Saturday, 28 November 2009

Don't Go Breaking My Heart!

Saturday 28th November 2009
"The Rabblers" 2
Watford supporters 15
IFA League match
at Belair Park

Report by Mishi D. Morath.

It was a brave bunch of 'Rabblers' that turned up for what was going to be nothing other than a heavy defeat against Watford, who are one of the strongest, and certainly one of the friendliest teams in internet football. We didn't want our hearts broken, as Watford fan sang with Kiki Dee, but break them they did with our heaviest defeat for over a decade.

There were no selection problems for our management, it a simple case of if you have your boots you're in, as we had a bare minimum sqaud of a dozen!

The squad, for the record, was Matt Hammond; Mick O'Shaughnessy; Steve Rickerby; Shaun Dooley; John Prendergast; Mark Hutton; Mishi Morath; Phil Doyle; Darren Nicholas; Trevor Owen; Matthew Virgo & Chris Garrett.

It really was a case of 'damage limitation', & against all odds, 'The Rabblers' fought an amazing rearguard action for the first fifteen minutes or so, and although I have misplaced my brief notes from the game, I do recall trying to make a note of the first few goals, to use as my lottery numbers that night, but gave up after the seventh went in! I think we were a 'mere' eight behind at half time!

But we weren't torn apart by a single player, two Watford lads got hat-tricks, with a total of no less than NINE of their squad getting on the scoresheet, the most delighted being a defender, Phil McBride, who scored his first goal for them, in nearly a hundred appearances, so he certainly won't forget Dulwich Hamlet!

Also on the scoresheet for them was an own goal from Steve Rickerby, not that it was his fault really, when you're under that much pressure at the back someone is bound to deflect it into their own net. It's just unfortunate for 'Big Vern' that he seems to do it more often than others! ;-)

Our chances were few and far between, the closest before we scored, was an effort from Matthew Virgo, that hit the bar. We were thirteen behind, I think, before we pulled anything back. Our two goals coming from Chris Garrett, the latter being sheer quality, hit from the edge of the area into the back of the net!

Although this defeat equalled our previous record defeat, against a Dulwich Hamlet Junior FC Managers, Staff & Parents XI on one of the all-weather pitches at the Crystal Palace National Sportscentre, back in the mid-nineties, this game had a better outcome for the keeper in both, Matt Hammond. For after that previous thrashing I accidentally stabbed him in the hand with the half-time oranges knife, which resulted in him missing his Sunday Team match two days later, as in was in Kings College Hospital awaitiaing an operation to repair the damage! After the last goal went in I wonder if he was thinking back to that unfortunate Friday night? ;-)

It's hard to single out any particular incident, or the effort of one player over another, everyone gave their all & what more can you ask? But I can't finish without mentioning a superb goal line clearance as the 'Gaffer' Mick O'Shaughnessy turned back the years & headed over a certain goal, that he flicked over the crossbar. True Matt Hammond pulled off a number of fine saves, but I'd like to think that this was the one incident in the game that prevented a new record loss!

Fair play to Watford, despite being in almost total control, they never 'showboated' or 'gave it large', well apart from the aforementioned defender after his 'virgin' goal, but you can't begrudge him that! Never flash, never patronising, they simply appreciated the fact we never gave up, despite being second best.

After the final whistle the general opinion of our team members who had played in the ten nil debacle against Ladywell three weeks before, was that if we had played like this against them htere is no way we would have lost.

So comfort can be taken out of this huge loss, spurred on by the incentive from the Gaffer, who said that hec wouldn't forget those who took part this morning, & that everyone who did would get preferential treatment up in Glasgow, on the spring Queens Park tour!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

No luck against the Ladyboys!

Saturday 7th November 2009
"The Rabblers" 0,
Ladywell FC 10
Friendly match
at Belair Park

Report kindly supplied by Guy Grater.

