Monday, 28 September 2009

Match Report 25/09/2009: The Pink Panthers vs. Guerinlas in the Midst (by Niall)

Who would win in a fight between a Panther and a Guerinla? That’s what a sizeable throng of T&F footie fans gathered on the Park Club sports hall balcony to find out. As well as trying to figure out exactly what a Guerinla actually was...

Led by the Crusader from Cork, Brian Guerin (this week missing his fellow captain, Nick Ascroft), the team in white were met by a blinding vision in shocking pink in the shape of Richie Moore’s Panthers. The veteran captain had experience on his side, as well as widely held belief amongst T&F footie fans that he has been Nottingham’s greatest export since Kevin Costner decided to don a doublet and espouse socialism in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Both teams were untested in the league so far and were also without key players, which meant a couple of ringers being drafted in. Lloyd Langman stood between the sticks for the Guerinlas, apparently for the first time since his glory goalkeeping days in the Plymouth and District under-13s league. Meanwhile, new man Ed Vass was playing for a contract with the Panthers, despite being ostracised by the kit man and forced into a red (rather than pink) jersey.

Game 1

With the Welsh wonder Hugh Evans taking on the refereeing mantle, the teams kicked off and went to it. Despite it being the first match for the teams, both looked like compact units from the off. The Panthers’ Ben Hathaway tested Langman with early shots and produced the best chance of the match so far with a perceptive pass to Sarah Robbie. Robbie did well under pressure to get her shot in for the Guerinlas’ keeper to gather.

But despite this early pressure, it was the Guerinlas who made the breakthrough. Mark Gillett found a wide ball just on the edge of the Pink’s box and was just able to get his shot in and just past the Pink’s keeper, Colin Bulpitt. Gillett’s vicinity to Bulpitt’s area led to a bit of ‘discussion’ about whether the goal should stand, but ref Evans wasn’t going back on his decision.

It wasn’t long before the Panthers were back in it, when a Hathaway shot produced a good reaction stop from Langman, but he couldn’t collect the rebound, meaning Ryan Cooper was able to slot home. Cue much rejoicing from the team in pink, who from a distance looked a bit like a giant, dancing bowl of Angel Delight.

With the game was rapidly turning into a tight encounter, the ferocious felines looked to be evenly matched by the simian skills of Guerin’s team. The Panthers’ goal was followed by a tough period of play, with all the outfield members of both sides really getting stuck in. Sarah Robbie vied for the ball with the Guerinlas’ Katie Peace and chances rained in from both sides. Eventually though, it was the Guerinlas who gained an important advantage just before the break, thanks to that man Mark Gillett once again. After some decent interplay between
Vass and Cooper, Gillett latched on to a loose ball and fired his shot in past a flying Bulpitt.

Following a brief halftime pep talk, the Panthers sprung into action as if attacking a herd of wild gazelle. The Guerinlas captain Brian Guerin showed the Panthers some top dribbling action, with more twists and turns than a Dillinger Escape Plan record, but the Pinks piled the pressure on the Guerinlas defence with the new midfield entente of Ed Vass and Sian Findlay. Nothing but solid defending by Ryan Kidd and stops by Lloyd ‘Shinblocker’ Langman kept the feline fighters at bay. Sub Katie Eve got stuck in and managed to link some decent passes in the midfield, but none found a way through for the Guerinlas. In fact, the Guerinlas might have realised they’d come up against Moore (!) than they bargained for when the Panthers’ boss seized his moment. Mighty Moore produced a real captain’s goal to draw the Panthers level once more, racing through challenges as he zoomed towards the G’s goal, unleashing a powerful drive past Langman and in.

With the game evened up again both teams tried to claim an advantage. Hard work in the middle of the pitch and some great stops by keepers Bulpitt and Langman kept the scoring low. The last shot of the game came from Sian Findlay, and what a shot it was! Connecting with a searching ball up toward the Guerinlas’ area, Findlay’s shot marooned a static Langman, and was within a panther’s whisker of being the winner, as it clattered back off the inside of the G’s upright. With no chances in the minute that followed before Evans drew an end to the first encounter, the teams ended a hard fought encounter with a fair share of the points.

