Polytechnic 8s 2016-2017
Skipper: Miltiadis Giannopoulos
Old Parktonians 9s – Polytechnic 8s – 5-0 (2-0)
The first match of the New Year was the second round against Old Parkonians at Fairlop. The scenery was mostly set for an ice hockey game rather than a football one. Low temperatures and icy ground that turned into pure mud by the first 45 min. Poly had wrapped 2016 with a defeat but a very promising performance and was hoping to materialize it into a win.
New year, old habits…
After a quick/intense warm up the team was set at a 4-5-1 to strengthen the midfield and look for a chance in counter attack. Pete and Steve played CB, Istvan and Tin Full backs, while Nik , Dimitris and Phil covered Midfield. Celso and Gustavo covered the wings and Arash was playing lonely cowboy up front. Old Parkonians started the match with a foot on the gas, giving some problems to our full backs but Poly quickly managed to balance the game. Not much of a spectacle with the pitch being in a bad shape, Phil and Nick put some brave tackles and Dimitris tried to circulate the ball down the pitch.
An even battle was waging in the midfield but Old Parkonians midfielder broke free and was brought down out of Poly’s box giving them to open the score with a direct free kick which ended at the top right corner of Miltos’s goal, although he managed to put his fingers on it . Old Parkonians 1 Poly 0.
With little time to go everything looked like that would be the score for the first half, but another goal was in store for Old Parkonians who found their right winger with a long ball you got in the box and scored a second goal! Old Parkonians now had a clear advantage going into the second half. 2-0
During half time pep-talk, Miltos tried to remind the team of the last game they played and lift the spirits! Also new faces were introduced to the squad and the 4-5-1 turned into a 4-4-2 and Alex played up front to help Arash and put more pressure to the opposition.
Poly started to earn some yards on the pitch and actually had its first chance with Alex passing to Dimitris who tried his luck from inside the box but missed the target. Not long after Poly made their second change with Gustavo giving his position to George in order to give some fresh legs in the pitch.
Minutes later Arash broke free of his defender stormed in Old Parkonians box but his shot went straight to the goalkeeper. Poly kept the pressure coming, trying to get back into the game with Phil missing another good chance to score! Once again the law of football was proven right and in a counter attack Old Parkonianas crossed the ball in the box, Miltos slipped trying to dive for the save, and the striker had an easy job putting the ball in the net. 3-0
But the show for Old Parkonians wasn’t over yet. Another magnificent shot ended up in Poly’s top left corner to make the score 4-0 and after a mix up in the defence, the opposition took advantage and made the score 5-0!
Nothing to keep from this bad performance apart for the good signs shown by the new two faces. The 8s need to find a way to start scoring otherwise the league will prove to be another Waterloo.
No MoTM was awarded as the team lost the game.
Polytechnic 7th – Polytechnic 8th – 5-2 (2-1)
Goals: Nikos, Arash
In general, losses are unbearable. But then again there are some that leave you with a bittersweet feeling. The feeling of being proud even though you lost, only because you know you did everything you could and you fought till the end. The latter is the feeling that all Poly 8s player experienced after our cup game defeat against a very polished and sharp Poly 7s side. Onwards and upwards lads! See you all in 2017!
Everything goes wrong
Last Saturday found us back at home for an away cup game against Poly 7s. Poly 7s are performing great this season at the top of their league. A very sharp team that plays creative and attractive football.
Poly 8s, that was already struggling to get 11 players due to illness, and holiday travel plans of some key players, was tasked to overcome a very difficult obstacle. To make things worst, due to train disruptions, Poly 8s were forced to start the game with 9 players. This meant, a made up formation without any strikers.
The first few minutes where like a bad, teenage, American comedy. With nowhere to transition the ball from the back and the midfield, Poly 8s were doomed to defend like there was no tomorrow. On another note, all 9 players looked like the players from the movie “The Substitutes” with Keanu Reaves (if you haven’t already, watch it before the next game); like gladiators, unwilling to give up.
Fight mode: ON
Poly 7s pressure started paying off 15 minutes into the game. After missing a few good chances to score, with Miltos performing some incredible saves, and Dewayne missing, unmissable chances, Poly 7s striker received the ball outside of the area, stepped in between Petr and Phil and send the ball where Miltos was left unable to move, 1-0.
Poly 7s’ goal (1-0)
Poly 8s did not give up. In fact they had a couple of good chances, one with Nikos’s beautiful 35 yard cross in hope to find Sean, and with his rebound shot from the same corner. Unfortunately, the later found its way to the near tree line.
Twenty minutes into the game and Poly 7s doubled their goals. After a somewhat controversial penalty, Poly 7s striker hit a very powerful kick. Miltos put his hand on the ball, but the shot was to powerful to block, 2-0.
Arash and Nikos decided to take a chance. Their internal game plan was that every time Poly 8s had possession, one of them would push up as a striker, to at least challenge Poly 7s defence. The plan seamed to work, with Poly 8s gaining a few meters in the field. In one instance, Miltos volleyed the ball hopping to find Nikos up front. Nikos left the ball bounce over him trying to go past Harry who was unable to clear the ball. Nikos lift his head up to see Rajive out of position, and lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper to put his team back in the game, 2-1.
With 10 minuets left on the clock for the first half, Stephen came on and took his place at the back to give some much needed breather to his fellow team mates.
During half time, the team looked more determined than ever. It was the first time the Poly 8s players looked so much like a team. During the first half they’ve been supporting and encouraging each other the entire time. Occasionally even producing some good football. Shouting and complaining were out the door, making way for team bonding.
Tiredness kicks in
The second half started with Poly 8s pushing a bit higher. The pressure paid off with a couple of corners. However, tiredness from the constant defence and from running around to cover places, kicked in. Phil and Nikos were unable to block the never-ending attacks of Poly 7s. Poly 7s were bombarding Poly 8s’s goal, with Miltos yet again performing incredible saves. This was Miltos’s best performance for the season so far.
Unfortunately, Miltos couldn’t keep doing this. Eventually Poly 7s extended their lead with a nice cross from the right flank, and a kick from inside the box, 3-1.
Moments later, Poly 7s found their way inside Miltos’s net for the 4th time. Getting an incredible shot, 30 yards away from Miltos’s goal, Poly 7s’s midfielder send the ball flying to Miltos’s top left corner, 4-1.
