|B Team||vs||NCSF Res|
|Saturday April 23 2022|
|The final game of the season saw the B team up against bottom of the table side NCSF Reserves.
The wind was whipping up across the downs and the ground underfoot now felt more like concrete than grass. The B’s had lost a couple of players to illness on match day morning, and the invaluable Sam Kay had deservedly been promoted right the way up to the dizzy heights of the first team.|
The B’s kicked off and with the wind behind them, knew that they needed to make the most of the first half. Vincent’s dominated from the off and were looking to unlock a fairly stubborn NCSF defence. The backline of Copper, Finney, Lopez-Bland, Stock and Stevens had a quiet opening 15 minutes with only the occasional counter from NCSF.
There weren’t any clear cut chances for the B’s with a half chance from a poorly cleared corner falling to Stanleigh who tried a volley from the edge of the box which fizzed over the bar by a foot or so.
On 20 minutes the breakthrough came for St. Vincent’s with a long throw into the box from Stevens, which McIntosh met with a deft touch to steer it past the keeper.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 1- 0 NCSF Res.
The midfield of Gompels, Chailett, Stanleigh, Davies and McIntosh were causing NCSF problems and midway through the half McCollough joined the action. With 10 mins to go to the break, a high ball into the box saw an NCSF defender try and use Gompels as a climbing frame to try and get higher than him, resulting in a blatant penalty which the referee gave instantly.
As always, the ever-reliable Chailett stepped up to notch his 13th goal of the season for the B team (he’s got some for the A’s too).
Clifton St. Vincent’s 2-0- NCSF Res.
The halftime break allowed the B’s to assess the conditions of the next 45 mins. With the wind now against them they knew this half would be a different ball game.
As suspected NCSF used the wind to hit it long and high down the middle, and for the first 15 mins Vincent’s struggled to get the ball into the opposition half. The B’s found their groove again though, and despite the conditions started to play the ball about on the deck and move the ball forwards with purpose. A slick move saw Compels turn his man on the edge of the box and hit a half volley which saw the ball agonisingly off the inside of the post and then hoofed away to safety.
NCSF to their credit never gave up and created a few half chances of their own. They certainly weren’t playing like a bottom of the table side.
With 15 or so to go, and nice exchange of passes between McIntosh and Chailett, saw the latter ping a lovely cross into the danger zone where McIntosh met the ball with a diving header, with the ball looping over the stranded keeper. It looked like a very deliberate header although post match de-brief would see McIntosh confess rather candidly that the ball pinged off his shoulder.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 3-0 NCSF Res.
The goal against the wind was the crushing blow that killed off NCSF’s spirits and the game slowed down somewhat in the final stages.
Some resilient defending from the B’s ensured that a clean sheet was had in what was a solid result for the B’s last game of the season.
Although they knew the title was out of reach, a win has put the B’s into 2nd spot and they now hope Saints lose/draw their last game so that they can claim runners up.
It’s been a memorable season for the B team. So close yet so far. Only 3 league defeats all season. There have been most certainly a few ‘what if’ moments and a draw with Phoenix early in the season is indeed one where one more goal could have changed the fortunes of both teams. The 2-2 draw with Sneyd also springs to mind where the B’s hit the underside of the bar in the final few minutes, and of course the recent 2-1 defeat to Saints OB which frustrated all the players involved with a slightly below par day.
All in all, a very enjoyable campaign and player/manager Stanleigh is very proud of all the players that have helped along the way. A top 3 finish and a Quarter final in the All Saints cup is something all the players can be very pleased with. Onwards and upwards to next season
MoM - A strong showing for Stock, Gompels, Chailett and Mcintosh for the final vote of the season, with McIntosh taking the award for two very well taken goals (a wonderful shouldered finish)
Line Up - A Cooper, L Finney , T Stock , M Lopez-Bland , J Stevens, M Chaillet, M Stanleigh , J Gompels , M Davies, C McIntosh , M Carvell, J McCollough
|B Team||vs||Saints OB B's|
|Saturday April 16 2022|
|The day of destiny finally arrived for the B team with the knowledge that a win would see them finish at the very least in 2nd place. It was a scorcher on the downs and even the warm up was breaking sweat amongst the players, and the ground way to firm to take a stud.|
The game kicked off at a rapid pace with both teams testing each other out. The Vincent’s backline of Finney , Lopez-Bland, Downes and Stevens were soon aware that the focal point of Saints OB attacks was to hit their big fella up top who was powerful and pretty damn quick for a guy over 6’ tall !
