Date: Monday 27th December 2017

Fixture: Hakuna Juan Mata V Xavi Dodgers

Hakuna Juan Mata and Xavi dodgers not only battling over the 3 points up for grabs, but also high in demand goal keeper Ale Reid! HJM draft in Pete Hindley this week as their last minute keeper.

Sarah Christmas our games official for this evening’s fixture gets the game underway quickly and her first whistle blow of the evening is a height offence, Alex Greggory takes the free kick for Xavi Dodgers. A simple pass to Dave McEntee who is in an eye shot of the goal, but this one is a near miss. A return to play and Xavi are still in possession, a combination play of Greggory and MCEntee again sees Xavi get the first goal of the game!

CJ Sutton for Hakuna, goes on the counter attack applying pressure and gets the first shot off for his team – but is denied with a miss hit. A foul sees the second free kick of the game again to Xavi, a quick shot by Greggory but Hindley prevents with a cracking save. 5 minutes in and Gregory limps off the pitch with an ankle injury in need of some ice!

Whistle blows to restart the game Adrian Bennett has the ball and shoots for HJM but it comes off the back boards and back into play. Josh Walters then has an attempt for XD but his effort also comes off the boards and goes high for a free kick to HJM. Liam Power for Xavi has a shot from the right wing – it pings into the right hand corner of Hindley's goal and it's 2-0 to Xavi Dodgers.

With a two goal advantage Xavi are still pushing forward and have another attempt with Josh Walters passing to McEntee , who plays it back to Walters, who shoots, But the whistle blows for height. Bennett and Dominic Randles for HJM, have an attmpt each in the next few minutes but are denied a chance to get on that goal scorers sheet.

Jack Canner springs into action with a swift attack down the left wing, his eyes firmly on goal, shoots and scores. Making that gap a little closer 2-1 to Xavi. Back to the middle and a quick response from XD sees them regaining the two goal advantage thanks to a goal from McEntee with a solid shot that gave Hindley no chance. It is now 3-1 to XD. The deficit is quickly reduced by HJM with Randles scoring with a cheeky nutmeg past Scott Elliott, who is guesting in goal for XD. Sutton, using Canners previous path to success, attacks down the left wing and sees his toe poke go into the net to make the scores level at 3-3.

Sutton hungry for the lead has another quick shot – but is unlucky. Xaxi reclaiming possession Walters is then unlucky seeing his effort come back off the post. Randles then wins a tackle in the centre of the pitch, puts him one on one with the keeper but his shot is saved. Bennett on the ball, with a slick back heel pass to Canner but the move comes to nothing. McEntee intercepts a wayward pass shoots and misses the target. HJM get a head as Sutton attacks, a smooth pass to Bennett and he puts the ball past Elliott to make it 4-3.

Only 13 minutes left of play and we see a drastic change as Hindley swaps his gloves with Bennett for HJM. Will this be a game changer and shake up HJM goal scoring opportunity? Bennett is immediately called into action, with a shot from McEntee, which he pushes around the post. Eager to get another goal ahead Bennett  passes the ball out to Hindley, he turns and has a shot which comes off the back of the keeper, but a rapid recovery prevents the ball going in. Tennis like play then sees Walters have another shot for XD. Xavi seem to be getting on top of the game now, Bennett is being resolute in goal, but can HJM hold on?

Not for much longer they can't! Elliott passes the ball out to Walters, a sharp turn, runs on,  shoots and scores  from the edge of the box to make it 4-4. Game on! Sutton then has a miss hit shot saved by Elliott. An accurate eye and the Ref sees Gregory’s foot for area infringement! HJM have the penalty and a chance for the lead again but Sutton is denied by Elliot with a calm and collected save! The ball fires up the other end of the pitch to Walters in an advantageous position, counter attacks  to make it 5-4.

The clock is ticking – Sutton tries to redeem himself with a skimmer but its goes straight to Elliot’s save hands. Shortly after, XD scores another goal with a cracking effort from McEntee from the halfway line. It's now 6-4 to Xavi. Randles quickly pulls his team back into the game with a good effort from the left wing, but the final seconds are on the clock. The last attempt of the game goes to McEntee but it's another effort that goes high.

The final whistle blows and it's 6-5 to Xavi Dodgers. Man of the Match is awarded to Dave Mcentee for his excellent contribution throughout the game. An excellent battle and an exciting game! 

Date: 20th December 2017

Fixture: Hakuna Juan Mata V Paris Ganja Man

Tonight we seen Hakuna Juan Mata get their season started with an immediate uphill battle against last seasons league champions Paris Ganja Man. Already a strenuous game in hand, the task got even tougher as only 2 players were on the field for kick off! CJ Sutton and Adrian Bennett stood alone against a strong PGM squad. A rapid helping hand from some last minute draft in players seen Ale Reid step up for the keeper position with Ste Ryan and Kieran Jones playing outfield.

