What’s more English than a spot of football? Well, from what I’ve seen its rain and tea.
Only the football for me please.
I came to England to play, simple as. Well, I am playing. I recently started playing with an amateur team called Albion Sports in Bradford. They play somewhere down in the large pyramid that is English non-league football. The league is officially called the Northeast Counties Eastern League. I have played 2 games with the team so far and it has been great to get back out on the field again.
For those of you interested, here is a link to the team’s website: http://albionsports.co.uk/seniors/ you can check results and see when our upcoming games are to be played. Also here is a link to the league website where you will find the standings http://www.barisncel.co.uk/tables/long/2012/ we are currently sitting in 4th place.
The first game that I played in was at home at Horsfall stadium. We played a team called Cleethorpes Town, from the East Coast. The final result was 4-0, and to be honest it may have been a little harsh of a scoreline for the opposition. Having said that, we deserved to win. We were far more clinical in the final third and limited them to few opportunities. Throughout the game, however, there were periods where they pressured high and we struggled to retain the ball. For about 20 minutes in the beginning of the 2nd half, we didn’t get the ball out of our half for any sustained period of time. We scored 2 goals in the first half and 2 in the last 20 mins when they began to tire. The first goal came off of a long ball and our center forward got hold of it on the right side of the box before cutting back and smashing it home with his left foot. The 2nd and 4th goals were scored off of thumping headers from corner kicks and the 3rd was scored off a well taken 1 time strike from a cross on the left. Overall, we played smart, absorbed pressure when we needed to and scored at critical times. We were not able to necessarily play pretty football, due to Cleethorpes’high pressure, but we adapted and made them pay for their mistakes – particularly marking on set pieces.
I played on the right wing of a 4-3-3 in this game. I have not played in a competitive game in a few months and it showed, I lacked a bit of sharpness from the start. It was also my first time playing with the team and I struggled at times to read some of my new teammates. These are all things that will come once I get a few more games in me and I am confident I can have more of an impact in future games. I came out after 65 minutes.
A few notes on the game from the team website:
Here is a picture of the home stadium:
The second game I played was away to Dinnington Town. Dinnington is about 1 hour south of Bradford just near Sheffield. We won the game 3-2. It was one of those games were you don’t focus on the performance and just leave with the three points. I started again at right-wing and played another 60 minutes roughly. My performance was slightly improved, but I still didn’t have the cutting edge I am looking for.
After dominating the first half, we only had 1 goal to show for it. We should have been up by more. We then let Dinnington get back into the game a little bit in the second half. Even after we scored our second, through a wonderful 1 time volley from the right back, we didn’t have control of the game. They scored 2 quick goals around the 80th minute to tie the game up, one off of a PK and one from a series of poor clearances. It was our right-back who came to the rescue again as he capitalized off of a good run and cross from one of our subs. We walked away with the W, but knew that we needed improvement. Here is some more info on the game: http://albionsports.co.uk/cook-dishes-up-three-points-for-albion-sports/
Our next game was supposed to be played at home versus Pontefract Colleries (To me this sounds like a type of exotic dog breed) on the Wednesday the 26th; but after a three day downpour throughout most of England, it was decided that we weren’t a water polo team and the game was cancelled. Cancellations can be very frustrating for a player, you prepare mentally and physically for a game and then it doesn’t happen and it throws you off a little bit. Then you have to change momentum and get some good training in instead. However, its terribly un-motivating to have to put in hard work behind the scenes when you were excited and mentally prepped for a game day. It’s like having to go to the office, when you had been planning to take a client to the golf course. It becomes very hard to get work done and it takes twice as much energy to be productive. So, instead I’m writing this post…
I will keep you updated on games in the future. I am confident that this team can keep winning, there are some good players and the level is competitive. While we keep to our winning ways, I am focused on improving my game individually.
We may be playing the postponed game this weekend, but if not our next scheduled fixture is a WRCC Cup game against Farsley AFC on Tuesday the 2nd of October. Farsley is another local team, located between Bradford and Leeds. They are a few leagues ahead of us and it will be a good challenge for all of us. I am looking forward to the experience of my first Cup game and see it also as a good chance for exposure.
The WRCC is the West Riding County Cup. It is a regional competition for local clubs. Farsley is a semi-finalist from last year and will surely be itching to go a step further this year. It’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen. Albion was knocked out in the 2nd round last year after losing to penalties. You can find more information about the Cup here http://www.westridingfa.com/cups/2012-2013
Until the next kick about, God Bless you all and don’t be afraid to dive in head first!