Write-up By Nik
Elite 1 - IBU Dreamers 3
The fourth game of the season saw the Elite take on top of the table Island Bay Dreamers, at Wakefield 2. The weather was perfect, with sun, very little wind, and a slight chill in the air – perfect for the Elite’s own unique brand of Samba Football.
A few warm ups and a bit of pass-and-move, and then on to some customary shooting. But disaster! An already slightly weakened Elite, missing several players, lost gun striker/makeshift centre back CJ to old age a stretched quad after attempting an ill-advised left-footed shot.
Adam nobly stepped up to fill in at centre back and once again the Elite were set. Switched on and ready to go, shooting boots on and Johnny already looking tidy in goal, we rubbed our hands in anticipation of the impending battle. Those on the field were buoyed by a strong looking bench, with Crespo (season debut), Marcel and a tender Fowler prowling the sidelines. Current golden boot holder Liam looked in the mood up front, and Cory was ready to bring the pain after listening to ex-Crazy Gang and general hard man/psychopath Vinnie Jones interviews on repeat. Let’s go!
Whistle roll back pass touch touch touch touch run cross header goal. Oh.
Still, it was only one goal and the Elite loves a challenge.
We got into the game quickly after that, generally competing and shutting down their nice passing plays before they turned into anything too serious. We looked dangerous on attacking corners and dealt with defensive corners well.
The Dreamers had managed to enlist a child prodigy into their ranks – Luca the 17 year-old Sicilian. Lovingly nicknamed ‘the Divine Monobrow’ in his homeland, Luca quickly asserted himself as the game’s standout talent, dribbling around the park with ease and a level of skill not regularly seen on these shores. Ernie, Ernie, sign him up!
The battle was heating up. A few tasty challenges were put in by both sides, prompting the referee’s attempt to ban slide tackles (not likely son!). Some pleasing football was being played by both sides – all two spectators were enthralled.
At the end of a fluid, almost dream-like passage of play down the right, Cory whipped in an inch-perfect cross (may have been a corner, I can’t remember). Andrew ghosted in between several dreaming Dreamers and Andy Carroll’d the ball into the net. 1-1.
Halftime and a pretty fair score line reflected the tight and even nature of the half.
At the start of the second half Adam was brought into midfield, having performed admirably at the back with General Steveo and the ever-dependable Damo.
The second half started as the first half finished, except in different directions.
Unfortunately at some point one of their players took the ball outside the box and Seedorf’d one into the net. A real thunderbastard which left no chance for the keeper. 2-1.
The Elite were still well in it however, creating half-chances on the break but not able to get that vital second goal.
All of a sudden Crespo was presented with the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box, and shot into the bottom corner! Unfortunately the referee had already blown for a vicious foul/wee tap by Marcel on their centre back, who rolled around for a while, exclaiming that his shinpad had moved due to the force of the assault. He was lucky to escape without serious injury. Their hamstrung keeper helpfully informed Crespo that he would have saved the shot anyway, so no worries there.
A second goal looked possible for the Elite but then the Divine Monobrow, who had been threatening all afternoon, picked up the ball, cut in from the left like an inside-out Robben, and Arjen’d one into the top corner. Quite a goal, and 3-1.
Which, unfortunately, is how it stayed. The Elite fought hard and were in the game for most of it, but in the end Samba Football lost out to the classic 10-men-and-a-17-year-old-Italian-child-prodigy formation. Even though they scored three, I thought we defended pretty well. We just needed to hold the ball a bit better and create a few more chances at the other end.
The Dreamers are definitely a good team, but we’ll get them in the reverse.
3 – Unexpectedly put into centre back, thereby ruining his careful tiki taka pre-match preparation watching Iniesta and Xavi one-two compilations, Adam had a great game. Came into midfield in the second half, forgot his tiki taka preparation but won lots of headers and generally bossed it.
2 – We conceded three, but at least two of them were pretty unstoppable, and Johnny really kept us in the game a few times. He made some vital one-on-one saves and kept out a couple of stingers from the right. And bought beers for everyone afterwards.
1 – Another solid performance from Damo, making calls, putting in tackles, distributing well, and booming up a series of goal kicks. “He must have a foot like a traction engine!”
Round 3 Report - 18th April 2014
Uni Scarfies 0 WU Elite 3
Scorers: Paul, Andrew and Nik
Write up by Jase
This week’s second game saw Elite following up the undeserved loss of Monday night away to the (Ahem.. Cheating, we all know what happened last year) university scarfies, the kids from Glee or whatever performing arts academy passes for a university in this town. This season’s student team turned up for football instead of a sleep in until midday or a trip taking the laundry home to mum. (I remember my student days). The game day team submitted, color of the shirt not withstanding, passed mustered and was acceptable to all that play Cap 7.
The weather had been pretty wretched all week. Rain had done for all levels of capital football. As it happened Corey didn’t have to harden up after all, a beautiful day in the capital, can't beat Wellington on a… an all that… gave us sunny and somewhat hot conditions for play on a Good Friday at Wellington College.
