Sunday, 28 December 2014

One for Sorrow, Two for Joy


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 27 December 2014 at Peacehaven Sports Park
Result
Peacehaven & Telscombe 1 Maidstone United 1
Competition
Isthmian Premier League (Step 3)
Hopping
Ground 555, and the first for ages.  Professional duties and all that.  Therefore, a shorter-than-usual post just to prove I still exist, and I will be back in full swing at some point.
Pre-match preparation
I was so impressed by my hired Volvo V40 on the October trip to Sweden that I have ended up getting one, so it is farewell to the outgoing Yappmobile after 165000 very trouble-free and pleasant miles.  Today was the first outing for the new toy, and thus much of the pre-match prep involved pressing random buttons rather than doing proper research.  I think I may have accidentally phoned Kim-Jong Un, but I will worry about that later. Here’s to many trips ahead.

P&T have had two successive promotions and sit in mid-table.  They have had a recent change in manager and a very good result (a win at Margate) last time out.  They are known as the Magpies, and the last time I saw them was on an eventful trip to Larkhall.  (Click on the tag cloud to see why!)  Maidstone are going well and start the day in second, but with several games in hand over the leaders Margate.  

I thought 4hrs was enough for an easy journey and a pre-game clifftop walk, but I reckoned without the M25 western section.  I arrived 3 minutes after kickoff and missed the opening goal, the first time this has happened to me for decades.  At least I got a programme!
This match in one sentence
The stand-in home goalkeeper Joe Gatting, having taken stick from visiting fans all afternoon because of the quality of his kicking, stepped upfield to convert a stoppage-time penalty and win a deserved point.
So what?
As you were.  P&T are 13th and Maidstone are 2pts behind Margate with four games in hand.
The drama unfolds
The first thing I did was to take a pic of the teams board, and at that time I did not realise the significance of Joe Gatting’s appearance in the maroon goalkeeping jersey.  It turns out that he was taking the place of the unavailable regular.  Joe will arguably be better known for his first-class cricket career.  I did notice that he was getting plenty of verbal from the visitors behind his goal.  By this time, Maidstone were already one up, thanks to a goal from Alex Akrofi.  By all accounts a tap-in after a scramble.  The home side must have feared the worst. 0-1 already after less than 3 mins

I watched P&T come close to an equaliser from a set piece, and the game developed into a good contest, sometimes with a physical edge and an element of feistiness.  The ref in particular came under a lot of pressure.  Maidstone also came close to a second before I took my scene-setter clip after about half-an-hour.  It was bitingly cold.


The rest of the first half carried on in much the same vein.  I took a walk around the ground, which is very much a work-in-progress now after the two promotions.  It is in transition between a charming and picturesque ground (the view over downs is really rather good, and very photogenic) and a modern step 3 facility.  If you are a hopper yet to come here, either choose a warmer day than I did or wait a bit longer until some of the projects are completed (as they are not at all photogenic – yet).  0-1 at half-time

P&T pressed for much of the second half.  Maidstone were content to play on the break, and they defended well.  When Trevor MacReade fired over for the home side after an hour, it looked like they were destined for a noble defeat.  Pacy sub Wilfrid Grimaud caused some problems and had already had one penalty shout turned down before a spot-kick was awarded in stoppage time.  Gatting stepped up – here is his moment.  Neither team could grab a winner in the short time remaining.  Final score 1-1


Ground Pix


Match Pix






Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Today, maroon draws with grey and this table brings us completely up-to-date.



The story 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
5.0
3.0
1.0
1.0
9.0
2.0
11.0
2.20
Grey
23.5
10.0
7.0
6.5
31.5
7.0
40.5
1.72
Green
21.0
10.0
2.0
9.0
27.0
6.0
35.0
1.67
Maroon
4.0
2.0
1.0
1.0
6.0
1.0
6.0
1.50
Red
4.0
2.0
0.0
2.0
5.0
1.0
6.0
1.50
Blue
9.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
14.0
3.0
13.0
1.44
Orange
7.5
2.0
2.0
3.5
10.5
2.0
7.5
1.00
Yellow
10.0
2.0
4.0
4.0
19.0
2.0
1.0
0.10
Radioactive Bile
6.0
2.0
0.0
4.0
12.0
0.0
-6.0
-1.00
Pink
7.0
1.0
3.0
3.0
16.0
0.0
-10.0
-1.43
Black
1.0
0.0
1.0
0.0
3.0
0.0
-2.0
-2.00
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  I hope to get the intray under control and get out for a hop next Saturday.



