Sunday, 29 January 2012

Police Called to Shootout in Sussex

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 28 January 2012 at The Jubilee Ground
Three Bridges 2 Gresley 2 after extra time
Gresley win 7-6 on penalties
FA Vase Round 4 replay
#449 on the lifetime list and I am here, as is @TravellingFan, to continue the unfinished business from last week’s Derbyshire draw.
This match in one sentence
In a close and occasionally controversial game, ten-man Three Bridges took the lead in the second half of extra time but could not hold on, and the visiting captain saved the fourteenth penalty of the shootout.
So what?
Three Bridges win a lot of friends, but it is Gresley that go into the last 16 with an away tie at St Ives Town of the United Counties League.  Three Bridges now have a league fixture pile-up but enough games in hand to go to the top if they can win them all.
Something random
Elvis Gresley (see last week’s post) was in attendance.
The drama unfolds
We had a better surface and no disruptive wind today, but Gresley started where they had left off last week and it took an astonishing save by Simon Lehkyj after 10 minutes to keep the game scoreless.  He dived with a strong left arm to divert over a shot from Marc Goodfellow.  An immediate second save at full stretch was irrelevant due to an offside flag but Lehkyj would not have known that.

My scene-setting clip, starting at 15 minutes in, ended up telling the story of a critical part of the game.  Camera, Action!  Three Bridges are in gold-and-black.

To sum up, Three Bridges had settled and were starting to create goalmouth action of their own.  However, Goodfellow got to the byline before being fouled by James Grant (make a note of that) for a penalty.  Both players, and one other from the home side picked up yellows for the altercation that followed, before Lehkyj saved Royce Turville’s spotkick.  All this and still 0-0.

Gresley had chances – another Goodfellow shot over the bar, a Turville header – before Three Bridges took the lead.  A deflected shot fell into the path of the unmarked Tim Rivers who had time to write his autobiography, “How I scored twice in successive games against Gresley”, before planting a shot in the bottom right corner with half an hour gone.  1-0

We then had an unusual stoppage.  All I can say for certain is that there was a conversation between Lehkyj, his captain Nigel Brake and the ref.  The ref had a word with the home bench.  Someone from the home bench came over to speak with the Gresley supporters immediately behind Lehkyj’s goal.  The implication was that someone had “crossed a line” but I couldn’t say more than that.  The home official was not well received by the Ambassadors for Gresley, it has to be said, but then someone from the visitors’ bench popped over for a word.  I wandered over in that direction for the rest of the half, which was then curiously “flat” and not altogether pleasant, apart from an immediate yellow card for Bridges’ Charlie Cooke and yet another brilliant save by Lekhyj just before the interval.  1-0 at half-time

After an intriguing and partially amusing announcement along the lines that there would be no alcohol outside the bar, "an FA ruling because of what happened in the first half ... that includes the man walking past me with a pint in his hand!" we started the game again.  Gresley pressed again from the restart.  Their first chance fell to full-back Jordi Gough and was reported as a UFO by a British Airways pilot taking off from Gatwick.  It was almost three-quarters of the way through the game before the scores were level.  Before that, Three Bridges should have gone two ahead but a Gresley defender made an important block.  Here’s a clip.

Then that man Lehkyj made a superb save to tip over a shot from Dean Oliver, but injured himself in the process.  He decided to continue but Turville’s header from the resulting corner was right in the corner and he had no chance this time.  1-1

Three Bridges hit back and Abu Touray shot narrowly over.  The referee, who had a busy afternoon all round, appeared to give a penalty to the home side before spotting that the assistant had flagged for an earlier offside.  Home hearts sank further as Lehkyj left the pitch to be replaced by Rob Woodward, who immediately made a nervy clearance before making a good block with his legs.  It was good to see Gary Hateley make a point of coming across to shake the hand of his opposite number.

My three clips from this half have Gresley on the attack just as the police are arriving to keep an eye on us, Three Bridges hitting the bar, and Three Bridges on the attack as the whistle goes to send us into extra time and wipe out my chances of an evening ice hockey game!  1-1 after 90 minutes

The first half of extra time was uneventful except for a second yellow card for a certain James Grant of Three Bridges, so they duly went down to ten men as the red card was waved.  1-1 after 105 minutes

This clip shows how Three Bridges took the lead early in the second period with a goal by Touray.  Cue celebrations!  2-1

The next clip starts with an astronomical diversion as the twilight deepened and the planets are exposed.  Venus, looking like a very bright star, is just to the left of the tree as we look, The Moon looks like The Moon, and then the second slightly less bright “star” as I pan left and slightly up is in fact the planet Uranus.  Fortunately, I remember where I am in time to cover the corner leading to substitute Rob Spencer’s dramatic equaliser.  I claim the world’s first www coverage of an FA Vase goal and Uranus in the same clip.  2-2

Normally I’d go straight to the shootout but I’ll insert two clips for you to make your own judgements.  I was filming in case of a late, late winner.  Firstly, Joel O’Hara of Three Bridges fouls Danny Holmes who reacts strongly before getting up and waving away attempts to apologise.  Secondly, a few moments later Holmes is booked himself for a horrible tackle from behind.  From a distance, I thought it was on O’Hara (but will happily correct the post if I turn out to be wrong).  2-2 after 120 minutes

To the shootout.  The first four penalties were all good, with Gresley shooting first.  Here’s the rest, which ends with the last word once again going to Honeymoon Hateley.  One Gresley player even seems to offer the chance to Hateley to take his kick!  I hope Charlie Cooke will quickly get over his moment of despair.  Gresley win 7-6 on penalties


Hard to look beyond the two goalkeepers, who decided the outcomes of this game.  A sympathy vote to Simon Lekhyj whose work both last week and this got us to the extra-time and penalties.  However, it’s a results-driven industry and the well-tanned Gary “Honeymoon” Hateley gets the nod for his last game-winning touch.
A snippet from the programme
From the coverage of last Saturday’s draw:
“Despite the very windy conditions, both sides contributed to a cracking cup-tie, although at times we found ourselves with a rearguard action and were indebted to great performances in the heart of our defence by Andy Howard and Callum Donaghey, a couple of crucial last ditch tackles/clearances by Charlie Cooke and Nigel Brake and a breathtaking goalkeeping display by Simon Lekhyj… Lekhyj proved the hero more than once in the final minutes, but Hateley also made crucial late saves to deny Touray and Brake to take us into today’s replay.”
What I learned today
Gresley are developing a consistent record in this competition – if defeat comes their way, I hope that a small tanked-up proportion of their excellent travelling support won’t spoil the day.  They are a resilient side playing good football and well worth following.
What Next?
No idea!  Follow the @GrahamYapp twitterfeed for details.

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