My last competitive football match came some time in May 2014, well over 2 years ago. Since then I’ve appeared in a couple of friendly matches and played some small-sided games, but nothing “official”
Today finally saw an end to that, with a long awaited return to the pitch for my new Sunday league side Northcroft, named after a social club that just happens to be a stone’s throw from my front door.
The Treadfirst Sudbury and Haverhill Sunday Football League covers, as you could probably guess from it’s name, teams across this part of Suffolk, primarily based around the towns of Sudbury and Haverhill. Today’s match was away in Haverhill, about as far away as we will travel this season, to take on FC Bar Vu Reserves.
Being new to the league I don’t know who’s going to be good, who we’ll turnover or even how good our own players were, but I was quietly confident going into this one.
The pitch was on a huge open playing field, up a bank and very exposed to the wind, which would prove a major player throughout the match. The surface, though fairly hard, was of a high standard with the well cut grass almost being ideal for football, something you don’t always find at this level.
We dominated the first half and were 4-0 up by half time. I had little to due during this period, mainly collecting over hit through balls and taking goal kicks. Unfortunately, my kicking was letting me down, although distance was not an issue I was struggling with accuracy, particularly when kicking from my hands. The wind was blowing strongly from behind me and often carrying them right through the opposition goalkeeper.
That said, I did manage one “semi assist”, with one of my kicks deflecting off a defender before releasing our striker through the middle who coolly slotted home.
Having been out of the game for so long, my confidence was also fairly low and I was reluctant to come flying through crowds of players to collect balls that I probably should have done, but going in at half time with a clean sheet, I was happy enough.
The second half I attempted to rectify what I felt were my weaknesses from the first. With the wind blowing strongly against us now I stopped kicking from my hands and always looked for the short option or kicked from the floor, something which definitely helped and that I was pleased with the outcome of.
I’m not sure whether it was over confidence or an underestimation of the weather, but less than a minute into the half we had conceded. I was a little disappointed with this one as I failed to push a hard low shot far enough away from the goal, giving the striker the chance to tap in from the rebound to set up an interesting 45 minutes.
We did restore the margin though shortly after, making it 5-1 and although I spent much of the half dealing with the wind, we were fairly comfortable at the back. Aside from maybe one or two low saves, the half for me was again dominated by the collecting of long balls and controlling the defence.
A penalty was given against us mid-way through the second half and unfortunately I have still yet to save one in a competitive game. Going the right way, I momentarily thought I had a chance, but it was so well hit into the side netting that I was never getting anywhere near it.
The game finished 5-2, a comfortable victory and hopefully a sign of things to come.
In terms of my own performance, I was fairly happy. I recognised my faults from the first half and tried (successfully I think) to put these right in the second period. I wasn’t overly busy and I could’ve done better for the first goal, but other than that I just need to build my confidence when coming for the ball and work on the accuracy of my kicks.
Looking forward to the next game now, bring it on!
Prior to this season, since leaving Portsmouth in June 2014, I've only played one 11-a-side game of football, which was a pre-season friendly for Wells Hall back in that summer. Today we faced that side, albeit a very different looking one to what I remember, at Cornard United's ground
Playing at a "proper" ground (Cornard are in the Thurlow Nunn league) is a different experience from the wind-swept playing fields of Haverhill on which I played my last match two weeks ago.
We were always expected to win today. Wells Hall are, shall I say, a much more "experienced" team than us and I for one was confident we could continue our fine start to the season in this one.
The first half was an incredibly quiet one for me personally, as we controlled the game and created many chances, limiting Wells Hall to aimless through balls which I was able to easily collect. The only blip was a slight misjudgement of a floated cross, which went over my head and, fortunately, out of play for a goal kick. Other than that, my kicking was consistent and I was pleased with the little that I had to do.
We went in at half time 2-0 up, but in truth it should've been much more than that. A succession of dodgey offside calls and a few spurned chances had held us back from going in at the break 4 or 5 up.
The second half was even quieter than the first. I think must've collected two, maybe three through balls and kicked only once or twice. In the end we went on to win 3-0, but the scoreline really didn't show our dominance. We sit top of the league on goal difference as it stands and it is widely expected to come down to a straight fight between ourselves and BLG United for the title. Next week we host Stoke By Clare who, before today also had a 100% record (at the time of writing their result from today has not been submitted).
