Polytechnic 8s 2017-2018
Skipper: Nikos Drakatos
Polytechnic 8s – City of London 3rd – 3-2 (0-2) cup game
Goals: Metodi Adirkov (3)
The road to glory begins
With smiles making their back into Poly players’ faces and a couple of players coming back from long injuries and travels, the home, cup, game against City of London was a chance to capitalize on this great momentum. The team needed a win to cash on the good spirits. And a win they managed.
But things didn’t go as expected. A couple of late drop-outs due to illness left the team without many options in case of injuries during the game. Poly started the game with a 3-5-2 formation, hoping to control the midfield early on in the game. The first minute of the game found Poly very close with an opening goal. A long ball behind City’s defense got Metodi in position for an opener. Unfortunately, City’s goalkeeper saved, what looked like, a done deal.
Poly did not give up. In fact, they created numerous opportunities for an opening goal with Stefan D., Metodi, Arash and Sean unable to convert in equal opportunities. Things started going south during the second part of the first half. During City’s second corner, Nikos misted his mark, leaving his player uninterrupted to open the score with an easy kick in front of Andy. (0-1)
The second City goal wasn’t far away either. During an attacking throw-in, City’s left winger crossed the ball inside the area. Stephen marginally missed the header, only for the ball to rest on a City’s striker left foot. The striker had an easy job in front of Andy who, even though tried to block the shot, was unable to prevent the second goal. (0-2)
A third goal was prevented two minutes before the end of the first-half. In a counter attack, City’s striker passed the ball parallel to his incoming teammate, immobilizing Andy and Neil. Thankfully, Robert, who was running towards the goal managed a last-second slide-tackle and saved the goal right on the goal-line.
A total comeback
Halftime found the team determined to turn things around. The second half started just like the first one. Poly pushed for an early goal but our attack could not convert any of the one-on-one opportunities.
Meanwhile, City had a couple of chances to extend their lead. One of them hit Andy’s woodwork, but Petr managed to clear it in the last second.
What happened next can only be described as a total comeback. Around the 70th minute, Arash got possession of the ball in the back and managed a great long through-ball behind the oppositions’ back to Metodi. Metodi went past his mark heading towards the goal where the keeper was unable to stop him. (1-2)
The game at that point started becoming more aggressive. Poly, however, was circulating the ball in the midfield a lot better than its opposition, always creating grounds for an organized attack. On the 82nd minute, Zain managed a great through ball from the center of the filed to Metodi, who after going past the defender, he managed a beautiful curved shot to score his second goal for the day. (2-2)
The game was not over. The opposition believed they could get back in the lead during the extra time. However, Poly was determined to win this game before the 90th minute. In the last couple of minutes of the game, Robert got possession of the ball in the defense. Instead of clearing the ball, he progressed forward and managed a long, through, ball to Metodi. Poly’s striker and first goal scorer, dribbled past his mark and headed once again for a one-on-one towards the goal. Metodi proved clinical in the second half, scoring his third goal of the game, giving the win to his team who rushed to congratulate him for taking them through to the next round. (3-2)
MOTM: Metodi Adirkov
For the second game in a row, Metodi’s killer instinct struck again. Even though things did not go as he ‘d wish for the experienced striker in the first half, Metodi was clinical in the second half when his team needed him the most. With three personal goals, Metodi lead the team to the next round where they’re due to face Poly 7s in an early December derby encounter.
Polytechnic 8s – Old Salesians reserves – 3-3 (1-2)
Goals: Stefan Dimitrov, Metodi Adirkov (2)
The eye of the tiger
Last week found Poly back home against, currently, the second team in the league. A strong and very physical team. This time, Poly 8s had a full-house playing in a, its captain’s favorite, 3-5-2 formation with three quality options on the bench.
The game started the same way as the last one. Someone could even call it dreamy. Pressure up front and an early goal from Stefan D. Metodi pressed their right full-back, stole the ball and crossed it inside the area just on time for Stefan D. to step in before the last defender and score a beautiful goal. (1-0)
From this point on, things started going south. Joel and Zain, who never played together before, were still trying to coordinate, Stefan T. dropped deeper, playing next to the two holding midfielders and Poly’s wings stay back to help with the defense. Old Salesians have a very good team with some strong wingers who created most of their team’s opportunities.
