Match Day Five
The pitches were mown and watered (well, the Subbuteo equivalent, they were given a good vacuum). With a few weeks passed since the close of the transfer window, new figures were close to full match fitness, so Dave and Todd were able to pull out their brand new teams (Arsenal 2015/16 and Newcastle KB 1978 respectively) while Imojjen’s bespoke pink and gold army had been transformed from their white blankness.
On the southern pitch, Todd started his Subbuteo bender evening with a game against Adrian. In the early stages, he was undone by some inexperience, allowing his defence to be pulled out of position leaving wide open spaces for Adrian to take the lead. Todd learned quickly, however, and no such spaces were left for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, a traveling ‘keeper error allowed Adrian a two goal advantage at half time. The second half was a much more closed affair and, though Adrian finished the game with a 4-0 victory, Todd showed that he continues to learn quickly, becoming more and more competitive as the minutes drew on.
Todd and Daniele crowd the pitch.
Todd then took on Daniele, who was still hurting from his loss last week and was in no mood to take things easy. Daniele’s quicker game caused Todd problems, though, again, as Todd became accustomed to the speed, he grew into it and was able to get speedy, well-positioned defensive flicks in. Daniele’s shooting, however, was the telling difference. A steady stream of goals throughout the game, with a mix of delicate chips and deadly pile-drivers. The result finished at 5-0. Todd then left to make the drive across to Parramatta, where he was due to play his 3rd game of the evening. A champion effort in playing and a happiness to accommodate which was much appreciated by the fixtures organiser!
Which left Adrian and Daniele to play out the final game. Adrian was determined to keep his defense tighter in the opening phases after Daniele had scored in the opening 30 seconds of each half in their last clash. This time, while Daniele dominated possession, Adrian combined some tighter defense with some good goalkeeping to hold Daniele out, and began to hold his own possession. Then, in a swift move up the middle of the pitch, Adrian scored, putting the moving ball into the back of Daniele’s unattended goal. This kicked Daniele into action. By the end of the half he had carved Adrian up to score three unanswered goals, the last of these being a great shot from distance through a crowded box. The second half was a little tighter, with possession shared. However, Adrian’s final touches to get into the shooting area were dreadful, meaning he couldn’t get clear shots on goal. Meanwhile, Daniele scored a fairly simple 4th then scored the goal of the evening. He had stolen possession from Adrian’s traveling ‘keeper but could not get any good angles on goal due to Adrian’s defensive flicking. His 4th touch was on a sharp angle and he managed to hit the post, but the ball rested, agonisingly, just in the field of play in front of goal. For his 5th and final flick, not a single player on the pitch had a clear path to the ball. His only option was to put his traveling ‘keeper in his own goal area and take a pitch length shot at the ball, with a 5cm window between two of Adrian’s defenders. He took it perfectly to the amazement of all. Adrian did manage a late consolation but Daniele ran out a deserved 5-2 winner.
(report by Adrian Elmer)
On the Northern Pitch, the first match was between Imojjen and (Little) Steve. Whilst initially a little nervous, Imojjen soon settled into a nice groove. Steve’s pointers were generally cut short as Imojjen displayed a very keen knowledge of what she should be doing without his help! Whilst she defended soundly, it was Steve who still managed a 1-0 lead into the break. 2 quick-fire goals at the beginning of the second half extended his lead, however Imojjen found herself with 1 or 2 chances of her own. Having never scored a competitive goal before, she was absolutely delighted to have found herself in behind Steve’s defence, duly dispatching a wonderful goal into the bottom left corner – the game finishing 3-1.
Æowyn getting ready for Dave’s corner.
Next was Dave, with his almost complete new Arsenal squad (top job Adrian!) being put to the test by Æowyn. The game was contested in good spirit, with both players trying as hard as they could to breach one-another’s stoic defense. Both had some good chances throughout, some thwarted by good saves, others by that dreaded offside rule! The game was eventually decided only a minute and a half from time – an error from Æowyn close to her own goal gave Dave a free kick which he worked very well and slotted away neatly – the game finished 1-0 to Dave.
The final game saw Steve take on Dave. Dave, by his own admission, deployed a slightly more defensive tactic, and was keen to control the pace of the game. This proved a master stroke as he came away with a deserved 0-0 draw. Steve certainly edged the chances, but some poor finishing, one amazing save from Dave (who later told me he is a goalkeeper in the outdoor game!), and some good defending pushing Steve to wide angles on goal, all contributed to the result. Dave was not to be outdone though – able to move the ball quite well, he did create a few of his own chances. One resulted in a corner, and another saw him 1-1 with Steve’s ‘keeper, which he will regret not putting away! 0-0 the final result.