Poly 8s did not stop fighting. They players were trying their best to push up and create opportunities. In fact, every time Arash and Gustavo had the ball on their feet, they looked threatening.
However, playing with 10 men uphill, is not easy, and Poly 7s’s fifth goal of the day was not far away. Poly 7s fifth goal was a copy-paste of their 3rd one. The ball was crossed from the right corner to find Poly 7s’ striker unmarked and score yet again, 5-1.
Not over yet
Nope, it was not over yet. Poly 8s players were determined to not give up. Phil headed the ball backwards to Nikos. Nikos picked it up and found Tin with a long ball in the opposition’s corner. Tin crosses the ball inside the area to find Arash. Arash dribbled and went past the last defender to score a beautiful goal for the 5-2.
Arash’s goal (5-2)
With minutes on the clock left before the final whistle, nothing changed in the game and Poly 7s went through to the next round of the SAL cup. A great performance from the 7s and great determination and fighting spirit from the 8s.
No MoTM was awarded as the team lost the game.
HSBC 5th – Polytechnic 8th – 0-5 (0-3)
Goals: Jack (2), Celso, Arash, Zeki
It’s always nice when you win. Especially if you desperately need a win and you go on and win comfortably. The sense of controlling the game gives you more confidence and helps you play the game you love. This win was like an antidote and a response to the latest bad performances. We’ll keep this win as our guide for future games. Great performance from everyone involved!
We are back!
As we are nearing the end of the calendar year and the end of the first half of the season, Poly 8s needed a win to keep their hopes up and stay competitive for the remainder of the season. However, with last minute cancellations and a couple of players being away, things didn’t look that promising. To top that, train disruptions and the heavy traffic resulted for some players being late and even starting the game with 10.
Poly started the game with Arash under the goalposts (!) and Zeki and Jack upfront. The opposition did not look threatening, with Poly creating chances early on in the game. Once Poly’s backup keeper made his way under the posts and the team had 11 players, it was only a matter of time to start converting.
An excellent first half
The first goal came from Jack. The left winger received the ball down the flank and with a smooth side step to his right, opened up HSBC’s defence in half. Jack took his chances from the top of the area scoring a beautiful opener, 0-1.
Next, was Celso’s time to score and open a tab for the season. The experienced Brazilian received the ball after a rebound and had a pop inside the area. No problem for Celso to hit a curved ball in, extending Poly’s lead by two goals, 0-2.
Poly kept creating one opportunity after another to score more gaols in the first half. With Zeki and Jack in a diabolical form, the third goal was only a matter of time. Dimitris stole the ball in the midfield and opened it up to Nikos. Nikos found Zeki on the right side of the area with long ball behind HSBC’s defence line, who then crossed the ball in for Arash. The Iranian storm received the ball, went past a defended and scored his second goal for the season, 0-3.
Thirsty for more
With Miltos away, Nikos warned the team during half time not to get complacent. History has shown that 3 goal lead can be easily covered in this level. Take Poly’s home game agains Old Wilstonians as an example where the team managed to equalise with 3 goals in the last 15 minutes of the game.
The second half found Poly even more confident. Every ball past Nikos and Dimitris was blocked or sent flying over by Istvan and Petr. In fact, the Hungarian legend was always first on the ball, confidently clearing any incoming ball, transitioning the ball to Poly’s midfielders.
The majority of the opportunities on the second half came from the left wing. With a bionic Tin thirsty for a personal goal (still tipsy from the Christmas drinks the night before), the team found a number of opportunities. In fact, Tin was both defending and attacking, all at the same time. He would steal the ball, block a header, carry it over to the opposition corner, cross it, shoot it, break it back tot he midfield and still be in position to score from inside the area. Tin took the term “all-around player” to the next level.
Not over yet
Despite Tin’s great efforts to score a goal, the fourth goal came from Jack. After a successful 1-2 with Zeki, Poly’s winger stepped inside the area to had, went passed over a defender to finish it with a silky touch on the ball, 0-4.
As Tin commented later on; “This was the best game to score as many as possible“. and Poly did just that. With only a few minutes left on clock, it was Zeki’s time to put one in. Dimitri carried the ball over from the defence and managed an excellent through ball to find Zeki on his own behind HSBC’s back who had no problem converting for the final, 0-5.
For the first time in the last three season, Istvan played as a centre back in lieu of a number of absences. Not only he managed to cover the position confidently, but gave the team confidence with his determined tackles and smooth transitions to the midfield. A very well deserved MoTM award.
South Bank 5th – Polytechnic 8th – 1-1 (1-0)
We knew that from the beginning of the season. Poly 8s problem in converting opportunities is something that baffles all professional football analysts. 2016 hasn’t been the best year for Poly. The team’s defence is solid this season, but scoring seems an occasional event. This time we managed to score and get a draw, once again, in the last seconds of the game.
Another last-minute steal
Last Saturday brought us to Brixton, playing the local South Bank team. The game was crucial with both teams in need of the three points to get unstuck from the bottom of the league.
Poly started the game with a formation that was not introduced before. An attacking 3-5-2. The team got on the pitch to dominate the midfield and break the opposition defence line at every opportunity. The new formation, even if it was not something the team was used, found the defence being solid and able to quickly clear any attacking opportunities coming its way.
Poly looked for an early goal. The first good chance came from a static ball from a free kick. Arash and Nikos played a trick trying to open up South Bank’s wall, but unfortunately, Arash’s direct free kick was just wide. A great effort from Poly’s striker. The second good chance came moments later with Dimitris. The experienced midfielder passed the ball down the left flank to Michal, who immediately gave it back to find Dimitri in the open space. Dimitri had a pop, but his shot was blocked by South Bank’s goalkeeper. The opposition also had a great chance with a very powerful shot right outside the area, forcing Miltos to a great save.
Trailing is never fun
The game went on with many hard challenges taking place in the middle of the park. Against all odds, without a real chance so far, South Bank managed to score a great goal. South Bank’s left wing pulled Celso in the left corner. From there he managed a cross inside Miltos’s area with the ball going through both Poly’s defender’s and Miltos, to end up on South Bank striker’s feet who had an easy job pushing the ball in to score in an open goal. 1-0
A few minutes later, and with Poly unable to create any real chance after conceding, the referee signalled the end of the first half.
