Sunday, 22 November 2015

Some went missing in Walton-on-Thames

Surrey police issued a missing persons alert shortly after the attendance figure for yesterday's match at Walton & Hersham was announced. They are concerned that at least 85 people must have disappeared without trace shortly after passing through the turnstiles, if gate of 135 is anywhere near accurate

There seemed to be, at most, 50 paying punters in the ground and the majority (by some margin) were wearing green.

With the local council seemingly desperate to force the club to leave Stompond Lane for a toxic environment near the river on the other side of town, things are looking grim for the Swans. The club is run by a very small handful of volunteers who, in the circumstances, do an excellent job. But with a landlord, i.e. the council, focussed on the £s available from a housing development and, on yesterday's evidence, a fanbase that can be counted on the fingers of,, at most 2 people, they must sometimes wonder of it's worth the effort.

The match was both relatively uneventful and encouraging at the same time. Walton & Hersham had by far the bulk of possession on the first half with, in particular, Aaron Watson causing the usually blistering fast Simon Geall to have kittens on a number of occasions. Clear cut chances were few on the ground however and the couple that presented themselves saw the aforementioned My Watson suffer what can politely be described as stage fright.

We created next to nothing until a peach of a through ball from Guille Fernandez left Dom Heaume in space in the Walton penalty area. The 'keeper got a hand to his shot but, having been hit with sufficient power, it was but a minor detour on the ball's journey to the back of the net.

Shortly afterwards the lead could, maybe should, have been doubled when Ross Allen found space in the box. With just the 'keeper to beat he managed to get no lift on the shot, which hit the 'keeper's legs before sloping harmlessly away.

With just a minute to go before half time we conceded what, even from a vantage point several score metres away, looked a bit if a soft free kick. Andrew Mensah reacted quicker than any of our lads to rise at the far post and put away a relatively straight forward equaliser.

Possession wise the second half was a lot more even, which meant we sorted the problems with the game plan and largely closed the match out. The highlight should have been Ross Allen's very neat finish from another Guille Fernandez defence splitting through ball. Rocco's 199th goal for GFC was somewhat overshadowed by the home side's captain, Andre Scarlett, tremendous reaction to the referee's judgement that he'd committed a foul when booting someone up in the air near the half way line.

He ranted at the ref for what seemed like hours, before tearing off his gloves and throwing them off the pitch in the ultimate display of disgust at a perceived grave injustice.

As a performance it fell well short of 'total football' but, for an away match with a shorthanded squad, it couldn't have been better. Ross Allen was the isolated lone man up front but he held play up when it mattered so the reinforcements could reach him. I didn't see a poor performance from any GFC player but Craig Young's contribution in midfield needs calling out. Tenacious and disciplined throughout.

Not a classic performance in the so-called 'Guernsey way' but tactically it was spot on. We could do a lot worse than use it as a bench mark for future away games.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Living, as some of us still do, in a world seemingly besotted with 'social' media, it's all about trending. As far as GFC goes what's trending is Tuesday Tonkings.

And fans of trending weren't disappointed at another tonking on Tuesday at Molesey. 

The 4-0 thrashing wasn't all doom and gloom however. Tony Vance introduced a little humour when telling the Guernsey Press 'I could come out with a barrel-load of excuses but there would be no point really' before going on to bemoan the shortage of players at his disposal.

He could do worse than look to youth and, to be fair, that is happening to an extent with the likes of Jacob Fallaize and Robbie Legg getting a look in recently. 

Next up we're to Walton & Hersham. Directions and suggested refreshment halts can be found on the away days page. On the league table page, you will find the current table, the form guide and a prredicted end of season table. 

Both sides appear well matched (according to the stats). A leading on-line bookie is likely to be quoting odds on the game tomorrow by the way.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Chin up? Not 'arf.....

Well then, a win on Saturday that would have warmed the heart of the most miserable bugger's cockles.

A sumptuous finish by Tom de la Mare, St Luke unlocking the door for Gus Mackay, Dom popping up like a rabbit out of a hat and more besides.

It was just against Peacehaven & Telscombe though, one of the poorest sides in the league, albeit mainly for the usual Isthmian League reasons. Tony Vance said as much when, talking to Auntie Beeb, he challenged the players to keep it going.

Tomorrow's opponents look like a different kettle of fish. 

Molesey are 4th in the league, top of the form table and riding on a similar wave of confidence that we enjoyed in our first season out of the Combined Counties League. They also had a great win in the FA Trophy at the weekend, coming back from 3-1 down against Harlow Town to win 4-3, the winner coming in the last minute. All the same this is a game that we should be approaching thinking we have a decent chance of winning.

