Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Joy of Six

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Wednesday 24 August 2011 at Phoenix Park
Shifnal Town 3 (Horler 64, Horler (or Ellis?) 88, 90+6p)
Gornal Athletic 4 (Wherton 8, Young 59, Meese 89p, 99)
After extra time
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round replay.  Both clubs play in the West Midlands Regional Premier League at step 6.
I am here to complete a run of six FA Cup ties in six consecutive days, a new personal record for games in a single competition.
This match in one sentence
Gornal Athletic survive the sending off of their keeper and a stoppage time penalty setback to grab a winner in the first period of extra time.
So what?
Gornal Athletic go away to Rugby Town in the next round.
A random invention that would have the same impact on my personal happiness and well-being as watching this match
A printer-scanner for old photographs that would remove fashion disasters, dodgy hairstyles and other faux pas that otherwise cause amusement to your children.  I've seen my degree photos again this week and I refuse to believe that rounded collars existed.  Must be an optical illusion - surely not a health-and-safety issue.
The drama unfolds
Gornal Athletic started brightly and took the lead after 8 minutes.  Lee Wherton broke through from midfield and the ball sat up nicely for him to unleash a left foot shot low into the right-hand corner of the net.  0-1

Shifnal really should have equalised in the 18th minute and the second clip below is from the 25th when Gornal failed to pick up a runner at a corner.

However, Gornal were also making chances, as shown in the third clip.

0-1 at half-time

The ref had waited until the 27th minute before having a word with Gornal manager Ian Rowe.  He had been keeping up a tirade of challenges to the ref and linesmen, mentally kicking every ball and jumping up and down like an excitable child on (or over) the touchline.  He needs to have a look at himself to be honest so I thought I would assist with a short video clip.  This is the only usable one – this is a family website after all.

Cameron Morgan picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on the Shifnal goalkeeper as post-interval passions started to run higher.  Gornal increased their lead just before the hour.  Richard Young’s free-kick is caught in the next clip.  0-2

However, Shifnal pulled one back within five minutes, through substitute Gareth Horler.  1-2

The game moved from simmering to eruption with just over 15 minutes to go.  Firstly, Gornal keeper James Pemberton was judged to have brought down an attacker and denied a goalscoring opportunity as both players went for a bouncing ball.  Defender Peter Wood put on the goalkeeping kit and he will treasure the next moment forever.

Shifnal were not out of it yet and the tide turned in their favour with two minutes to go.  I thought Gareth Horler had got a second, but other published accounts today say it was Pat Ellis.  2-2

Incredibly, with my watch saying 89 minutes, Gornal sent the ball down the left and the ref was well-placed to give a handball decision as it was crossed in.  Dave Meese converted the spot-kick, with really only stoppage time left.  Many home supporters moved towards the gate and congregated in a grumpy group.  2-3

However, there was to be a lot of stoppage time, sending Ian Rowe apoplectic in the dugout.  I made it 96 minutes when the second of two last-ditch tackles was judged to be a foul, and this time Stuart Corns made no mistake with the Shifnal penalty kick.  The home supporters duly filed back in.  3-3

Ian Rowe used the break to remind his players that they were up against fourteen men, and they started extra time with attacking intent.  If this was a deliberate tactic to avoid a penalty shootout with a stand-in keeper, then it was excellent.

The winning goal was fired in by Dave Meese after 99 minutes, as shown in the next clip.  3-4 at the end of the first period of ET.

The International Space Station made its expected crossing at 2204hrs precisely.  It is the small bright dot moving from right to left across the field of view, just visible through the glare of the floodlights.  I love it when obsessive hobbies collide – if only I’d brought my stamp collection along.  You may need to look at this a few times.  It is a tiny dot just above the floodlight on the first glance upwards, then on the second glance you are looking for a dot that is just above and to the left momentarily before it disappears behind a cloud.  None of the locals seemed to join in with looking upwards - they were gripped by the onfield shenanigans.

You are looking for a tiny dot somewhere near the region marked with the red circle in the first upward pan, moving to the left and slightly upwards as we look.  The ISS is usually very easy to see as long as there is no cloud cover, but the glare of the floodlights makes it somewhat harder on this occasion.

Meanwhile, on the pitch, Gornal controlled the second period of extra time rather well.  The final clip is from the last frantic minutes, and Shifnal will wonder how they failed to make the extra man count.  Final score 3-4

Well done and thanks to both teams for a dramatic evening of entertainment.
Peter Wood for that once-in-a-lifetime first-touch-of-the-ball penalty save that is the dream for any stand-in goalkeeper.
A snippet from the programme

There is a quiz on the career of John Giles, from which this question is taken:

Which club did he leave Leeds to become player-manager of in 1975?
(See below for answer…)
What I learned today
Shifnal Town are a welcoming club who serve up the best cheeseburgers (note plural) and one of the best programmes encountered so far in step 6.
What Next?
Not sure – follow the @GrahamYapp Twitter feed for announcements.

Quiz question answer: West Bromwich Albion

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