yak

May 182017
 

In the middle of May on a Tuesday night the Whites E’s got their season under way, 5 weeks after the rest of the division. A strange time to begin a campaign, in what was overall a very strange night. With showers before the game, a stiff breeze and lightning off in the distance, and our lights being ‘ok’ at best, conditions were tricky.

With the D’s regularly having 30 blokes to choose from this year, the whites committee took the bold decision to see if we could add a 5th team to the club in the collegiate league.

The boys will catch up on all their missed games & many of these will end up being mid-week night games.

An early highlight from the game was the 20 odd players who hung around after training to cheer the guys on… Whilst I’m not entirely sure all the banter was constructive, it did add a festive atmosphere to the night.

The first ever 5th team was a mix of players from the C’s and D’s squad, a couple of blokes making their Uni-whites debut and one lost looking A’s player to add some spice. With a dearth of defenders, but a plethora of midfielders and strikers we opted for a back 3, and an extra man in the midfield – in a bid to play to our strengths.

The Whites opened brightly, with some crisp 1 and 2 touch passing & the boys showing a good turn of speed. We controlled the tempo of the game & for the first 20 minutes or so we were decidedly the better team. We got behind the Pembroke defence a couple of times & Both Julian and Isaac (I think) managed to get shots away, but no goals were to come.

With rolling subs there’s always a chance that stability can be damaged. And it seemded as though that happened to the Whites. Our first couple of substitutions coincided with 10 minutes of chaos, as on 3 occasions we got caught trying to pass the ball out of defence and on all 3 occasions the turnover on the edge of the box restulted in a Pembroke goal. Whilst we also made a couple of chances of our own (Ryan hit the crossbar from about 20 yards) That chaotic period, backed up by a penalty meant a shell-shocked E team were 4 goals down at the half.

A possible highlight of the half came in the midsts of our melt-down when Wez wandered over to the bench and gathered spectators and asked ‘Who’s this Greek bloke out here? Why would he do that? We’re nice people!’ (after Alex’s first couple of touches had resulted in turnovers).

Ryan and Kirsten stepped up at the break with a few choice words – basically asking the boys to clear it wide in need, asking the wingers to play a little deeper and asking the midfield to be more compact.

The second half began a lot like the first, with the Whites again looking very good, passing well & generally controlling the tempo. George and Harry were solid in the midfield & Umar and John George looked like they were finially gaining an understaning of each others game. The fight-back began a little fortuitously though, as Telmoo and a Pembroke defender clashed in the box – both went down and a penalty was awarded… (we’re still not quite sure what for)… No one put their hand up to take it, but in the end George stepped up & slotted it home with aplomb. Marking his first ever Uni Whites goal, and of course the first ever goal for the White’s E’s.

From that point on, we completely dominated the game. Jules had obviously decided the game was his to win, as a barnstorming run took him to just inside the 18 yard box on the right hand side where he hit a tracer bullet shot to score at the far post. Not 5 minutes later and he’s repeated the dose with another powerful bomb from an even tougher angle.

The whites were sniffing blood now, and Alex and Ryan teamed up for a lovely piece of play, but Ryan’s shot skewed just wide from a tight angle. Then Jules decided to try his luck with the left boot, his first shot went just wide but his second from 20 yards was just saved by the Pembroke keeper.

The final whistle blew & we’d lost 4-3… A couple of silly mistakes in the first half cost us the result. But again I’m writing about the positives that are coming from the squad. What I’m really enjoying week after week is a never-say-die attitude to the game. Scores are irrelevant, effort is constant. Glamour is lurking.

That’s it!

Saf

 Posted by at 9:30 pm
May 152017
 

Round 2 of the cup saw the White’s D’s take on Rostrevor B’s who are sitting 3rd in Div 1B. Obviously there’s a few divisions separarting the 2 teams, but anything’s possible in the Cup!

There were wholesale changes from the team that drew with top of the table Immanuel; Abdul, Martins, Sam and Marc were pulled up to the C’s, Kirsten and Michael went even further to the B’s, while the coach Matt was asked to don a shirt in the A’s.

Fortunately at the moment the D’s squad is enormous (which has now spawned a 5th team), so Matt had no problem locating 15 players for the game.

I forgot to do a Dave Wilson & have a quick look at our opponents pre-game, so no comment can be made on the hair-cuts, beer guts or general preparation of our opponents. The Whites warm-up was good though, with the customary game prior to kick-off being pretty quick & physical.

The coach made a tactical move for us to bottle up the midfield and plan to hurt Rostrevor on the break for this game, Kevin came in up front to try to inject a bit of pace, and with Ishmael, Homood and Aaron, our game plan was to hold Rostrevor at bay and then release our speedsters quickly whenever we got the chance.

