Monday, January 9, 2012

The Great Escape

Leigh and Bransford Badgers Rovers in The Great Escape:

Rumour has it that a five goal thriller took place on Sunday afternoon…Somewhere in England two giants of the football league faced each other in a showdown that no one wanted to miss. The rumours were true as Leigh and Bransford Badgers Rovers took on the Ferngully Fliers (I know it’s Ferndale but Ferngully is funnier…) in a heart stopping encounter. There was another match played in somewhere called Manchester but no one was interested in that as nobody wants to see amateurs makes fools of themselves.

It’s not often (honest) that I make an allusion to the result before the match report but in this case I will make an exception…The Ferngully Floaters got away with it by the skin of their teeth. The margin was tighter than an Italian financial advisers trousers. The second placed team in the league were so tired by the end of the game that they could barely stand. Their coaches had relief rising off them like the whiff of a Saturday night sprout curry…It truly was 'The Great Escape'


So to the Thriller in Manilla Powick…

First of all I have to mention that the entire squad was available this week. All seventeen boys lined up to play but due to the pitiful rules of the FA one of our brave lads had to miss out and this week it was Arron. I'm sure Mandy, Russ and Martyn will make it up to you in the next few matches.

From the off Ferngully were keen to prove that they deserved to be second in the league and some of my sources claimed that they were 'Brilliant!', 'better than Oldbury' and 'sure to go up this year'. Either way they started the match with a series of attacks that kept Rovers pinned in their own half. Matt 'This is how you make a defensive tackle' Waldren and Josh 'Back up to full speed' Hall kept them at bay. Matt W in particular was providing a master-class in how to stop attackers as suggested in the Christmas blog post. Another FG attack was cleared up by Will 'The Lightning left foot' Swiers and further inroads were stopped in their tracks by Luke 'putting his life on the line' Painter by the judicial use of his very wide shoulders. Matt W again showed his prowess by putting in yet another superb tackle and a down-the-line ball to Alfie 'Just one touch and it's in' Newman who showed great control before being surrounded and denied.

So, after a frantic first few minutes Rovers in the shape of Liam 'The left wing king' Wood finally breaks the attacking duck with a fine through-ball that it just out of the reach of Alfie. The next attack is a classic Rovers move. Luke robs a FG midfielder in the box and punts a long ball to Dan 'watch this for a pass' Thomson who deftly lays it off to Richard 'one touch' Stevens. Richard brings Liam in to play on the left who crosses just out of the reach of Alfie. 

Now it's FG's turn to have another attempt on the Rovers goal but the usual towering presence of Matt W is there again to stop them in their tracks. The goal kick lands with Alfie who baffles the FG midfield with a cheeky back-heel to Will who in turn (while Alfie sprints through the middle) passes to Matt 'just watch this for accuracy' Skipper. Matt S then drops the ball straight into the accelerating Alfie's path and the resulting shot brings a very good save from the FG keeper.

Rovers show their ever improving skills with some strong challenges from Connor 'I can use my elbows too' Porter-Brown, some solid defending by Josh 'The power station' Hall and of course up-until-now Ali 'having a quiet time of it' Ching. But, trouble looms for our brave lads as not one but two corners are conceeded leading to two headed goals for FG. Is there is a chance that the Rovers heads will dip??

The unhappy bottom lip

No, of course not...

The Cheerleader Guy

The ball is played from the kick-off to Will who goes past three of FG's finest and demands some hard work from the FG defense. It's heading towards half time know but FG are after a third to put the game out of Rovers reach. Ali 'You need something special to beat me' Ching is on fire again and Luke is giving as good as he gets with his shoulders but the third goal arrives and just to rub salt into the wounds Josh is felled by a flying elbow (he's a though lad Josh) but just shrugs it off and gets on with the game. The half time whistle blows...

Mandy, Russ, Martyn and Roberto Macini have something to think about and no mistake...

The changes are rung. On comes Dan 'The Beast' Watson, Ben 'The Tempest' James, James 'The goal-grabber' Henry, Jacob 'I hear no fat lady singing' Gillibrand and Matt 'The Boot' Griffin. They all have that steely look of men who are going to make their mark. Watch out Ferngully...

The Reservoir Rovers
The Reservoir Rovers
Right from the off FG are trying to put the final nail in Rovers coffin. The FG keeper launches a towering drop kick (not as big as Ali's though...) that lands at the feet of one of the strikers. Unfortunately for him Dan' The Beast' Watson is on his tail. The outcome is inevitable...SPLAT! Will they never learn? Take on the Beast at your peril! FG attacking again but the shot is saved by Ali. It's Rovers applying pressure now, Jacob sends a pin-point pass through to James who just can't quite connect. More great passing from Jacob to Matt G to James but just too long. James earns a corner. Taken by Matt G but once again just out of reach.

Rovers are camped in the FG half now. James and Jacob are really giving the FG keeper a hard time. When FG do manage to clear the ball Matt W is on hand to keep the pressure up and Dan W is there to scare the life out of the opposition - is it me or do FG prefer to pass rather than face him??

Wait a minute, what's this? A (nearly) classic Rovers goal. Ali's magic boot sends the ball into the atmosphere landing at James' feet. James accelerates to mach 2 as he passes a static FG defence. The shot is blocked but Matty Griff is there to bang it home.  3 - 1 nervous yet??

Panic is setting in for FG. Will and James combine to allow Jacob to shoot, just over. James on another run and is bundled off the ball but he gets the final say and knocks the ball into the back of the net. 3 - 2 really nervous now...


Rovers win a corner but it comes to nothing. Matt G through-ball to Alfie...ahhh, just wide. James gets on the end of another enormous kick from Ali...nooo, just wide again. Will has a go from distance in the dying moments of the game...but to no avail...Ali finishes off with two outstanding saves but it's all over...The Great Escape. Ferngully are shattered, their coaches look like they have been through the ringer. This is one team that will not relish the re-match.

Matty Griffo was selected as man-of-the-match for his cracking goal.


This weeks mention in dispatches goes to Matt Waldren. That is how you tackle under pressure, hard but clean.

Brilliant game lads


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