan Smith again but as McNicholas covered, Wood advanced from goal to gather the ball. It only remained for Dixon to fire wide from 25 yards, for Jake Wood to advance as an extra attacker at the final right-side Basford corner, which Pickbourne planted onto the roof of the net with a header and Tullin’s Troopers had held their trench…
‘Hard work’ by Rugby won out, just as ‘squandering and mild threat’ by Basford had left them pointless, but Ryan was responsible for fine defence for Rugby, Powell was dangerous and Thornton was a likely match-winner, all of which Mr Carruthers knew about. Kolodynski didn’t score though. I munched my eggs and chips at home in shock at that but the fierce contest was eminently watchable, despite the lack of goals and I was intrigued by the fact that at the home of Mr Kipling’s cakes, Rugby should field a player called Warburton. You just couldn’t make that up…
I drove back to Solihull and watched the final episode of ‘Homeland’. It was like being in the trenches with Tullin’s Troops…
It’s what I do…
Sam Andrew, Matt Curley, Sam Warburton, Chris Tullin, Tom Ryan, Steve Towers (Capt), Callum Powell, Rob Parker, David Kolodynski, Kevin Thornton, Kurtis Revan.
Ryan Smith, Jetmir Esso, Jake Healy, Mason Rowley, Aaron Opoku.
Jake Wood, Robbie McNicholas, Billy Bennett, Fabian Smith, Rhys Myers, Rob Darkin, Stuart Hendrie, Ash Grayson, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas (Capt), Kyle Dixon, Blair Anderson.
Jack Duffy, Tom Harrison, Corey Grantham, Jack Wood, Jheryl Pickbourne.
|He likes a niche, does The Bodging...|
|Shallow steps and a narrow roof angle...|
|Confirmation that I was in the right place...|
|Wonder if anyone has a fag behind the bike shed?|
|The Rugby pylons threaten...|
|Neat scene, as the sun goes down...|
|Thought I'd flag up this section of the ground...|
|The teams emerge...|
|Skipper Wiggins-Thomas nearly displays a knee, 'keeper Wood folds his arms but he is destined to play well for Basford...|
|Rugby goalie Andrew once again is rarely tested during a winning Town afternoon...|
Sunday, 27 December 2015
Daventry Dumped To the Canvas By Rugby On Boxing Day…
Daventry Town 0-4 Rugby Town
Gifts were handed out on Boxing Day by Thornton’s kindness. Not the confectionery Thornton, but the footballing Kevin Thornton, resplendent in red and black apparel which clashed rather awfully with the orange of his rather wondrous facial hair. The gifts were three assists for colleagues and he, more than anyone, condemned the Vikings to defeat on this Christian festival day. Two corner routines and a very unselfish square pass to David Kolodynski meant a rousing round of applause from the enraptured Rugby fans when the bearded one left the field early, presumably to join a sales queue outside Curry’s with real hope of purchasing an electric shaver. Kolodynski likes scoring when I attend, right from the first time I saw him, when he lobbed Truro’s ‘keeper and equalised in the final minute of a game a few years back, after Rugby had been outplayed on their own patch. He might have netted a hat-trick on this day at Daventry but failed with a header and shot another effort wide.
|Ploughing through the long grass...|
|Rather a limp effort by Chris Tullin...|
|David Kolodynski: "I need a pee..."|
|Jason Lee ties the knot...|
Daventry were poor against the wind and poorer with the elements behind them, failing to muster more than one effort at Barnsley lad Sam Andrew’s goal: a header by Rob ‘Son of a Laird’ Prinzel, whom I’d watched at Coventry United last season. Little went right for the hosts, whose wild kicking too often squandered possession and in truth, Mitch Piggon and Nabil Shariff in attack received weak support. In truth, the game was one of few real goal chances, with home ‘keeper Ben Heath only making one tough save but Rugby’s determination, concentration and chance-taking led to Daventry’s sad demise on the day. Thornton though, was really effective.
|Rob Prinzel: once in red and green, now in purple...|
|The Daventry players demonstrate a real ability as Morris Dancers...|
The opening exchanges in the wind, not only arising from turkey dinners, Christmas puds and pickled onions, but from the weather too, saw the ball rising like a glider on the Cotswolds at times and both teams struggled to adapt to the conditions. At least Rugby belied their name and didn’t insist on punting the ball just to gain ground with the wind at their backs, for with Thornton finding a niche behind the willing Kolodynski, and Callum Powell being instructed to pull home right-back Curtis J.R. Hartley wide, slowly the visitors grabbed some ascendancy. Shariff, no doubt nicknamed ‘Omar’ after the famous actor, did pull a defender when latching onto a Prinzel pass though, before both Piggon for Daventry, then Rob Parker for Rugby saw shots blocked, as much of the game was like a dozen-man soccer-tennis game over an imaginary half-way line net.