Change of plans
During half time, Miltos decided to get back on the 4-4-2 formation, hoping to open the play and give more support to his wings. Things started changing for the better, with both Dwayne and Arash being recipient of more balls from the two Greek midfielders, creating threatening opportunities. In fact, Before the 50th minute, Poly had two classic chances to equalize with Arash and a third one with Dwayne, who now doubled his chances in the game. Unfortunately, neither of them could convert their chances and the score remained.
Few minutes later, Dwayne was once again found in the back of South Bank’s defence ready to score. This time he was denied the goal with a foul, winning a penalty. It looked like things were going to settle. However, both Dwayne and Dimitri disobeyed their captain’s order for Dimitri to take the kick, and Dwayne, who looked confident in scoring, missed the penalty.
A couple of minutes later, Gustavo came on to replace Dwayne for a few minutes and give a bit more flair in the left flank. However, things didn’t notably change. Both teams had an equal number of chances to score, with South Bank having the most notable one. Hitting from a counter attack, South Bank’s striker found a lovely header right in front of Miltos’s goal only to send the ball just over the cross bar.
It aint over until Poly scores
True to its latest tradition to snatch a point right before ref’s last blow, Poly managed to yet again equalize. Dimitri took the free kick 30 yards from goal. His kick found Michal at the second post, who with a half volley sent the ball crashing in pulling a late equalizer. A great performance and strike from the Czech youngster.
The last whistle of the game wasn’t far way, with Poly snatching yet another point in the last seconds. A good performance overall which could have been better if the team managed to convert a couple of opportunities earlier on in the second half.
Poly’s youngster was very active throughout the game. He covered as many as three different positions, fighting to win every single challenge. His late minute equalizer game Poly a point and saved the day once again. A great performance overall, which we are hoping to see more of.
Merton 5th – Polytechnic 8th – 0-0 (pen 2-4)
After having played the first 9 matches of the season it was time for Poly8s to be tested in the SAL cup. Having barely 12, that is with Miltos staying on the bench, Poly faced Merton 5s, to whom they had lost in the league 2-0! The scene was set in a Park in the middle of somewhere (any random park could have worked apparently) with the players having trouble finding it! Merton had already started the mind games!!
Through to the quarterfinals!
Poly started the game with a 4-4-2 that looked a bit more like a 4-4-1-1 as they tried to dominate midfield. First half was a bit scruffy for both teams! Back in defence Petr and Phil were confident clearing any threat, Celso playing as a full back for the first time tried to find his pace but always managed to cut down any opposition and Tin was constantly up and down the pitch giving another good performance. In the midfield Nikos , wearing the C on his arm , was up to prove that the bad games were in the past and battled with Dimitris to win the balls and shut down Merton’s midfielders , while trying to get the ball on the oppositions half . Wes and Gustavo had some good runs down the lines trying to break the defence lines.
The minutes passed and it was an even game without any team creating any threat. Poly looked like they didn’t have a clear orientation in the pitch although they had pretty much blocked Merton’s game. Although it was a bit of boring game to watch from the side-lines, Poly had a great chance to open the score. Dimitris took a corner kick and Michal found himself in the 8yrd box pushing the ball towards goal only to be denied by the woodwork! Great chance for Poly but both teams headed for half time 0-0 .
The side-line manager
Being at the side-lines Miltos gave some sensible advice although not as constructive as the famous ‘’We are playing shit’’ speech and second half was on the way. Poly started to have some direction in their play with the midfield distributing the ball around the pitch and playing some sensible and simple football. Both teams didn’t take any risks and the game was mainly played in the midfield and Mertons half. The opposition only managed to get some long balls in or individual runs that were dealt with from defence .The pressure and anxiety was on as full time was nearly up. As in the first half Poly had another great chance with Wes receiving the ball and taking a beautiful shot to the left corner of the keeper. Nearly all the team shouted GOA…… but never finished the word as Mertons keeper performed an exceptional save. Full time 0-0
Going in extra time Miltos decided it was time to step in and annoy Mertons CB who did not stop shouting. Both teams seemed a bit tired and played very very safely as everything seemed to be leading to a penalty shoot out! Finally extra time was over and the moment everyone was hopping had come PENALTIES.
Nerve-wracking shootout (for some at least)
Miltos had to pick the first 5 for the shoot out ! Not an easy job with everyone eager to have a try ! After a big mind debate the line up was ready: Nikos – Arash – Phil –Michal – Dimitris (aka I am cool #askkewgardens)
Radj saved the first penalty , and Nikos with a powerfull shot scored for Poly(God I didn’t want to watch this one ). (Merton 0-1 Poly)
Merton scored their second penalty. Second up was Arash. Flying shot in the back of the goal. (Merton 1-2 Poly )
Radj put another save under his belt .Next up was Phil who with a superb kick in the top left corner left no chance to keeper. (Merton 1 -3 Poly )
Merton scored their 4th penalty and it was up to Michal to send us to the quarter finals and he delivered! (Merton2- 4 Poly )
After the game, our reporters cornered the captain for a couple of lines. Here’s what he had to say. “It was a difficult game with many challenges in the midfield. I think the team under my direction once again showed flair. maybe I am a good influence to the lads.” said the hard working midfield hinting to management.
To our question about his feeling before he took the penalty said that “I have a great shot and I know it. It’s by accident that my shots keep missing the target. I was confident I can score. I decided to hit a powerful one down the bottom right corner so the goalie would not have a chance. The rest is history.” but the ball ended at the center top of Merton’s net.
The experienced goalkeeper didn’t have to do much throughout the game, eliminating the very few opportunities Merton created during the game. When, however, was most needed during the penalty shootout, he stepped up and gave Poly the ticket to the quarter final by saving two of the 4 penalties.
Ibis Eagles 6th – Polytechnic 8th – 5-2 (1-0)
Goals: Dimitris, Petr
It was a bad day for Poly 8s. A terrible one. Everything was set up for success. An early game, right next to home against the team leading the bottom of the table who we beat 2-0 in the first round. But we were up for an awakening call. A shock that would dishearten even Mike, the most positive player of the team. Shocking performances from key players left the team disjoint and open to constant threat.