Looks like I'm going to be stuck in the treatment room again but, if you are going by train, there are plenty of opportunities to 'rest' after exiting Hampton Court station (Bridge Road then Walton Road.

You can be sure of a warm welcome from Molesey as well. Cover available on all sides and admission is £8, what's not to love?

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Chin Up

With the Press website carrying no news as yet on the arrival of either tomorrow or Jamie from his hols, the time may as well be spent ruminating on our trip to Folkestone last Saturday.

The trip down from the comforting embrace of London was hampered by what the rail operators describe as obstructions on the line. A leaf or two in other words but this did mean the planned visit to the seafront had to be put on hold whilst we gathered our senses in the clubhouse (Stripes) at Folkestone's Fullicks Stadium.

Two bars with a range of fizzy things on tap, fruit based drinks and a couple of polypins from Gadds of Ramsgate. With cheese and chips available from the teabar next door the errant leaf was soon forgotten, the teams entered the field of play and a football match broke out.

It made for pleasant enough viewing as well, no sign of the sleepy start so often seen from GFC and the team seemed connected from back to front. Ok, going forward the tactic was stick the ball through for Ross Allen to run on to and do what he can do. Not really the long ball game that some would have you believe.

In truth a realistic approach away from home against the team making all the running in the league. And it paid a dividend when Folkestone captain Frankie Chappell stretched to stop the ball running through to Rocco, who would have had a clear run on goal. The ball was duly intercepted but the stretch meant it rose into the gusting wind which, to the despair of Mr Chappell, carried it goalward beyond the reach of the 'flailing keeper'.

A tremendous moment indeed, but did it come because we'd dominated proceedings? No, We had gone toe to toe with the team at the top of the league however and, despite the disappointment of conceding shortly before the half time whistle, with the heavens starting to open, we headed for the sanctuary of Stripes.

It's an oft repeated opinion that football is a game of two halves. An opinion that, in turn, often transmutes into fact.

Within a gnat's crotchet of the whistle for the start of the second half, the gusting wind evened things up, as far as its own contribution to the match was concerned. It wasn't long before Folkestone scored a third and this was the point at which it became clear the game was lost.

Whereas we'd been fairly tight in the first half an injury meant Liam Mahon was replaced by St Luke at half time. So a midfielder replaced by an attacker and, not surprisingly, things loosened up between the front and back lines and Folkestone took full advantage.

They were full value for their win and the feeling, behind the goal at least, was that the margin could have been wider.

Now, I'm not an expert when it comes to football tactics (I tend to get distracted by things that make a noise when bashed) but I couldn't help but notice that whilst we were getting ragged in midfield, the home team kept their shape.

The other key difference between the sides was that Folkestone attacks tended to utilise the full width of the pitch, giving options if route one ended in a cul de sac. And when attacking they weren't shy of passing to each other. We on the other hand, particularly in the 2nd half, had 2 or 3 running at the Folkestone defence but the body language suggested that, each time, 2 of the 3 weren't expecting the one with the ball to pass it any time soon.

The situation wasn't helped by travelling with a small squad, meaning a lack of options on the bench. Yes the travelling affects GFC more than any other individual club in the league and this has an impact on player availability. Conversely we don't have a raft of other clubs a few miles down the road scheming to poach players and coaches either. Player availability is a challenge the club needs to work at overcoming, not an excuse for a defeat.

After the match a couple of refreshments in the clubhouse then a cab to the harbour, for more refreshments would you believe, before getting the train home. At the station we bumped into a certain Frankie Chapell and had a bit of a chinwag, more on that another time.

A bit of a tonking at Folkestone is one thing. More of the same at Chatham is something else and the boss was quite right before the trip when he said he expected something from the match.

Tomorrow Peacehaven visit the ARS. One of the few teams in worse form than us at the moment and we have a point to prove following our feeble 2nd half capitulation against a really not very good side back in August. If you're to the ARS, chin up, do your bit and get behind the lads.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 9 November 2015

A very brief word on Folkestone

If you weren't at Folkestone on Saturday and, influenced by things you may have read here and there on the internet, you think we were a tad unlucky, you are excused.

We weren't(unlucky that is).

'Nuff said for now, more tomorrow (lucky you).

Sorry about that but, until the Guernsey Press confirm that Jamie made it back from Egypt in time for his Aurigny flight, everything else will just have to wait.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 6 November 2015

St Luke and a day trip to Folkestone

If you don't take your chances when you're on top in a match, don't be too surprised if you lose. Particularly if a bit of red mist descends and one or two decisions go against you, although you maybe should have been almost out of sight by then. And so it was on Wednesday at the ARS.

Luke Winch has taken some stick here and there for his rash action a few minutes after coming on in the second half. He can be annoyingly unpredictable and flapping an arm at someone you're not even looking at is ridiculous when he could have turned around around lumped him one to at least get some value for the red card...

