Thursday night football in Penwortham

Christmas Stuffing

No Cheer Here

Bare bones seven this week and 2 turned up late so not off to the best possible start. Once fully assembled we had Goose in nets, Phil and Joe at the back, Matt, Sean and Gary in the middle and Andy up front. Our (dubious) stand-in goal keeper for the first 5 minutes tried his best, managed to control Joe's pacy back pass and distribute it out to Sean on the right wing, but that was about the end of his notable contribution. Had to stop one shot, but only succeeded in pushing to it to a different Redline player, who promptly dispatched it into the back of the net. One - nil down. Goose arrives, this will surely stabilise the ship, Phil Rigby turns up 3 minutes later, now we have 7, game on!

Not a lot between the sides, Redline perhaps making the best of the efforts that come their way, but it's not all one way traffic. Then a move down the right hand side of the pitch from Redline, a thunderbolt launched from the sidelines, Goose beaten all ends up and the ball thunders in via the underside of the crossbar. Not much we, or Goose, could do against that. We get to half time, no spare players so no substitute possibilities. We kick off in the second half, not a lot has changed, Redline finish an attack with a kick of the ball outside the ground and while I'm trying to recover it, they have the temerity to score a third goal, so difficult for me to relay what happened. Probably safe to say it was a bit of a fluke. Matt hits a lovely shot that was destined for the top right hand corner of the goal before the Redline keeper pushes it around the post.

Redline finish the evening off with a 4th goal. Oh dear.

Were they four goals better than us, no they weren't, a flattering scoreline for Redline FC.

Redline FC    4 - 0    Never Odd or Even

No games on Thursday 20th and Thursday 27th December, it's the mid-winter break.

Next game - 3rd January - we are playing Ajax Trees Down at 8.30pm.

Best Wishes for a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and for a Healthy and Prosperous New Year


Amongst the Points Again

But Only One This Week

Nine players this week, so we started with Goose in nets, Paul and Jake at the back, Joe, Sean and Gary in the middle and Andy up front, Mark 'Under the Weather' Heaney and Matt in the wings for high impact substitution later in the game. Up against Unathletico Madrid, who enjoy a competitive game, are never slow to claim for a free kick or a throw in (despite the ball having clearly gone directly out of play from one of their players at the end of a 14 pass move) and enjoy lively conversations with the referee. How was it all going to play out this week?

Unathletico proved pacey and skilful as usual, created a number of chances, forced a number of corners and Goose had to make some smarties saves, but we were equally competitive. Joe found himself in attack, had a shot, bounced off a defender, pushed back to Joe, another shot, another couple of deflections and the ball ends up nestling in the Unathletico net. One nil up after 15 minutes.

Andy off for a rest at half time so Sean got pushed up in to attack, with Matt taking Sean's place in midfield. This saw us play in a slightly different fashion, more working the ball up to Sean from the back, less of the long ball upfield foe Andy to get on the end of. Unathletico continued to attack and produced another 2 or 3 good saves from Goose, but we had chances as well. Andy came back on in place of Gary, who was only of the field for a couple of minutes, because Joe was struggling to compete in the last 7 or 8 minutes. Then, it happened, Unathletico finally convert one of their chances to get it back to a draw. So a share of the points that night.

Never Odd or Even    1 - 1    Unathletico Madrid

Next week - 13th December - we are playing Redline FC at 7.45pm.

Better Than Last Time

But Still A Heavy Defeat

Deep gloom - stronger side than last time - everyone up for it - lost 1 - 6 - only glimmer of hope, (slightly) better than our 1 - 7 defeat in the first half of the season.

Never Odd or Even    1 - 6    Man Dem

Next week - 6th December - we are playing Unathletico Madrid at 7pm.

Redstar Revisited

1 Goal Each, 1 Point Each (Sigh)

Goose unavailable this week, attending a photography award event (fingers crossed), so Phil 'The Cat' Rigby was drafted into nets as his replacement. This allowed Paul and Jake to play in defence (with Jake adopting a 'roving' brief - seemed to pop up in attack countless times) - Joe, Mark and Matt in midfield and Andy up front. Gary and his tender shoulder watched the game from the sidelines in the first half.