A disappointing Saturday afternoon
Poly 8th were up against their neighbours, Ibis Eagles 6th. It was an early away game, and the team’s spirits were sky-high hoping to snatch another win against a weaker team. Boy, were we in for a treat…
Poly started the game with its favorite 4-4-2 formation hopping to capitalize from the gaps between Ibis Eagles’ midfield and defence lines, relying on the skills of the two experienced Greek midfielders. Unfortunately, one of them never stepped foot on the pitch. At least mentally. Nikos never got his head around the game and was unable to control the ball, let alone exchange a second pass.
It was from his inexplicable mistake to lose the ball without any pressure from an opponent where the first goal started from. Ibis’s midfield picked up the ball, passed it down the middle to find their striker in front of Miltos who was unable to prevent him from opening the score. 1-0
The two teams did not produce good football for the remainder of the first half. The only two real chances that Ibis had, one was deflected by Miltos’s face, leaving him “unconscious” for a few minutes, and the second one found Miltos tripping Ibis’s striker right outside his area resulting in a yellow card. The only response from Poly came from Dimitris who had a shot just outside of the area, sending the ball …. for a throw in.
Nobody expected what was about to happen in the second half
Poly started the second half stronger, eager to come back quickly. The team created a couple of promising opportunities with Arash and Michal at the front. But it was time for Poly’s legendary defender to strike again. Petr pushed up for the corner. Gustavo took the kick and Petr jumped to win the ball sending the ball crushing Ibis’s net. A tremendous goal from Poly’s legendary captain. 1-1
Poly’s excitement, however, was cut short. Ibis’s second goal was a few seconds away. After kicking the game off again, Ibis created a threatening opportunity down the right side of Poly’s area. With Nikos once again unable to effectively mark and deflect the oncoming threats, the ball was crossed inside Miltos’s area where Ibis’s second striker had an easy job tapping it in. 2-1
Even though the shock was visible in Poly players’ faces, the team was determined to equalize yet again, and grab their chances in winning this game. The team was now creating more chances. One of them found Celso crossing the ball just outside the penalty area, where Dimitris picked a thunder of a kick sending the ball flying at the top left corner of Ibis’s net. 2-2
What goes up comes crashing down
Poly’s spirits were back up. However, with a non-existent midfield, unable to block any incoming opportunities, the inevitable was just around the corner. In one of the many opportunities created by Ibis, Dimitris found himself marking Ibis’s left winger down at the corner line. Somehow, with both Dimitris’s and Miltos’s help, the winger managed to score a goal targeting Miltos’s inside corner. 3-2
A few minutes later, Ibis was yet again in attack. This time from the right side. The cross did not look threatening and Miltos looked comfortable picking up the ball. However, Ibis’s centre midfield who managed to lose his mark snatched the ball with his head right from Miltos’s hands, scoring his second goal for the day. 4-2
But wait, there was more. Once again from the right side, Ibis’s right winger delivered the ball inside the penalty area, Miltos did not push up to block the ball in fear of leaving his goal open, Ibis’s right winger crossed the ball in and the fifth Ibis goal became a reality. 5-2
The rest of the game found Poly’s player dishearten unable to come create any real opportunities. The only opportunity came with Gustavo trying to jump for a header and scoring, however the goal was disallowed since Gustavo manage to climb on top of the defender for free kick.
No MoTM was awarded as the team lost the game.
Kew Association 3rd – Polytechnic 8s – 3-3 (2-1)
Goals: Stef, Michal, Dimitri
It was our second game against Kew Gardens after losing 0-2 at home with three posts and loads of missed opportunities. This time we were determined to snatch a win from one of the two unbeaten teams in the league. In fact, one of the two teams who haven’t dropped a point… yet.
Organisation, organisation, organisation
This week we travelled to Kew Gardens, hoping to win the rematch after an unlucky loss in the first round. Actually, the team initially travelled to Civil Service grounds only to find out that they were at the wrong pitch… Yep, that happened! Even with two managers in charge, they managed to get that wrong.
Running just a couple of minutes late, and with a few key players missing, Poly kicked off the game with a 4-5-1 formation hoping to dominate possession. Or so they thought they would. What the captain didn’t foresee was that his choice as the holding midfielder can’t carry the ball, the most experienced CM is also the one that runs around the pitch more often than an attacking full-back, whilst his most competent midfielder is the one that uses his mind more often than required. Just his mind though. Of interest, is the average age of the two teams. Poly 8s average age is 34, while Kew’s is 22.
With Poly players unable to change a second pass, rushing the ball out of their area, Kew took over possession creating one opportunity after the other. The first goal was only a matter of time.
Goal galore in first half
After 15’ in the first half, Kew’s midfielder received a loose ball outside of Miltos’s area and with a thunderstorm opened the score for Kew. One of the many to come (1-0).
Poly was determined to fight back and equalize. Once the midfield started finding each other, Poly moved up in the pitch and started creating threats in the opposition area. During a counter attack, Stef received the ball at the top of the area and tried his luck for the first time. The ball landed on the top of the bar to deny him a magnificent goal, however, the experienced midfielder took the rebound and taped the ball in to let it rest at the back of Kew’s net (1-1).
Poly’s equalizer lifted the team’s spirit up a bit, looking for a second goal before half time. In hopes for another goal, Poly opened up giving more space to Kew who managed to create threatening, yet unsuccessful, counter attacks. One of these counter attacks, however, managed to find its way in. Kew’s right winger stepped inside Miltos’s area, chipping the ball over the goalkeeper, scoring a beautiful goal (2-1).
Half time found Poly chasing the score yet again. With Mike away and Miltos cornering Arash, Nikos decided to give the much needed half-time motivational speech. And we quote: “Bla bla bla bla, bla bla. Bla, bla bla if we win this, I buy everyone a beer. Bla, bla, BLA!”
Poly’s fighting spirit is back
Maybe it was Nikos’s motivational speech, maybe it was the wind which was in Poly’s favour, maybe the team actually decided to play some football. No matter what the reason, the team actually started circulating the ball and creating some much needed opportunities.