A steady pace to start our 30 minute game with not much action as both teams seemed to ease into it. Karl Barker (PGM) who holds the golden boot from last season, had the first shot of the game but was denied by Bennett (HJM). CJ Sutton was on the ball, he intercepted a bad pass, with a quick takeover of possession and on the counter attack Sutton gets the first goal of the game! 1-0 to Hakuna Juan Mata.

Aaron Cairns (PGM) stopped Bennett’s (HJM) first goal scoring opportunity, keeping the score down. Barker then had a couple of chances, the first going over the height line and the second from the halfway line was blocked by Sutton. A simple 1:2 play with Barker and Cairns gets past the defenders and the ball goes straight past the keeper into the right hand post, score is 1-1.

HJM quickly regained their advantage, with a nice nutmeg by Sutton, he passes to Bennett who returns it, Sutton shoots and scores! 2-1 to HJM.

Ale Reid has possession of the ball, but a fumbled pass out sees it go to Barker’s feet, clinical in his finish, and the game is level again at 2-2.

HJM quickly, once again, establish their lead with a prompt response and Sutton gets an early hat-trick to make it 3-2. Cairns then had a hard shot saved by the face of Reid, she doesn't flinch from anything, and has to be admired for her bravery. Bennett with a danger pass across his own area and is intercepted by PGM but the shot is missed.  Barker then has a shot from the right edge of the box and it is successful and it's now 3-3.

A good game of goals and an even match so far. Which way is this game going to go? To the underdogs or the champions?

PGM seem to be taking a stranglehold of the game after 10 minutes, and following a good interchange of passes it’s Barker, once again, with a shot that is saved by Reid’s quick hands. HJM are staying in the game thanks to them putting their bodies in the way of the shots, with Reid also playing her part with a number of good saves. Dillon Power then comes into the game and scores to make it 4-3 to PGM. Cairns then sees a strong shot go high, Power then plays the ball off the boards to Cairns, but to his dismay his shot blocked again by the tenacious HJM. A shot by Cairns after 18 minutes sees PGM go further ahead, quickly followed by a further goal for Barker from the halfway line to make it 6-3.

Ste Ryan (HJM) then makes a great pass from the left back position to Sutton, but to no avail. Barker is in possession playing the pass to Karl Graham who passes to Randle's for another goal and it's now 7-3. 

Zak Clark, showing off some trekkers scores a back heel into the right corner of Reid's goal to make it 8-3. Is there any way of HJM coming back into this game now, whilst appearing to be wilting, they have the next shot with Bennett passing to Ryan but he shoots high. Barker then has a thunderous shot saved by Reid and she isn't so lucky with the next shot which goes into in. Reid doesn't seem have much protection in front of her now as fatigue sets in for the outfield HJM, they appear to have let their heads drop.  Clark (PGM) has a shot, it comes back out to Graham and he scores and it's now 10-3 to PGM. The last shot of the game goes to Graham but he sees it saved by Reid.

The final whistle is blown by Phil Smith and it ends PGM 10 - 3 HJM. MOM goes to Karl Barker.

Date: Wednesday 29th December 2017

Fixture: Out of Breath v Stanley's Cask

Our game of the evening, we look towards our Masters League (over 45’s) as seasoned Out of Breath comes up against newbies Stanley’s Cask. Out of Breath, last to be crowned champions in our 2016/2017 league are on great form with 3 wins into the current season, finding themselves top of the table, with a game in hand. Stanley’s cask, a former division 2 team are still finding their feet in our Masters League, are up and ready for the challenge this evening.

Carl Howell for OOB gets a first and fast shot off to start our 40 minute game, graham Owen gets a touch to the ball only to see it deflected and the shot is missed. Barry Evans comes up against long standing Goal Keeper for Stanley’s Dave Aston. Aston who has been referred to as ‘elastic man’ is renowned for pulling of saves from now where denies Evans the first goal of the game. Stanley’s Cask are now in possession and new signing Keith Patterson takes the ball around two players, and scores. Putting Stanley’s in a surprising early lead!

OOB determined to get ahead, with  John Bennett keeping hold of the ball well then  passes to Howell in perfect space, he delays his shot, but Aston knowing the tricks is wise to it. Aston doesn't commit  and pull of a phenomenal save.

Patterson on a mission to keep Stanley’s ahead pushes forward has a second shot, but this time it goes high. Bennett back on the attack sees a gap and shoots with Aston on the floor, but he saves Bennett's chip attempt with his foot living up to his stretchy nickname. OOB’s Owens fumbles a pass and Stanley’s get another chance on goal, this time it’s Simon Hughes. Sean Kenny, guarding the goal for OOB easily saves his effort. Owens redeems himself, with a drop of the shoulder fooling Aston in goal and we have the equalizer. Howell puts OOB into the lead for the first time in the game with a lovely goal to the keepers right hand side. Its 2-1 to Out of Breath.

