Athletico Mosaic 0 – 1 BEC

It was slightly drizzling when both teams made their way out onto the pitch on Saturday morning; perfect conditions for what would prove to be a fantastic battle.

The game started with both teams gingerly testing each other’s defenses, both teams appearing cautious to over extend before it became apparent on the other’s formation. No clear chances came in the first 10 minutes with BEC looking to press through the middle, using their height and strength to muscle through, only to run into the stalwart Mosaic back line, and Mosaic looking to break away quickly up the flanks, using the pace of the wingers to push up the sides of the pitch only to be turned back inwards by the full-backs in blue.

The first good chance of the game came to Mosaic as BEC won a corner after a clearance by a Mosaic defender. The ball was whipped in dangerously but could not find it’s intended target and was cleared first time by the Mosaic center-back Tom Murphy. The ball fell to the Mosaic captain and playmaker Gurpreet Johal who played a first time through ball in between the BEC defenders releasing the defending league champions’ top goal scorer Jack Kovacs one on one with the goalkeeper. The goal keeper did not hesitate and rushed off his line to close down the angle making the striker rush his shot which narrowly missed the left post.

BEC had another opportunity to get the ball in front of goal not long after this in the form of a long throw in (a trademark BEC maneuver it seems!). Again, the bulk of the Mosaic pack dropped back in to the box to defend. This time however the ball found a BEC player in the box who managed to get his shot away which was blocked by a body in the way (was he wearing red or blue? Who knows!) and the ball fell kindly for the goalkeeper to collect.

Shortly before half time BEC had the best chance of the game yet as one of their midfielders muscled his way through and played a cunning pass through onto the edge of the box. As it had happened at the other end not long before, the Mosaic goalkeeper rushed off his line and slid to the ground in what can only be described as a 50/50 challenge with the BEC striker and the ball shot out for a throw in. Cries for a penalty were heard, but not by the referee who wasn’t interested.

Both teams headed in to half time 0-0.

The second half kicked off and the game resumed right where it had left off with BEC forcing pressure on to the Mosaic defense, which was well defended, and then Mosaic pressed the counter attack. It was clear within the first few minutes that this was going to be a game won by one goal and both managers started to adjust formations and look to the bench.

BEC made the first move bringing on a young agile winger, a clear change to their current battle plan. Mosaic instantly countered by pushing one of their own wingers up top and dropping assistant manager onto the wing to help cover this new threat.

Both teams continued to battle, every player on the pitch giving everything to stop the other team from scoring. Eventually (around the 80 minute mark), it became apparent that BEC were beginning to tire from the relentless backward and forward nature of the game and Mosaic looked to capitalize on this with a final substitution in the form of Scott Bethell, full time full-back, part time center back and occasional Ronaldo-esque left mid!

He picked up the ball on the left wing and started his run up the BEC flank. He took on the BEC right back with a deft flick of his heel, and forced one of the big center backs to come out to meet him. Again he parried the pressure with a twist and a turn and found himself on the left edge of the box with little support from his team mates on offer. He stooped, he swung his leg high and powered a shot toward the top right corner of the goal…and the keeper got there! His glove slapped the ball off its trajectory only to fall at the feet of the Mosaic right winger. He hit it first time from 5 yards out and the keeper made the save of the game getting up and throwing himself in front of the ball again. What a way to start his Mosaic career that would have been, but sadly not to be the case. The BEC bench and managerial team’s brief look of dismay turned into celebration as their goalkeeper stood up with the ball firmly in his hands.

With 90 minutes now gone both teams continued to look for the goal that they had known all along would win the game. Mosaic pressed up the pitch again desperately trying to break the deadlock. The BEC players weathered the storm and managed to break away with a perfectly timed pass releasing their winger just as the center backs stepped forward in an attempt to trap him offside. The two center backs did well to get back and block the player’s shot, but he had already seen a blue shirt streaming in on the edge of the box, laying it into his path and he hammered it first time doing well to get his body over the ball and smash the ball through the back of the net. An excellent finish to an excellent game.

With the final whistle blowing and BEC winning the fixture 1-0, the title race is still on the cards for the current cup champions, but for the defending league champions the threat of relegation looms..

Lowfors 8-0 St John Fishers

A frosty morning welcomed both teams back from their Christmas break this Saturday as Lowfors welcomed St John Fishers to Keresley in what was to be a game packed with action.

As the game kicked off, Fishers looked the team most likely to score as they had the best of the ball retention early on and managed to create a couple of early chances, bringing a couple of corners in the first 10 minutes an opportunity to put the ball in the Lowfors box. However, it was the beginning of a defensive story unfolding which ended much happier for the Lowfors’ defence than Fishers’ attack.

Despite this early pressure, it was Lowfors who opened the scoring. Heavy pressure from a long throw and then corner from the right, forced SJF into conceding another throw-in on the left and as Kavanagh launched another missile into the box, Matt Stevens rose highest to detonate it; sending the ball in at the back post. 1-0 Lowfors.

Before long, Lowfors were on the attack again, this time forcing a free kick out on the left 35 yards from goal. Unfortunately, for Fishers it was a similar story as Rich Gould picked out the towering captain Martyn Clarke, who gratefully nodded home. 2-0 and Lowfors in the ascendancy.

Fishers were now looking downtrodden and heads dropped. As they searched for a reply, Lowfors raised the pressure and once again found joy down the left. Lyndon Capewell beat his man and whipped a dangerous low ball in from the left. The Fishers’ defence could do nothing but deflect it into the path of oncoming striker Kev Kavanagh who wasn’t going to let such a gift go a miss and took a touch inside the box before driving a low strike in to the bottom left corner; the keeper only able to get fingertips on the ball as it passed into his net.

And with that, it was Half Time. Lowfors going in to the break comfortably ahead and Fishers rueing their early missed chances.

As the second half began you might have expected Fishers to fly out of the box, but Lowfors were on the crest of a wave and after 5 short minutes they were finding the net again.

Another throw-in from the left, gave Kavanagh chance to pick Clarkey out in the 6 yard box, who duly flicked the ball to the back post where once again Matt Stevens awaited and just as in the first half, dispatched the ball into the net. 4-0!

Soon after, Lowfors again worked the ball down the left and once again Lyndon Capewell whipped a delightful ball in from the left. Confusion at the back saw the centre half leave the ball for the goalkeeper, only for veteran Steve Crowter to sniff out an opportunity and nick in front of the keeper to poke one home. 5-0!

Lowfors began to roam the pitch with a sense of invincibility and unfortunately for Fishers this game was now wholly one-sided. The Lowfors defence; Clarkey, Matt Stevens, Joel at left back and Gudge at right back were simply inpenetrable, forcing Fishers to shoot from distance at a greateful Goughy in goal who, besides an unbelievable point blank save in the first half, had had very little to do. The Lowfors central midfield of Gould and John Barnes were completely dominant, despite Fishers now playing 3 in the middle with them. And as they fed Kavanagh in the No.10 role, who’d been a thorn in Fishers’ side all morning, he ran at the defence until they could do nothing but bring him down 25 yards out. As you’ll see in the picture above, he casually sent the ball into the top right corner of the net. 6-0!

It was now chance after chance for Lowfors with the next goal only being a matter of time and when the ball was fed into Barnesy from the left he took a touch out of his feet and not to be outdone by Kavanagh, picked the top right corner out again to make it 7-0! Unbelievable stuff.

Lowfors were systematically putting Fishers to the sword and as Kavanagh picked up the ball in space; he surged through the Fishers defence again, this time from the left, ghosting past 2 players, before smashing the ball home to make it 8 – and complete his 2nd hat-trick in consecutive games. 8-0 and it didn’t flatter Lowfors.

