Friday, 18 April 2014

Meridian's Lines are Broken Three Times


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Friday 18 April 2014 at Charlton Park Lane
Result
Meridian VP 0  Hollands & Blair 3
Competition
Kent Invicta League (Step 6)
Hopping
Ground #533 on the lifetime list is my first-ever in this particular league, chosen partly for practical reasons and partly because of its significance.
Pre-match preparation
Hollands & Blair are divisional leaders and will be wanting a win as the next step in securing the title.
This match in one sentence
In the end, a comfortable win for Hollands & Blair.
So what?
The visitors remain on course for the title.  They have four fixtures left against mid-trable sides, and although Lydd could catch them, it looks unlikely.  Meridian are 13th (of 15) and could yet be overtaken by the club beneath.
The drama unfolds
It turned out that @cynderness was in town and looking for a game, so twitterations were made and she was found lurking with a pint of local bitter in Charlton, as per.  We arrived at the clubhouse to find there was no food available (except Black Country pork scratchings which to be fair don’t appear on the vegetarian standard lists).  With the help of the friendly bar staff, Cyn secured a groundhopping first and started a new and welcome trend.  It can thus now be confirmed that Pizza Hut (other cheese melters are available) will deliver to the halfway line at a step 6 game.  This changes everything.



Hollands and Blair, meanwhile, were taking the lead just as the delivery was made with a quarter of an hour gone.  Steve Dampier was the scorer.  0-1 with side orders of garlic bread and chips after 15 mins

Here’s the scene setter clip, which ends with H&B missing a good chance of a second.  Meridian are in the pale blue.



Sam Welch headed the second and for the rest of the half H&B looked comfortable and in control.  0-2 after 26 mins

We had an unusual episode for a Meridian freekick where the ref re-paced the 10 yards back for the defensive wall after loud protests from the touchline.  The protesters were right, to be fair.  The freekick came to nothing.  0-2 at halftime

In the second half, H&B wasted several good chances.  There was a long stoppage for treatment to the Meridian goalkeeper Paul Daley.  Sensibly, H&B put him under immediate pressure again.  Welch was harshly booked for the collision but Daley could not continue and one of the outfield players took the grey shirt.  He assured those of us nearby that he’d done so before.

Here’s another clip.


The new man between the sticks almost kept a personal clean sheet.  James McDonald headed just wide, he maybe should have scored.  It was not until stoppage time that Louis Valencia set up a close-range header for substitute Stuart West.  Job Done.  Final score 0-3

Ground Pix



Match Pix




Huddle Stats
No huddles today.

2013-14 Summary so far:

P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
PPG
Huddlers
13
5
4
4
13
9
19
1.46
Non-Huddlers
28
12
3
13
43
47
39
1.39
Twin Huddlers
1
0
1
0
2
2
1
1.00
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Hollands & Blair provided the first Purple keeper of the new season.  Grey holds on to second place despite the loss for the home shirt.  3pts per game is more significant from 11 games than from 2, as achieved by Red.


2013-14 Summary so far:
3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, -1pt for a goal conceded and +5pts for a clean sheet

P
W
D
L
GA
(-1 each)
CS
(5 each)
Pts
Pts per Game
Purple
1
1
0
0
0
1
8
8.00
Grey
11
6
2
3
12
5
33
3.00
Red
2
1
0
1
2
1
6
3.00
Green
9
5
0
4
11
2
14
1.56
Yellow
4
1
1
2
8
1
1
0.25
Orange
3
1
1
1
6
0
-2
-0.67
Radioactive Bile
3
1
0
2
6
0
-3
-1.00
Pink
6
1
3
2
14
0
-8
-1.33
Blue
3
0
1
2
6
0
-5
-1.67
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!



Thursday, 17 April 2014

All's Well That Ends Well

CLOWN: I will show myself highly fed, and lowly taught ...
(All's Well That Ends Well, Act II)



Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Thursday 17 April 2014 at the DCS Stadium
Result
Stratford Town 2 Tiverton Town 4
Competition
Southern League D1 South & West (Step 4)
Hopping
Ground 532 on the lifetime list and chosen because of the random effect of gravity on a tetrahedron.
Pre-match preparation
I'd picked out four games of interest for this evening’s entertainment, all of which had something important to play for, for at least one of the sides involved.



