9th XI


Game 5:  Polytechnic 9’s vs Old Wilsonians 7’s 1-1 (3-1)

Starters

Chris (GK), Ant (RB), Jonny (CB), Stef (CB), Mike (LB), Jordan (RM),  Shane (CM), Joe O (CM), Joe B (LM), Wes (ST), Zeki (ST)

Subs

Pat, Tom W & Jack

Pre-Game

This week we were Home to Old Wilsionains who sat comfortably in 4th. It was there turn to make the mammoth trek for Saturday football and arrive just before kickoff.  This is like real life football manger 17 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.  The first 90 minutes are the most important.

The Match

We didn’t underestimate them but they were a lot better than we thought

With the goalkeepers at the ready the match kicked off.  Poly 9’s set the tempo high and early to the surprise of Old Wilsonians.  Shane took aim from distance which lead to a corner, Joe O had the first clear cut chance from a header.  Poly 9’s making good use of the wings stretching the visitors back four.  Zeki turned play maker played in Joe B who took the ball past the CB and scored the opener.  GOAAAAALLLLLL.  Unfortunately I missed the goal as I was watching the 4’s game behind me.  The chances kept coming with Jordan on the wing setting Joe O free who set up Zeki, only to be denied by their keeper.

The visitors had a skilful “playmaker” who was their main outlet on breaks, he had the ball in the area looking to beat Ant but seemed to trip himself and claim a penalty.  He was fooling no one. Both sides created chances in an end-to-end first half Shane came close with a header.  Then on the 22 minute the unexplainable happened a through ball to what looked like an offside Old Wilsonian’s player ran on to the ball on the edge of the area, Chris sprinted to stop him but unable to save his shot 1-1. This ended 427 minutes of not conceding a goal in league games.    Joe O was everywhere covering defence and attack.

1-1 at half time.

The second half started with the visitors changing to 3-5-2 to gain control of the midfield, Tom came on for Wes.  With instructions to go out and win the game, Old wilsonian’s dominated the play for the first 10 minutes, I resisted the urge to go to a 5 midfield.  Feeling if we saw out this period we would still be a threat to them playing with 2 forwards.  It was end to end stuff, Chris produced consecutive saves, he was in good form keeping us in the match.  Then Poly 9’s having weathered the storm like a boxer getting second wind asserted themselves on the match creating chances.  A knock down from Zeki to Shane who banged in the 2nd. GOAAAALLLLLL.  Pat came on for Mike, Jack for Jordan.  Now hitting the visitors on the break.  Poly 9’s managed to hit the woodwork 4 times, a missed header, a couple of lucky saves from the visiting keeper.  Nervous of not being clear in front Zeki to the rescue again, played in and with a classic trademark goal seals the victory.

Joe B (14)
Shane (59)
Zeki (79)

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Game 4:  Polytechnic 9’s vs Polytechnic 8’s 1-0 (1-0)

Starters
Chris;Jonny, Ryan, Tim, Conor;Dan, Joe O, Josh, Jordan; Zeki, Joe B

Subs
Lee, Tom & Wes

Prematch

It was the Poly derby which is always a friendly rivalry, Whatsapp went crazy I had 17 players by Monday.  We started the season like we finished our last, 12 straight wins coming into this match, the 8’s started slowly but had picked up some decent results.   There was a preseason discussion who should be the 8’s which fuelled this contest.

The Match

We turned up pitch side in the lucky white kit but there were only 9 shirts so we switched to the green kit, Zeki took the prematch warm up.  The Ref blew for the most anticipated poly game of the season.  The 8’s lined up 4-5-1 looked organised and setup to stop us.  The first 20 minutes pretty much went like two sides that cancelled each other out, this wasn’t going to be a roll over.  That said Joe B and Zeki both created half chances.  Worried we didn’t have enough bite in midfield Lee and Tom stepped in for Jordan and Joe O.  Such was the strength in depth we could mix it up.  Tom made an immediate impact in defensive midfield freeing up Josh and Dan to play football.  Ryan was dealing with the through balls whilst Tim mopped up.  The 8’s looked dangerous on the left, Jonny wasn’t going to have an easy day, Dan or Lee were there to double up.  Then the break through an attack on the right looked to filter out but Zeki with a delicate through ball played in Lee on the right who ran in the area almost unchallenged and shot to the top right far corner.  GOALLLLL LEE BROOKS. A sigh of relief and something to build on.  It wasn’t a vintage 9’s display, truth be told a scrappy game.

1-0 at half time.