Not much in the first 15 minutes, Phil was pretty quiet in the nets, we had a number of shots, but were struggling to get them on target, unsure how many times the ball flashed just wide of their posts. Then a shot by Redstar, relax it's going wide, but a slight deflection from Matt takes it on the knee of a Redstar forward, from which it bobbles in to the back of the net to everyone's amazement (including the Redstar forward) and Phil's absolute disgust. Joe wasn't happy before, even more disgruntled now. One nil down at halftime.

Change of plan, Jake came off, Gary went on, Joe dropped in to defence. Still much the same Phil more or less a spectator, we're pinging balls towards their goal, but their goalkeeper's hands aren't getting too warm. Then Andy seized his moment and knocked it in to the back of the net from 10 yards out, just left of the centre of the goal. Back in it. Time for our final change, Jake back on, Matt off for the last 10 minutes. The only real action of note in the end game was a nicely struck shot from Redstar that looked to be going in next to our right hand post until Phil 'flapped' at it and pushed it out for a corner. Why can't he keep a hold of these? What would Goose say? (Matt's view was that Goose would have been very impressed.)

Never Redstar Fulwood     1 - 1     Never Odd or Even

Next week - Man Dem are our opponents at 9.15pm on the 29th November.

Bit of a Drought

But a Small Shower in the Second Half

Nearly maxed out with nine players this week - Paul, Andy and Matt returned to a side who the previous week had been the first to take 3 points off the league leaders - how would we fit them in? Well, Gary's unavailability made things slightly easier, so we started with pretty much the same side that played last week, Goose in nets, Joe and Jake at the back, Phil and Mark with Matt alongside them in midfield and Sean up front. Paul and Andy held in reserve for 'impact' appearances later in the game. Mike Rigby styling his relaxed autumn wardrobe on the touchline this week, would it make a difference?

We looked a little weary for the first 15 minutes, Scrap & Co weren't causing us too many problems, but we weren't troubling their defence too much either. Give and take, nip and tuck, not a lot in it. However, cometh the hour, cometh the man, Mark Heaney stepped forward to score our first goal of the night and his fifth in six matches and we went in at half time 1 - 0 to the good. No place for sentiment in coaching, Heaney was off (his refusal to chase down a ball towards the end of the first half simply wasn't good enough) - Andy came on in his place. Joe came off as well (his niggly foul tally was on a rapid rise during the first twenty minutes and it was time for some fresh (?) legs in defence). On came Paul! Andy played up top, Sean dropped to midfield and Paul for Joe was a like-for-like swap (in at least one sense).

Second half started and it was much the same as the first, Scrap & Co were still mounting some attacks, but nothing up to now with a finishing touch on target. Andy wound his left foot up a number of times, but it took until his 4th attempt for him to drill it hard and low into the corner of the net with 10 minutes to go. Matt came off to make way for a re-entering Mark and Phil and Joe swapped a pitch position for a touchline position. A clumsy challenge just inside the Scrap & Co penalty area saw us get our just rewards, was Andy stepping up to take the penalty - I couldn't look - no, Sean was taking it, so I could watch him slot it low and hard into the corner of the goal. Less than 5 minutes to go, another Scrap & Co attack down our left hand side, they work the ball into a tight position and lo and behold dispatch it confidently into the back of the net. Was this going too be a tense end game? Not really, Andy grabbed a second and we closed put the match with a 3 goal advantage.

And, fashionistas, Mike Rigby's relaxed autumn wardrobe made no difference to the game or outcome.

Never Odd or Even     4 - 1     Scrap & Co

Next week - Redstar Fulwood - clash of the titans - are our opponents at 7.45pm on the 22nd November.

Taking on Table Toppers

The Taller They Are ….

The harder they fall.

