So after a 4 month slog through the winter months, the final game of the season in Division 1 was for the league title, and was between Avenue Vets and Railway. Following last week’s shock loss for Railway against Sons of Pitches, they had left themselves with an uphill task of not only needing to win the game tonight, but they also needed to beat the opposition by 4 clear goals if they were going to win the league. Pre match confidence was high from both managers, Stu Boyd (Railway), when asked if they were going to win the league tonight, answered ' I'm confident, it's do able, let's hope so'. Whilst Peter Smith’s (Speedy) response was 'yes, we'll batter these'. 

The match was officiated by Phil tonight and the game got under way at 7.54pm and both sides had different keepers in, as the usual keepers were both injured. In goal for Avenue Vets was Sean Kenny who had already played half of the games previously covering for the injured Robbie Humphries earlier in the season and in goal for Railway was Dave McGovern who had previously been a regular Monday league keeper for Paris Ganja Man. The game had also attracted a capacity crowd to the side of pitch one, with players from other teams and even off duty staff in the arena. 

So we got underway, and Railway were very quick out of the blocks and we saw an early effort from Danny Edwards which was deflected off Nick Scholls and went past Sean Kenny to put Railway one up in the first couple of minutes. This was quickly followed by another goal for the same team, thanks to a left wing attack by Stu Boyd, and a shot went past Kenny and it's 2-0, early on. Anthony Sample then took a free kick for Avenue, which came to nothing as Avenue struggled to get into the game. It would appear that they were also missing the injured forward Lee Gibson. Jon Sumner (Railway) then had a shot which went wide of the goal. It was Edwards who had the next attempt which also went wide. Sumner then won the ball from Scholls, shot and scored, and it's 3-0. Avenue have hardly had a touch and don't appear to have turned up tonight.

Scholls then had an attempt at goal only to see it saved by Dave McGovern. Edwards had a further attempt which he missed, as did Paul McDonnell. Speedy then had a shot from the left wing which was going inside the left hand post only for McGovern to make a class save to deny him.

McDonnell had another effort which Kenny clawed out low to his right hand side to pull off a brilliant save. The same player had the next shot which Kenny pushed over the height mark. Speedy then put a poor pass out from the back which went straight to Edwards, and he struck the ball away and it is now 4-0 to Railway. If this continues they will win the league easily. 

At long last, this appeared to get a reaction from Avenue and on their next attack, Scholls had a shot from long range, which went into the goal to make it 4-1 and now it is Avenue who, if the game stays the same, will win the league. Scholls also had the next attempt which he saw saved by the Railway keeper, McGovern. Sample then had a hard shot, which was not only saved, but was also held by McGovern. McDonnell then had a shot which Kenny saved, only to see it going back out to McDonnell, but Kenny recovered in time and held onto the ball just before it went out of the area. We then saw the pass of the game, where Dave Carrington, who was in the left back position passed it forward to Brady, who slotted the ball home and Avenue are well in control of their own fate now, even though they are losing 4-2. The half time whistle blows and a much needed rest for all. 

The 2nd half started very much as the 1st half had, with Boyd having two early shots, one from the right side and one from the left only to see both efforts saved by Kenny. Edwards, then won the ball on the right hand side and again scores, and it's now 5-2. Edwards also had another shot, only to see it well saved. Unfortunately for Avenue, the ball rebounded back to Sumner who put it away, and it's now Railway's title, as the score is now 6-2. They have the much needed 4 goal advantage needed to win the title. Edward’s has another effort which has hit the upright. Edwards then also won the ball on the left wing, crossed it to McDonnell but he missed with his attempt. Speedy then attacked down the left wing, shot and scored. It's now 6-3 and the pendulum has now swung back in Avenue's favour. Boyd then saw his shot also hit the upright.

 The next goal was going to be crucial as we entered the last 10 minutes of the game, and it went to Avenue, thanks to Sample, it's now 6-4 to Avenue. Avenue then changed tactics, and decided to play possession football, and it was up to Railway, to take the ball off them, which they struggled to do. In the last minute of the game, Edwards gained possession and scored to make it 7-4 with his fourth goal of the game, but there wasn't enough time left for another goal, and Avenue came out the victors, even though they had lost the game, as they won the Division 1 title after 16 games played, courtesy of a one goal better goal difference than Railways.

This was the best game I had witnessed at the Soccerdome as a 'reporter', and it was down to the honesty of both teams, who played it in the correct spirit, with little disagreement with the referees decisions. MOM tonight went to Sean Kenny, and this was well deserved, even though I am his Father, his biggest critic and perhaps a little biased. Well done also to Phil for his excellent officiating of the game. 

Tonight was a potentially good match between Railway who were up against The Flask, who were weakened by regular players being injured. The referee for tonight game was Phil.

The game kicked off and almost immediately it was 1-0 to Railway thanks an excellent attack up the left flank and successful shot from Danny Edwards. It was the same player who scored the next goal after 2 minutes. Is this going to be annihilation? Paul Hughes had the next shot for Railway but was pushed high by The Flask’s keeper Michael Crisp.