After the opening exchanges settled down, the B’s enjoyed some pressure with the midfield of Gompels , Stanleigh , Kay , Chaillet and Danhawoor all pinging their passes around with real intent , looking to unlock the Saints’ defence and find McIntosh in behind . Despite numerous decent passages of play going forward, the B’s couldn’t create any real clear-cut chances.
Saints were a real threat when they hit their long ball into the danger man up top and it required some excellent tackles from the B’s backline to clear their lines.
Some good work from Gompels found McIntosh in on goal and with the best chance of the half he saw his shot just wide into the side netting. Close!
Jack Pearce joined the action on 35 mins to continue his comeback from injury.
The final period of the first half was a little nervy from both sides and a draw at the half-time whistle was probably fair.
The B’s gave themselves a good talking to and agreed that they hadn’t hit anywhere near top gear yet. They certainly needed something more if they were to win this one.
The restart saw another frantic period of play and it was only several minutes in when Vincent’s didn’t clear their lines when the opportunity was there to do so, and saints punished them working the ball into the area for their danger man to steer the ball home.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 0-1 Saints.
To their credit, the B’s didn’t feel sorry for themselves and like many times before this season they had to face the task of coming back from being behind.
The B’s pressed for an equaliser and we’re finding the saints backline quite resilient. It was starting to feel like carving out a clear-cut chance just might not come. The B’s then won a throw and Stevens decided rather than hit the mixer he’d pick out Sam Kay lurking outside the area unmarked. Kay took one touch to take the pace off the throw and then struck a sweet 25 yard strike that looped over the saints GK into the net. A truly wonderful goal.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 1-1 Saints
Vincent’s felt fuelled by this goal and they fully deserved to be back on level terms. The game was now on a knife edge with both teams pushing for a winner.
With about 15 mins to go, a B’s goal kick saw the ball only travel half way out of their own half and Saints pounced on the opportunity. Their winger worked the ball across the area for his teammate to score from close range. Heartbreak for the B team who had worked hard to get back level and certainly didn’t make Saints work particularly hard for their goal.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 1-2 Saints.
The B’s did not wallow in their own self-pity though, and started to throw caution to the wind hitting balls in to the channels for the front players to chase.
The B’s won a number of corners and free kicks around the edge of the area but just couldn’t find that special bit of creativity that they have had in abundance of all season.
A late surging run saw Gompels into the box and appeared to get pulled down by a Saints player. The screams for a penalty could be heard a far as the water tower but the referee did not agree with the appeals from Vincent’s and it felt like that might be the decision that sealed the B’s fate.
Into the final few minutes the play got more and more desperate with Vincent’s hitting long balls in the hope a mistake may be made but Saints to their credit were focused and saw the game out. A bitter blow to the B’s who would have been guaranteed 2nd spot with a win. They now sit 3rd with Saints overtaking them by two points. Just one more game left, however the B’s will be looking to finish the season on a high and put this week’s disappointment behind them ….. and hope that just maybe some very unlikely results happen elsewhere so that they can finish higher than 3rd.
MoM - A variety of players got a nomination this week with no stand out landslide. However getting a handful of votes and pipping it by one, was Sam Kay (AGAIN) who wins his third MoM award in a row!
Line Up - A Cooper, L Finney , T Downes, J Stevens , S Kay, M Chaillet, M Stanleigh , J Gompels , K Danhawoor, C McIntosh , J Pearce
|B Team||vs||Cotham Old Boys|
|All Saints Cup - Quarter Final||Saturday April 9 2022|
|The B team has surpassed expectation to qualify from a group stage that included three division 3 teams including their very own A’s team, therefore they were not strangers to teams of this level having drawn previously to DDAS and having beaten Torpedo A’s.|
It’s fair to say that pre match selection had YET AGAIN caused them headaches with regular players away on holidays and player/manager Stanleigh out with a positive Covid test.
