Reserves win nothing, lose nothing | Third time lucky for the Hounds? by Dunc, 8th Jan 2011
Literally nothing happened in the Reserves game, so I might have to talk about the weather instead. The firsts make it to their third consecutive GFA Cup semi final! Resident feature-writer McMahon writes some words.
Clifton St Vincents A 0 – 0 Hounds Reserves
Well, I suppose one thing did happen – Gerro ran full pelt into a crowd of players and leapt, soared and headed the ball away from our goal. In the process of doing this, he twatted a CS Vincent fellow right in the head – using his mouth. So there was blood, wobbly teeth and a massively swollen lip. A bit like this:
He also took out a couple of other CSV-ists and at least 3 Hounds. That’s commitment for you…
Oh, and there was another thing I suppose – Ridlengaarden being absolutely done by the CSV-12-year-old winger. Ridders was doing his usual effective ‘defensive’ loiter – kind of near the bloke, but not really – when the ball got whipped in and the child-man unleashed an overhead-volley thing that actually hit the bar. I swear the only thing that moved on Ridders was his eyelids, as he looked in amazement at the ball disappearing behind the goal. That’s why he’s a winger. Pathetic defending-esque baby.
Oh. And some other things happened, by Fordy. I think Fordy managed to shout at everyone on the pitch, the highlights being a CSV-late-tackler (“THAT WAS A LEG BREAKER!”), the ref (“I DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!”) and Tim (“BLOODY SHOOT!!!”) – Fordy only got excited by that last one ‘cos he played a slide rule pass into Tim’s feet, who, um, didn’t shoot. I think everyone else had an “ARRRRGH!!!!!” at some point.
That was it.
Oh, except, in the manner of every Premier League manager, I never comment on referees. This one though, whilst I’m he’s a very nice chap, gets my goat sometimes. He was consistent in not awarding hand-balls (CSV did one in their area, I did one in our area. He was consistent in not doing anything) – but not when it came to fouls. Apparently, if I gently ease their giant 8-foot pansy of a striker off the ball, using a gentle nudge of my shoulder: free kick. If however, the giant 8-foot brute of a striker tries to actually break my spine by barging into me nowhere near the ball: nothing. People who know me will know that I rarely moan about anything. So it must be serious! Rubbish!
I now guarantee that that ref man will read this and he’ll be the ref next week and he’ll work out who I am and he’ll say he hates me or something. Not sure I could cope with the brutality of it… Tune in next week for more non-moaning.
Hounds Reserves Man of the Match of the Week…
Hounds 1 – 0 Old Sodbury
Sporting Greyhounds reached their third consecutive GFA cup semi final with a hard fought victory over Old Sodbury, for the third year in a row. The now traditional January fixture took place on Downs Pitch #3, next to fortress pitch #2, so the Hounds were close to their favoured surface. Before the game there were some disappointed grumbles about the state of the pitch, the Hounds groundsman refused to comment on the allegations that the pitch was ‘undulating’, simply saying that it took a good stud and the grass wasn’t too long.
The rubbish British weather before the long Christmas break had meant the Hounds had played one game in 6 weeks, and a lack of sharpness was evident in the first exchanges, with possession squandered too easily on several occasions. It took a while for both teams to get the rust out of their systems and it may take a little while longer to fully run off the excess turkey, cheese and mince pies for some players, who were clearly opting for the Tom Huddlestone look.
Old Sodbury had the first real chance of note when a free kick from 20 yards crashed off the bar and rebounded to safety with the Hounds Keeper Coulthard well beaten. Had the ball been a few inches lower, Sodbury would have held a deserved lead. The incident was a wakeup call to the Hounds who then played some good football for the first time in the half. Good play down the left found Chequer in space and he let fly from all of 30 yards, the shot taking a wicked deflection that wrong footed the keeper. However, despite McMahon’s early celebrations, the ball bounced off the post and was gathered by the grateful keeper.
If truth be told, manager McMahon was relieved to get his players in at half-time still at 0-0. “We didn’t play well in the first half, we know we can play better than that and I asked the players to step up the level of performance that we all know we’re capable of”, said someone.
The Hounds did perform much better in the second half and the game opened up with several half chances created at both ends, the best opportunity falling to Wiles who blazed over from 8 yards following a flick on from a Chequer throw in. Both sides struggled to create many meaningful chances, one of the Old Sodbury dinosaurs headed over a corner and a few goal mouth scrambles caused panic in the Hounds box, but the deadlock could not be broken.
A deep free kick from full back (not a winger) Williams was misjudged by the Sodbury defence and allowed the in-form Little to lash home a volley from 10 yards out. The shot was possibly the only decent effort on target, but it was hit with such power and unnerving accuracy that it was past the keeper before he could react. Hounds played out the last minute with an exercise in keep ball and players and fans celebrated at the final whistle. The victory was built on a solid defensive display with Fletcher at the heart of it picking up a deserved M.O.M award for marking the unit (and boy it was some unit) out of the game completely.
The fixture backlog means the Hounds do not yet know their opponents for the semi final, and with another game in the competition abandoned due to fighting in the second half of extra time, it may be some while before the draw is completed. Whenever the draw is made and whoever they get, the Hounds fans will be there in numbers to cheer on their beloved team, “It’s great to get to another semi final, and whoever we get we’ve got a great chance of going through to the final” said season ticket holder Chris Parry, “They were not at their best today, but good sides win when they don’t play well, who knows it could be a sign our name’s on the cup, let’s hope it is.”
Manager McMahon was keen to keep his players’ feet on the ground: “We did well to win today, Old Sodbury played well and put us under pressure, perhaps our fitness helped at the end but we will need to improve our level of performance in the semi final. We enjoy this competition and have a decent record over the last few years, so we want to win it yes, but we need to win two more games for that to happen, we’ve won nothing yet and can’t take things for granted. Again our fans were magnificent today and played a big part in our victory as they always do, let’s hope we can bring them some success too.”
Coulthard 7, McMahon 7 Tickner 7 (Cook 75), Fletcher 9, Williams 7; Redbond 7 (Harvey 70), Chequer 7, Howe 7, Poole 7, Wiles 7; Little 8.