GFA Cup report! by Dunc, 4th Oct 2010
Graeme Matt Mc steps up as this week’s guest reporter [he conned me into thinking Graeme had done it – he loses extra points for that fraud] – and he must be close to beating Jimmy as the wordiest writer in the club…
Sporting Greyhounds continue their impressive start to the season with a 3-2 win over Wick Reserves in the GFA cup first round. The Hounds made the most of home advantage in the first half, completely dominating proceedings with the Wick team unable to get to grips with the Hounds system. The central midfield trio of Paul, Howe and Cheqs continually found time and space to exploit the static Wick back-line. Several chances were spurned before the in-form Little received the ball 30 yards out, a quick turn left the defender in his wake, he powered into the area, and finished with aplomb, slotting the ball wide of the advancing keeper. The strike was Little’s 7th of the season, setting the early pace in the Hounds top scorer charts. The Hounds continued to dominate the first half, and were guilty of missing several opportunities to double their lead, with Little and Chequer going close on occasions and the failure of the ref to spot a clear foul on Little in the area, denying the Hounds a stone wall penalty. This profligacy in front of goal nearly cost them dear as the big centre half stepped forward from the back and unleashed a stinging drive that produced a stunning save from ‘keeper Coulthard. The determination to get the second goal resulted in a slightly miss-timed tackle from Hounds new boy Howe, who inexplicably became the first of several players to receive a booking from an unsure referee. At the half-time whistle, the Hounds held a deserved lead, but in truth in could have and should have been a lot more.
The referee confirmed some suspicions of being a ‘little bit too nice to really be involved in football’ when he had to run all the way back to the changing rooms for a “comfort break”, without telling the Wick team he was doing this. Suspicions were first raised when the Young McMahon learned he was called Damien, “there really is no place for a ref called Damien, especially one born with a silver spoon and a limp handshake”. The second half started with the Hounds again in charge, but a blatant wrong decision from referee Damien saw the game change on its head in the 55th minute. A Wick free kick was repelled by the Hounds wall but to the amazement of the sell out crowd the ref deemed the ball had struck a hand inside the area and awarded a penalty. Worse was to come, as ref Damien called over Howe to show him his second yellow card. Replays clearly showed the ball had struck May and not Howe, although they were inconclusive if the ball did strike a hand. Despite some polite protestations from the Hounds management team, the ref did not seek advice from his linesman, and explained his decision by saying “I can only give what I think I saw”, wonderfully clear then! May followed the ref for some time telling him he’d got the decision wrong, and other players were tempted in a Spartacus style moment to admit their guilt instead of Howe’s.
Graeme the Goalie won the battle with the striker, saving what in truth was a poor penalty, but further controversy from the referee followed; the penalty had to be retaken due to encroachment from the Hounds, this was possibly to mask over the fact that Howe had not actually left the pitch yet, his slow walk taking a little longer than expected. I for one fully support the referee’s decision, the GFA cup has been plagued with poor decisions recently highlighted by the numerous television cameras available to all Downs league games, and let me tell you, encroachment on a penalty really is a personal bug bear of mine that is ruining park football up and down the country and should be stamped out. If it was possible, the retaken penalty was worse than the first one, and Graeme saved again, with most of the Hounds players rooted to the spot for fear of encroachment again. So down to 10 men, the Hounds prepared themselves for an onslaught, but despite the numerical advantage, it took another, yes another, highly controversial decision to allow Wick the opportunity to get back into the game. A ball into the Hounds box was contested by Paul Tregale and a Wick winger, a blatant push by the Wick player on Tregale was missed by Damien, and to the dismay and surprise of both sets of fans and players a penalty for handball was awarded. This penalty, again properly policed to make sure of no encroachment, was dispatched into the corner of the net beyond the despairing dive of Coulthard. Wick capitalised on the Hounds drop in spirits as a fierce volley rebounded off the post to a Wick striker who turned the game on its head to give his team the lead with 20 minutes to go.
Player / Manager McMahon then made a double substitution, welcoming back Williams and Harvey to the First Team fold. The fans spurred the Hounds on to get back into the game, and several clear cut chances were created, excellent work down the right flank produced a cross that was met by the experienced Hounds midfielder Steve Paul, for the second game in a row, he defied his age and lack of flexibility to acrobatically meet the ball with a spectacular bicycle kick that went whistling inches past the post. McMahon has inherited a determined and spirited side, and the players drew on these characteristics instilled by former boss Ford once more, when excellent work from Wiles down the left resulted in a blatant push from the Wick defender inside the area and Damien redeemed himself slightly by awarding Hounds a lifeline in the game. Wiles dusted himself down and stepped up to slot home the penalty, setting up a tense last 15 minutes for the players and fans to endure.
Wiles sent the fans wild when he raced down the left again, cut inside and finished neatly at the near post to restore the lead for the Hounds with 10 minutes to go. Indeed it was the Hounds that looked the more likely to score again, and several chances were created largely thanks to Wick being reduced to 10 men as well. Harvey, known for his dribbling ability, beat the Wick full back, who cynically hacked him down to earn his second yellow and an early bath. With the numbers even, the Hounds controlled the remainder of the game keeping the ball neatly, and maintaining a disciplined formation, a hallmark of McMahon’s tactics wherever he has worked. The final whistle was greeted with cheers and celebrations from all corners of the ground, the Hounds had made hard work of this one, but march into the next round, which is all you can ask for in cup competitions.
“I’m delighted with the win” said Coach McMahon, “this is a competition that means a lot to us and we have a good recent history in it, and want to do well this year. I’m proud of my players for how they came back from 2-1 down and a man down, that shows real character and belief and that’s a great thing to have in a team. I can’t talk too much about the ref because I’ll get in trouble, I’ve had enough fines in my career for criticising referees, I’ll leave it to the media to criticise him. I don’t want to single out individuals, they were all magnificent today, to a man they did exactly what I asked of them.”
“We knew we were the better team throughout the game, we just had to turn that into goals” Said Hounds goal scoring hero Wiles. “Going down to 10 is never easy or nice, but we were determined to turn it around. I was confident with the penalty, I didn’t want to miss mine as well, so I was delighted when I saw it go in.”
Hounds will be in Norman hardy Cup action this weekend against Stoke Bishop.
Couthard 8 [Yes, he spelt his own name wrong… Of course, it turns out that McMahon spelt Graeme’s name wrong. Negative points still stand.] ; McMahon 7, Tickner 7, Fletcher 7, Tregale 7 (Williams 70); May 7 (Harvey 70) Chequer 7, Paul 7, Howe (sent off 55), Wiles 9, Little 8
Knob of the Day of the Week…
Damien the ref.
[Score card for this report: Accuracy, 10/10. Irrelevant nonsense, 0/10. Spelling of
own Graeme’s name & fraudulent activity, -5/10. Use of overly long and complicated words, 10/10. Overall, 3/8]