Final Score: Pink Panthers 2 – 2 Guerinlas in the Mist

Game 2

After such tight play in the first game, it looked as if the first goal could be coming from anywhere in game two (even a few of the fans up in the balcony were fancying their chances). But it was the Guerinlas who made the breakthrough, thanks to their rugged Scotsman Ryan Kidd. Kidd stabbed a claymore into the hearts of the Panthers when he coolly slotted the ball home, following a bit of sustained pressure by his team on the Pink’s box/area/semi-circle thingy.

The Panthers picked themselves up and looked ahead to try and get back into the game, but it was the chief Guerinla himself, Brian Guerin, who foiled such plans. A run down the right wing saw him connect with a looping ball for a spectacular falling volley. Argument ensued again about whether the G’s captain had entered the box, but no nonsense ref Evans was having none of it and ordered that the goal stood.

With the decisions going their way, the Guerinlas were spurred on to even more when Andy Roe, the team’s resident Jack Sparrow look-a-like, sailed towards the opposition’s goal, as if standing on the stern of a mighty galleon, and sank a devastating cannonball of a drive into the net, sinking the good ship Panther into a watery 3 goal deficit.

Roe’s heroics only pushed the team on further, and it wasn’t long before Mark Gillett danced down the left wing, skipping over challenges as one may skip from rock to rock to cross a babbling brook. But this idyllic image was soon shattered by the ferocity with which Gillett released a smashing drive at the Panthers goal. Panther’s keeper Colin Bulpitt bravely stood up to Gillett’s shot, but the ball must have decided to side with the white team, as it conspired to bounce off every part of Bulpitt’s lower body before it trickled over the line. Debate will rage as to whether the goal was Gillett’s or if it would be Bulpitt’s name on the score sheet. Unfortunately for the Panther’s keeper, I think it was most likely to be him that had the final touch.

After the break, The Panthers tried hard to weather further Guerinla attacks, but were unable to stop Beth Lewis coming extremely close with a drive that look to all in the balcony to be in, however some phantom side netting trick fooled the spectators, cutting short celebrations from the Guerinla lovers (The Glovers?). However, Lewis didn’t need to wait long to see her name on the score sheet, as determined play on the right wing led to her zipping in a shot, that saw both the ball and the keeper in the back of the net.

Lesser teams may well have given up hope at this stage, but not the proud Panthers who kept up the pressure on the Guerinlas, with some hard work all round, and hard battling from Vass and Stark in the midfield. Lindsay Stark built on her great play in the first match and was once again in the thick of things, going toe to toe with Beth Lewis on the right wing. She formed a determined front going forward with Cooper. Late call up Ed Vass made his presence equally felt with some hard work in the midfield against Gillett and Lewis. He showed some great moments of skill, the best of which saw him control a high looping ball outside the G’s box, and turning it into a dangerous lob over Langman, that come down on the wrong side of the bar.

This hard graft from Moore Pinkies paid off when the ball fell to their first game goal hero Cooper about half way out, who took a swing and sent the ball past an outstretched Langman.
With their first goal chalked up, the Panthers pressed on and obviously inspired by Cooper’s long range effort, the pink team’s hardworking defensive maestro Ben Hathaway smashed a belter in from just over the halfway line. Suddenly getting five goals didn’t look as tough an ask for the Panthers.

A recovery looked very much like it could be on the cards for the high performing Panthers, but dreams of bridging the three goal gap were cut short with Terminator-like precision by the Guerinla’s part-man, part machine, Andy “The Roebot” Roe, who stormed in with another goal after Bulpitt had tipped Kidd’s shot away. The four goal gap proved just too much for the Panthers, and the end of match saw two more Guerinla goals from Gillett and Roe, decent solo strikes both, to put the game fully beyond the Panther’s reach. This left the scorers with a total of three goals each across the two games. Crikey jings, look out goals leader board!

The result puts Guerinlas in the Midst at the top of the T&F Five-a-Side league and places the unfortunate Panthers at the foot of the table. But it’s early days yet and we could easily see the Moore’s men and women ramping up the table in no time at all. Guerin and Ascroft’s Army look formidable and it’ll take tough team to get the Guerinlas down from the top of the tree.