Poly was determined to get back in the game and equalize yet again. In fact, their second goal was not that far away. After Dimitris’s long ball behind the opposition’s back, Arash went for a shot which turned into a pass (?) to Michal who he successfully tapped it in to make the level the score for Poly (2-2).
And this is when the pitch started tilting over one side – Poly’s side. Kew players started picking up, running around restless (remember, we talked earlier about their average team age), creating one dangerous opportunity after another, missing open goals and hitting the post a couple of times too. Miltos was key in keeping the draw making some very important saves and preventing a number of one-on-one counter attacks. Eventually, one of their chances converted to goal with a very powerful header (3-2).
But wait, there is more!
This was not the end of the game. Kew pushed for more. Kept missing the target continuously. In one occasion, their winger was 2 meters away from a wide open goal, with Miltos already defeated, but managed to send the ball flying over the cross bar!
As the unwritten law of football says, if you keep missing goals, you’ll concede. So it happened. With seconds to go, Dimitris picked up the ball from Arash and headed inside the penalty area. His shot was deflected by the hand of the last defender.
The referee instantly ordered for a goal kick. But on a second thought, he gave what was rightful. A last minute penalty kick. Dimitris took the ball, placed it on the 12 yards’ spot and scored (3-3).
Dimitris’s last minute equalizer.
The referee signalled for the full time right after that, but the “fight” wasn’t over with a home-team’s supporter running up to the referee, swearing and pushing him. Thankfully, the calmer from both teams got in the way to end the fight.
MOTM: Stef Tarlowski
The experienced midfielder was everywhere. Literally. Stef was running around the pitch helping the team whenever was needed, jumping on one challenge after the other. His goal boosted Poly’s confidence and signalled the fight back.
Polytechnic 8s – Merton 5s 0-2 (0-1)
Huston we have a problem. And that has to do with goal scoring opportunities. When we create, we convert a couple. When we create a couple, however, we concede.
Not what we were hoping
Last week Poly 8s were home again for a match with Merton 5s who were top of the Table along Poly 9s and Kew Gardens. Poly started with a 4-4-2 and tried to move the ball around the park. However, without consistency there were no results.
It was a set game, with neither Merton causing too much of a problem in Poly’s defence until mid-first half when a long ball ended up in the 18yard box and there was a hesitation to clear the ball. Miltos decided to come out and clear his area but Merton’s striker found the opportunity and opened the score. Poly tried with Dimitris and Steff to create some chances to push the ball in the opposition’s box but the team’s game was very unorthodox and the opposition easily cleared the ball.
After half time and 1 sub, it was a repeat of the first half. No chances for either side, some long balls that where easily cut by the defence and no imagination or discipline in the game. Poly tried to push for an equaliser but with a single-dimensional approach to the game. Last minute of the game, as it usually is with football, Merton had a counter attack and their striker’s shot deflected on Jonathan’s boot and ended up in the top left corner of Milto’s goal. Merton 2-0 and full time.
This was one of the matches that make your eyes cry. Our game had no direction, no creativity and the fact that we didn’t even get a shot says it all. This year has an obvious goal scoring problem, with the top scorer being the right full back and the centre mid. But some really beautiful goals from the German Pantzer and il Phenomenon.
No MOTM was awarded this time since the team lost the game.
Polytechnic 8th – Ibis Eagles 6th 2-0 (1-0)
Goals: Nikos, Tin
It was a game of do or die. Mostly due to its importance rather than the opposition’s difficulty. We needed the three points to keep up with the top of the table. It also was a tricky game with many new faces and a squad of 14 players all eager to perform. The final score does not really reflect the actual game play. Poly could have scored at least a couple more goals. Great performance overall with a couple of memorable performances.
Coming back strong
For the third week in a row, Poly 8s stayed homebound playing hosts to Ibis Eagles 6s. Due to Michal and Miltos not being able to come for different reasons, a couple of new faces made their first appearance for Poly 8s. Michael was under the goalposts, while Patrick helped up front.
The game started with a few changes to the starting eleven with Nikos calling the shots due to Miltos’s absence. Ibis got into the game strong, trying to dominate the midfield. Michael proved a trustworthy and confident goalkeeper, saving a couple of great shots. After the first 10 minutes into the game, and a near-goal opportunity saved on the line, Poly 8s started controlling the game.
The return of the German Pantzer
After the first 10 minutes, Gustavo received a ball on his “family zone” and asked for a sub. It was time for Tin, the German Pantzer, to come on. Since stepping on the field, Tin dominated the right flank. His determination, confidence, positioning and crosses made huge difference to the team’s game play.
Poly started pushing for a goal. That came with Patrick but the referee ruled it out as an offside. David had a couple of chances to open the scoresheet as well but his shots were blocked by the opposition goalkeeper.
We don’t score that often, but when we do, we do it in style
It was a matter of time. The game was open and Poly was controlling the midfield. Around the 35th minute, Tin received the ball from Patrick. He crossed the ball in to Rex at the top right corner of the area where Nikos called for a pass to strike a 20-yards shot and score a beautiful opener (1-0).
Poly looked for a second goal before the end of the first half. In one of those, Patrick was denied a clear penalty after the last defender crashed him down, but the referee called an attacking foul.
The first half came to an end with Poly leading the game by Nikos’s strike. This time Gustavo took on the role of the half-time motivator with Mike silently approving Gustavo’s wise words. The Egyptian youngster even came back on the field as a right wing to replace Patrick.
Continuous pressure pays off
The second half went underway with a couple of early chances for Poly to extend their lead. Five minutes into the second half and Arash tried a shot outside the area. The keeper saved it but Poly won a corner. Arash took the corner and sent the ball inside the penalty area, Stephen went for the header but the ball ended to Dimitris. Dimitris tried a shot with the ball being saved on top of the line by the defender who send it flying. Gustavo tried waited for the ball and tried a flying kick with the ball going just wide off the right post. A great opportunity for a second goal.
Stephen had an excellent opportunity to score his first goal of the season as well when he received the ball in the midfield. He passed the ball down the left side to Arash who crossed it back to Stephen. Stephen received the ball inside the area, dribbled and had a shot, but it was unfortunately deflected by the defence.
The Pantzer strikes back
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Mike got on to replace David and Celso to replace Nikos. With so many talented midfielders Poly were dominating the game. Dimitris was on fire and kept finding the Poly attackers behind the opposition’s back. One of these balls found Gustavo facing the goalkeeper, however his shot ended just of the post.