'The Rabblers' played their old foes the Lady boys in a friendly match at Belair Park on Saturday The Home squad contained two guest players from Finland (Sampsa Hirvonen and Petri Pirhaven) both of whom played against 'The Rabblers' in the summer tour for HJK Helsinki Supporters' team.
The match kicked off in glorious sunshine with both teams evenly matched for the first ten minutes, until some good interplay by the 'Ladyboys' down the left hand side of the pitch produced a snap shot that was well saved by Matt Hammond. Unfortunately the rebound fell to Luca from the 'Ladyboys' who tucked his shot away with ease.
The second goal quickly followed again from the same left hand side of the pitch, This time with their centre back moving up the field to finish off a fine move with a thumping shot that gave our Matt no chance.
'The Rabblers' were under pressure at this point, but a came back with a mazy run from young Louis Grater beating three defenders before passing to his fellow striker James O'Shaughnessy. for him to shoot agonisingly just past the right hand post.
This proved just a fleeting respite as the 'Ladyboys' laid siege to 'The Rabblers' goal forcing a number of corners. One of which ended with a goal after a goalmouth scramble. Just before halftime the 'Ladyboys' grabbed two quick goals. Again 'The Rabblers' left hand flank was under pressure with the fourth goal coming from a cracking shot by their forward .Then just two minutes later another raid down the same wing resulted in another shot that flew past Matt Hammond, so the score at half time was 'The Rabblers' 0, 'Ladyboys' 5.

The second half started the same way that the first finished with the 'Ladyboys' putting the Dulwich men under pressure from the off. This time though Mattie pulled off some great saves to deny the opposition. Also Larry Marsh and Steve Rickerby at the heart of the defence were putting in some superb last ditch tackles to halt the 'Ladyboy' raiders. But once more the pressure was mounting , with number six coming from a corner on the left and ending with a close range header which Matt saved but could not stop the ball going over the line for an own goal.
The home side were having trouble all match down their left wing and it came as no surprise that the next two goals came from that area. The first from a shot, which was quickly followed by another strike to increase the lead by eight goals to nil. The ninth came with 15 minutes remaining again down the left with some good inter play, ending with a right foot cross and a great volley, to be fair .'The Rabblers' upped the anti then, refusing to give up, with a good couple of breaks ending with two corners, the first James O'Shaughnessy just missing with a header .The second ended with Dulwich going close with a volley from Louis Grater. But the 'Ladyboys next goal, to reach double figures,came in the last few minutes with a goal mouth scramble before they poked the ball home. Both teams played with maximum effort but the 'Ladyboys' just had too much for 'The Rabblers'.

The Gaffer, Mick O'Shaughnessy, talking exclusively to , told us:

"I thought the lads we had playing on Saturday did as well as they possibly could. I think the ladyboys were a very strong team. Certainly the strongest team I've ever seen them play. And they scored some seriously cracking goals. But as always when we play the ladyboys, the game was played in a great spirit. And our lads never gave up. Always trying to score at least one goal.

It was great to see Sampsa and Petri from HJK Supporters again. And playing in the pink'n'blue. Maybe the scoreline will lead them into a false sense of security for when they come over to play us next April. And our American recruit, Brian Joyce, making his debut for us as well, giving a good account of himself.

Hopefully, the people who played on Saturday won't be too disheartened and turn up again this week. If nothing else, Saturdays run out should have blown away some cobwebs for a few of us. And next week against Welling, gives us an opportunity to maybe right a few wrongs quickly."

The two teams were....

This was the Ladywell 'Ladyboys' squad, followed by ours. Both pictures were kindly taken & supplied by Vikki Grater.

Our guest players from Helsinki!

We were honured this morning to have two overseas players 'guest' for us this morning, with HJK Helsinki fans Samspa Hirvonen & Petri Pirhaven, (hope we got the names right!) friends we have made on our summer tours, being on holiday in London, with both taking in the afternoon game at Champion Hill as well!

A few action shots from the match...

Many thanks to Vikki Grater for supplying all the pictures used in this Ladywell section, and also thank you to Tracy Anstey, for uploading them onto this site from Vikki's email, as I had no idea how to do that!

& some more....

Snaps by Vikki, from the game.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Our Union with Union Royale Namur grows

On the 31st October our friends from Namur, including Nicolas & Stephane, as well as Dave, who played in Helsinki in the summer for us, were in England to play the Oxford United supporters' team. Both Mishi Morath & Lawrence Marsh had the honour of 'guesting' for Namur, on 'loan' from "The Rabblers". Although the game was lost 5-1, it was a great day out, following by an afternoon cheering on Oxford to a one nil victory over Altrincham.