Stratford Town are in mid-table in their first season after promotion from Step 5.  Tiverton Town are third, but not yet mathematically certain of a playoff place, and points are important in determining home advantage.  They have already played once this week, a home win on Tuesday.  The International Space Station is due to pass overhead at 9.03pm for a four-minute pass from the West and Mars, Jupiter and the Moon should also be visible if the skies are clear.  Post-match note: it was too cloudy for any of the skygazing.

This match in one sentence
Tiverton handed out a lesson in clinical finishing and have done well to win two midweek games in their pursuit of promotion.
So what?
Tiverton's position is strengthened and they could still take the overall title.  Stratford are 10th and safe.
The drama unfolds
This was a good game for the passing neutral.  Keenly contested at a decent tempo on a lovely playing surface.  This new stadium provides one of the best facilities at this level.  Stratford could have taken the lead with a shot on the turn from Tyrone Fagan and they will have to reflect on the number of missed chances over the course of the match.  Tiverton struck twice in quick succession to take control of the game.  Firstly, a neat one-two worked for full back James Richards to get clear in the area for a neat finish.  0-1 after 16mins

Then Michael Nardiello buried a diving header from a right-wing cross, just after he had been denied by a fine defensive block.  Yes, the same Michael Nardiello, the youngster with Manchester United (and later, West Brom), whom we all tried to sign on loan for our lower league sides during the early years of Championship Manager.  By all accounts, he is hoping this spell at Tiverton will be a stepping stone back into the full-time game after a horrendous time with injury.  0-2 after 21 mins

Tiverton were now in command.  Their link-up play around the box was far superior and they creeated a chance for Dan Smith whose shot curled just wide.  Their defence was also called into action, though, as Stratford occasionally threatened, often through Richard Gregory.  Time for the scene-setter clip, which has the bar rattled by Tiverton's impressive Josh Searle.  Stratford are in blue.


The same player shot just wide from the right-hand side before the break.  0-2 at half-time

Stratford started the second half brightly and were back in the game through leading scorer Gregory.  The ball sat up nicely for him and he buried it.  1-2 after 52 mins

A superb block by Callum Burgess denied Nardiello again before Fagan shot over the bar from a good clear chance and this was probably the turning point.  It was not long before a Nardiello header, again from the right, was nestling in the net, and then a shot from Marcus Martin added a fourth,  Game over, and no chance of a "2-3 or not 2-3" blogpost title.  1-3 after 74 mins, 1-4 after 78 mins

The game ebbed away with substitutions but there was time for a final consolation for the home side in stoppage time.  A deep cross from the left (by Fagan, I think) was headed nicely back across goal and Simeon Tulloch was there to head in from close range.  Stratford deserve credit for their part in this entertaining game.  As the King of France put it in Act V, "Praising what is lost, makes the remembrance dear."  (Look, readers, be fair, it was either this or that line about all the men being merely players...)  Final score 2-4

Ground Pix






Match Pix


Huddle Stats
No huddles tonight.

2013-14 Summary so far:

P
W
D
L
GF
GA
Pts
Pts per Game
Huddlers
13
5
4
4
13
9
19
1.46
Non-Huddlers
26
11
3
12
40
44
36
1.38
Twin Huddlers
1
0
1
0
2
2
1
1.00
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Tiverton came and won with a green goalkeeper.  Stratford's stopper was hard to classify but I am ignoring the black content and going for pink as the dominant colour.

2013-14 Summary so far:
3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, -1pt for a goal conceded and +5pts for a clean sheet


P
W
D
L
GA
(-1 each)
CS
(5 each)
Pts
Pts per Game
Grey
10
6
2
2
9
5
36
3.60
Red
2
1
0
1
2
1
6
3.00
Green
9
5
0
4
11
2
14
1.56
Yellow
4
1
1
2
8
1
1
0.25
Orange
3
1
1
1
6
0
-2
-0.67
Radioactive Bile
3
1
0
2
6
0
-3
-1.00
Pink
6
1
3
2
14
0
-8
-1.33
Blue
3
0
1
2
6
0
-5
-1.67
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!