It was time for the German Pantzer to strike again. Ibis had fortified themselves inside their area, deflecting any incoming ball. Tin received the ball in the midfield and went down the right flank looking for a cross. With many Ibis bodies behind the ball and unable to find an open Poly player, Tin had an epiphany. The German full back, who resembles Beckenbauer’s playing style, decided to go for a shot from the top right corner of the area. His half-volley even curled slightly before nesting at the top left corner of the goal. An unbelievable strike and certainly a strong contender for the goal of the season award (2-0).
Tin’s goal in slow motion (goal at 00:47″)
The game continued with Poly trying to find a third goal. Arash had a couple of chances to extend Poly’s lead, but unfortunately the goalkeeper denied him twice more. A great performance from the Poly striker.
Shortly after, the referee signalled for the end of the game and Poly found themselves getting the much needed three points. A great performance and a great game to watch from the stands (so they say. I personally was too stressed out playing manager).
MOTM: Tin Radosevic
Tin came on to replace Gustavo. He was the most confident and most determined player on the field. The first goal started from his cross, while he scored an incredible screamer for the 2-0. Tin was always first on the ball, did not leave any room for the opposition to go past him, while many efforts started from his feet. A well-deserved MOTM and an incredible performance we hope to see more of.
Polytechnic 9s – Polytechnic 8s 1-0 (1-0)
When you go into a derby you are expected to give it your all. You are meant to be mentally and physically prepared to win the battle and give your everything on the pitch hoping for the best outcome. Losing a derby can set you back, but it’s just a battle, not the entire season. Well done to the Poly 9s for a great win and hats off for some beautiful football they produced during our last encounter.
A derby is a derby. Especially if you compete against a team of the same club
Last Sunday Poly 8s were back at home but playing away to Poly 9s. The game was labelled a derby as both teams compete in the same league and are at similar levels. Poly 9s needed a win to keep their impressive clean sheet record and stay at the top of the table. On the other half, Poly 8s needed the three points to start hoping for a season turnaround.
Even though the team got to play with their new kits the day didn’t start that well for Poly 8s. With Tin being away, Michal getting sick at the last minute (that or too much booze from the night before) and Mike running late, Poly 8s were forced to start without any subs, unlike their opponents who had 3 rolling subs from the beginning of the game.
Everyone expected a tight game with many man-on-man battles. And so it was. There were many battles fought by all four midfielders in an effort to control the game and push their team forward. Both teams’ players were a bit more aggressive than usual trying to prove their worth and win the much needed three points.
Half way through the first half, Poly 8s came close to opening the score line with David. Nikos found David with a long ball behind the defenders’ back. David picked up the ball and tried to lob the goalkeeper only sending it just wide from the left post.
One chance = a goal = a win
A few minutes later Poly 9s had their first attempt on goal as well. Coming in from the left side of Miltos’s box, Poly 9s’ left winger tried a volley intended for a cross, lobbing Miltos, netting a beautiful goal (1-0). A few minutes later, Poly 9s missed an opportunity to extend their lead by scoring with a direct corner kick. Miltos marginally touched the ball with his fingertips which then landed on the top post before Istvan manged to clear it away.
Poly 8s could not get another ball in and the tension within the team was visible. Right before half-time, Gustavo got annoyed and took his shirt off while walking off the pitch. Thankfully, the referee sent the two teams in the dressing rooms before it was too late for Poly 8s.
When motivational speakers lack inspiration
No pet-talk during half time. With Mike still missing and Miltos too frustrated to remember how to speak English, the team was left without an inspirational speaker. The players got a chance to catch their breaths, brought Gustavo back to his senses and off they went for the second half.
The second half was like a deja vue of the first one – minus the goal. The many battles in the midfield and the occasional fights between the players of the two teams kept the game action to a minimum.
The team started getting tired, feet got heavier and the only real chance for Poly 8s came when Nikos found Rex with a lovely ball behind the defence. Rex picked up the ball and dribbled past the goal keeper to face an open goal. The goalkeeper, who was Poly 9s last man, tripped Rex right outside the area denying him an obvious goal scoring opportunity. But the referee decided that it was at his discretion not to give a red card.
Mike, who came late, took Dimitri’s position in the midfield, with the “tireless” Greek getting off the pitch almost crawling from exhaustion. Unfortunately, nothing was able to change the course of this game and the referee sent the two teams home with Poly 9s getting their deserved three points from an almost eventful game that could have gone either way.
As one famous Hungarian said on Saturday on WhatsApp, “Onwards and upwards lads!”.
No MOTM was awarded since the team lost the game.
Polytechnic 8s – Old Wilsonians 7s 3-3 (0-2)
Goals: Arash (78′), Dimitris (88′), David (90+3′)
The beauty of footbal is that nothing is over until the guy with the black uniform whistles three times. If we had to take away two things from last game’s performance it would be the fighting spirit that lead to Poly’s comeback and the fact that the team found two goals from their strikers in the same game. Oh, and a third, the manager’s motivational speech during half time. That was gold!
Facing your nemesis is never easy
Back to Poly grounds last week playing hosts to the league favorites and the team Poly 8s keep losing with the same score, 3-1, in their last 4 encounters. Old Wilsonians 7s. Poly 8s were determined to change things this time around. Captain’s plan was to control the midfield by closing down their key players and start building from the back. As a result, Poly 8s started the game with a defensive 4-5-1 having Michal upfront isolated from the rest of the team.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned and Old Wilsonians got an early goal. In the first corner of the game, Nikos completely missed his man who managed to get behind Poly’s defence line and open the score with a powerful header at the top right corner of Miltos’s net (0-1).
The early goal did not wake Poly 8s up who kept losing one battle after the other in the midfield, unable to open up the opposition’s defence. On the contrary, Old Wilsonians kept finding spaces to threaten Miltos. In one of these chances, Celso, who did not clear the ball promptly, lost a challenge to the opposition’s front man who passed the ball to his oncoming team mate to extend their lead by two goals (0-2).
