Saturday, 26 December 2015

Sunday in the (S)park

Last weekend saw something of a goalfest at the ARS, although it's fair to say that the margin of victory was enhanced not only by the, er, clear penalty that made it 1-0 but, also, by the reaction of a few of the Tooting & Mitcham players. If they'd just taken a deep breath and counted to ten before getting on with it the result might well have looked a little more respectable for them.

Highlight of the match, for me anyway, was Craig Young's ballet move before setting up Matt Loaring for the 5th. Craig is one of several that have really upped their game on recent weeks, not through increased effort but applying a bit of thought, keeping it a lot tighter front to back as well as across the pitch.It certainly doesn't hurt that we have a player of the calibre of Ross Allen ploughing a lonely furrow up front until support arrives from midfield. He's been excellent in that role of late and it's surely no coincidence that the goals have been flowing once again.

Far too early to be thinking about play-offs or promotion and neither should we be looking at the form book and assuming any game is going to be easy. Take tomorrow's trip to South Park.

The form book suggests we'll win, especially after the recent win at Worthing with a bare bones squad. The teams know each other quite well and, despite having taken 3 points at the ARS earlier in the season, the hosts will be keen to avenge last season's result at Whitehall Lane when a crazy last few minutes saw us win 7-1.

The weather forecast isn't too bad so the match should be on, although expect a heavy pitch. The squad has picked itself again, with a fair smattering of youth involved in the shape of Robbie Legg, Miles Pengelley and Etienne le Prevost, all of whom have demonstrated they're more than capable of holding their own at this level. Gus Mackay is back as well and the bookies have him at 2-1 on to pick up a yellow within 5 minutes taking the field.

So looking forward to a good contest tomorrow, if you're going check the 'away days' page for news of travel, admission, clubhouse opening etc.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 18 December 2015

From the Bog End to the ARS, with Crapauds to boot

It's a case of Bog End to the ARS tomorrow with Tooting & Mitcham United out for a day trip in what will be unseasonably mild, bordering on warm, conditions. They've not exactly had a stellar season so far but have won the last 2 matches, 3-1 away to Dorking Wanderers followed by a 4-0 home spanking of low flying East Grinstead.

Get your arse down the ARS and the match might even provide a distraction from the ever popular antics of our favourite piece of fuzzy felt, beer swilling Roary the sodding lion. When that's all over the clubs Christmas raffle will be drawn. Chances are you won't win the big cash prize but you might win a return ferry crossing. Or it could be a one way trip or, most likely, neither pf the above.

One of the stories of the week in the Isthmian South was the news that Peacehaven & Telscombe have had to slash their playing budget. The news led to one or two of their three or four supporters bemoaning their inability to compete with certain other clubs in the division paying hundreds a week to certain players. When they won the league at a canter a couple of seasons ago it was all done for peanuts you see. Anyway Brian Wotsisname seems to have disappeared, presumably looking for another Sussex club to return to the comforting embrace of county league football.

Really do have to feel a bit of sympathy for all those at Peacehaven that only ever just wanted and worked for a sustainable community club - hopefully they can keep things together.

Funny story of the week comes from those odd people over the water. Former Jersey FA president Ricky Weir told BBC Jersey that he has no doubt the Crapauds could host international football if their bid to join UEFA is successful. The article then informed us that Gibraltar play qualifying matches in Portugal as their ground doesn't meet UEFA standards, holding just 5,000 spectators.

Then the trumpets came out as Jersey's largest ground, Springfield, holds 7,000 leading Mr Weir to be 'absolutely convinced that Springfield would be the place'. 'There may be some additional enhancements that need to be done' but he's convinced they would happen.

He could be right of course. All it would take is another 3,000+ seats, segregation for visiting supports, lots of secure zones for VIPs, press and so on and so forth. Probably easier to achieve than the failed bid for permission for a 6 foot fence around the place.

Keep it Green

Allez le Verts!!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Worthing, streaming, fencing and one word. Marvellous.

After a bit of huffing and puffing in a match against arguably the strongest team in the league (well they are propping everyone else up) we ran out reasonably comfortable winners against Whitstable a couple of Saturdays ago. Extending an unbeaten run to 4 matches, notching up 10 points from 12, things were looking good.

Going to the 2nd placed but highest scoring team in the league, with what can best be described as a minimalist interpretation of a bare bones squad, the chances of the run continuing didn't look good. Indeed only a swivel-eyed green tinted specs wearing loon (that'll be you Craig!) would have been expecting a point, let alone all three.

On a day when my legs and various other bits (you choose) didn't get going in time to catch an early enough train I had to watch the match the best way I could (thanks Craig!). And what I saw would have warmed the cockles of the coldest heart.

