OLD FINCHLEIANS 1 - 1 NORSEMEN
We looked to continue our unbeaten run against Old Finchleians, who needed a victory to maintain their promotion challenge. We traveled to Rowley Lane sports ground, the home of Maccabi London Lions instead of their usual home ground. The facilities were great and the playing surface top draw, meaning no excuses for us to be playing our football.
We started the game very well, with the first half very much one way traffic. Some excellent football was being played, probably the best we have played in several weeks, leaving Old Finchleians chasing shadows for the first 45. Unfortunately a hat full of chances were missed leaving the opposition hope of a snatch and grab.
The second half started the same as the first, dominated the ball, striking the woodwork twice. Then the nightmare we was hoping not to happen, our midfield took too much time on the ball for most likely the first time in the match as we was punished. A quick press see the nick the ball and sent their player through one vs one to score. Almost instantly we equalized! A Matt Roles corner caused chaos in the box leaving James Bex to toe poke the ball home.
The rest of the game see us with numerous chances again with Matt Roles beating several players before firing at the keeper and George Barton striking a free kick on to the bar from the half way line! The points are shared but on another day could of easily been 5 or 6.
Man of the match this week goes to George Barton who was fantastic in the middle of the park. Great technical ability as well as his understanding of game management has seen him stake a claim to play in the middle. George has been a very consistent performer all season and is a very important part of the team. A long overdue man of the match award for him! Well done!
Two games to go now to remain unbeaten! The first of two being this Saturday, travelling to already relegated IBIS. We still need maximum availability to complete this great achievement.
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
Another draw, this time against already relegated side HSBC. Its fair to say now the boys are not chasing a 100% league record they are very much now going through the motions. Although some boys are still keen to maintain an 'invincible' season by not getting beaten, some of the lads are definitely already on the beach.
We took the lead from Max Harrowell from another assist from Matt Roles, but after that the chances come few and far between. We never looked in any danger of conceding, but the the opposition picked up the ball from 30 yards and smashed it into the top corner with about 5 minutes to go. Always the danger when you don't kill off the game. The second time in two weeks we have been unlucky with a player probably hitting their best strike in their careers.
Man of the match this week was easy. Charlie King, the standout performer over the last couple of weeks showing why he has quickly changed from a squad player to one of the first names on the team sheet. Direct running at defenders, pace in behind and the work ethic we want all our players to follow. Well done Charlie.
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
BANK OF ENGLAND 3 - 3 NORSEMEN
Down to the Bank of England away from home, needing a point to win the league in arguably our hardest fixture on paper in our league campaign. And so we was proved right! It was a lovely day on a beautiful surface with great hospitality. Certainly a club that we would like to play in future upcoming games, so good luck to Bank of England in their promotion chase.
The first half started as we have been doing so in the past weeks, slowly. Although we nearly scored in the opening minute of the game it was BOE who come flying out the traps with their season also hanging very much in the balance. We gave away another 2 goals early in the half, and could of easily been more if it wasn't for Jack Robery making numerous good saves. Both goals were again mistakes that were easily avoided to put us under pressure.
This predicament doesn’t seem to faze the boys too much as we found our feet halfway through the second half. A tactical switch swapping Matt Roles and Chris Morgan back into his number 10 role seemed to give us more bite in the middle of the park as well as more flair at the top of the pitch.
The first goal ended up coming from an excellent team move before being finished off from Chris Morgan and assisted by Charlie King. Gavin Suddell found himself through one vs one shortly after, showing great composure getting on to the pass from Jake Lawrence, ending the half with only one team looking favourites to get the win.
The team have again showed great character, coming back from 2 goals down, however better teams in the premier division will not allow us back in and are all things to learn from going into next season. The simple mistakes in our decision making process is something to improve, our mistakes in execution is more acceptable as we all make mistakes.
On to the second half, and we started very much how we left off. We went a goal up with the in form Charlie King scoring ably assisted by James Bex who seems to be getting his form back in our set pieces. A game that we should have gone on to win, with the introduction on Tyrese Reynolds looking sure to get us a 4th, looking a constant threat in behind their defence. Unfortunately Tyrese was then injured in a tackle, having to be substituted about 20 minutes after coming on.
Automatically, as all teams seem to do when holding a lead at all levels of football, we went on to the back foot. A tring of saves again from Jack Robery maintained our lead. Then up pops the BOE winger with probably the best goal scored against us this season, giving Jack absolutely no chance.
The game then became very frantic with both teams going all out attack. A lack of shape, composure and belief in to keep doing what we was doing all season was most likely the reason we couldn't find the winner on this occasion.
The final whistle goes and we draw 3-3! The boys were all disappointed to lose our 100% record but WE ARE CHAMPIONS!! A Great effort from the lads this season winning the league with 4 league games to go! Yes we perhaps all wanted more this season, especially playing the way we were coming out of January, but in the end maybe a lack of game time over Feb and March stopped our fluidity. We still remain unbeaten in our league campaign and the talk of being the invincibles is very much on!! A polite reminder to they boys we still need full commitment and to take each game as it comes if we are to achieve together this record!
My man of the match goes to our keeper and club captain Jack Robery, not for the first time this season keeping us in the game so we can go on and get a result. Letting in three goals looks bad on a goalkeeper, but if Jack wasn’t on top form we could easily have lost the game. It was good to have Alfie back at left back and hopefully forgets being a midfield maestro.
A huge congratulations to everyone involved and sorry for being negative with our first dropped points in the league. I will try and be happier!
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
After a wet week and the strong chance that the away game against Alexander Park would be called off , a few calls were made to rearrange the fixture to our place. This was successful, the weather was good and everything looked positive. We had a new player in the squad, Welcome Gidion Nsiah who plays wide along with a couple of players back from injury which is needed for the run in.
The game began with both teams competing evenly which after our current dip in form looked promising, however that was soon to change. Alexander Park scored 2 goals, both of which could have been avoided with better decision making, thus putting us back in the mire. After 35 minutes embracing the roll on/roll off philosophy a change was made. Off came Alfie who was struggling with all sorts of injury problems and on comes our debut man Gidion. The substitution was inspired and we scored immediately with a scrambled headed goal from James Bex from a, well executed, Chris Morgan corner. Hopefully this will kick start James Bex on another run of goals from set pieces and concentrate him on football instead of berating the referee. Then just like that we scored a second. Another assist from Matt Roles and another goal from Gavin Suddell which takes his tally to 16. This is three behind Danny Green who has only played half a season, so Gavin you better get a run going in the last few games. Scoring just before half time is always a lift and something we needed to do to change our form around, like how we started the season!
