Dickiebliss’s Blog

AS Kickers 3-2 HUBS
February 24, 2010, 8:19 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Finally… a proper, bona fide, honest to goodness league match against real live opposition. Having had to make do with training sessions galore and an impromptu friendly game played in a blizzard, the Kickers were back on the circuit with a match against a team who had given them a humiliating chasing the last time they met. Back in November HUBS had triumphed 4-1 with a marvellous solo performance by their nippy forward with the …ahem ….low centre of gravity ( “well put” – politically correct ed). Would the tubby git (“groan” – politically correct ed) do the same again this time round?

Before they could worry about the opposition make-up, the Kickers had some team selection problems of their own to deal with. The squad was decimated by injuries and absence. Here’s the full roll call of the unavailable:

  • Tony Ward (gone fishing – literally)
  • Nigel Cass (on the lash with his mates – allegedly)
  • Alan Hewett (in Derby – bizarrely)
  • Chris Awre (heavy cold – perennially )
  • Gary Thompson (toothache – wussily)
  • Paul Andrews (Still AWOL -who he?)

And so it was left to the remaining seven members of the squad to turn up and turn in a performance that would be written about for years to come (well – this weekend at least).

The Magnificent Seven included yet another new boy in Rob Hall who was to replace Gary Thompson at left back – a bit like Wayne Bridge standing in for Ashley Cole in the England team but without the lurid tabloid headlines or Max Clifford. Rob had originally e-mailed in his excuses saying he had forgotten his kit but manager Gary Moore channeled his inner vindictive sports teacher persona (think Brian Glover in “Kes”) and sent him home to go and get his boots! Gary had been overheard in the dressing rooms pre-match complaining of the workload associated with having to be coach, tactician, kit manger, bibs and cones monitor etc …his treatment of Rob showed the pressure was taking its toll. Gary would let off steam in dramatic fashion late in the second half…

Gary Moore rallies the troops - note a crouching and chastened Rob Hall pulling faces in the background

The good news was that the official team strip was back – it having been sent back to the manufacturers after the cuffs bled the first time it was washed! To celebrate, the Kickers were out early for their warm-up …far too early as it turned out! It was the longest warm-up ever witnessed on the 3G pitches lasting a full 30 minutes leaving many of the elder members of the team knackered before a ball had been kicked. As the endless stretching exercises unfolded, Robert Sherratt gave a stern warning to team mate Carl Barrow. Carl had been to the doctors in the week and had been prescribed anti- inflammatories for his knees. “You can get addicted to those you know – you’ll end up found dead on the toilet like fat Elvis”. As it turned out, health problems did await poor Carl who would not make it to the final whistle – happily Carl’s demise was not as tragic as Elvis’s.

Finally HUBS turned up including their nippy star striker and this time he had a strike partner who was equally small in stature. Tom Thumb -like they may have been but they were fast and needed only the slightest half chance to punish any defensive mistakes. They could be in and out of the penalty area in less time than it took Fabio Capello to sack John Terry. So opportunist were they that they came to be known as “Smash” and “Grab”.

Meanwhile, Gary Moore’s team talk again pointed to the fact that something was awry with him as instead of the usual “keep it tight, press the man, talk to each other, no messing about with back-heels” diatribe, Gary simply said “Not bothered today lads – just go out and enjoy yourselves.” Hmm…folly or genius – its a fine line…Moore elected to start on the bench with Carl barrow up front, supported by Robert Sherratt and Andy Thompson in midfield, Bayliss and Hall at the back with Wayne Thompson in goals.

A bright start was soon undermined as the Kickers found themselves trailing 0-2 thanks to some opportunist finishing from “Smash” and “Grab” and some criminal goalkeeping from their own normally reliable custodian of the nets. A dipping HUBS shot was going wide of the left hand post but Wayne Thompson wanted to make sure and dived to divert the ball behind anyway. However, Wayne got his bearings all wrong and succeeded only in keeping the ball in play and palmed it into the path of “Smash” who pounced on the chance and steered it into the empty net. Two minutes later a carbon copy as another HUBS effort was spilled by Thompson into the path of “Grab” who clinically converted the chance.

The Magnificent Seven AS Kickers pull off the perfect offside trap

At 0-2 down a Kickers comeback looked unlikely but what transpired would go down in Kickers folklore and beats the Magnificent Seven triumphing over hordes of Mexican bandits in the “you couldn’t make it up” stakes . A neat interchange of passes saw Carl Barrow advance down the right wing. As he began to run out of pitch, Carl swung a cross over which the arriving Robert Sherratt cooly directed into the net. Game on!

Within minutes the Kickers were level thanks to that man Sherratt again. This time he gathered the ball out on the left and set off towards goal. With Andy Thompson having run the length of the pitch to get up in support and screaming for the ball, Sherratt decided he didn’t need any help and nonchalantly passed the ball under the advancing keeper into the empty net. A wonderful solo strike fit to grace any game.

Then a dramatic incident – a crunching tackle on Carl Barrow saw the Kickers pin-up boy shrieking in pain as he crumpled to the floor. Relax ladies – Carl’s face was uninjured. His ribs however, the same ones that he had injured in training before Xmas, took the full force of the collision and were causing him terrible discomfort. “I shouldn’t have played” Carl bemoaned and pleaded with boss Gary Moore to be taken off – but Moore was still in sadistic sports teacher mode and told Carl he had to stay on until half-time….well… to be fair Carl didn’t have a note from his Mum.