Monday, 27 October 2014

Gero the Hero as Öster are a Match for Jönköpings

This week's Yappmobile is brought to you by the letter V and the number 40
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Monday 27 October 2014 at Stadsparksvallen
Result
Jönköpings Södra 3 Oster 3
Competition
Superettan (Swedish 2nd tier)
Hopping
554 on the lifetime list, chosen for logistic reasons and the last game of this trip.  You have to know a little of the town's history to locate the hidden wordplay somewhere in this post.
Pre-match preparation
The significance of this game might depend on results earlier in the weekend.  The home side (at the time of writing, before I left the UK) have a mathematical chance of a promotion playoff place but this will only be alive if Ljungskile lost on Friday evening. It looks like they will finish a noble but frustrated fourth in the table.  Oster, however, really do need the points.  They slipped into a relegation play-off place last week.  Their fans will be looking out for the result from Angelholm.  Two points separate them with one more game after today, so if Angelholm win and Oster lose, then the relegation playoff for the latter is confirmed.  It’s quite likely that nothing will be settled tonight – but a draw will probably not be enough for the visitors.

Update: Ljungskile drew last Friday so Jönköpings knew that promotion was out of the question now.   Öster start the evening two points behind  Ängelholm - one of these two will take the final relegation playoff place, and the latter are also playing simultaneously.

The rest of my pre-match prep was a leisurely drive through quiet towns and villages en route from Borås.



No, I did NOT eat the flowers ...

Ladies and gentlemen, a BLACK squirrel. Honest.
This match in one sentence
The home side dominated the first half of this wind-affected game, but a glut of late goals left the match all square and no good for anyone except the passing neutrals.
So what?
Jönköpings will finish 4th whatever happens next week.  GIF Sundsvall won this evening and take control of the title into their own hands (see my post from GAIS).  Öster need to win and hope that one from GAIS, Syrianska or Ängelholm lose.  Plenty of interest in the Superettan yet!
The drama unfolds
The drama started when Doris the Satnav took me in the opposite direction to the floodlights on the hill, but eventually I found a parking spot more by luck than anything, and even had time for a pre-match sausage with the temperature of a medium-sized star.  Öster's faithful had brought a few pyrotechnics, but must be on a low budget and we started on time.

On the pitch, Jönköpings took control from the start.  They are in green in the scene-setter clip



They had to wait until almost midway through the half to take the lead.  The goal has been credited to Fredrik Olsson.  It was a curling low cross-shot hit right-footed from the left wing and he must have got the faintest of touches.  Öster had lost the ball in a dangerous area allowing it to be played wide.  1-0 after 20 mins

Olsson hit the bar on the half hour, unluckily.   The home side were well on top and enjoying playing with the wind behind them.  Tommy Thelin was very influential either in "the hole" or out wide on the left.  Here's another clip of a set piece.


Thelin and Jesper Svensson were picked out making intelligent runs on to good passes but Öster got to the break with no further damage, and I moved over to the other side of the ground.  1-0 at half time

Öster came out fighting after the break and took a few minutes to adjust to the worsening conditions.  I took a couple of early clips.





They came close just after the hour, but then Thelin opened up a two-goal lead from the penalty spot after someone was scythed down.  2-0 after 65 mins

Mario Vasilj has been credited with the opening Öster goal, which followed almost immediately and was an untidy bundling in at the far post.  2-1 after 67 mins

Jönköpings then hit the woodwork again before Öster were level.  A through ball found Alhadji Gero who kept his composure and gave the keeper no chance.  2-2 after 70 mins

Jönköpings came close again before Öster sub Freddy Söderberg had an excellent chance on the break to complete the turnround with only 12 minutes left.  He rolled the ball past the keeper but clipped the post.  So it must have hurt when Daryl Smilieand Thelin combined to set up sub Ronny Sabo for the best goal of the evening.  3-2 after 80 mins

My final clip captures the sixth goal of the night to make things all square.  It's Gero's second, from Öster's third corner in quick succession.  I wonder if it will be enough to keep them in the second tier - all will be decided next weekend.  3-3 after 88 mins and at full-time




... and that is that for  the footballing side of this trip, with just a day of touring tomorrow before the plane home.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip to a very friendly and hospitable nation and I would recommend it to anyone.
Ground Pix




Match Pix



Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League
Four games in one weekend for a combined entrance fee of £60.
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Grey draws with Black - I think that is the first black top of the season, which will mess up my spreadsheet.  Oh well, insert row etc etc.



