2011-12 Match Reports

4th February 2012 – Arthurian League Division 5 

Old Citizens 7 v 4 Old Brentwood 4th X1, home
 
Frosty conditions nationwide meant games were off in the Championship and League One, but no such postponement issues with the Grove Park turf. Provided strict compliance with the groundsman’s instructions not to warm up on the pitch before kick-off, we had been assured the visit of Old Brentwood would go ahead as scheduled.
 
The icy temperatures did not deter the OCs either, with a strong and attack-weighted squad in attendance. Robin Van Persie may have scored in 86 seconds in the day’s other early kick off, but MacCabe was on target in a third of that time, requiring just 24 seconds to capitalise on a poor back pass and tuck in the opening goal under the on-rushing Brentwood keeper. A brief setback followed when Brentwood were allowed to equalise from close range after some sleepy defending on the left flank, however this was shortlived as OCs soon found their passing game and the lead was restored in Catalan style as Benigson fed MacCabe, who fed Brice, who squared for Kimchi to apply the finish to an incisive team goal. 
 
 
The OCs play at times belied the frost-hardened pitch conditions, but numerous slips, awkward touches and Fraser’s entertaining battleship turning circle were sufficient reminder of the difficulty cutting out errors. The margin was however increased when a Brentwood defender lobbed his own keeper under pressure from Najim, and Najim added to the lead himself with a jinking solo run and 18 yard bottom corner finish to put OCs in a commanding 4-1 half time lead.
 
The second half opened with another move from Nou Camp, this time via Benigson, Najim and MacCabe, who squared for Brice to tap home the fifth and the tie looked dead and buried. Questions were asked of the OCs defence however when Brentwood reduced the deficit to 5-2 straight from the ensuing kick-off. Ten non-noteworthy minutes of scrappy play followed, eventually ending when MacCabe worked the ball down to the left touchline before clipping a cross to the back post for the unmarked Kimchi to blast in the sixth off the keeper’s outstretched face, and Najim’s delicate finish trickled over the line for seven shortly afterwards. 
 
Poor marking at set-pieces presented Brentwood with two consolation goals, reducing the margin to 7-4 and OCs were forced to regroup in order to prevent a nervous end to a match that should have been out of sight much earlier. But absent manager Levene will have been pleased with the 3 points, leaving the promotion race wide open going into the final three games of the season.
 
Team: Kugel - Osekita, Ramakrishan T, Bowring, Fraser (sub Batula, 53) - Kimchi (sub
Ramakrishan A, 60), McKenna (c), Benigson, Najim - MacCabe, Brice
 
Goals: MacCabe 1; Kimchi 16, 59; Najim 38, 67; Brice 49; og 35.
 
 
28 January 2012 – Arthurian League Division 5
Old Malvernians 2rd X1 0 - 4 Old Citizens, away
 
After the distraction of the cup, OCs returned to league action in the picturesque surrounds of Tolworth Junction against Old Malvernians.
 
With no fewer than ten injuries to contend with, player-manager Levene's already makeshift line-up was dealt a further blow when a carload of squad made a pre-match detour to Cobham, led by Benigson and MacCabe. With the home side out on the pitch and the referee as keen to collect his pension as kick off, the latecomers finally emerged from the tunnel and the match was underway without the customary OCs warm-up.
 
No recognised goalkeeper saw Norman put on the blue shirt and gloves, but he was largely untroubled in an opening dominated by OCs and marked by a well-executed goal when Kimchi fed MacCabe into the right channel and his low cross was expertly tucked in at the near post by Levene.
 
The OCs pressure continued, notably via Najim, Benigson and debutant Benson H down the left hand side, but OCs eventually doubled their lead it from the opposite flank when Osekita put MacCabe through, whose top corner finish was brutal.
 
The was barely time for Old Malvernians to draw breath before OCs added a third, Levene receiving the ball on the left side of the area, deftly turning his man and firing low into the bottom corner.
 
Despite the 3-0 half time lead, OCs set about the second half with similar vigour. Benson J and makeshift centre half Bowring ensured Norman remained a spectator, whilst Benigson, Najim and Jake drove OCs forward from midfield. MacCabe fired wide from just outside the area, and Najim met an Osekita corner only to see his effort come back off the underside of the bar. The introduction of Batula on the hour mark added further steel to the OCs midfield, and he soon made his presence felt, when his persistence challenging for a ball that looked to be going of play presented MacCabe with a chance which he duly buried for 4-0.
 
With the retirement home leaving a series of voicemails on the referee's phone, the referee eventually blew the final whistle, sparing the home side any further blushes over and above the cheap green kit.
 
Team: Norman - Osekita, Bowring, Benson J, Benson H - Kimchi, Jake, Benigson, Najim - Levene (Batula 60), MacCabe
Goals: Levene 15, 38; MacCabe 23, 75


Old Citizens 4 - 3 Old Malvernians 2nd X1, Grove Park, Saturday 22 January 2011
 

Old Citizens got back to winning ways with a strong performance against a team that had got the better of us in November although with a number of players returning from injuries and absence it was a different Old Citizens side that was seeking revenge. Old Citizens started well and their geenral dominance was rewarded when Isaac Dwek raced onto an Andy Haywood pass and beat the oncoming keeper to the ball to open the scoring. The lead was soon doubled when the excellent Nick Brice ran through the middle of the Malvernians defence and finished cooly. The opposition soon pulled a goal back with a fierce low strike from the edge of the penalty box into the bottom left hand corner and threatened to equalise, until midfielder Andy Haywood was played in by Brice and Haywood finished well.
 

The score remained 3-1 at half time and chances at both ends continued to come and go in the second half, including each team having strong penalty claims waved away. However just when it looked like being a safe victory, Old Malvernians pulled one back with 10 miutes to go and then with only a matter of minutes to go, Old Malvernians scored with a large slice of fortune following a brilliant palm away from keeper Lee, only for his fine save to roll onto Greg Norman's knee and into the back of the net. Heads dropped and Old Citizens were now clinging on for a draw but then up popped Debs Osekita, who had worked tirelessly after coming on as a 57th minute sub, with a shot from the edge of the box that took a slight deflection to take it past the opposing goalkeeper and give Old Citizens a vital three points and keep their destinty in their own hands.
 

As we move into February, and despite a defeat to Brentwood, the team's destiny is very much in its own hands with four league games remaining. Win all four and the team will be promoted, possibly even as champions, which would be a great way to announce ourselves to the Arthurian League.