35 Division 2 2017

07 Aug

Needing a win to make Semis

Baulko 35/2 v Winsto Win 2-0

At stake from this penultimate game of the season were three points to ensure our place in the final series. Once again our playing strength was truncated by the spectres’ of injury, illness and work but we glad to see Albert turning up after many weeks out from hamstring problems.

Any early nerves were settled after a few minutes when an attack down the right wing put Payman in the clear. His perfect low cross saw Glen, adhering to Neil Q’s instructions, steaming in at the far post to slot the ball home. From then on the game didn’t reach any great heights of excitement as a solid defence made sure that Dariush, back in goal and sporting a natty No.1 jumper (present from his wife), had little to do. Then just two minutes before half time those three points were made safe when a break through the centre saw Payman (that man again) slot a perfect ball through for Kieran to race onto and smash the ball home. Great pass and a great finish!

Second half saw lots of huff and puff without any reward for our efforts but kudos to everyone for the effort and let’s hope we have enough players turn up next week to give poor Neil Q’s broken toe a rest.

See you at training, hopefully.

Man of the match, Kieran.

07 Aug

Starting with Ten

Baulko 35/2 v Castle Hill Utd, Loss 2-3

Congratulations to all those eagle eyed readers that spotted the deliberate mistake in last week’s report. Of course it wasn’t Luke being brought down in the box that gave us the penalty. It was a handball. Unfortunately no one claimed the prize in time so it rolls over for another week.

And so on to Saturday’s game or, safe to say, shambolic but almost an ‘out of jail’ performance. Starting the game with ten and a half men was not good but grateful thanks to Mark from the O35/3’s who helped out and put in a great performance when called upon (he wasn’t the half).

The men in green started out strongly and it wasn’t against the run of play when they deservedly went ahead from a shot that Jason had no chance of reaching. Took us a while before we came back into the game and that was courtesy of a penalty (push in Payman’s back). Peter stepped up to confidently put the ball away. One one and game in the balance. Scales tipped their way when a sharp counter attack produced their second but, just like a rubber ball we bounced back with Daniel pushing forward. Great move down the right, a cross, Pejman racing up leans forward for an easy header, closes his eyes, misses!!! But there was Peter at the far post to save his blushes and stroke it into the net. This was better. They were tiring but then came a blow from possibly the worst goal we have conceded in many a year. A high ball into the box, three defending, bounced twice over them before being headed in by the most surprised guy on the field all alone on the far post.

Thanks to the ref who controlled the game very well and sorted out the handbags for the player that wanted to swing one after the final whistle.

Next week another 1.00pm game. This time away at Max Ruddock. Make sure you diarize both the date and please turn up on time.

See you at training, hopefully.

Man of the match, Daniel.

07 Aug

Strong Win

Baulko 35/2 v CH Rockets Blue Win 2-0

A five o’clock kick off, under lights, a cold wind and just the bare eleven players for this match against a resilient Rockets team against whom we have always had difficulty in beating. Fortunately, three of the O35/4 Red’s team, Duncan, Peter and Ricky who had already played an earlier game, volunteered to help out as substitutes so at least we could give our players a bit of a rest.

Couldn’t have wanted a better start as within four minutes we were one up, Daniel on the far post meeting a well-aimed corner to blast the ball into the net. With the metronome twins, Peter and Kieran, harassing the life out of the opposition and bossing the middle of the park, Mahmoud working his magic on the left, Glen on the right the Rockets were not getting much of a look in. Anything that did get through was mopped up by Alex, Kenny, Neil and Daniel. All this meant that Jason was having an easy time between the sticks but was alert enough to deal with the occasional flourish. Up front Soheil and Luke were giving the Rockets defence a torrid time and were unlucky with some chances that might have made the score line look better. However the game was settled around the fifty fourth minute when Luke was unceremoniously brought down in the penalty box to taste some dirt (he didn’t like the flavor!). Score became two nil when Glen stepped up, demanded the ball, and confidently slotted the resultant penalty into the net.

So, many thanks to the three O35/4 Red players who did so well, a good win, and another three points to push us up to third place on the table.

Almost forgot. Another clean sheet for Jason (careful mate, your wife will be sending the laundry along with any more of those!!).