Early on Rostrevor gained the ascendancy both with the ball and in general field position, but generally we were holding on well. Ishmael and Aaron proved to be a real handful for the Rostrevor defenders & we soon had a corner. Bobby’s ball to the back post was perfect & Kevin rose to meet it, only for his header to fly just a touch too high.. opportunity missed.

Not long after Sangers made an excellent tackle, but injured his ankle, bringing Stefan on at right back.
Around this time Rostrevor got the breakthrough, with their midfielders regularly overlapping, they managed a sweet one two, which allowed their midfielder to score from about 10 yards.

We continued to press & for the remainder of the half, with Homood and Ishmael managing shots, but nothing to really worry their keeper, whilst Rostrevor were restricted to a couple of blasts from 25 yards that were hopeful at best.

At the break, Matt was very happy with our endeavour, and asked us to stick with the defensive tactics for another 20 mins, after which we’d go for the win!

The boys continued to play well – with Andre and Bobby stifling the Rostrevor midfield and our wingers continuing to make chances. We looked particularly dangerous at corners, with Homood and Rob both going close. Rostrevor did have 2 chances to kill the game. The first as the striker broke free to the left of goal, only for Rob to lay a solid tackle, and again the striker found room to the right of goal, only for Bas to make a brilliant save, taking the ball (and a knee to the head) along the way.

In the last 20, Rostrevor looked spent, Aaron L was swapped for Aaron C, and Johnny Wilson came on for Kevin.

Motassem, Homood and Ishmael linked up down the left, but Ish’s strike only found the side netting, but late in the game a free kick from Rob was well headed on by Bobby and with the ball on the 6 yard box Johnny Wilson swooped in to head the ball home over a lazy Rostrevor defender. The boys were ecstatic! Only for the linesman to call a completely inexplicable off-side! The referee conferred and eventually agreed… Absolutely Robbed!

In the end the result remained 1-0. A loss that almost felt like a win, particularly as we’d scored against highly ranked opponents only for a pretty average decision to ruin our day.

Only positives to take out of the match though. Andre and Bobby were outstanding in the middle, our wingers Aaron and Ish ran rings around Rostrevor all day & the back line were solid all day.

The last few weeks have been solid, gutsy performances. I think this team has the quality to be very strong for the remainder of the year.

Bring on next week!

That’s it!

Saf

 Posted by at 6:46 pm
May 102017
 

In the absence of the great man Dave Wilson, I thought I better pen a few words about our game from last week. I did a Dave & had a pre-game look at our opponents. Only a couple of familiar faces from last year, with a lot of tall young lads lining up. Could be a tougher game than the one at the end of last season (which we won 6-1).

The Whites this week took on the previously unbeaten Immanuel, who’ve been averaging 7 goals a game up to this point. Matt & Kirsten had an almost impossible to believe 24 players available to choose from this week – and that’s not even including a bunch of guys who are training but not yet registered. Rob, Andre, Mark and Martins returned to the line-up this week, as did C grade regulars Michael Petrilli and Sam Burt meaning we had an extremely strong squad to face our top of the table opponents.

Pre-game Matt talked about 2 touch football & playing the way we’re facing. He also mentioned to run hard as we have a big bench to choose from.

Early on we made a number of good breaks on the wings, with Sam & Ishmael getting a couple of good balls in, but we weren’t able to score. Immanuel’s game was mainly about pumping the ball long to the tall, quick young lads up the front, but our back 4 were doing a good job of nullifying the attacks.
Andre & George were working hard in the midfield, but for much of the half Immanuel seemed to have an extra man in space & were often happy to skip the midfield all-together. Late on Kirsten was forced to make a diving tackle to save what looked like a certain goal & the ½ time score of 0-0 was probably a fair indication of the game.

At the break we talked about bringing the defence up quicker, making sure of our better passing game and also hitting the opponents harder on 2nd tackles. The boys clearly lifted in the 2nd half and with Sangers & Abdul playing closer to John up front, we started to take control & created (and spurned) a number of excellent chances.

It came completely against the play for Immanuel to score however, when their goalie boomed a long kick in & the ball bounced well past the ½ way line, allowing their winger to pounce on the loose ball and score.

What was most impressive though from the boys is how we lifted. We shifted gears & were pressing up the field – Immanuel spent much of the last 20 camped in their own half, with Ishmael, Michael, Sangers and Abdul completely in control.

Late on, we finally got our reward, as Abdul went on a mazy run & scored from a tight angle.  We continued to press for the final minutes and Immanuel were spent. Unfortunately though we couldn’t find the winner.

