Saturday, 19 April 2014

Vickers in a Title Twist


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 19 April 2014 at Oakwood
Result
VCD Athletic 1 AFC Sudbury 2
Competition
Isthmian League D1 North (Step 4)
Hopping
Ground 534 on the list, chosen for practical travel reasons today.
Pre-match preparation
VCD are chasing automatic promotion and have everything to play for.  VCD recently beat Witham Town, who now lead the division by a point having used up games in hand.  Since then, VCD lost at home but won 6-1 away last time out.  Meanwhile, Sudbury have lost their last two, fielding young and inexperienced sides and handing out lots of debuts.  They are just above mid-table.
This match in one sentence
A game of the proverbial two halves, with the wind favouring one direction, but Sudbury managed to hold on to their lead despite considerable second half pressure from VCD.

Two-goal hero James Akintunde

So what?
The result will annoy VCD even more as Witham Town lost to a last-minute goal elsewhere.  There is one point in it, but Witham have the destiny in their own hands but will probably have to win away at Cheshunt on the last day of the season to be sure.  Sudbury will finish in the top half.
The drama unfolds
Playing “with the wind”, Sudbury had early territorial advantage but the first save of note came at the other end.  Then, after a VCD corner, Sudbury broke quickly and we had a goal-of-the-season contender from James Akintunde.  He ran half the length of the pitch, cut in from the right wing and hammered his shot into the top left corner.  A brilliant goal, which gave the visiting fans a chance to start up their air-raid siren.  0-1 after 12 mins

Lightning struck twice – from another VCD corner, Akintunde led the break again, and though keeper Nick Blue came out to challenge (in pink, not blue - whatever happened to nominative determinism?), a neat flicked finish doubled the lead.  0-2 after 16 mins

Sherwin Stanley could have got one back for VCD but he shot over with the goalie Alex Archer out of position.  VCD were trying to play out on the floor from the back, but a combination of the wind and a high pressing response from Sudbury meant that they were not always comfortable.  I took the scene-setter clip just before half-time.  VCD are in green-and-white.



Just after this, Akintunde created another chance through his physical presence and a teammate hit the bar, but Sudbury would have been happy enough with the interval score.  0-2 at halftime

VCD huddled before the start of the second half.  They started to make better use of the conditions, and Sudbury seemed content to play on the break.  Just before the hour mark, James Duckworth chested the ball down on the left wing.  He was forced inside but kept his balance and rode the tackles to get to a central position before blasting home a superb goal,  1-2 after 57 mins

The second clip records the Sudbury siren (and old-school rattle) for posterity.



For most of the rest of the game, Sudbury were kept on the back foot.  VCD could not quite find the telling final pass.  A header from Stanley hit the side netting, Archer took a yellow card for timewasting, but the visitors held on.  Here are some clips from late in the game, finishing with the final whistle.



The Sudbury supporters heading out of the ground were all expressing pleasant surprise – they really had not expected anything from this game.  Final score 1-2
Ground Pix

Action about to start on the adjacent pitch ...



Match Pix




Huddle Stats
A new category needed because VCD huddled just before the start of the second half.  They “won the half” but this counts for nothing in the harsh results-driven world of huddling.

2013-14 Summary so far:

P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
PPG
Huddlers
13
5
4
4
13
9
19
1.46
Non-Huddlers
29
13
3
13
45
48
42
1.45
Twin Huddlers
1
0
1
0
2
2
1
1.00
2nd Half Huddlers
1
0
0
1
1
2
0
0.00
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Another success for grey (over pink this time) but nevertheless grey drops to third on PPG ratio.  Grey has been far and away the most successful shirt of the more popular colours.


2013-14 Summary so far:
3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, -1pt for a goal conceded and +5pts for a clean sheet

P
W
D
L
GA
(-1 each)
CS
(5 each)
Pts
Pts per Game
Purple
1
1
0
0
0
1
8
8.00
Red
2
1
0
1
2
1
6
3.00
Grey
12
7
2
3
13
5
35
2.92
Green
9
5
0
4
11
2
14
1.56
Yellow
4
1
1
2
8
1
1
0.25
Orange
3
1
1
1
6
0
-2
-0.67
Radioactive Bile
3
1
0
2
6
0
-3
-1.00
Pink
7
1
3
3
16
0
-10
-1.43
Blue
3
0
1
2
6
0
-5
-1.67
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!