Thanks also to the ref who was firm and fair.

Three more games to go guys, keep up the good work.

See you at training, hopefully.

Man of the match, Luke.

13 Jul

Game of the Season?

O35/2 v Winsto Red Win 4-1

Well, this was truly one of our games of the season.

We faced an opposition who had narrowly beaten us first time out and was sitting just above us on goal difference.

It was late in the afternoon, under lights and with the cool of a winter evening to keep us on our toes but it didn’t help that we were missing five players through various reasons.

This meant coach Neil Q had some adjustments to make to the lineup. So, we went with Jason in goal again, Alex in at stopper, Neil Q sweeping, Darius drafted in as a right back whilst Pejman took the left. Kieran and Peter took their usual places in midfield and Soheil and Mahmoud were the wing backs. This meant the joy of putting the ball in the net fell to Payman and Luke with Terry on the sideline to put in a cameo appearance (Kenny came later after a works ‘do’ to help the cause and it was great to see injured Glen turn up to cheer from the sideline).

Whistle went and we exploded out of the blocks and could have been two or three goals up in the first ten minutes. It was Luke who was the catalyst, causing major problems to their defence all game with his pace and determination, his runs turning their defence like spinning tops and leaving them in his dust. First strike came after another run, then fine work by Mahmoud on the left released Payman for a shot that the goalkeeper couldn’t hold and Luke gleefully slammed it home. Next it was Payman’s turn to get on the score sheet, ignoring plaintiff cries for “offside ref” to beat two players and the goalkeeper (twice) to place the ball in the net. Two nil and it really should have been more, bar hit (ball over line, Geoff Hurst style?), post shaved and goal keeper saves.

And so to the second half with a drop off in our play allowing WH Red to come back more into the game and score to make it a little bit of ‘squeaky bum” time. This didn’t last long and the two goal gap opened up again when that man Luke powered in on the far post to meet a sweet cross from the left and deflate WH Red like a punctured tyre. More great play with golden chances spurned when one on one’s with the keeper, although one save he made was really top draw, how he reached it and turned it around the post was incredible (their MOM). However there was no letup in energy and the icing on the cake came about ten or fifteen minutes from time when Peter sent in a hard shot from the left high into the far corner. Great strike and fully deserved.

And so it ended, the ref’s whistle sounding the end of a wonderful display of team work and us to enjoy the amber fluids. Well done guys, you all deserve a MOM but think you’d agree that Luke just shaded it!

We are now alone in third position on the table but can’t get too carried away just yet. There are still four games to go to the final series.

See you at training, hopefully.

Man of the match, Luke.

13 Jul

Praise for the Ref

Baulko 35/2s v Hills Knights Loss 2-3

We were missing a few players for this crucial top round clash but started well. After about 7-8 minutes of to and fro, Mahmoud beautifully anticipated Luke’s long throw to score and put us one up. But it was banana skin time as, within two minutes the scores were level. Defending a corner the ball was somehow squeezed in at the near post putting the Knights on a gallop that they kept up, mainly dominating mid field, but with our defence, especially with Glen & Neil G holding firm, Jason in goal did not have any problems. If our attacks were more spasmodic we had a couple of chances that, on another day, could have been more fruitful. As it was, two minutes before half time we let in a sloppy goal. Too many players being drawn toward the ball leaving a Knight all on his Jack Jones in the box to score with ease.

Well, that was disappointing but the half time break gave us time to regroup, calm down and draw breath. Reinvigorated our second half play was much improved. Passes that previously went astray were sticking, movement was good and backup play improved, so much so that it was our turn to be in the saddle, although the girth slipped when an unlucky pin ball play in our goal mouth that could have gone anywhere ended up in our net. Well, that wasn’t in the script but we closed the gap when Luke burst into the penalty box and was cruelly brought down. Result, Luke picked himself up, dusted himself down (there’s a song somewhere) and blasted the ball past the keeper without hitting the post (in joke!).

And so ended a good hard game with the beers’ afterward being little consolation BUT, there’s always next week!!

Word of praise for the referee who controlled the game very well especially as he did not have any AR’s to assist.

Man of the match, Glen.

28 Jun

Six on the Trot

Baulko 35/2s v Norwest Round 12 Win 5-2

Last game for Nick for a while so we wanted to make this a win for him to pack in his suitcase.

