Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Joy of Three

Mr Sudoku (see below) lurking at the back right of the stand

The slope downwards from L to R at Fleet Town

Kidlington's ground at Yarnton Road
Hopperational details
Date & Venues
Bank Holiday Monday 29 August 2011
a)    Bottom Meadow, Sandhurst (1130)
b)    Calthorpe Park, Fleet (1500)
c)    Yarnton Road, Kidlington (1945)
Results & Competitions
Sandhurst 2 (Unknown 22, Jeffrey 37)
Ash United 0
Combined Counties Premier League (step 5)

Fleet Town 0
Chertsey Town 3
(Bennett 28, Ferguson 80, McGarry 90+5pen)
Southern League Division One Central (step 4)

Kidlington 1 (Haysham 4)
Oxford City Nomads 1 (Curtin 90)
Hellenic Premier League (step 5)
Bank Holiday trebles are usually determined by geographical proximity to the game with the evening kickoff time.  This is my fourth, and the grounds will be #413, 414 & 415 on the lifetime list.
These matches in one sentence each
  • Sandhurst scored first after the even early sparring and went on to complete a routine and deserved victory.
  • Chertsey’s greater sharpness in and around the box got them a good away win, and Fleet face a possible ‘keeper crisis after a late red-card incident means that their top two are injured and suspended respectively.
  • Kidlington rescued a point with a late, late equaliser from a game that the visitors had dominated.
So what?
  • Both Sandhurst and Ash have a win and a defeat from their two games on Bank Holiday weekend – Sandhurst are a club in transition (see below) and this was a good day.
  • Newly-promoted Chertsey Town sit 11th in the table and leapfrog over several teams, including Fleet, after two wins this weekend.  Fleet have no points and no goals (and no goalkeepers?) to show after their two games.
  • Oxford City Nomads drop from first to third in the Hellenic League after weekend results, and Kidlington sit in upper-mid-table.
Alternative approaches to Bank Holiday Monday
  • Sit in an armchair with an unlimited supply of Stella Artois in supermarket loss-leader twelve-pack listening to traffic updates on the radio while periodically announcing that, “It’s mad out there today”.
  • Go to B&Q or Homebase with a list that is missing at least one critical item of equipment or materials for that DIY task that you have been putting off for the last year.  For best effect, discover the omission ten minutes before closing time.
  • Go into the garden and replace all the recently-living things that you paid good money for last week with some still-living-but-not-at-all-well things that the local garden centre is offloading on special offer this week.
  • Make a chart showing the number of hours left before your children go back into school and cheer yourself up by colouring in those that are occupied by sleep, work, going to the lavatory and hiding in your room/shed/den.  Extra style points are available for those using Excel and conditional formatting.
The drama unfolds
The first 15 minutes at Sandhurst was pretty even.  Sandhurst almost opened the scoring after 17, but this effort was headed off the line.

Ash responded immediately with a lovely 5-player move, but it was Sandhurst who got the goal after 22 minutes.  Good work initially by Vinnie Bond ended up with confusion and blocked shots in the Ash penalty area, but the ball broke eventually to someone I didn’t identify in the melée who poked it over the line.  1-0

The second goal followed before half-time.  A good pass from Ross Hogston found Sam Jeffrey on the right, and he cut inside to unleash a powerful left foot shot into the net.  Sandhurst held that lead comfortably till the break.  2-0 at half-time

This spectator had turned to the sudoku page even before half-time
Ash United started the second half with intent and nearly had a goal back after 53 minutes.  This effort trickled agonisingly wide with the keeper beaten. 

Toby Jannaway was one of several Sandhurst players who could have got on the scoresheet today:

Ash centre-back Alan Hanning was one of those getting a yellow card after a second poor tackle on Vinnie Bond, who to his credit picked himself up and got on with it several times after such events.  He was unlucky not to get a third goal after good work again by Jeffrey.  Sandhurst made a substitution and changed to 4-2-3-1 (the first time, I think, that I have heard that formation announced from the bench at step 5).  Although Ash broke forward every now and then, Sandhurst pretty much controlled the rest of the game as typified by this next clip.  Final score 2-0

Here are scene-setter clips from the second game, with Fleet in blue and Chertsey in white.  The second one seems to be a world-record attempt at packing the 6-yard box at a corner.

