Elim 4 v Christ the King 1 (5th October)

Both teams returned to league action after disappointing results against division 1 teams in the dometic cup. Elim went 2-0 down to CLM away and Christ the King lost 3-0 to Mosaic. Tsking to the form guide this was only the third fixture ever with Christ the king only entering the league last season. Both teams won the away fixtures last year, with Christ the King winning 3-1 at War Memorial and Elim winning 4-2 at Foxford

Baldwin stepped in as Manager for the weekend, as Hughes had taking a well-earned holiday. Mulligan was offered he’s full debut in goal, with the team opting for a 4-4-2 formation. From right to left the defence was packed with experience in Watkins, Reid, Matewe and Baldwin. The midfield four was J Smith, Jones, Mack and Titman and the front line was C Smith and Moroney. Watts and Cook were today’s subs.

Elim kicked the game off wearing their yellow home top whilst Christ the King worse their tradition red tops. Christ the King registered the first real shot on goal, with a shot coming from 25 yards for Mulligan to get two smart hands on it to tip it round the right post. The Elim back line limited the home side to shots from range, with many failing to hit the target. Elim were making the most of corners with Titman finding Moroney for a low header down and on target forMatewe’s head to intercept and the centre back tipped the shot over. Last ditched tackles from Baldwin and Matewe took the sting out of the next Christ the King attack with both defenders gettings toes on the ball for Mulligan to make himself big and sweep up the loose ball.

The opening goal came for the away side with the attackers linking up well, C Smith found Moroney for the striker to chip the keeper and make it 1-0. This was Moroney’s first goal of the campaign. C Smith tried to get on the score line next with a free-kick, the keeper had to tip the ball over for a corner. With the game a little more open, the second goal came out of the blue. The keeper seemed to have scooped up a tame shot, but the ball adjudged to not be in full control of the keepers possession, was tapped in by the midfielder Mack for he’s first Elim goal. All eyes on the ref and the ref allowed the goal to stand despite protests from the keeper. The referee shortly after blew for half time with 2-0 to Elim.

No changes made at half-time for the away side with the same line up going back out and Moroney requested to support the midfield in a 4-4-1-1. The game in the balance and the next goal crucial the Elim defence stepped it up, with the back four winning everything in the air and ground. Watkins made several smart interceptions second half to break down attacks on the right whilst Reid towered in the air to win all aireal threats. J Smith starting to grow in confidence on the wing and more of a licence to attack took full advantage, dancing through tackles on the right wing and whipping in a number of crosses. The third goal would come to the away side, with captain Mark Jones to hit a hard and low shot into the back of the net for Elim to go 3-0 up.

Shortly after Titman made way for Watts, the substitute went in at centre back Matewe moved to the full back role and Baldwin into the midfield on the left. Elim now with a 5 man midfield tried to exploit the wings offering the back line a bit more protection. Despite the sub to the left, it was the right side that made it 4-0. J Smith picking up the pull to tuck in on the right releasing a fierce shot into the far bottom corner the winger to make it 4-0 with Elim having 4 different scorers. Christ the King didn’t give up and a shot from range beating Mulligan but not beating thr post allowed Watkins to clear Elim lines.

Elim had a couple of opportunities to make it 5-0, first Baldwin losing his man left wing, to find Moroney’s head but the header straight down the keepers throat and safely into the keepers hands and then Watkins from range had the power but not the accuracy to add to the Elim tally. Elim’s second sub was up top with C Smith making way for Cook on 79th minute. Moroney turned provider finding Cook for the striker to beat the keeper but the ball didn’t best the last defender to clear the ball off the line but the offside flag was also raised.

Christ the King would break Elim defenders hearts in 92nd minute with a free kick from 20 years beating the wall. Mulligan got hands to it but not enough this time to get that first clean sheet in 13 months. However this was a valuable 3 points for Elim in the league who moved up to 3rd in the league, whilst Christ the King hit bottom still looking for the first win of the season.

Elim’s man of the match today was Matthew Moroney, congratulations to the striker for the award and goal. Congratulations to Mulligan and Mack on debuts. Elim look to play ARYPT next in an interesting early battle at the top.

HERC Saints 3 v Elim 3 (14th September)

Elim’s first away game of the season was also ironically at their new home pitch Foxford Leisure park, against Herc Saints. The teams met three times last season resulting in both teams winning their respective away games and a draw in the cup. The last time these teams met was at War Memorial at the very start of January 2019, with the New Year opening with a crushing 4-1 defeat for Elim.

Between then and now, Elim have said farewell to long serving players such as Dean Smith and Ryan Ireland who have both retired from the sport after serving the club for over a decade each. I want to wish both good luck in the future and thank them for their service. Elim also lost top scorer Lee Bennett over the summer to today’s opposition and would like to wish Lee a speedy recovery from a knee injury.

The opening games seen very different fortunes with HERC scoring 5 on their travels against Christ the King and Elim going down 4-0 to relegated St Fisher’s. Elim made 5 changes to the starting line-up with Watts, Baldwin, Hassan, Reid and Clark starting for the club, with a completely new goalkeeper and backline. Watts was handed the number 1 top and guarded the goal for Elim, whilst Clark, Reid and Baldwin were the experienced backline of 3. Elim as usual packed the midfield from left to right was Titman, Hughes, new appointed captain Jones, J Smith and Kyreke. Watkins and Hassan were up top in the classic 3-5-2 formation.

Herc kicked the game off, with Les Wright the man in the middle after 35 refs turned down this fixture. (I’m sure they were all busy). The game was also the early kick off in Christian football and there was a very quiet start to the game, probably as everyone was very sleepy. HERC tested Watts on the 15 minute mark with the first opportunity to note. The strike coming hard from 20 yards into the bottom right hand corner for Watts to pull a smart save to his left and tip the ball for a corner. Elim sat deep and nearly cost them when the ball ricocheted off the bar from range 5 minutes later, Watts was stretched but wouldn’t have kept this out if slightly lower.

