Match Report - 08 Sep 2012, Leeds Modernians Football Club 1sts beat Stanley United
10 - MESSI 9 - EXCELLENT. 8 - VERY GOOD. 7 - GOOD 6 - AVERAGE
5. - POOR. 4 - SELL YOUR BOOTS 3 - FIND A NEW HOBBY.
By the 1pm meet time on a glorious Saturday the sun was high in the sky so the squad gravitated to the pitch, partly for a pitch walk in the lovely conditions and partly so the more pigmentation challenged members of the squad could scout for any shaded areas on the pitch where they might find some respite come the kick off. Indeed such was the magnificence of the day "Captain Marvel" Pouncett had arrived donning his horrible plastic aviator style sun glasses, a 9 euro purchase along with his fake Rolex from the "Lucky Lucky" man on his summer jaunt to Benidorm where temperatures were probably similar to that of the day.
Pitch access meant the squad had the privilege of a first hand master class from Colonel Birch on to how to put up the nets. No one dared or was allowed to touch anything, unless directly instructed. Even when called upon any selected helpers were right to proceed with caution, as they were no doubt evaluated for their ability to be able to perform and carry out specific detailed instructions from the Colonel to the letter, as if in rehearsal for a game situation. One false move here and you could find yourself at Bedquilts. Overall even Birch must have been moderately pleased, the squad had performed the task as if they were "3-0 up" and the spectacle of the whole playing area was a sight to behold, now it was down to the players to justify the privilege of plying their trade in such an arena.
Stanley United arrived at Cookridge Lane sitting pretty at the top of the division and unbeaten, having dropped only 2 points from their opening 5 fixtures. Mods will look back on their early fixtures with mixed emotions having dropped points at Hunslet and Cents in disappointing fashion. However this league has already showed itself to be highly competitive and with 30 games to complete the season will be a long hard journey. So no time for excuses or wondering "if this" or "if that", with 25 games to go it is what the Mods do now and over the coming weeks which will decide their destiny.
And it was with this " lets make it happen " mentality that the Mods started the game. Tom Day lined up behind Oliver, Brown, Claxton and Todd, a back four which is in danger of rivalling the classic AC Milan defence of Tassotti, Baresi, Costacurta and Maldini for its total dominance of opposition attackers. Ahead of the formidable back line was the midfield quartet of Wilson, Williams, Pouncett and Clemence. Danny Forrest was to lead the line up front with Ben Bowman playing just slightly off the front.
Mods shaded the early exchanges, and a succession of set pieces saw them apply some concerted pressure to the Stanley goal. As time passed and the half hour mark approached the Mods chances appeared to be becoming more promising, it was in this spell that a few half chances went begging and Pouncett will feel he could have done better with one effort. The best chance however fell to Clemence, after a cross from the right hand side evaded the players in the middle of the box and drifted to the back post, he managed to meet the ball just before the on rushing keeper only to lift his header over both the keeper and the cross bar.
Shortly after Stanley then produced what can only described as a great goal. Moving swiftly on the counter attack with one / two touch precision they worked the ball between 3-4 of their players through the midfield before their number 9 took a great first touch and unleashed a fine curling left foot finish in to the bottom corner of Tom Day's goal, clipping the inside of the post on its way in.
Mods regrouped, kicked off and it wasn't long before they were back level. Si Oliver, the peoples captain, won a typically towering header inside the Stanley half which was anticipated by Danny Forrest who powered on to the ball in channel between the full back and centre half before despatching a fine finish past the Stanley goal keeper. Forrest had already been the pick of the Mods players in his role up front and this goal only served to enhance his mood. With the impetus restored mods then remained on top until the Ref blew for half time.
After some well needed refreshments and tactical fine tuning at half time Mods came out for the second half and picked up where they had left off. Forrest was a real thorn in the side of the Stanley defence all day as they struggled to handle his power, quality and work ethic. It was no surprise then when he added his and the Mods second goal. The ball was worked from Jonny Wilson's right wing birth across the midfield over to Toddy at left back who had advanced to some 20 yards in to the Stanley half to support the play. From this position Toddy whipped a fine teasing cross in to the corridor of uncertainty between the Stanley back four and the keeper, from which Danny Forrest guided a cushioned header in to the corner of the net.
At 2-1 the Mods were now in the perfect position to play some intelligent football, and after a pre season where possession has been the mantra, they knew it. Coupled with the heat this meant that Stanley, who were already tiring, were starved on any meaningful possession and struggled to get a foot hold back in the game. Mods also made a couple of changes in this period with Joe Clapham coming on for Bowman up top and Marchy replacing Jonny on the right.
As the Mods saw out the final stages they added a 3rd and final goal. Pouncett, who had grown in stature in the second half took possession in the middle of the park and after carrying the ball forward placed a fine ball on the outside of his right foot to release Forrest down the left channel. Forrest latched on the ball at pace and calmly took a couple of touches, drawing a defender in and also allowing Joe Clapham enough time make his run in to the box. Forrest then a played a ball across the box, which was of such quality that Clapham was able to meet it with his side foot without breaking stride, a calm finish to a excellent move.
3-1 and game over. In truth the hot conditions were always going to make it hard to sustain a game of any real pace, however credit must go to both teams for trying to get the ball down and play good football in a game which produced 4 goals of great quality. Danny Forrest was rightfully voted man of the match by his team mates and picked up a 9 on the "Birchy Index" which is no mean feet. Zac Brown also continued his impressive start to the season with another impressive dominant display.
Next weeks visitors to Cookridge are last season's nemesis Shelley, who over the previous 3 league campaigns are one of only two teams to take 6 points from thUe Mods. Motivation enough to ensure the Mods are individually and collectively bang up for the task and leave absolutely everything on the pitch.
Leeds Modernians Football Club 1sts 3 - 1 Stanley United ()