Match Report - 06 Dec 2015, Clapham Rovers Clapham Rovers lost to LSG
Rovers were looking to make up for lost ground following an unexpected defeat last week to Real Northern. They were up against the early pace setters and last season’s league winners, London St George. LSG are a quality footballing team and to quote Carswell (later to be nicknamed Ned) “really fit”. Rumours of Carswell transferring to London Titans in the January transfer window are unsubstantiated. Be that as it may, Rovers were under no illusion that a tough encounter was ahead of them.
But, there was a real sense of unity as Rovers crammed into the poxy little changing rooms before the game. It was the first time in a while that Ken didn’t have to “shake the gumtree” for players despite Gidders doing his best gumtree impression. The team was also buoyed by spending their Friday evening “bonding” at a children’s trampolining park. The first of what is likely to be a series of wild and wacky events arranged by newly self-anointed Head of Fitness, James Mark. The event was a great tonic for moral(e), but unfortunately resulted in the collateral damage of injuries sustained to Rover’s most influential players, Smudger and Toy.
These LADS know the difference between what is pain and what is serious pain however and fronted up for the game ahead. As did Molby who had so much bandaging and strapping on that it left him little room to oil his loins and subsequently his thirsty skin only used up one tube of deep heat as opposed to his usual three.
A collective effort based on good team shape would be imperative for Rovers to have any joy in this game and that’s exactly what happened in the first half as Rovers managed to stifle the opposition for long periods.
The first real chance came after Smudger intercepted a ball deep in LSG territory and was then scythed down just outside the area. Milby stepped up and from a narrow-ish angle and bent a ball towards the far corner that didn’t quite have enough whip and ended up clipping off the post. “He should really be hitting the target from there” (Shaun McPatrick).
The deadlock was broken mid-way through the first half. A long ball played up field, resulted in the LSG striker producing a neat little turn in the middle of the park to run clear through on goal. He hit it early and low past a despairing Pybusio, who had another excellent game and was responsible for several key interventions throughout the game.
The second came shortly after when Molby frustrated from giving the ball away made a rash forwards challenge in the box which resulted in stone wall penalty that was subsequently despatched into the bottom corner.
The two goal deficit was unjust and came at a time when Rovers were really starting to get a foothold in the game. A little playground scuffle broke out and a few of the opposition and their Danny Dyer manager were beginning to get ruffled by the tenacity of the Rovers midfield play. The Gnome, their midfield enforcer was getting particularly agitated and had something of a mental breakdown at one point as he made an embarrassing outburst not un-typical of a sexually frustrated man.
Going two goals behind encouraged Rovers to push up the field however and pressurise the LSG back line - clawing one goal back almost instantly using this tactic. Shaun stole the ball off their CB and played in Smudger through who was marauding in from the right. Smudge rounded the keeper and slotted into the net.
The last 10 mins of the half was all Rovers, who were enjoying plenty of territory and possession and were millimetres away from drawing level when Shaun met Molby’s cross only to glance it agonisingly over the bar. Earlier, both Nath and Godwin fashioned chances by contorting themselves to see a header and lunging volley respectively narrowly miss the target.
There was confidence at half-time that Rovers could salvage at least a draw from the game and the second half continued to be a real arm wrestle with heavy (but fair) tackles flying about from both sides.
The two goal margin was opened up again by a piece of fine play that would grace any Sunday league pitch. A cross from the left was headed down by one of the twins at point blank range, who are either really good players or like Carsley and Gravesen just seem more effective because there are two of them and they seem to be everywhere. Pybus made a wonderful stop and even clawed away the follow up, but the ball bounced back to the forward a third time who bundled it in.
Again, Rovers heads would not drop and Smudger dragged us back into the game with a mesmerising run. He picked up the ball just inside the opposition half, cut inside the LB and snake hipped his way into the box. The keeper fell for a big dummy and Smudger added another to his seasons tally. Moments later Smudger was wrongly flagged offside when he was sent clear through once again. It was a key moment in the game, leaving Rovers thinking, if only.
Chances started to come fewer and farther between henceforth and LSG were beginning to take more of the initiative and creating more chances of their own. They went 4-2 up with a bullet header from a well worked corner that effectively killed the game and then went 5-2 up when Rovers conceded their second penalty of the game following a heavy challenge by Horse. Pybus nearly pulled off a fine stop but having dived too far couldn’t get enough of a hand to turn the ball over the bar.
With seconds remaining Horse pulled a consolation goal back with a header at the back post from a well delivered Milby corner.
MOM: Smudger. Terrifically taken two goals and a stellar performance considering he was playing with one knee.
Post-match, Rovers freshened up from their cold showers, hit their new favourite jaunt in Clapham (The pub formerly known as the Duck) to see J6 have his 2 seconds of television fame, watch Liverpool meekly lose to the Geordie Army and see Patrick give up his table tennis bragging rights. Laughs were had picturing Godwin in a pair of jelly shoes in Newcastle and assigning everyone Simpson doppelganger characters. My favourites: Ken = Cletus. Carswell = Ned Flanders. Milby = any of the schoolyard bulleys. Festivities continued for Milby, SMcPat, Gidders and Toy in Gigalum who enjoyed several jagerbombs dispensed by a young lady who definitely would fall into Ken’s preferred breast category – “the bigger the better”. It was snazzy.
Clapham Rovers Clapham Rovers 3 - 5 LSG ()