Hassan was played down the left wing shortly after and the keeper came a long way not getting the ball and in the ref’s opinion the man, the ball went out and the ref pointed for a goal kick with Elim expecting a foul. Elim made their first corner count with Hassan crossing a high ball in for Reid to score a header passed the keeper and make it 1-0 to the away side. That is now 4 goals in 2 games for the centre back and all goals past the same keeper. 33 minutes on the clock and Elim were in dreamland with Jones doubling the Elim’s lead. The captain stroke a hard half volley low and hard into the bottom corner from the edge of the box with Elim’s stat showing 2 shots on target 2 goals.

HERC needed a response but Elim kept the ball well spraying the ball from left to right in a 15 pass sequence. Elim again rode their luck with a ball coming in and a man unmarked to not connect with the ball from 5 yards and then shortly after Saints hit the post. Despite the pressure HERC found that goal just before the half with the ball landing to the feet of the midfielder to hit a curling shot from range round the keeper to set up an intense second half. Les blew for half time with Elim frustrated to concede so late and HERC optimistic of a comeback.

Kyreke and Titman were praised for their work on the wings and Baldwin and Hughes told the wingers to exploit those channels more in the second half as Saints were dominating the middle. Sadly in the second half a coming together left Reid struggling to carry on. Elim were forced into the first change with Home replacing the centre back. Hughes moved into the backline with Home in the middle. Elim’s big man was missed with two corners in the second half given Saints the lead. Firstly Deano powered a header low with Titman and Smith both getting touches to stop it crossing the line. After Les had a long discussion with the linesman the goal was given and it was 2-2. Elim didn’t learn and another header from another corner went in to give the home side the lead and complete the comeback. 3-2 HERC.

Elim had 15 minutes left and made a double switch with Hassan and Watkins coming off for Benni and Mangan. This allowed Smith and Kyreke to lead the line with Mangan in the middle and Benni on the right wing. The change had a quick effect as Smith slotted home his first goal in an Elim shirt to level the scores at 3-3. Both teams didn’t rest and Smith almost found a winner chipping the keeper but also the goal too with the ball about 4 yards to high. Baldwin was caught on the knee and ankle and with all three subs used played the last 8 minutes injured. Both teams ran out of energy to find a winner, but the whistle stopped the game and marked the first Elim point of the campaign and kept HERC undefeated.

Few mentions, firstly thank you for Les for refereeing the game. Congratulation to Mark Jones on man of the match and this game marked Josh’s first Elim goal and Andy Home’s debut for the club. To the long list of injured defenders we had, get those ice packs on we go again next weekend against last season’s division 2 champions CLM.

Holy Trinity 5 v 5 Elim PFC

Elim made the trip to Trinity, in a game that historically fails to provide clean sheets. With both teams having nothing to play for, history became reality in this 10 goal thriller were the points were shared. In the previous encounter, Elim held out for a 3-1 victory with Jones, Kirugi and Bennett the scorers. Both teams suffered a number of notable absences for this fixture, which led to this classic encounter. Please get the popcorn football fans as I take you through this rollercoaster event.

Betancourt picked up the number one jersey to start for Elim in goal for the second time this season. With Elim having issues with midfield, the team was shuffled to suit the 3-5-3 formation. Matewe and Reid were joined at the back by Hurry back in the starting line-up. Kirgui was a late call up to the squad to play right wing, Baldwin was pushed from the back onto the left. Hughes, Clark and Jones were unchanged in the middle and Bennett was joined by Watkins up top. Corey Smith was available from the bench for this fixture and Cook was to make his debut for Elim.

Holy Trinity in their red tops and white shorts kicked off, against the visitors Elim in Green tops and their black shorts. The game was an open affair, just like the previous affair with both teams taking turns to attack and defend. Kirugi was to be the first player to break through and have a real attempt. Breaking into the box, released a shot to smash off the inside of the post and be cleared by the Trinity defence. Trinity on the same side, hit Elim on a counter. The Ball whipped in from their left, floating over the defence for the attacker to fail to hit the target.

Elim trying to stop Trinity Momentum, give a series of free kicks away in their defensive half. Elim made a mess defensively of their set play work which would ultimately lose them their clean sheet. The ball floated in by Trinity from the free-kick connected with a Trinity head, leaving Bentancourt helpless in goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Elim failed to learn lessons on how to defend and again the left winger for Trinity floated a ball back post. Matewe was beating for pace with the attacker getting a running start and another header to found the net and double the hosts lead.

Trinity with the aerial dominance whipped a number of crosses in to see out the game. Elim got the ball down and tried playing to their strengths. Captain Clark showed why he had the armband, throwing himself into every tackle.

Kirugi played a short pass forward to Bennett for the striker to play in Jones. Jones hit a fierce low shot passed the Trinity keeper to keep the second half very interesting. That was Jones 5th goal of the season. Elim could not force the equaliser before the break which meant Trinity led 2-1 at half time. The message for the Elim camp was players had to be brave and compete in the air, next goal in the second half was crucial. However, no one was prepared for the goal fest in the next 45 minutes.

Elim kicked the game off and as you would expect took the game to Trinity. In the absence of Dean Smith, Baldwin was on free kick duties. Elim picked up a free kick 5 yards into the Trinity half. The ball travelled into the box to find a connection with Kirgui. Kirugi put the Elim danger man Bennett through for the striker to slot in goal number 12 for him this season. 2-2 on the score line and with Elim getting the next goal momentum had changed to the visitors looking for the 3 points.

With 35 minutes on clock, Watkins was taking off for Corey Smith for a like for like swap. Trinity heads could of went down, but the reds won another cheap free kick on the left. The delivery exceptional for Trinity the marking poor by Elim. Baldwin was out jumped in the middle leaving another red to head Trinity 3-2 up. With Elim shell-shocked, Trinity punished the away team…yes you guessed another cross another head meaning Elim had conceded 4 headers out of 4 in this game. The ball was crossed into the 6-yard box and not dealt with, leaving a simple connection to find the bottom corner.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Elim had to pick themselves up and for the second time found the focus to come from two goals down. Elim tried to unlock Trinity with a cross, for the defence to hold strong and head out. Danger was not over, the big man Reid picked up the ball hitting a half volley to travel through a sea of players and beyond the keeper. 4-3 and Reid had not finished the scoring by a long shot (excuse the pun if you watched the game).

Corey Smith on corner duty, whipped a ball in to find Reid to header the equaliser to make the score 4-4 with 10 minutes left. Elim made their last change with Kirugi making way for Cook on the right hand side. Both teams fighting for the winner, knew this game was going to the wire. Trinity won a free kick in their own box, which was quickly taking and possession lost. The referee was not sure if the Elim players were far enough away which led to a re-take of the kick. The controversy led to a severe lack of concentration from Elim’s 11 men and Trinity cut through the Elim team to release a high and powerful shot to give Trinity a 5-4 lead with 1 minute on the clock. Guess the positives for Elim at least it wasn’t a 5th header but a painful blow at the time.

Was the scoring over …. The answer not Corey kicking off, found Reid Elim piled green shirts forward for the centre back to kick the ball long. Once the ball was released, the keeper was too far beyond his line to stop Reid scoring a 92nd minute equaliser and the defenders first Elim hat-trick. Trinity kicked the game off for 12th and last time, both teams having respect for each other knowing no faults attacking but serious defensive work needs to be carried out next year to challenge for the title. Elim and Trinity on this display both showed fight, spirit and determination and I would advise any neutral looking for a game to attend next season, this one never fails to entertain. The final score here 5-5!!!

Following Elim’s man of the match vote hat-trick hero in the second half, James Reid picked up the award. Elim conclude their season with an away trip to Coventrians. Congratulations on Lee and Jones adding to your respective tallies, James with the hat trick and Cook on the debut for Elim.

Elim 2 v 1 ARYPT

After Elim crashed out of the quarter finals 4-1 to CLM, the Pentecostal Church faced ARYPT in there last home game of the season. Elim had won this away fixture 3-1 and beat AYRPT 2-0 in the cup and were looking for the trilogy of wins. ARYPT have had a tough season, with their only points in cup and league coming from HERC Saints.

Hughes and Baldwin named Ireland in goalfor the game, with a back three of Matewe, Reid and Baldwin. Kyreke was welcomed back into the squad taking on the wing back role, with Rhodes on the opposite side. Hughes, Clark and Jones sat in the middle with Smith pushed up top with Bennett. Kousoulas, Kirugi and Watkins made up the bench.

ARYPT got the game underway with much milder conditions than the quarter final week. It was the away team that started the brighter of the two sides and stretched Elim’s back three on a number of occasions. Elim tried to keep an organised line at the back, but sadly it would be another dirty sheet for the home side within the first ten minutes. The ball was played over Baldwin; the centre back looked for a flag that never came. Baldwin and Reid scampered back to block the shot but the striker turned and shot a rocket into the top corner. Ireland got finger tips to the ball, but not enough to tip over the bar. AYRPT scored the first goal against Elim last outing, but sadly for them conceded the next three. The away side knew next goal was crucial and almost had it 15 minutes in. A ball knocked on through the middle had the Elim backline at 6’s and 7’s but Ireland in a 4 on 1 situation showed heroics to keep the score line at 1-0 amd knock the ball out for a corner.

From the resulting corner, Reid cleared a number of crosses and Elim finally showed some fight from the 20th minute. Smith and Bennett, showed great chemistry unlocking the back line to equalise with Elim’s first real attack. Assist king Smith, played through Bennett for the striker to maintain a cool, calm shot in a trade mark Bennett goal for the strikers 11th of the season.The Striker had scored 4 of his 11 goals agaisnt ARYPT this season.

The score line didn’t stay level for long with Rhodes crossing in for Smith to sneak in between the defenders and hit a shot on target. Smith has an incredible record v ARYPT too scoringhis 5th goal against this opposition in four games. The striker doubled his tally for the season with both goals against.. yes you guessed it ARYPT.

With the dying moments of first half, Kyreke picked himself up from a knock to the face to be released on the right hand side. The young winger used his pace to burst into the box and hit a shot to sting the keepers palms and keep the score 2-1 until the break. Baldwin made a change on the half , taking himself off for Watkins. The formation remained the same, but Jones joined the back three and Watkins slotted into the midfield. The game was full of chances second half and both teams wanted that next crucial goal.

Watkins started to pull strings in the middle and released Bennett to be one on one with the defender for the ref to have adjudged a foul on the defender. The midfield kept looking to release Rhodes and the winger, got round his man for the Elim man to have been barged into for the ref again to give the free kick to the away side when on another day a penalty could have been awarded. Watkins was the next man to try and get on the score sheet but when he tried to chip the keeper failed to keep composure and ball drifted over. The sub mentioned it had been 2 years for his last goal and he would have to wait at least another three weeks for it now.

Elim pressure piled on and Smith would find Reid from a corner for the defender to connect a little to well with the ball, with the ball finding its way safely into the keeper’s hands. Bennett made way on 65th minute in a like for like swap with Kousoulas. Kousoulas having an odd statistic of scoring more goals against league 1 teams than 2 this season. The striker came off the bench full of energy. Kousoulas on a number of occasions broke through but couldn’t get that goal. The striker hit a fierce shot, which the keeper blocked, Smith went for the tap in but the keeper blocked again. The keeper was working hard for his team to pick up a point and almost got his rewards when a wicked ARYPT cross managed to connect with the bar a nd sail over. Baldwin and Hughes worrying the third goal wasn’t going to come took Hughes off for Kirugi and put the sub at right back. The home side changing things to a 4-5-1 for the last 12 minutes. The last attack was a bit of magic from Rhodes in the box to lose his man with neat foot work, stunning all around him and himself as the teenager failed to find the target.

The full time whistle blew and a 2-1 win for the home side. After the Elim’s players player vote congratulations to Aidan Rhodes on back to back awards. Elim’s next game is away to Holy Trinity on 13th April. One last thought.. Please all keep Beatrice in your prayers, who does a lot for Christian football and we all hope everything goes well at the hospital tomorrow.

Christ the King 2 v 4 Elim PFC

After a damaging defeat by HERC Saints 5 weeks ago, Elim had their first away trip of 2019 to Bablake Playing Fields to play Christ the King. With Christ the King a new addition to the league, the only history of this fixture was a 3-1 win to Christ the king earlier this campaign. Christ the King went into this fixture optimistic being the only team in division 2 to take points from CLM (at the point of this fixture).

Hughes and Baldwin made 4 changes to the team that lost 4-1 at Memorial park. The Elim team went back to their favoured 3-5-2 formation. Ireland was back in nets hoping for a quieter fixture this time. Baldwin, Reid and Matewe were today’s back line. The 5 in the middle from left to right where Smith, Jones, Hughes, Clark and Elim were proud to announce the return of Aidan Rhodes. The top two remained the same with Bennett and Kousoulas the attacking options. Elim could only name two subs on the bench with Zaheer and Kyreke.

After a bit of drama with the Elim team finding the location and finding each other, the game kicked off on time. Elim started the brighter of the two sides, keeping the ball well with short controlled passes. The possession dominance, was not taking advantage off within the early stages of the game. Elim were getting into excellent areas, but failing to connect where it matters in the final third. Clark kept cool heads in the middle, with the Captain, Hughes and Jones looking for killer balls to get that vital assist. Kousoulas had a couple of chances mid-way through the first half, but failed to connect with the ball as well as he would have wanted.

It was on the 30 minute mark, Elim were awarded a corner and they would finally make their dominance count. Smith crossed the ball into the 6 yard zone for the keeper to claw at it to enter into a melee in the box. Before Christ the King could react, the gaffer Hughes hit a fierce unstoppable shot beyond the keeper. Elim led 1-0 and Hughes had recorded his first ever Elim goal. The goal rattled the Christ the King back line and within minutes Kousoulas and Bennett had forced an error with a back pass. Bennett doesn’t need an invite to attend the goal scoring party and the experienced attacker slotted in he’s 9th goal of the season. 2-0 Elim!!

35 minutes on the clock and Elim wanted blood, Smith crossed in for another corner for Reid to lose his man back post to fail to find the target. Smith stopped being provider to have a dig from 30 yards for the keeper to pull off a world class save and knock the ball onto the post and wide for a corner. After wave and wave of pressure, Elim had not kept a clean sheet in 8 games. Sadly Elim couldn’t keep the ball out the net this game either, making it 9 games without that clean sheet. The ball played over the Elim back line, the back line seen a flag which was over ruled by the referee. Instead of the back three playing to the whistle, they switched off and were punished in a cruel way. Even an Ireland save could not prevent the ball eventually ending in the back net. The half time whistle came and Elim took a 2-1 lead into the break.

Both teams went into the second half with a spring in their steps, knowing the 4th goal was crucial. Kousoulas had further chances to add to he’s Mosaic goal but despite finding space could not and would not find the net today. The game started to get a bit scrappy and broken up with both teams making silly fouls to stop momentum. Rhodes and Smith swapped wings alternatively, but after not playing for Elim since the semi-final summer competition. Rhodes was the first Elim player to be applauded off, the young teenager made an inspirational return running himself into the ground. Kyreke was the man to replace him and add some pace onto the right wing. Sadly the Elim sub was quickly overshadowed with a Christ the King equaliser. Desmond scoreline. The ball was crossed in beyond the backline and the winger lost Kyreke to slot beyond Ireland. Game on!!

18 minutes on the clock, both teams knew a loss would see their promotion dreams over. Hughes sacrificed himself for another teenager Zaheer keeping faith in the formation. Zaheer slotted in well and battled to break up play in the middle. Despite momentum being with the home side it was Jones who would put Elim back in front. Jones, being a massive Jordan Henderson fan decided to shoot like the Liverpool midfielder. The ball was not hit pretty but somehow found a space through the keeper and into the net. Jones ran off celebrating with the Christ the King keeper looking to the sky knowing this was not a goal of the season contender but could be a vital goal for promotion.

If that wasn’t enough torture for the keeper, Elim exploited their big man at the back tactic. Smith swung in another corner for Reid to calmly head the ball into the top corner and bring the points back home with the Pentecostal Church. Matewe, Baldwin and Reid locked down the back line for the remaining minutes with Smith, Kyreke and Zaheer all protecting Ireland.

Elim got a pretty win under their belts scoring 4 goals on their travels and a very close to perfect performance and win a vital 6 points to give a glimmer of hope for promotion. Jones was today’s player player and won the man of the match award for a 4th consecutive row the same amount of times Bennett has won the award in a row. Elim next turn their attention to CLM in back to back games in the league and cup throughout March. The next two games make or break the team’s season, but Elim don’t like doing things easy do they??

Elim PFC 1 v 4 Herc Saints

2019 did not start the way Elim fans would have wanted, suffering a damaging defeat to their promotion hopes. Elim hosted the first game of the year against the Saints, ending the trilogy of fixtures for the season. Opening day seen Elim run out 2-0 winners, the cup game ended in a stalemate but Saints were the winners on this occasion sending a message to the league and hoping they could climb away from bottom club ARYPT.

Hughes and Baldwin had a nightmare with selection, only having enough players for an 11. Elim’s number 1 Ryan Ireland was back in goal for the Pentecostal church after McCann had suffered a broken ankle in the Coventrians game. Titman made his first start of the season at left back, whilst Reid and Jones occupied the middle and Baldwin was swapped from left to right back. Elim kept the 5 man midfield, Smith maintaining his place on the left wing, with Zaheer making his second start of the season was thrown into the middle with Captain Moroney and Manger Hughes. Kirugi was positioned on the right wing with Elim’s leading scorer Bennett left up top in a 4-5-1 formation.

The visitors kicked off the game, showing growing confidence they wanted to add to their last win against ARYPT on September 8th. The passing play for both teams showed there was a little rust and a few too many mince pies over Christmas. Saints knocked the ball round well, trying to exploit the wings whilst Elim still seemed on their Christmas break for the first ten minutes. Despite the Saints pressure Elim almost opened the scoring when, Moroney picked out Smith on the wing. Elim’s top scorer last season, beat the full back and had a choice to shoot or square to Bennett. Smith confidently took the shot on, missing the target by inches, Elim hands were on heads. Saints punished Elim on the 25th minute for missing this chance. Bennett passed the ball back to Ireland at the back, the ball took a bobble through making it hard to control leading to a corner. Elim their own worst enemy failed to win first or second headers leading to the ball being headed into their nets and out the reach of Ireland and beyond Titman on the post. Saints searched for a second and Tom was given a late Christmas gift to head into an empty net, but somehow handled the cross with his hand wide.

Despite the setback, Ireland was the busier keeper for the remaining 20 minutes of the half making several great saves to keep the score respectful. Elim struggled for the half and the ball was often punted forward long for Bennett to pick up scraps. Elim were handed another blow, with no subs to call on, Smith took a knock in the back and had to soldier on from the 40th minute until the end. The half time whistle came and the Elim team went in knowing the ball was not held well and possession often gifted back to the opponents for wave after wave of attacks.

Teams switched ends for the second half and Saints broke Elim hearts on 60th minute. The back line stepped up, for a Saints player to have adjudged to be onside. Elim players confidently looked for the flag were as Saints looked for a second goal to secure their second away win of the season.

Elim battered and brusised were given a life line when Smith crossed in for the ball to be headed out. The ball only fell to Jones, for the Centre back to hit a fierce shot, taking a nick through to nestle into the bottom corner making it three in three for the centre back. The Centre back is known for scoring some quality goals over the years and this is definitely a contender for goal of the season. Elim heads picked up and finally started to through the kitchen sink at Saints. Baldwin picked up the ball, playing a one two with Hughes. Baldwin losing his man whipped a ball in for the centre back to take the full back out in the box after the ball went. All Elim eyes were on the ref, but the ref wasn’t convinced there was contact.

Nerves started to sink in at the back for Saints and Baldwin again nicked the ball at the back to rush towards the goal and be brought down by the defender. This time the ref was convinced there was contact and blew for a free kick 20 yards out. Frustration from both teams started to kick in and heated words exchanged. Smith was the man to take this opportunity on. Smith stepped up, striking the ball over the keepers net and gutted he couldn’t get the leveller. Saints ended the game with 10 minutes to go scoring two goals in as many minutes. Kirugi got caught flat footed for the winger to pick his pocket and pick the top right corner. Then from kick off a heavy touch from Jones led to Saints driving forward and putting the 4th and final goal in the game. Ireland did well saving well with his legs, to stop a 5th going in but Saints proved they are not in the league to make up numbers. The full time whistle was blown to end a miserable day for the greens.

Today’s result was a massive dent in the promotion hopes for Elim with Trinity and Coventrians picking up wins, leaving Elim 4th in the league. Mark Jones picked up Elim’s man of the match, congratulations Jonesy for the third game on the bounce. Bennett currently holds this record for man of the match 4 games in a row so he will be sweating on this stat. Elim are back on the training ground tomorrow, with full focus on CLM and trying to do what no one else has does beat the leaders in division 2.

Prayers are also with George from Mosaic after his accident before their game on the weekend. We pray for a speedy recovery and hopefully see you playing fit and well very soon.

Elim PFC 3 v 3 Coventrians FC

As Elim prepared to say farewell to 2018, they hosted their last game of the year against Coventrians. This was the first ever league meeting between the two sides, however both sides met on a snowy quarter final day last season with Coventrians progressing 4-0 to the semi-finals on that occasion.
James Hughes fresh from an Asian holiday, made three changes to the side that beat Holy Trinity 3-1. Synnott was a forced changed following the injury picked up first half against Trinity, Ireland had work commitments and Baldwin was replaced to squad rotation and maybe a few too many ‘beers’ at the Friday night Christmas party.

McCann started for Elim in goal for his debut, Jones, Reid and Clark were the Elim back line. Kyreke and Dean Smith picked up their usual roles on the flanks. Hughes and Moroney were welcomed back to the starting line-up in the middle accompanied by Watkins. Bennett and Kousoulas led the line strengthening their partnership in the final third. Corrie Smith, Zaheer and Kirugi were the Elim subs.
Coventrians kicked the ball off wearing their white and blue stripes, whilst Elim were their classic bright green kit. Elim supplied the early pressure to the game and Kousoulas picked out Bennett in the centre for Elim’s top scorer to fail to test the keeper after losing his man. Within the first 10 minutes Kousoulas broke free from the defence to strike hard, beating the keeper but smashing the ball against the beans and over to the keeper’s relief.