The second half started better and it wasn’t long before we scored the decisive goal. The winner came from Gideon who was running clear of any defender, smashing the ball first time across goal into the corner after a lovely pass from Chris Morgan. The rest of the game was competitive but uneventful and another win to make it 13 out of 13 in the league. Once we scored our first goal we looked like we were back on track and the opposition heads went down a bit. We have 5 more hard games left to maintain a 100% record which would be an achievement to remember so lets keep the commitment up until the very end!
My man of the match goes to Chris Morgan who had two assists and showed his usual composure when others are rushing the game a little. When Chris plays with his head up & brings others into the game there is no better sight on the football pitch.
Garry Harrowell, First XI Manager
Norsemen 3 - 0 Merton
With four players injured & two unavailable we knew that it was going to be a more difficult task especially when all six players would have started the game. However with the squad getting larger and both teams growing with confidence and expectation we were able to put out a competent team on the day. One position needed filling at right back which was put to the players, and up stepped Laurence Connolly who doesn’t really do defending! But someone had to do it so after much deliberation Laurence plays right back behind a debutant!
The first half was forgettable with low energy, missed passes and a complete dip in form. I can only put that down to a disrupted team on the day as the players on the field were all very capable, and I have now forgotten the half already.
Moving on, I would like to say it was much better but despite the score line it wasn’t. I would say three players played to their potential, our new right back, our centre back James Bex and our captain Jake Lawrence. Luckily we were playing a team that looked like they were playing for a draw against a team that have a 100% record. If only they knew we were so vulnerable on the day, it could have been different for them. I hope this is a wake up call for the players as we have won nothing yet and on this performance we will end up with nothing. It doesn’t look much better when only 8 players from the top 2 teams in the club are available for training which was subsequently cancelled. Make sure everyone reads this and reacts with a good show next week at training to show that we want to achieve something this year.
Well that’s my rant over, back to the game! The first goal came after ten minutes from a surging run from one of the three musketeers on the day, James Bex who passed to Marcus Fatogun who then found a way to bamboozle his way through a packed defence and toe poke the ball into the back of the net. Was it a shot or a pass to Gavin Suddell, you will have to ask Marcus that one. The second was from a corner that was struck perfectly by Matt Roles and went straight inside the back post. The Third made by another Musketeer, Laurence Connolly who made an overlapping run and crossed perfectly to the giant of the team Gavin Suddell who was unmarked and headed home. As I have mentioned three goals to nothing flattered us as Merton were not the same team once the first goal went in, we should count ourselves very lucky on the day.
Our man of the match could only come from one of three players that turned up on the day. It was a close call between Jake Lawrence who ran the show (The rest of team should thank him) and our new right back who hopefully might have learned from his overlapping run that he would be happy with cover when doing so! The vote goes to our new right back, Laurence and hope this knowledge brings even more from him for the rest of the season.
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
Polytechnic 1 - 0 Norsemen, AFA Middlesex Semi-Final
The Semi final of any cup is a huge game! The boys were buzzing about playing this fixture all week, however things didn't plan out how we wished.
We arrived to the game in the worst possible condition we had all season, against possibly the strongest side we will play. Three players were out injured and also as many as four players were playing still ill from a sickness bug throughout the week.
We battled hard throughout with Charlie King putting a left footed volley just over the bar was the closest we come in the first half. We conceded a sloppy goal on the 3rd minute of stoppage time in the second half which left us chasing the game.
Chances in the second half come few and far between in a very scrappy game and fought until the very end, even sending our keeper up for some potential last minute drama. On this occasion it wasn't meant to be.
A learning curve for the boys that we do not have to be worried about any team we play and as long as we arrive in our best possible condition against these good sides, we will be more than able to compete and also get the win.
Garry Harrowell, First XI Manager
An even bigger test playing Old Hamptonians, who have won the AFC premier league for the past few years. No excuses as we had a solid team, good pitch and fair weather.
We had young Louie Remy starting his first game at right midfield in the first team and 17 year old Jardell Stirling on the bench ready for this large test.
The first half was dominated by the opposition from start to finish and we realised the difference between this opposition and the other games we have played this season.
The best we can take from this half was that we held it together and went in at half time drawing one all. We managed to score first against the run of play when Matt Roles chipped the goalkeeper from a deflection outside the box. The opposition equalised before half time and it was nothing more than they deserved.
Once again we needed to regroup and try to change things at half time, because we couldn’t carry on like the first half. And once again it seemed to work.
We came out in the second half a different team and everything seemed to improve. We scored two fairly quick goals, one a Geoff Hurst special coming down off the cross bar from Chaz which he guided in from a close range squared cross delivered by Gavin Sudell, and the second from the pass of the match back heeled by Chaz into Chris Morgans path where he slipped it past the keeper.
The score stayed at 3-1 for some time and the game started to get very tense with a few bookings from both sides as Old Hamptonians started piling on the pressure and showing they had no intention of giving up.
We battled hard and showed we could match teams at this level but the down side was too much arguing with the referee and the opposition. This definitely put us under more pressure. After too many free kicks given away just outside the box. It was only a matter of time before we shot ourselves in the foot once again.
Too much arguing before the free kick left us unorganised and the opposition took the free kick against a messy wall and in it went.
This made the game even more frenetic with the opposition smelling blood and came at us for the equaliser. Old Hamptonians have not been at the top of their tree for many years for good reason and it was with 5 minutes left that they got there equaliser.
All credit to our players that our heads did not go down, which was a massive plus to our “never say die” attitude.
With almost the last attack of the match we got a free kick which Chris Morgan took. He whipped in the cross, to be met by Chaz who looped it into the far post and scored the winning goal.
It was a great feeling because the opposition were the best we have played and we didn’t fancy another 30 minutes, especially after the last 2 Saturdays that went to extra time.
A statistic to reflect on is that Old Hamptonians have only conceded 5 goals in their league all season and we scored 4 on Saturday.
