Hounds win! | Reserves win! by Dunc, 20th Nov 2010
Sporting Greyhounds back on the winning track – by Matt McFahon, aged 127⁄9.
Hounds 3 – 2 Jamaica Bell
Greyhounds put last week’s defeat behind them with a hard fought but deserved 3-2 win over Jamaica Bell on Saturday. The Hounds were again playing on Downs Pitch #2, which, despite the leaves, puddles and bobbles, has become somewhat of a fortress for the Hounds this season, so there was an added air of confidence amongst the squad to get back to winning ways. The news that Jamaica Bell did not have enough of their away shirts to change kits, was a slight setback for some of the more fashion conscious members of the squad, who were upset at the red and black shirts, white shorts and blue socks look. Coach McMahon was upset at the kit swap “I hate playing in red, hate it” he said to our touchline reporter Jeff Shrives. So with a look of Chile about them, the Hounds took the field, knowing that a win would keep them in touch with the teams at the top.
Heavy rain and no sunshine had left a few small puddles of standing water on an already boggy pitch, not exactly conducive to the Hounds famed passing style or to the Young McMahon’s new hybrid studded boots. A fast start was essential to banish any lingering hangover from their previous game, and the Hounds managed the best of the opening exchanges, but were nearly caught out on the counter attack when the Bell forward latched onto a clearance and shot from the edge of the area across keeper Coulthard, only for the post to come to the Hounds’ rescue. This was the only clear-cut chance Bell created before the wizard of the dribble, Chris Harvey, beat three or four defenders all ends up and was tripped in the area giving Little the ideal opportunity to take his tally for the season to 11 for the Hounds first team. The penalty was dispatched with only the slightest touch from the Bell keeper that prompted a split second of doubt from some of the crowd. Importantly, the goal keeps Little ahead of secretary and part-time ref Kanaris in the Club’s top scorer stakes – bookmakers currently have Matt L as favourite for the title.
The Hounds’ lead was soon doubled when a well worked set piece straight from the training ground found Cheqs in acres of space in the penalty box, the ball literally exploded off his head beyond the hapless keeper into the net. “I’m delighted with the second goal” said Hounds chief McMahon, “We spend a lot of time working on set pieces in training because they can make a difference, as we saw today, so for one to go in is great for everyone, it shows it’s worth the hard work”. Several more chances were wasted before Bell found a way back into the game; hesitancy in the back line allowed the striker to nick the ball and advance on goal and a low drive was deflected in by the legs of Keeper Coulthard, sending the fans at the Bell end into raptures.
The set back spurred the Hounds on to re-establish a two goal lead, with pressure mounting on the Bell end, excellent work down the left found Little in the area. A neat pass to Cleeve who, now returned from a pre-wedding ban, honeymoon and various other absences, drilled a low shot beyond the keeper from eight yards. The goal came right on the stroke of half-time, always a nice time to score a goal as it changes the half-time team talk dramatically in both dressing rooms.
The second half saw Hounds continue to create chances, with Little denied by an excellent save, and several set pieces going close. However, the Hounds became unusually wasteful in possession, allowing Bell to apply pressure on the Hounds back line – with 10 minutes to go a corner was headed onto a Bell player, which then hit the underside of the bar for a fortunate goal to reduce the deficit to one and set up a nervous last 10 minutes for the Hounds fans. Extra strikers were thrown on by the Bell management, and several high balls into the box caused problems, with one effort striking the bar, but the Hounds stood strong and finished deserved winners of an entertaining and competitive match.
The win sees the Hounds move back into 5th place, with games in hand on several teams around them, that could see them move into the illusive top 4 four champions league positions, something McMahon is keen to achieve this season. “We want to finish as high as we can, but we haven’t set specific goals yet, we’re taking each game as it comes every week. If we can break into the top 4 that would be great, as the money will allow us to build and move on as a club. I’m happy with how we’ve started this season, the lads are playing well and enjoying their football.” The form of several players, most notably Cheqs and Little is pleasing for fans and management alike. “I don’t like praising individuals as it’s a team game, but Little’s record this year is phenomenal, to score that many at this level is great for all of us, and Cheqs picked up another M.O.T.M today, which is his fourth of the year, so he’s playing well too, but we expect that from both those players and everyone else coming in to the side. He’s playing a slightly different role this year and is clearly excelling in it; it’s nice when management decisions come off, we’ll get enough wrong over the season!” Spirit in the Hounds is very good at the moment with the reserve team putting together a seven match winning streak, something that has pleased lifelong fan Jimmy Daniel “It’s great to see both teams doing well, McMahon and Wiles are competing in the top league and the Bloated Baron and gay_CLUB are making a real promotion push, which will only help the club in the long run. It’s a great time to be a Hound”.
Coulthard 7; McMahon 7, Fletcher 7, Roberts 7, Williams 7; Harvey 7, Chequer 9, Howe 7 (Redbond 70), Paul 7, Cleave 8 (Wiles 65); Little 8.