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Fanzines United

Match Reports

The pen is not mightier than the sword, except when in very close combat, but the traditions of the fanzine movement of the late eighties have been kept alive through the spirited boys-own tales spun by the match report writers of Fanzines United.

Relive the passion, pain and penalty misses by looking back at all the thingies that we have gone 'n' done.

Tales from the current season are below. Previous years are archived in the links on the left. 


Season 2011/12

Fanzines United 0 Plumtree 3
4th Sep 2011

Momentum. You've either got it or you're stuck.

Plumtree, Fanzines' opponents for first game of the 2011/12 season, had arrived in Division One on the back of two successive promotions, having come joint top of Division two last year and showing no signs of slowing as they hit the ground running right from the start of the match. Fanzines, meanwhile, have momentum of a different kind, having stumbled through the past couple of seasons, gradually sliding down the EMPAL hierarchy as a once formidable side slowly eroded.

So, two sides with momentum, but going in different directions? The difference was obvious from the outset, with Plumtree playing with a confidence and purpose, Fanzines hesitant and unsure. In his first competitive game as manager, many of Rich Shaw's pre-match decisions had been made for him, with the available squad reduced to thirteen, but with only one debutant in the starting line-up the lack of cohesion was cause for concern. This was particularly emphasised at the back where simple balls were not dealt with, playing into the hands (and feet) of the three nippy Plumtree forwards who revelled in the growing sense of uncertainty and panic. Players forced into last ditch recovery tackles when easy clearances should have been made. Kip forced to scramble off his line and make a succession of smart saves.

After an early attack down the flank nearly brought dividends, there was an air of inevitability about the goal that opened the scoring as a ball down the channel inexplicably attracted three of the Fanzines back line, resulting in Joe's attempt to prevent the cross reaching the unattended striker in the middle skewing of his toe into the far corner of the net. A second goal followed when the wonky offside trap was broken and the two Plumtree forwards were left to pass the ball around the unsupported Kip.

Two basic, frustratingly preventable goals to concede, undermining any pieces of positive play that Fanzines had managed to construct. Lewis, in particular, was having sporadic joy on the right, without quite managing to capitalise. And if Charlie's sweetly hit drive right at the start of the second half had not been magnificently turned round the post by the keeper then maybe Fanzines would have started to believe in themselves. Certainly, for the first fifteen minutes after the break, Fanzines dominated both possession and territory but tellingly failed to fashion any clear chances. It was only when Josh dropped into midfield in the final twenty minutes that an element of control was imposed, but by then Fanzines were three down after the left-back was presented with the ball outside the area which he slammed low into the far corner.

To their credit the floodgates never opened completely but generally Fanzines were out-fought, out-worked and outplayed. All teams need a mixture of artists and engineers. Fanzines seem to have more of the former than the latter.

So, two sides with momentum, but for Fanzines it's momentum of the wrong kind. The task now is to resolve the obvious problems, apply the brakes, and compete.

Team: Broughton, Silver (Stone), Doorly, R Shaw (Tebbutt), Hawksworth, Greenwood, Bradley, A Shaw, Kakoschke, Gardiner, Wray
MOM: Kip Broughton
Plumtree's MOM Nomination: Josh Kakoshke

Fanzines United 1 Radcliffe Olympic 2
11th Sep 2011
After last weeks defeat to Plumtree Fanzines once again faced a newly promoted team, this time former division one stalwarts Radcliffe Olympic.

After a surprise relegation, Radcliffe had found themselves back in the top flight of the reshuffled EMPAL. Defeat by Cropwell the previous week meant that they were as keen to get points as their hosts.

With a squad of 14 to chose from, mediocre by R. Olympic standards, Boss Shaw started with the same 11 that had faltered 7 days previously, with Mat returning to warm the bench.

Pre-match pleasantries dealt with, Fanzines found themselves kicking off with the elements and terrain in their favour; a strong wind, down the now notorious Elms park slope and with a sun that kept threatening to hinder the opponents. These advantages certainly helped; Fanzines found themselves in the rare position of dictating play. Neat interchanges between Josh and Charlie, link ups and overlaps from both fullbacks and wide midfielders and the central duo of Dave and Andy nullifying any forays from the visitors. However, chances were limited; Lewis' high effort and Charlie's drive at the 'keeper were the only real efforts . Radcliffe's aerial advantage was evident from set pieces, but never really threatened to break the deadlock.