It’s never too late
After the second goal, Poly started pushing up more. Istvan and Gustavo were critical in pushing the team up, creating opportunities with dangerous crosses. In one of these chances, Istvan had a run that we only see at venues like the Bernabeou. He received the ball from Petr to do a line pass to Arash. He then ran up to get the ball back from Arash and passed it to Dimitri who then crossed the ball inside the box where Istvan made arun for it. Unfortunately, Istvan missed a great chance to get poly back into the game.
The team kept pushing for a goal and got close when Michal received the ball inside the box but was fouled by both the goalkeeper and the last defender. Unfortunately, no penalty was awarded and Michal had to leave the pitch limping. David took Michal’s position for the remainder of the first half.
The motivational speech
During half time, Mitos, known for his excellent public speaking skills, gave an incredible pet-talk to get the lads back in the game. Our changing room-bugs picked up part of his speech. And we quote “GUYS. THIS IS SHIT!!! WE PLAY LIKE COMPLETE SHIT. EVERYONE PLAYS SHIT INCLUDING ME!”. The team was clearly more driven after that! Mike’s “Stay positive guys, we can do this” did not even register.
Soon after the second half started, Nikos got off being sick and unable to find rhythm in his game, giving his position to Tin. The team changed its formation to 4-4-2 with Gustavo on the left wing. Changing to a more attacking formation gave more choices upfront. As a result, David and Arash started being more of a threat to the opposition’s defence.
Unfortunately, in a true Poly fashion, the team got hit in the counter attack after a corner. The opposition broke Poly’s defence in half, scoring a beautiful goal (0-3).
Polytechnic strikes back
Most would think this was the end of the game with 20 minutes left on the clock. Not for Poly 8s. The team started pushing even harder for a goal . Dimitris in the midfield carried over the ball between 3 defenders. HE managed to cross the ball beautifully behind the defensive line where Arash stepped in to convert his first goal for the season. An incredible goal by the Iranian-storm (1-3)!
Some would think it’s Poly’s destiny to lose 3-1 against Old Wilsonians. Not this Poly 8s side. With 5 minutes remaining on the clock, Gustavo pushed up and managed to steal the ball right at the corner of the pitch. He then crossed a lovely ball in where Dimitris, like a second striker, jumped in to score the second goal for Poly (2-3).
He doesn’t just bark, ladies and gentlemen, he bites too!
Never give up
Poly haven’t said their last word yet. With seconds on the clock left, the team was trying to push for a late equalizer. The determination for a third goal was something never seen before. Even Miltos pushed up in one of the last minute corners. In what was the last 10 seconds of the game, Mike tried to lob the ball in to find David. David picked up the ball after Old Wilsonians’ defender failed to clear it. The striker then turned and headed straight down the area, scoring an incredible late equalizer. What an incredible goal from the new signing (3-3)!!!
After a mini party in the field, turned into a fight with the opposition because Petr “tripped” over one of their players, the referee whistled for the last time in the game and Poly took a “ballsy” draw with an incredible come back.
Dimitris looked like he pushed the team when needed him the most, carrying over the ball and opening up the play for his teammates to create chances. His incredible assist and goal, gave him the much deserved MOTM award. Well done Dimitri-walker!
Pictures from the game:
Civil Service 8s – Polytechnic 8s 0-1 (0-1)
Goals: Nikos (40′)
The engines are fired up and Poly 8s started rolling. After a couple of tests and rotations to try new tactics and players, it feels like Poly 8s have finally found a base that can rely upon for the rest of the season. And boy, does it produce good football? First season win against Civil Service with 0-1.
Total football in the making
Last week we paid a visit to our neighbours, Civil Service. There has always been some sort of rivalry with the Civil boys, so we were expecting a close game from both teams. A couple of new faces made their first appearance (hopefully not their last) in the dressing room before the game. Connellan Stephen and Backx David, received a warm welcome from the team and are now part of the Poly 8s side.
The game started as expected, with lots of aggressive challenges in the midfield. Civil Service were determined to snatch a win this time around and leave Poly 8s at the bottom of the table. However, Poly produced some sort of football that has only been seen in the likes of Premier league. The team played with the ball down, avoiding any extra dribbles or one-touches. They played something close to what is known as total-football. Stephen was instrumental with stopping most of the threats and transitioning the ball to the midfield with confidence. A performance every manager dreams for his new signing.
Soon, Poly started breaking the Civil Service’s defence in half with through-balls and cutting-edge crosses. Both Michal and Rex received a few balls on their feet and were able to test the goalkeeper. Unfortunately, the team’s inability to convert so far this season gave Civil Service something to hope for.
Of notice was, once again, Gustavo’s performance who looks like he owns the full right back position. His fighting spirit, quick feet and excellent long balls brought him close to MOTM reward.
This is no Playstation, this is real life. Or is it..?
Poly kept pushing for the opener with Dimitri and Nikos circulating the ball through the midfield, Arash and Celso wining many challenges down the flanks pushing the team forward.
After wasting a couple of shots and opportunities, Nikos, or allow me to call him “il phenomenon”, produced something that we only experience in the PlayStation. Michal received the ball from Arash going directly into the area. He then decided to break the ball to Nikos who was closely following. Nikos controlled the bouncy ball to bring it to his right foot, and produced a half volley from somewhere between the midfield and the edge of the box. The ball took a curve to rest at the top of the goal, with the opposition goalkeeper unable to do anything to save it. (0-1)
Rumour has it that both Jose and Pep Googled “Nikos Drakatos” after they heard about his goal, eager to get his contact details and sign him. With 5 minutes left on the board, nothing changed and the first half found Poly leading the game.
A nerve-breaking second half that could have gone either way.
The second half found Poly getting a lot of pressure from Civil Service. They Civil boys were determined to get back in the game and equalize. A stellar performance by Stephen accompanied by Petr’s determination and a, once again, flawless Gustavo as a right-back, kept most of the threats outside of Milto’s box who only had to make one decisive save during the second half.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Michael took Nikos’s position in the midfield as a holding back. In one of the counter attacks, Gustavo, who resembled David Beckham, sent an amazing cross from behind the midfield to find Michal all the way to the far left size of the pitch. The missing opportunities kept coming with Rex, who looks like he will be on fire once he gets his first goal in. Confidence makes all the difference.
David who had earlier taken Rex’s position at the front, pulled back to help with midfield. These two changes enabled Poly to control the midfield and produce a passing game with quick counter attacks.