This week I was the lone straggler reluctant to get there on time. This can be put down to the midday kick off, a new Titahi Bay lifestyle and a commute without use of a train on a public holiday. The Elite squad was already on the artificial pitch, we were back to being in the not so new Agent Orange kit. Nobody likes the all whites.
The warm up complete. The team talk complete. I got to the pitch in time to get changed as both teams set up for kick off. We welcomed back Chapman for a first and hopefully not last appearance of the season. A slightly up side down team sheet this week had Stevo in behind the front two.
We kick off. The early going was pretty even and the kids from Glee had the best of the early possession. They didn’t give it away as much as you would hope. The elite stretched the game in behind the opposition. A couple of edge of the box attempts, some very good play from the back but a final touch or a final ball letting us down. We would have hoped for better then the song and dance we seemed to make of the early chances to take the lead.
Stevo obviously not used to playing upside down in the attacking third had run about a bit too much a bit to early and stretched a hamstring, game done. Paul subbed on and well at least we had sorted the referee for the second half.
The Elite did absorb some periods of pressure in the main mid way through the half. We were giving the ball away to easily. We were making hard work of it… however as it progressed we settled kept the ball a little better passed through them better. A sharp passing move from the back and ball over to the left saw Andrew swoop in and proceed to hit, in front of a relatively open goal, a thumping finish onto the bar all in all a pretty good miss.
Half time arrived just as we all felt the pace on a hot day but we knew what we were about. We had made it much harder then it needed to be. We need to keep the ball. Press the opposition in the midfield and squeeze the game from halfway towards the opposition third of the field. We would get on top.
Team talk done and the second half begins. Defenders pressed forward to get closer to the holding midfield players and this in turn closed the space we allowed them in the first half, the rewards duly arrived for the midfield, front and wide players.
Once we kept possession, the performance improved.
Goal - Paul makes it one nil - some good football. The second half is barely some minutes old when we attack, some neat passing and movement off the ball and a fine shot is hammered past the opposition goalkeeper.
Goal- The second arrived, a free kick played into the box and Andrew’s first time shot, sweet as you can get connection with power, accuracy and timing all in place, the ball was sailing into the net. Great finish and 2-0.
The university moaning picked up a pace, with, a center back trying to referee the game and a team intent on calling foul at every strong challenge. Elite continued to press in attack and defend well.
Chapman solid, the backline neat and tidy in possession and picking out opposition runners while drifting into good defensive positions, Cory winning lots of ball in the middle and both wide players operating in the kind space we denied the opposition forwards and with the kind of energy that was impressive on a hot day.
Goal- The third goal arrives after more neat play and this time a cross come shot from Nik catches the Goalkeeper, who had taken the hipster approach to keeping without use of the traditional gloves and with shin pads being optional, out. the ball hits the back of the net.
We are now enjoying our football.
Changes are made to freshen up for the final stretch, our new midfield partnership of Adam, Johnny and Yaya Gainsey Toure putting in a excellent effort protecting the back three. Paul has had to sub off after putting a head to a high ball in the box. Finding a boot where a boot should not be, a dangerous overhead kick attempt connects flush with our man, blood on the pitch, stitches needed. An unfortunate ending to a hard fought win. The game plays out without incident.
A clean sheet for Dave and well earned, with a couple of excellent saves during the second half. A well deserved win with a dogged first half team effort followed by a very composed second half performance with some classy individual moments. Left wing play is a piece of “phish” for Jinky Jessiman step overs and running to edge of the box in our best left wing ginger traditions, Johnny a back heal in the defensive third will always work and is always a good idea. We do like to play from the back… Really MVP points are a hard pick this week.
3 points Dave, some good all round moments a punch clearance, one finger tip save over the bar and one save at length that got me off the hook. Clean sheet.
2 points Nik, right wing hard running, scores one, made one and on a hot day a nightmare to play against for any opposition defender.
1 point Damo, backing up a solid defensive performance on Monday with a solid defensive performance on Friday. Not much gets past our left edge at the moment.
Write-up by Fowler
Once the car pooling had been arranged during the week, we could finally focus on the match ahead against Upper Hutt.
A near full squad arrived at memorial park in Petone to the delight of a new artificial pitch and a not so new white kit.
However, one straggler was reluctant to don the white strip and stood on and watched as the team warmed up.
Once the first warm up was finished at 6pm, the team undertook a second warm up.
Early in the first had, the two squads battled for possession in front of a raucous crowd of 32 fans (20 of which were from the training before the game), but neither team was able to sustain a passing attack down the field.
The Elite found it hard to get with the pace of the pitch but once the team kept possession, the team’s performance improved which created a few chances from outside the box which the team could not hit the target.
Upper Hutt seemed intent on playing to their strengths and their ‘style’ of football paid dividends when an U/H player made a run into the box and with a one on one beckoning got chopped down. Penalty conceded which they duly converted.
1-0 at half time.
