Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Holmer Green Party Thwarted by Tiger Poop

Unenforced Signs of Great Britain Number 357

Things to do at half-time: undertake Owl Census.  (0)
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 9 April 2013 at Airedale Park
Holmer Green 2 London Tigers 3
Spartan South Midlands Premier League (Step 5)
Quick change of plan when it turned out that a cup semi-final (see my last post) was being held at a neutral venue that I have already visited.  This ground is #512 on the lifetime list.  One more ground (London Tigers!) for me to do in this division.
Pre-match preparation
Holmer Green are bottom of the league table and need a miracle to avoid relegation.  Their last game was a 4-6 defeat at Hadley (in front of a crowd of 11) after they had been 4-1 up!  Tigers sit a few places above and will probably be safe whatever happens.
This match in one sentence
Heartbreak after a spirited performance from Holmer Green had seen them draw level from two goals down, but a 96th minute winner took the points for Tigers.
So what?
Unofficially, I believe that this result mathematically confirms Holmer Green’s relegation.  They could still avoid last place by overtaking Hatfield, but they can’t overtake Hertford.  Tigers need one more point (or for Hatfield to drop points) to be mathematically safe.
The drama unfolds
Holmer Green attacked from the whistle and shot narrowly over within seconds to announce their intent.  They played positively and with heads up in an even contest.  They encouraged teammates, more so than Tigers who tended to berate each other as the game went on.  My scene-setter clip comes from around 15 minutes into the game.  Green are in green!

The second clip has the game’s opening goal.  Holmer Green lost concentration after a lengthy stoppage for an injury, and Tigers took advantage with this strike.  The scorer is either Terence Cariba or Jabir Laraba … (see later.)  0-1 after 29 minutes

The home side regrouped and to their credit this was not the signal for floodgates to open.  My final first-half clip shows their best chance of an equaliser before the break – Joe Gleeson’s shot is straight at the keeper.  0-1 at half-time

Holmer Green kept pressing in the second half.  They had plenty of possession but not all of it in dangerous areas, and Tigers looked fairly comfortable at the back.  When the home side found a way through, they found a keeper, Adam Atour, in good form, as the next two clips show.  Flying saves for goalkeeper fans out there.  These are at 60 and 70 minutes respectively.

They had an even better chance when an excellent diagonal through ball from Joe da Silva in midfield was then played through to Dean Allen, but Atour saved with his legs at close range.  The tally of missed chances was now starting to mount up.

Therefore it came to pass that a dipping and swerving shot from distance seemed to deceive the home goalkeeper and the ball pinged off the left-hand post to nestle in the opposite corner and Tigers were two up with only 14 minutes left.  The scorer was Terence Cariba – he scored twice but I am not sure whether this was the first or second.  0-2 after 76 minutes

The shout on the pitch was, “We can still do this!” and Holmer Green got back into the game immediately with an excellent low finish from Allen who has now scored for five games on the trot.  1-2 after 77 minutes

They almost had a leveller soon afterwards as Tigers began to look jittery at the back.  This clip comes from the 84-minute mark and has some corner carnage.

There was another lengthy stoppage for an injury and it was the 90th minute on my watch when this freekick led to the equalising goal.  The scorer is Michael Green, who is pleasingly wearing Green and playing for Green.  (By the way, the referee was Mr Corner, who should be a lino really so his nominative determinism can be fine-tuned.)  2-2 after 90 minutes

Unbelievably, however, they gave away the points and their last hold on a place in the division by conceding a goal in the 6th minute of stoppage time.  Tigers had players lined up on the edge of the area and there was not much that Dan Little could do as the winner was smacked in.  The scorer was either Terence Cariba or Jabir Laraba (whichever one didn’t score the first!).  Credit to both teams – a great game for the passing neutral and I hope Holmer Green keep their heads up for next season in Step 6.  Final score 2-3

Apologies for the confusion over identifying the Tigers' goalscorers this time.
The programme

Hopping for Moorfields Update
Tallies up to 185 goals from 53 games which remains around 3.5 per game.
Mars Bar Watch 2013
A standard 58g bar cost a season-standard 60p in the clubhouse.  Standard.
What Next?
Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter for further hopping announcements.

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