It doesn't seem that long ago, after the defeat at Folkestone as it happens, that I was moaning (not for the first time) about a midfield not keeping in touch with the back four and so on. This is an aspect of our game that has shown signs of improvement of late and yesterday they got it spot on.

The ubiquitous Ross Allen (who's not far off getting his mojo back) up front on his tod with support from the midfield. But not all of them. Which meant that when Worthing got themselves into some semblance of order in the second half they didn't, or couldn't, create much to concern Chris Tardif.

All credit to the players and all credit to the coaching staff. In a word, marvellous.

A performance and result that made me smile almost as much as another bit of Channel Islands football news made me PMSL. Anyway, piss myself laughing I did when I read of the Crapauds applying for membership of UEFA.

I leaked a little bit more seeing some of the comments from inhabitants of that place. Some of them seem to think it'll be good for Jersey, you know tourism and the like.

The reality is that, even if UEFA change the rules and let them in, it won't bring a single visitor to Jersey unless somebody stumps up the £20m+ necessary to build a stadium that meets UEFA's minimum standards for international football. They'd also need a site and planning permission. As consent wasn't forthcoming for a 6 foot fence around Springfield they'd be better off focussing on a Jersey FC and joining the English pyramid. Won't get far without that fence though.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Welsh shellfish and beans for Andre......

Whitstable Town head to the rock tomorrow and, let's face it, we should be able to dish out a bit of a drubbing. Firmly rooted at the bottom of the league their recent form is played 6 lost 6. So it will be easy won't it?

The word of caution is they've got a new management team who made their first signing earlier in the week, a chap by the name of Dean Grant who's had spells at Dover, Margate and Ramsgate among others.

OK, just one new player but a new management team and that can be enough to stir things up a little bit so not a match that calls for complacency (not that complacency is a trait of Messrs Vance and Fallaize).

Ignore the form guide and resist the temptation to immerse yourselves in Guernsey's world class retail experience. Get yer arse to the ARS instead and get behind the the lads - a win could push us into fabled land of the play-off place.

If you're really lucky the visit of Whitstable might give you the opportunity of meeting a pissed up Welshman aching to start a fight. A rare opportunity indeed.

While your about it the club is collecting food bank items tomorrow. Non-perishable goods that will be distributed to people in need. After all, not everyone suckles from the breast of the finance industry and associated activities. So please support your local estate agents and give generously....

Seriously though, this is a good initiative and worthy off support, go to the club's website for more info.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Milestone and more...

The last week or so has seen a couple of contrasting performances at the ARS. OK, my view was somewhat limited, being a couple of hundred miles away at the time, but the midweek showing against Herne Bay seemed (and I'm now applying positive spin) a little lacklustre.

Saturday saw the visit of Dorking Wanderers who have risen from somewhere to be Dorking's premier club these days. Some would say they're more Box Hill than Dorking but none would dispute they're having a very good first season in the Isthmian South. And they probably went to the ARS expecting 3 points.

The first half performance was positive, in more than one sense. The second half was different, although still positive in so far as we dug in as a team to keep them out.

The match has made the national media for Ross Allen passing the 200 goal mark. Rocco, to me at any rate, has not performed consistently at anywhere near the standard he's capable of this season. He's still the leading scorer in the league though and he is THE player that truly worries the opposition.

Ross went off early in the second half to be replaced by Robbie Legg. Not seen much of him but I have heard a bit from people back home. He's got a lot of talent but don't expect him to be too effective operating up front on his own any time soon. Patience will be rewarded as, with a fair wind on the injury front, this lad will do well.

It's not all about the strikers though. If Chris Tardif hadn't pulled off a number of excellent saves, and the team as a whole not kept reasonably 'close', the result could have been different.

More on tactics another day but I woke up on Sunday to find Tony Vance staring at me out of the pages of the Non League Paper. A full page article which didn't contain much that GFC fans weren't already aware of. Except, perhaps, that last Summer the Isthmian League asked the FA to move us to the Southern League.

Also on Saturday a Priaulx League XI lost 1-0 to a Southern Amateur League XI, after extra time, in the FA Inter League Cup. Coach Steve Sharman told the Guernsey Press that 'we knew we were facing a side with players who could play higher if they wanted to, but choose not to.....'.

Which kind of ignores the fact that 9 of the Priaulx squad have played at a higher level than County League.

Much is said about the talent coming through the GFA Academy system and this is on display for all to see through the likes of Robbie Legg. Real success will be seen through an improvement in inter-island and inter league competitions however, not just through producing a player a season for GFC.

Maintaining the interest of teenagers is not that easy though (I should know, was one a long time ago) and that is possibly the biggest challenge to strengthen local football.

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 ...