Half-time: AS Kickers 2-2 HUBS

Moore finally relented and replaced Carl for the second half assuming his normal position up front. Straight from the kick off the Kickers put together a stunning display of ball possession with every outfield player joining in a move that drew chants of “Its just like watching Brazil” from the non-existent crowd…and then they lost the ball and HUBS went straight down their end and hit the inside of the post! It was a warning that the Kickers took full heed of.

Click below to see another great display of possession football (this one’s for you Gary Moore!)

The Kickers were sensing glory now and not content with a creditable draw were going for the win. Gary Moore drove through the heart of the HUBS defence but put his effort just wide. Gary wasn’t finished though and popped up on the right wing to slide a pass across the box to the waiting Robert Sherratt. Surely he couldn’t do it again? Yes he could! Robert deftly controlled the ball and shimmied past the goalkeeper before calmly slotting home his hat-trick goal. The action took literally a matter of seconds but it seemed like hours before the ball hit the back of the net. 3-2 to the Kickers – GET IN !!!

The expected HUBS revival never materialised and it was the Kickers who looked more likely to grab another. Bayliss advanced down the right wing and glanced a ball inside the opposition full back to Moore who laid it off to the debut boy Rob Hall who curled an effort just wide of the post. Both defenders joining in one attack – this was the very definition of “Total Football”…apart from the lack of anyone Dutch being on the pitch obviously!

And then….a dark chapter in an otherwise gloriously sunny read. The thought of letting a two goal lead disappear was too much for “Smash” who lunged recklessly into a sliding tackle on Gary Moore. As man and ball were sent sprawling, a hush descended over the 3 G pitch. But for Gary Moore the only thing descending was the red mist. Looking around for his assailant, Moore caught sight of him running freely with the ball and launched himself in an acrobatic two-footed assault, at one point totally horizontal off the ground and connected with “Smash” full on. Yet another hush descended as time stood still, the only audible sound  being that of Bayliss exhaling a big “oooh”. Predictably there followed the time honoured ritual of two grown men squaring up to each other and many a finger being pointed in anger. To his credit, “Smash” asked to be substituted and the situation was diffused. Moore later apologised for his actions to his team-mates who were hardly surprised at what had happened – Gary is a Leeds fan after all.

Click below to see Gary Moore’s Leeds idol in action – what a role model!

It was to be the last talking point as the final whistle brought an end to hostilities and the curtain down on a fine Kickers win.

Full -time: AS Kickers 3-2 HUBS

How they performed:

Wayne Thompson: An otherwise competent performance was marred by his two handling errors that led to both HUBS goals. Wayne has officially given up Monday training sessions to concentrate on his body building sessions at the gym. No doubt he is trying for the ripped physique of England goalkeeper David James. Sadly for Wayne the only resemblance on display was his Calamity James- like goalkeeping gaffs. 6/10

Richard Bayliss: Another decent performance from team blogger Bayliss. Rumours that he was only getting a game because of his match reports have surely been dismissed…unlike Gary Moore. 7/10

Rob Hall: Fine debut from the stand-in left back. His performance was only bettered by hat-trick hero Sherratt. Confident in possession of the ball, Rob showed no fear in the face of the HUBS strike duo. Now get on with those lines Rob ” I must not forget my football kit on Fridays… I must not forget my football kit on Fridays…I must not forget my football kit on Fridays…8/10

Andy Thompson: Andy has quickly established himself in the Kickers team despite only having made two appearances. Andy recently went on holiday to Bulgaria where the only downside was the amount of time had had to wait while queuing for the hotel lifts. With performances like these Andy won’t be behind anybody in the queue for a starting place. 7/10

Carl Barrow: Played a crucial part in the Kickers first goal that set the Kickers on the comeback trail. Carl caused many a female heart to flutter with his dramatic first half injury. As he laid prone on the pitch, a crowd of concerned players gathered round him. Was he OK? Was he dead? Carl emerged from the huddle to exclaim the immortal line “Does my quiff look alright?” 7/10

Robert Sherratt: Move over Paul Andrews, out of his way Roy of the Rovers….here comes the real deal…dear readers I give you the one, the only…MR ROBERT SHERRATT!!! Robert’s three goals represent a fantastic achievement. The only thing missing was the match ball. Robert is in good company. Apparently Geoff Hurst didn’t realise his last World Cup goal had counted until after the match. This meant he had not attempted to get the match ball as a souvenir, which hat-trick scorers traditionally do. Haller scorer of the Germans’ first goal, acquired the ball and was seen holding it as he collected his runner’s up medal. He returned it to England more than 30 years later. If Robert has to wait a similar amount of time for his match ball he will be nearly 70…that means he will be just about approaching his peak in Kickers years! 9/10 Man of the Match

Gary Moore: Acted the school teacher with his treatment of Rob Hall but then disgraced himself with his second half Kung-Fu show. All together now… (adopts stern teacher voice) “You’ve not only let your team-mates, your friends and your family down…you’ve let yourself down” 5/10

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