It took a moment of magic from Josh to separate the sides at the break; a wind assisted free kick from Kip seemed to evade everyone, but at the last moment the antipodean hitman hooked his foot to steer the ball in from the tightest of angles. A lead that was to remain preserved for all but the last few kicks of an otherwise uninspiring game.

An upbeat half time discussion, with every reason to believe the points would go to the hosts. Fanzines just needed to continue to limit the away side to long balls and carry on passing their way through the back line...

The visitors started the second period with a belief and purpose that restricted Fanzines' earlier dominance. Seeming to withdraw into a defensive mode, the home side were pressed further and further back, as balls bounced high and long. Last ditch clearances from all four of the backline meant more and more corners and attacking throws, and with these the opportunities to capitalise on the superiority. But, again Fanzines stood firm. Andy S, Silver and Andy H all bravely threw heads in to clear goalbound efforts, whilst the rest of the team worked hard to pressure mistakes and limit possesion.

With time ebbing away Fanzines looked to have escaped the pressure. A fine effort left Kip rooted, the ball crashing back off the post not once but twice. At the other end a shot from Silver unfortunately didn't match the run, and Charlie saw his powerful effort come crashing down off the 'bar.

A triple change from the boss, first sacrificing himself for Tom and Andy S for Mat and moments later Dave for Blake, whilst adding fresh legs, did little to inspire the weary legs of the remaining players. Crosses were whipped from both flanks and the pressure continued.

The equaliser came with less than five minutes left. A ball was lost in the middle, and as the Radcliffe player was hauled back everyone slowed, waiting for a whistle. Play continued long enough for the Olympic midfielder to hit a long range effort that flew in off both posts. A fine advantage played by the official, and it looked to be two points lost.

Whilst a point would surely have been deserved, Fanzines seemed to restart the game deflated and the game was lost. A ball needlessly given away in the middle caught everyone out of position, the through ball was precise, easily controlled and poked home as Tom and Kip looked on. Seconds remaining, too late for any salvation.

Spared the arduous task of having to dismantle goalposts, the additional time in the changing room only served to prolong the disappontment. Disappointment at having failed to hold on with only minutes remaining, conceding two needless, albeit well taken, goals.

Two games gone. No points against newly promoted teams. Joint bottom of the table and a trip to Melbourne Park to look forward to. Whilst its only the middle of September, on the basis of this performance (i think) its going to be a long season...
Team: Broughton, Silver, Doorly, R Shaw (Tebbutt), Hawksworth, Greenwood (Stone), Bradley, A Shaw (Irvine), Kakoschke, Gardiner, Wray
MOM: Andy Hawksworth
Radcliffe Olympic's MOM Nomination: Josh Kakoshke

Fox & Crown 3 Fanzines United 3
18th Sep 2011
Well after a lovely sleep awaking at twenty past ten and still reaching Vernon Park before kickoff I knew this encounter with Fox and Crown would be a tasty one. With a bare minimum selection to choose from highly praised manager Richard Shaw managed to scrape together a strong looking 12 man squad with the anticipated return of Adam Collinson, who had been a key player missing from our recent performances.

Straight from the kick off Fanzines had shown their intent with aggressive attacking football, the pace of Charlie Gardiner and Collinson’s aerial threat in his pioneering role of Fanzines front man proving to be a potent threat to the Fox and Crown back four. The first half saw an array of chances at both ends with Kip reaching a hard driven shot to his left hand side and pushing it for a corner whilst Charlie made sure the F&C keeper was kept busy. After a large spell of possession Fanzines were undone against the run of play by a clever cross from the right which connected with the strong forward of F&C who headed it back across into the goal leaving a stranded Kip with no chance. 1 – 0. Encouragingly Fanzines were straight back into the game from the restart and continued their excellent passing football constantly finding a yellow shirt and battling for every ball, it wasn’t long until Fanzines found an equaliser with an excellent ball through to a persistent James Silver who after a first attempt on goal managed to squeeze a dangerous ball into the box which found an unlikely strike in the name of Dave Greenwood who utilised the full use of the shin to guide the ball into the back of the net. 1 – 1. Before the first half was done Fanzines found themselves defending a corner and with a perfectly placed Lewis Bradley on the line the F&C attacker saw his headed effort confidently guided away from the danger zone and off the line.

The second half saw a slight change in the tempo of play with F&C finding a second wind and attacking with purpose towards Kips goal, which paid off to Fanzines dismay when the team in yellow were too quick to dive in and the opposition finding enough room to strike a decent shot past of mass of bodies in the box including Kip. 2 – 1. After going behind for a second time Richard Shaw attempted to provoke a response from the Fanzines side which had shown a lot of fight compared to previous fixtures. There were definitely more goals in this game it just depended on which way it would come, another goal for F&C would of more than likely killed the game off, but not today. Manager Shaw saw his side press on and with the powerful runs of Charlie Gardiner always a constant threat, eventually paid off with a rocket shot from his right foot leaving the keeper with no chance. The ball had already passed him before he even had time to catch a glimpse of Charlie’s glorious facial hair. 2 – 2.

All square again and the game could have gone either way with both sides continuing to press for another goal. However before I even had chance to finish my box celebration for Charlie’s goal winger Lewis Bradley found himself in plenty of space on the left hand side. After a first attempt on goal blocked he managed to be the first to react again to scramble the ball over the line, not the prettiest goal but pretty doesn’t necessarily bring the bacon home... Well unless you’re Ashton Kutcher or Melinda Messenger... 3 – 2. For the first time in the game Fanzines found themselves ahead, could they keep hold of this slender lead? As the team in yellow began to soak up the pressure being applied by the physical F&C side, the football became sloppy with balls being punted forward to an ever present Collinson who managed to battle and win almost every ball supplied to him. Kip found himself on the receiving end of a free kick but pulled off an excellent save, strong hands pushing the ball away to safety. As the Fanzines back four was pressed further and further back organising the line looked to be a difficult task and with chance after chance being wasted by the home team, including an effort which struck the post, it was only a matter of time. Unfortunately there was yet another goal in this game coming in the way of a very similar strike with the Fanzines defenders to eager to hit the floor the F&C player had enough time to compose himself after a dummy shot finally releasing a clinical finish. 3 – 3. Time for a fresh set of legs and after an excellent performance from Collinson I suppose age got the best of him? pfft of course not either way he made way for Matt Irvine. With the game being too close to call the football began to get a little feisty with some strong challenges flying in, including a dangerous attempt for the ball by F&C number 17 which left Lewis Bradley in a considerable amount of pain. Thankfully I was not called into action and Bradley was able to continue. As the match began nearing its end a determined F&C side went in search for a winner with an abundance of chances whilst Fanzines never really looked like they could bounce back from losing their lead. After a few dubious decisions by the young referee Fanzines managed to gain their first point of the season and well deserved. A strong battling performance has shown the foundations of a positive season, hopefully we can take this attitude and approach into the forthcoming fixtures.

Team: Broughton, Silver, Doorly, R Shaw, Tebbutt, Greenwood, A Shaw, Bradley, Collinson (Irvine), Gardiner, Wray
MOM: Charlie Gardiner
Radcliffe Olympic's MOM Nomination: Adam Collinson

Radcliffe Olympic 0 Fanzines United 3
25 Sep 2011

Pre-game concerns about a competitive fixture on the 3G surface at South Notts College proved unfounded as Fanzines secured their first win of the season with a three-nil victory over Radcliffe Olympic that was as comfortable as it was satisfying, especially given the result against the same opposition only two weeks previously where a one-nil lead had been transformed into a two-one defeat in the final five minutes. Unlike in the previous fixture, the superiority of Fanzines' organisation and interplay, especially in the first-half, was rewarded with three well-taken goals.

The opener from Lewis Bradley was perhaps the pick of the bunch, a guided finish after a neat exchange of passes with Charlie Gardiner had unpicked the Radcliffe back line. A swift second came from Gardiner himself, anticipating the inevitable flick-on from the ever impressive Adam Collinson and lobbing the outrushing keeper. Collinson, acting as the pivot up front, was once more using all his experience to win and hold every ball that went up to him, and when he won a free kick on the edge of the box, Dan Wray won the lottery to take it, and brilliantly drifted the ball past the static keeper into the far corner of the goal to make it three-nil.

With Rich Chappell, very impressive on his full debut, shoring up the midfield alongside veteran Greenwood and protecting the resolute back four, where goal-freak Stephen Connor was making his first ever competitive appearance as a Fanzines right-back, the second-half was largely a non-event. Radcliffe offered little in the way of goal threat, whilst Fanzines either failed to capitalise on numerous opportunities or were halted in their tracks by some rather over-the-top challenges that the ref seemed reluctant to penalise.