It’s not over until the whistle is gone.
On the 75th minute of the game, Tin stepped up to replace Arash who got tired. Tin helped covering Istvan at the left back and also broke a couple of promising opportunities. In one of them, Tin found himself in front of the goal but managed to miss-kick the ball that ended right on the goalkeeper’s arm.
With 5 minutes left on the clock, Miltos did one of his “magic tricks”. Nothing like pulling a bunny out of his hair, although we wouldn’t be surprised looking at the state of his hair, but something that made everyone think the equalizer was close. Istvan who tried to clear the ball in the midfield, accidentally passed it back to Miltos who instead of clearing it, he picked it up to give an indirect free kick and an opportunity for Civil Service to equalize. Fortunately, the best ever performing defence line send it to safety.
The score didn’t change until the end and Poly 8s snatched their first win for the season.
Stephen wanted to impress in his first appearance with Poly 8s and he did more than that. The new signing looked confident with the ball on his feet, feeding the midfield in every opportunity while clearing both long and short balls inside Poly’s area. An excellent performance from Steven!
Polytechnic 8s – Kew Association 3s 0-2 (0-1)
Line-up: Miltos (GK), Gustavo (RB), Cameron (CB), Petr (CB), Istvan (LB), Nikos (CM), Dimitri (CM), Celso (RM), Michal (LM), Arash (CF), Rex (CF) Subs: Lesley, Michael, Shane
How long until we start winning?
The second game of the season found Poly 8 at home against Kew Association 3rd. The game started later from its initial scheduled time due to a nearby car accident that caused the opposition team to be 30 minutes late.
The game started bad for Poly with Kew pushing for a quick goal. After the first 5-minute shock Poly started carrying the ball effectively throughout the middle transitioning the game to the opposition’s goal. Both Dimitri and Nikos were trying to open up some space and find Arash and Rex in the counter attack.
Poly missed a couple of good opportunities to open the score, if only the players were quicker and more determined in the final third. Nikos missed a nearly open-goal opportunity, whilst Arash and Rex had a couple of good opportunities each to open the score line, with Rex also hitting the post.
Football’s law. If you cannot convert, you will conceive.
It’s that simple. After a missed opportunity a few good chances, Kew Association managed to hit in the counter attack. Switching the ball only three times, Kew Association’s striker found himself outside Milto’s area infront of Cameron and Petr. His volley changed direction forcing Miltos to dive in the wrong side. (0-1)
Half time found the team determined to bounce back. There was one change in the line-up. Shane took Arash’s position at the front. The second half found Poly players pushing up from the start. On the 55th minute, Nikos and Michal gave their position to Michael and Lesley respectively to give more power in the midfield and explosion on the wings.
Things continued the same as with the first half. Poly kept missing opportunities, hitting the post a couple more times, while missing a similar to Niko’s first half opportunity with Lesley. Football’s law. Strike two.
The inevitable was not far away. After a very well-played counter attack from Poly’s left wing, Kew Association crossed the ball inside Milto’s area scoring a beautiful goal. (0-2)
After this, Dimitri gave his position to Michal, and Arash got in for Rex hopping for a miracle. Unfortunately, the only thing that came was yet another post declaring Kew Association the winners with two goals to nothing.
No MOTM was awarded as the team lost the game.
Old Actonians 8s – Polytechnic 8s 4-1 (2-0) 10.9.2016, Goals: Tin Line-up: Miltos(4), Istvan (6), Petr(4), Darrah (5) , Tin(7), ( 50’ Cameron (5)), Les(5), Shane (5) (45’Sean(5)), Dimitris (5), Celso (6), Gustavo (5), Rex (6) Poor Start for the new season
Our first game of the new season brought us to Acton Town for an away game against Actonians 8s. New season for the team, many new faces and new management but still with high hopes. The team started with a 4-5-1 in order to dominate the midfield. The first 15min started well for Poly who had possession and even had a great chance to open the score with Rex. Contrary to the game so far, Actonians managed to pull a counter attack with a 3 against 2 but their strikers shot hit the right bar. The game was balanced and Dimitris tried to circulate the ball around the midfield line to find openings.
On the other hand, Rex seemed isolated at the tip of offense with a slim number of balls reaching him. Half way through the first half Actonians managed to make a cross from our right wing in our box, their striker got his head first to the ball which rested in Miltos left corner ( rumour has it that he could have dived for it , but we are looking into that ). Without having time to shake it off and get our heads back in the game Petr lost the ball in the midfield from the oppositions striker who went on a 1on 1 with Miltos and scored a second. Halftime found us back by two goals (0-2).
After the halftime break Sean came in for Shane on the left wing. Poly tried to keep the ball on the pitch and circulated the ball around, but the wet surface, some hasty decisions and poor choices didn’t scare the opposition who kept the well earned 2-0 lead. In the 60th minute another new face made his début with Poly, Cameron came in for Tin as a right back. Poly didn’t manage to create chances and Actonians managed to pull a few, with another 1 on 1 being saved by Miltos. Twenty minutes in the 2nd half Dimitris had to go off after attempting the 1st shot on target for the team , and Shane came back in. The team changed to a 4-4-2 formation. In one of the few crosses in Actonians box the keeper dropped the ball giving the opportunity to Tin ( who came back in for Darrah as he got injured ) to score Poly’s first goal for the season (2-1) .
With sufficient time to equalize Poly started pressing for the equalizer but with no luck. On the contrary after Actonians won a foul outside the box, they crossed the ball which was headed towards the goal and although the ball seemed easy to save, Miltos somehow managed to clutch thin air and the ball ended in the back of the net. On top of that 5 min before the 90’ and when everyone though that the match will end with 3-1 defeat, Actonians broke the offside line and their striker had no difficulty to beat Miltos for the final 4-1.
In general, it was a poor performance by Poly although the final score doesn’t do complete justice to the match. Having new faces, and missing some key players made it hard for the team to find communication patterns in the pitch , but with time we will step up .
PS: People should be on time at the pitch or at least inform in a timely fashion that they will be late . It’s not acceptable to get to the changing room 25 minutes before kick off when everyone else is there.
|POLYTECHNIC 9s 2014/15 SEASON SUMMARY