Learn Swedish Through Football


ståplats - standing (places)
sittplats - seating (places)
kortsida - short side (i.e. behind the goal)
långsida - long side
Måndag - Monday
tre - tre - 3-3
What Next?
Back to the UK tomorrow after a day of tourism, and then who knows.  A mountain of school work beckons, but watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details – maybe time on Saturday for number 555.



Elfsborg, How Did Djurgården Go?

Elfsborg manager Klas Ingesson will be known to Sheffield Wednesday fans.  He has been fighting myeloma, a form of blood cancer, for several years.
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 26 October 2014 at Borås Arena
Result
Elfsborg 0 Djurgården 1
Competition
Allsvenskan (Sweden’s Top Tier)
Hopping
Game 3 of this short trip.  553 on the lifetime list.  Chosen for logistical reasons.
Pre-match preparation
Malmö have an unassailable lead at the top but Elfsborg sit 3rd in a Europa League spot.  4th place AIK will just have finished their game just before kickoff here, and 2nd place IFK play on Monday evening.  Only two points separate the three teams.  Elfsborg will be playing to win, for sure, and it may all go down to next week’s final round of games.  Opponents Djurgården are in mid-table.

Update: AIK pushed Elfsborg to 4th by kickoff time but their task was essentially unchanged.  Win.
This match in one sentence
A disaster for Elfsborg as they missed a string of chances and came up against a keeper in inspired form.
So what?
Elfsborg now need favours from other sides if they are to get a Europa League place next year. Three teams are fighting over two places and IFK will take pole position if they win at Helsingborgs tonight.  AIK are the other team in the mix, and all three have "winnable" fixtures (on paper) in next week's final round.  *Insert the artificial surface version of the old but-they-play-on-grass joke here*
The drama unfolds
I watched the game in the excellent and genial company of Kurt, whose English is excellent and put my few words of Swedish to shame.  We both have mathematical and scientific backgrounds.  If you are reading this, thanks again for your company and insights.

We had the second delayed KO of the day - see Clip 1.

Kenneth Høie made his first good save after only 12 minutes, although Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard also pushed a shot spectacularly onto the bar at the other end soon after.  Man City and Blackpool fans will remember him (just).  Elfsborg were well on top and Høie soon had to make two more saves, though Martin Broberg could and should have put the visitors ahead with a glancing header.  After half an hour I wrote "E should be ahead by now!" on my pad.  The first match clip (Clip 2) is from a quieter moment towards the end of the first half.  Elfsborg are in yellow and black.

It finished goalless at the interval but only because Høie saved once again from Lasse Neilsen, who will still be wondering what he has to do to score.  0-0 at halftime

Clip 3 shows why we had another delay before the second half started.

Elfsborg opened up the visitors defence within seconds but this time it was a brilliant saving tackle by Fredrik Stenman that saved Djurgården.  There were great saves yet again at each end as the second half started at a cracking pace.

The only goal of the game came from Haris Radetinac.  He shaped to volley as the ball came out to him, but seemed to change his mind and it looked as if the chance had gone.  Instead, his low shot found the left-hand corner.  0-1 after 52 mins

A draw would be no good to Elfsborg and they pressed immediately.  A missed header was followed by yet another flying save from that man Høie, and again from Neilsen.  I took another clip (Clip 4) but Elfsborg were tiring and running out of ideas.  The most common image was Elfsborg heads being held in hands as a series of half-chances came to nothing.  Final score 0-1




Ground Pix






Match Pix


Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League Yet (Part 2)
As a chemistry graduate, I am very fond of explosions and pyrotechnics, but I am uneasy about this.  Posting because of the novelty value, for me, but not really wanting to encourage them.



Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Orange loses to grey.  Full table to follow when I am back in the UK.
Learn Swedish Through Football
Mitfälltare - midfielders
Vi spelar för Klas - we are playing for Klas
Vi är inte nöjda - we are not satisfied (attributed to Jose Mouriho in today's papers)
Kom helt rätt hela tiden - literally, "came completely right all the time" - Høie's man of the match rating in the same paper
What Next?
One game left on this trip – Jönköpings Södra v Oster on Monday evening.