Fleet were to end up on the end of a heavy home defeat, but things could have been different had they scored after 12 minutes.  A mix-up between defender David Stevens and keeper Mark Shipperley (perhaps as the ball slowed down on the upslope) almost let in Luke King.  However, Chertsey took the lead in the 28th minute.  A superb long diagonal ball was well controlled by Dan Bennett on the edge of the area.  He rounded the keeper, stayed on his feet and showed enough composure to finish as his shot could only be deflected into the roof of the net by a desperate defender.  0-1

Chertsey almost added a second soon after, with Bennett prominent in all the best attacking moves, but there was no more scoring before the interval.  0-1 at half-time

Chertsey Town's Andy Crossley picked up a foot injury in the first half
The next clip is from the second-half as Fleet searched for an equaliser.

The visitors’ task of holding the lead got easier when Johnny Dyer was sent off on the hour, but to be fair there were chances for both sides before Chertsey added two late goals.  Troy Ferguson popped up from midfield after 80 minutes to seal the win.  0-2

There was time for one last twist to add to the gloom over the hosts.  Keeper Dave Smalley (playing in place of the recently-injured Andy Bayliss) brought down an attacker and received the red-card as we entered the fifth minute of stoppage time.  Bayliss, presumably not fully fit, came off the bench but Tommy McGarry put the spotkick away as shown below and the game ended immediately after the restart.  Final score 0-3

This Kidlington allotment holder favours the big-man-at-the-back approach when defending an aerial threat
The next clip is a scene-setter from the first half of Kidlington v Oxford City Nomads.  The hosts had opened the scoring after only four minutes with a fine shot by Pablo Haysham.  0-1

The Nomads dominated the half and were unable to add a second despite a string of corners and freekicks.  0-1 at half-time

As the game went on, discussions took place with fellow hoppers about the chances of an unjust Kidlington equaliser.  Nomads continued to dominate possession and create chances, but Kidlington had their moments too, including this appeal for a penalty.

It looked as if Nomads had done enough, but Ryan Curtin stepped up with a deflected freekick right at the death.  Nomads’ keeper Paul Davis was heading in the opposite direction as the ball crossed the line, and his teammates seemed less than happy with him.  Quite what he could have done differently, I don’t know.  Final score 1-1

Thanks to OCN’s website for the identification of scorers.

Sam Jeffrey (Sandhurst Town, pictured right, in the foreground) with honourable mentions to teammates Vinnie Bond (in the background) and captain Liam Eagles.

Dan Bennett of Chertsey Town (on the ball, below) for being a constant threat to the opposition.

Ryan Curtin of Kidlington just for that last-moment game-changer of a freekick.
The programmes

What I learned today
Sandhurst Town are seeking a new manager. The board refused to break a structure to pay two individual players, who are thus said to have made themselves unavailable for last weekend’s FA Cup tie (so as not to be cup-tied for later rounds with a new club).  The manager, Dean Thomas, also chose to leave and an interim management team is in place.  Chairman Tony Dean made an assertive defence of the club’s stance in his programme notes.

Andy Leader, last seen by this blogger in January (click the Andover tag on the right to jump to the page) is now assistant manager at Fleet Town.  For the record, he was very calm and quiet today.  Also, Calthorpe Park has a pronounced slope.  Fleet it may be, but Flat it is not.

Finally, at least one other ‘hopper had chosen the same games for today’s treble – good to meet you, Lee, and I am sure we will cross paths again!
What Next?
Mustn’t forget that it is an FA Cup weekend coming up!  Watch the @GrahamYapp Twitter feed for details … perhaps even for a short hop tonight.

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