The show must go on as they say and so the B’s drafted in some old recruits in the form of Matt Proctor and Kevin Parsons, both looking to get back involved having both played for the club many moons ago. Jack Pearce was also back after a lengthy lay off, although hadn’t tested his injury out properly, but needs must!
The match got underway and it’s fair to say the B’s were a little sleepy in the opening 2 minutes, which actually resulted in the worst kind of wake-up call in the form of a goal for Cotham. The initial strike was saved well by Cooper but the Cotham forward was sharpest to react to the rebound and slotted the ball home
Clifton St Vincent’s 0-1 Cotham.
To the B’s credit they really got going after this and started to play some very attractive football. The passing was slick, and they looked like the more comfortable team. It certainly did not look like two teams from two different divisions. The B’s dominated the next 20 mins but just couldn’t quite create that chance they desired. An unexpected poor clearance from the Cotham keeper saw Proctor with a presentable chance which wasn’t converted. A rough tackle saw Mansfield roll his ankle on the 25-minute mark and sadly for him it was an early bath, with Pearce having to enter the fray far sooner than he’d been banking on.
Just as the B’s looked like they might soon get back into this , a long ball released the Cotham forward into the box who’s rasping shot struck Stock on the arm with the referee blowing up for a penalty to Cotham. It seemed very harsh on Stock who was very close to the striker and was more of a ball to arm moment than vice versa. The penalty was dispatched.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 0-2 Cotham.
Just as it seemed the game might be slipping away, a ball into Proctor from Kay, saw Proctor roll back the years with a delightful turn sending two Cotham players off running in the wrong direction, allowing him time to steady himself in the box and fire a shot across the goal and into the net to give the B’s a well-deserved goal just before the break.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 1-2 Cotham
The B’s rallied at the halftime team talk and came out determined to get back into this game. The second half turned quite physical and became a real battle. Downes, Stock, Pearce and Parsons were dealing nicely with the Cotham attacks now, and trying to feed the ball into Chailett, Kay and Finney.
A flash point mid-way through the half saw a horror tackle on Kay from a Cotham player, which the referee reached straight for his red card and dismissed him.
Some half chances fell to the B’s with Lopez-Bland, Chailett and Kay all seeing efforts from range stray off target. The all-important golden chance just wouldn’t come.
With time running out the B’s pushed more players forward with a 3-4-3 going into the last 10 mins but frustratingly Cotham held on and the B’s cup journey for this season came to a close. It was a gutsy performance and the B team can all be very proud of their efforts given the pre match selection limitations.
Their focus now turns to their last two league games which let’s face it are both as good as cup finals anyway!
MoM – A few different names in the pot but for the second week on the spin, Sam Kay takes the majority votes for a devilish display in the middle, putting his foot in and riding the very heavy tackles of Cotham like water off a ducks back.
Line up – A Cooper, J Stewart , T Downes, T Stock, K Parsons , L Finney, M Chailett, S Kay , P Mansfield, M Lopez-Bland, M Proctor, J Pearce
|B Team||vs||Racing Mouse|
|Saturday April 2 2022|
|With just three league games remaining for the B team, the players knew nothing but a victory would be acceptable if they wanted to push Saints and Phoenix all the way. |
Some very last minute jiggery pokery due to club availability issues saw the B’s lose their only sub and it was a bare 11. Thankfully the B’s weren’t alone and Racing Mouse also had the bare bones making both teams nervous around any potential injuries.
The game started with the B’s dominating from the off. They seemed quicker to the ball and hungrier in the tackle. The first few attacks didn’t amount to much however, and Stanleigh should have done better in the box from a peach of a cross from Mansfield.
