Dickiebliss’s Blog

Academic Services 1-4 Estates
October 26, 2009, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Academic Services? Whither the mighty Bookworms of last season’s daring exploits? You may well ask …apparently certain people thought bookworms wasn’t a fitting name anymore (admittedly it isn’t a name to strike fear into the hearts of opponents) and with many of the original players missing it was felt that it could reflect the new team. Hang on…original players missing ? New team?

Yes…its true the Bookworms…sigh…Academic Services have a host of new faces for the new season (more of them later) but for now a moment of contemplation to recognise those heroes of yesteryear who failed to make it into this brave new world ..Simon Lamb, Big John Higham, Pengfei Xue….your like may never be seen again (hopefully not …they were pants ….)

And so to the new breed…after a very encouraging 4-1 win in a friendly against the Business School the previous week and rumours of a proper kit and even sponsorship being secured, there was a distinctly professional feel to the team for the first league game of the season.

Did I say “team”? Make that “squad” as an unprecedented multitude of 11 players assembled for the traditional pre-match “kickabout”* Those mathematicians amongst you will have immediately spotted a problem here…11 into 6 does not go. To rectify this a policy of “rolling substitutions” was put forward to ensure everyone got a game.

The new squad assembles

The new squad assembles

Despite the plethora of new faces there was some continuity with Chris Awre regaining his place as goalkeeper from last season’s stand-in Wayne Thompson, a familiar strike force of Robert Sherratt and Gary “Goals” Moore and Mr Reliable Ponytail himself Gary Thompson acting as the destroyer in defence. The starting 6 line-up was completed by new boys Rob Dent, a busy, tough tackling ball player and Tony Ward an experienced journeyman (well he is 44!) with coaching credentials to boot.

And so to the action… a cautious opening gave way to sustained possession by Estates who were starting to flex their muscles and Chris Awre was called upon to produce some inspired (i.e. lucky) reaction saves on numerous occasions. The rulebook was called for after the Estates giant goalkeeper unilaterally decided he was allowed to play “rush”goalie**. With no rulebook forthcoming (t’was ever thus), the Estates goalkeeper began to run rings around the bamboozled Academic Services team who soon found themselves 2 goals down as half-time approached.

If anything the constant changing of the team brought about by the rolling substitutes policy seemed to be having a destabilising effect on the AS boys with the line-up changing more times than the Sugababes in a revolving door contest. It brought to mind the old adage that if you own a spade and you change the handle and then have to replace the blade is it the same spade? (What? Philosophy ed). Back in the thick of it, the AS lads were wishing they had shovels of their own to dig some holes to hide in.

The Estates goalkeeper surveys the damage his outfield expolits had wrought

The Estates goalkeeper surveys the damage his outfield expolits had wrought

Halftime: Academic Services 0 – 2 Estates

The second half saw a much improved performance from AS. Despite going 0-3 down early on, a number of chances were created and spurned. The main culprit was Tony Ward who twice failed to put away one-on-one chances and also screwed a shot wide from an admittedly wide angle.

When the breakthrough finally arrived it came from an unlikely source. Following good work by Rob Dent who rode a number of opposition challenges, the ball broke for Carl Barrow, a man as likely to score a goal as Alex Ferguson is likely to say “Och aye, the ref today was as fit as a butcher’s dog ye ken”. With the goalkeeper stranded by the deflection off Rob Dent, an unmanned open goal loomed large in front of Carl. As his AS team-mates held their breath, Carl managed to overcome his natural instincts to spoon the ball over the bar and cooly side-footed home from close range. Game on!

Game over…as the Estates man-mountain goalkeeper calmly strode forward once more, nonchalantly swotting the AS boys aside as if they were irritating midges and planted a stunning volley inside Chris Awre’s near post.

Click below to see the Estates goalkeeper scoring…

And that was that…a beating for sure but the AS lads showed distinct promise in the second half especially. Maybe it won’t be such a long season after all…

Full-time: Academic Services 1-4 Estates

* Kickabout = 10 outfield players attempting to take Chris Awre’s head off by crashing in as many shots as possible as hard as possible.

** Rush goalie = when a goalkeeper is allowed outside of his designated area to play outfield – in the world of 6-a-side football this phenomenon is also known as CHEATING!

How they performed

Chris Awre – The bearded wonder pulled off a string of saves in the first half to keep his team in the game. Needs to learn to shout at his defence a bit more – not something that will come naturally as he is well known for being softly-spoken. SPEAK UP CHRIS! 6/10

Gary Thompson – Displayed great commitment to the cause by playing whilst he was actually on holiday. Roared on by his young son, Gary employed his usual “if it moves, kick it” approach to the game. Left at half-time when Thompson junior reminded him that Mum would be wondering where they were. 6/10

Wayne Thompson – “Uncle” Wayne’s main contribution to the afternoon was escorting his nephew to the 3G pitch after the youngster got fed up waiting for Dad to get changed. 5/10

Robert Sherratt – Unaccustomed to not playing every minute as he usually does, Robert struggled to hit his stride..and when he did the stride hit back as he seemed to spend most of the game writhing around on the floor trying to get the ball from under his feet. Produced one desperate lunging stab at goal following up a Tony Ward thwarted effort but it drifted wide of the mark… disappointing. 5/10

Gary Moore – Quiet game from last year’s top goalscorer. A one season wonder? Has more work than Phil Brown to do in the restoring reputations stakes. 5/10

Rob Dent – Promising debut that featured a crunching early challenge that Alan Hansen would no doubt have described as an old-fashioned tackle from behind like they used to do in the good old days when they played proper football…or something. 7/10

Tony Ward – Marked his debut by wearing a Mark Knopfler-esque bandanna. Wasted a glorious one-on one chance late on with a finish that was “so far away” and will surely prompt Tony into some “private investigations” as to how he failed to score. Generally solid performance. 6/10

Richard Bayliss – 100 % pass completion rate including one sumptuous through ball that put Tony Ward in one -on one with the keeper. Neat, tidy and effective display 7/10

Alan Hewett – Another of the new lads with a reputation of having a “good engine” (basically he will run all day for a lump of sugar). Put in a good shift on the right hand side culminating in one arrowing cross which flashed across the Estates area causing a trail of panic in its wake… mainly from the AS boys who had never seen such a thing before and were clueless as to what to do with it. 6/10

Nigel Cass – Enthusiastic performer. Always talking (“Nigel wants it” may become a catchphrase), Nigel sought to bring professionalism to the team as was demonstrated by his rousing “come on lads lets get organised ” pre-match exhortation…which was quickly followed by him wondering off down the sidelines fiddling with his shorts in a little world of his own. 6/10

Carl Barrow – Contrary to rumour, Carl proved he did in fact have the technical ability to hit a cow’s backside with a banjo by conjuring up a brilliant 1 yard finish to score from an open goal. 7/10

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