Seven players again this week - injuries to Paul and Andy, Matt unavailable - so we had Goose in nets, Joe and Jake at the back, Gary, Phil and Mark in midfield and Sean up front. But this week we were up against the undefeated league leaders, after a bit of a mauling last week, how was the going to play out? New formation, Mike Rigby present in his management clothes, could it make a difference?

Not much in it for the first 15 minutes, Goose wasn't too busy, we had 2 or 3 chances but couldn't quite do enough to get the ball in the back of the net. Then a half chance for Ajax Trees Down from distance, a gap in the defence and a low powerful shot all combined o leave Goose on the deck and the ball in the back of the net. The last 5 minutes saw us still looking pretty comfortable and we went in to half time a goal down. Disappointed to be losing by one goal, probably the best 20 minutes we've played so far this season.

Second half started and it was much the same as the first, we were giving as good as we got and Goose was having to work too hard. Then Phil breaks through from the left hand side of midfield, hits a shot towards the goal - was it going to the right side of the post? - Mark Heaney gets in the way, adds some pace to it, re-directs it and we're back in the game at 1 - 1. Ten minutes to go, anything's possible. The ball is being moved from one end of the pitch to another, chances for both sides. Sean has a shot, Mark intercepts it, plays it off his knee and into the back of the net, but they all count. We hold on for the last 5 minutes. Job done. 2 - 1 win. League leaders cut down to size (at least for this week). Moves us 2 places up the table.

Ajax Trees Down     1 - 2     Never Odd or Even

Next week - Scrap & Co are our opponents at 7pm on the 15th November.

Not Hit for Six

Knocked For Seven Instead

Oooh, it was all too painful - Goose in nets - Phil and Jake at the back - Mark, Gary and Joe in the middle - Andy up front.

Up against Lads on Toure, after a quiet first 10 minutes, they knocked in 3 in the last 10 minutes of the first half.

Second half, more of the same, they knock in 3, we get 1 back - Mark Heaney, take a bow - and they then finish off with their 7th and final goal of the night.

Much gloom (and up against the undefeated top of the table team next week, much joy).

Never Odd or Even    1 - 7     Lads on Toure

Next week - 8th November - we are playing Ajax Trees Down at 8.30pm.

Another Draw

At Least We Made A Point

Back to seven players this week, Goose in nets, Phil and Jake at the back, Mark, Chris and Sean in the middle and Andy up front. Up against Redline FC - the sort of annoying team that like to pass the ball around quickly and precisely. Off we went, giving as good as we got, Goose not too busy in goals, plenty of huff and puff and effort from us. Not much in the first 10 minutes, then a Redline move creates an opening, a well hit shot, they're 1 - 0 up. We stick at it, grab an equaliser by half time - Andy knocks one in - and it's all to play for in the second half.

Second half, more of the same. Half way through, Andy tries to take the ball round a defender, gets fouled but the ball immediately breaks loose to Mark, who calmly knocks it in the back of the net. 2 - 1 up and 10 minutes to play. We're hanging on a bit, Redline have more of the ball, they're becoming more and more anxious, but we manage to fend them off. Then, with the last strike on goal of the match, a Jake own goal (header) gives them the equaliser.

Much gloom (after coming so close to taking all 3 points).

Redline FC    2 - 2     Never Odd or Even

Next week - 29th November - we are playing Man Dem at 9.15pm.

That's More Like It

Points Proving Particularly Patchy

Back to 7 players this week - hurrah - with a special guest appearance from Chris Heaney, back in Preston for a weekend's rest and recovery. So we started, and finished, with Goose in nets, Joe and Phil at the back, Matt, Sean and Chris in midfield and Andy up front, Mark Heaney was on the touchline ready to respond to any crisis. We had a couple of competitive games against Unathletico Madrid last season, how would this one turn out?

Not much in it for the first 10 minutes, Goose made a couple of good stops and we had a similar number of efforts. Then Andy unleashed a left foot thunderbolt from 20 years out that flew into the bottom left hand corner of the net, 1 - 0 up. Well that just upset our opponents, a tremendous shot, 25 yards out, from the touchline flew in to the net, a back pass to Goose ended up with their attacker nicking it past our helpless keeper. so 2 - 1 down at halftime.