Soon after the B’s saw the ball cleared off the line by the arm of a mouse defender but the referee saw nothing wrong and play continued much to the disbelief of the B’s players. The wry smile from the Mouse defender jogging out of the box said it all really!
The B’s midfield of Kay, Chaillet, Stanleigh with Mansfield and McIntosh out wide was proving effective and Chaillet saw a fierce shot smash the bar and back out into play.
Soon after the B’s had the ball in the net only for the ref to disallow for an alleged push from a B’s player just before the ball was struck home.
It felt like just maybe it might be “one of those days”, that is until the B’s won a throw-in deep into Mouse territory. At this moment a mouse player went down holding his leg and not even a cold wet magic sponge could save him. He hobbled off and looked very uncomfortable and with no substitutes Mouse had to reshuffle their formation to cope with 10 men for the next 70 minutes.
It went from bad to worse with the resulting throw in. Stevens launched a long one into the mixer and Stanleigh’s touch found Mansfield a few yards out and he made no mistake firing the ball into an unguarded net.
Clifton St. Vincent’s Bs 1-0 Racing Mouse.
From this moment on, it was utter domination from Vincent’s. Minutes later Chaillet was bundled over 25 yards out. Stanleigh whipped in a curler which alluded absolutely everyone and landed in the far corner. As the B’s jogged back for the restart Downes declared “it whisp’d my shorts “, whilst Mansfield argued “it brushed my hair”. With such weak & tenuous claims Stanleigh decided to claim it for himself
Clifton St. Vincent’s Bs 2-0 Racing Mouse
The B’s pressed for more and soon after another attack saw Stanleigh thread a lovely weighted pass for McIntosh to chase after. His pace was too much for the defender tracking him and McIntosh Coolly slotted the ball past the on rushing GK.
Clifton St. Vincent’s Bs 3-0 Racing Mouse
Mouse did offer the occasional counter and just before the break saw a decent chance which Ashley (yet again helping St Vincent’s in their hour of need) make a great save to ensure the three goal cushion remained intact.
Half-time was positive with everyone happy with the current situation although there was clearly a sense of ‘smelling blood’ and a desire to go and get some more goals.
The second half got underway and the backline of Finney , Lopez Bland, Downes and Stevens only had one forward now harassing them who didn’t really want to run too much so were knocking it about side to side in a manner Pep would have been proud of . This allowed the B’s to keep possession and build their attacks up with patience and purpose.
A dink into Stanleigh saw him nod the ball into Chaillet who produced a moment of sheer brilliance knocking the ball up with his right and swinging a left foot volley sending the ball far into the corner of the Mouse net.
Clifton St. Vincent’s Bs 4-0 Racing Mouse
Mouse were really on the ropes now and their only choice was to send the ball high and long down the middle in the hope of getting some flick ons to chase .
Another Vincent’s attack saw Carvell cut inside and poke the ball between two Mouse defenders and beyond the rushing GK, through to McIntosh who suddenly found himself with an empty net to simply side foot home.
Clifton St. Vincent’s Bs 5-0 Racing Mouse
If this game had been a boxing match the ref may have wanted to step in and call it a day at this point but there was still 20 odd minutes left.
The B’s created more chances with Mansfield very unlucky not to connect with a theatrical diving header.
Soon after though Chaillet was released in behind the mouse backline and as he surged into the area he was pulled to ground by the desperate Mouse defender. At this time, Stanleigh not realising McIntosh was on a hat trick ordered Chaillet to step up. He made no mistake and the B’s were now in cruise control at 6-0.
Clifton St. Vincent’s Bs 6-0 Racing Mouse
The B’s saw off a couple of late counters by Mouse and claimed another clean sheet and another big three points.
Their title rivals playing nearby (Saints and Phoenix) both appeared to have won their respective games and so the tense nail-biting end to the season continues. Two more league games await the B team and they need to win them both and hope that Phoenix slip up just once in their final three games.
MoM – A landslide victory this week for the defensive centre mid performance from Sam K. Covered every blade of glass, tackled just about every Mouse player, and drove the team up the pitch with his dominating surges forward.