Stanley’s keeping Kenny on his toes in goal as Hughes spots Keith Graham in an advantageous position but Kenny is quick to the draw again keeping OOB in the lead. Hughes is next to have a shot, powerful low and on target - but it is saved just inside the post. Hughes finds himself again at the goal with two attempts, a one on one but the shot goes wide. The ball come straight back to his feet and he returns the shot again – this time it unfortunately goes high. Patterson is more successful on the next Stanley’s attack, which comes down the right wing and his shot goes in and it's level again at 2-2.

The second half gets under way and it's OOB who score, with a pass from the right wing across to the left from Howell to Graham, whose shot is successful and it's 3-2 to OOB. The lead is increased shortly after, or so the players think, as Phil pulls it back for an earlier foul on an OOB player. Howell then sees his shot go high after coming off Hughes. Hughes then has an attempt on goal but this time it is Kenny's legs as the saving grace for OOB. A free kick awarded to OOB for a height infringement which Bennett takes, and scores with a toe poke, 4-2 to OOB. Another free kick shortly afterwards is again taken by Bennett, this time he passes it to an unmarked Evans, but he misses the target.

John Knight from the left wing then finds a bullseye on my head! Which seems like take an attempt to 'take me out' as his shot hits the netting right in front of me – getting the spectators involved? Patterson then pulls the ball back from the boards, ball rolls to Knight and he has found the target this time with a well taken strike and it's now 4-3 to OOB. It is a short lived comeback as OOB, stretch the score line again through Howell, who's shot confuses Aston in goal -comes off the post and hits Aston on the back and it goes in.

The last goal of the game goes to OOB also, as Owens grabs his hat-trick with his man of the match performance and ensures OOB finish the game at 6-3. A laboured game by OOB who were led by Ian Astles in the absence of Jeff James, who, it is believed, was on a scouting mission elsewhere on the Wirral this evening.

Wednesday Night Division 2

Date: 22nd November 2017

Game: Hardly Athletic V Aftershock

The Soccer Dome seen two longstanding teams come face to face this week in our Division 2 fixture, taking place on pitch 2 officiated by Sarah Christmas.

Our ref Sarah mistakenly got involved in play within the first minute of the game blocking a ball in aftershocks favour. The first chance of goal fell to Aftershock but unfortunately Paul Kepe-Smith’s efforts tipped just over the height mark. Aftershock’s Dave Millar then sees a pass via the side boards deflect to the keeper, loosing possession.

Hardly Athletic with the ball hit back, Graham Simmons goes for goal hitting keeper Stu Domigan instead of the net! 6 minutes in on the clock and Hardly make use of the rolling subs – Iain Mackie replaces Alan Fletcher shake things up a bit. On the brief break we see Aftershock take a breath, they will need it as they have a bare 5 for tonight’s game with no subs available.

Mackie springs into immediate action and gets a shot off at Aftershocks goal, Domigan on form pushes the ball away, seconds later Mackie gets another chance but is denied again by Domigan’s quick reactions. Hardly Athletic are dominating the shots as Simmons tries his luck but Domigan denies Hardly the back of the net again.

Then we see Mark Voas, for Hardly Athletic attack down the left wing, passes to Simmons, and he wins this one as he scores the first goal and it's Hardly in the lead, after 8 minutes. Hardly keep on with the pressure and are back on the attack, Dave Godden performs a square pass to Mackie, he shoots! And the ball goes straight into the left corner and it's 2-0 to HArdky Athletic.

Aftershock try to hit back and are unlucky with two efforts from Kepke-Smith, the first going high and the second being saved by the legs of Ian Burkey.  Fletcher then sees his shot from the right side saved but put back into play by Domigan.

Fletcher losses possession through height, Aftershock get the free kick. Keep-Smith steps up to take only to be denied any goal scoring chance. A few passing relays and interceptions from both teams as they battle up and down the pitch. Mackie is next to have a shot but it just swing to the right hand post. Aftershock back with the ball - Kepke-Smith goes with the momentum and attacks on his own, the goal comes up fast! Takes the shot, and scores! using a defender to go past the keepers blind side, and Aftershock are one goal down, it's 2-1.

A short lived celebration, as Mackie passes from the right back position to  Simmons, who passes to Godden who slots it home to make it 3-1.  The half time whistle goes at the same score.

