Dickiebliss’s Blog

The Kickers 1-0 SHES Electric
May 29, 2011, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

OK…once more … but this time …it’s the last time. No second legs, no replays, no “there’s always next week”. For the Kickers the moment had arrived. Last chance saloon. One more game to achieve immortality – well 2nd place in the league anyway. And for those of you thinking that 2nd place is nowhere (yes I mean you Roman Abramovich), then you obviously have no soul. 2nd place would be a fantastic achievement for The Kickers  – a team with almost certainly the oldest average age in the league. By rights they should be hopelessly adrift at the foot of the table. Yet every week this bunch of journeymen footballers have been performing miracles, punching above their weight and pulling results out of the bag and this – the runners up spot  – is their reward. So let’s have it right, 2nd place is everything to The Kickers.

After last week’s botched attempt at living forever when a disastrous goal was conceded in the last 30 seconds that condemned them to defeat, The Kickers knew only a win would secure the coveted 2nd place. As so often happens, the footballing gods in charge of fixtures aligned The Kickers with the one team they didn’t want to face – champions elect SHES Electric. Yes, unbelievably it was the boys from Sports Science that were the blockade on the Kickers’ route to glory. SHES remember had clinched the title with 4 games still to play – they are that good. Slaughtering all opposition in their wake, the champions had only conceded 6 goals during the whole campaign and had recorded the season’s most extraordinary result  – a 10-3 win against HUU All Stars. Gulp! And yet….The Kickers had acquitted themselves admirably in their previous match-ups with SHES including a very creditable 2-2 draw in the first game of the season so there was still some hope. There’s always hope….

John Hemming MP can' t believe his eyes as The Kickers team-sheet shows Robert Sherratt is missing again and demands a public enquiry into his whereabouts

The game had the feel of a cup final with the Kickers knowing that only victory would bring the glory they sought. Manager Gary Moore’s big game plans were severely interrupted when news filtered through that star striker and top scorer Andy Hoole was unavailable after becoming a father during the week. Many congratulations to Andy of course but his absence was not only a blow to the team but also to this blogger who could have trotted out the “Daddy Hoole” (Daddy Hoole oh Daddy Hoole) line many times over had Andy played. Also missing, and this is getting boring now, one Robert Sherratt (Shame! Shame!). Parliamentary privilege may need to be used to name Robert’s whereabouts as a matter of public interest. And still the absence list went on…the Thompson twins Andy and Wayne… both missing. Maybe last week’s charity 100 km bike ride had done for them after all.

Thankfully, t’other Thompson – the much maligned Gary  – had made it through the bike ride intact and declared himself fit to play. What was it that this blog said last week about  who the real men were in the Thompson clan? Dickiebliss takes it all back. Wayne’s absence meant Gary Moore had to reprise his performance between the sticks after last week’s outfield cameo which was just as well as he had pulled his hamstring in the week anyway. The Kickers ranks were swelled by the return of old warhorse Tony Ward with new recruit John “JK” Kelly also joining the party. The squad of 7 was completed by experienced defender Richard Bayliss, midfield maestro Paul Andrews and front runner Blake Mace.

Tony Ward resorts to the tactics board to make his point. Watch out for that fence behind him Gaz!

Whilst getting changed, it dawned on the Kickers that there was a distinct lack of goal power in the room with only Andrews and Mace having found the net all season. Not one single goal had been scored by the rest of the assembled team. Cue frenzied tactics talk. Indeed, Tony Ward seemed to be testing the levels for an imaginary microphone as he delivered his preferred formation (“one-two-one-two…”).The debate raged as the players walked past the tennis courts to the 3G pitch. Gary Thompson changed the subject by announcing that he had finally received some positive press coverage courtesy of his son’s football team , of whom he is manager, who had won their league’s  fair play award. Fair play to Gary who has been an easy target for the Dickiebliss vitriol all season long. Well done Gaz. His moment of glory was undone by the fact that as he told the story he was tackled by the perimeter fence  and nearly dropped the kit bag- I kid you not. It didn’t bode well.