You can win games all different ways. This one was against the general run of play but shows if you stick in their anything can happen. It gave us the chance to have good spells and take advantage of them, which then leads to the self-belief that gives us the spirit to be a good and confident team.
This we will need as we are now drawn away to Polytechnic, probably the best amateur team in London which will show us exactly where we are at the moment! We will be doing it without a number of good players with injuries. Both our full backs injured this week, one with a sprained ankle and another with a pulled hamstring. Lets hope that they repair fast.
My man of the match reflects the game. As usual our goalkeeper Jack Robery, pulled off a number of saves which we all take for granted. This is the second week that Jack has had a massive influence on the game and is now being recognised and rewarded.
The much awaited north London derby finally arrived and Perhaps a little too hyped up for some. The first half an hour was all Winchmore Hill and more specifically Andy Barrells half an hour. Our team was warned that he was a handful and still we couldn’t stop him causing all sorts of trouble. A lesson hopefully learned for the future, but he certainly gave us a lesson on the day. We were 2 goals down in the first 15 minutes and we were shell shocked, this was a first time we had been put under this kind of scrutiny. After the first 2 goals Jack robery had to pull off another 2 saves that could have wrapped the game up for the Hill, tipping a free kick on the the bar and over along with a great one vs one save. In the last 15 minutes of the first half we made 2 substitutions (Using the roll on roll off philosophy that we have embraced) bringing on Alosie Ohuonu and David Greene which helped to settle and take the game to Winchmore Hill. A couple of set pieces caused them problems, with David hitting the bar from a drop down in the box with his first touch. This was by far our worst half of football all season, and credit to Winchmore Hill for their part in our poor performance.
Roll on to the half time break, where we had to try and get things back on track. What was said seemed to work, and we were back to our normal game pressing the Hill from the off.
It was the reverse of the first half with 2 quick goals from accurate corners by Matt Roles. The first one fumbled in by their keeper and the second a bit of a scramble headed home by Max Harrowell.
Back on equal terms, there was only one team in it with Norsemen having most of the possession and it was back to how we have been playing all season. There were notable individual performances that helped with this turnaround but the highlight for me was Alosie Ohuonu who for the second week running was outstanding with and without the ball. Just when things were getting better we had 2 set backs, firstly Max Harrowell coming off with cramp then David Greene with an ankle injury. Both players influential to our return to form, but it was time to make changes with our rotation policy anyway so they were easy decisions. Jake Lawrence went to centre back and looked like he had played there all season. The game swiftly went to full time with everything to play for.
Our second game in a row going to extra time so it was not a new experience. We tried to win the game during extra time but to no avail, so it was going down to the wire and penalties.
The Norsemen boys were asked who wanted to take the penalties? Six players immediately came forward and stipulated which particular penalty they would take, so it all fell nicely into place with no stress!!! Our first three takers all stepped up and slotted them away which luckily was all that was needed. Unfortunately for the Hill things didn’t go quite so well as they missed the target twice and one was saved by our very own Jack Robery. Scoring one out of four was not good enough and the win was ours.
All in all I think it was a good game for the crowd of around 200 but tense for those involved. With a bit of luck we will have many more derbys in the coming seasons.
In summary we must improve our defending, we seem to let in too many weak goals that could be avoided. Sometimes it is defending with the right numbers and sometimes poor choices or concentration.
The man of the Match is going to upset Jack Robery as he made 2 crucial saves at an important time and saved a penalty. But this week it goes to Alosie Ohuonu for his high performance over his last 2 games with his controlled defending and composure with the ball.
Please find all pictures and videos from this classic cup tie on the media page of the website.
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
Our biggest test so far in the AFA cup against last years finalists. The game was not to disappoint and started at a pace that was definitely a new experience with Old Meadonians dominating the first 10 minutes with possession and territory. Looking from the bench, this was a new experience for the boys and we had to sit and wait to see how they would respond to the onslaught. We didn’t have to wait too long before we responded, after the 10 minutes we settled and took the game by the scruff of the neck and turned it round for the next half an hour. During our period of advantage Chris Morgan, assisted by Laurence Connolly, struck a medium range shot curling the ball into the top right corner giving there keeper no chance. Unfortunately at the end of the half when we were in control of the game we conceded a penalty which looked like a coming together, but because of some needless negative banter that was creeping into the game, the referee decided to give a penalty. This changed the game back to Old Meads who were gifted the opportunity to go in at half time drawing instead of being behind. During our spell in the first half we should have been further ahead with many chances that were missed, but this was still encouraging that we were making the chances in the first place.
The second half started like the first with the opposition coming out with all guns blazing and were fortunate to be gifted an early chance when Jack Robery slipped when clearing the ball that fell nicely to the opposition. We were outnumbered and facing the wrong way allowing them an easy opportunity which they converted. With their tails up, they continued with the pressure and it wasn’t long before they took advantage of one of their numerous set pieces. A suspicious corner was given after the referee overruled the assistant referees decision to give a goal kick and a well taken corner into the middle of the box was met by their centre half with a bullet header that left Jack no chance. The game went a little to and fro for a while before we rolled our sleeves up and showed our character and started to take the game back to Old Meads who looked surprised with the change of heart. We were now well on top, with the goalkeeper making several good saves. But it wasn’t long before we got a penalty when Laurence Connolly was brought down in the box. Unfortunately Matt Roles failed to convert and we remained two goals down and time ticking away. Instead of our heads going down, the complete opposite we went again and continued the pressure until Laurence Connolly finally got his first goal for Norsemen assisted by Max Harrowell. To be fair Laurence had his fair share of chances in the game and deserved his headed goal in the fracas in the box. As the clock was ticking away we continued to press and pressure Old Meads and this persistence finally paid off with Laurence Connolly being brought down again in the box in the final few minutes of the 90minutes. Up steps Gavin Suddell, insuring he gets the ball before Matt gets it, and scores the equalizer. Just when we thought we had enough drama in the 90minutes we found ourselves in at the back post and the ball put back agonisingly across the six yard box to find no one on the end of it. The final whistle goes and we go into extra time!
There was a reasonable crowd by this time and nobody was going home. The game continued with a high tempo from both teams during the first half of extra time and finished on level terms. The second half was the same but Old Meads were given a piece of luck when a shot was deflected off Max Harrowells head when he tried to block a shot and looped over Jack Robery with no chance of saving it. The last 10 minutes was messy where we tried too hard and rushed our play giving the ball away too cheaply, but to be fair so did the opposition. A great game that finally put a halt to our 100% record and we wish Old Meads the best of luck for the rest of the competition.
The man of the match goes to someone I mention most weeks but not this one for some reason, but Alfie Lloyd was exceptional. In defence, allowing the opposition nothing with some of the hardest and best timed tackles you will see and showing composure running with the ball setting up attacks for us. The understanding that is starting to develop with Laurence down the left side is gaining fruit because Laurence is getting the confidence to get forward and create as well as covering for Alfies forward surges. Laurence can feel unlucky that he didn’t beat Alfie this week!
As an extra compliment to the game. The referee wrote in his report that we deserved more and that this was the best & most competitive game he has ever had the opportunity to referee. Take heart and push on!
Happy New Year!
After a couple of weeks lay off we were looking forward to the top of the table clash with EBOG, which is also the only team we havn’t played yet. We were expecting a hard game on a difficult pitch and we were not disappointed. The game started at a pace that continued until half time with both teams competing hard for the important points available. We had most of the possession and tried to play our normal game which was disrupted by the competitive nature of the game. However the first half finished goalless with Jack Robery and the EBOGS goalkeeper both making good one on one saves. Everything to play for with neither team really making a mark on the game.
The second half started the same way until we gave a silly free kick away to give EBOGs a chance. A poor free kick that went through all the players was met by a late runner who passed the ball into our goal. This was not the first time we have gone behind this season and won’t be the last, so there was no panicking or doubts that we would pull it back if we carried on with the way we have been playing this season. We were knocking on the door with David Greene hitting the bar from a Matt Roles knock down and It was only a matter of time before the opponents would run out of steam. After a few more attempts we finally scored with Gavin Suddell sliding David Greene though one on one before calmly slotting past the keeper to equalise. The patience of our side was brilliant throughout the second half, reaping the rewards 6 minutes from the end. Matt Roles thumping in a loose ball coming out of there area which he hit through a number of various bodies creating mass celebration throughout the squad. By this time the opposition looked tired and beaten. After more free kicks, cards and a sin bin we finally put the game away when the EBOGs keeper took Gavin Suddell out when he was clean through on goal. Gavin stepped up to take the penalty and made it 3-1.
Looking back it was good to see all the players matching the competitive spirit, in a difficult environment. It is great to have David Greene committing to the rest of the season adding to our talented squad. Now the cobwebs are wiped away we can look forward to the rest of the season with players competing for game time! There were a number of contenders for the man of the match with many consistent performers but it was between 3 players in the end. Alfie Lloyd with another faultless performance in defence and penetrating runs that caused the opposition all sorts of trouble. Chris Morgan Who showed composure when the game was at its most frenetic and his tracking back to help the midfield, as was discussed before we started. And Max Harrowell who swept up and made some crucial headers when the game needed it most. The award goes to Max in the end after much deliberation. The only other thing to add is that we finally seem to be talking more, especially Down the middle with Captain Jake Lawrence, Max and Jack all Piping up!
A final word on our reserve side led by captain Austin Gash. Also yet to lose in their league campaign. They won 3-0 away at Weirside Rangers with players Archie Lloyd, Charlie King and Tyrese Reynolds who have all been part of the first team set up this season stepping up on Saturday. The competitiveness for places between the two sides makes my job very difficult to select a match day squad but a fantastic problem to have. Both the first team and reserves have increased their level of quality so far this season both remaining unbeaten in the league campaigns. A long way to go so lets not take the foot of the gas anytime soon!!
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
Another wet & windy Saturday afternoon, this time a trip to the other side of London to play Old Dorkinians in the AFA Senior Cup. They are fourth in the first division of the AFC league so our work was cut out for us especially with 4 squad players missing. After an hour and a half drive we were slow to get our game going and conceded a goal to a very competitive Dorkinian side. This period could have been a lot worse if we didn’t have our consistent shop stopper in Jack Robery who pulled off at least 2 great saves that kept us in the game. We had 12 players and utilised the roll on roll off rules to make an early substitution which instantly changed the game. On came Marcus Fatogun which gave the opposition something else to think about, allowing us to score 2 goals in quick succession. The first from our centre back James Bex with another goal from a Matt Roles corner which will hopefully bring on another run now he is completely recovered from his broken nose. The second from “Hot shot” George Barton who smashed the ball into the bottom corner from 40yds out as a result of a bad clearance by one of our opponents. The first half finished with Norsemen back in control and looking forward to the second half
The second half carried on from the first as we started to dominate possession and it wasn’t long before we got our third from another long range effort. This time from Matt Roles assisted by Marcus Fatogun who hit it over their keeper who got his finger tips to it but failed to save it. This made it 3-1 and unfortunately we got a bit sloppy and conceded to let them back in. The confidence & spirit in this team enabled us to get straight back into the driving seat with another goal from Gavin Suddell assisted by Tyrese Reynolds who robbed their full back and passed into the oncoming Gavin. At 4-2 we again switched off and lost concentration to allow Old Dorkinians to score and get their hopes up but there was only minutes left. Full time, 4-3, and into the next round.
We had a debut by an 18 year old, Louie Remy, playing in the centre & then wide on the right giving a confident display pushing himself into the squad. The future looks good with the 2s winning emphatically with good reports on many other players. Another plus are the goals that are coming from all over the pitch, from all different players especially the thunderbolt from George Barton, who is getting better every week now he is getting fitter and more confident. The man of the match goes to Matt Roles for his goal, his assist and being the best player on the park on the day! Let’s also not forget the early saves from Jack Robery that should not be taken for granted.
One more important note. Keep yourselves fit over the Christmas break and make sure you turn up to the Saturday 29th December training session at the club that you will be informed about. We have won and achieved nothing yet!
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
After a pitch inspection on Friday afternoon, the game was to be played on the first team pitch as long as the weather stayed dry. Happy days, the opportunity to widen the gap and keep the run going against our toughest opponents to date, NUFC Oilers! Marcus Fatogun had his second start for the first team and the second start against the Oilers which broke the oppositions hearts for the second time with an inspired performance and the winning goal in the first half. We were missing our captain and our CDM so up stepped Matt Roles into both roles which he carried out with ease. Not his chosen position because he like to roam forward and his assists are invaluable to the team further up the pitch. But with the help of Gavin Suddell who sat and helped Matt jeopardising his goal scoring record, we kept a clean sheet which is a target we are setting ourselves for the oncoming games.
The game was fairly tight but Our Keeper Jack Robery did not have a save to make, yet we both made their keeper work much harder and hit the woodwork three times. It was a solid all round performance with the defence being resilient and more organised with more communication especially from Max Harrowell which bodes well for the future. We are still a work in progress but moving in the right direction looking at playing one more game this year to maintain our 100% record. Do extra training and be available to make sure this happens!
The man of the match goes to Marcus Fatogun for stepping up and causing chaos amongst the Oilers back 4 for a second time this season. His bullish performance topped by a contender for our goal of the season steads well for the rest of the season. Also should be an inspiration to any reserve team players who have the desire to play first team football as Marcus has for sure stepped up when called upon! Well done to him and the side now making it 10 league wins out of a possible 10.
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
Another away game in the AFA Middlesex cup but luckily not so far away this time against the only team to beat us in our preseason friendlies, Old Albanians. So to keep our hundred per cent record we had to turn that result round and take on our biggest task to date. We were to play on a 3g pitch which should suit us as we like to play the ball on the ground and we train on a similar surface. We started with most of the possession controlling the game but not really creating too many chances which led to being a bit impatient. For some reason this led to a lot of long range shooting which in all honesty did not really challenge there keeper. The season is still a work in progress and we will learn to continue being more patient and the chances will come especially against the better sides instead of hopeful shots too far out.
We had most of the territorial play which led to a few set play opportunities. Thankfully James Bex is back doubling the average height of the team to help us with free kicks and corners. But it was from the most unlikely source that we scored just before half time. Whilst there defence was worried about our tall player, Chris Morgan sneaked in with a run to the near post and glanced the ball home from a well executed Matt Roles corner. Yet another assist from Matt Roles.
The second half was quite even and we were unable to kill the game off which always leaves the game open for either side. Unfortunately it was old Albanians who drew the next blood with yet another soft goal. We gave an unnecessary free kick away which was overhit by the opposition only for us to head it back into play and into the path of an Old Albanian who smashed it past Jack Robery, leaving him no chance. Jack can count himself unlucky this season so far,as every week he pulls off saves that deserve more clean sheets but someone in the team lets the opposition have an easy goal most weeks. We will pay for this one day if we don’t tighten up on the silly goals!
With the scores level the game started to get a bit scrappy but the game was managed to full time. The opposition were looking jaded and we were still looking fresh thanks to the training that “most” of the boys do. So extra time was a formality as we ran them ragged. Unfortunately the opposition couldn’t make changes as they had all gone off injured so they had to play with the boys they had on the pitch and some of them were struggling. We could have scored a hatful missing many easy chances, but we only added two more from Chris Morgan & Gavin Suddell who assisted each other with their efforts.
It was good to see our centre half pairing back with James Bex & Max Harrowell back from their injuries. Alfie Lloyd and Alosie Onuhu filling the full back positions were very solid allowing very little to the opposition and starting many of our attacking plays. A very consistent performance all round, but the man of the match goes to Chris Morgan with his two goals and consistent play this week and previous weeks.
Fitness won the day without a doubt this week so I hope you have worked it out that you should all be at training and put it in when you are there. See you at 8.30 on Tuesday. NO EXCUSES
Garry Harrowell, First XI Manager
Carshalton 1 - 6 Norsemen
What a trek! Left Norsemen at 11.00am and got home after 7.00pm, but it was all worth it in the end. Our best football played so far in the first half scoring 4 goals which should have been more. No disrespect to our opposition, but we played high tempo one touch football that had them chasing shadows. I forgot I was the manager for a while and just enjoyed the spectacle! The first goal came early in the game from Gavin Suddell being put through by Matt Roles yet again for Gavin to go round the keeper and slot into an empty net. The second was the goal of the game again by Gavin Suddell assisted by Laurence Connolly who looked like he delayed the pass too long only for Gavin to take it wide and chip the keeper. This killed the opposition and we were now rampant having many chances before Gavin completed his hat trick after yet another through ball from Matt Roles. Matt Roles wasn’t finished yet this half as he grabbed a free kick opportunity from the right side of the pitch and smashed it inside the near post. The goalkeeper got a hand on it but the shot was to accurate and strong.
The time flew by, unlike the trip back to Norsemen. As usual it is very hard to reproduce the same standard of football in the second half when the game is already wrapped up. Despite all the clichés I could not get them to double the score. However we were not finished yet, The opposition were trying to stop the free flowing football with a few fouls and there which led to a penalty midway through the second half. Up steps Matt Roles who is desperately trying to catch Gavin in the top goal scoring table and slots the ball home. Not to be out done Chris Morgan grabbed the ball on the next free kick and curled the ball into the corner and the ball went in off the post leaving there hapless keeper no chance.
From here on it got a bit messy with everyone trying to get in on the action. Eight forwards and two defenders was never the recipe for a clean sheet. What happened to the discipline to get a clean sheet? Where was our CDM? What are the fines for messing up a clean sheet? I think a dart might be in order! What other way is there to learn? Carshalton got there conciliation goal and thought it was Christmas already.
Jokes and darts aside, it was our best display so far and was difficult to pick a man of the match because there was so many good displays. In the end it was between our Hat trick hero and Matt Roles who scored two and made two adding to his large tally of assists for the season. In the end having dropped Gavin off at the station and only Matt & Laurence in the car I was told by Matt that he was the man of the match, and because he had to sit in the car for over 2 hours driving through the centre of London I relented. Matt roles gets it this week or I would never hear the last of it!
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager
Another great performance on the road from the boys possibly playing some of our best football we have produced so far this season.
However, stinker of the day does go to manager Gary for again using his awful car sat nav. Lucky for some, not Laurence or matt, it was on the way home and not to the match this time. After speaking about Christmas so fondly in his match report, it makes you wonder if he did do it on purpose as I know he had told me personally he was itching to see the Harrods Christmas lights. A big night out for Gal.
So in fact the only squad member to receive a dart this week is Gary, for again using his awful car sat nav, dropping matt and Laurence home closer to the 8 o'clock mark with them missing out on valuable beer time back at the club a good 1 and half hours after the rest of the team.
Jack Robery, Club Captain
We headed out on a glorious Saturday afternoon to the Hive to play our most competitive game of the season so far, away to NUFC Oilers. It turned out to be exactly that and seeing the team in the bar beforehand, we could see we were up against a big side.
The pitch was a long walk but once you get there, you are rewarded with a lovely big flat pitch with plenty of grass. We definitely wouldn’t be going into the changing rooms at half time. There were some chances from both sides and both keepers did their jobs to keep a stalemate.
The first half was very tight and competitive with the weather changing by the minute. It started off with a gale and turned into a thunderstorm with halestones. Even the Gods were against us! However we managed to get to the second half goalless against the wind, the storm and the biggest team we have come across so far (Not just tall).
The second half started the same way with everyone getting soaked, and then the game livened up with chances from both sides. The first was a one on one against our consistent club captain Jack Robery who duly obliged with a magnificent stop which we are starting to take for granted. We then made a change bringing on Marcus Fatogun who was starting his first game for the ones and was our only player that matched up to the size of their players. We weren’t to know but this seemed to change the game as they started to worry about our man mountain! Shortly after we scored a bizarre goal from a Chris Morgan free kick that was bundled into the roof of the net. How it got there through the mass of bodies is a mystery but we will take the good fortune. It was down to Jack Robery now to keep us in the game by pulling off a treble save that defied logic. They were gutted and their momentum withered slightly. Jacks saves added to the goal was a killer for them. They didn’t give up but they found that they had something else on their mind when the inspired substitution of Marcus Fatogun was sucking up there focus, allowing other players more space and time. Marcus went on to show he wasn’t just a physical option by going on a couple of jinking runs that had their defence in knots. It was one of these runs on the byline that he went on and then cut back to Chris Morgan to make it 2. NUFC can feel hard done by as this was the hardest game so far.
My man of the match this week was a toss up with a 3 sided coin. Marcus Fatogun by changing the opponents focus, Chris Morgan for his 2 goals or Jack Robery for his inspired goalkeeping. In the end it had to be Jack Robery for keeping us in the game on more than one occasion but also for not throwing one in this week.
With 5 players unavailable through injury the game was always going to be a challenging one. It didn’t get any better when Chris Morgan came off after a couple of minutes with a bad back and Archie Lloyd followed after turning his ankle in the first half. Luckily we had squad players to step up to add to the boys from last week who coped with the pressure of playing in an unbeaten team. However It did emphasise the importance of coming training and getting fitter, because as the game went on our normal organised set up was all over the place! In summary come training, (Fail to prepare, prepare to fail) and do some extra on your own if necessary. Well done to the boys that stepped up and didn’t look out of place.
Despite the injuries, we found ourselves ahead with a delightful chip over the Alexander Park defence by Laurence Connolly into a clever run from Gavin Suddell who slotted it past the keeper. We then broke a cardinal sin by allowing the opposition to pull one back within 5 minutes, concentrating after scoring is so important and the lesson must be learned. Going in at half time at one a piece was not a bad result having played against the wind and disrupted by 2 injuries, so everything to play for.
The second half was very quiet and flat for some reason, we seemed to have lost some self belief, which should not happen to a side that has won every game up to this one? To the rescue comes Jake Lawrence who was everywhere setting a captains example. He put in one of his driving runs and sent in a diagonal ball into the box that tempted Jardell Stirling who smashed a great header into the top corner. From then on it was backs to the wall, where we went through possibly the worst phase of play that I have seen from the team this year. We were disorganised and unable to keep possession of the ball, not stringing two passes together. Training essential to get back on track! It was no surprise that we conceded, giving away a sloppy goal, put away by an unmarked player at the back post in open play. The game was now open and a draw looked like the best bet. There was thankfully a twist in the tale when the game looked dead. Matt Roles took an exquisite corner and found an unmarked Tom Carl Fletcher who headed the winner. Sometimes you just get away with it.
My man of the match was difficult this week because the performance was a bit below par. The team was a little disrupted with changes to personnel and players playing out of position, but these are the games that feel so good when you win. Winning ugly is sometimes the best feeling! There were good performances from always consistent Alfie Lloyd, Matt Roles & Jake Lawrence. But I am giving the accolade to Gavin Suddell, who at times worked tireless on his own up front when our backs were against the wall and scoring the opening goal.
Thankful for a large squad of talented footballers and despite a number of injuries, we travelled to HSBC with continued high expectations. The squad is getting to the size that missing away games or training could have a serious effect on game time which can only be a good thing. The boys that stepped up fitted in to our team as if they had been playing all season and with good numbers at training it can only improve our performances for the rest of the season.
George Barton cheekily said our performance was like Barca! Not quite but on the best pitch we have played on this season we were able to play some entertaining one touch football on the ground which was a joy to watch. Gavin Suddell suffering from foot & mouth (the mind boggles with what kind of company he is mixing with) had a number of opportunities which could have got him to the top of the Ian Charles Top Goal scoring Chart, but alas will stay near the bottom below our centre backs. He did score a couple, one in each half but had to take him off because the cars in the car park were getting too damaged! His first goal was assisted by Matt Roles and the second by Jake Lawrence who had another impressive game breaking up the opponents attacks before they started. The other goal in the first half came from a sweet strike by Matt Roles assisted by Laurence Connolly which rocketed into the bottom corner of the net.
There were a number of good performances, George Barton who has played all the position along the back had a great game and was in the frame for man of the match until he started shooting and taking free kicks, resulting for a throw in. I have already mentioned boys stepping in, but they should be acknowledged! Louis Burlton, Austin Gash and Callum Robery all made the trip at short notice and helped us get the points. This gives us the confidence that we have the depth in the club which is very healthy place to be in. Archie Lloyd is looking sharper every game and his brother Alfie is consistently giving the opposition headaches in the numerous positions he has played in. However my man of the match goes to Jake Lawrence who marginally beat Chris Morgan for totally dominating the midfield not allowing any possession for our opponents and redistributing to his own players which was only wasted when passing to Gavin!
The big question, can we deliver on the big day in front of the “sell out” crowd?
The answer was yes but only just! A slightly under par performance from the way we have been playing, and this could be due to the large crowd but also to give credit to Bank of England.
The opposition looked like a side that wanted to get back into the top division.
They were well organised and had their fair share of possession which made it hard for us to get the momentum we have been used to.
The game started well with an early goal from Chris Morgan assisted by Gavin Suddell and the referee, who allowed the game to play on after Gavin was fouled.
For the rest of the first half it was quite even which could have changed when Matt Roles unleashed a strike that in most games would have been a spectacular goal. However their goalkeeper pulled off a worldy and kept them in the game to half time. Even though it looked like a close game we tested their keeper a lot more, unlike our keeper who did not have a save to make!
This was to change in the second half. As is common in these games, the opposition came out fired up and we had a contest on our hands as the game went to and fro.
Bank of England scored a scrappy goal when the ball apparently hit a dip in the pitch and sent Jack Robery the wrong way. That was the story from one of the committee members who saw it, but I think he might be Jacks Dad!
So game on, the contest continued with a few chances from both sides, with Norsemen having the upper hand but wasting some good opportunities. Some of the best opportunities were made by one of our substitutes, Laurence Connolly, who has just come back from a knee injury.
That was the best he has played since joining Norsemen this season and looks like a selection problem for the starting line up next Saturday. The game was decided by a great run into the box by Matt roles making a tackle, winning the ball and squaring it back to Gavin Suddell, who then passed the ball into the empty net. This ended up being the winning goal and continues our 100% start to the season. We saw the game out with a bit of nervousness by playing very deep which is something to think about in the future.
The game was spoiled a little by a nasty clash of heads when one of the opposition jumped into James Bex Face leading to a cracked tooth and a nice broken nose. We wish him well and hope he is back playing soon.
The man of the match this week goes to Matt Roles who has probably been overlooked as our most consistent performer considering the amount of assists and tackles he makes. Not the fastest but covers every blade of grass on the pitch coming off exhausted having given his all. Also a special mention to Jake Lawrence whose disciplined performances sitting in front of the defence allows Matt and the other midfielders to get forward and play their uninhibited and exciting football.
I hope the large crowd enjoyed the game and would feel it wouldn’t be an afternoon wasted by coming down and supporting the boys.
On a beautiful sunny day, what should have been a feast of football, was levelled by a strong wind and long grass. This didn’t suit the kind of football we have been playing recently, with the ball slowing up in the long grass and the wind catching the balls in the air. This helped both teams to give the ball away far too easily which is certainly not what we have been about so far this season. Kicking against the wind in the first we had a couple of good chances and a few ballooned shots over the bar. The first half however finished goalless and the less said the better.
The second half started the same way but we had the wind on our side so we didn’t balloon our shots as much as give their goalkeeper some practice. It was going to be one of those days until Gavin Suddell popped up and scored what was to be the only goal. The pass came from Matt Roles who ran himself into the ground all game and whose performance was as consistent as ever. There was some great interplay between Chris Morgan And Gavin which will reap better rewards when we get back to our ground or any other decent pitch. It is so nearly there, but it will come when these new players get the understanding with more game time. There was a couple of nervous moments at the end of the game when we let the Vampires get a sniff of our goal. One was headed wide and the other saved by Jack Robery who deserves a mention for pulling off great saves when he has very little to do through most of the games.
My man of the match goes to Gavin Suddell for his match winning goal and his ability to use his 5 foot/8 stone frame to hold and protect the ball when it is played up to him. Also a special mention to our central midfielders of Chris Morgan, Matt Roles and Jake Lawrence who on another day would have ripped the opposition apart.
The first round of the AFA cup was a trip to Old Vaughanians on a very wet & very cold Saturday afternoon (just ask Jack just how cold it was).
The pitch was tucked away behind a David Lloyd fitness centre and attracted 2 spectators who looked like they had to be there and not by choice. The game had to be played and we wanted to get into the next round but it was far from enjoyable. Even the David Lloyd members turned their bikes away from the window view to avoid the scrappy game.
At half time it was 5 -1 which should have been more, with goals from Matt Roles (Penalty),Gavin Suddell, another one from goal a game James Bex, Jake Lawrence and Alfie Lloyd.
Unfortunately we conceded again so we still have not managed a clean sheet, although to be fair the shot was a miss hit & went in off the post.
The second half was just as wet and cold so we made a substitute every 5 minutes to stop players getting frostbite on the side line. This only stopped when James Bex got injured whilst driving into the opponents box from a run from his own box.
We had it arranged so maybe he will remember he is a centre half in future! Our left back Anton Johnson also went on a few runs, which led him to scoring the 2 goals in the second half making the final result 7 -1. It could of and should have been more if we could shoot straight and maybe, swapping the defenders with the forwards, possibly next week.
The highlight was definitely finding a goalkeeper that can keep a clean sheet which happened by chance. Alfie Lloyd feeling sorry for Jack Robery swapped the goalkeepers jersey for the last 20 minutes. Alfie was outstanding, using all his height and presence to command his area plus an extra 5yds that he wasn’t supposed to.
The man of the match goes to Anton Johnson with 2 goals and an accomplished performance despite the cold. This should give him the impetus to get forward and create and score more goals in the following games. The other highlight was to see Alfie's little brother Archie playing again, Archie will add an extra dimension to the team for the rest of the season once he gets himself fit.
What a day! The team met at 11am ready for a trek and a 2pm kick off, only to be held up by Matt Morgan who was still in his slippers when his brother picked him up. Left at 11.30 to get across London. Not long enough as we arrived at the ground at 2.10 with 10 minutes to change and start the game. Luckily were given the 20 minutes by the generous referee. No warm up and straight into a frenetic goalless first half. Not much to report except the passionate and tough opponents of Merton giving us a hard time. With only 11 men we struggled a bit when Charlie King got injured early in the first half.
The second half started at the same pace with Merton coming out all guns blazing and opened up the scoring with an unexpected shot when their striker took the ball early and surprised everyone, not least Jack Robery the keeper.