The second half begins Hardly Athletic seem to have changed their tactics. With a 3 -1 lead they take their time with the ball, keeping possession and making Aftershock players run after the ball. A clever tactic as Aftershock have no subs for that all important breather. Mackie sees his shot go high from the left side. Simmons sees a toe poke saved by the keeper, as HA continue to dominate. Kepke-Smith, intercepts a poor defensive pass, his shot go past the keeper only for it to hit the boards. Simmons is again in action, Domigan produces a save for the none existent cameras. Godden’s shot hits the post and Kepke-Smith’s shot deflects off Fletcher and go wide. A Voas shot comes back to Mackie who shoots high. Carl Oates then sees his shot for Aftershock come off the board and go straight to Mackie, it would appear that it isn't Aftershock's night tonight, nothing is running in their favour.

Godden flicks the ball to Simmons and he is unlucky to not get on the goal scoring sheet. Kepke-Smith then has the ball in the back of the net, only to see it correctly disallowed for infringing the area.

 Aftershock are visibly tiring now, the game is 34 minutes old are they are going deeper and deeper as Hardly Atheltic are indeed making good use of their substitute. Although Kepke-Smith has the next shot, which is saved but pushed back to him only to see his second shot saved again. Fletcher then passes to Mackie who is in the centre, virtually on the penalty spot, to slot the ball home and it's game over now as it's 4-1 and less than 3 minutes left. Mackie passes to Voas, he attacks only to see his effort parried back into play. The final whistle blows and the game ends with Hardly Athletic getting th 3 points. the man of the match goes to Paul Kepke-Smith, for his ever effortless display of football.  

Commentary: Danny Kenny

Date: 8th November 2017  Wednesday League

Game 1: Stanley’s Cask V Silver Foxes

With a new start to The Season all teams were raring to go with everything to play for. Tonight saw Stanley’s Cask rise to The Masters League (over 45’s). Having a struggling last season with a mid-table position in Division 2 (over 35’s), these guys are hoping for a better shot in their new division. Given a tough task being paired up against last season’s 3rd placed Silver Foxes.

The Foxes match line up was missing their regular goal keeper Chris Smith, giving the opposition a good chance. They started the game with Andy Carson in goal. The ever dependable George Wooton at 73 years old, our oldest Masters League player finds himself in The Foxes Squad too.

The game kicked off and had a few early chances, one from Dave Jones (Silver Foxes) following a free kick on the penalty spot and a couple from Simon Hughes (Stanley's Cask) but neither team got the chance to celebrate. Jeff Mitchell (Foxes)saw a shot from the left wing go narrowly wide. Simon Hughes had a 'toey' go wide and high of Carson's goal.

Following a pass to the right wing Simon Hilton's shot slips past Dave Aston to make it 1-0 to The Foxes. Hilton and Paul Mackenzie link up with a lovely 1-2 play only to be denied in the end.

A pause in play sees the first substitutions of the night, with Wooton replacing Jeff Mitchell for Foxes and John Knight making his debut of the Masters League.

Stanley’s apply pressure upon The Foxes goal, they see efforts from Hilton and Knight go wide. 10 minutes in, and Stanley's are putting up a good show against their tricky opponents.  Two goals from Simon Hughes sees Stanley's taking the lead for the first time in the game; one comes via a shot from Chris Keenan which is saved by the keeper but goes straight back out to Simon who puts it away for the score 2-1.

Mitchell is now back on the pitch to change up game play. Hilton sees another powerful shot hit the back of the net to level things up again. Keenan spots a hopeful shot deflect off Mitchell to send the keeper the wrong way and go into the goal. It is now 3-2 to Stanley's.

Scott Elliott steps up in goal for The Foxes in the second half. Keith Graham carried off a phenomenal full length pitch pass – definitely the pass of the evening! Results in a shot from Knights just skipping wide.

Hughes pulls off a tremendous tackle, taking the ball off the toe of Simon's foot just as he is about to pull the trigger! Paul Mackenzie comes back on and sees his shot from the edge of the box saved by Dave's feet, and follows that up with another shot that goes wide of the goal. Quickly returned at the other end, Knight sees his effort turned over for height by Elliot. Stanley's appear to be tiring now as the Foxes pile on the pressure looking for the equaliser. Shot after shot there is no prevailing goal for The Foxes. Dave Jones has an awkward fall in the left corner and needs some first aid after injuring his left wrist, which ends up with a bag of ice on it on the touchline. Aston keeps Stanley’s in the game deflecting a shot from Mitchell. Will Stanley's be able to hold on for a surprise first game win?

Wooton has a shot from the halfway line but sees denied as it flies wide and high.  Dave is unfortunate and his mistake costs his team dear, as his error goes to Simon who passes the ball across the box to Jones who scores the equaliser with only seconds to go. Final whistle blows and the game ends 3-3 and it was an excellent showing from Stanley's Cask.

Final Score: Stanleys Cask (3) V (3) Silver Foxes

MOM - Dave Jones.

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