Final Score: Pink Panthers 2 – 8 Guerinlas in the Mist


Game 1

GITM 2 : 2 PP

Game 2

GITM 8 : 2 PP


Gillet 3; Roe 3; Cooper 2; Moore; Kidd; Guerin; Hathaway; Lewis

Monday, 21 September 2009

Match Report 18-09-09: Hartleypool Utd v The Kicking KittEms

The second week of the T&F Friday Football League season was an intriguing prospect, pitching as it did The Kickin KittEms, led by new co-captains Emma Wilson and Kitty Jansz, against seasoned 5-a-side veteran Dan Hartley’s Hartleypool Utd. Would either side suggest they have the credentials to claim the title?

Game 1

When ref Cooper’s whistle sounded, it seemed to do so only for the team in black, Utd starting off like a famished lion encountering an asthmatic three-legged gazelle. Hartley had already shot wide and smacked the bar following good skill from Gibbons when his surgically precise through-ball presented Varley with the opportunity to open the scoring. Hartley himself promptly doubled the advantage with the foot most of us thought was only for standing on.

With the KittEms’ defence too often asleep or astray, their early display was epitomised by Fry sprawling prostrate to the floor. They weren’t exactly being blessed with good fortune either, Meier doing well to keep out Hartley’s shot only for the ball to be returned with interest.

3-0, then, and at last the KittEms had a chance of their own, Kelly saving Fry’s shot. But the danger at the other end was ever-present, Cragg holding the fort while Varley ventured forward, slipping as he eyed up the target. Fry tried once again to break the KittEms’ duck, but could only watch as an opponent also with the bit between his teeth, Hartley, galloped through to complete his hat-trick.

A couple of hefty clearances out of defence from Virjee started to settle the KittEms’ nerves, and a pair of clever one-twos between Fry and Cousins impressed the crowd but brought no end result. Utd though had their own duettists, Hartley and Gibbons twice combining neatly to threaten a fifth.

A tremendous save from Meier fired up the KittEms and Fry, their likeliest scorer all half, finished off a fine run with a goal that gave them some hope - only for Varley to blast home at the other end and ensure a lop-sided 5-1 score at the break.

Utd took the opportunity to freshen up their entire outfield team after the interval, but it seemed to unsettle them and the first chance of the second period fell to Dubber, Kelly forced into some fancy footwork to keep his shot out. Owen’s marvellous block to halt a Lockyer shot was the precursor to a battle that would rage throughout the half, but the striker was soon on the scoresheet, outpacing the Utd back line to a loose ball.

Defences briefly got the upper hand - Stevenson marshalling the KittEms with calm assurance, and Owen the very definition of no nonsense, searching out and accurately finding Row Z - but there was still an attacking threat from Utd, Rose twice bedazzling her opponents with her multi-coloured socks to set Cox up for efforts on goal. The next goal, though, came from Lockyer, an easy finish after a mix-up between Cox and Owen. 5-3: could the comeback really be on?

Determined to atone for their mistake, Cox and Owen both gave Meier something to think about in the KittEms’ goal, but Lockyer was continuing to make a nuisance of himself. Kelly pulled off one save, but the fleet-of-foot Lockyer wasn’t to be denied his hat-trick long, lofting the ball cheekily over Rose before applying a cool finish into the bottom corner. And within seconds of the restart, the KittEms - against all the odds - were level, the luckless Cox’s underhit pass presenting the ball to Lockyer, of all people.

Hartley had seen enough and reintroduced himself to the fray, lining up for the first time against both opposition captains Jansz and Wilson. And the Utd skipper it was who was instrumental in the decisive goal, his shot rattling back off the post and bouncing in off a desperately unlucky Meier.

There was still time for Rose to prod inches wide with Meier well beaten, but the final score gave Utd the win by the narrowest - and most fortuitous - of margins.

Game 2

So, in the first clash, Lockyer won the battle - with four goals to Hartley’s three - but Hartley won the war. Which of the two hotshots would emerge triumphant from the second match?

With Hartley starting quietly and Lockyer effectively shackled by Varley, the early goal threat was carried by other players, Fry slicing narrowly wide for the KittEms and Cox denied from close range for Utd. It was looking as though the deadlock would only be broken courtesy of a mistake - and, unfortunately for Kelly, it was his, Lockyer pouncing on and punishing a misdirected throw.

That stung Hartley into action, and he had one effort blocked before driving home past an unsighted Meier. But Utd were only level for a matter of seconds, Lockyer and Fry rampaging through from the kick-off for the former to score. This time there was no immediate response from Hartley and Utd, instead Lockyer bamboozling Owen to notch his second hat-trick of the day. Hardly surprising, I suppose - as a keen darts player, he’s used to finding a much smaller target than a 5-a-side goal.