We then saw Flask have their first attempt via a free kick. Gareth Jones took the shot but it was an easy save for Chris Smith. Edwards then had another attempt, but was denied by the keeper who pushed it onto the post. It was going in off the post, but Crisp recovered in time and picked the ball up.

Jon Sumner then had an attempt as he attacked the space in front of him, but again Railway are denied by Crisp. Paul McDonnell, with excellent use of the boards passes the ball onto Edwards and railway find a way through; it’s now 3-0. Railway in possession again this time sees Edwards square the ball to Macca, who plays it back to Edwards who can get his shot off. Again this shot is successful past Crisp and its now 4-0.

David Murphy had a rare attempt for TF but Smith parries it out back but land back to Murphy, he gets a second shot off but it goes wide, an excellent chance wasted. Normal service quickly resumed when Macca squared the ball to Sumner this time and it’s 5-0. Macca then passed to Sumner again, and it’s another goal and 6-0. TF are going to have to improve dramatically if they are going to get anything out of this game. They do just that and gain some quick promising possession and then a shot from Murphy from the halfway line but it’s saved once again by the cat that goes by the name Chris Smith. It was doom and gloom for Flask as they were reduced to 4 men as Aaron Hayes came off injured before half time after turning his ankle. Macca attacked down the left flank for railway and was able to make it 7. However The Flask were able to get that goal before half time from Mark Woods to make it 7-1 at the break.

Flask had a switch around for the second half with Hayes going in goal and Crisp playing out. Sumner put the ball away only to see Phil disallow it for an earlier infringement. Edwards then grabbed his fourth goal of the night and this was quickly followed by a goal for Sumner to make it 9-1. Woods then tried a toe poke to get The Flask a second goal but missed the target. It was Edwards again, with the next attempt only to see it hit the underside of the bar and bounce high. Woods then put a through ball to Gareth Jones and his shot went under Smith and into the net to make the score 9-2. Macca scored another goal for Railway which was quickly replied by Woods for the Flask and it’s now 10-3. Railway asserted their authority again with another 3 quick goals courtesy of Sumner and Edwards with 2 which makes it 13-3. Jones has an attempt from the left wing and the score is now 13-4. Macca replies though for Railway, supported by tonight’s mascot, Charlie Macca, his Son. Last goal of the night goes to Flask and Murphy to end the game 14-5, but it was a one sided game. It looks like it will be a last game shootout between Railway and Avenue for the Division 1 title.

MOM went to Danny Edwards

Top and bottom of Division 2 clash tonight saw Hardly Athletic come up against Scorpian's. The official for tonight's game was in house ref Sarah. The first attempt of the night went to HA's Gary Renshaw which saw his side taking the lead as he nut-megged the keeper Scott Elliot, Scott Elliot is renowned for nut megging players in our Monday league, this news may have travelled round our division 2 league as Elliot seems to be getting nut megged in goal more and more each week. HA dominated the game early on, emphasizing their position in the table and this seen Dave Gooden having the next attempt. Gooden sees his effort go high off John Harrington, which results in to a free kick for HA. But this excellent opportunity to extend their lead unfortunately comes to nothing, and so Scorpians are now in possession.

Gooden also had the next attempt, getting a fantastic shot off and scoring with a little help form Alan Fletcher as the ball was travelling towards goal, however Sarah correctly disallows the goal and blowing up for a handball by Fletcher. 

Barry McGrath had the first shot for Scorpian's, only for Chris Smith to parry it to Mark Cartwright, who also shoots but Smith holds onto his attempt. An excellent double save by Smith. Rob Kalitkin then passed the ball to McGrath whose shot was again saved. Gooden then took a free kick for HA, passing the ball to Ian Mackie. I think I have done something to upset Mr. Mackie, as his shot came straight at me, lucky my reflexes are still good, as he missed the target. Another free kick for HA which again was passed to Mackie, this time his shot was on the right target but was narrowly saved by Elliot.

McGrath, was then successful in a series of tackles in the centre of the pitch, successfully retaining possession for his team and managing to get a shot off again the shot was saved by Smith. Godden then had the second meg of the night on the opposition keeper to make it 2-0. Renshaw had the next goal, a little bizarrely, as Elliot saved it only to put it into his own goal and it's now 3-0, and is it game over already? Godden had the next attempt, going down the middle with a team mate either side of him, both in acres of space, but he chose to shoot himself only for his attempt to be saved. Mackie had the last shot of the first half and continued HA's dominance, scoring from it to make it 4-0 at half time.

It was business as usual for HA at the start of the second half as Fletcher attacked from a defensive position and to score and it's now 5 to HA. Gooden was then attacking but was closed down by Harrington in the corner, Gooden shoots and the ball goes in. But was it an own goal off Harrington, yes it was. McGrath then had a couple of attempts himself, both missing the target, but the next shot went to Harrington only for him to see his attempt come off the crossbar. Scorpians frustrated as they can’t seem to get the ball in the back of the net tonight. Mackie, then scored a cracking goal into the corner of the keeper’s net, only for it to be his own keeper as his back pass (more like a shot) went into the goal. Scorpian's finally getting a goal they deserve it is now 6-1. Alan Hayes loses possession to Gooden, who took it out to the right, shot and scored again, it's now 7-1. Renshaw scored the next one after a quick attack to make it 8-1. 