Wasn’t a good start, an own goal courtesy of a Neil Q toe poke after 3 minutes, but that was soon rectified on the 6th minute when Payman converted a slick move between Peter and Luke. Then a great run by Luke put Peter in space to hit the ball well beyond the reach of the goalie and us into the lead. Soon after one of Daniel’s long searching balls saw Albert latching on to it and race through to score (good goal Albert but sort those hamstrings out tout de suite. We need you).

3-1 at half time but with the intensity of our play it was no surprise when we increased our lead. Great ball from Daniel to Payman saw that ace marksman confidently stroke the ball home but he wasn’t done yet. Not content with just two he then proceeded to showcase his close control, beating three defenders with a shimmy and a shake to complete his hat trick (could have scored a fourth but showed he is mortal and spurned the chance). Game over as a contest but the last word went to our gallant opponents who took advantage of some sloppy defending to grab a consolation. All played well but big shout out to Daniel at the back, Kieran, Peter and Luke who worked their socks off in midfield, and Mahmoud on the left wing.

Next up tomorrows Round 10 make up at home with the runaway league leaders. Missing a few players but maybe so will they.

Man of the match, Payman.

20 Jun

Get Out Of Jail Card

O35/2 v Rockets Red Round 11 Win 2-1

Phew! Thanks to Mahmoud’s late ‘get out of jail’ card we stole the points when it looked like we were going to have to share the points with a team we should have beaten comfortably.

Our overall play was in direct contrast to the gloomy, overcast day, but the end product to the bright, at times scintillating, movement was poor. Shots snatched, shots made when leaning back, shots going wide of the target, headers missed and opposition goalie playing well all conspired to make it for us, a mostly frustrating game. Then five minutes before half time the Rockets scored a breakaway goal that left Jason, our wonderful fill-in goalie, with no chance.

The half time break gave us time to regroup and on 56 minutes Peter produced one of the passes of the game to put Payman clear to score with a confident strike and even up the ledger. The Rockets visibly wilted but were proving stubborn foes until, with only 7 minutes left, Mahmoud produced his ace. The Rockets goalie misjudged the height and flight of his cross cum shot causing a fumble over his head into the net. Bit lucky, maybe but we’ll take it with the points consolidating our fourth place on the table.

Man of the match, Kieran.

28 Jun

Gutsy Effort

Baulko 35/2 v Glenhaven Round 10 Loss 2-4

For this Sunday catch-up match with the runaway leaders we were missing a few players due to injury, sickness, holidays and one excuse “have to go off for a walk with the wife!” (still, happy wife, happy life).

Due to our six game unbeaten run confidence was high but this was shattered in only the second minute when a hopeful punt from mid-field was sent soaring up so high it came down with ice on it and dropped like a stone over Jason into the net. Stunned was the word, both sets of players didn’t believe it but there it was nestling in the back of the net as proof.

For the next twenty nine minutes our opponents were in control, playing some good football but without any product to cause Jason any further anxiety. This was due to the great defence of Daniel, like a rock in the centre, ably assisted by Alex, Neil G and Kenny, with Kieran, Peter and Luke in midfield not giving their clever players any time on the ball. At the pointy end life was hard for Payman, Mahmoud and Glen but this changed on minute thirty one. Mahmoud closed down an attempted clearance, latched onto the loose ball and drove it low and hard across the keeper into the net. All of a sudden we were in the ascendancy and within two more minutes we were two one up from a confidently taken penalty by Mahmoud after Luke had been taken down in the box.

Now into the second half and the match was delicately poised but the match was evened up in the sixty first minute through another penalty. A blow but we had the chance of once again going into the lead from yet another penalty but their keeper saved well from Mahmoud’s attempted hat trick shot. After that Glenhaven took the points, scoring two goals in the last fourteen minutes through a direct free kick and a breakaway.

There may have been three penalties but it was far from a dirty match. This was a real, gutsy effort from all our players against a very strong, skillful side who certainly knew they had been in a hard, intense game.

Man of the match, Daniel.

