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2014 – 2015

1 November, 2014: Bealonians 2 LLFC 3 

Saturday saw an away trip to  Bealonians for LLFC. Despite claiming their first victory of the season last weekend, the trip to Bealonians was sure to be tough with a much changed team and only eleven players.

The first half saw a slow start from LLFC this was particularly evident with both Jenno and Horsley taking it in turns to ‘mis-time’ tackles on the Bealonians centre forward. One of these offences allowed Bealonians to deliver a ball into the box with one of the opposition players getting his head to the ball directing it past Pommy.

This slow start seemed to spark LLFC into life with some good link up play between MOH, Groomy and Toogood showing that keeping the ball on the floor was the way through a very well set up Bealonians side. Following this encouraging flurry LLFC start to pass the ball to feet and some good work from Long, Toogood, McDermott and Groomy released MOH who calmly finished past the keeper to level the scores.

As the half progressed Belonians had the majority of the ball but plenty of hardwork and some gritty defending kept them at bay. A rare attack from LLFC forced a corner, however the opportunity resulted in disaster as Bealonians broke quickly allowing the opposing centre forward to finish comfortably.

Once again LLFC rallied, more strong work from MOH, Toogood, Groomy and Long proved that LLFC were a threat to the Bealonians lead. Storer worked the ball into a good position before laying it off to MOH who delivered a perfect cross for Toogood to powerfully head the ball into past the stationary Bealonians keeper, 2-2.

As the half drew to a close, both sides were creating chances however the defences of both teams were firm on top. It was going to take something special to break either defence before the half and that is exactly what happen. Long picked the ball up on the edge of the Bealonians box, shimmed past one defender, dummied another, before elegantly placing the ball in the top right hand corner.

HT 3-2

There has been one phrase that has been used a lot in my time with LLFC, this phrase is ‘Game Management’. If ever there was a time that this phrase has been so relevant it was now.

As the second half started the game started to boil. With Storer, Jenno, Horsley and Minesy comfortably keeping Bealonians at bay frustration started to build. A fortunate bounce on the edge of LLFC’s box led to an opportunity for the Bealonians striker to make room for a shot. His shot was certainly over hit but the windy conditions played its part in slowing the ball down allowing it to drop just over Pommy to make the score 3-3.

With the game as tight as it has been both sides were cautious and looked not to make any mistakes. Composure on both sides was in short supply as a number of  needless free kicks were given away by both sides, thus upsetting Mike Long who was adamant that total football is all LLFC should play.

With both sides pushing for a winner LLFC won a corner, the ball was delivered to the back post where Storer rose highest to power his header towards goal. With the use of goal-line technology the goal was correctly given and Storer carted off doing his best Shearer impression.

Tempers boiled over towards the end of the game as one of the Bealonians strikers dived to win a penalty, the ref was unmoved but Storer was clearly outraged with the ‘dirty’ tactics Bealonians had resorted to. This led to some pushing and shoving with the referee managing to keep his cards in his pocket. Bealonians came close to grabbing an equaliser in the dying moments but a huge tackle for Horsley prevented any chance of that.

All in all it was a solid performance from LLFC and win which was greatly deserved.

25 Oct, 2014: LLFC 3 Wokingians 2

Bully: A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

“Bullying” was the buzzword on Saturday at fortress Turney Road. It were as though Anderson, Swann, Prior (also read Cheese, Big Cheese, Cheesy Peas) and Broad, had collectively pulled on LLFC shirts and rounded on a Wokingians side made up of 11 Kevin Pieterson clones, as if KP had just dropped a goober off Tendulkar.

Why the sudden change in attitude from the team with the most respectable sounding name in the Southern Amateur League? Well, in my opinion, credit has to go to JT for starting it all off on the day. There has been much talk around the club recently of Al Pacino’s famous “inches” speech, from Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday (1999) (also starring LL Cool J), which depicts life as a coach/player in an American football team. Oft cited as a hair-raising call to arms, JT gave his own version of the “inches” speech, hereafter known as the “Scott McKinlay”.

After reminding us that encouragement and organisation are the only two forms of conversation worthy of a place on the football pitch, JT began to tell us what a good bloke Scotty Mac is. Apparently we should all gratefully lie down on hot coals for Scotty Mac and give him our last Rolo. I’m not sure what’s going on between JT and Scotty; I’m not sure I want to know.

Either way, it was stirring stuff and everyone went into battle reminded of how much we like each other and how rubbish it would be to let down your mates. Given I was observing from the sidelines, oddly my main memories of the game are from conversational tidbits rather than the match itself.

Nonetheless, I think they are rather apt and worth mentioning in this match report. For example, as Minesy commented, Tom Allen really does have “soft feet for a big man” – I think “Zlatan-esque” was bandied around at some point.

Also, according to James Hinton, his brother’s sterling performance can be put down to the fact that Marcus is working nights and has all day to watch Holby City whilst lifting weights in his living room. Why do the Hintons play so well when they have a crowd watching?