Friday, 18 April 2014

Meridian's Lines are Broken Three Times


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Friday 18 April 2014 at Charlton Park Lane
Result
Meridian VP 0  Hollands & Blair 3
Competition
Kent Invicta League (Step 6)
Hopping
Ground #533 on the lifetime list is my first-ever in this particular league, chosen partly for practical reasons and partly because of its significance.
Pre-match preparation
Hollands & Blair are divisional leaders and will be wanting a win as the next step in securing the title.
This match in one sentence
In the end, a comfortable win for Hollands & Blair.
So what?
The visitors remain on course for the title.  They have four fixtures left against mid-trable sides, and although Lydd could catch them, it looks unlikely.  Meridian are 13th (of 15) and could yet be overtaken by the club beneath.
The drama unfolds
It turned out that @cynderness was in town and looking for a game, so twitterations were made and she was found lurking with a pint of local bitter in Charlton, as per.  We arrived at the clubhouse to find there was no food available (except Black Country pork scratchings which to be fair don’t appear on the vegetarian standard lists).  With the help of the friendly bar staff, Cyn secured a groundhopping first and started a new and welcome trend.  It can thus now be confirmed that Pizza Hut (other cheese melters are available) will deliver to the halfway line at a step 6 game.  This changes everything.



Hollands and Blair, meanwhile, were taking the lead just as the delivery was made with a quarter of an hour gone.  Steve Dampier was the scorer.  0-1 with side orders of garlic bread and chips after 15 mins

Here’s the scene setter clip, which ends with H&B missing a good chance of a second.  Meridian are in the pale blue.



Sam Welch headed the second and for the rest of the half H&B looked comfortable and in control.  0-2 after 26 mins

We had an unusual episode for a Meridian freekick where the ref re-paced the 10 yards back for the defensive wall after loud protests from the touchline.  The protesters were right, to be fair.  The freekick came to nothing.  0-2 at halftime

In the second half, H&B wasted several good chances.  There was a long stoppage for treatment to the Meridian goalkeeper Paul Daley.  Sensibly, H&B put him under immediate pressure again.  Welch was harshly booked for the collision but Daley could not continue and one of the outfield players took the grey shirt.  He assured those of us nearby that he’d done so before.

Here’s another clip.


The new man between the sticks almost kept a personal clean sheet.  James McDonald headed just wide, he maybe should have scored.  It was not until stoppage time that Louis Valencia set up a close-range header for substitute Stuart West.  Job Done.  Final score 0-3

Ground Pix



Match Pix




Huddle Stats
No huddles today.

2013-14 Summary so far:

P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
PPG
Huddlers
13
5
4
4
13
9
19
1.46
Non-Huddlers
28
12
3
13
43
47
39
1.39
Twin Huddlers
1
0
1
0
2
2
1
1.00
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Hollands & Blair provided the first Purple keeper of the new season.  Grey holds on to second place despite the loss for the home shirt.  3pts per game is more significant from 11 games than from 2, as achieved by Red.


2013-14 Summary so far:
3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, -1pt for a goal conceded and +5pts for a clean sheet

P
W
D
L
GA
(-1 each)
CS
(5 each)
Pts
Pts per Game
Purple
1
1
0
0
0
1
8
8.00
Grey
11
6
2
3
12
5
33
3.00
Red
2
1
0
1
2
1
6
3.00
Green
9
5
0
4
11
2
14
1.56
Yellow
4
1
1
2
8
1
1
0.25
Orange
3
1
1
1
6
0
-2
-0.67
Radioactive Bile
3
1
0
2
6
0
-3
-1.00
Pink
6
1
3
2
14
0
-8
-1.33
Blue
3
0
1
2
6
0
-5
-1.67
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!