yak

Sep 052018
 

The boys faced Unley away this week and again whilst John was looking after the 3B’s at Woodcroft I was holding the fort.

Again, we were a little down on numbers, with a few guys injured, away and doing Accounting courses (Will). Thankfully the B’s were kind enough to lend us Marco and the C’s gave us Cam Basnec in goals, which meant our bench swelled to 3 players for the day.

Early in the season Unley had pushed us hard at home – so I think we all knew this would be a tough contest. A win for us would lock in 3rd on the ladder though so there was still plenty to play for.

As per each week – I asked our boys to remember our strengths – short passing and movement. And to remember to go in hard – as Unley certainly wouldn’t do us any favours.

From the outset, we started well, but for much of the half the contest was even. What was working for us was releasing our pacey wingers – Joshua and Larson, and they were doing a good job getting around the Unley defence.

We opened the scoring from one of these forays – as a long cross released Larson, who’s cutback to the edge of the box was perfect & Matt Bate hammered a lovely strike in low at the far post.

At the other end, Unley were creating chances too – and a couple of times they managed good crosses on, only to miss their forwards. Bas also made a couple of excellent saves to keep us in the hunt.

Half time – 1-0 and the guys were happy. The only issue we had was Mariano was being isolated up front – so we moved Zac up closer to him to try to get the interplay working. Matt was blowing a bit, so he had a rest (no surprise after his game on Tuesday) and Paul came on to meet his old team mates.

The first ten minutes of the second half were excellent. First Marco banged in a lovely header from a corner & soon after a barnstorming run from Zac ended in a goal, only for the ref to call play on – to the confusion of us all. Respect must go to the Unley linesman who agreed it was a goal and thankfully the ref changed his view – 3-0.

Interestingly though – this seemed to spur Unley on, and not long after they scored as a cross to the far post found their striker unmarked to nod home.

Soon after they scored again & from that moment on, we were under siege.

In the dying minutes Bas made a super one-handed save – pushing the ball out past the left post to keep us in front.

Thankfully not long after the whistle blew & we’d held on for a nail-biting win.

Well done to all the boys on a hard-fought win – special mention goes to Bas! A string of excellent saves was probably the difference for us on the day.

That’s it

Saf

 Posted by at 9:38 am
Aug 302018
 

With the 3B boys playing their Do-or-die encounter with Cardijn away, I had the unenviable task of trying to scrounge up a team for the home match with Rostrevor. In the end we managed to get 15 on the card, although all but 6 had played earlier in the day.

We were facing Rostrevor, who sit one place behind us on the ladder & are full of big experienced blokes.
Pre-game I asked the team to remember what we’re good at – tapping the ball around & dominating possession. If we did that, we are a chance against any opponent.

From the kick-off – the boys looked good. We played short crisp passes & found feet. Rostrever were made to work pretty hard for the ball. Sadly Alan only managed to last 10 minutes though, but Aaron came on to replace him & settled well.

We made a couple of good chances, with Umar and Joshua going close, but Rostrevor were able to get the first goal.

We went into the half 1-0 down, but with the football we were playing I think we were all confident we could overturn the deficit.

At the break Umar had to leave, bringing the bench down to 2 – And I want to thank Evan for picking up the flag for us for the entire second half – thanks mate!

We again started brightly, with Marc providing a spark from the back and Joshua and Will really pressuring the Rostrevor backline we got a food hold on the game.

We managed a deserved leveller (although the goal was a little fortuitous) as Aaron’s well hit free kick from about 30 yards took a couple of deflections before ending in the back of the net.

After this though a coaching error proved costly. As the coach brought himself back in to try to push the backs up a little quicker, unfortunately he got rinsed by Rostrevor’s nuggety number 80 who managed to score at the near post.

Rostrevor scored again soon after, as a nice cross to the far post found their striker unguarded.

For the last 20 minutes or so, we again had chanced to peg one back. With Joshua and Mariano both going close, but to no avail.

The result 3-1 perhaps flattered Rostrevor a little.

Thanks again to all the boys who played two games for us on the weekend – the spirit & effort was really appreciated.

On a positive note – before the end of the game news had travelled in that the 3B’s beat Cardijn 2-1 – huge result for the boys – 1 more win needed to secure the title!

That’s it.

Saf

 Posted by at 10:59 am
Jul 102018
 

Another Saturday, another clash with the 3B’s – so again i stepped in for John to look after the Div 5 boys.

This time we had the short away trip to Pultney.

Pultney have been struggling this season. But when we only had 14 players available, and 9 of those were 38 or older (in some cases MUCH older) i was a little concerned as to how we’d fare, as we really only had 1 player with genuine pace.

The good news was – the pitch at the old harriers track was magnificent, and we were welcoming Robby, John G and Martins back into the fold after a few injuries.

Pre-game i’d asked the boys to stick to short passing & work the ball up the field, as our lack of pace meant we had no real outlets for a long ball.

We got underway & a bit like last week – right from the outset we were put under pressure. Pultney’s midfield pressed high, and we let ourselves down with some sloppy passing giving Pultney plenty of freebies.  Thankfully the defence and particularly our keeper Markus held strong & we were able to keep them at bay.

At the other end, we weren’t creating too much – but from a corner we did manage to create one chance – the initial corner was cleared, but we managed to get the ball back into the box where Jason hooked a shot in nicely, but straight at the keeper who somehow managed to somehow spill it back into the net. Congratulations to Jason who after 19 years on and off with the club – finally had his first ever Uni Whites goal!

After that Pultney again spent a lot of time in control as we were stuck in our own half, so it was a relief when the ref blew the whistle for half time.

At the break it felt like i repeated my half time speech from the week before. Better passing, win the 50-50 balls and we’d be a good chance.

Pultney though had the earlty ascendancy and Markus had to make a couple of full stretch saves. The defence were working ovetime as Pultney won numerous free kicks around the box but somehow we kept the scoreline at 1-0.

Taka came on after a shortly after the break – and all of a sudden he was breaking free on the wing – this seemed to lift the team and our midfield began to take control with GT and Matt now moving the ball around well.

Martins playing up front managed to score the 2nd goal with a shot from just outside the box on the left – although again the keeper probably should have done better. Congratulations to Martins for his first goal in his second season with the club.

From this point we were well on top. Taka put the icing on the cake burying a 3rd as he took on the defence and finished nicely to score on debut!

The final result was a 3-0 win, which i’ll take any day. But credit must go to Pultney who spent long periods of the game in control but couldn’t get a breakthrough.

Man of the match was Markus in goals, withough him the scoreline would have been a lot different.

The win keeps us in touch with the top two (now just 1 point off the top), so everything to play for in the coming weeks. Hopefully see all of you out at training!

That’s it.

Saf

 Posted by at 10:54 am
Jul 022018
 

With the gaffer (John) at home with the 3B’s in their top of the table clash with Cardijn, it was left to me to sort out the div 5 boys up the hill at Mount Barker.

For some reason we had 18 players named, but i soon found out that Barry and Dom were unavailable. On the flipside though, in addition to our usual group we had the services of Lewis & Stu from the B’s and Cam from the C’s.

Last year when we’d played Mount Barker they were a bit of a rabble. But right from the outset they played a high pressure game against us and it worked. For most of the first half our midfield and defence were awarded no time or space & as a result we struggled to string any passed together.

The one exception from this was a lovely piece of play, with the ball moving across the back from Cam to Andy, who sent Stu through with a super ball – he crossed in for Declan to meet the ball at full tilt and knock it in – glorious to watch.

Almost immediately though Mount Barker scored to level as their big striker hit one from well outside the box which went in.

For the remainder of the half we were under intense pressure – we cleared 2 balls off the line – Markus put his body on the line for a crucial save and the woodwork also rescued us once.

Late in the half, we also had a slice of luck – as we got the ball down the wing & crossed it in, only for the keeper and central defender to fluff their lines and bundle one into the back of the net – a completely undeserved 2-1 lead was the half time result.

At the break i asked our boys to control and pass better, but more importantly to win some 50-50 balls! And from the outset we did a lot better. Declan was pushed up front – and he, Joshua and Stuart got behind the Mount Barker defence more. Our rotating midfield also lifted, with George, Matt, Lewis, Mariano, Jason and Andy all doing much better with the ball.

Whilst we had most of the play – no more goals were forthcoming, although Andy rattled the crossbar with a lovely header from a corner.

In the end, we snuck home for a 2-1 win. Standout performance from Declan, and also a mention to Markus who made a couple of magnificent saves.

The result leaves us just 1 game behind the top two teams at the halfway mark of the season. Everything to play for with the Glamorous ones!

That’s it.

Saf

 Posted by at 9:05 pm
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