As kick off approached it was finally decided that Tony Ward would play in the middle alongside Paul Andrews with Blake Mace up top and Bayliss and Thompson securing the hatches at the back. Befitting a game of such magnitude, a crowd had turned up to watch. I say a crowd – what I actually mean is Chris Awre. Yes, Kickers keeper of yesteryear, the now retired Chris hadn’t been able to resist the lure of The Kickers magic brand of football and had treated himself to a festival of soccer.

A quick tot up of the players on both sides moments before kick off revealed a problem  – the opposition only had 5 players. SHES just shrugged nonchalantly and said they didn’t mind. Now before the critics amongst get on your fair play high horses, Dickiebliss would like to point out that there is a FIFA regulation in place to cover this sort of scenario. It comes in the form  of a mathematical equation and calculates the age and ability of the two teams playing and if an overwhelming imbalance is found it allows for the weaker team to play with an extra man (and a sub for good measure).

What? FIFA rule 517a you say? Never heard of it. Well you wouldn't trust what Sepp Blatter says would you?

Honest  – FIFA directive 517a or something it’s called. So everything was above board and not at all dodgy – OK? Anyway, they beat us last time out with only 5 men so it’s only fair The Kickers had a numerical advantage.

Its’ taken us over 1000 words to get here but it’s kick off time at last. With almost the first pass of the game, Bayliss teed up Mace with a perfectly weighted through ball but Blake snatched at the chance and the moment was gone as soon as it had arrived. The SHES team looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back and Paul Andrews adopted a shoot on sight policy in the hope that the keeper might make a mistake. At the back The Kickers looked  comfortable until Gary Moore was called into action and made a smart double save from a SHES forward. A Bayliss block tackle on the halfway line saw the ball swerve off into Mace’s direction who ran free on goal but again Blake didn’t realise how much time he had and blazed his shot well wide. How many more chances would the striker get and would those he had missed already prove decisive?

Half time: The Kickers 0-0 SHES

With John Kelly on for Bayliss at half time the action re-started. The imbalance of defenders to attackers was starting to show as Mace and Andrews looked increasingly isolated up front.  Moore encouraged his troops to get forward more and John Kelly took the boss at his word and popped up in the SHES half to pull the ball back to Paul Andrews who rattled the post with a thundering drive. So close.

By now, Tony Ward was starting to grow in confidence in his new role in midfield and collecting the ball on the halfway line threaded a pass through to Blake Mace’s feet. The striker had already seen chances come his way and pass him by but, showing fearless belief in his ability, he turned his marker and rifled an angle drive wide of the SHES keeper and into the corner of the net. GOAAAALLLLL!!! Cue pandemonium on the touchline as Bayliss and Chris Awre embraced each other in wild celebration. Well, sort of…Chris Awre probably said something like “Well done that fellow” knowing Chris. It was a goal good enough to win any game and took The Kickers to the brink of a massive upset.

Click below to relive another massive upset from the footballing archives. For Jim McAlliog read Tony Ward and for Bobby Stokes read Blake Mace . Incidentally, Stokes was 5’7″ – exactly the same height as Blake. 

As the clock counted down, Bayliss came back on to replace Gaz Thompson who had literally run himself into a standstill. Almost immediately, a SHES forward strode through the middle of the pitch and was in on goal. Covering last man Bayliss wasn’t  getting to him as the forward cocked the trigger. His boot connected with the ball true, firm and with certainty …its a …..SAVE! Gary Moore saved it! Unbelievable! A great save with his knees denied a certain goal that would have broken Kickers hearts.

Now the question was how long to go? Official timekeeper was the subbed Gary Thompson and as ever with Gaz there was a cock-up. As Gary shouted “That’s time” not everybody seemed to believe him and Blake Mace carried on his run to crash an unstoppable shot into the net. GOAL! Or was it? Certainly some of the SHES players had stopped running but nobody seemed to know how long the half should be. It was all a bit Geoff Hurst and 1966 and all that but this time the goal didn’t stand and it was unanimously agreed that the game had officially ended before Blake had scored. Who cares? The Kickers had won and second place was theirs. As the players celebrated there was only one thing left to do and fortunately Chris Awre was on hand to perform the official duty……SMILE!

