Dickiebliss’s Blog

Academic Services 3-0 Coastal Studies
November 24, 2009, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A week is a long time in football – last week Thierry Henry was one of the classiest acts ever to have graced the English game with a nice sideline in endorsements and TV ads. This week he’s the cheating smug git responsible for the “Hand of Frog” goal that broke Irish hearts. In a carefully worded statement, Henry claimed that “Of course the fairest solution would be to replay the game but is not in my control”….unlike the ball the other night which his hand had full control of.

Also only last week the Academic Services football team were the intramural league whipping boys, their results divining such depths of awfulness that they made JEdward look like the natural successors to the Beatles. This week they toppled the league leaders with a display that was faultless – prompting their manager Gary Moore to comment post-match that his boys were “Not a foot wrong today, the amount of effort put in was amazing.” Shucks…

After a rigorous training session on Monday complete with cones, shuttle runs and warm-up and down exercises, the AS lads assembled for the early 12.00 pm kick-off (blame the Sky cameras) with a newly discovered purpose and discipline. However the opponents were Coastal Studies, the team of unfeasibly tall god-like figures that inflicted a 7-0 mullering (© Mick McCarthy 2009) upon AS last season. Would history repeat itself or could AS defy the odds (and gods) and get a result?

Robert Sherratt confidently announced that the team could nick a 1-0 win …a bold statement with one hitch…that would involve the notching of an AS goal, something of a rare commodity this season. Indeed when Carl Barrow is your team’s joint top scorer (1 goal stats fans) then you know that you are less likely to find the onion bag than a bag -hating Alliumphobia (look it up) sufferer with an irrational fear of the cricketer Graham Onions.

Graham Onions - insert your own gag!

However, Paul Andrews was back in the starting line-up which had a determined steeliness about it. With Chris Awre having gone into beard growing hibernation, last week’s harshly criticized Wayne Thompson once again showed the nerve to step into the goalkeeping breach. Brother Gary and Richard Bayliss were on defensive duties whilst Andrews and Sherratt supplied the midfield with quality and effort (you can work out who supplied which for yourselves surely?). Suprisingly, Manager Moore went with the talkative Nigel Cass as the lone striker (maybe hoping that making him play in isolation would reduce the chat with no-one to jabber to!).

Kick off…and immediately Andrews attempted an audacious strike on goal from the halfway line – this was new… and it proved to be a marker for the rest of the game. All of the hard work the lads had put into training was paying off – neat short passes that were finding their targets, everyone looking comfortable in possession, no panicked hoofs upfield. And then…a GOAL! A loose pass from Coastal Studies was seized upon by the leggy Robert Sherratt who went helter-skelter towards goal…but could he find a finish? Oh yes he could! A lovely side foot past the keeper into the net and an end to the jokes about the team being renamed Academic Servicesnil.

Back came the Coastal Studies giants and they immediately rattled the post (well it was a little disconcerted to say the least). But with Wayne Thompson barking out instructions to his defenders,the AS goal remained intact. Then… a setback. Gary Thompson turned his ankle when making a meaty clearing challenge and had to go off, his game cruelly over before half time. Carl Barrow sprinted on as his replacement and was immediately involved in a flash-point incident when he clattered into an opponent which left both players on the floor. There was an audible intake of breath as time stood still – would there be an angry reaction from Coastal Studies? As Harry Hill would say “FIGHT!”….but no… Carl simply shrugged and muttered ” Sorry..” and the action continued.

This was a controlled display from AS and, incongruous as it sounds, it was no surprise when they went 2-0 up. A wonderful turn by Paul Andrews from a Cass through ball and he was away down the left flank before slipping the ball under the body of the advancing keeper. 2-0! Two actual goals scored…before half time…this hadn’t happened since playing that team of girls last year! Fortunately half time was signaled before anybody became too giddy with excitement.

Click below to see Paul Andrews’ turn prior to scoring his goal:

Half-time: Academic Services 2-0 Coastal Studies

With the Coastal Studies team beginning to argue amongst themselves as to how it was possible they could be losing to Academic Services, their play became increasingly desperate in the second half. The long ball was resorted to and one such punt upfield brought about a sickening 3 man collision between Bayliss, Alan Hewett and the nippy opposition striker. Somehow all 3 managed to arrive in the same space at exactly the same time and the game was brought to a halt as the players lay prone. Despite initially seeming to be the least injured, Bayliss went onto to nurse a weeping grazed knee all weekend requiring bandage after bandage. Oh yeah…the other two were OK apparently….

Click below to see a replay of the collision:

The AS lads were continuing to play their passing game and when a cross came in from the left, Moore pirouetted in the box (ouch!) and a neat step over allowed a marauding Hewett to steal in at the far post to convert. 3-0 to the Academic Services…I’ll type that again….3-0 to the Academic Services…unbelievable!