Oxford United were prefect hosts, and a pleasure to meet.

Here is Mishi & Lawrence, alongside Nicolas.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

More thoughts from Helsinki 2009...

Even though it's a few months ago now SHAUN DOOLEY has kindly shared his brief memories of the summer trip to Helsinki:

"This report is embarassingly late, I still jotted them down as I felt I needed to say a few words as the work you put into this site isn't always backed up by the rest of us!

As good as our short visit was on our previous tour our hosts truly excelled in making this trip comfortable, enjoyable and memorable. Special mention to Veli and Sisko but taking away nothing from all the other guys who all played their part. Not being one overly interested in sightseeing I must say what I saw around Helsinki was fantastic! (Must be mellowing in my old age...) The architecture was amazing, the market thriving, with the market square being a lovely view from the church steps.

The visits to watch HJK were enjoyable even though the results were not. The Supporters' game was played in very hot conditions but was a great game in which we gave our all and each and everyone of us should hold our heads high and be proud of what we achieved on the pitch against a younger and fitter team. I really look forward to future tours with our good friends from Finland, & hope they come to play us over here in England in the not too distant future."

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Our top man in Helsinki

Following the traditional team vote ( hope everyone got asked this year!) after out tour game in Helsinki in the summer, John Prendergast was voted our player of the tour.

Yesterday, after the final whistle of the Worthing game, Mark Hutton presented him with a Dulwich Hamlet TOFFS 1937 Ernie Toser Amateur Cup shirt as his reward.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Rabblers crushed by Rebels!

Saturday 19th September 2009
"The Rabblers" 1,
Worthing supporters' 5
Friendly match
At Belair Park

Report by Mishi D. Morath

It's great to play the likes of Worthing supporters'. A genuinely decent bunch of lads, who play for fun, and are-give or take- as rubbish, make that ineptly keen, as us! so I'm gutted to be out 'injured'. And what makes it worse is that I haven't a clue how. I've got pains in my shoulders, like pulled muscles or something, & whilst I'm not in agony, it's fairly constant enough to be annoying & restrict some movement. I'd put it down to 'old age', but I'm 'only' forty two. Oh dear, that'll be old age then.

I still turn up to watch, & some of our lads look a little concerned when they see how young some of the Rebels fans look, but that's not unusual, as anyone under thirty looks young to most of our boys.

Nick Courtnage, the person who runs the Worthing fans' team, AKA 'The Caveman', has asked in advance if the Worthing first team manager Simon Colbran can play for them. Our gaffer Mick O'Shaughnessy has no problem with that. He might be a former semi-pro footballer, but who are we to stop them having the chance to play alongside him? He did look a class above though, and got on the scoresheet from a free-kick. Shaun Dooley was more than happy to 'catch him' early on. Not deliberate as such, he explained it, with a smile, that 'I just wanted to let him know I was there!'

As it happens, when the match gets underway, we have a severe problem of 'first team-itus' and fail to take our chances, which will come back to haunt us. We are two down at half-time, but the game has been more even than the scoreline suggests. The second half is another story. As we start to weary & Worthing gain the upper hand. Though we did deservedly pull one back, with James O'Shaughnessy getting on the scoresheet with a quarter of an hour to go. Well taken, but scant consolation for the previous hat-trick of chances he'd missed. Towards the end we were going to 'sneak' on Vikki Grater, & she makes a bit of history being the first ever 'mother & son' combination to play for us, being on the pitch at the same time as her 14 year old son Louis Grater, who joined the fray earlier in the half.

Making his debut for us was Ennio Gonnella as one of a number of second half changes, who is the new club sponsor. Not the biggest of corporate tie-ups, I've heard it's three hundred quid a month, but it all helps. You may recall the Club were concerned he may have been offended by some supporters' choice language at Horsham YMCA. Clearly he wasn't, by asking to play this morning! After the match he asked for a few words, and explained how he was getting involved in the Club, & had heard on the grapevine how some fans weren't too happy with the way the bard had been run. He said he was laying on some decent food before games, reducing the prices of pints prior to kick off, and making sure the pipes were being cleaned regularly. He apologised for the way things may have been & hope we would use the bar more. Fair play to him.

