Saturday, 18 August 2012

Up and running...again

Saturday 11th August
 CML North
Glapwell 0 Easington United 2

Monday 13th August
Holderness Cup Winners Cup Final
Easington United Reserves 0 Brandesburton 1

And then here we are, back pitch-side at the start of another football season wondering where the two months have gone since the end of the last one.
Well that’s not strictly true of course.  The Euro's and the Olympics have ensured there has not really been a close season this year (Mrs Slush will testify to that!) while down at Low Farm we had the added distraction of wholesale management changes.
A couple of enjoyable trips into North Yorkshire meant I’d missed The Sumo’s opening pre-season games, which resulted in two-nil defeats at HPL outfits Crown FC and Sculcoates Amateurs.
Despite the defeats, I received good reports from both inside and outside the camp with regards to the quality of football played.  I finally got to see it for myself when the East Riding County FA Juniors made their annual trip to the Farm and again a week later when Sumo’s side concluded their schedule at Long Riston.
Comfortable victories were recorded in both games, with several players providing their manager with pleasant surprises ahead of the first league game.
Indeed, the only disappointment for me came in the Traveller’s Rest at Long Riston where the much-vaunted Aleympic Gold (from Great Newsome) had run out.  Grrrgh.  That was part of the reason for arranging this fixture in the first place!
So to Saturday’s CML opener and the first part of a weekend double-header, which on Monday would see the Stiffs hoping to double-up their South Holderness Cup win of May by retaining the Holderness Cup Winners Cup won by the First Team a year ago.
Glapwell endured a horrendous time of things last season, culminating in them travelling to Low Farm in May with just eight men.  Thankfully, things have improved somewhat since and they appeared to have twenty-two available for our visit to Hall Corner!
We too travelled in strength.  Fifteen players made the trip, all but one on the Pistol Pete Express, with Wilky Woo accompanying the Gaffer and me in car (Mrs Slush's new weekend working commitments ensuring I would not be on the much-vaunted first away day 'beer-bus' of 2012/13).
Surviving the scare of a “technical issue” that restricted its progress to 50mph for the last segment of its journey down the M1, all was shipshape come kick-off time.
Sumo handed full debuts to two new faces – Willo and Robbie – along with a “second debut” to the returning Neilo.  Completing a quartet of new faces (and a trio of ex-Withernsea men) was Nige Newton whose chance would come off the bench second half.
Jamie C has been appointed Captain Cousins for the season, although much more Michael Jackson blaring our pre-season and he’ll find the armband being removed as quickly as it was given him!
Hall Corner is a smart little ground, with a pitch that rises towards the cricket pitch behind the far end goal.  It also has possibly the most protective groundsman in the league.
“No warm-up in the goalmouths, only in the corners where I’ve placed the posts.  Goalkeeper can have ten minutes. Crosses only. No shots.  If I see any shots you’ll get this.”  At which point he drew his hand across his throat.  Nice.
As the game began I wondered whether our lads were continuing to carry out his instructions - we ventured nowhere near the Glapwell goal in the opening ten minutes!
The hosts dictated matters in this first spell and actually had the ball in the net but the lino had flagged.
Having taken a while to get into our stride, we then finished the half slightly on top.  Alex Malong – who surely has the biggest hands in the CML – was the busier of the two keepers and produced one exceptional save to deny Wilks.  Jimmy D and Fitzy should have done better, while a Glappy player also headed against his own post.  As we enjoyed the half-time hospitality of our excellent hosts, we wondered whether these misses would come back to haunt us.  Pistol Pete, meanwhile, was more concerned as to whether or not his repair kit of "scissors, fork and beer-can" would do the trip to enable the Express to get the lads home!
Thankfully we needn’t have worried - on both counts.  A majestic second half display, capped by two goals inside three minutes, ensured we would have a maximum points haul to take back home.  And Pete’s “handiwork” ensured they would get there.
Neilo and the Skipper were on target but the main plaudits were reserved for the hard-working Wilky Woo.  Elsewhere Sam Mac was almost faultless, Fitzy’s influence grew as the game wore on and Willo was solid on “dayboo” (as the Aussies would say).  But, in truth, all played their part in an encouraging first show.
An al fresco post-match pint was accompanied by the amusing sideshow of Coach Nicho accusing team-mates of having swiped his iPod...before finding he'd actually dispatched it to the bin alongside his waste pack-up!
One of the benefits of travelling by car came with me back home sober and in good time to catch another great night for GB at the Olympics.  I didn’t envy the lads on the bus, with their 48-can haul, struggling back up the M18. 
No, honest, I didn’t.

Monday night brought cooler climes and a chance to see Gav Thurkettle take charge of the Stiffs for the first time.
Withernsea was this year’s chosen venue for the annual meeting of north and south Holderness Cup winners, with Brandesburton of HPL Division 1 the opposition.
Brandes’ had ended Hornsea’s recent monopoly in the Tanton Cup by beating both the Seasiders’ first and second-strings en route to their sixteenth success in one of the oldest competitions of its type.
Gav retained faith with most of the lads who’d performed such heroics in May.  He also included Frosty (missing at Glapwell due to work), “Cousin” Mark, young Hoppy and the returning Darren Thompson.  The manager himself was among the subs in a 15-man squad but, disappointingly, was not to grace the field this evening.
And the locals could have done with him on there.  For despite shading matters in terms of possession, there was a distinct lack of quality in the final third and Brandes’ keeper Nathan Otley was rarely troubled.
The game’s defining moment came as early as the 12th minute.  And it arrived from Brandesburton’s first shot on goal, a crisp half-volley from Phil Skit that flew past Ben Akam from 15 yards out.
On chances, the Tanton Cup holders could have more than doubled their tally.  Skit hit the bar while Akam twice saved superbly from hapless sub James Barker who also rolled another good chance wide.
All in all it was a scrappy game, which wasn’t great on the eye for those of us spoilt by Saturday’s slick display.  Still, it’s early days and while the retention of the cup would have been nice, promotion back to the County League Premier Division has to be Gav’s priority.

For a full Glapwell report (with pictures) check here
For a full Holderness Cup Winners Cup report (with Colin's pictures) check here
For Colin Brammer's photography website check here
Thanks to Burt Graham and Colin Brammer for their efforts through the lens!

No comments: