Picking up the paper on a Sunday morning will tell you a run of the mill 3-0 win for the top of the table CEV against struggling Oldsmiths, but anyone watching the game will know differently. We started in high spirits, confidently switching the ball from side to side and making full use of a large pitch on a hot day to tire out the opposition.
Lining up in our familiar 4-2-3-1, our attacking options were picking up dangerous spots, and with Tommy dragging their full back out wide Ryan Harrington, Dan Couldridge and Ali Manoli were constantly looking for balls slipped behind to create the first opening. After a couple of headers looped over from set pieces, it seemed a matter of time and the opener came through Ryan Harrington, put through by Dan Couldridge, and the result was never in doubt as the ball was calmly rolled in to the bottom corner. Soon after the second came through Dan. Again the ball was rolled behind their defence, and having missed the first couple of opportunities, this time there was no mistake, nestling inside of the far post.
Then the game changing moment as we went down to 10 men with over an hour left to play. Tareeq Mustapha came on to steady the ship, as we reverted to 2 banks of 4 to survive the Oldsmiths onslaught. Huge shifts from everybody, not only physically, but mentally to keep our shape for so long, meant that Oldsmiths were reduced to crosses from the wing and long balls in to our box, which Amit was clearing up confidently for the whole game. Then finally, the clincher, Dan Couldridge was put through as we broke following an Oldsmiths attack. He got his body in the way and everyone could see from a mile off that the defender was going to take him down. He duly delivered. Penalty vamps. Set piece specialist Ali Manoli stepped up, and the net billowed as the ball hit the side netting. 3-0, and game over. Oldsmiths kept up their attacking but with fresh legs coming off the bench the shape wasn’t breaking, with Ryan, Nelson, Tommy and Gio on the wings making it into a Tony Pulis style back 6 in times of need. As the final whistle blew we knew it was a huge result to keep our 100% record going in two difficult games, and we march on down to Kew for our next challenge to keep top spot.
Jamie Swainston ⚽
Saturday 29 September 2018
Muswell Hill Sports Ground, Coppetts Road, London N10 1JP
SAL Junior Novets Cup Group Stage
Match Day: Nice weather to play some football still looking for are first win of the season and this is one we need to win to stand any chance of coming out of the group to go through to knock-out stages.
I got all my players down the club 2 hours before kick-off so they can all chill in the club house together so the new players were able to get to know everyone. We went in to get change a 1 hour before kick off as we could do the nets and then warm up before the kick off at 2pm.
EBOG kicked off the game, Vamps started positively with the high pressure and winning the ball back and having shots on goal, as we started with so much energy players did get tired very quickly so EBOG came back into the game and as the vamps still working on their defensive duties we struggled to win the ball back. Coming up to the 30 min we have conceded a goal everyone heads have dropped because with the young talent we have its disappointing when we go behind. We have gone 2-0 down before Matt Castignetti is in there box and he has been brought down and the call has been given it's a penalty. Jamie Swainston steps up to spot and shoots a low and hard shot into the bottom right corner. 2-1 Before half time the defence have made to more mistakes and conceded another 2 goals the half time score was 4-1 to EBOG. .
Second half we have kicked off and we have got a bit more support on the side-line with Dan Oliver and Ina Singh I believe that helped the team with some confidence as we played better in the second half we had some better passing plays moving the ball from left to right it looked more positive. We still have a lot to work on as a team but we are going in the right direction, yes we lost 5-1 but we can take some positives from the game.
Brady Richings , Elliot Jackson, Łukasz Kowalczyk , Connor Eldrett, Jesse James, Jamie Swainston , Kallum Duncan , Jake Pearlman, Nick Dunlop , Matt Casti, Sean Warner, Fin Duncan, Jamie McLaughlin, Jude Oliver
Scribe: Connor Eldrett
Reece Horn-Haynes ⚽⚽, Dan Alldis ⚽, Andreas Bryant
Saturday 29 September 2018
Oakfield Playing Fields, Forest Road, Barkingside IG6 3HD
SAL Junior Division 1 North
The Mighty 3s marched on to their away fixture at Parkonians with 3 wins from 3 in the league, the only team to achieve the feat and a win against a decent side such as Parks would surely prove our credentials to ourselves and the league as people would surely be looking at us as possible contenders to win it.
We don't want to get ahead of ourselves and we prepared well as we’ve done before lining up very much the same. The pitch was dryer than a night in watching reruns of Taggart. We’d have to be mindful of injuries. The other team looked well prepared and we got underway we stuck to playing football, playing out from the back getting the ball wide when necessary. It was boiling hot out there and the expansive pitch was taking it out of us early doors. We were wide open at points which was a cause for concern.
We had the better of the chances early on and we tried to squeeze them from the front. We had some opportunities and a couple of pot shots but nothing concrete. Parks applied our own press to us but we have the Albanian version of Manuel Neuer in the sticks he pinged the ball miles the defenders read it all wrong and the ginger ninja Reece Horn-Haynes was on hand to nip in behind and delightfully chip it over the keeper. The game then descended into what can only be described as a night out in Watford. We had corners, goalkick given; clear free kicks to us, no fouls. Some of us kept our heads others weren’t so sensible.
We picked up a booking but continued to play and Drew Dawson opted for one of his quarter back passes to Fraggle Coghlan who was doing the hard graft between the lines to feed Bryant who buried it. The opposition got themselves back into it moments later some backs against the wall defending meant the ball ricocheted and fell kindly to their striker who hit it low, Igli Gyata thought he was in a Nike Joga Bonita video and currently in possession of Bernand's watch was suddenly brought crashing back to reality when the ball that was at his feet that he had just saved with instead of his hands got away from him leaving the striker to follow it up to make it 2-1.
Just before half time we kept attacking and got our reward. We had been careless with finishing and our decision making was all wrong but Ryan Lyttle bombed down the right hand side beating a couple of defenders he squared it and it was buried by Dan Alldis giving us some vital breathing space.
The second half got pretty gritty and there was lots of niggling and arguing which was stopping the game's natural flow. We then got a chance, the ball came into Rob's feet who had been holding it up lovely all afternoon. He laid it off about 30 yards and it was all instinct as Reece picked up the ball 30 yards out he poked it ahead of him and buried it with aplomb in the top corner. 4-1.
Their striker controlled the ball with his hand (think Henry vs Ireland) and laid it yer man who stuck it away from about 20 yards. Our protests fell on deaf ears. Then the other end it was our turn in this tit for tat affair. Player 8172 then decided to use his hand to control the ball. It wasn’t so much 6 of one half a dozen of the other- it was pretty blatant. Being on a booking the ref had no option but to send him off. We were now down to 9 men. For those who play FIFA it was time to hit the left arrow on the D-pad 5 times this puts you in Park-the-bus mode. This leaves you short of attacking options but means you’ll have a chance if you use your brains to defend. We managed to hold on and the boys at the back mopped up and we held on for another 3 points.
Ashkan Kalashy ⚽, Henry Buli ⚽
Saturday 29 September 2018
Barnet Copthall Playing Fields, Champions Way, Mill Hill NW4 1PX
SAL Junior Division 3 North
This was our second away fixture this season and yet again up against a side that were filled with 22 to 24 yr olds that were pacy and technicaly good, as they were looking at us and thinking this will be a walk over (as many have done before) we were warming up and getting in the zone. It was us that started stronger and Ashkan Kalashy battled his way fown the wing and his cross come shot had nestled in the top corner before SJOB could muster themselfs, the rest of the first half was a battle and with the back 3 of Dan Coleman,Jason De Mel and Henry being like a brick wall. SJOB had no real chances yet we squandered half chance after half chance so half time it was 1-0 to us.
Into the second half and SJOB really pushed and put us under pressure but we were still breaking away and giving them something to think about, then around the 80th minute mark after a discussion we decided to let Buli have his way and go forward for a corner and boy did it pay off as Buli rose the highest and put a bullet header in the back of the net. 2-0 for some reason we sat back a bit too much and gave away a few free kicks around our box and from 1 of these SJOB scored from a cross that missed everyone and gave us a nervy last 2 mins to deal with.
Another gritty hard fight that showed the character, strengh and togetherness of this squad that me very proud lets keep this going guys.
SAL Veterans League
Scribe: James Reilly
A super strike from Jay Reilly wasn't enough for the Vets who missed out on the chance to go top of the league, going down 1-2 to Reporters. Next week it's Winchmore Hill away - let's make sure we're back on form for that one boys!
TEAM: David Ellis, Gary Leslie, Lincoln Patterson, Micky Hitch, Graham Surry, James Reilly ⚽, Steve Wynne, Jermaine Harley, Cory Sunderland, Matthew Friskey, Corey Brade, Michael Barton
AFA Minor Cup Preliminary Round
Scribe: Jonathan Hindi
After two wins out two in the league, the Vampires faced a tricky AFA Cup tie against Southgate County 3's.
Crouch End kicked off the game, boasting an average age of 39. But age is but a number as the Vamps took the game to Southgate. And it wasn't long before the Vamps were rewarded. A throw was flicked on by Reilly, which found Hindi in the box. Hindi's shot beat the keeper, but not the Southgate defenders hand. Penalty to the the Vampires and Southgate down to ten men. With Reilly slotting the penalty in to the bottom corner, it seemed Southgate were going to be in for a long afternoon. Unfortunately for the Vamps, the sending off gave the Southgate players a massive lift. Suddenly they were winning first and second balls, popping the ball around. The midfield of Reilly, Kalashy and Taddei has to work really hard as the Southgate midfield started to take control, forcing Hill to make some great saves. As much as Hill tried he couldn't keep our everything as Southgate equalised to make it 1-1.
Manager McKeon made three changes, bringing on Breen, Fleetwood and Buli. It wasn't long before Breen put through Hindi with a defence splitting pass, who smashed his left foot effort passed the keeper. 2-1. But the lead was short lived as Southgate hit back with the equaliser. Southgate installed further misery as they took the lead shortly before halftime. Mackey somehow managed to handle in the area giving the referee no option but to award Southgate a penalty, which was calmly put away.
So at halftime and the ten men of Southgate lead 3-2.
McKeon rang the changes again, this time ditching 3-5-2 for a more compact 4-5-1 formation. The change seem to work as back four of De Mel, Coleman, Buli and Duarteshut down the space where Southgate had exploited in the first half. The game went back and forth, both sides creating chances but not able to capitalise and it wasn't until midway through the second half the ball was in the back of the net. The Vamps won a free kick in the Southgate half, Bradley floated in a wonderful cross and Knighty leapt highest and directed the ball in the top corner. 3-3 and the Vamps pushed for the winner. Crouch End won a throw in deep in the Southgate half after a long driving run down the right by De Mel. The throw in was flicked on by Reilly and some how their keeper and defenders managed to bundle the ball in to their own net. They all count and a great time to score. Five minutes remained but with the experience in our squad, Southgate had no chance of getting another equaliser.
So it finished 4-3. Another win for the 4's and another proud, gritty performance COYV
TEAM: George Hill, Jonathan Hindi ⚽, Barry Mackey, Dan Coleman, Lee Duarte, Henry Buli, Jason Reilly ⚽, Jason De Mel, Ashkan Kalashy, Jordan Flynt, Martin Bradley, Matthew Breen, Anthony Knight ⚽, Charlie Fleetwood
SAL Junior Novets Cup | Group Stage
Scribe: Connor Eldrett
It's match day,
Crouch End Vampires teams play in the SAL cup in the group stage 5s vs the 6’s. This is the second game for the 6’s in this good after are first game ended in a draw we needed to win this game.
We started the day with unfortunate news with 4 of our players not turning up but messaged around to get us a GK, we managed to get ourselves one 20mins before kick-off.
We kick off the game and 20 mins into the game we know we had our work cut out to compete with this 5’s team. It wasn't long before we conceded are first goal credit to the 5s and their teamwork on the build up to their goal. It wasn't long before they went through one on one again but Brady Richings made a top save to keep it at 1-0. The 6s are trying to fight back to get a goal, we come close with Connor Eldrett playing a pass through to shoots hitting the post, The 5’s pick up the pace and have a chance on the counter attack with the 6s pilling bodies leaving it wide open at the back and the 5’s go through with 4 against 1 defender and the keeper they get the ball across to the back post then play it back across to the centre to knock it in for 2-0.
5’s kick the game back off playing straight down the pitch kicking the ball straight over the top of the defence, the 6’s defender miss kicks the ball and it falls into the path of the 5’s attacker who puts it into the back of the net making it 3-0.
At this point all 6’s were all quiet all have their heads down, players arguing with each other and it wasn't going to get any better with the arguments they give up
The 5’s play the ball down the wing and get a cross in just going over Łukasz Kowalczyk andConnor Edlrett's head, the 5’s striker comes in for an easy header to make it 4-0 there wasn’t much more action after that goal.
Credit to the 5’s they were wiser than us and so much more organised.
TEAM: Brady Richings, Elliott Jackson, Connor Eldrett, Łukasz Kowalczyk, Jake Pearlman, James Swainston, Lee Graham, Ryan Horswell, Jaden Millard, Matthew Castignetti, Nick Dunlop, Ben Miller
SAL Junior Novets Cup | Group Stage
Scribe: Mark Ephgrave
A win finally, A squad finally, A clean sheet finally….
Its been a hard, the last four weeks, four games four different sides each time for the same reason players unavailable or late cry offs.
But this game more than any other was just the game the 5s needed, the reason why because it was against the 6s led by Connor Eldrett and his travelling supporters. I think it helped is because the 5s could relax and play football that over the previous games we threatened to do at times.
The game was evenly balanced for the first 10-15 mins both sides wanting to draw first blood and claim the bragging rights.
Once the lads started to grow in confidence so did the football, at times it seemed that today’s squad had played together for the last four weeks. And there was attack after attack, shots at goal, using the space talking to each other it was a pleasure to watch from the side line.
The opening two goals could have easily come from the training video of any top side around the country, having said that Mr Unwin still had a bit to do with the surface being a bit greasy and the rain pouring down which made it a bit harder for him to do his trade mark flick of his hair as part of his goal celebration.
The first half seemed to fly by which is always a good sign, during half time instructions were given and encouragement needed to those who were determined to do well against the 6s Mr Bickers in particular.
The second half kicked off and it was clear the 5s were full of confidence and there was the problem we were too confident which not only effected our play but the 6s could sense it and were unlucky not to get one back
Everything that had been done in the first half we were opposite in the second half. A few rally cries from Roonan and Burke.J got the 5s back playing some entertaining football again and goal 3 and 4 were in the bag.
Once again I couldn’t have wished for a better game to get the squad to believe that every one of them has to work not only for their place but more importantly for each other.
Today we did that and long may it continue.
Outside of the rain the only dampener to Saturdays game was the said news concerning Ben Shields Mum. We are THE VAMPS! Ben, we are here for you bud and this one was for you.
TEAM: Ricky Huckle, Chris Rowell, James Brown, John Burke, Sean Roonan, Luke Green, Tom Pidgeon, Martin Bickers, Jude Oliver, Luke Unwin ⚽⚽, Lewis Saunders ⚽, Nelson Lopes ⚽, Kieran, Rory Fielding
SAL Junior Division 1 North
Scribe: Dan Dawson
The Vampires 3rd XI lined up at home to play Finchleians on Saturday off the back of a 7-0 win and impressive winning streak of six games inclusive of those played in pre-season. We were missing quite a few players, but this wasn’t an immediate cause for concern as we have displayed already the quality in the depth of our squad.
We were treated to the rarity of playing on the 1s pitch which we hoped would help us play our expansive game which was working so well for us already sticking to the same 5-3-2 formation as before. We started well putting the pressure on we immediately won a free kick about 35 yards out. Dan Hodges must have pondered an effort on goal but maybe deemed it too soon. It didn’t matter, the delivery was Royal Mail first class: Drew Dawson would have had more trouble missing the target and he buried it to make it 1-0.
We harassed them off the ball from the kick off again rob held up the ball nicely and played in Reece Horn-Haynes who was clearly onside to the dismay of the opposition making it 2-0. A rout was on the cards we had the wind in our sails now and the opposition were looking nonplussed. The rain continued to come down and the ball was moving quickly.
The Vamps were keeping possession well getting it wide when necessary. The opposition got into the game a little bit and had a couple of attempts mostly coming from deep with free kicks we had stupidly given away. They got a corner from one and sweeper keeper was forced to use his hands for once much to everyone’s surprise and it was some save tipping it onto the bar it came back into play and was brilliantly denied twice once by Dan Alldis on the line. Alldis went from defender to attacker again as went went up the other end and he scored with a header.
3-0 up you know what time it is: Brodie Harrower started warming up. Sam Lawrence gave way at about 35 minutes as he was blowing - this isn’t the Premier League after all. The boys at the back were doing fantastically well containing them, playing out from the back at will and the midfield trio providing a decent gel between attack and defence. The wingers were causing untold problems for Finchleians, Rob Handleigh was holding up the ball well drawing defenders and sending it wide for Reece and Ryan Lyttle to attack. We gained another corner and Daniel Dawson bundled it home making it 4-0 at half time.
The opposition looked totally dejected. We weren’t idiots and didn’t want to lose our clean sheet. We were playing good football keeping it solid at the back. We didn’t want this game finishing 4-2. It was now hammering it down - it was wetter than Whitney Houston’s last spliff. We came out for the second half with fire in our bellies. We got flying into tackles and stamped our authority on Finchleans. We were still playing well but maybe getting slightly excited as everyone was bombing forward trying to get a slice of the action sometimes leaving us short at the back, Daniel Phillips and Drew Dawson having to shut up shop with last ditch tackles on more than one occasion.
Alldis pulled up with an injury and made had to come off for the local derby - Stuart Hart. We then went 5-0 up courtesy of Reece again following more scintillating attacking play. The opposition got a corner a few minutes later from nothing and Reece thought scoring made him exempt from defending/jumping/doing anything in his own box and the ball came in straight over his head and they had scored.
Our clean sheet had gone and we needed to stay focused. Drew Dawson was now regularly getting rushes of blood to the head channelling his inner Cafu bombing up the pitch he had a 30-yarder tipped round the post and then played a lovely 1-2 before the ball eventually found its way to ginger Arjen Robben who dispatched it for his hatrick. The game finished 6-1 but could very easily have been more. We go into next weeks game full of confidence that on our day we can do a job against anyone. 🧛♂
TEAM: Igli Gjata, Andrew Dawson ⚽, Dan Alldis ⚽, Daniel Phillips, Ryan Lyttle, Reece Horn-Haynes ⚽⚽⚽, Daniel Dawson ⚽, Daniel Hodges, Sam Lawrence, Brodie Harrower, Rob Handleigh
Goals: Cory Sunderland 2, Michael Barton 2, Corey Brade
Scribe: Cory Sunderland
The game started quickly with Michael Barton racing down the left hand side to cross to Cory Sunderland to place in the top corner and then also immediately after the restart Michael Barton holding off two defenders and after rounding the keeper slotted home a lovely solo effort.
The midfield continued to hassle Globe Rangers into making mistakes and again Michael Barton broke free on the left hand side to cross to Cory Sunderland who half volleyed the ball into the top corner. Michael Barton continued to show excellent form and was rewarded just before half time when he lobbed the keeper from an acute angle.
We knew that the second half was going to be difficult as Globe had five subs and we only had two and one our subs was carrying an injury, but just after the restart a lovely ball was played into Corey Brade's feet and he turned the defender beautifully and slotted the ball home. Unfortunately, this was where the hard work started with Globe throwing caution to the wind and threw everybody into attack. The defence and midfield for Crouch End, although tired, threw there hearts and bodies into the game and although Globe did manage to score three it could have been a lot worse without there tireless efforts.
We held on and came away with a well deserved 5:3 win. James Ling, in goal, receiving man of the match after making at least 10 good saves and one from a volleyed back heel that I am still unsure how he put it over the bar.
TEAM: James Ling, Gary Leslie, Ben Shields, Justin Harvey, Graham Surry, Micky Hitch, Jermaine Harley, Cory Sunderland ⚽⚽, Steve Wynne, James Reilly, Michael Barton ⚽⚽, Corey Brade ⚽, Matthew Friskey