The game settled down for ten minutes, with both teams steadily building up possession but failing to show they had an end product. It was the referee that would make the first big call on 27th minute awarding Elim a penalty. Moroney was adjudged to have been pushed in the back, which resulted in the ref pointed to the spot without hesitation. After a 26 man sudden death penalty shoot-out session in training, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Mark Jones. Jones cool, calm and relaxed picked his spot and slotted low and hard to the keepers right to put the home side 1-0 up. That was 2 goals in 2 games for Liverpool supporter.
With Coventrians frustrated with the penalty it only took 5 minutes for a reaction to show not only on the pitch but also in the score line. The ball struck in from distance to deflect around the box, falling to the man in the middle for Coventrians to tuck perfectly onto the left post and level the score. With the score 1-1, neither side could gain the advantage of scoring a winner in the first half. Half time came and both teams knew this was a 6 pointer and a crucial half if they were serious contenders for promotion. The message from the Elim camp, is chances from the front line had to be taking and pushing the opposition.

Both teams remained unchanged for the second half and just like Coventrians equaliser Elim had a fortunate deflection to go back ahead on 51st minute. A throw came in from the right, flicked on by Hughes to find Bennett’s face back to Hughes. Hughes hit the ball deflecting into Bennett’s pathway. The one man Coventrian’s didn’t want this to fall with was Bennett, Elim’s danger man pushed the away side slotting home his 8th goal of the season. Within 10 minutes Elim extended their lead further, Dean Smith finding Kyreke from a corner, for the young winger to send a bullet header past the keeper from the front post. Kyreke ran off celebrating his first Elim career goal and give the home side a healthy 3-1 lead.

Baldwin could see legs tiring up top and to search for a 4th goal and to kill the game Corrie Smith was sent on for Kousoulas with 27 minutes to go. With time ticking away the big man at the back James Reid got his bearings all wrong failing to clear his lines for the ball to fall one on one with the Coventrians player. Moroney swung a leg out in a desperate attempt to get the ball but only finding the attacker’s leg. The ref for the second time in the same box pointed to the spot. This time the penalty sent the opposite way to the keepers left for the keeper to guess correctly and connect but not enough to keep the ball out. 3-2 and game on.

With a cruel blow with 15 minutes Coventrians would throw everything at the game, again causing havoc from a throw and winning a knock on the ball was headed beyond McCann to send the game in the balance. Despite conceding the last two goals, Elim looked the more likely to find the winner, but couldn’t make it a 7 goal thriller. Bennett hit a cracking volley on target, but the Coventrians keeper was equal to it making sure his goal wasn’t breached again. Moroney injured himself first half and was taking off for Kirugi and Kyreke made way for Zaheer in the last 15. However, it was Elim’s original sub that would have the final say in stealing the points. From a perfect cross from Dean Smith, Corrie Smith (no relation) made an even better run back post and what seemed lack a tap in failed to connect with the ball to the keepers relief.

The final whistle was blown and greeted with handshakes from all players. Firstly we would like to thank McCann for helping today. We understand you broke your ankle in goal within 60 seconds and we wish you a speedy recovery along with Synnott, both will be in our prayers. Secondly, well done on Kyreke for his first goal for Elim, and congratulations to Mark Jones on winning man of the match for a second game running. Finally, on behalf of James and I we would like to thank all players for Elim throughout 2018 a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year. Let’s hope 2019 brings the cup home for Elim.

Elim PFC 3 v 1 Holy Trinity

Prior to the game, Holy Trinity were one point ahead of Elim in the league. Both teams knew the outcome of this fixture could propel them to within 3 points of the league leaders, but defeat could see the sucked into a battle at the bottom. Saturday 2nd September 2017 was the last time these two teams locked horns, when a spirited Elim fightback from 2-0 down ended the game honours even with late goals from Moroney and an overhead kick from Hurry.

Elim lost Zaheer due to illness on Friday night and Moroney Saturday morning, but the player’s prayers prior to the game were with both players. James Hughes opted for the same formation as the previous 2 games a 3-5-2 which seen Ireland in nets for the home side. The back three were Baldwin, Reid and Synnott. The midfield consisted of Smith and Kyreke as wing backs, with Watkins Clark and Jones in the middle. The Elim attack was Bennett and Kousoulas carrying on their chemistry from the second half of the Mosaic game together. Manager Hughes was a substitute for this game and Kirugi and Matewe had late call ups who accompanied the gaffer on the bench.

Holy Trinity got proceedings underway, kicking downhill first half. Trinity coming into this game on the back of 3 losses hadn’t tated victory since 29th September in cup and league. Elim started the first 15 minutes on the back foot, entertaining waves and waves of Holy Trinity possession. Trinity found pockets between the wing backs to exploit, but the Elim green shirts were back in numbers to restrict shots from distance. Kyreke and Smith, sat a little deeper after 15 minutes to take pressure off the back line. It was Smith who would create the first real chance for Elim, swinging the ball into the box to find Jones. Jones made a full connection with his head but the power was uncontrolled and high enough not to trouble the keeper into action. It was a free kick that would bring the best out of Ireland saving low to his left from the towering midfielder, but then what looked like a tap in Ireland got his face where it hurts to knock the ball wide.

A manic goal line scrabble on the Holy Trinity line, seen Clark connect low for the keeper to get both legs to it. The ball trapped under the keeper’s legs, Reid, Bennett or Clark couldn’t slot home before hearing the refs whistle for a foul. 5 minutes later it was the Elim’s woodwork that would be rattled, Big Ben releasing a fierce shot from outside the box which had the beans still rattling now. Each team taking it in turn to attack, it was Bennett that powered his way through next for Elim to shoot just off target to the keeper’s relief. Holy Trinity then picked up the ball, swung in for Jones to clear the ball off his own post and then bar hitting the line and being cleared. How this did not result in an own goal only the midfielder will know.

3 minutes before the half time whistle, was the moment that would overshadow the game. Synnott in what looked like a freak accident would go down in agony holding his standing leg. Calls from the player and bench indicated a break. Both teams nervously looked on whilst an ambulance was called, the defender would later have the news confirmed he had broken his fibula. The referee held the game for a 20 minute delay, eventually blowing for half time early so the player could have medical attention. The game 0-0 but both James and Ben scratching their heads thinking on another day they could have both been 2-0 up.