Leading by example as always, Richard Shaw managed to smash his own head open and bleed his own blood, and, having finally carted the injured warrior off the pitch, Danny Hall slotted in at left-back and showed a lot of promising signs in the final twenty minutes. Kip Broughton had virtually nothing to do all game, which is probably how he likes it, and was rewarded with a clean-sheet and a memorial plaque. In the crazy, topsy-turvey world of EMPAL Division 1 this season, this is the standard of performance that will need to be maintained.

Team: Broughton, Connor, R. Shaw (Hall), Tebbutt, Doorly, Greenwood, Wray, Chappell, Collinson (Irvine), Gardiner, Bradley (Stone)
Goals: Bradley, Gardiner, Wray

Fanzines United 0 Fox & Crown 3
2nd Oct 2011

Fanzines' topsy-turvy start to the season continued in earnest today as they failed to capitalise on last week's first victory and positive performance. Shorn of start performers Gardiner, Wray and Chappell, they were able to call upon the reliable bodies of Kakoschke, A. Shaw and Silver. Other than that, the team remained the same.

Fox & Crown started the game about 20 minutes before Fanzines, firing shots with gay abandon and repeatedly panicking the back four with simple, but effective, hoofs over their heads. No surprise then that it was the visitors who opened the scoring after some good build-up play, though whether the scorer had intended to place the ball in the one place that Kip couldn't get it was doubtful, judging from the sheepish celebrations.

From then, Fanzines buckled down. A bit. Josh's chest and volley was the sum-total of Fanzines efforts on target in the first 45, though Dave did his best to give the keeper something to do, as he had to dutifully fetch the ball from the hedgerow behind the goal. But at least Fanzines looked a little better defensively, with Kip only having to make one real save from the Andy Johnson lookalike. Just as the first half seemed to be fizzling into a void of nothing, in came a longish throw, headed on by the tallish attacker, to dribble over the line as Fanzines collectively closed their eyes and turned their backs. Kip held his hands up in acknowledgement that he could have done better, but the Arsenal-esque defending of set-pieces had done its damage again.

The second half came and went, bringing with it unnecessary bickering between Fanzines players, none of whom can really claim to having had a good game. The misery was compounded after a deflected cross left Rich wrong-footed, and as he watched his skewed clearance land on the head of the Fox & Crown substitute, it really was game over.

So no league action for a few weeks, as games against lower-league opposition will hopefully get the Fanzines collective a little more confident that, just like their opposition, they can talk to each other, make tackles and even head the ball. Today they were outdone by a team that worked for each other, did the simple things well and encouraged their team-mates. Just like Fanzines did last week. Let's see if they remember that.

Team: Broughton, Silver, Doorly, R. Shaw, Tebbutt (Hall), Greenwood, A. Shaw, Kakoshke, Collinson (Irvine), Connor (Stone), Bradley

Fanzines United 4 FC Eastwood 1
EMPAL Cup Round 1
9th Oct 2011

Sunday morning saw Fanzines start the 2011/12 cup campaign against third division new comers Eastwood FC.

Without their customary bye, Fanzines head coach found himself faced with a selection dilemma; a full squad (minus Silver) to choose from. But, normal service resumed as three late withdrawals (Blake, Josh and Brent) meant that a reshuffle was required.

A pre-match verbal kick in the pants, likening the disappointment of the previous weeks showing to something you had done as a child that was’… not just stupid, but really, really, really stoopid’ , meant there were a few changes to the starting eleven: Danny and Andy Shaw (mid Iphone disaster) in at full back, Joe partnering Shawy in the middle. The midfield saw Dan return to the flank opposite a bleary eyed Lewis, and Rich C the ying to DJGs yang in the middle, while Stevo and Charlie started up front together.

A now familiar sluggish start against a well organised, youthful opposition, Fanzines were lucky not to fall behind in the opening exchanges. A series of well- flighted corners tested the aerial abilities of the defence, and cross-cum-shots flashed across the face of the goal. It was against the run of play when a superb cross field ball found Dan Wray alone, and his finish beat the on rushing ‘keeper. But still the visitors pressed. Kip made a magnificent, astonishing save when he was left exposed by a through ball, a save that was matched and bettered by the opposite number 1. Outstretched hands and feet seemed to repel everything that was goal bound as Fanzines settled into the tempo and started to create more and more opportunities. But still the lower leagued team persevered, and it was Joes last ditch intervention that preserved the lead into the interval.