And fair play to both teams. A really enjoyable moment, without a nasty moment in it. Despite the defeat everyone enjoyed it, this is what supporters' football is all about. Having fun and a bit of a laugh with the opposition supporters. Marvellous!

Time to head back to Champion Hill & the comfort of the 'new,improved bar' for the game between the 'big boys'.

Roll on the return down their way on the coast in January!

The team against Worthing

Back row (left to right): James O'Shaughnessy; Mark Hutton (co-manager); Steve Rickerby; Lawrence Marsh; Nicolas Lucas; Matt Hammond; Ian Gannon; Jim Marshall; Mick O'Shaughnessy( manager).
Front row (l.-r.): Louis Grater; Vikki Grater; Phil Doyle; Shaun Dooley; John Prendergast; Ennio Gonnella; Andy Murphy; Phil Baker (kitman).

And here is the Worthing team, our good friends from the South Coast:

Come on...get in line!

This set of photos, along with many others further down, were kindly taken by Melanie Lucking. I thank her for doing so, & suppliying the disc they were on.

This set is from the chaos that always happens before & after a team photo.

It could just be me, but I do like to see silly sets like these...

A few more snaps from me...

It must be Hutty wittering on, because everyone is looking amused, with Louis just bemused!

I told you it was him!

Five minutes before kick off..and we decide to have goalkeeper trials!

A Ladyboy with a ladder...and NOT in his tights! ;-)

Well he had to be good at something! ;-)

Just a stroll in the park...

A corner comes in...

As you can see my camera's not designed for action shots. I don't call it my 'digital box brownie' for nothing!

Half time...time to relax!

Lovely we have to get up for the second half?

Come on we can win this...oh no we can't! Oh yes we...nah, this is getting silly!

"Now if only Hutty had seen my formation we wouldn't be in this mess!"

See what I mean about crap action photos...

But at least I caught this...which is James about to score our only goal of the game!

I'm not sure whose 'war wound' this is...I think it was Steve's. The things we do for Dulwich eh?

Some better ones from Melanie

Many thanks, once more, to Melanie, for the following set of pictures:

Larry offers some team selection advice, forgetting he no longer runs the team! ;-)

A smile that says 'That's me starting then!' ;-)

Matt with his half time sandwich box! ;-)

The Worthing lads help out with their net, while our Gaffer Mick does..not a lot!

On the way to the pitch...Danuta appreciates that Belair Park is as beatiful as the Citadel in Namur! Maybe not...

Almost ready!

Get those nets up!

These continental types take it seriously. Pre-match water? Whatever next? Proper warm ups?

Now how does this bleeding camera work?

When you grow up Louis you too will be that big!

Vikki Grater wears that "Why on earth did I agree to play today?" face!

Hamlet fan Tony Squires turns up to watch.

Now where's the 'on' switch?

Pretending to take things seriously! ;-)

Ian looks as though he's about to throw up! Pre match nerves?

Getting ready for the pre-match 'ring-a-ring-a-roses!'

James has to suffer the pre-match waffle from his old man!

Someone suggesting the Gaffer talks out of his arse? ;-)

A nonchalant Ennio is a bit laid back!

Or just too knackered to get up!
Tony dashes over to lend him his walking stick!

Press briefing before the match.

Well Hutty looks as though he knows what he's doing!

Well at least they look as disorganised us us, just a few years younger!

In my day we warmed up with a pre-match can of beer & cigarette!

Vikki gets ready to put the fear of god into Worthing!

"Well I'm not getting it!" -jinx!

Mick recalls his childhood dream of working on the railways.

Flying unlucky omen, one for each goal conceded!

"Is she laughing at me?" Why not? Everyone else does!

Danuta takes charge...the clipboard queen!

"This is how we shall play!"

"Yes, that looks ok. I'll pretend it's my tactics!"

Two nice ladies...and a dirty old man!

Pretending to take things seriously at half time!

Tut, tut Steve. That's not setting a good example to young Louis! Bet none of his team mates have a half time ciggie on a Sunday!