Nottsborough 1st Team
Winchmore Hill 4-0 Nottsborough – SAL Senior Div 1 – Saturday 22nd April
Winchmore Hill are one of the opponents in the SAL that all teams at Nottsborough enjoy playing against. A healthy rivalry, played out in the right fashion. Therefore it was with tinged with regret that a defeat in their final game against Notts 1s would all but relegate them. Due to the fixtures however, a win would secure their safety. This wasn’t a game that would be about Nottsborough though as a few familiar faces returned to the Winchmore line up to ensure that they had the best chance of survival. Conversely, Nottsborough were struggling for players, and motivation, judging from what turned out to be a rather lacklustre display. Since the reporter was absent from the game, little is to report other than that Winchmore were great value for their comprehensive victory. The only thing that Nottsborough could take from the game was that due to Winchmore surviving on the back of this win, it’s only a matter of months before they can try and get revenge.
MoM- Someone in a purple shirt
Nottsborough 2-0 NUFC Oilers – SAL Senior Div 1 – Saturday 8th April
(Scorers: Newell; Taylor)
Nottsborough’s strong end of season form continued with a worthy 2-0 victory against rival set-up NUFC Oilers.
Notts started in a 4231 formation with a determination to replicate the positive results of recent weeks. Nottsborough dominated early possession and gained several corners in the first few minutes. As has been the case for much of the season, opposition pinned back in terms of territory looked dangerous on the break, and the defence needed to be on their toes despite having relatively little to do. After 15 minutes the deadlock was broken as Newell performed his ‘jonny-on-the-spot’ role once more, smashing in a loose ball from 2 yards. Without a bad challenge occurring there was a bit of niggle being generated which came to boiling point 5 minutes before the break. Sutcliffe challenged the lively Birch though the referee was late to blow for the foul. Oilers no.10 made an unnecessary late challenge in return which resulted in Sutcliffe putting a ‘sleeper hold’ on the angsty no.10. Much screaming and gesticulating followed from Oilers, which resulted in Sutcliffe receiving a yellow card, which admittedly could have been more. However, there was a general acceptance from the officials that there could have been a good number of cards of both colours in the aftermath, and the sensible decision was to issue the yellow for Nott’s captain and move on. Unfortunately moving on was not something Oilers were able to do and their moaning would continue through to the final whistle.
Nottsborough’s game management was excellent in the second half as they avoided unnecessary haranguing of the officials and concentrated on 3 points. A glut of yellow cards followed in the second half for both sides, and a deliberate handball resulted in the dismissal of Oilers’ no.8 after a previous yellow. As Oilers pushed for an equaliser Notts hit quickly on the break, Barber doing the damage down the left before crossing for Taylor to finish the game off. Football often becomes more than just the football, and a professional, focused second half from the men in red and black, was ultimately the difference between the two sides, with the other more focused on chastising the officials who actually managed the game very well.
Old Parkonians 0-1 Nottsborough – SAL Senior Div 1 – Saturday 1st April
A long trip up the Central line to Fairlop heralded the return to action for last week’s cup winners. Parkonians, who ran the men in red and black very close at home in the reverse fixture, are in the midst of a relegation battle, which combined with the fact that they had already made it obvious that they were a decent team, made the task a difficult one when availability was not at it’s best.
Indeed, the squad was boosted by the return of Chris Sinclair, who has been out for several months with a knee injury. Barber’s jet lag meant that it was an immediate return to the starting line up for Sincs, with Barber traipsing up the Central line an hour behind schedule as he secured DotD before a ball had even been kicked. Shaw went with a 4231 to match up to the opposition, and Notts fell back into this formation comfortably. A strong wind was against Notts first half and Parkonians were using it to good effect, forcing corners and throw-ins off which they looked dangerous. Notts were full of endeavour and some good decision making at crucial times kept the home team at bay, whilst Notts always looked dangerous on the break. Lancaster tipped over for a fine save from a looping shot, whilst a header just slid beyond the Notts stoppers far post as lady luck favoured the visitors. However, Notts were keeping the ball well, and a delightful move down the left allowed Newell to put in a devilish cross, and after Beck had made contact at the far post, Haynes jabbed home for the all important first goal. 1-0 up at half-time. Mother Nature was not in Nottsborough’s camp though, as half-time welcomed a change in weather and the previously problematic wind died down to nothing more than a draft which really evened things up. The first 10 mins of the second half was always going to be crucial, and the key moment did indeed come 5 mins into the half as a Parkonians corner was met strongly before Lancaster somehow turned it against the bar from where it bounced to safety. Chances for Parkonians began to dry up as Nottsborough’s defence refused to be breached, and Notts began to look increasingly dangerous on the break. Several chances came and went with Taylor going close after a 1-on-1. With a squad of 11 at kick-off, and only 12 by full-time, this was a significant performance with the type of never-say-die attitude which, if observed earlier in the season, could have led to a significantly different looking league table. Great performances all round, but special mention to Sinclair who didn’t look like he’d been away and lasted 90 minutes. Smith took MoM after an outstanding 90 minutes.
Nottsborough 4-0 Old Thorntonians – Surrey/Kent AFA Senior Cup Final @ Old Bromelians – Saturday 25th March
(Scorers: Barber 2; Sutcliffe; Gavin)
Line up (3-52-2)
Lancaster; Gavin; Parker; Heard; Sutcliffe (c); Cranston; Newell; Smith; Taylor; Barber; Haynes. Subs: Kirkham; McMillan
Nottsborough travelled to deepest, darkest Surrey in pursuit of silverware as the final of the Surrey Kent cup offered the chance to taste glory in the 2016/17 season.
The conditions were clearly going to be a challenge, as was the rather bobbly pitch, however Nottsborough approached the game with confidence knowing that the opposition had been dispatched via a 4-0 scoreline the previous season in the same competition. Notts have been at their most ruthless in this cup, and the same approach was clearly on the players’ minds as the men in red and black raced into a 2-0 lead within the first 5 minutes. The wind was driving directly down the hill to the far goal and Nottsborough had opted to go with the conditions first half. Early pressure created a corner which Barber whipped in with real intent. It proved too hot too handle and a goal was awarded direct from the corner courtesy of the eagle-eyed referee’s assistant. Two minutes later a long throw was flicked on for skipper Sutcliffe to show a striker’s instict to angle it home for 2-0. Thorntonians were clearly shaken and over the next 20 mins a further 4 or 5 could have been added. On the half hour mark Gavin (J), found room on the right and thrashed a strike into the far stanchion for what was a spectacular third. Cross or shot, it was a great strike!!
Inevitably Nottsborough relaxed a little too much allowing Thorntonians a route back into the game. Firstly, a one-on-one for the Thorntonians striker was touched around the post by Lancaster, before a free header from a corner was thundered against Lancaster’s bar. 3-0 at half-time was a fair reflection of the half, but equally there were warning signs with 45 mins into the difficult wind to come, that Nottsborough needed to remain on their toes. The second half began with another gilt edged Thorntonians opportunity which their forward somehow headed into the ground and over the bar when it was easier to score. However, this was the last chance they would have as Nottsborough professionally closed out the game. Chances would come for the men in red and black, a Barber header that the keeper clawed out, and indeed a well crafted fourth goal which Barber lofted over the onrushing goalkeeper. As the game entered it’s final third Thorntonians somewhat accepted Nottsborough’s dominance and the game fizzled out before the scenes of jubilation which ensued with the presentation of the cup for the second season on the bounce.
A fine performance, and deserved silverware in a season full of challenges on and off the field.
MoM – Cranston
Old Garchonians 2-4 Nottsborough – SAL Senior Div 1 – Saturday 18th March
(Scorers: Parker; Barber 3)
A response was required after the disappointment of the previous week, and it was deliver in style. Few matches have the edge that contests against Garchonians have, and Nottsborough made the long trip north in determined mood.
A very positive start led to the marauding Parker to deliver an excellent finish for 1-0. Barber followed up with an outstanding solo effort which was converted with a delightful scooped finish. 2-0 at half-time with a performance that was sorely missed the previous week. A controversial goal for Garchonians immediately after half-time courtesy of a jumped up referee barely out of nappies, necessitated a response from Nottsborough which came in the form of an exquisite Barber free-kick (again, sorely missed the previous week!!). Garchonians were thrown a second lifeline with a deflected second, before Taylor earned the penalty that completed Barber’s hat-trick, and Nottsborough’s victory. An excellent performance throughout.
MoM – Barber
Nottsborough 0-2 Old Carthusians – AFA Senior Cup Semi-final – @ Bank of England – Saturday 11th March
A very frustrating day for Nottsborough whose hopes of a first AFA cup final for a good few years against main rivals Polytechnic were blown away by a committed Old Carthusians team.
Nottsborough started extremely well and were entirely dominant for the first 20 minutes; it seemed to be a case of when, not if, Notts would score, but Carthusians refused to be bowed, and held firm with a mixture of commitment and good fortune. However, 10 mins before half-time, their excellent number 8 worked some magic down their left flank and conjured a cross which their centre forward had time to take down, push to the side and wallop past Lancaster. Notts were caught sleeping, and it would prove to be a blow they couldn’t recover from. Huff and puff as they might Notts could not break down the now rather set Carthusians backline, who were now happy to play solely on the break. A lack of invention was evident as Notts’ play became a little too predictable. Youth was thrown on in the shape of Beck and Stojsavljevic, but to no avail. Notts were however, denied a clear penalty at 0-1 as Haynes was tripped in the box (the opposition defender admitting he was extremely fortunate to escape without punishment), but were dealth the killer blow with 20 mins left as slack marking once again allowed no.8 space who rolled a finis beyond Lancaster for Carthusian’s second. Sutcliffe was thrown up front and had a golden opportunity, but like everything else, it just didn’t come off for Nottsborough.
A wholly disappointing result, and few observers would suggest that it was a fair result, however Notts were enough off-colour to allow the opposition to play their game and earn the right of their own big cup final day.