A point against the top team is a solid result, but the play in the 2nd half tells me there’s a lot more to come from this squad. Tough cup game next week v Rostrevor B. I know all the boys will be pumped for another big performance.

That’s it.
Saf

 Posted by at 11:03 am
Aug 222016
 

On the 29th of September 1996 something special happened. In appalling conditions, the mighty Uni Whites overcame Pulteney Old Scholars 3-1 to take home the Collegiate Cup for the very first time. 20 years on, sure a few of us are more wrinkled, greyer, perhaps carrying a few more pounds… But the memory of that day, and that season lives on.

To celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the 96 Cup winning season, the whites are having a Reunion on Saturday September 3rd. 96 Legends vs Uni Whites all-stars match 2pm @ Grads. All Uni whites are welcome to come along. If you’re keen for a game, let me know (the older and slower you are the better). The bar will be open and the BBQ will be on!

The 96 legends will then have dinner at the British & hopefully some of us will make it all the way to the Hackney for the John Whitehouse medal after that.

 Posted by at 10:59 am
Jun 282016
 

Congratulations to Chris ‘Crab’ Gayen, spiritual leader of the Whites ‘Drinking XI’, for reaching the 200 game milestone last week. Quite an achievement for a man who’d already played at 11 other clubs and had officially retired, before being coaxed back into football in 2004. Since then he’s managed to win  a couple of B’s Best & Fairest awards, be part of a Cup winning team & even coached for a season. Well done old man.

May 182015
 

The Whites this week returned to division 4 football, after the distraction of our cup defeat to the Blues A’s last week.

Brez had close to a full squad to choose from, with only Ollie, Phillip and Jan not available. This meant that we welcomed Eddy, Bez, Matt & Wez back to the squad, which also saw Nick ‘Sangas’ Kalfas make a long awaited return to the starting line-up.

Our opponents this week were Pembroke, who were yet to record a win, but with whom we’ve often struggled over the years, as their squads are usually stacked with young, fit, fast energetic players.

Not surprisingly, the coach asked us to play our natural game, short passing from the back, find feet, get it to the wingers & deliver low crosses, and for much of the first half we did just that. We had a number of chances but mostly we hit them wide or high of the target. Bez, Bobby, Eddy & Jonny all had shots, but we couldn’t make them count.

Pembroke though weren’t without their chances either as Glyn was forced into a couple of good saves.

Overall though, we looked a bit flat & at half time the coach told us so. He also asked the boys to move the ball more & dribble less, as Pembroke were breaking down many of our plays when the boys tried to dribble through the midfield.

The second half begun brightly, with us testing the Pembroke defence & keeper a couple of times. We did manage a couple of corners, one which was only cleared as far as Wez outside the 18 yard box, who found the author unmarked to nod in a rare goal from close range. 1-Nil.

Soon after this, some good pressing from our forwards allowed Bez to break free, he raced to goal only for the defender to somehow get a foot in at the last minute to deny him.

From this point on, Pembroke lifted their intensity and were beating us at our own game. Tomas and Homood came on to sure things up & then Darren and Daniel to give us a spark.

Pembroke though were just more desparate than us as we struggled to break out of our own half. They also realised our game plan of playing short out of defence & began to bottle up the play.

To the boys credit though, we limited their sighters on goal & the couple of times they hit the target Glyn was there to rescue us.

The final whistle went & we knew we’d stolen the points! Brez’ comments were something along the lines of “that was a sh*tty performance, the passing was sh*tty and it was one of the sh*ttiest wins ever, but you have to win ugly sometimes”.

Hey, we’ll take the 3 points which moves us up to second on the ladder. Another big game away to Rostrevor next week. Hope to see you all out to training.

That’s it.

Saf

 Posted by at 1:33 pm
Apr 272015
 

Matt joined the mighty Whites in a controversial deal, after a long stint at Wimbledon ended with an altercation with fellow ‘hard man’ Vinnie Jones that saw Hawyes shipped off to the Antipodes, whilst Jones’ was sent to the US to become a B-grade actor.

The White’s C’s quickly snaffled Matty up & his impact was immediate. An intimidating figure in goals, Matty was soon marshalling the (sometime ragged) troops in defence & scaring the bajesus out of opposition strikers. This was important, because the C’s were largely a gentle lot & were badly in need of a bit of hardness.

Hawyes’ keeping was solid, but his ‘all-out attack on the opposition’ playing style meant he missed as many games as he played.

