Match Day Ten
The Reynolds household was transformed for the evening into a shrine to Subbo, as the hordes (well, five of us anyway) descended for a hearty feast of table football.
Two boards were set up for the night, one in the kitchen and the other in the back room. Your correspondent had the pleasure of playing in the back room. Despite the table and board being propped up under the legs by what looked to be some mini ping-pong racquets and cardboard, the board was a solid as a rock and as flat as a pancake, allowing no player any excuses for missing!
In the first match, Eliot took on Dom in what was always going to be a tricky fixture for Eliot as he tries not to drop points as the season reaches its crescendo. And so it proved. Eliot had lots of possession, but great defence from Dom was restricting the number of shots on goal and Dom was looking dangerous on the counter. In the end, sustained pressure led to two unanswered goals to Eliot by half time (the second a shot with a player on Eliot’s own shooting area). But Dom came out firing after the break and pulled a goal back about 5 minutes into the second half. It was a much more even contest in the second half, with both players having chances, but a third goal with about three minutes left finally allowed Eliot to relax a little, and a fourth goal with a minute to go led to a 4 – 1 final result: not a true reflection of the closeness of the match.
Dom got some measure of revenge in his next match versus Gordy, scoring two terrific first half goals – the first a shot from a moving ball off a corner, the second from an inch perfect flick-in a minute before half time. These two goals were punctuated by a fine goal from Gordy….the only problem being that the shot came from a fourth flick by the attacking figure. That’s gotta hurt! A great second half saw both players making some good attacking and defensive flicks. Dom had more chances however and grabbed a well taken goal with 15 seconds left. This reflected the balance of play and followed a great save a few seconds earlier by Gordy’s prostrate but well positioned keeper!
Gordy puts Eliot under the pump…sort of.
Eliot took on Gordy in the third match. Eliot raced to a four goal lead by half time as he enjoyed the speed and flatness of the pitch and ignored the frequent cries of anguish emanating from the other table. Things slowed down a bit in the second half, with the mercy rule at 5 – 0 only being invoked as the half came to an end. Despite the scoreline, Gordy is playing much better than even a few months ago and his pending move to Tchaa figures should see further reliability in his flicking.
In the final game, Big Steve, fresh from two tough games in the Extreme kitchen (“if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!”) against Adam and Little Steve, took on Gordy. Steve was in control for much of the match, but Gordy defended well throughout. Steve led 2 – 0 at half time, but could not add to his tally in the second half. Both players would have been reasonably satisfied with the final result after an intense evening of table football action.
All in all, a top night was had by all and all matches were played in a great spirit. Thanks again to Adam and family for permitting the peaceful invasion.
(report by Eliot Kennedy)
It was a night of fabulously contested games on the “Pitch-in the Kitchen”, all four being played in the true Subbuteo spirit. The night began with Big Steve taking on Adam. Steve dominated possession in the first half, Adam forced into some “annoyingly good” defensive flicks. Having said this, it was a defensive error from Adam that allowed Steve to open the scoring, finishing well from a defensive error from Adam.
Adam looked for a fast start second half, but it was Big Steve who got on the scoresheet again within about 30 seconds from the kick off! A lovely touch into the shooting area was followed by a shot on the moving ball – the net bulging with Adam without so much as a finger on his ‘keeper. Craving a goal and playing well, Adam took full advantage of a defensive error from Steve to slot a fabulous chip in from a tight angle. It was game on now at 2-1, Steve opting to take his jacket off showing he was feeling the heat! A couple of foray’s forward from Adam bore no fruit, though, as Steve patiently worked his way up the field to hammer in an excellent third, again leaving Adam barely any time to get his hands on the ‘keeper. With only a few minutes remaining, Adam was determined to get back in and deservedly clawed it back to 3-2 with another astonishingly good finish from well out wide on the angle. This was to prove the last of the action though, the game finishing 3-2 in favour of Big Steve.
Big Steve (BS) remained on the pitch to take on Little Steve (LS) in the latest instalment of the “Derby of the Steves”. It was, however, a relatively routine 2-0 victory in the end for BS. Playing a cool and calm brand of – for the most part – faultless Subbuteo throughout, BS hardly looked like losing this one from the off. An early goal in the first half had LS on the back foot from the offset, though LS did have a chance or two of his own. Poor shooting, which he blamed on “not being used to his new bases”, let him down, however. The second half continued in the same vein as the first with BS claiming his second victory of the evening.
‘Mad Dog’ Grenot vs L(ittle) S(teve). note the carefully disassembled defensive lines.
Staying on for his second of three games for the evening, Little Steve then took on Dom in an exhilarating encounter. Steve looked to deploy a wide tactic at the beginning, Dom happy enough to hit on the break with Steve not offering too much of a threat. A goal rather early on for Dom (a piece of fine quick play and an insanely forceful strike to almost busted the net) got the game into gear – both players now happy to commit men forward, opening the game right up. Both Dom and Steve had their chances, but it was Steve who found the equaliser just before the break with a neatly worked move into the shooting zone and solid finish.