07 Jun

Into 'Goals For' Territory

O35/2 v Rams Round 9 Win 6-2

Well, we finished off the first half of the season in style, playing some scintillating football and scoring goals for fun. It’s again credit to Neil Q whose tactics and team formation have the team functioning like a well-oiled Swiss watch, the myriad parts smoothly integrating into a machine of beauty .

Could have been an even bigger score line but we spurned so many, seemingly easy opportunities that it would have made a glass eye cry!

First goal came early. Daniel’s beautifully flighted free kick had Luke powering a header into the net. Shortly afterwards Mahmoud danced down the left wing, skipped past a couple of defenders and sent in a laser like cross for Payman to convert with aplomb. 2 nil up but the foot was kept hard down on the gas and it was no surprise when Luke scored the 3rd, from yet another pinpoint Mahmoud delivery.

“Smokin’!”as Jim Carey aka The Mask would have said.

Alas, as we know smoking is bad for you and Darius, becoming too friendly with one of their players, faced a penalty. Reprieve came as the subsequent penalty was blazed high, wide & handsome.

Second half saw us dominate once more but complacency crept in and our goals clean sheet was blotted when one was pegged back. Fortunately Kieran had other ideas scoring the 4th with a crisp shot from one of Luke’s prodigious long throws (how does he do it??). Then Kenny, our flying right back, put on the after burners to confidently convert yet another of Mahmoud’s crossfield passes. 5 now but, that copy book was again soiled when an amazing up and under came down and somehow finished in our goal. No one believed it, not even the Rams, but it stood, much to the chagrin of Darius who had dealt with everything else that had come his way.

Our 6th and last goal was scored by that ace marksman Payman who sent in a low shot that the goalkeeper couldn’t keep out but then, a chance of a hat trick from a late penalty but his shooting boots had been used up and the keeper saved.

Well done everyone. Yes, we could have and should have had more. Too greedy? No, never be satisfied!

However we are now in ‘goals for’ territory. Let’s keep it that way.

Glenhaven next up.

Man of the match, Payman.

07 Jun

Everyone Played Their Part

O35/2s v Winsto Win 2-0

Today we were up against a stubborn opponent who made us work hard for this win. It wasn’t an easy game but at the end we had another three points and another clean sheet. The key to it was keeping the shape and style of play that Neil Q has been coaching since the beginning of the season. Everyone played their part with the defence handling any danger with ease, so much so that Darius in goal had little to worry about. Both goals were scored before half time, the first with Albert converting a beautiful right wing cross from Luke, the second from Peter’s corner sent deep across to the far post for Luke to power a header into the net. End of the scoring yes but it was a good game played in great spirit and a credit to both teams.

Man of the match, Alex.

21 May

Well Matched Sides

Baulko 35/2s v Winsto Red 06/05/17

Sunny day but no official referee or AR’s, a cricket pitch in the middle like a ploughed field and one of the biggest pitches in the association (makes Ted Horwood No. 4 look small in comparison).

However it turned out to be a good tough game between two well matched sides. Could have gone either way but Winston Hills took their chances on the breakaways whilst we rued hitting the woodwork three times. Our second half was much better than the first but the only joy came from when Kieran finished off a very good move.

Man of the match, Payman.

21 May

Bodes Well for the Future

Baulko 35/2s v Hills Knights 29/04/17

Today welcomed Soheil into the squad and into a top game against one of the divisions high flyers.

First half our passing had our bigger opponents being run ragged and it was no surprise when Payman (that ace marksman) opened the scoring. However, just 30 seconds from half time the treacherous earth around the cricket pitch caused a stumble in mid field, the ball ending up in our penalty area and their lone attacker on the ground. Half time came but the penalty had to be taken and we went in all square (life is soooo unfair! and we were playing such great football!).

It got worse 5 minutes into the second half when a free kick into our goal area was headed in by the tallest guy on the field.

Nothing daunted we came back at the Knights defenses but their goal custodian earnt their man of the match award with his positional sense immaculate and the saves time and time again. BUT, he and they couldn’t withstand the pressure from our passing game which finally saw Luke’s brilliant run through and perfect 20 meter chip into the top corner (crowd and Baulko bench erupts and Luke is buried under ecstatic team mates). Should have won, especially with a penalty not given but this was a really good game between two good sides. Bodes well for the future.

Man of the match, Daniel.

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