Yes he can be (very) annoying but I like the fact you tend to only get one extreme or the other with Luke. No boring middle ground and rarely a dull moment. when he errs there's a kind of honesty about it, it's there for everyone to see. For me that's preferable to a player that does things off the ball when he knows the officials are looking the other way and, like most clubs, we've got one or two that are prone to that from time to time.

So no calls here for him not to be picked again. I do hope Tony and Fal can coach the red mist out of him though because he could be a hell of a player for years to come.

Tomorrow we head down/up/across to Folkestone and with them being top of the league it would be good to turn up with a strong squad. We'll have a decent starting 11 and we'll have a couple of decent subs but, once again, just 13 travelling. Yes we've got a few in the treatment room but again, what about the other 80 something the programme editor would have us believe are on the books? Thrashing Centrals in the Railway this evening perhaps.

Essential travel details can be found on the away days page. If you're going from St Pancras there's a train getting in to Folkestone Central at 10.12 which gives ample time for a gentle stroll through the town, maybe stopping off at Greggs, down to the harbour in time for opening and an interrupted walk back up the hill.  If you haven't got time for all that sightseeing Folkestone's clubhouse will do you just fine.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Scores, South Park and a smidgeon of innuendo,

Performance of the night tonight in the Isthmian South came, arguably, from Faversham Town who went to Hastings and won 4-1. Worthing moved into 3rd spot with a 3-0 home win against the, current, highest placed amateur side in the land, Corinthian Casuals. Elsewhere Eat Grinstead 'fans' will have been thinking about a second dry sherry as their side scored a brace at home, sadly however visitors Carshalton scored 3 so the jaspers remain 8 points adrift of Sittingbourne, who are 1 place ahead of the bottom three.

And so onto tomorrow with South Park visiting the ARS. The mere thought may one or two on the island checking their insurance policies. Others may simply be looking forward to an abundance of chocolate salty balls. I couldn't possibly comment.

Before all the possible shenanigans there could be a decent game of football however. Level on points but they have a game in hand. OK, most of their league wins have been against teams that will seemingly be glad to stay up this year but they have notched up away victories at Faversham in the league and Leatherhead in the FA Cup, so clearly not a match to be taken lightly.

We're no strangers to South Park of course and it's good to see that a proper low budget, volunteer driven, community club still retains a good number of familiar names in its first team. Kieran Lavery and Dale Burgess are the outfield players that instantly spring to mind as providing the threat of scoring goals against us. They're but a sideshow when we consider South Park's prime asset however.

Yes, I speak of goalkeeper James Wastell. A fine figure of a man with a full head of hair and an easy target for good natured abuse from behind his goal. He gives it back of course and rightly so (certainly in my case). According to the young people it's 'bants' or something. Worth throwing aside your blanket and leaving the marbled halls of the Garenne to enjoy the slightly more earthy side of non-league football.

If you're to the ARS tomorrow, enjoy it. If you're not, better luck next time.

Keep it Green.

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Indomitable service.....

After a tough 4-1 defeat at Carshalton where the result maybe didn't tell the full story, although we were well beaten nonetheless, it was important for the lads to pick themselves up, brush the dust off and get a result against Three Bridges. And that's just what they did, with a rarely seen clean sheet to boot.

For those of us with a penchant for 'total football' it was probably not a match to merit a #classic in a breathless 140 character summary of the afternoon's events but it did provide a moment to savour for those that like seeing young chaps providing a service to the community on a Saturday afternoon. And so it came to to pass that the magnificently unpredictable Luke Winch served his community by popping over a nice little cross for the inDomitable Heaume to stick the ball in the back of the net. Quite a long way out for Dom as well.

This week sees two intriguing fixtures against south Park at the ARS on Wednesday then away to Folkestone on Saturday. We'll spend a few seconds previewing both games another time but if you're only planning on seeing one away match this season do try and make it to Folkestone.

Other midweek matches to keep an eye on are Hastings v Faversham and Worthing v Corinthian Casuals tomorrow, then Ramsgate v Walton Casuals on Wednesday.

The recent upturn in our fortunes brings thoughts of promotion back into our minds and, indeed, that man Heaume was only telling Auntie Beeb a day or so ago that the aim is a play-off spot. The view from the top of Ormering Towers remains one of regular thrashings were we to be promoted with the current squad and, in particular, the difficulty in travelling with our strongest 16.

That's not to say we're not fully behind a push for promotion though. After all if you don't want to try and win the league, or at least finish as high as you can, what's the point?

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

A sausage, a wrap and a mild mannered janitor.

With the trials and tribulations of last season fast receding and o the back of three impressive displays, unbeaten against teams expected ...