Into the second half, and much of the same again – both players dazzling each other’s eyes with menacing attack and purposeful defensive counters. Dom almost let Steve in with a dreaded travelling ‘keeper error, but Steve ‘Gordied’ it with Dom forcing a tough shot on an angle with a defensive figure there to provide cover and block. Showing good sportsmanship, Steve then saw fit to present the same opportunity to Dom with a ‘keeper error of his own, but Dom, like Steve, was unable to capitalise. A pulsating game with multiple attacks was typified with 30 seconds left on the clock and Steve fluffing a chance to win it with a straight forward shot on an angle, then Dom almost winning it himself with some quick flicks from the ensuing goal kick – the game stayed at 1-1 though, both players and the onlooking Adam agreeing it was a fair result.
The final game of the evening saw host Adam versus Little Steve in Steve’s third match in a row. Having settled in now, Steve was on the offensive right from the off, but again didn’t look overly menacing in front of goal. Adam held firm with a solid defensive shape and some great defensive flicks to really shut Steve out and limit his chances. The first half was played at pace (as were all the games; “Forza Extreme Pitches” – quote Raffaele, 2015) as both players enjoyed some good spells of possession and a few chances. The players entered the break, though, relatively content with the score at 0-0. The second half picked up where the first left off – plenty of pace, some amazing touches and equally amazing defensive flicks from both Adam and Steve. Steve came close with a chance he really should have converted after working a few intricate touches in behind the defence on the left flank. Adam came even closer towards the end of the half with an absolute tank of a shot that nearly obliterated Steve’s upright, ricocheting straight back off, though! With no further action, the game finished a square 0-0; similar to Dom and Steve’s match previously, a fair result.
It was a fantastic night at Adam’s place – he certainly did his best to ensure everyone was comfortable and having fun, also providing lollies, chips and soft drink for all. We were also treated to the pleasant sounds of “The Real Housewives of the OC” (to the delight of Gordy) coming from the lounge room, from which Eliot provided some words of wisdom which this reporter will leave us all with – “Americans are so American. Though, I suppose, Americans think we’re so Australian.“ Cheers, Eliot.
(report by Steve Diasinos)
Raffaele attacks Imojjen.
Unlike Toongabbie West, The Clubhouse was fairly subdued this evening, with just 4 games across the two pitches, including one catch up from earlier in the season. The games were played under the brand new LED stadium lighting which all the players agreed was a significant improvement, with no long shadows being randomly cast across the pitches. The Elmer girls had both spent the day off school sick, but nothing was going to stop them getting their respective Subbuteo fixes. Imojjen stepped up to face Raffaele in the first game, putting her Subbuteo Parramatta jersey to use having otherwise spent the entire day in her pyjamas. Her flicking has improved considerably over the competition, as has her tactical awareness, meaning that she was not completely overwhelmed. Raffaele soon grabbed a stranglehold on the match, though, and was up 3-0 at half time. A further two in the second half gave Raffaele the win, though Imojjen did manage to get into a couple of shooting positions before full time.
Æowyn looks on in disbelief as her shot comes to a halt on the line.
In the next round of games, Mat took on Æowyn while Todd arrived direct from a local shirt manufacturer, having scoped the possibility of getting some replica classic Newcastle Breakers jerseys made up (though, sadly, no obscure jersey on his own back this evening!) to go head to head with Raffaele. Raffaele proved a bridge too far for Todd’s fledgling skills and the mercy rule was invoked midway through the second half. Meanwhile, Æowyn created the opening half chance of the game against Mat but was unable to connect with the crucial flick. This was to be her downfall in the game, with both Mat’s goals coming as a result of Æowyn missing crucial flicks in her own penalty area (one with her travelling ‘keeper) to give Mat gilt-edged chances. There was also the issue of the errant fingernail which was stopping her smooth flicking meaning that a time-out was called part way through the second half so that she could run inside and use a nail file – the first time in Mat’s illustrious career that he’s had to wait through such an event. Æowyn did create a few chances herself, though, including one shot which bobbled around the goal mouth before landing, agonisingly, straddling the goal-line.
In the evening’s final game, Raffaele and Mat lined up their figures. Mat prefaced the game by declaring to Raffaele that he hadn’t got within 5 goals of any of the league’s other front runners, therefore anything less from Raffaele should be considered a disappointment. The trash talk seemed to have the desired effect, as Raffaele struggled to get into a rhythm and Mat was generally quite comfortable. Finally, late in the half, the favourite took the lead, with a shot that bumped off a couple of other figures, the upright and the rod of Mat’s ‘keeper before trickling in. The second half progressed as the first did, Raffaele generally in control but unable to break Mat down, through both some good defending and counter-attacking, and some atypically poor final touches from Raf. The game did remain in the balance until just on 3 minutes before the end of the 30, when a more accurate, subtle shot from Raffaele finally gave him breathing space.
(report by Adrian Elmer)
Dom 1 – Eliot 4
Gordy 0 – Dom 3
Eliot 5 – Gordy 0
BS 2 – Gordy 0
Adam 2 – BS 3
BS 2 – LS 0
LS 1 – Dom 1
LS 0 – Adam 0
Imojjen 0 – Raffaele 5
Mat 2 – Æowyn 0
Raffaele 2 – Mat 0
Todd 0 – Raffaele 5
With one week of matches left to be played, Eliot remains in pole position, though Fabrizio and Raffaele are still in the race. Steve Dettre is still a mathematical possibility but, in reality, Eliot needs just one point to put himself beyond Steve’s reach. He will have a significant say in the order at the top, though, as, next week, he faces off against Raffaele at The Clubhouse, while Fabrizio and Eliot also play a climactic encounter at New Trafford. Along with the other 11 players all vying for position on the table, it should make for some exciting final day action.