McGrath was again in the action for Scorpian's, with a low shot down to Smith's left side, only for Smith to somehow get his hand to the shot. It was the same player involved in the next attempt, passing the ball to Alan Hayes, only for Hayes to hit the bar and the ball went high for a free kick to HA. McGrath was finally rewarded for his efforts, getting a much-deserved goal for his dogged performance and the score is now 8-2. Mackie redeemed himself for his earlier own goal with a goal which went in off the keeper.

The game ends at 9-2 to Hardly Athletic. MOM was awarded to Gary Renshaw for his excellent efforts and his 3-goal contribution for his team.

Fixture: Harvey Bears V Silver Foxes

Date: Wednesday 14th February

Match Official: Rhys Buck

14th of February was a big day! Not very many fixtures to played down The Dome this Wednesday…was this because all our Wednesday Night players are all big romancers? Or would they blame it on the Champions League game? We may never find out…

The big game tonight was not Liverpool V Porto, down The Dome we had the mighty Harvey Bears face off against The Silver Foxes. We also have the valiant return of one of our long serving refs – Rhys Buck and he got the game off to a prompt start.

Chris Evans, a new signing for The Bears a transfer from the ‘retired’ team The Gerry Hat tricks, had the opening attempt of the night for The Bears from the halfway line but nothing came of the move.

The Bears adamant to get on the score card first sees Ste Caples with the next effort and he walks around the prostrate keeper, Tony Robinson and scores the opening goal. Evans then makes amends for his earlier miss, scoring from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.

The Foxes tails are ruffled! Paul McKenzie is the first fox to see the goal, but is denied by a deflection from Nev Howson, which took it wide of the goal and back into open play. Jeff Mitchell had a shot for The Foxes which rebounded off the back boards and right back into The Bears possession. Caples then fired a thunderous shot, which flew into Robinsons left hand corner and it is now 3-0. Tony Fitzsimmons (HB) had his first shot of the game but the keeper easily pushed out to his right hand side. Evans scored his second goal of the night, coming inside from the left wing and we witnessed another thunderbolt and it's 4-0.

George Wooton, The Foxes nominated player manager, continued to encourage his team, barking encouragement and orders to them throughout. This seemed to bear fruit as Mitchell won the ball from the halfway mark, took it forward, and put his shot under the diving Roger, to pull the deficit back to 3 goals. A loose pass from HB then saw Mitchell gain possession, he passes to Jones, only to see his attempt saved and it goes high for a free kick.

Howson then attacks down the wing, comes inside, shoots and Robinson saves the shot. The move of the night then took place with Frank Brennan, with a megs on George Wooton, with shouts of approval from the touchline. Ian Turner followed this up with a shot for The Bears from the centre of the pitch, only for the ball to come off the boards again. Brennan then moved forwards down the right wing, but his tame effort was easily saved by the keeper. Dave Jones, then took his life into his own hands, with a tremendous shot, which hit the referee Rhys from all of a yard away from him (by accident), Rhys recovered quickly and shortly after, blew up for half time and its 4-1 to Harvey Bears.

Fitzsimmons started the second half with a fizzing shot from halfway, only to see Robinson save with his left hand. Mitchell, cleverly played a one two to himself of the boards, and he scores from the resulting shot and it's now 4-2. Turner had an attempt on goal which was well saved. Caples had a shot which came off the keeper straight back to him and he slots home the second attempt and restored the 3 goal cushion. It was Caples again, involved in the next goal, where he passed to Fitsimmons and his attempt went into the far post and it's now 6-2.

The laugh of the night then occurred, when The Bears won a free kick in front of the capacity audience of 4, Wooton stood in front of the ball, and in anticipation of it being taken, he kicked the ball to the other end of the pitch, thankfully, Reece saw the funny side of it also, and took no action against Wooton.

Mitchell, then had an attack for The Foxes and just as he was about to 'pull the trigger', Turner, took the ball of his toes, to prevent the shot. Mitchell on fire and on the ball had another shot only for it to be saved well by Roger. Jones eager to level the tekkers playing field - got Brennan back for his earlier megs on his team mate, doing the same to Brennan. Evans scored again with his effort going in off Wooton to make it 7-2. The Foxes developing some accuracy with their skills, seemed to make 'another game' when it was Mitchell who gracefully slotted the ball through Brennan’s poor stance. This mini Nutmeg competition seen The Foxes have some glory, with a 2-1win.

Caples then gained possession, took it forward, and the keeper anticipating a shot, dived, only to see Caples 'dink' it over the prone keeper and it's 8-2. Thje Foxes are no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed as fatigue sets in. The Bears utilize their opponents tiredness and score another 2 goals from Evans, into the corner of the goal and Caples to make it 10-2. The last action of the night saw Wooton's valentines hopes go up in flames, as he is hit in the midriff from a hard shot from another fellow Fox!

The game finishes at 10-2 to Harvey Bears and the MOM goes to Ste Caples.

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! 

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