Latymer Old Boys IV 6 – 3 OLD WOODS

Saturday 31 January 2015

We faced a Latymer side who had been promoted with us the previous season at Donkey Lane, Enfield. A couple of forced changes meant we had few different players from the draw against Oak Hill Tigers. Mick Kelly was in goal and in the back four were Ed McElfuff, Chris Achilles, Oli Cooper and Scot McCarthy. In midfield were Liam Lawler, James O’Shea, Rob Miller and Scott Bevan. Up front were Eoghan Reidy and Noel Brown. We had John McErlean, Andrew Hill and David Goldring on the bench – a definite mixture of age and youth.

The pitch was muddy to start with by the end of the match it was like stig of the dump’s front room – I have only now (four days later) got all the mud out of my most treasured places. It might have been a tad unplayable – nonetheless we were there and wanted to play. Within 48 seconds Woods took the lead. A good through ball by O’Shea found Reidy in space on the right whose low cross was fumbled by the keeper into the path of Brown who slotted home. 1-0!

Woods looked dangerous going forward but Latymer equalised after 10 minutes. Their best player was allowed to run at goal from the halfway line unchallenged and when he got to the edge of the box smashed the ball in past the hapless keeper. Three minutes they took the lead when the same player crossed in from our right and the ball got stuck in the mud under Cooper’s feet. It fell to an unmarked player who scored from two yards. 1-2!

What a turnaround! Undeterred Woods pressed on with Bevan and Lawler getting involved more on the wings and Brown making a nuisance of himself. It was through this route we equalised. Brown chased a long ball down snatching it off the keeper and scoring – although Miller claims he got a touch. Latymer complained the keeper was fouled but the ref gave the goal. 2-2! Goldring brought on McErlean.

Ten minutes remained in the half when Woods regained the lead. Brown was involved again holding the ball up and laying off to McCarthy. McCarthy’s cross found Reidy at the back post who took one touch and lashed the ball in. 3-2! We wanted to get to half-time with the lead in tact but it wasn’t to be.

We conceded a free-kick on the left – which wasn’t a free-kick we thought but it was given. The ball was put in and cleared to the edge of the box and smashed back into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. 3-3! There was still time for Kelly to be smacked in the most holiest of holies by the ball – which trust me still brings a tear to my eye.

So, 3-3 at half-time and the Portly Chairman’s (trust me he’s proper portly now) words of wisdom revolved around using the wings and avoiding the mud puddle which ran through the centre of the pitch. We got off to a bad start when their number 10 found space in the box and smashed the ball into the top bin from 10 yards. 3-4! Things got worse when five minutes later their gangly midfielder saw his shot deflect of McElduff’s boot and over Kelly into the roof of the net. 3-5!

We didn’t look like scoring ourselves as we found it hard to move the ball around the boggy pitch. Hill came on with twenty minutes to go and was unlucky not to score with a dipping effort from 25 yards. At the back we looked more resolute and were defending well.

On 85 minutes the Portly Chairman replaced McElduff at right-back. With a minute left there were some handbags about 30 yards from goal with Achilles and a Latymer player. The ref couldn’t remember who committed the original foul and ended up giving it to Latymer when a drop ball might have been the better option. They swung it in and it was headed in at the far post despite a valiant effort from Kelly to keep the ball out. The match ended 6-3 to Latymer!

We played well in patches but didn’t deal well enough with their one outstanding player or get to grips with the pitch which was probably not playable in hindsight. But it was the same for both teams and Latymer did shade the match so probably deserved all three points.

Next up we are at home to Old Aloysians V – a big game as they are one place above us in the league! What will the portly Chairman pull out of his magic hat or shiny box for this game!?

Team: M Kelly, E McElduff, C Achilles, O Cooper, S McCarthy, L Lawler, J O’Shea, R Miller, S Bevan, E Reidy, N Brown, A Hill, J McErlean, D Goldring

Scorers: N Brown 2, Reidy

MoM: N Brown – two goals and an assist.