Varley was the next to be embarrassed with some exhibition skill, Lockyer starting to pass to himself off the walls. His teammates, meanwhile, were enjoying themselves too, Dubber twice trying his luck from long range and Stevenson dragging the ball just wide after Cox had been deceived by a bouncing ball.

As half-time approached, though, the balance of play swung back in Utd’s favour, Meier making a superb stretching save to repel Cox’s strike as his goal was peppered with shots.

The teams having changed ends, only an alert Kelly prevented Owen’s looping header from finding the back of his own net, while equally adept goalkeeping from Meier saw him claw Gibbons’ shot away from the top corner.

The KittEms then resolved to kick ‘em while they were down, Fry outmuscling Owen and Lockyer finishing tidily for their fourth and fifth. Spirits in the Utd side were visibly sapped and there was so much steam billowing out of Owen’s ears that his head was like a boiling kettle.

Kelly at least was providing sterling resistance, deflecting one effort from Cousins and tipping another onto the post to prevent the gulf in the scoreline from yawning even wider. Inspired by this display of defiance, Utd rallied, with Cox, Cragg and Gibbons combining well in attack. Wilson did well to halt Gibbons' run, while Meier showed good reactions to get in the way of a firmly struck Gibbons free-kick, awarded after Fry’s scything tackle on Owen, who had gone to ground as though he’s been watching Platoon.

A rogue red bib on the floor briefly stopped play, much to Varley’s frustration - which he then proceeded to take out on the KittEms, denied once by Meier but then pulling a goal back thanks to Kelly’s visionary assist.

Cragg managed what few of her teammates had by dispossessing Lockyer, but Cousins was continuing to look sharp on the right wing, and after Cox had shot over and once again adopted his head-in-hands position, Lockyer rounded off the scoring with his fifth of the game.

Sadly, the game finished on a low note, man-of-the-match Lockyer’s devastating display brought to an end by an ankle sprain sustained in an innocent challenge. As Cooper blew for full time, Owen grimaced: ‘I could have marked him now’...

Honours even over the course of the two games, then, but if the KittEms can get Lockyer back to full fitness it’ll be the champagne and not his ankle that’ll be on ice.

Final scores

Game 1:
Hartleypool Utd 6 - 5 The Kicking KittEms

Game 2:
Hartleypool Utd 2 - 6 The Kicking KittEms


Lockyer 9; Hartley 4; Varley 3; Fry 2; Meier (og) 1

Hartleypool Utd

Dan Hartley; Andrea Gibbons; Sam Cragg; Vikki Rose; Gail Carter; Dave Varley; Mike Kelly; David Cox; Dave Owen

The Kicking KittEms

Kitty Jansz; Emma Wilson; Ali Meier; Barry Fry; Alec Dubber; Bev Cousins; Ewan Stevenson; Khanam Virjee; Dean Lockyer

Friday, 11 September 2009

Match Report 11-09-09: Mickleslate's Moray Mince vs The Bankers: Always giving you more

Game 1

First game of the season, the one we’ve all been waiting for. If early devotion to the cause is any indicator of how a team will start, then the omens for the Bankers were bad, with three of their team showing up wearing non-regulation colour tops (navy and eggshell blue are definitely not green, but I could be talked round on the turquoise one).

Mickleslate’s also had some real advantages that I didn’t make up: they had more players, and an extra captain to manage subs from the balcony while the other one was playing. Crucial details, possibly. And it was Mickleslate’s who had the brighter start, with Campbell, Evans, and Klaessen all looking lively, and forcing a borrowed Hartley to make an early save. 5-a-side footballing colossus Dan Trinder had a quiet start though, a shot well off-target his only real contribution to the game’s opening minutes.

Midway into the first half The Bankers started to dominate. The previously incompatible Langman and Lammey suddenly took control of the midfield, and Langman was on hand to score the rebound from Lammey’s shot, albeit against the run of play. It took some good goalkeeping from Micklethwaite to stop Langman doubling his tally moments later, and a chance followed for Lammey too as The Bankers threatened to run away with the game.