One of those chances eventually converted into a goal. Old Salesians’s right winger got possession of the ball dragging with him 3 Poly players. He successfully crossed the ball in the center of the pitch right outside the area, were an incoming midfielder managed a first-touch shot to send the ball resting at the back of Poly’s net. (1-1)
A few minutes later, another opportunity with the same winger took place. This time it was the same player who crossed in the area and managed a shot that Andy was unable to save. (1-2)
Late in the game
The first half didn’t go as planned. But Poly had another 45 minutes to get back on the game. The start of the second half did not make things easier for Poly. The team literally picked up where they left off from the first half and gave way to a third goal (1-3).
Memories of early performances against Poly 7s and Metron started making their way into the captains’ mind. Thankfully, not the players in the field. What happened next though, proves that the team mentally has changed. Zain and Joel started coordinating better and dominating the midfield. Disorganized and opportunistic counter attacks gave way to more organized attacking plays with the ball circulating in the midfield. Stefan T. pushed up and together with Metodi and Stefan D., were pushing Old Salesians’s defense for the easy mistake.
The pressure eventually paid off. Metodi got the ball of one of the defenders and headed straight towards the goal managing a beautiful finish. (2-3)
As Old Salesians’s performance was dropping, Poly’s was picking up. The team kept pushing more looking to create more promising opportunities for a third goal. Around the 76th minute, Metodi received the ball close to midfield. Playing the one-two with Stefan D., he went past the defender, heading towards the goal. Once again, Old Salesians’s keeper was unable to block Metodi’s shot and the game was all square. (3-3)
With more than 10 minutes left on the clock, Poly was determined to steal the game and manage a total come back. While pushing for a fourth goal, and while the game was close to the end, both teams tried to overthrow the victory on their side using all possible ways which ended up in a little brawl. Nothing changed and the 3-3 remained.
A great come back and second half performance from Poly who could have won the game if things wouldn’t result in this unfortunate event.
MOTM: Metodi Adirkov
An all-round performance from the Bulgarian striker who never stopped running. Metodi’s determination in pushing the opposition defenders resulted in one assist and two goals. We’re only hoping for more of these performances!
West Wickham 6s – Polytechnic 8s – 2-1 (1-1)
Goals: Metodi Adirkov
10 and a half men
A week after their first win Poly 8s travelled to the Far Far West… (a.k.a West Wickham). A tricky destination for numbers every year.
The morning of the 28 October did not start on the right foot. One by one the players started dropping off the team for various reasons. As a result, 30 minutes before kick-off, the team was left with 10 men and an injured captain to fight for a win.
Against all odds, things actually started off quite well for Poly 8s. The emergency midfield pulled together with Celso and Nikos managed to deflect any opposition attempts, while pushing the team forward with the help of Stefan D.
A Poly goal wasn’t far away
Metodi, who never stopped running and pressing, managed to steal the ball from West Wickham’s last defender, creating a dangerous one-on-one opportunity that he successfully converted it into a goal. (0-1)
Poly’s defense looked rather comfortable with the addition of Andy, who came to help, literally, the last second before kick-off. However, a single opportunity was enough to unsettle the overall good performance of the team put together in the first half. West Wickham, without having any real chances until then, managed to hit Poly on the counter-attack to get things leveled. (1-1)
Halftime found Poly strategizing against hitting West Wickham in the counter-attack, utilizing Stefan’s and Metodi’s speed. However, as soon as the second half started, the plan fall apart.
Tiredness kicked in. Nikos, who previously received a hit in him already injured ribs, looked more like a walker from the TV series The Walking Dead. Celso was unable to deflect the never-stopping ongoing attacking attempts on his own, which meant that Stefan had to drop deeper to pick up the ball.