By now the kitchen sink had been called for by Coastal Studies and, duly summoned, was flung at the AS defence with great vengeance. At the heart of that defence, Hewett was having the game of his life and threw himself into every challenge, blocking shot after shot with any part of his body that was available. When Coastal Studies did at last get past Hewett, Wayne Thompson stood firm with a number of heroic saves, and when they finally beat Thompson the post came to the rescue (well it at least asked if everyone was OK).

And then…the final whistle! A truly astounding scoreline – what an achievement! A result that is up there with some of the great upsets of all time…think Hereford,Ronnie Radford and all those parkas or Wimbledon beating Liverpool in the cup final (‘the crazy gang have beaten the culture club” and all that). This may have eclipsed them all.

Its 1972 and non-league Hereford have just dumped Newcastle out of the FA cup - everyone played in black and white back then

Final Score: Academic Services 3-0 Coastal Studies

How they performed:

Wayne Thompson – Proving the “a week is a long time in football” theory single-handedly, Uncle Wayne played a blinder. Labelled a donkey last week, Thompson the younger was more feline than asinine this week, leaping like a cat to repel everything that was thrown at him. His performance may have worried the absent Chris Awre whose place is now under threat – Shilton v Clemence anyone? 8/10

Gary Thompson – Was enjoying a very steady and composed game until he injured himself in one almighty bone -shaking challenge against an opposition forward. Had to sit out the second half as the glory unfolded in front of him yet tantalizingly out of his reach – a bit like Jimmy Greaves missing out on the 1966 World Cup Final. Never mind Gaz, following in Greavsie’s footsteps has its benefits – you’ll get to grow a minging moustache in later life and have to spend years in the company of a tedious Scotsman. 7/10

Richard Bayliss – Followed his manager’s instructions to the letter by sacrificing himself to the game plan (i.e. do not under any circumstances attempt to cross the halfway line at anytime – especially if you have possession of the ball). Didn’t let anybody down. 7/10

Alan Hewett – What a week for big Al! First he turns in the performance of a lifetime with his all action display including a picture-book collection of last ditch, certain- goal saving tackles. Then he ventures up field to slot in his first goal of the season and finally his beloved Spurs only go and win 9-1! Only one complaint Al – how about letting the rest of us have a game next week! 9/10 *Man of the Match*

Tony Ward – Started on the bench but came on to replace Bayliss. Weighed in with a measured performance and a very high pass completion rate. Has committed to playing 3 times a week to improve his fitness and it showed. May need to invest in some more of those surgical knee support accessories he has taken to wearing if he insists on keeping this up! 7/10

Carl Barrow – Nearly started a riot with his first challenge that left a Coastal Studies player counting his limbs. The Portfolio Holder for Communication? It was Carl that needed a good talking to after that tackle. Settled down after that explosive start to provide some useful link-up play and diligent work down the left flank. 7/10

Nigel Cass – Ah now….here’s someone who knows all about communicating. Its the King of Chat, the Prince of Prattle , the blatherer supreme himself… heeeere’s Nigel! Playing in a more advanced role, Nigel’s job was to hold the play up until support arrived. This he did via a number of slaloming runs down the flanks heading towards the byline… until he ran out of space at which point he would turn around and come back the other way all the time shouting “WHO WANTS IT?” in a menacing tone. Never quite managed the goal his play deserved despite spurning a number of chances. 7/10

Robert Sherratt – Scorer of a marvelous goal on the break in the first half, Robert provided the initial spark that ignited belief among the AS team that anything was possible. Marked out by his flaming red hair, Robert blazed with intensity and fervour in the middle of the park for the whole game until the final whistle…. when he spontaneously combusted. 8/10

Paul Andrews – Spurred on by his girlfriend watching from the touchline (meaning the official attendance was a respectable 1), super silky Paul pulled all the strings yet again. Had possession of the ball with more frequency than Katie Price appears on the front cover of the tabloids. Span, turned and scored so quickly that the ball was in the back of the net before his opponent could shout “I’m a Celebrity get me out of here!” …. actually that’s quite a mouthful…8/10

Gary Moore – All his planning, tactics and formations worked like a dream and he basked in the glory of his (team’s) victory afterwards (we could all hear you singing in the changing room showers Gary!). Employed some reverse psychology on his squad in the run up to the game by stating his game plan was to pack the defence in order to keep the score down – a masterstroke that unseated the league leaders with a clean sheet to boot! In the words of one Mr Clough, “Lets see Don flipping Revie do that!” 9/10 *Manager of the Week*

"You've all done very well"

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