The second half started in a similar vein. Fanzines, for large periods, dictated play, whilst, to their credit Eastwood pressed, harried and harassed, causing moments of unrest amongst the rearguard. Neat openings were created, but again the Eastwood ‘keeper was not to be beaten. Opportunities were denied, and as the time ebbed away the slender advantage started to look even more fragile.

With about twenty minutes remaining the advantage was doubled. Great play down the left wing saw the ball pulled back for Rich C, who made amends for an earlier miss to finish through a crowd of covering defenders. Surely Fanzines had one foot in the second round...? Eastwood however continued to press and were rewarded with a goal shortly after. A ball over the top exposed a poorly executed offside trap, Kip was able to block the attempted lob but the rebound was swept home beyond Shawy on the line. A lifeline, and cue a nervous final fifteen minutes.

Eastwood continued to strive. The excellent Danny Hall, making his first start, rescued the home side with a hat trick of headed clearances, no mean feat for the smallest man on the field. A succession of corners were dealt with, half chances missed, the storm weathered.

Tom was introduced for Andy .The inspired change saw the two goal advantage restored. Rich C’s brilliant turn on the edge of the area allowed him to set himself; while everyone expected a cross he fired in at the near post. His second, Fanzines third. Ten remaining. The scoring was completed shortly after. A partially cleared corner fell to Steve; his swivel and shot found its way through a crowd and beyond the ‘keeper.

Jamie entered the fray to replace Lewis in an unfamiliar attacking role. His short cameo allowed him to impress, some good touches, turns and a couple of efforts.

To summarise the match is difficult. Eastwood played their part and were a credit to the division they play in. They worked hard and at times played some good, attacking football. That said, it was a man of the match performance from the visitors ‘keeper that kept the score respectable. Whilst Fanzines didn’t ‘boss’ the game as they may have liked, they did play some wonderful attacking football. Short passes, one- twos and neat interchanges carved open the visitors, and on another day the score could have touched double figures. The proverbial icing on the cake; a mountain of chips and buttered bread at the pub. What more incentive do we need…

A good performance was vital after the previous week. Mission accomplished.

Team: Kip, Andy S (Tom), Joe, Shawy, Danny, Lewis (Jamie), Rich C, DJG, Dan, Charlie, Stevo
Goals: Wray, Chappell 2, Connor
MOM: Danny Hall
FC Eastwood's MOM Nomination: Charlie Gardiner

Oak Tree Mango 1 Fanzines United 3 aet
County Junior Cup 1st Rd
16 Oct 2011

So having already been without both the first and second choice keepers, and then Twiggy's offer of standing-in being withdrawn due to a last minute 'pinched nerve', Shawy's pleas for a volunteer fell on mainly deaf ears until Lewis offered to do the first half as long as he could definitely come out for the rest of the game. Fair enough, but as with all plans on Sunday mornings, nothing ever quite turns out the way you hope.

On the tightest and shittest of pitches that Mansfield has to offer, in a slurry heap round the back of Tescos, against a team that were apparently propping up one of the lower Chad divisions, Fanzines struggled to impose their passing methodology from the start. The ball was either out for a throw-in or bobbling over shins, and on the few occasions when it was brought under control, there was a robust lunging challenge that the ref consistently chose to ignore.

When given the chance to play it was clear that the visitors were the better footballing side, and created the more clear-cut opportunities, but Lewis was still forced to make a couple of smart saves, one low to his right being particularly impressive. But it was his net that was breached just before half-time when Dave was dispossessed in the centre and, following a couple of missed challenges, the Oak Tree forward made it 1-0.

Time to regroup at the interval, with Rich breaking his solemn vow and begging Lewis to continue between the sticks, offering all manner of dubious sweeteners, no doubt. The belief that the tie was still Fanzines' for the taking persisted, but if a sweet half-volley from an early second-half corner had been just a few inches lower the task may have been beyond reach. As it was, Fanzines began to resist the physical challenge, and the superior fitness began to show through, with the midfield in particular being given more time and space on the ball.