Mickleslate’s were briefly level, after Klaessen showed good composure to shoot past Hartley, but it was not to last. Trinder and Evans were not gelling, and after a succession of chances for the Bankers Lammey nutmegged Micklethwaite from a central position. Ziebart set up Langman to score his second shortly before halftime, which he finished from a narrow angle with aplomb.

The halftime personnel reshuffle saw Mickleslate’s play improve, with Sierra and Warren’s neat passing keeping the ball in the opposition half. The two sides cancelled each other out for much of the second half, with some poor finishing from Barclay keeping the score at 3-1 after good build up play from Warren and Sidi. At the other end, Thomas found space to test Hartley from the edge of the box, but he was equal to the shot.

Barclay soon found his shooting boots though, and extended The Bankers lead with a powerful shot. In response, Mickleslate’s made a final push forward, with Trinder, Thomas, and Klaessen all passing well in the opposition half. Trinder got the final touch to what would be the last goal of the game, scoring from close range. Hartley was called into action a few more times before the end to deny Gregg and then Trinder, but 4-2 to The Bankers was the final score.

Game 2

Evans was again quick out of the blocks in the second game, forcing a great save from Hartley. Trinder was finding Micklethwaite well with some good passing out of defence, and the co-captain could have done better with a great diagonal pass in the second minute. A new addition for the second game was renowned centreback Ben Woolhead, who looked conspicuous up front but earned his place when his tackle on Bannerman spilled the ball to Micklethwaite, who then slid the ball under Hartley to give his team the lead.

The game continued at a high tempo, with Evans, Micklethwaite, Bannerman and Langman all making committed tackles early on. The second goal was again created by some good pressure from Mickleslate’s, with Evans first robbing Langman in his own half, and then striking a great shot past the keeper. There was even better to come from Evans soon after, as he ran across the opposition half to meet a Trinder long pass first time, and strike it into the opposite top corner. 3-0.

In the following minutes, the Bankers tightened up their defence, and neither team was able to fashion any clear cut scoring chances. Great attacking play from Slater (now outfield), Lammey, and Evans failed to alter the scoreline. Langman hit back for The Bankers just before halftime, ducking inside Woolhead to make space for a powerful shot from a tight angle. 3-1.

Mickleslate’s started the second half with some fine passing movements, Slater, Trinder, and Woolhead all involved. Woolhead soon scored after some clever play by Slater on the wing. At 4-1 it looked like game over, with the men in yellow creating all the chances.

Tiredness seemed to be taking its toll on both teams as The Bankers started to enjoy some good possession. Langman, Lammey and Sidi were getting into dangerous positions, but without troubling the keeper much. The sides exchanged a few shots, with Hartley again called into action by Slater.

The outcome was put beyond all doubt by Evans with 3 minutes remaining, when he robbed Barclay before finishing well. Some good passing football from The Bankers saw them add a second consolation goal at the death, with Barclay shooting past Micklethwaite in goal.

A worthy opening day to a spectacular competition. 2 great games between 2 great teams saw the points shared equally, which seemed a fair outcome. Now, let the factual corrections and squabbling over details commence…

Final Scores: Game 1 The Bankers 4 -2 Mickleslate's; Game 2 Mickleslate's 5 -2 The Bankers

Goals: Langman 3; Evans 3; Barclay 2; Woolhead 1; Trinder 1; Lammey 1; Micklethwaite 1; Klaessen 1

Mickleslate’s Moray Mince: Niall Slater; Adam Micklethwaite; Ben Woolhead; Dan Trinder; Gregg Warren; Hugh Evans; Alison Campbell; Kathryn Thomas (loanee); Sarahjayne Sierra; Virginia Klaessen

The Bankers: Always giving you more: Greig Barclay; Ian Bannerman; Lloyd Langman; Mo Sidi; Anne Ziebart; Ellie Gilroy; Rachael Lammey; Dan Hartley (loanee)

Thursday, 10 September 2009

A New Season Dawns

Welcome to our Friday football blog: the one-stop shop for the league's latest fixtures, results and match reports. Tomorrow witnesses the first game of the season as debutant co-captains Adam Micklethwaite and Niall Slater take on the experienced Greig Barclay in their first stab at management. As ever, it's a 12.30pm kick-off.

If you'd like to write a piece or help out in any way, then let me know and I'll send you an invite. Either way, comments on others' posts are enabled (and you don't need a login).

That is all.