Elim forced into a substitute took Synnott off for Matewe, for a like for like change. 6 minutes into the second half would see the deadlock broken. Watkins whipping the ball in to find Jones, with a tamer connection but this time on target and out the reach of the Trinity keeper. Elim celebrations erupted, but they didn’t last long. In classic fashion of this game, Trinity feeling hard done by won a corner 2 minutes later to level the score. The ball whipped in found the number 9 break free, Ireland come a long way but the Trinity player tapped in beyond the keeper for 1-1.
Legs started to tire, however Watkins found himself break beyond the back line of Trinity to tamely only find the keeper’s arms. James Hughes looked to the bench to find a hero and that man was Kirugi. Kyreke made way for the winger and on 70th minute the winger with his first touch crossed in a ball from the right wing. The ball lifted over the keeper, to find the net and put the home side 2-1 up. The goal was a cruel way for this matter to be settelled but there were always going to be fine margins in this fixture. Kirugi with only his second career didn’t mind how it went in and neither did the team.

Baldwin quickly learning changed the formation to a 4-4-2 and put Kirugi at right back to protect the Elim slim lead. It was Jones that would find space again in the middle heading another great opportunity to kill the game off over. The game was killed in 80th minute when Smith would whip the ball in for the Trinity defender to hit the ball off the bar to kindly fall to Reid to tap in back post and bring the 3 points home for the Pentecostal Church. Kousoulas was taking off with 9 minutes to go in place of Hughes who flooded the midfield with a 4-5-1 pushing Watkins out to the right wing.

Trinity spent the last few minutes trying to salvage something but the Elim team locked up and the game ended 3-1 to Elim. After the vote today congratulations to Mark Jones on winning man of the match, also congratulations to Jones, Reid and Kirugi on their goals today. The win today is for Richard Synnott, we are brothers on and off the pitch and from everyone at Elim we wish you a very speedy recovery. A special thank you to the Coventry Christian League today, as all teams have shown great support for Richard. Elim with one fixture left look forward to playing their last game of 2018 against Coventrians FC. . Next up for Holy Trinity is a tough game in the game v Division 1’s Hope.

Mosaic 3 v 2 Elim PFC – Group C Cup game

On the weekend of the first round of the FA cup, Coventry Christian Cup group C was concluded. In true FA cup fashion, this tie seen a David and Goliath clash with Division 1 Mosaic, welcoming division 2 Elim to Meriden. In true Ironic fashion, these two teams were paired in the same group last season. Mosaic won that affair 5-1 and Elim shipped in 5 goals in the league last season too losing 5-0. However, both teams qualified through the group last season and safely made it into the last 8. Mosaic were already safely through to the last 8 this season, but Mosaic knew an Elim win would see the Pentecostal church top the group. Elim’s job to pick up a point to guarantee qualification, but a loss and HERC Saints win with a five goal swing could see them eliminated.

Hughes started the game 3-5-2, the same formation the seen them win 3-1 at ARYPT. Elim’s number 1 Ireland was welcomed back into goal. Matewe made his first start of the season in the back line being joined by Baldwin and Reid. Kousoulas made his full deput for Elim, in an attacking role with Kyreke, Hughes, Clark and Watkins across the midfield. Smith and Bennett started the game up top. Elim subs today Kirgugi, Titman and Zaheer.

Silence fell across the country before kick-off for remembrance weekend and it was no different in Meriden and this would be a game to be remembered. Elim games tended to be cagey early affairs, but today the away side piled on early pressure. It was Elim’s top scorer Bennett who tested the Mosaic keeper first. The striker proving his goals could help Elim with a promotion push, released a fierce shot to the keepers left. The keeper got finger tips to the ball to knock the ball round the post.

Elim’s captain Clark picked up the ball in the middle, having a confident shot from range. Again, to his frustration the Division 1 keeper got another solid hand to the ball to tip over for a corner. It would be a usually name on the scoresheet, with Bennett breaking through and putting the away side ahead. Koustoulas, picked the ball up in the middle playing a perfectly weighted ball through beating the backline and offside trap. Bennett took a touch, looked up and slotted Elim 1-0 up on 10th minute.

With Elim failing to keep a clean sheet in the last four games, a second goal was crucial. Kyreke was played through by Bennett on 25th minute, but a fantastic last ditch tackle seen Mosaic maintain that one goal deficit. Elim would live to regret these early missed chances as the division 1 side would break through and score 3 goals in 15 minutes. The first goal, came from the keeper and sleek crisp passing through the middle seen the Moasic striker chip Ireland and level the game 1-1.

Despite a confident start from Elim, the team caved on the defence and again caught on the break with Mosaic taking full advantage and going for blood with cool finishes seeing the home side lead with two further goals to lead 3-1. If this was boxing, based on the last few minutes Elim would be praying for the bell to get to the corner and regroup. Whilst Mosaic would be trying to get that knockout punch. Thankfully from an Elim perspective they heard that bell indicating half time.

Elim would change formation to go 4-4-2 with the message this isn’t over and whilst on the boxing theme just like Rocky we wanted to go the distance. Elim came out the brighter of the two sides and it was a rocket of a goal from Kousoulas that would give Elim hope of a comeback. Kyreke found Koustoulas in the middle, with the attacker shooting with accuracy and power to put the ball out of reach of the keeper. Game on!! Elim at this point having no idea on events elsewhere had to go for the draw, which did leave them exposed at time.

Both teams trying to get the next goal and it was not a day for defences here. Elim were handed a headache with 25 minutes to go, top scorer Bennett struggling with an ankle injury would see his last moments of the game. Bennett was replaced with Zaheer with Elim hoping the young attacker could get two in two. It would be Moasic who found the net next, neat play on the right side seen a lovely ball into 6 yard box for Mosaic to slot in and make it 4-2…… However the referee consulted with the linesman and the attacker was adjudged to have strayed offside chalking the goal off and Mosaic celebrations turned to despair. Elim spared on, took this lifeline and battled on. Neat play from Smith, released Baldwin into the box, for the left back to pick out Kyreke back post. The midfielder again blocked at a crucial time his opening goal.