The equaliser came when Joe's cultured hoof was latched onto by Jamie who managed to nicely lob the wandering keeper. And though it seemed just a matter of time before a second goal would come, the ninety minute mark arrived with the game still tied.

Into extra-time then, and within a couple of minutes Fanzines had the lead for the first time, as Ste's clipped cross bounced straight back to him and without hesitating he unleashed a furious left-footed tickler that managed to creep under the keeper for his 91st goal for the club. And the 92nd was soon to follow. As Fanzines finally started to play with some swagger and control, the ball was stroked square across the box, Dave heeded the scream to step over it and Ste hooked it first time into the bottom corner.

Whilst it seemed that even more goals would come, such was the dominance now, there was still drama as Rich Shaw brilliantly hooked a goal-bound effort off the line, whilst at the other end Charlie somehow managed to fail to convert a 'simple' one-on-one when clean through. Oh well. Tougher challenges ahead, with a daunting series of league games against scary opposition, but at least we're still in all three competitions. Let's see how long it lasts...

Team: Bradley, Silver, Doorly, R. Shaw, Tebbutt, Greenwood, Wray, Chappell, Bower (Irvine), Gardiner, Connor
Goals: Bower, Connor 2
MOM: Lewis Bradley
Opposition's MOM Nomination: Dave Greenwood

Fanzines United 0 Cropwell United 4
23 October 2011

A 4-0 home defeat does not read well. It looks embarrassing, and continued a woeful home league record of which only Bolton Wanderers could be envious. Scratch beneath the black and white surface of the scoreline, however, and it is possible to see chinks of positivity. A relegation fight could be on the cards, but for 70 minutes of this game, the Fanzines players showed what they are made of.

Unfortunately for Fanzines, a football match lasts for 90 minutes, and not for the first time this season, they forgot to start until it was too late. Cropwell bombarded an erratic Fanzines back-line, peppering debutant Ryan with shots from all angles. The opener was as soft as you could wish to see; a long ball left by the defence, an offside flag over-ruled and the easiest of jobs for the frontman, walking the ball into the net after taking it round Ryan. Playing to the whistle is something that is taught to 7-year olds; Fanzines chose to ignore it.

5 minutes later, another long ball turned the defence with familiar ease, and with Ryan exposed once again, the outcome was as inevitable as it was deserved. A smart turn and finish from the Cropwell midfielder minutes later took it to 3-0 and fears of a cricket score were abound.

It was then that Fanzines woke up. No, they didn't score. And no, they didn't really bother the opposing goalkeeper too much. But they regrouped, shuffled their pack and worked. Whitts moved to left back to allow Joe to add some steel to the centre of midfield, and Fanzines began to press the ball and force mistakes out of a very good footballing side. Defending in banks of four became the order of the day while Lewis and Jamie worked tirelessly up front.

Half time came with words of encouragement, and the second half came and went without too much of a fuss. Cropwell added a fourth with a terrific cross finished by a bullet header, but apart from that, nothing. Fanzines managed a couple of efforts on goal and as the game progressed, you could see the frustration growing in Cropwell's artisans, and the belief coming back to a dispirited Fanzines side.

Belief. This is what can be taken from this game. Discounting the horrible experience of Arnold Cross Keys last season, Cropwell were the team to beat, and it seems that will continue this year. It does seem strange to blow the collective trumpet of Fanzines on the back of a 4-0 home defeat, but they do have quality. They have natural defenders, epitomised by Whitts' tackles, Joe's pressing and Rich's bravery. They have the ability to pass a ball, highlighted by rare forays forward involving Dan, Lewis and Stevo. Dave, Silver and Jamie showed the fruits of hard work. And then there are those absent - an excuse available to every team, but who wouldn't miss the skills of Charlie, the combative work ethic of Rich Chappell, the strength of Adam or the hair of Josh?

There are reasons to be cheerful. If the effort and organisation that the team showed from the 20th minute can be shown from the first, then all will be well. But it will take some hard work.

Team: Gilson, Silver, Shaw, Tebbutt, Whittaker, Wray, Doorly, Greenwood, Connor, Bower (Irvine), Bradley
Cropwell United's MON Nomination: Ryan Gilson
MOM: Ryan Gilson

Elwes Arms 1 Fanzines United 2
30 Oct 2011

After last weeks game against a resurgent Cropwell, Fanzines found themselves facing high flying Elwes Arms. Unbeaten since the start of the campaign, Elwes had already taken points off league leaders Plumtree , as well as beating Cropwell. The task was arguably made tougher given that the venue was the hugely unpopular Victoria Embankment.