We upped the intensity and work rate in the second half and looked a lot better, Unathletico were being pretty well contained. Mid way through the second half we got the equaliser. A few minutes later we made it 3 - 2, we just need to hang on for the last 5 minutes. Sounds easy, not quite so straightforward in real life. Unathletico get their equaliser with the last kick of the game.

First point of the season, I know how Neil Warnock feels, if only we could have signed Mitrovic!

Never Odd or Even     3 - 3     Unathletico Madrid

Next week - Redline FC are our opponents at 8.30pm on the 25th October.

Game of Two Halfs

Comeback Cruelly Crushed

Struggling for players this week - down to 6 - and taking on Man Dam who had caused us no end of problems at the back end of last season when we had seven, so this could be interesting. We kicked off with Goose in nets, Phil and Joe at the back, Mark and Matt in the middle and Josh up front. We tried at the start to encourage a last minute recruit, but he wasn't having any of it. Off we went and for the first 10 minutes thing's weren't going too badly. True, we weren't exactly peppering their goal with shots, but Goose was pulling off a few fine saves and our defence was nullifying a lot of their attempts. Then the heavens opened, 4 well created and taken goals saw us go in at half time with a bit of a mountain to climb.

Another attempt to get an extra player, this time with some success and we had 7 versus 7 for the second half. Would that make a difference?

Just a bit, different story now, we held on to the ball better, created more and better chances, but still had to be wary of quick counter attacking moves. After 10 minutes, a corner on the left, our stand in player floats a ball to the back post, where Mark "Goal Machine (though slightly erratic action)" Heaney headed it confidently into the back of the net. Things were looking a lot better. Unfortunately, that largely encouraged Man Dem and they scored a couple of more late goals just to make sure we couldn't stage some sort of (perhaps unlikely) comeback.

Not a great night for us, but a lot better when it was 7 against 7. Wonder how things would have played out if we had that from the start?

Man Dem     6 - 1     Never Odd or Even

Next week - 18th October - we are playing Unathletico Madrid at 9.15pm.

Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Oh Dear

Quality Strike Bursts Our Bubble

We kicked off with 7 players, Goose back in the nets after an absence of nearly 3 months (would he be rusty?), Jake and Phil in defence, Joe, Mark and Sean in midfield and Andy up front. We were playing our long time foes Redstar Fulwood, who turned up claiming to be down to 5 men, but with a couple of hastily assembled recruits to fill in the gaps. Mind games?

The game kicked off and turned out to be an open, free flowing affair. We were pretty much giving as good as we got, but seemed to be unable to hang on to the ball for any length of time. Goose wasn't too busy, Phil and Jake had things pretty well organised at the back (Jake even managed to pop up in attack on occasions), Sean, Mark and Joe were bustling backwards and forwards either helping our defence or developing our attacks and Andy was making a nuisance of himself up front. So 0 - 0 at half time, everything to play for.

The second half started off much like the first, not a lot between us, chances at both ends, but as the half progressed the Redstar chances became more and more promising. They had two near misses, the ball hitting the post and bobbling dangerously along the goal line before being cleared to safety. On 3 or 4 occasions Redstar pushed the ball down the right hand side with just a bit too much pace for their player to run on to. Five minutes to go, they pushed the ball down the right, this time with just the right amount of pace, pull back by Redstar forward perfectly into the path of their incoming midfielder, sweet strike and ball tucked in at the near post. We pushed on and had a couple of free kicks that Redstar worried but they clung onto a 1 - 0 win and for them a good start to the season.

Never Odd or Even     0 - 1     Redstar Fulwood

Man Dem up next at 7pm on 11th October, they gave us a bit of a pasting at the end of last season. What will next week hold?

Start of the New Season

Penwortham Leisure Centre's Thursday night football leagues will kick off on 4th October 2018.

Our opening match is against Redstar Fulwood at 9.15pm on that night.

It will be good to get back into action, let's hope we show the Redstar boys how football should be played.