|Posted: 02 February 2017 at 6:47pm | IP Logged
Old Ignatian’s Vs Southgate Olympic
Old Ignatian’s 0 Southgate Olympic 1
MOM: Rory ‘The Beast’ Brien
Muppet: Eoin ‘Missed an Open Goal’ O’Grady
After last week being cancelled as a result of the weather, the 1st team went into this fixture optimistic and well rested. Since the turn of the year, performances have improved, however the results have not quite reflected this. A 3-2 loss at King’s, which could easily have gone either way and a 2-2 draw with Clapham, after leading 2-0 had given the team plenty of motivation heading into this game.
Before a ball had even been kicked, the day started with an essay-length message from Liam O’Grady explaining how he could not play as a result of sleep deprivation and tooth problems. Yes ‘Semi Pro’ as we like to call him, had decided that his mouth was in ‘agony’ and had only gone and booked a dentist appointment instead of playing football. Now you may ask how a sore mouth could possibly affect someone playing football. The last time I recalled you are meant to use your feet. Let’s just hope the tooth fairy has left Liam some spare change for all of the fines he will be getting next week.
As everyone arrived at the clubhouse for the meet time, it soon became apparent that some people were hiding tender heads from the night before. A few worried looks were exchanged when Tom Martin pulled his new breathalyser kit out of his bag. Nolan and McDermott had the appearance of two lads that had been lapping it up in the Taps Bar in Enfield until the early hours of the morning. Once Nolan had passed his test, listerine excuse not needed, eyes soon swerved to Tommy. The results also came back clear for Tommy, so naturally this £6 amazon purchase was assumed broken. Tommy does not do Friday nights in! As the clock started ticking towards half past one, thirty minutes after the meet time, the lads were still awaiting on one arrival, Captain Marvel himself. Dave was starting to get worried that his No10 was going to pull a no show (like Semi-Pro), leading to Jake starting to make plans for how he was going to assume captaincy of the team. His hopes were soon dashed though as Ren casually made his way into the clubhouse. To be fair to the boy, traffic is bad from Cheshunt these days.
The warm-up consisted of Tommy talking through his bedroom antics whilst the lads were stretching. If this isn’t something to get your game head on, I do not know what is. I am sure Eoin O’Grady would have had some research to do on Saturday night. Anyhow onto the game…
We lined up with JP Sainsbury in goal, Dan Porter right wing back, Eoin ‘However Many Birds’ Culligan and Home Alone O’Sullivan as the two centre backs, with the fantastic silver fox Sean McDermott at left wing back. In front of the defence sat Rory Brien, with the middle three consisting of Tom Martin, Sean ‘Noland’ and Alex Youngman. Eoin O’Grady was given the free role behind the striker and Renaldo led the line up top. This left the two sick notes on the bench, Jake Watson and Conor O’Grady, with Liam O’Grady sat in a dentist’s chair somewhere in Romford. The game got off to a slow start and both teams struggled to get going in the opening 15 minutes. Southgate had an opportunity on the edge of the box that was curled over and JP also had to be alert to make a save low down at his feet. Although winning a lot of our battles, the team were struggling with the final ball and our only real chance of the opening 15 minutes saw Tommy drag a shot wide. A good move down the right saw a long throw from Tommy, nodded down by Nolan to Alex who fired his effort wide. Eoin O’Grady also saw two good efforts from distance comfortably saved by the keeper. Both teams were struggling to create anything going forward and with the pitch already in a horrible state from the weather, it was not going to get any easier. After 25 minutes Dave decided to go for something different so took Nolan off for Jake dropping Ren back into the midfield. The team started to knock the ball around well and with Jake up top, this gave us a new option. The opening goal nearly came on the half hour mark as some good work across the midfield saw the ball worked across to the left. McDermott played a ball in behind for Eoin, who fizzed the ball into the box. The ball was just too high for Jake but encouraging signs for the team. Rory and Tommy were mopping everything up in the midfield and across the team everyone was winning their aerial challenges, with Southgate’s striker started to become an isolated figure. The golden chance of the game was then to fall to Eoin O’Grady. The ball was whipped in from the right and with virtually an open goal to aim at Eoin somehow managed to scuff his effort into the keeper’s grasp. To quote the famous words of Harry Redknapp after Darren Bent’s infamous miss “My old woman could have scored that”. Half time arrived with the score at 0-0.
The half time talk consisted of improving the final ball. The shape and work-rate of the team were good, however the final ball was constantly letting us down. Before the lads went back out onto the field, Matty O decided to get the ball straight up the field from kick-off and put their back line under pressure. This tactic nearly worked as straight from our kick-off Tom Martin pumped the ball forward and from the second ball Alex Youngman found himself isolated against the defender. After sending the defender one way with a clever shimmy, Alex crashed a shot against the outside of the post. A positive start to the half.
The second half would soon take a familiar look though as both teams struggled to get in behind the other teams defence. Southgate’s back four were doing a good job of stopping Jakey getting in behind. Southgate themselves were starting to cause a few more problems in the second half as they looked to go long to their big striker. A few wild shots were blazed over JP’s goal and we had to defend a lot more corners and balls into the box. Conor O’Grady came on for Eoin O’Grady and caused a few problems with his pace but as a team we struggled to create chances, with all the balls into the box being cleared away. Nolan then came back on for Alex and Eoin O’G for Rory. With 10 minutes left Eoin Culligan nearly put us ahead as he narrowly headed over from a corner. Not long after nearly taking the lead, Southgate took advantage of our missed opportunities and scored a goal. The ball was played out to their right back, who played the ball forward in between the space either side of Matty O and Eoin. The striker got to the through ball first and managed to finish well.
We started to push forward and go more direct in a push for the equaliser. A few free-kicks and corners were swung into the danger area but to no avail as we came up short. The final result finished 1-0 to Southgate. On the balance of play, we should have at least got a point from the game and had some good chances to go ahead but we were poor on the ball today and everyone would admit that in terms of quality on the ball, it was one of our weaker games.
Man of the Match went to Rory Brien for a big performance in front of the defence, setting the tone for the work-rate of the team and constantly breaking up the opposition’s play. Muppet went to Eoin O’Grady for his big miss in front of goal. Clearly Eoin is taking after Liam, who himself had a shocking miss in Arranmore in the summer, that saw us exit the competition. Semi pro players these days! It was also a tough day for Tommy who ended up paying over £20 in fines due to his weaker arm dart for yellow cards. A bit of work is required on the technique of his weaker arm throwing.
Next week is a massive fixture against Grammar at home. This will be a good way to put some of this season’s frustrations behind us and to get some revenge on Grammar after they scored a late equaliser at their place.
Until next time