In the second half the team played some good football, with the front 3 players working well together without any early reward. It took a moment of class from Stu, whose corner crept in at the back post for the Elite to get into the game.
1-1 and game on.
Head Coach CJ rotated the team and the Eilte continued to press in attack and defend well with Stevo marshalling the backline, Adam and Cory winning lots of ball in the middle and Dec’s driving the team forward.
It happened to be another of U/H’s counter attacks which they managed to get past the defence and they scored to make it 2-1 which is how the game ended.
Despite the loss, the Elite played some decent football and will look forward to the short turn around and come back stronger in Friday’s game.
3 points go to a player gave the ref the first lot of abuse of the game, ran hard all night, had some nice link up play and was unlucky to be dragged back by an UH defender when it looked like he was going to be through on goal - Nick
2 points to a mid fielder who ran his socks off getting back to help the defence on a number of occasions, moved the ball around the park and was vocal during the game ( mainly about his ankles) - Cory
1 point to Todd who made good challenges, got up and down on the right flank and even suggested a position higher up the pitch may be to his liking.
WU Elite v North Wellington Rovers – 5th April 2014
Write-up By Niall
A sunny Saturday afternoon welcomed the Elite back for another crack at Capital 7. After an unbeaten pre-season and lots of team training sessions, it was good to get back into the truly competitive action. First-up opponents were a new team to the grade, North Wellington Rovers.
With a near full strength squad, the Elite were looking for a good start to the campaign. Out of the absentees, only Jason, Pete, Damo and Ganesy could be expected to compete for a starting berth. We were also missing some ginger guy, but no-one seemed to care that much.
Approximately 45% of the team turned up before the 1:45pm cut-off, which meant a nice healthy start to our fine money for the season. Debate amongst the lads soon turned to the state of the pitch, which resembled Queens Wharf in terms of firmness! I felt right at home however, remembering fondly my days of dodging used needles and razor blades back on the concrete of the council estate in Bonnie Scotland. We went through our now familiar warm-up routine, with the boys giving the residents a taste of what was to come during the shooting drill!
I can’t remember if the gaffer won the toss or not, but the game got underway with North Wellington kicking off. The NW boys were pretty handy and put us under a bit of pressure at times, but never really got behind us. Once the Elite started to get into their rhythm the chances began to come. CJ and Stu both had good chances to score, but uncharacteristically shot wide (or way way over). The Elite opened the scoring when Andrew (yet again) chased down their keeper who smashed hi clearance into Andrew’s arse, only for the ball to rebound nicely into the net. 1-0 baby! The second goal wasn’t long in coming when CJ called for a peno, promptly given by the obliging referee. As usual, our fearless leader stepped up to take the penalty and calmly stroked it into the net. 2-0, fuck yeah!
CJ made a few subs with the heat beginning to factor into the game. On came Marcel “we forgot what you looked like” Rafter and Niall “my shirt is too tight” Jessiman. The change on the flanks was startling and no further goals were scored that half. One quality moment remained in the half when Stu “dsko” Dunn decided to live up to his name and do what can only be described as a breakdance with the ball, before gracefully falling on his face. This early-season contender for “The Phelps” prompted one spectator to ask if he was drunk….
Half-Time: Rovers 0 – 2 Elite
Usual chat from the gaffer at half-time, then we went back on for the second. Johnny (my shirt is also too tight) Marshall came on and made an immediate impact, playing a precision ball though to the Rovers striker. Obviously pleased with himself and satisfied with his offensive talents, Johnny spent the rest of the half making quality tackles and playing with good composure. The Rovers continued to press our right side for the first 15mins of the half, but they rarely threatened our goal, thanks to the quality organisation of our defence, led by SteveO. Then, clearly bored out of his skull, Dave “Cum Eyes” Richardson decided to make the game interesting. A free kick from about 40 yards looked to be heading wide, but as our Keeper ushered it out, it snuck in at the back post. Oops. 2-1, squeaky bum time.
I’m not going to go into what happened next, or what was said, but I found it embarrassing, and I know others did too.
The Elite got serious again, and once we started getting our foot on the ball and playing our passing game, we widened our lead again. Nik got one-on-one with the keeper and hit a nice shot, which looped high off the keeper and into the net. 3-1, natural order restored. The game then played out with the Elite having more chances, but failing to capitalise, and scoreline finished 3-1 to the mighty oranje.
Overall, a great result to start the season. Not the complete passing game that we like to play but I’d put that down to very difficult conditions on the pitch and with the heat. Well done lads, and bring on Upper Hutt next week.
MVP Points were very tough to make but here they are:
3 – Decs (worked hard for the team and was always available for an outlet pass. Some of his through balls could have been rewarded with a goal. Great all round effort)
2 – Andrew (His goal typified his efforts and he made trouble for the Rovers throughout the game)
1 – Marcel (I made a joke before about Marcel being a bit absent during pre-season, but he played a great game, putting in a lot of good tackles and giving his opposite number no change on our right side)
Elite Match Reports