OLD WOODS 1 – 1 Oak Hill Tigers III

24 January 2015

The second game of the calendar year saw the 4XI take on Oak Hill Tigers 3XI a team that had only dropped four points all season. We knew it would be a tough game. We lined up with Mick Kelly begrudgingly playing in goal for his first appearance of the season. At the back were Ed McElduff, Chris Achilles, Oli Cooper and Scott McCarthy. In midfield we had Liam Lawler, James O’Shea, Richard Christenson and Scott Bevan. Up top were Eoghan Reidy and Danny Blackett. On the bench we had Carlos Howe, John McErlean and Karol Dziedzic. All overseen by David Goldring.

As expected Oak Hill started strongly but did not create any clear-cut chances. At the back Achilles had the measure of the large Oak Hill centre forward and was beating him for pace and strength on nearly every occasion. His partner at the heart of the defence, Cooper, was winning everything in the air too and Kelly was picking up any balls that were over-hit – there were a few.

Going forward we looked good too with our full-backs, McCarthy and McElduff, supporting Bevan and Lawler on the wings. Lawler had a chance with about 15 minutes gone but scuffed a shot from the edge of the area wide. O’Shea and Christenson were starting to get a hold of midfield and Blackett and Reidy were working hard up front. However, on 20 minutes Oak Hill took the lead. The otherwise excellent referee adjudged McElduff to have fouled and Oak Hill player about 40 yards from goal when he clearly won the ball! The free-kick was whipped in and was deflected off O’Shea’s head straight to an Oak Hill player who placed the ball into the corner of the goal, 0-1!

Shortly after this Goldring made some changes with all three subs coming on. McErlean in particular with his physical presence ruffled a few feathers in the Oak Hill midfield. For the rest of the half neither side created much and we went in 1-0 down. Goldring said we had played well but needed to try and get our wingers involved more.

Woods started the second half well but were still not creating many chances. A quick free-kick from Oak Hill almost caught Woods out but Kelly managed to grab the ball and was kicked on the wrist (it hurts to type) and we were awarded a free-kick. Goldring made more changes. On 65 minutes a ferocious shot from Lawler whistled past the wrong side of the post – unlucky! We’d still not tested the keeper!

On 70 minutes Woods deservedly drew level – a goal-kick from Kelly was flicked on by Howe to Reidy who played in O’Shea. The Oak Hill centre back ballooned the ball in the air and O’Shea leaped to win a header ran on to the loose ball himself and lifted the ball into the back of the net. 1-1! Five minutes later Woods should have taken the lead when Howe and Achilles found space in the box. Achilles left it to Howe and the usually composed striker lobbed the ball completely wide of the goal!

With five minutes to go Oak Hill were putting Woods under pressure at the back. Kelly was called into action twice. First diving full length to his right to tip a deflected shot around the post. Secondly, when a tame shot deflected off Bevan wrong footing the hapless keeper who managed to parry the ball and Achilles swept up clearing the ball off the line.

That was the last real incident of the match and we ground out a hard fought 1-1 draw against a good team who may go on to win the Division. Actually it wasn’t the last incident as there was the entirely comic moment when Goldring made a corner taker replace the corner flag which he had moved about a centimetre – if you’ve seen the Father Ted with Dougal and the corner flag it was a bit like that.

All in all it was a good performance and everyone played well, working hard as a team on a heavy pitch. O’Shea was singled out for special praise by Goldring who described his performance as ‘a man of the match performance’…others said Kelly should have got that accolade but they, and I, am biased.

Next week we are up against Latyer Old Boys 4XI another performance like this and we might win!?

Mickey

Squad: M Kelly, E McElduff, O Cooper, C Achilles, S McCarthy, L Lawler, J O’Shea, R Christenson, S Bevan, E Reidy, D Blackett, J McErlean, K Dziedzic, C Howe

Manger: D Goldring

Scorer: J O’Shea

MoM: J O’Shea – a fine performance capped of with a goal