Prinzel was sitting and foraging for possession but was often hurried to volley on clearances from his central defenders Ricky Hill, bearded and frowning, and skipper Jason Lee. Both have famous footballers’ names, oddly: Ricky, once of Luton and Jason, once of ‘pineapple-on-head’ fame. The opening goal stemmed from Kolodynski’s run at inside-right, I believe onto Mattias Curley’s fine pass, after Viking Kieran Fitzgerald’s pass had been intercepted. Although Kolodynski the Unselfish attempted to feed the supporting Powell on the left side of the penalty-box, his pass was blocked back to him, from whence he shot at goal from 16 yards. His effort lacked power but a deflection off Lee left goalie Ben Heath helpless as the ball nestled in the right corner of the net, leaving the Valley fans waving their arms about, like Santa had flown off without leaving them any gifts.
|Head down, Lee rues the deflection...|
Thornton’s right-side corner was headed over the home crossbar by off balance visiting skipper Steve Towers, after beating Prinzel’s leap, then Daventry survived a bit of a scramble in their penalty-box but Lee eventually shovelled the ball out towards the defensive right. Chris Tullin, in centre defence for the guests and a mean foil to the towering Tom Ryan, made a fine interception from a swerving Daventry left-side cross then Hill’s left-side throw, a huge one against the wind, was also cleared and I thought: “That throw could prove really advantageous after the interval…” I don’t think Hill used it once, as it happened however, for the hosts rarely managed any sustained pressure on the Rugby goal during that second period. The quick feet of Kurtis Revan on the Rugby right led to a low centre but the surging Powell was just unable to reach the cross in time, through no fault of his own it seemed, although his coaches maybe felt that his anticipation ought to have been sharper. As Thornton began to influence the game even more, his neat right-foot centre from the left swerved over Hill’s jump and dropped onto Kolodynski’s head just a few yards from goal but Heath was relieved as the ball flew straight at his belly.
|J.R. shot by Powell...|
|A Thornton gift of a cross...|
A head forward by Rugby freed Kolodynski again at inside-right, a worry for Daventry, but this time he drove his shot past the right upright. Strong play by Tullin, which actually involved some running (only joking, Chris…) led to a chance for Thornton but after turning well, the midfielder smacked a left-footer some yards past the left stick. All Daventry offered in response was a sliced effort by Shariff, which swung well wide as he fell and I wondered who had shot the Shariff… As the half neared its end, with the visitors only a goal ahead, Rugby deflated their hosts with a cleverly worked corner routine and led 0-2 at the break. The short corner was played between Thornton (who else?) and Kolodynski, thus releasing Thornton for a dribble along the left byeline past Barry Deacon and his pass to the near edge of the 6 yard box, past Lee was despatched into the roof of Heath’s net past a helpless Heath by Ryan, who was completely unmarked.
|Callum waits for his hair to reach his beard...|
|Goalie Ben Heath takes a moment to practise his discus throwing...|
Daventry must surely have expected to dominate the proceedings after half-time but in all honesty, they didn’t and again Piggon and Shariff seemed isolated in attack as long balls were played too often past midfield, with Prinzel regularly looking like a tennis spectator at Wimbledon, as the ball pinged to and fro past him. Indeed, it was the visitors who threatened on rare occasions and Sam Andrew in the Rugby goal could have stayed in Barnsley, for all the work he was forced to do.
|The Daventry sky...|
Kolodynski nearly capitalised as a left-side centre found him off balance at the far post but the ball fizzed from his boot like a cork from a shaken champagne bottle and well wide of the target, with Daventry left-back Jon Bukasa arriving a little late to challenge. Edison Panzo-Antonio replaced the ailing Shariff for Daventry, Piggon could get no power behind a header from distance, following Panzo-Antonio’s flick-on, allowing Andrew to scoop up the loose ball and then although Panzo-Antonio threw himself at Lee’s near post right-flank centre, he was unable to get a touch and Rugby survived. At least Panzo-Antonio was chucking himself into the fray, but the tricky feet of Rugby’s Revan soon made good progress, before the wide-player lost control of the ball, much to his colleagues’ frustration. Finally, a goalkeeper was invited to make a difficult save, when Powell defended well for his team, fed Thornton, whose sweet (get it?) pass along the left touchline was chased by Kolodynski near the byeline. He fed the ball inside for Powell and his resulting hard shot, between Hill and Joe Curtis, was beaten out by Heath, falling left.
|Ever felt so alone, Mitch?|
Piggon is hurt...