It was a match for the big picture and a celebration of collective effort. Everyone to a man left his heart and soul on the pitch. In many ways it reminded me of the 5th/6th game of last season where we picked up a vital win and our season turned a corner. Everyone take a mental snapshot of the Wokingian goalkeeper’s shell-shocked face after the barrage he received in the final 20 minutes on Saturday and use that going forward this season.

Bullying isn’t big and it’s not clever, but it’s very effective.

27 Sept, 2014: UCL 2 LLFC 1

LLFC were keen to put last week behind them on the huge pitch at London Colney. The team started with intent and quickly found joy with some sharp play down the flanks, aided by good movement in the middle. Before long, the pressure paid off. Good link up play down the left saw Minsey deliver a teasing cross into the Accies box, Steve powered a header against the bar and Morgan was on hand to put the rebound in the back on the net. It was just what LLFC deserved after a period of sustained pressure. However, the goal appeared to galvanize Accies and Lawyers were soon on the back foot. The team defended well against the onslaught but Accies eventually broke though to equalise after a long ball caused problems and left the striker to slot it home and make it 1-1.

The second half saw a continuation of the first half pressure from Accies, but again LLFC coped well with Mike and Jack winning every ball that came over. Dave, Steve, Dean and Scott all worked hard in midfield and made it difficult for the home team. However, the pressure continued to mount and Accies got the goal they had been looking for halfway through the half. Lawyers desperately searched for an equaliser and it looked as though a clever Morgan flick had left Howorth through on goal, only for the referee to continue to apply the modified advantage rule by declaring that a free kick on the halfway line was more favourable.

As the seconds ticked away, LLFC soon looked increasingly to the Burnley Rory Delap (Dean) to launch the ball into the Accies box at every opportunity. The final act of the game saw one such throw cause panic at the back post. Steve won the header and took a nasty knock in the process, in one of the all time great sporting gestures Minsey refused to tap the knock-down into the back of the net and instead rushed to attend to the injured player.

13 Sept, 2014: LLFC 6 Parkfield 0 

Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary.” Socrates – Brazil 1979 – 1986. “The result is all important.” AFC referee – LLFC v Park Field, pre-game talk 13 Sept 2014. In their opening fixture of the season, LLFC managed to combine the beautiful game with a convincing victory, as they produced a complete performance to thrash Parkfield 6 – 0. The Lawyers had arrived at the Griffin in quietly confident mood following a solid pre-season, and spirits were further lifted when it emerged that the opposition has only brought 10 men (a fact which Matharu only noticed a couple of minutes prior to his half-time team talk). Although the LLs were dominant from kick off it took them a while to find the opener. When it arrived, however, it was well worth the wait. John “The Heel” O’Halloran took down a loose ball inside the area with his back to goal, before unveiling perhaps the greatest turn since Cruyff in 1974 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1k7DGqRF5g, back heeling the ball into his own path before finishing beautifully from a tight angle. The opposition defence would continue struggling to deal with this revolutionary piece of skill throughout the game, two of them being nutmegged simultaneously with the same move later in the second half.

The home side continued their dominance throughout the first half, with Gianni and Martin winning possession and distributing the ball expertly in midfield. Support was also provided from the full backs, with Mike OH hammering down the right and Marcus bombing down to left to complement the wingers. Mike H and Jack at the back were also solid, and were able to take advantage of Parkfield’s sole striker up front by bringing the ball up from defence. Further goals soon followed, with John nodding home his second from a loose ball at a corner which the other players in the box displayed surprisingly little interest in. A few minutes later the Parkfield keeper then had a bit of a “Tony”, palming a looping strike from Morgan into his own net… perhaps one for the dubious goals panel. 3 – 0 halftime. Reinforcements arrived for Parkfield at half-time, although the equalling of numbers did nothing to slow the pace or the quality of LL’s play, as chances continued to be created throughout the second half. One of these chances fell to Mike Long (who has come to establish a bit of a reputation for the more than occasional “worldy”)… and he didn’t disappoint. From just outside the edge of the area, he clipped a beautiful lob over the keeper into the far corner with serious aplomb. As M’OH would later describe it… “naughty”. For those that were not there, think a combination of these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzVd0HqFfxA

It appeared that the goal of the season award may once again be in the bag for the man with the sweetest left foot in AFC Division 1, but there more was to come. (The author of this report makes no representation as to the accuracy of the description of the next goal). A dropping ball was collected by McKinlay with the outside of his right, who then sped away from the man behind him, approaching the edge of the area. As an onrushing defender came out to meet him, McKinlay shaped to shoot with his right, before jinking inside onto his left and then firing the ball into the far right hand corner. For those that weren’t there, think a combination of these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjSDHf45wU The rout was then completed by a calm finish from John to complete his hat trick, following a lightning fast break which was sprung by good work from Tom.  As much as this match report may be an advert for the dangers of an author writing a match report in which his goal features, to talk about any one individual’s display would be misleading.  This was an all-round great team performance, from James Hinton in goal (to whom we were all very grateful for going in goal and saving us the task of doing so), through the back four, and to the midfield and strikers who worked hard all game. It was also great to see league debuts for John OH, Mike H, Tom, Martin and Gianni, who will hopefully help to form the basis of a promising looking squad for the rest of the season.

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