Half time the team came in for a drinks and to get instructions, mainly to stamp their authority and get back out there.  Jordan and Dan came back on for Joe and Josh.  We kept the midfield fresh while the 8’s had no subs hoping this would come into our favour.  The match pretty much went the same way but we kept creating chances forcing their keeper into action. A header from a cross, a shot across goal, Zeki beating his man to square the ball but the shot was comfortably saved by the 8’s keeper.  The 8’s seemed to go more direct but we haven’t conceded this season Conor with strong but fair challenges marshalling the left.  Then a Long ball slipped through but our Sweeper keeper Chris quickly out of his area took the ball but the man as well, luckily Tim had tracked back making sure Chris was not the last man back and reducing the incident to a yellow and a free kick.  He did what was expected of a keeper out sniffing the danger.  Understandable there was protest but the freekick was laid off short for a free strike which was closed down. Lee came off for Joe and later Josh on for Jordan.  The 8’s switched to 442 with a late sub that arrived and we switched to hitting them on the break switching to 451.  Apart from a scramble from a corner Chris wasn’t tested, I make that 5 shots conceded in 4 games.

Lee (30)

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Game 3:  Polytechnic 9’s vs Southbank 3-0 (2-0)

Starters
Chris (GK), Ant (RB), Jonny (CB), Tim (CB), Pat (LB), Josh (CM), Tom (CM), Lee (LM), Ahmed (RM), Wes (ST), Zeki (ST)

Subs
Mike

Pre-Game

This week we were away at Southbank. An already long trip on a good day, but it was made even longer by the fact that we had to pick up the footballs we forgot at HSBC then go to Southbank from there, google maps said 1hr 20min. 20 minutes into the drive and the finger pointing, Home Alone moment began “THE KITS….did you pick up the box with the kits?” we went back and with the kits in hand headed onto New Beckenham.

It turned into a mad rush to get to Herne Hill from new Beckenham with minutes to spare before kick-off, we just about made it, Zeki had telepathically selected the line-up. Quick change into our new kits….. the new kits look amazing.

The Match

The first 10 minutes or so of the first half was very scrappy with no team being able to get a real hold on the ball. However, after this scrappy start poly started to get into the game. At the 15-minute mark Ahmed whipped in a dangerous cross into the box which hit off one of their defenders and was then met by a header from Josh. 1-0 to the Poly.  Even today in the whatsapp group the debate continues did Josh mean to head it or was it an own goal?

After this Southbank had very few chances and we managed to shut them out of the game. Their number 22 started to cause a few problems, being nippy and with a quick turn.  With orders from the sideline he was quickly marshalled out of the game.  A possible counter attack situation occurred for them, but Josh was quick to sniff the danger out keeping our clean sheet record intact.

Ahmed threatened to dribble past their defence a few times and managed to get a few shots off as a result. After a few great passes Zeki managed to find the back of the net with a lovely slotted finish into the bottom corner.

2-0 at half time.

The second half started as the first half ended, with us still very much in control of the game. Southbank rarely looked like threatening and they were restricted to a few shots from outside of the box which never looked like troubling.

Out of nothing 20 minutes into the second half Josh scored an absolute screamer from outside of the box to seal the win for the poly.  From that point on it was all about not conceding making it an unprecedented 300 minutes since a goal was conceded and our 12th consecutive win.

Zeki (30)
Josh (15, 65)

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Game 2:  Polytechnic 9’s vs IBIS Eagles 6’s 2-0 (1-0)

Game two didn’t start as planned receiving the news one of player unavailability.  Our first home match was at our adopted home of civil service against the team we pipped to the league title last season on the last game of the season, Ibis Eagles. Availability issues changed the team but nevertheless we were optimistic coming off an 8 nil win.

The Match
Luckily I wrote notes as I had a heavy night out on Saturday, involved being bitten on my nipple by some random old girl in the early hours.  The pre match talk was pretty much the usual play football whilst motivational.  I had the best 14 waiting but no sign of the opposition.  Turns out the oppo had gone to the wrong ground and delayed kick off by 30min.  We eventually got underway the opposition a man down.  Stand in keeper Andy playing sweeper keeper closed down their early through ball.  10 minutes in and their 11th player came on, it only took him 10 minutes to get ready!! The game got into the flow, Poly 9’s creating chances, Conor with a header saved, Tom pick pocketing their holding midfielder to set Wes up to tee over.  Then the first real chance came to Zeki who shot across the goal.  Almost as if it was rehearsed a long throw to Zeki to lay it off to Dan but the keeper was equal to it.  Chances kept coming Tom almost scoring from a corner then Wes trying to turn and shoot.  Then someone played in Zeki who skipped past their defender and with a cool finish gave us the lead.  GOAAAALLLLL. Joe came on for Dan. Poly 9’s tasting victory went on to create more chances Josh with a turn and shot, Ryan marshalling the defence running through their midfield to laying it off for Zeki to assist Dan.  It was Champagne football but IBIS stepped up sensing a challenge, becoming more vocal and brought the game to us.  Johnny like a little pitbull closing down their offensive players.  Their left winger had the makings of a good player but this was a solid defence he was playing against.