In 2014 then, after yet another injury (this time at work – chasing down a stolen car on foot & stopping it in its tracks) he switched his role to coach, as one half of the now infamous “Hot Fuzz” (along with Jacko) the team saw immediate success & were the only team to knock off the champions last season – Hawyes now refers to himself as the “Special One” (No, that’s not Jose Mourinho) after masterminding their downfall.

Matt’s passion for football knows no bounds & he leaves no stone unturned during the week when trying to work out his best team & tactics. This means long sessions on the phone with his ‘brains trust’. Ask any of the senior members of the C squad, some of the junior members, neighbours, close friends and even slight acquaintances who is the most likely to call them to talk tactics during the week… It’s Haweysey.

This season, the “Hot Fuzz” have completely revolutionised C Grade football & their squad’s mix of youth, experience & aggression mean the boys are gunning for the title.  With the Special One involved, who wouldn’t back them to do it?

 Posted by at 3:27 pm
Apr 172015
 

Just about to start a 7 v 7 match… Ollie looks around at his team and says

So… It looks like i’m the only striker here..

 Posted by at 12:24 pm
Apr 132015
 

There’s something special about the collegiate cup, a competition where minnows take on CSL giants, cricket scores are plentiful & the occasional upset can happen to any team on cup day.

The Uni Whites 4’s have made it through to the second round of the cup a couple of times before, but facing Uni SA 2B promised to be a daunting task. Not only were they 2 divisions higher than us, but they’d also finished runner up in 2B last season scoring 88 goals! So we were expecting a tough encounter.

Coach Brez though had done his homework… This was a game that was going to be won in the dugout… On Thursday, instead of a big training session, we spent 45 minutes in the clubroom looking at a whiteboard. Brez made the bold decision to name his team the night before the game & he’d set us up with tactics to pressure our more highly rated opponents.

Of course much of what we saw & heard on Thursday night was quickly forgotten, but we did learn who has the guts to call out a weak link in the team (thanks Adi), and that no matter what happened on Friday, we’d be the first team – either through to the next round, or to have the long weekend off. the important thing was we’d be first.

Friday arrived, and unsurprisingly there were some late withdrawals meaning the author made the starting XI and young buck Jason Nichol was promoted to the bench.

This was a first night time outing at Magill & the lights could be described as adequate rather than dazzling. What wasn’t adequate though was Uni SA’s organisation. Kick off was 20 minutes late as the Uni SA boys dilly-dallied with the team sheet & most of the Whites boys were cold when the whistle finally arrived.

Early on Uni SA showed some quick movement & passing and pressured us from the outset. They scored after 10 minutes with a flowing piece of play in which no Whites player touched the ball from behind half-way until it was plucked out of the back of the net.

Our boys responded strongly though, with Bez and Saber working hard in the midfield, we managed to get a lovely through ball for Wez whose shot was well saved by the youthful Tony Zollo in goals.

As the half wore on, we picked up the speed of the game. The boys began to pick up more tackles which stifled Uni SA’s attacks, and Ollie and Eddie were hitting targets out of defence, which allowed our wingers Phil and Bobby to push Uni SA’s defence back.

Soon one of these breaking plays saw Bobby run at his defender & get to the bye line before a lovely cut back found Johnny ‘The Lotus’ Wilson inside the box – his first time strike wrong footed the keeper & we were back in the game at 1-all.

Unfortunately from the kick off, Uni SA again showed their skill and speed & in a mirror image of their first goal, they again worked it from the centre of the pitch to the back of the net without us getting a touch (although Rob was desperately unlucky, with the ball somehow going under his tackle for the last pass). Down 2-1 & looking down the barrel.

Not long after this we won our first corner of the match & Steve had given us a set play to use. Whilst that didn’t work – Johnny was blatantly pushed in the back, yet somehow no penalty was given.

We had another opportunity to show of Brez’ coaching panache however, as our first free kick allowed Bez to run onto the ball & bang it beautifully, it hit the crossbar & sailed over, but it did look pretty.

Thankfully though the football gods eventually smiled on us, as again we managed to get behind Uni SA’s defence, this time through Phillip. Just as he shot he was tackled & the ref adjudged it a penalty!

Captain Bobby stepped up to take it & netted it with aplomb. Then something odd happened… Bobby celebrated the goal, but there was no rifling through his pants, no reveal of a sweaty-ball-sack-smelling wrestling mask, no hysterical laughter from the dozens of Uni Whites who came to support us, just a few high-fives and a walk back to the centre spot.

Whilst the celebrations were subdued, the boys were still pretty happy & when the half-time whistle sounded with the score at 2 all, we knew we were right in this match.

Bez had taken a nasty knock just before the half, so he was the only substitution at the break with Homood coming on to replace him in a like-for-like move.