(report by Steve Diasinos)
Adrian 4 – Todd 0
Todd 0 – Daniele 5
Daniele 5 – Adrian 2
Steve 3 – Imojjen 0
Æowyn 0 – Dave 1
Dave 0 – Steve 0
The night started in great spirits at “New Trafford”. Although the new landlord may need to have a couple of words with the local curator as Carrington (The New Trafford training complex) seems to be equipped with better lighting than the main pitch! Would this play havoc with some of the more seasoned veterans? The night’s play will tell the story.
The first round of matches saw Mat taking on Dom on the Old Trafford pitch, with Paul and Fab playing on the highly visible Carrington. These were 2 crackers to start the night. Mat and Dom played one of the most exciting 0-0 results played. Both players hitting the post, and only some nice saves from Mat late in the 2nd half when Dom’s experience saw him starting to win the arm wrestle kept Mat alive, as Dom pressed with 3 consecutive corners in a 60 second period. How this still finished 0-0 with the amount of perspiration still left on the pitch from both players, is still making me sweat!
Over at Carrington, Fab lead on 3 separate occasions, only for the man “Who loves a cliff hanger” to keep up his shooting touch and equalise on 3 separate occasions. This kind of shooting from Paul will see more favourable results in the coming weeks – just wait ’til he finds his touch with his new bases. I’m glad his match against me has already been played! In the end this game set the tone for the play for the rest of the night. Great skills, spirit and sportsmanship.
The 2nd round of Matches saw Eliot make his OT debut against Adam (closely resembling a certain X-Man). Could Adam’s powers keep out the top seed? Eliot quickly took control of the game, scoring 2 quick goals before Adam really got started. Adam pushed a couple of chances wide against Eliot with 3 shots hitting the side netting in the first half, before a late counter at the end of the half saw Eliot take a commanding 3-0 lead to the break. The 2nd half saw Eliot put a coaching hat on for segments, which was of tremendous benefit for Adam and the referee/student, Mat. After Eliot scored another 2, Adam started putting in some real consistent touches and clawed a late goal for the score to finish 5-1.
Over on Carrington, Fab and Dom played a very entertaining 1st half. Going into the break at 2-2, all things were set for another “Cliff Hanger”, however Fab found some fine flicking form in the 2nd half and put 3 unanswered goals past Dom to take out a 5-2 result, much to the surprise of the dispersing Old Trafford crowd.
The 3rd round of matches saw Eliot taking on Mat, who was hopeful of taking advantage of the home ground and new teachings from his mentor/nemesis of the night. This wasn’t very forthcoming with Eliot continuing his teachings, this time with actions. Mat had some good spells in the first half, making Eliot produce one or 2 nice saves, but really spent his time facing a man in good swing. 3-0 was the margin at the half. Much more of the same in the 2nd saw Eliot take out a 5-0 result and not really break into any real sweat, which Extreme Works would be thankful for following round 1.
Paul took on Dom at Carrington, with the venue fast becoming the home of the “Cliff Hanger”, a great game, played in great spirits saw a 2-2 result. Dom, after playing 3 games on the bounce was thankful for the downhill walk from the O.T. penthouse. The intense pressure of facing Mat, Fab and Paul on the bounce had Dom asking for the fastest way out of there!!
The final match for the night saw Todd arrive from a series of matches earlier in the evening at The Clubhouse, for his catch up tie against Paul. Paul, deciding to break in his new iBases, didn’t take long to get his touch. Going into the break at 2-0 with some posts hit as well. Todd saw some much improved play in the 2nd, with some brilliant build up play, but Paul’s defensive tactics isolated his counters on a couple of occasions. When in possession, he took full advantage scoring another 2 in the 2nd to finish the match with a 4-0 victory.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the way they played on the evening. Some fine banter, even better play only to be topped by the sportsmanship (and all the guys leaving to toilet seat down after use in Emma’s bathroom) saw the real winner of the evening being Subbuteo! – Thanks to all.
(report by Mat Barrie)
Dom 0 – Mat 0
Eliot 5 – Adam 1
Mat 0 – Eliot 5
Paul 3 – Fabrizio 3
Dom 2 – Paul 2
Fabrizio 5 – Dom 3
Paul 4 – Todd 0
Points table after Match Day Five.
For full results and updated table, click here.