Sunday marked my third game of the season and I was keen to help the team get back to winning ways after they suffered a controversial defeat the week before. The side we were playing, Acton Crusaders, had enjoyed a mixed start to the season but I was confidence we’d be able to beat them.
Unfortunately, we were on the back foot for much of the first half and I was called into action much more than in any of my previous two games. I had to make 2 or 3 strong saves in the first half, although one was as a direct result of a poor goal kick on my part, but still.
My kicking is causing me some concern at the moment. Ground kicks are fine (although could be better), but for some reason I seem to have lost the accuracy of my drop kicks, which used to be one of my strong points. I’ve lost some confidence in them as a result and prefer to drop the ball and kick from the floor when possible, but it’s something that I will look to improve.
Unfortunately, we did go behind in the game. A ball down their left wing somehow found its way to the corner of my area and was squared across to be knocked in at the back post. We had 2 or 3 chances to clear it, but there wasn’t anything I could do about that one.
We levelled things up before half time and grabbed two more in the first minute of the second half, which I think led to a bit of complacency. They began to apply the pressure again and got another goal back from a corner. The ball was floated in deep and, to be fair, I should’ve come for it, but chose to stay on my line. I was annoyed because I pulled out a really good save from the close range header to tip it onto the bar, but with me on the floor, Acton followed in for an easy header from a yard out.
We did go on to win the game, but they did grab another goal late in the game. A hoofed clearance down the middle evaded both our central defenders and I was arguably a bit slow at coming out. By the time I got the edge of my box to try and close down the striker, he was already in control of the ball and tucked it into the corner.
But we did win the game 5-3, the same scoreline as the opening game of the season. In 3 games I have conceded 6 goals, which I’m not overly happy with, but I don’t think there was much I could do about many of them and I will take the clean sheet against Wells Hall away as a positive as I miss the next few games.
Our next game is on Friday night at AFC Sudbury, but I am away from Friday to Sunday so will miss that. I will also miss the next Sundays after that meaning my next game (if I get back in the team!) won’t be until the 30th October. Hopefully we can continue our push for the title during this time and I come back to a winning team.
I’m really enjoying playing again and this performance was definitely my best so far this season, having been forced into a number of really good saves. I feel that I’m getting better with every game and can’t wait for the next one!
The Ultimate Chelmsford City Fan Site.
Since I can remember, I've always been a fan of Chelmsford City Football Club. My dad took me to games throughout my childhood and I have continued to go whenever possible since. Given my chosen career path it was only a matter of time before it combined with my number one favourite thing in the world (football), something which has indeed happened with a number of projects over the years
In February 2013 I launched ClaretArmy, a fansite for the Clarets that offered a mixture of match previews and reports, opinion posts and club news. Since then, the site has grown to include up-to-date fixture and results lists, squad lists complete with statistics for all competitions and a fantasy football competition which now helps to generate revenue for the official Chelmsford City Supporters Club.Visit Website
An interactive and useful map of my local area.
The original idea behind SudburyMap was to create a different way to list out and display historic photos of Sudbury, by presenting them on an interactive map. The markers on the map indicate a location where a photo was taken, which you can click on to see a gallery of images from this place. You can then enlarge each image by clicking on it and can scroll through images from the same location using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
Unforunately the task of gathering enough images to make it worthwhile was too much so, rather than scrapping the site altogether, it was adapted to work almost as a sort of .tourist information page. The website shows visitors the locations of local supermarkets, public toilets, sports teams, points of interest and much more all on an easy-to-use and helpful interactive Google map.
SudburyMap launched in December 2015.Visit Website
A fan site dedicated to a group of YouTube personalities
I started this site to give me the chance to hone my skills on a subject that interests me. The "Ultimate Sidemen" are a group who regularly post gaming videos to the platform YouTube and have amassed quite a following (we're talking millions of people).
Being quite early to the party I was able to procure the domain name relevant to their group and set about creating a small fan site that posted news about the group as well as links to their official channels and videos and other relevant fan accounts.
The website, albeit in a preview itteration to the current live design, even gained the attention of one the group when KSIOlajideBT Tweeted a link to the site to his 2 million Twitter followers, providing quite a bit of traffic to the site and using up a large portion of my monthly bandwidth!
Ultimate Sidemen went live in October 2014.Visit Website