The Kickers 2010/11: Back:Gaz Thompson, Richard Bayliss, Tony Ward, Paul Andrews Front: John Kelly, Gary Moore (player/manager), Blake Mace

Full time: The Kickers 1-0 SHES

Goalscorer: Blake Mace

How they performed:

Gary Moore: When it mattered, when it really mattered, Gary came up trumps with a season-defining save late on that preserved the win and The Kickers 2nd place finish. Also made a fantastic double-save in the first half. If you can only take one game with you when stop playing Gary, pop this one in your travel bag. 9/10 Joint Man of the match

If he were a cup final he would be:

FA cup final 1973 Sunderland 1-0 Leeds

Bob Stokoe’s jubilant run across the pitch and all that but the game was defined by the heroics of Sunderland keeper Jim Montgomery and that unbelievable double save. As a Leeds fan, Gary won’t thank Dickiebliss for this comparison but the goalkeeping exploits resemblance is uncanny. All that was lacking was the sight of Chris Awre jigging his way over the pitch in a trilby hat and raincoat to give Gary a bear hug.

Richard Bayliss: Second successive appearance for Richard and just like last week he was…well pretty good actually. Sound at the back but also willing to get forward when he could to try and support Andrews and Mace. Also like last week he couldn’t last the whole game being subbed at half time before re-appearing for the final minute. 7/10

If he were a cup final he would be:

FA Cup final replay 1983 Man Utd 4-0 Brighton

Pretty much all over by half-time.

John ‘JK’ Kelly: Measured performance from John again – always seems to pick out the right pass and snuffed out danger with more certainity than Simon Cowell snuffing out Cheryl Cole’s TV career. We may have seen the future of The Kickers and it looks like ….Dave Spikey?! 7/10

If he were a cup final he would be:

Champions League final 1999 Man Utd 2-1 Bayern Munich

Just like this memorable night in Barcelona where all the action happened in the last 2 minutes, all of John’s Kickers career happened in the last 2 matches of the season.

Gary Thompson: Oh come on…it’s the last game of the season. Can’t you lay off him just this once Dickie? Well…go on then …but just this once. Gary, you may have been tackled by a fence before the game and there was that misunderstanding over the full-time whistle but you know what ….you’ll do for me. Coped pretty well with everything that came his way down the left flank and wasn’t afraid to put his foot in when needed. 7/10

If he were a cup final he would be:

FA cup final 2007 Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd

It wasn’t pretty but Chelsea won so who cares?

Tony Ward: A revelation. Superb performance by our Tone in an unfamiliar midfield role. Wonderful pass for Mace’s goal that Xavi or Iniesta would have been proud of. Tony, you may be old but you’ve still got it. 9/10

If he were a cup final he would be:

League cup final 1972 Stoke City 2-1 Chelsea

The old man’s final  – won for Stoke by the ancient George Eastham who at the age of 35 years 161 days,  became the oldest player to receive a winner’s medal. They say you don’t get medals for coming second – that may be true but Tony should get some sort of award for this performance so here it comes…..Joint Man of the match 9/10

Paul Andrews: Mightily impressive as ever, and was the width of a post away from being a goal hero. The Kickers most consistent performer of the season?8/10

If he were a cup final he would be:

Champions League final 2011 Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd

Style, swagger and superlatives ahoy in this ultimate display of classy football from Barca – Senor Andrews must have some Spanish in him somewhere though surely?

Blake Mace: Wonderful strike for the all-important winning goal. Lacked a little sharpness and composure in the first half but like all good strikers he never hid and knew if he kept up his strike rate, one of them would go in eventually. 8/10

If he were a cup final he would be:

FA cup final 1978 Ipswich 1-0 Arsenal

Another famous upset with unsung hero Roger Osbourne scoring the winner. Dickiebliss went to school with someone called Roger Osbourne. When we all played football at break time the Monday after the 78 cup final, Dickie’s pal Roger was able to say with some conviction “Bagsy I’ll be Roger Osbourne”. Come this Monday morning, what are the chances of some of the local Hull schoolboys saying ” You can be Lionel Messi, I want to be Blake Mace”?

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