With the score on 1-1, annoyance started making its presence in Poly’s players. More specifically Nikos, unable to do anything to help his team, picked up a number of fights during the game resulting in him receiving a sin bin 15 minutes before full-time. Inevitably, his sin bin resulted in West Wickham scoring a second goal as soon as he stepped foot off the pitch. (2-1)
The team kept fighting but were unable to respond. A bad second half that resulted in another defeat. However, the fighting spirit and determination displayed by everyone was a bigger gain for this team than an actual win. The team displayed signs of a brighter future, where determination and passion can sometimes make all the difference.
No MOTM was picked as the team lost the game.
Old Actonians 7s – Polytechnic 8s – 0-1 (0-0)
Goals: Stefan Dimitrov
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
– Vince Lombardi
Fighting for survival
After a devastating start to the season, with 3 losses and 19 goals conceded in aggregate, the team seemed on the verge of collapsing. The club was not happy. Neither were the players. Everyone was aware that performances like the last one should be avoided by all means.
After an intense warm-up session, the team gathered around and swore to put on a performance filled with passion, determination, and support for each other – no matter the score.
Starting with a conservative 3-5-2, while trying to carefully weight their feet on the pitch, Poly gave space to the home team allowing them to control the game. After the first ten minutes, Poly felt more comfortable with the ball on their feet and started building up from the defense. Neil played a pivotal role in clearing any loose balls coming into the area and confidently carrying over the ball to the midfield.
Soon after, Poly started creating goal opportunities with Stefan and Metodi playing the one-two trying to penetrate the opposition’s defence. The Bulgarian duo created a number of great opportunities to open the score, however, the lack of followups from the midfield on the last third and the opposition’s defence kept the score level until halftime.
Building on the confidence
Realising that they were in control of the game, halftime found Poly determined to take a step further and push higher up. After halftime, the game continued from where it was left off with Poly creating a number of opportunities for an opening goal.
Mo, who had replaced Robert, and Arash, who had also replaced Sean, we carrying the ball down the flanks, opening up the pitch for Stefan T. and Stefan D. to receive the ball in the centre and become dangerous.
Poly kept missing one chance after the other with both Stefan D. and Metodi being unlucky with their last touches. Both the midfield and the defence looked rather comfortable with Phil clearing any incoming balls, and Stefan T. and Celso dominating the midfield.
Robert and Sean both came back on to replace Celso and Metodi who were both left without a breath after winning many fights. With 10’ left on the clock, there was room for one goal, if not two. It was then that a counter-attack developed when Phil got possesion of the ball in the centre and found Mo on the left wing. Mo carried the ball inside the area and crossed it at the right time for Stefan D. to find it with the tip of his foot while being dragged down by the last defender. The ball ended at the back of the net and Poly players broke into cheers and celebrations.
Not over yet
What happened next, proves why we should never lose concertation and composure until the very end. Being 1-0 ahead, the team wanted to keep the score until the end. We were clearing balls away and not trying to play it to feet or carry it over to the other side of the pitch. The pressure from Actonians was on. The opposition kept pushing for a goal trying to find opportunities mainly from their left flank.
With less than a minute on the clock, Miltos took the goal kick. Actonians won the ball in the midfield and broke into a counter-attack from left. The ball crossed Poly’s entire defence line to find an Actonians’s striker ready for a free header, after escaping his marker.
What happened next has not happened for a while. Seeing the cross, Miltos decided to take two steps back and jump towards the player with the free header. Doing so, Miltos blocked the header right on top of the goal line. A second block from Miltos later sealed an incredible last-second save and the game was all over, signaling the first win of the season and the beginning of a great come back.
MOTM: Neil Davey
After playing as a striker for the first 3 games, Neil took place at the defence as a sweeper. And sweep he did. With Neil at the back, the defence looked very comfortable focusing on their marks rather than on loose balls. Neil was literally everywhere, clearing balls and carrying over to the midfield to begin an organized attack.
A well-rounded game from all the lads on the field. Everyone played to their best ability leaving very little room for mistakes. The passion and determination from each player were evident and played an important role in the team’s first win of the season. We now have the basis to build on and continue with the same passion. Well done to everyone for a great game. We now need to keep working hard in order to turn the situation around.
Thanks for your hard work!
POLYTECHNIC 8s 2015/16 SEASON SUMMARY
POLYTECHNIC 9s 2014/15 SEASON SUMMARY