This is one for the Lowfors faithful to remember and one St John Fishers will certainly want to forget. Lowfors 8-0 Fishers.

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.

Arypt 1-3 Holy Trinity Match Report

Trinitys first game of 2019 took place at their old stomping ground which the original ‘OGs’ of trinity will remember (with mixed emotions), Whitley common, with hopes of continuing a potentially promotional seasons form as they took on Arypt.

An early goalmouth scramble at Arypts end let to the quesion of should goal line technology be brought into a church league? Then again both teams did have a red kit on at kick off so maybe that first.  The pitch wasn’t really the carpet Trinity were used to so a few miss placed passes were going to happen.

Arypt were knocking the ball around well early doors, however those early doors were knocked off thier hindges as Smith swung in a corner from the right hand side with Mayne heading it into Nutting and then into the net, what he knew about the situation is debatable, but it’s another goal for the centre half turned left back in a brilliant season.

Trinity then go into the break a goal up and none conceded with good defensive work, i’m sure the defenders and Wallen in goal thought a clean sheet was on the cards boosting their team fantasy points.

Trinity go into the second half with some good passing moves from the likes of West, Pike and Taft. Also with Victor tearing up the right hand side with pace and power dribble runs. It was however another corner that put Trinity 2-0 up using their size and height advantage over Arypt with Smith swinging in another peach of a corner and Mayne heading in from close range. Bishop also came close with a glancing header chance that went narrowly wide.

Nutting then sends a cross in from the left hand side which was headed in at range into the bottom corner by Mayne, making up for the header he missed earlier which was an easier chance.

Trinity came very close to the illusive clean sheet however Arypt send in a late consolation reply to make it 1-3 to Trinity at full time.

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.

Mosaic 3-5 Lowfors

A frosty morning greeted Lowfors as they arrived out on Mosaic’s pitch first. Mosaic left it late to head out and put their nets up, seemingly unprepared for the chilly conditions.

Only 5 minutes into the game, those suspicions proved true as they froze at the back, Kev Kavanagh slipping behind the defence and being beautifully picked out by veteran Steve Crowter. With a quick snap shot on the turn he caught the keeper off guard and left him red-faced as the ball somehow went straight through his hands and legs and dribbled into the net. 1-0.

Neither team were able to show their best during the early stages, with the ball bobbling all over the park, but there were plenty chances and half-chances. Mosaic midfielder Brad coming closest early on, but skying over the bar from 6 yards. However, Lowfors were the team dominating and before long they had their 2nd. Kavanagh arrowed a throw into the box and when midfield marvel Connor glanced the ball to the back post, long-serving Lowfors forward Steve Crowter was there to knock in his 100th goal for the club! 2-0.

Just before half-time Mosaic’s right winger, who’d been lively down the flank managed to beat the offside trap and square across the box for an easy tap in. 2-1

Half-time: Mosaic 1-2 Lowfors

The 2nd half kicked off in similar fashion to the 1st with Lowfors putting pressure on Mosaic’s defence, looking like they might score with every attack. Mosaic had certainly improved 2nd half but once again it was Lowfors who took the initiative. After some great link up play between midfielders Gouldy and Matt Stevens, Connor cut in from the right wing and flashed a ball across goal which Mosaic’s bleach-blonde holding midfielder struggled to deal with, only for left winger Dale to slide in and take advantage of his and the keeper’s indesiciveness; taking an easy 3rd goal for Lowfors. 3-1.

Mosaic had to summon up some resistance and when they began to play balls over the top in response they soon got some joy with a corner. Lowfors perhaps now taking their foot off the gas and it was about to become costly. The ball into the box wasn’t dealt with well and when Mosaic’s striker nipped in front of the Lowfors’ goalkeeper Goughy he found himself with an easy tap in. 3-2.

The Mosaic joy was unfortunately short lived though. This time Kev Kavanagh and Dale linked up down the left wing with some great movement, playing a neat 1-2 at the edge of the box before Kavanagh fired a fizzing shot into the bottom right corner. 4-2 Lowfors.

And Lowfors didn’t stop there; this time capitalising on their 4th goal with a 5th. After another great cross from the right, defender John Barnes found himself in front of goal and when his shot was blocked it fell kindly for Kavanagh who gratefully rifled the ball into the roof of the net to grab his hat-trick and the match ball (Mosaic are probably sending it in the post?). 5-2 Lowfors and the game pretty much sewn up.

One last corner from Mosaic however brought them another goal and made the game seem closer than it was. Lowfors Captain Martyn Clarke was enfuriated when a Mosaic midfielder was allowed to volley a ball into the ground unchallenged which their striker then headed in with similar ease.

Despite the late goal, the game was already sealed in Lowfors favour giving Mosaic far too much to do to come back. Lowfors had done the job and the game ended Mosaic 3-5 Lowfors; with Lowfors’ Christmas turkey tasting all the sweeter as they go into the Christmas break only 2 points off top spot. A great end to 2018.

CLM 2 SJF 2 Cup Game Reporter Paul Stringer


#thisisworship

Saturday 10th December saw a welcome return to cup action for CLM FC as they looked to build on their electric start to the teams inaugural season. Returning to their home turf of Caludon Castle they would be hosting League 1 opposition St. John Fisher. Heading into the game there would only be one question on everyone’s lips, could CLM keep their unbeaten run intact….
Entering into this match, CLM were still without the influential Dave ‘Roland Nilsson’ Jones, Luke ‘The Baby Face’ Williams & our very own footballing Angel, Gabriel…however this would once again provide the CLM squad with an opportunity to step up, with Steve ‘The Don’ Ward, amongst others, making a welcome first appearance of the season in the match day squad.
Devotions were lead by Captain Marvel, aka Kieran, aka KJ, who provided a timely prompt to all when asking the squad what it might look like if we ‘Choose to lack nothing’.  Could we, would we be willing to put it all out their for the King & what that might look like in a personal and sporting capacity. What followed, a rendition of Christ Alone, Cornerstone, served to remind the squad, myself included of why we do what we do & that in fact football can also be our worship to Him.
As both teams made there way out to the pitch they were greeted by a sparse, but enthusiastic crowd (8), made up largely of subs and partners, clearly strong armed into ‘joining in the fun’.  With the wind howling like Mariah Carey on her Christmas album (don’t pretend you haven’t heard it / don’t have a favourite song) & the previous nights deluge aiding the ground staffs efforts to provide a slick playing surface, pre-match checks were swiftly completed by the referee, pleasantries exchanged by both Captains & it would be CLM to kick off, into the wind from left to right towards the School end of the ground.
To describe the first twenty minutes as end to end, full of goal mouth activity and fast, frantic, one touch football (think Netherlands of the 70’s, Barcelona under Pep etc)….would be wonderful.  Unfortunately It would also be nonsense. Complete fabrication, some would even say ‘fake news’.
The weather & pitch combo was clearly causing both teams to stick rather than twist, resulting in an increased use of ‘percentage balls’ being played into the channels, rather than the silky tiki-taka football the CLM fans had come to expect.
In keeping with the pattern of the first twenty minutes the first goal would come from a percentage ball from St. John Fisher (STJF) played down CLM’s right channel, resulting in a shot fizzing across the CLM keeper who got down well to parry, only to see the on rushing STJF number 15 on hand to slot in the rebound and make it CLM 0 – 1 STJF.
By this stage of the game the wind really was howling, goalkicks were being taken and going out for corners & as fast as CLM could clear the ball from danger a combination of mother nature & STJF were returning it with twice the force. The double team of KJ & Ian plus a healthy sprinkling of sheer luck the only things preventing STJF from pulling further ahead.
As the half continued CLM started to enjoy more possession, although a combination of the wind, poor first touches and a couple of ‘robust’ challenges prevented too many clear cut opportunities.  Meanwhile STJF certainly had their opportunities, a free kick on the edge of CLM box resulting in an effort that looked closer to grazing the low cloud cover rather than the CLM crossbar. As STJF continued to push bodies forward & with CLM unable to win the ball back & make inroads of their own, the STJF number 6 looked to play a number of cross field balls into the CLM area, where fortunately a combination of KJ and Rich snuffed out further danger.
With possession being a rare commodity for CLM, step forward Andy Steven.  Showing some silky touches and a range of passes, he started to drive the team forward, having a shot from 20yds saved by the STJF GK & shortly after playing a deft ball around the corner to Darius that the STJF GK did well to come out and smother at the midfielders feet.
However for all of CLM’s renewed possession it would be STJF who would have the final clear cut chance of the half, a lovely through ball dissecting the CLM back line to leave Rich to come out, narrow the angle and make a great save, deflecting the ball up and over the bar, when the STJF forward looked odds on to score.
All this meant that the teams headed in for half-time oranges (& jaffa cakes for CLM), with the score CLM 0 – 1 STJF.
As the second half got under way the wind seemed to have died down a little.  CLM were forced into one change, James Ward making way for the young Martin Jakubec.
From the onset of the half CLM looked to get on the ball more and carved out a few early half chances to give the loyal & very cold supporters hope for the next 45mins!
The opening moments of the second half consisted of large amounts of CLM possession & untaken CLM chances, with STJF still looking dangerous on the counter attack.
As CLM continued to surge forward looking for the equaliser they were met with some strong but fair & resolute STJF challenges, until Shaun looked to break down the CLM left & was unceremoniously put on the turf, the referee who had so far kept the game flowing, was again perfectly placed to award the free kick.
Whilst the resulting free-kick came to nothing it wouldn’t be much longer until Shaun would once more break free and provide a teasing cross to the back stick where young Jakubec couldn’t quite get over the ball & headed over when only 6yds out.
With 20 minutes to go CLM shuffled the deck. Steve ‘The Don’ Ward coming on for the injured Darius Gichini, slotting in at centre back, allowing Ian ‘The Salmon’ Corden to push further forward into midfield.
It wouldn’t be long before Ian would win the ball in a full blooded tackle in the middle of the field & play the ball out wide to Shaun, who, having twisted and turned the STJF back line inside out pulled the ball back to Dan Hart, who took a touch, turned his marker & rifled into the back of the net from 8yds out. Another fine finish for the dangerous young front man.
CLM, sensing that this could be there time to go & grab a winner continued to pile forward & looked to break dangerously until Shaun was once more hacked down. On this occasion the referee awarding the free kick & a yellow card to the STJF number 6.
Once more CLM were unable to make the most of the free kick & STJF sensing a break was on, smartly moved forward down the CLM left, the STJF number 8 having the presence & skill to cut inside onto his left foot & fire a shot into roof of the CLM net from 10yds out.
CLM were momentarily stunned. Having fought hard to get back into the contest they seemed to be on the floor receiving the 10 count.
However, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Its not often I could compare Tyson Fury & KJ, however the second STJF goal seemed to illicit the same reaction in KJ as the count of 5 did with Fury. Eyes popping open ready to go one more time! With only minutes remaining CLM won a throw in, deep in STJF territory.  Step forward Captain Marvel, who arrowed a long throw into the box which the STJF GK couldn’t quite hold, his touch taking it into the goal & resulting in a deserved equaliser, all be it an unfortunate own goal for STJF.
Before the final whistle CLM would have one last chance as Shaun was played clean through, only to be foiled by the onrushing STJF GK, making an amends for his earlier aberration.
Shortly after, the referee blew for full-time. The end of a EXTREMELY cold game for players, supporters & match reporters alike! On reflection, given the chances created in the second half CLM may feel they could have edged it. In truth, the draw was probably the fair result. The wind, particularly in the first half dictated much of the rhythm of the game, which on the whole was played in a very fair & competitive manner.
CLM look to be assured of safe passage to the knockout stages and could still win the group with a victory over Division 1 table toppers, Hope.  For STJF, one more point should see them progress.
Man of the match is almost a repeat every week. This guy not only holds the team together & holds them to account off the pitch, but he does it ON the pitch too. Captain Marvel, aka KJ, aka Kieran Joseph… take a bow, take a bow son. Immense performance.
#thisisworship
Reporter: Paul Stringer

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.

