Dickiebliss’s Blog

Academic Services 1-4 HUBS
November 30, 2009, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After the euphoria of last week’s stratospheric win, Academic Services fell back to Earth with a Bowiesque crash against a team they had beaten easily in a pre-season friendly. A bewildering result for sure but more importantly a concerning performance for Manger Moore to ponder. His troops just weren’t at it and were beaten by the better team on the day.

It was a full roll call of players again complemented by the return of regular keeper Chris Awre, resplendent with fully formed beard after last week’s hibernation. As kick off approached, the HUBS team appeared complete with an entourage comprising of manager, physio, official time-keeper, a tactics board and statistician. Gulp! This lot looked serious and a vastly different proposition to the bunch of losers AS had faced in that friendly fixture. Even so, Moore had faith in last week’s heroes and went with the same starting line-up save for the return of Awre meaning Bayliss and last week’s star performer Hewett were in defence, Andrews and Sherratt formed the midfield leaving Cass to talk himself silly up front.

Hewett issued some tactical advice to the rest of the defence in the tense moments before kick off – something about tracking runners and forming triangles. The only triangles in evidence in the first 5 minutes were Bermuda-shaped as the previous week’s comfortable possession and crisp passing completely disappeared without a trace.

The HUBS tactics board in full effect

HUBS were playing a high-tempo pressing game giving the AS defence less time on the ball than Michael Owen managed in 4 seasons at Newcastle. It was this tactic that led to an error by Bayliss that saw HUBS go one-nil up. With Awre struggling to find an outlet, Bayliss dropped deep to receive the ball. A sudden cry of “Man On!”reverberated across the pitch (no doubt it was from the lips of Nigel Cass), and Bayliss was panicked into passing back to his goalkeeper. His under-hit pass allowed the onrushing opposition striker to nip in and shoot pass Awre into an unguarded net. Disaster!

However, within 2 minutes AS were level. Yet again it was that man Andrews pouncing on a loose opposition pass to saunter upfield and calmly deposit the ball into the HUBS net. So unflappable and laid back was Andrews in scoring that he made The Magic Roundabout’s Dylan look like a hyperactive 6-year old who’d eaten too many Smarties!

Paul Andrews needs to work on his goal celebration - this is rubbish!

Galvanised by the equaliser, AS put together a mouth-watering 4 man move that ended with Cass slamming a shot against the base of the post. Oooh! Close!

Half-time: Academic Services1-1 HUBS

The second half started horribly for AS as they seemed to suffer a bout of sudden collective amnesia and were playing like a team of strangers meeting for the first time at a speed dating evening. Passes went astray, possession was lost and formations crumbled. A string of corners were conceded in quick succession as AS struggled to get out of their own half.

The inevitable happened….HUBS took the lead and again it was a gift from AS. In fact it could not have been more of a gift if the defence had written a shopping list, caught the bus to town, trawled round the shops, bought, paid and wrapped it, hired a sleigh and then turned up on December the 25th in a red suit and white beard. Hewett played a suicidal pass across his own box and behind a sleeping Bayliss allowing the rotund but agile HUBS striker to stroll through and score. Oh dear! Said barrel-shaped forward was beginning to give Bayliss a torrid time with his speed and ball control. The wretched defender was turned inside out so many times that when he was finally subbed he came off with platted blood vessels.

Click below to see Bayliss being given the runaround

2-1 gave way to 3-1 and the final nail came with a literally last second goal following a cheaply conceded free kick. AS did manage a solitary second half attack that resulted in Moore firing straight at the keeper with the ball hacked off the line before Sherratt could turn in the rebound. The final whistle sounded and much debate ensued as to where it had all gone wrong but the truth was that it was a poor display all round. With a return leg against Sports Science next up, Moore has some big decisions to make and a despondent squad to rally.

Final Score: Academic Services 1-4 HUBS

How they performed:

Chris Awre: Produced his usual trick of managing to avoid any criticism despite shipping 10 goals in his last 2 appearances. Nice guys may finish last but amiable Chris is always one step ahead of the rest by ensuring he is the last person anyone would blame for yet another defeat. 6/10

Richard Bayliss: A couple of no-nonsense clearances early on gave way to being given a second half roasting by the chunky HUBS striker. Humiliated. 5/10

Alan Hewett: Big drop in performance level from last weeks MOTM.Spent most of the 2nd half on ball boy duty on the sidelines as AS resorted to hoofing clearances out of the ground 6/10

Tony Ward: Brought some stability to the defence with some sensible positional play when he replaced the floundering Bayliss. Still hasn’t learned to shoot yet as his wild 2nd half drive proved. On your bike Alan Hewett! 6/10

Wayne Thompson: Ousted from the goalkeeper’s jersey by Awre, Uncle Wayne performed with distinction in defence becoming a human wall as he repelled the HUBS invaders. If Wayne was a superhero he’d be The Thing from the Fantastic Four – “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” 7/10

Nice shorts Wayne!

Gary Thompson: After missing much of last week’s game through injury,Gary continued the theme this week by hardly getting a kick as an underused sub. Less than 5 minutes game time meant Gary was first out of the changing rooms post match with precious little need for a shower. 6/10

Carl Barrow: Acquitted himself adequately without really ever getting into the match. Has fallen foul of the squad rotation policy in recent weeks and could be part of a disgruntled queue forming outside Manager Moore’s office come the January transfer window. 6/10

Paul Andrews: A somewhat pedestrian performance from Paul despite his now customary clinically taken goal. “Stroller” Andrews can certainly walk the walk but he rather trudged his way through the game. 6/10

Nigel Cass: And now a man who knows how to talk the talk….Fast becoming the Emile Heskey of the squad – the non-scoring forward. How long can his manager keep faith with him? No doubt Nigel will be able to talk himself out of any tight spot on the subject of his (lack of) onion bag prowess. 6/10

Gary Moore: Talking of a lack of goals…Gary’s current tally for the season? ZERO (and a big fat one at that). Suffered the curse of being Manager of the Week by promptly masterminding a dreadful team performance. 6/10

Robert Sherratt: One of the few to emerge with any credit. Solid display in the middle of the park with some stout challenges and intelligent distribution. Denied a goal by a dramatic goal line clearance. Pipped Wayne Thompson to MOTM by uttering the magic phrase “WHO WANTS IT?” late doors. 7/10 Man of the Match

Click below to hear Brian Clough’s verdict on Academic Services performance:

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