The game needed some inspiration and our most reliable scorer to put us back in the game. Great individual play by our injured Charlie King who cleverly back heeled the ball to put the ball on a plate for Tyrese to score, making its six goals in 4 league games.
The second goal came soon after, Up rises James Bex for his fourth goal in four games from a Chris Morgan cross what was to become the winning goal. It’s a habit we are all getting used to and expect every week now. We then had to manage the game to the final whistle which our centre half James Bex thought was the time to run the length of the pitch and assist the forwards. When the ball was lost and we were under the cosh, there was obviously no panic by Bexy as he was sitting on the left wing where he proceeded to put a cross into the box in the final minutes???
The man of the match goes to Max Harrowell for keeping his head when his partner goes missing and being composed & consistent in his ball retention and all round game. A special mention to Charlie King who led the line, made it difficult for their back line and assisting the winning goal whilst carrying an injury most of the game.
The boys had to make a decision on their boots for the first time, after a bit of rain, and we get to see if they can make use of the quick surface on our large pitch. This combination, with the opposition turning up with 10 men was looking promising. However this soon became frustrating with Ibis being well organised with all their players behind the ball and our passes being a bit wayward - early days. We did get a penalty when Gavin Suddell, playing up front for the first time, was brought down whilst jinking his way into the box. But it looked like it was going to be one of those days when their keeper pulled off a great save and the game was still a stalemate. Soon after, Jack Robery, kept us in the game by pulling off a great save himself after we lost the ball sloppily in midfield, whilst playing out from the back. This was going to happen early in the season while we are getting used to the conditions and playing out from the back, which we will persevere with.
Eventually the pressure from our possession and probing, gained us a corner which gave the opportunity for “goal a game” centre back James Bex to get us off the mark once again rising like another salmon at the back post. Ibis were back up to 11 men with a late arrival so the game began to open up a little. Before the half time whistle we were rewarded with a second goal with a second assist from Matt Roles passing to Alfie Lloyd who smashed the ball past the Ibis keeper, which was no mean feat after witnessing their keepers performance in the second half.
The second half was far more open and could have given us a good lead if it hadn’t been for some outstanding goalkeeping from the Ibis man of the match. We did manage to get another 2 goals separated by one response from Ibis which was another disappointing goal which could have been avoided. A clean sheet is our top priority in the coming weeks! The third goal was an own goal from a ball driven in by Matt Roles who is claiming another assist! The fourth headed in by the towering Gavin Suddell from a James Bex assist.
All in all, a good all round performance and looks like we are heading in the right direction. Getting used to the large pitch and keeping the ball on the ground with fewer touches is sometimes a joy to watch and can only get better. The man of the match for me was difficult but goes to Alfie for his second goal of the season and his driving runs from his new position of left midfield. A special mention to Matt Roles for his workrate and three assists.
Norsemen 7 – 3 Carshalton
After a good start last weekend, we were expecting another tough game against Carshalton who also started off their season with three points.
We started off brightly missing several chances with our attacking players often deciding to go solo instead of finding the final killer pass. Carshalton then come into the game slightly often looking dangerous from set pieces, especially the long throw.
After twenty minutes of good sustained pressure the deadlock was finally broken. A great corner from Laurence Connolly of course found James Bex to make it 2 goals in two league games for him.
A strong 40 minutes see us playing some good stuff. However the last five minutes of the half see us continue to try and play from the back, inviting pressure. Everything become a bit frantic and led to a great one on one save from club captain Jack Robery on the back of a 50/50 offside call give in the advantage of the away side.
1-0 to Norsemen at half time.
An edgy start to the second half see the introduction Charncey Dash along with Tyrese Reynolds just starting to find the rhythm of the game after coming on in the first half. But it was Carshalton to strike first after we lost the ball and our midfield all caught high up the pitch. A good counter attack move from the visitors, 1-1.
After this we picked up the tempo and never looked back with the substitutes making a good impact.
Max Harrowell put up 2-1 up after two great long passes, first from Jake Lawrence across field and the second from George Barton crossing back into the box for Max to finish with a great header.
Tyrese made it 3-1, with George getting his second assist of the match with a through ball, Tyrese just beating the keeper to the ball.
Another good save from Jack saving a close range volley at a key point in the game kept the score at 3-1. But then some good work first from Gavin Suddell and then Chris Morgan see Tyrese score his second and third.
Goal of the game then come from some good team play finally finding Charncey to dink a ball into Alfie Lloyd who chested down for Tyrese to smash home on the volley claiming his fourth!
The scoring ended with Charncey deliberately spinning the ball round the oncoming centre half and then smashing past the goalkeeper.
Two goals conceded from corners amongst all that will see us with plenty to work on in training!
Man of the match of course goes to Tyrese Reynolds. Scoring four goals for the first team at the age of 19 is some achievement. Well done Tyrese and well done to the boys, on to the next one!
Our season starts with a home game against Old Finchlians with the expectancy of continuing our successful preseason run. A bit of a shaky start to the game probably due to “first game of the season nerves”. This all settled when James Bex “rose like a salmon” at the back post and headed in the first goal to get our season off the mark. From then on, there was no turning back against a competitive Old Finchleans side. The second came from Chris Morgan from the left side of the pitch into the top right corner, which he later admitted to being a cross (not many would have admitted that). This left us with a nice 2 goal advantage, which was helped by a great double save by our club captain Jack Robery in goal just before half time.
The second half started with a small set back when the opposition scored to make it 2-1, a goal that could have been avoided when we had three chances to win challenges and clear the ball. However the response was almost immediate replying with three goals in the second half. The first, from a clever reverse pass from James (Nose bleed) Bex which led to a chip over the oncoming keeper by Alfie Lloyd, who was immediately rewarded by being substituted to right back. The second was a well struck shot by Matt Roles which went into the top right corner. The Third bumbled in by Tyrese Reynolds, although Gavin Suddell insists it was his goal. The jury is out for that one! The fourth & fifth goal went in whilst we only had 10 men, this is a tactic we may use in the future by taking Laurence (sin bin)Connolly off for 10 minutes.
A great start to the season where everybody played a part including the opposition. The stand out player for me was James Bex with his first goal calming the nerves, his second half assist and his overall play. Well done James and the rest of the team, a great start and let’s make sure we continue the commitment and passion for the rest of the season.