And then Rugby struck a nasty blow to Daventry’s already dwindling hopes. Bukasa was cautioned for a foul on Thornton and after the free-kick was taken too quickly, the second attempt resulted in a right-side corner. Thornton took it, Ryan rose at the near post, arms linked with Lee, and headed downwards into the Vikings’ net, flattening Tullin, who hurt his arm, which needed a rub and a bit of love from someone in the dugout and Daventry’s intentions were snuffed out like the last candle on Christmas night. Thanks go to the warming-up substitute who ran right in front of the camera, just as Ryan’s head connected with the ball, but enough of the incident was captured…
|Saving Private Ryan from being mobbed...|
|0-3 but Tullin is hurt.|
Rugby conceded a corner when an Andrew fly-kick didn’t travel too far against the strengthening wind and from this, Prinzel rose over the top of Tullin to head goalwards, but Andrew caught the effort easily under his crossbar. Piggon had fallen over heavily in the Rugby penalty-box and he was replaced by Adam Creaney for Daventry, as the aforementioned striker was led away, possibly cloaked in a warm wrap: a Piggon in blanket, perhaps… Dan Childs replaced Fitzgerald for the flagging Vikings, Powell saw another shot blocked and trickery by Revan again led to a drive well wide. And then Thornton gift wrapped the fourth goal for Kolodynski, lurking once again at inside-right, once again not picked up by the home defence. Thornton fastened onto a loose Daventry pass and made ground at inside-left, leaving Hartley behind and drawing both central defenders to him but instead of shooting, he squared a pass to Kolodynski, who had time to unwrap his gift as Bukasa backtracked and slot an easy goal past the frustrated Heath.
|Steve Towers over Panzo-Antonio...|
|Thornton has set up the final goal...|
Jetmir Esso motored onto the field for Rugby and replaced Thornton’s damp beard and, fuelled, ran about a lot. Let’s hope he doesn’t name any future son B.P. Thornton was given a decent ovation by his adoring fans and it was left only for Tullin to be caught late by Panzo-Antonio, who earned a caution, I believe.
|Dye the beard white next year, Kevin and you could hand out MORE gifts...|
|No Christmas lights in the trees, Daventry?|
|The dugouts late on...|
|Andrew thwarts Panzo-Antonio...|
Rugby looked like the higher placed team in the league but this was obviously a bad day on the pitch for the hosts, who really struggled with the conditions and their creativity, resulting in both strikers rarely getting a sight of goal. The implacable Tullin, head glistening in the floodlights, when they were actually utilised, looked as steady as a Newlyn fisherman at the stern of his boat in a Mount’s Bay gale, Ryan was impressive, scoring twice too and full-backs Curley and Sam Warburton were steady. The hosts failed to get to grips with Thornton however and he fashioned the result.
|Andrew: an easy afternoon...|
Me? Back to Solihull for my favourite annual dinner: cold turkey, mash and home-made picked onions from Alrewas, near Burton-on-Trent, then Christmas pudding…
|The Bodging takes cover...|
It’s what I do…
Ben Heath, Curtis Hartley, Jon Bukasa, Ricky Hill, Jason Lee (Capt), Barry Deacon, Kieran Fitzgerald, Rob ‘Laird’s Son’ Prinzel, Nabil Shariff, Mitch Piggon, Joe Curtis.
Dan Childs, Edilson Panzo-Antonio, Adam Creaney, Neil Champelovier.
Sam Andrew, Mattias Curley, Sam Warburton, Chris Tullin, Tom Ryan, Steve Towers (Capt), Callum Powell, Rob Parker, David Kolodynski, Kevin Thornton, Kurtis Revan.
Ryan Smith, Sam Woods, Mason Rowley, Jetmir Esso, Aaron Opoku.