Line up – M Ashley, J Stevens, M Lopez-Bland, T Downes, L Finney, M Chailett, S Kay, P Mansfield, M Stanleigh, C McIntosh, M Carvell
|B Team||vs||Torpedo B's|
|Saturday March 26 2022|
|It was a hot day on the downs when the B’s returned to action against Torpedo. With the title race on a knife edge, the B’s couldn’t afford any mistakes, but the heat and pressure seemed to be affecting them in the early stages of the game. McIntosh was unfortunate not to score from an early chance, forcing a diving save from the Torpedo goalkeeper, but the B’s looked sluggish and were lacking their usual creativity in the final third. Absence and injury had forced the B’s into making a series of changes to their starting XI, and the team were clearly struggling to find their rhythm. |
Before long, Torpedo punished the B’s for their lack of energy and focus. When the referee blew for a dubious handball against Stock, Cooper made a strong save from the resulting free kick, but a Torpedo striker reacted first to the rebound, appearing unmarked in the 6-yard box to grab himself a tap in on the back post.
Clifton St Vincent’s 0-1 Torpedo
Whilst conceding the free kick may have been unlucky, the B’s only had themselves to blame for the defending that followed. But going a goal behind galvanised the B’s and they sprung to life after the restart, pinning Torpedo in their own half. Crutchlow and Mansfield were starting to pull the strings in midfield, and Danhawoor and McIntosh looked dangerous every time they got on the ball. Chances fell to Mansfield, Finney and McIntosh, but all were unable to convert. Just as the half looked to be petering out, another powerful run from Danhawoor, cutting in from the left wing, saw him brought down in the box at pace. Penalty to the B’s! Chailett stepped up and converted the spot kick with his usual nonchalance, giving the keeper the eyes and sending him the wrong way.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 1-1 Torpedo
At half-time the B’s made both of their changes, with Gadd coming on to replace the injured Stevens, and Scanlon in to replace the goal scorer Chailett, who had a plane to catch.
Finney and Lopez did their best to rally the troops with their half-time team talk, and the lads responded well. Danhawoor continued to be a thorn in the side of Torpedo, forcing them into substitutions and tactical changes to try and live with his pace. The quick feet and mind of Crutchlow, in the middle of the park, saw the B’s maintain possession and offensive pressure.
With the B’s on the front foot, the back five of Cooper, Lopez, Stock, Downes and Gadd looked solid. Benefitting from the hard work of the midfield in front of him, Lopez was even able to bomb on from right back and contribute in the final third, testing Torpedo with a series of accurate crosses into the box. Unfortunately, most of these crosses found Finney, who failed to convert any of them (rumour has it he misses on purpose when he knows it’s a Lopez assist).
At this time the B’s were relentless, maintaining constant offensive momentum and, soon after another Finney miss, Mansfield rattled a vicious shot off the crossbar. The B’s were getting closer!
Yet as the game drew on, it started to look like the B’s would never find their breakthrough, until an outrageous piece of skill from Scanlon unlocked the stubborn Torpedo defence. Taking the ball on the half volley, Scanlon lifted the ball over his opposite number’s head, reminding onlookers of a young Patrick Viera as he collected the ball on the other side, before slotting through an inch-perfect pass to find the darting run of McIntosh. Having snatched at a couple of chances early on, McIntosh wasn’t about to miss another, and he placed the ball into the bottom corner, just beyond the grasp of the onrushing Torpedo keeper.
Clifton St. Vincent’s 2-1 Torpedo
Torpedo tried to respond in the final minutes of the game, but they looked understandably gassed, having defended against an onslaught of B’s attacks for the best part of ninety minutes, beneath the hot sun. And despite Torpedo’s best efforts to unsettle them, the B’s defence looked composed and assured as they closed out the game.
With only three matches left, this hard-fought win took the B’s to top of the league (although the team below have a game in hand). It really is all to play for in the coming weeks!
MoM - Danhawoor and Crutchlow were the standout performers, having both brought drive and dynamism to the midfield, but Crutchlow eventually claimed the award thanks to his metronomic performance in the side’s engine room.
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