Absent (from the previous week) were Ryan, Tom, Jamie and Matt. Returning were Kip, Danny, Adam, Charlie, Andy and the ever popular Ant. Rich Shaw declared himself unfit.

Having negotiated the ‘hazards’ on the pitch (thank you Dave), the game started in much the same way as any other Fanzine fixture. The visitors seemed content to let their hosts dictate the tempo. On one flank Danny was, by his own admission, given a torrid time, which in turn hindered Lewis. Silver and Dan were able to link a little, but any forward forays were limited as Joe and Dave were otherwise engaged in trying to nullify attacking threats. Adam and Whitts- (who, with Kip, must surely be the oldest trio in EMPAL still plying their trade- conservative guesses in the region of 108 years?!)- did what they do best, blocking shots, crosses and dribbles with any/every part of their creaking anatomy. But, after a couple of long range efforts and a dozen or so goal bound throw-ins, Fanzines began to settle. Charlie and Stevo started to use their pace, and although the pitch hindered the neat passing game, there were a couple of great passages that just lacked the final pass.

The opening goal, when it came, was as much about luck as it was skill. An innocuous looking ball was deflected beyond Chris’ clearance, and with Adam and Kip in his path the burly front man was able to feign not once but twice, stroking home into an unguarded net. Wonderful composure and an uphill battle against one of the divisions form sides.

With Shawy becoming more vocally involved on the touchline, Fanzines seemed to settle. The midfield battle evened itself up and as the little forwards began to dominate, Fanzines earned several corners. One of these saw a great delivery from Lewis that was met at the far post by Whitts, his header finding its way past ‘keeper and defenders to level things.

After Kip had spilled a swerving effort, the resulting corner somewhat soured the last action of the half. Whilst attacking the testing set piece, an Elwes player seemed to catch his foot in the uneven playing surface. A worrying ankle injury; thankfully his wait for an ambulance was relatively short.

Elwes could, and should, have finished the game inside the opening ten minutes of the restart. With a chance to double his tally, the forward would have seen his point blank effort saved by Kip had he not already been celebrating, and then he again was guilty after Kip had parried a fierce drive into his path, this time finding the side netting. Fanzines continued to try and play on a difficult surface. Despite this, they weren’t able to test the ‘keeper.

There was concern when the official seemed to take an age in confirming Ants flag, correctly ruled offside. As the clock ticked, Elwes became increasingly desperate for the points. Every throw was launched into an increasing melee of players, half efforts were snatched at and Lewis joined the rearguard in fearlessly throwing himself in to thwart certain goals.

And then the unimaginable happened. A great counter attack saw a 40 yard ball travel from right to left. The cross, whilst almost perfect, eluded everyone except the supporting Silver. His first touch stopped the ball dead, his second (with his left) smashed it home from 15 yards. An unlikely scorer and an unlikely score line.

His reward was to be withdrawn for Andy Shaw who added some much needed experience and energy on a heavy pitch. The home side continued to press, now seeking an equaliser. Another counter attack saw Adam nearly wrap things up somehow finding himself alongside Charlie in the final few minutes. The latter’s effort was deflected into his path; the rebound was gratefully clutched by the exposed ‘keeper. Corners and throws were dealt with, and the referee’s interpretation of injury time seemed almost to take the guise of a school playgrounds ‘next goal wins’. Thankfully, one final volleyed clearance and the points were Fanzines United’s.

The perfect way in which to bounce back from the previous weeks result. A gritty, well organised performance more reminiscent of seasons past against a well organised opposition. Plenty to be happy about for the rookie gaffer. After games like this, it’s almost a shame that its 7 days until the next one.

Team : Kip ©, Silver (Andy), Adam, Whitts, Danny, Lewis, Joe, DJG, Dan, Stevo, Charlie
Goals: Whittaker, Silver
MOM: Joe Doorly
Elwes Arms MOM Nomination: Kip Broughton

Fanzines United 4 Priory Celtic 5
EMPAL Cup Round 2
13 Nov 2011

Let’s cut to the chase. Looking at the current form guide, this was always going to be a very tough fixture for both sides. And so it proved, as nine goals were shared over the two hours it took to decide this fixture. A game so full of goals that, for once, it turned the Elms Park dog walkers into spectators. If only the EMPAL official had been looking at his other watch, the one that ran five minutes faster, they would have been treated to the lottery of penalties.

