Match Report - 27 Sep 2015, Clapham Rovers Clapham Rovers lost to Invictus
Please take a minute to familiarise yourselves with the new venue for Sunday's game.
We are here
DUNDONALD RECREATION GROUND.
As Riverside Lands resembles a potato field ploughed by a very drunk Polish bloke, we're going to give this ground a whirl as our home pitch. I’ve played here before and it was decent so the signs are good.
Obviously disappointed to see us lose last Sunday but like any good Clapham Rovers performance, it seems we didn’t go down without a monumental fight. Let’s therefore pick ourselves up again by giving ASB a hiding. We’re more than capable of doing so but we need to put in the graft to get us the win. If we turn up and expect to win, we’re going to get beaten. Simple as that.
Let's play like champions and celebrate like snazzy champions.
SUNDAY IS THE SNAZZIEST OF SNAZZY, SNAZZY SUNDAYS FOR SKIPPER'S BIRTHDAY.
Rovers 1-1 Invictus (Invictus win 4-3 on pens AET)
There are fond memories of Rovers last game at Wimbeldon Park Extension during the early stewardship of Christopher Ken, then known simply as Kewy. It involved Andy Carswell appearing mid-way through the first half from some bushes, akin to a Terminator, after running several miles through parks and golf courses to find the pitches. It also involved a debut for the Seed, who incidentally also turned up after kick-off that day.
Several years on, the ground proved equally difficult to locate. Firstly, Aryton Sheva ignoring the advice to slow down on the approach to the ground (a sharp, well concealed exit off the A3), made the cardinal sin whizzing straight by. This resulted in having to do a mammoth and time-consuming loop where Sheva broke almost every rule of the highway-code as he attempted some motoring manoeuvres of which Evil Knievel wouldn’t dare. Smudger, Bunny and Horner (on debut) were thankful of arriving at the ground unscathed, but also pleased to have missed the majority of Horse’s 80s mega-mix playlist.
Ignoring the instructions that “lads kick-offs at 10”, Godwin ambled up to the pitches at 10.02, picking up a £5 fine and proving his general day to day incompetence - making some flimsy excuse about the quality of London transport. This was scotched by G who claimed that it was an excellent service that could only be enhanced if George Galloway was the Major of London.
Luckily the opposition had even tardier time-keeping skills and allowed Rovers to start the game in a better prepared and focussed manner in this first round cup match. There were no surprises therefore when Rovers made the perfect start, going 1-0 up inside the first 10 mins. It came from classic route-one stuff. A long goal kick up field was flicked on by J5B (his head, not his kite) to send Godwin clear through on goal. When Godwin runs through one on one with the keeper the odds of him scoring are higher than Molby’s at the Annual Asian Estate Agent’s Secretary Ball and Godwin duly passed it to the goalkeepers left in nonchalant fashion to give Rovers the lead.
There were very few other clear cut chances in the first half. Invictus are a team that are very comfortable in possession and try to work the ball out of the back. They were seeing a lot of the ball, but Rovers were keeping a good team shape and working hard to close down in hot conditions. The opposition were largely therefore kept at arms-length and restricted to long shots from outside the box. One of their key weapons was a long throw into the box, but G, Horse, Pybus et al were repelling each set-piece with aplomb. Another threat came from their tricky and pacey right winger, but Dan Horner filling in at left back stood up superbly to the challenge and thwarted every advance. Pybus didn’t have to make any stops in that first period, although there was one thunderous drive from 25+ yards that narrowly missed the apex of the goal.
When Rovers broke up play they found plenty of space and played some decent stuff, although a feature of the game would be a lack of composure to take an extra touch in the final third. Our best opportunity came from a deep free-kick that was invitingly curled in by Molby and met by the run of Godders, although his square head unfortunately meant the ball went looping over the bar.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, although Invictus were probably now seeing a greater proportion of the ball. The goal for the equaliser however was a fortuitous one. A square pass from the right found an advancing midfielder in space on the edge of the area. He possibly should have been closed down sooner, but the shot took a wicked deflection and nestled in the bottom corner, wrong footing Pybus who was helpless to stop it.
Sheva entered the fray on the hour mark in an unfamiliar outfield left wing position for the injured Moley leaving us with an empty subs bench. Moley is now seeking medical attention from the Honky Tonk nurse in a desperate attempt to be fit for next Saturday’s golf event.
Our defence was water tight all game and I only recall two occasions when they got in behind our back four. The first resulted in Horse covering to make a block tackle inside the box. The second resulted in a low cross from the left that nearly resulted in a goal were it not for the presence of one of our defenders who did enough to put off the strikers effort that squirmed wide.
In fact it was a game of small margins. Had we had a couple more pairs of fresh legs I’m sure we would have found a winner. And with only 5 mins remaining we nearly found it anyway. A corner was swung in under the cross bar. Godwin rose to meet it unopposed but saw his effort from close range narrowly go over the bar.
Extra-time came and went in fairly uneventful fashion. There was a good opportunity when Smudger made a dart of his wing and would have been clean through had the ball not been just over-hit. In the end both teams I think were happy to settle for penalties.
Rovers stepped up first and Molby and G both despatched emphatic pens. Pybus did brilliant to stop their second to put Rovers 2-1 up. Unfortunately Godwin’s low effort was palmed onto the post and when Invictus scored again it was levelled up at 2 a piece with three penalties taken each. It looked like it may go to sudden death and Rich (TH) sparked up a fag in the centre circle to settle his nerves. Horse was next to step up and scored although with no whistle blown it had to be re-taken. The second time a scuffed effort was once again tipped onto the post. Nath tucked his away, but two nerveless and unstoppable penalties from the opposition saw Invictus advance into the next round.
There were plenty of positives to take from the game – 120 mins in the tank with a display of togetherness, discipline, hard work and endeavour of which the team should be proud. We move into the Ron Halfacre Trophy now – a piece of silverware that should be very much attainable.
MoM – Dan Horner: Won his one-on-one duels with wingers, covered around to make several crucial interceptions and also showed composure to bring ball down and pass out from the back. A fine debut.
ROVERS FANTASY FOOTBALL
Rovers FF 2015-16 27.9.15.xlsx
Unpaid Subs: £10 Molby, £10 Horner
Rovers FF 2015-16 27.9.15.xlsx
See you Sunday
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