Baldwin looking for the bench brought on Kirugi nd Titman for Kyreke and Kousoulas in having fresh legs to breach the Mosaic backline. With both teams pushing for the next crucial goal, it would never come and it would be Mosaic that hold onto a 3-2 win.

Congratulations to the home side for a perfect record in Group C and picking up maximum points. The Elim cup dreams would be a nervous wait and would be confirmed with ARYPT successfully getting a draw with Saints to see Elim make back to back appearances in the quarter finals and being the first Division 2 side into the next round.

With Elim’s goal of promotion, today’s fixture was a good measurement of how far the team are from this goal and the team have definitely closed the gap from last year but there is still work to be done. Well done on both teams qualifying and the draw for the next round is being eagerly awaited. Well done to Kyreke for his first Elim man of the match award and Kousoulas on his first goal. With Elim 3 wins from Captain Clark lifting the cup, Hughes will be dreaming of a cup in his first season with Elim maybe just a day dream for now. Back to league reality later this month with Elim’s next game Holy Trinity.

ARYPT 1 – 3 Elim PFC

Elim’s last destination in October took them to a windy Whitley common, to play ARYPT in the league. This was the second time these teams met this season with Elim winning the cup fixture 2-0 thanks to goals from Clark and Smith. ARYPT were searching for their first win of the season hoping this run wouldn’t extend until November with 8 losses on the bounce.

Last games out both teams played in the Group C cup fixtures, with Elim getting a 1-1 draw at HERC saints to keep their dreams of getting out the group alive and ARYPT being dumped out the domestic cup 4-1 to Mosaic.

10pm Friday night Elim’s keeper Betancourt was injured meaning Hughes and Baldwin had to change the line-up last minute. Elim opted to change formation this fixture, preferring to move from the 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2. Assistant Manager Baldwin played in goal this game, with Hurry, Reid and Jones the backline. From right to left Synnott, Moroney, Clark, Hughes and Kyreke in the midfield and up top Smith and Bennett. The three named subs were Kirugi, Zaheer and Watkins. Watkins was called into the line-up with less than 12 hours to kick off, so thank you for answering that late call Paul.

Elim kicked off with the wind in the favour of ARYPT in the first half. Early on, it looked like Elim struggled to adapt to the new formation and ARYPT piled on the pressure. ARYPT had a lot of joy on the right finding gaps to exploit early on, whilst Elim were chasing shadows trying to fight the hungry ARYPT and the wind as a 12th man. It was ironically an ARYPT attack on the left which would open the deadlock. The ball knocked into the middle took a deflection off a helpless Jones to find an ARYPT player on the edge of the box. Baldwin made himself big, but not big enough as the ball was slotted under him to make it 1-0 to the home side.

ARYPT knew a 1-0 lead wasn’t enough with the goals they have leaked so went in search for another, when the winger on the left crossed the ball in to collide with Hurry’s arm. Every player looked to the ref, waiting for the whistle which didn’t come causing Elim to nap and ARYPT to spawn the opportunity to punish. The ref deemed the incident ball to hand. ARYPT came strong on the right side with a great ball crossed in finding an unmarked man, to head a yard over the bar. Elim dug deep and with 10 minutes of the half to go Synnott on the right side threw the ball, finding Smith to pick out Moroney. Moroney looked up picking out Bennett to level the game up. Bennett cool in front of goal hit the target and was chuffed to see the ball nestle in the net.

The half time came at 1-1 and second half it would be ARYPT that would be under the pressure of the Elim attack and wind. Reid, Jones and Hurry felt a little less pressure and didn’t allow any shots on target in the second 45 minutes. On 60th minute a double change was made from Elim replacing Hurry and Synnott for Zaheer and Watkins. Clark was pushed into the back line, whilst Zaheer took the right wing and Watkins into the middle. Within 60 seconds of the substitution Watkins found Moroney in space for the veteran midfielder to get his 4th assist of the season to Bennett to put the away side 2-1 up. Moroney’s 4 assists this season of all been for Bennett goals, but Watkins had sent a statement out that he will be fighting hard for his spot having an immediate impact.

Hughes, Moroney, Bennett and Smith all had further chances to extend Elim’s lead but the composure to hit the target just exceeded the players. As the game went on The ARYPT back line sank deeper and deeper allowing Kyreke and Zaheer to use their pace and challenge the full backs. Jones and Kyreke built a good relationship on the left side and had some steady build up play, whilst Smith was holding the ball well in the middle.

 

78th Minute the last sub was made with Kirugi coming on for Kyreke, Zaheer was moved to the left wing and Kirugi the right. The third and final goal for Elim came from Zaheer to score his first goal for the club. Corner same in from Smith, the ball bounced around but finally landed to Hughes who found Zaheer who had two bites of the Cherry to slot the ball away to the left of the keeper. The little man, like a little Juninho on Teesside celebrated with his team mates with a little cheeky smile to send management more headaches for the next game.

The final whistle came giving Elim their third win of the season and second in the league. Elim’s vote for man of the match was the usual suspect Lee Bennett for his brace today. Special congratulations to Moroney on his 3rd and 4th assists and to Zaheer for his first of many goals. We would like to thank ARYPT for a great game and taking us all the way, that first win is not far away lads good luck for the season.

Elim now turn their attention to Division 1’s Mosaic, knowing a win in this fixture takes them top of the group but a point is enough to go through. ARYPT play HERC in the other fixture and if ARYPT pick up any result Elim will be through but a HERC win and Elim loss and it’s down to the dreaded goal difference for second spot.