Match Report - 12 Sep 2009, Leeds Modernians Football Club 1sts lost to Gildersome Spurs OB Reserves
Following the opening day draw against Headingley, Mods arrived at Gildersome without Simon Oliver and Jonny Wilson, and opted to rest Richard Hoole who was nursing the latest in a long list of bogus injuries. Hooley adopted his tried & trusted strategy of declaring himself “available but not 100% fit”, as an insurance against the possibility that he would once again perform like a hungover penguin in pit-boots. Birch, however, called his bluff and didn’t use him in the fixture.
In the absence of Si, there was a place in defence for the enigmatic Byron Wilkinson. This is a man who will soon acquire responsibility for a new-born human, yet cannot tie his own shoe-laces. This is a man who routinely talks sensibly, thoughtfully and rationally about football away from the pitch, but one who budgets for £90 - £120 of fines each season simply to cover those occasions when he advises match officials that they should “feck off”, “feck right off” or “get a fecking grip”.
Byron slotted in at right back, with Will Brown moving to partner brother Zac in a central defensive partnership in a case of sport mirroring commercial life. The Horsforth-based siblings are now operating as a two man business, offering a range of maintenance and related services at competitive prices, with all work guaranteed, free estimates, no job too tedious, you’ve tried the rest now try the sex pest….etc etc - . Up front, Adam Binns was flanked by Josh Williams and Adam Matthews in a 4:3:3 formation, with Adie “Sportacus” Shaduwa and Stef Papa being joined on the bench by Rob Wright.
This is the first season in Senior B for Gildersome Reserves who came into the game on the back of a 10-0 victory in their opening fixture against Batelians. Gildersome are a well-run club and their Reserves included three players who have represented their first team against us in the last couple of seasons. The sun was shining, the pitch was in good condition and the ref was late, with Marchy’s grand-dad arriving just in time for kick-off. He had been delayed as a consequence of the huge number of students wishing to enrol on the Saturday morning “Achieving Tranquility” class that he hosts. Grandpa March provides a welcome antidote to the partisan nature of so many football devotees, and can always be relied upon to take a balanced and considered view of any incident. Many students of human behaviour believe that Marchy has inherited his own calm, unruffled nature from his grand-dad, whose last-minute pre-match arrival gave the Mods a timely boost.
The opening stages of the match saw neither team able to dominate and it was quickly apparent that the home crowd were unlikely to witness a double figure score line for a second consecutive week. Although we were by no means on the back foot, there was a sense that our hosts were taking the percentage decisions better than us, and we also failed to show enough physical bite in certain situations. That said, our formation appeared to work reasonably well against Gildersome’s 3:5:2, and we did stretch their defence on occasions in the first quarter of an hour.
However, a clever, jinking run by an opponent saw him evade several Mods players, allowing him the space to pull the ball back for a team-mate to drill the ball home from very close-range, to give Gildersome the lead after some 17 minutes. For the remainder of the first half, the game ebbed and flowed, with Mods having some joy going forward, although our territorial domination was not reflected in the creation of clear chances. On a worrying number of occasions, promising possession came to nothing due to poor control, bad decision-making or simple indecision. Although the Gildersome defence took no unnecessary chances, they did seem vulnerable, but we failed to show the necessary composure in the final third.
It was far from one-way traffic, though, and Gildersome threatened periodically, bringing a couple of fine saves from Tyrone. Dale Mordue did well in his unaccustomed role of left-back, while Will Brown was particularly impressive, showing considerably better concentration when surrounded by young men in shorts as opposed to young women in short skirts the previous Saturday evening in Horsforth. As half-time approached, Mods gradually stepped up the pressure and found themselves in threatening positions, but we lacked real incision and the home keeper wasn’t tested once in the opening 45. Gildersome led 1-0 at the interval.
Mods sustained the improvement that had allowed them to enjoy greater possession in the closing stages of the first period, but Gildersome continued to defend in numbers and sensibly. Despite being territorially dominant in the first 15 or 20 minutes of the second half, we were unable to carve out any clear scoring opportunities, and Gildersome continued to absorb the pressure without real discomfort.
Just after the hour mark, Byron was replaced by Rob Wright who continues his quietly heroic battle against the obscure medical condition that has left him convinced that wearing exceedingly long shorts somehow makes him ”special”. This is a tragic situation for such a likeable young man, and Rob’s family have been advised that recent studies of a long short wearing tribe in remotest Borneo suggest that there is no prospect of a cure. In response to this devastating setback, there are rumours that the Kaiser Chiefs and The Grumbleweeds are to play a benefit gig in Cookridge to raise awareness of this terrible affliction and to raise funds for crucial further research. A spokesman for the Long Shorts Syndrome Sufferers Support Society said that “the news from the Borneo project is truly horrific and has desperate implications for Rob’s long-term welfare and his football career. Either that, or the gormless little fecker can just get a grip and wear normal shorts like his team-mates.”
This tragic story aside, the boy Wright injected much-needed verve and commitment to the Mods’ performance and he had an immediate impact, testing the keeper at his near post with a venomous shot from a very tight angle, and just failing to direct the ball home when at full stretch, while chasing an astute through-ball.
Adie Shaduwa joined the fray after around 70 minutes, and worked hard down the right flank in an effort to provide penetration, but Gildersome continued to defend robustly. With 15 minutes remaining the home team extended their lead with a close range effort and our cause was beginning to look bleak.
Stef Papa replaced Adam Binns immediately after the concession, and produced a couple of moments of magic, but we were unable to penetrate, despite showing commendable spirit to the end. Ultimately, Gildersome merited the points as their decision-making was superior to ours, and – despite having spells of domination of possession – we created very few genuine chances.
Upon returning to the club, the lads were heartened by the news that Matty Lewis had notched the first [and vital] goal under the Mullin 3rd team regime. For some time, Lewis has been in negotiations with his agent and Mods’ representatives, and speculation was rife that he might be used in a player + cash + used shin pads + a couple of those bleedin’ stupid hats [that the young players tend to wear indoors] deal that might see Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to Cookridge while Matty headed to Milan. Finally, the speculation is at an end and Matty has committed himself to the Tony Mullin Experiment. Glorious news.
There is no first team fixture this Saturday, but Grandpa Marchy is holding a two hour service of reflection and contemplation in the Asda Car Park at Holt Park from mid-day on Saturday.
Gildersome Spurs OB Reserves 2 - 0 Leeds Modernians Football Club 1sts ()