At the half, Brez was pretty happy with proceedings, he told us to keep the short passing game going & importantly to run at the Uni SA defence, who were struggling with the pace of our boys (I don’t get to say that too often!).

The boys started brightly, with Saber & Homood working some nice plays in the midfield & Phil and Bobby again pushing Uni back.

Defensively Glynn was cutting off all the long balls & our boys were doing a good job of nullifying the pacey Uni SA attackers.

One Ollie interception, allowed him to provide Phil a nice ball to run onto. Phil outsprinted his opponent & worked himself to the edge of the box. The keeper came at him, but Phil passed instead of shooting allowing Wez a straightforward finish from 12 yards! 3-2 and the boys were pumped!

Once we had the lead things got interesting. A couple of pretty ordinary tackles lead to Saber coming off for Darren & then both Bobby and Phil being hacked pretty savagely. Daniel and Jason came on for Jonny & Wez as we attempted to shore up the midfield.

Our old friend Tony Zollo got fired up in the opposition goal, at one stage accusing our spectators of stealing the match ball in what was a pretty funny exchange.

Each time the ball went down the hill (those of you who’ve played at Magill would know it’s pretty steep), we decided not to get our keeper Glynn to fetch it we asked for the second match ball (which was already down the hill), at this point the game would stop for minutes at a time – Uni SA had 20 or 30 spectators, but none of them was willing to help their team by fetching the ball.

Not surprisingly though, this did seem to fire up the Uni SA boys, and with their superior fitness starting to show through the whites goal was under siege.

In the final 20 minutes our defence was sorely tested, but Glyn was excellent in goals & our back 4 held firm – Rob & Eddie were outstanding during this period, repelling dozens of Uni SA Forays.

In the end though the final whistle blew & we were battered, bruised, exhausted and victorious! The song was sung with vigour and we also gave 3 cheers to the Uni SA boys who pushed us to the brink!

A special win for the boys & a real confidence booster for the season. A final word of thanks must go to the spectators who made it out to support us – Family, Friends, Committee members, the President and players from the A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s came along & we definitely appreciated the atmosphere they created! We’ll do our best to return the favour during the course of the season.

That’s it! #RoadtoBurton

Saf

 Posted by at 11:10 am
Sep 082014
 

After the calamitous result last week, the D’s were keen to get back to our winning ways facing up against an Unley team who’d stolen a draw against us earlier in the season.

Before the game there was already some drama – with both Ali and Somi being unwell & therefore not playing. Mike Williams got a late call up to cover (Thanks Mike!), and Somi was well enough to come out to the game (team man!) and support us.

With a dearth of strikers, and a seemingly endless supply of defenders available, Steve switched things around – Jan moving up to the number 9, pushing Rob into central midfield and having Lev slot in at the back.

The full line-up was Lim (gk), Darren, Lev, Saf, Bobby at the back, midfield – Phillip, Rob, Saber, Manny, forwards – James, Jan.

From the kick-off, Unley took the early ascendancy, with the aid of a stiff breeze they bombed the ball long to the strikers, but also utilised their wide midfielders well, often leaving our wide defenders (Darren & Bobby) with two men to face.

Eventually their long ball plays paid off, as their young striker outsprinted the full-back (me) to shoot on the edge of the box. Lim made a good parry, but again the striker was too fast and scored at the near post.

At the other end, we’d actually had a number of chances, with Phillip shooting wide, and at the keeper, and James and Jan also looking dangerous, but their keeper had done a good job keeping us at bay.

One-Nil at the break, Steve asked us to pressure the keeper more and reminded us to play short balls unless going across the park to Manny or Phil – as the rest of us were at a pace disadvantage to the much younger Unley team.

Early on there was some good movement, and again we created a couple of chances, with Philip, Manny and Jan looking dangerous, but our good work was undone, as a slip in the midfield by the author allowed Unley to pounce. The ball being released to their striker on the right who made no mistake from just inside the box.

Steve began to ring the changes, as Tomas came on at the back and Hamad was moved up the front and we also brought Jan back into the midfield with Manny slotting in at 9.

We managed to pull a goal back from a well weighted corner, as I scored my first goal in close to a decade for 2-1. From that point on, the Whites put the pressure on Unley, but we lacked something special up forward as again our shots went wide or high.

The final whistle blew for a 2-1 loss, as Unley again proved to be our nemesis. And the day only got worse, as out A’s and B’s were both beaten, effectively ending their title hopes.

This is the first time we’ve lost 2 on the trot all season & was an extremely disappointing day. Let’s ensure we get a win on Saturday to finish the season on a high!

Hope to see you boys all out at training.

Saf

 Posted by at 10:29 am