Half time quickly came, this game was far from over and with the opposition having no subs I sent them out for round two.  Dan was on for Tom G and Tom W on for Wes.  But wait where was our Keeper?  This is awkward, Wes fully prepared with gloves and a shirt went in goal.  “Sorry Gaffer I had to have a dump or I was going to soil myself at the next shot” Ok that was the edited version but you get the idea.  The second half pretty much went the same way chances created with the opposition rarely troubling.  Their big CB trying to bulldoze our forwards, their forward with low banter skills.  Pat came on for Ant.  And then Zeki engineered a move to get behind the defender, it looked like 3 defenders trying to catch and tackle him as he slotted in goal number 2!!!!  IBIS had their biggest chance shortly after as they broke free but the attack was halted by Andy diving on the ball.  Tough game but deserved winners

Team:  Andy;Conor,Johnny,Ryan,Ant; Dan, Josh,Tom, Jack; Zeki, Wes
Subs:  Tom, Pat & Joe

Goals:
Zeki (24 & 72)

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Game 1: HSBC 7s – Polytechnic 9s 0-8 (0-5)

This was our first game of the season being newly promoted.  My day began with a latte en route to somewhere exotic called “new Beckenham” which is in Zone 4 but feels further, a lot further.  Like a regular game I had a WhatsApp the night before from a player telling me how they improved although I suspect he was drunk, then another at 4am from someone who had a small car crash, luckily nothing serious, and Matt wishing us well from Hampshire.  There were a few new faces to the line-up mixed in with the majority of the regulars from last season.

Prematch
With all the enthusiasm of a low paid stripper working the Shoreditch scene the team set out for a warm up.  This was to be a big test, we barely beat this team last season, and everyone is questioning the 9’s ability….

The Match
The ref blew, the season had started and Saturday football was back.  Poly 9’s kicked off, HSBC were struggling with the pace and Jordan’s long throws, Josh capitalised on a long throw for the opener, Jordan then read their weak back pass to add a second, then Jordan scored being played in by Zeki for a third and that was the first 11 minutes.  The keeper gave up and HSBC replaced him hoping for a better fortune.  Clearly my prematch talk either worked or greatly overestimated the opposition.  The chances kept coming, the midfield dominating the flow of the game, a goal mouth scramble followed by what seemed a sequence of 20 passes.  Wes pressuring their back line nicked in and made the most from the goalkeeper’s weak kick to score the fourth.  Things were going our way Andy our stand in keeper turned “Claudio bravo” outwitting their forward with a dummy and playing it from the back. The poly defence comfortable but treading a thin line teasing the opposition, step up Tim, sniffing out the danger and clearing.  Ant dribbled past 2 to find Jordan.  Conor embarrassing their winger with a cheeky nutmeg. On a rare attack from the opposition when they got behind our back four Ant marshalled the situation. You know the players are enjoying the game when the debutant Ryan cleared the ball shouting “boooooom”.  The opposition getting frustrated won a free kick but the player talked himself into getting a yellow, not wanting the opposition to get sent off and the player seemed to lose his head I suggested they take him off. Turns out that was their captain.  Then Wes screaming for the ball from Jordan did a Bergkamp turn and slotted the ball in the far corner for the 5th just before the break.

Half time instructions were issued with the first changes.  Conor off for Johnny, Wes off for Jack and Dan off for Pat.  All like for like changes.

We started as we finished the 1st half.  Pat played in Zeki who squared the ball for jack who mistimed what surely should have been goal number 6. This was followed by a few contentious offside decisions.  In keeping with the rolling subs Dan replaced joe in the middle. Now I can’t read what I wrote but Dan scored the 6th on the 65th minute, I remember it was a good goal.  In quick succession Zeki slotted in the 7th goal.  The opposition rarely threatened with Ryan doing a Cruyff turn to get out of trouble. Having been rested Conor came on for Ryan, joe for Zeki and Wes sniffing a hat trick for Josh.  The inevitable happened Wes slotted in the 8th to seal the victory and an excellent performance, unfortunately the opposition refused to give him the match ball.

This was much more than expected, a very good performance announcing themselves to the division and the 10th straight victory.

Starters:  Andy; Conor, ryan, Tim, Ant; Dan, Joe O, Josh M, Jordan; Zeki, Wes
Subs: Pat, Jack & Johnny

Goals:
Wes (34, 43 & 85)
Zeki (70)
Jordan (9 & 11)
Josh (7)
Dan (65)