MoM – Haynes
Nottsborough 2-1 Alleyns Old Boys – SAL Senior Division 1 – Saturday 4th March
(Scorers: OG; Gavin J)
Nottsborough welcomed a high flying Alleyns Old Boys team to Tolworth, who had got the better of Notts on the last three occasions, most recently in the 1-0 away defeat earlier on this season. Nottsborough, who have been in good form recently and were high from reaching the first final of the year, were determined to redress the balance.
Lancaster was ever present in goal, with Sutcliffe, Heard and Cranston providing the first line of defence. Beyond them were Parker, Gavin, Classen, Smith and Kirkham, leaving Barber and Taylor up front. Haynes had succumbed to a mid-night bout of food poisoning, leaving the returning Newell on the bench, and last minute-pre-baby addition, Ewin.
Starting well has been key to Nottsborough’s recent good form, and there was no let up today as Notts took the ascendency into the wind. Using the width of the pitch well, and winning the midfield battle, saw the early pressure build on the Alleyn’s rearguard. Crosses were regularly heading into the box, with Alleyn’s only threat from a break after Notts lost the ball on the edge of the box. A Barber free kick was headed on to the bar by Sutcliffe as a Nottsborough opener began to look inevitable. However, another scare was to follow at the other end as a regulation clearance was missed and Alleyns nearly scrambled an undeserved lead. The breakthrough did follow shortly afterwards as a dangerous ball from the left was sliced into his own net by the despairing Alleyns defender as Taylor lurked at the back post. 1-0 half-time.
An ‘arousing’ half-time teach talk ensued, as the men in red and black contemplated a job which was half-done. The second half kicked off with Notts attacking with the wind, however it was Alleyns who started more strongly. An extra attacker put more pressure on the defence, though it was from their own goal kick that Notts would come unstuck. A Lancaster punt was headed back into the midfield, where the Alleyns midfield quickly sent it to the right where they had an overload, and the ball was duly dispatched into Lancaster’s far corner. An equaliser out of the blue, but a fine response from Alleyns, who were always going to respond after a lacklustre first 45. This rattled Notts, but as has been the case recently the men in red and black rallied, settled and ultimately found their mojo once more. Barber was causing all sorts of problems for the Alleyns defence and it was from one such foray down the left that the minister of mayhem dug out a tremendous cross which Gavin bustled into the net. 2-1 to Notts and on the balanced of play, a deserved lead.
Nottsborough maintained control of the game and saw out what was a hard earned, but deserved victory over a very good team.
MoM – Barber (unplayable on his day, and today was his day)
Nottsborough 5-0 Dorkinians – AFA Surrey/Kent Cup Semi-final – Saturday 25th February
(Scorers: Ewin 2; Taylor; Haynes; Parker)
A much healthier squad this week with Classen’s ante-natal classes complete, Ewin had found an eye in the storm of baby-arrival preparations, and Barber was back from his mid-season Miami training camp.
With Heard, Cranston and Sutcliffe all in good form recently, a back three was chosen, Parker and Gavin supporting as wingbacks. Classen, Smith and Kirkham formed a three-man midfield, whilst Taylor and Haynes were charged with grabbing the goals. It turned out that this formation matched up perfectly with the opposition who adopted similar tactics, and the first 5 minutes gave the manager confidence that the men in red and black had the better quality man for man. Indeed the first 20 or so minutes proved to be some of the best of the season with the opposition being given absolutely no wriggle room at all. Their forwards gamely chased, but it was fruitless as the defence and midfield combined well to keep the ball where they should, and clear their lines when appropriate. There was encouragement at the other end where neat interplay combined with energy starts to produce cracks in the Dorkinians defence. On 20 minutes Taylor found a little space in the box to turn a shot goal-wards which the despairing defender could only help into the goal. The dubious goals committee went with Taylor since the shot was on target. Sadly for Taylor this was his last meaningful contribution as a bang to the knee forced Ewin to rapidly warm up and take the field. This paid instant dividends as he found space on the edge of the area and his well struck shot evaded the away keeper, whose sleep that evening would no doubt have been interrupted by flashbacks of this goal, for a 2-0 lead. Shortly afterwards a fine Parker cross was taken down skilfully at the back post by Haynes, who then dispatched the ball under the keeper and into the net for a 3-0 half-time lead. The only other action of note was a booking for their lumpy no.18 after an off-the-ball attack on away fans favourite Classen, and a very poor tackle almost immediately afterwards. The Dorkinians manager made the wise decision to remove said no.18 at half-time…
A positive half-time team talk ensued with a reminder to avoid complacency, and make a statement for any team checking the results after the game. And that brief was well followed. Barber entered the field of play shortly into the second half-time, displaying some nice one-touch (yes, that reads ‘one-touch’) football, and some excellent direct running. This set up a goal for the marauding Parker who marshalled the opposition’s flying right winger superbly all game, whilst attacking effectively himself. Another for Ewin from close range completed the rout and sent Nottsborough into their first final of the season with good reason to believe that they have much to look forward to.
MoM- Classen; Parker; Smith (joint award…)
Fixtures & results