Mosaic 1-4 Meredith – Division 1 Match Report

Two rivals of the Coventry Church League squared up in a Division 1 clash which both teams knew was likely to be important if they had any aspirations of the league title.

Meredith came into the game the form team, having started the season unbeaten in all competitions, but Mosaic were confident in the knowledge that they had got the upper hand over Meredith multiple times over the past couple of years including a title decider at the end of last season.

Meriden Sports Ground (dubbed Fortress Meriden by the home side) played host to the game and both teams were greeted by a crisp late Autumnal morning with a stiff breeze which was unwelcome to the travelling fans (all 7 of them). The game started as most do; both teams getting a feel for the conditions and their opponents – a polite way of saying it started scrappy. That wouldn’t last long, however, as Meredith began to play with a higher tempo, being quick on the press and not allowing Mosaic to settle. Meredith’s hard work was rewarded when a left-footed volley from 30 yards struck the corner of post and bar only to bounce kindly to Harley Francis who nodded the ball home with the composure that’s led him to be Meredith’s leading goal scorer over the past few seasons.

The first half continued in a similar vein, with Meredith very much on the front foot, looking to extend their lead. The away side’s defence was solid throughout, winning all Mosaic was throwing at them, and they formed a solid foundation from which multiple dangerous attacks were built. One such attack saw marauding left winger, Danny Thompson, capitalise on a lapse in concentration from Mosaic’s back line as he breezed past one of their players and finished the move smartly from just inside the area.

Shortly after, Meredith found themselves 3 goals to the good when a troublesome long-throw fell to club captain Ashley Bulpitt who, in all honesty, would have found it more difficult to miss than score from all of 3 yards out. A swinging left boot sent the ball past the Mosaic keeper in clinical fashion and Meredith headed to the break with a 3-0 lead which eventually proved unassailable.

Andy Puffett, Meredith’s head coach, had warned his side before kick off that Mosaic could be 4 or 5 nil down and still fight for the game and his warning was proven correct when Mosaic took to the pitch in the second half and appeared a different team. They were first to second balls, played with channeled aggression and started to play some nice football on the ground. Meredith were on the back foot, but their resilient defence limited Mosaic to few clearcut chances and they seemed to revel in the challenge of soaking up the Mosaic pressure. With the flow of the game, however, it did seem like a matter of time before Mosaic got off the mark and that proved true as a well worked throw-in routine resulted in a smart finish into the bottom corner from the Mosaic attacker to take the score to 3-1.

As the old adage goes, goals change games, and Meredith knew they needed to quash this potential momentum shifter. The goal came as a wake up call to the entire away side who were perhaps guilty of a little complacency having gone 3-0 up in the first half and they responded well. Fresh legs were introduced by Puffett which provided pace and a real threat on the counterattack and after stemming the flow of pressure from Mosaic, it was Meredith who looked like grabbing the next goal. That indeed proved to be the case when, with 10 minutes left on the clock, a perfectly weighted ball from Darius Bristow (or Bristol as the top scorer table would have it) found Bulpitt between Mosaic’s two centre halves to finish well with his head.

That goal really knocked the stuffing out of Mosaic who’s second half effort was not quite enough to bring them back into the game. Both teams played with professionalism and respect, a real credit to the Church League. Mosaic will be looking to bounce back as they turn their attentions to the cup competition where they host Elim. Meredith enjoy a week off during the next round of fixtures, but will be keen to maintain their unbeaten start to the season when next in action against AFC Hope on November 24th.