Adam and Silver absent. Rich’s S and C returned.

"Another shock result saw Priory Celtic follow Dynamo and beat top opposition in 5-4 extra-time win over Fanzines Unites after 3-3 draw after the ninety.

Shock? On paper perhaps , but a new side, currently top of their division, boasting an array of youthful Saturday players. Maybe not in the same calibre of Wollaton Pirates’unbeaten march several years ago, but expect Priory Celtic to continue in the cup until they meet the likes of Plumtree, Medics or Cropwell.

Priory had their worst ten minutes of the season in the early stages with saw them fall 2-0 down.

Bit harsh? Fanzines scored an undefendable (?) first (Charlies ‘worldy’ from 25 yards) and a brilliantly carved out second; counter attack that saw Dave in space on the wing, a wonderful cross for Lewis to stoop and nod home.

Priory however in true spirit bounced back as Greg Wedge scored quickly before Liam Miller equalised two minutes later for Priory.Leading scorer Dec Smith was at it again as he put his side in front with a stunning chip over the Fanzines keeper.

True enough. Defensive lapses coupled with determined play- two efforts saved and the rebounds tucked home. The third saw a route one ball that was indeed wonderfully finished.

Priory had a number of chances to score further as Greg Wedge hit the post and another effort was well defended but turned around

A neat one-two created space for a shot, the effort came back off the post. Then it was Whitts’ turn to come to the rescue to maintain the single goal deficit.

3-2 up.

Spot on.

Priory were on the back foot in the early stages of the second half however the lively Liam Miller was causing all sorts of problems and put some fantastic balls in the box but there was nothing on the end of the crosses.

Correct. Priory did threaten but crosses were well dealt with (and one struck an upright) and shots were limited. Fanzines probably had the best of the play. They overlapped, switched play, built from the back and were patient. Individual flashes of brilliances but overall great teamwork- in spells!

Fanzines piled the pressure on Priory but were unable to get past a strong defence until the eighty second minute when some slack defending saw the equaliser arrive at 3-3.

It was great play (not slack defending!) from Charlie, a great ‘dinked’ ball from Stevo and a neat finish from Franco, two minutes into his debut.

Priory kept up the pressure and when Michael Allen was brought down in the box Priory were denied a stone wall penalty as the game went into extra time.

‘I’ve seen them given’. However, without the benefit of studio analysis, fourth officials and goal line technology, it probably needed to be more ‘stonewall’for a Sunday official to give it.

Fanzines then took the lead early on in the additional period after some poor play by Priory.

Great start from the kick off, Stevo found space and smashed home from 18 yards. Perhaps a slow start from Celtic to extra time, but lets take nothing away from the record marksman’s brilliant finish.

Priory had another penalty appeal turned down when Nick West's cross was handled in the box.

Definitely ‘ball to hand’.

Celtic kept putting the pressure on the home team but looked like going out the cup as the seven minutes of extra time left Liam Smith scored his first ever goal for the club as his looping header beat the Fanzine team keeper.

Pressure was mounting; a corner was headed up and the looping ‘nod’ back somehow looped over Kip. The ageing shotstopper will be disappointed he gifted an equaliser so late on.

It looked like penalties however in the second minute of injury tine extra time added time Dec Smith headed home to increase his tally and sent Priory into the quarters."

I can’t disagree. A wonderfully floated free kick was missed by its intended target but somehow found its way in via the head of the Priory Celtic (eyes closed) frontman.

A really disappointing end to 120 minutes of attacking, open, gay abandonment football. Very little to separate the two sides, despite the current league standings.

The last time we were defeated by a third division side in the EMPAL cup we went on to the last four in the county. Shawys rallying cry has urged us to remain positive. So let’s do just that.

Team: Kip ©, Andy S, Whitts, Shawy, Joe, Dan, (Franco), Dave, Rich C (Ant), Lewis (Jamie), Stevo, Charlie  
Goals: Charlie, Lewis, Franco, Stevo
MOM: Charlie Gardiner
Priory Celtic MOM Nomination: Charlie Gardiner  

NWM Olympico 0 Fanzines United 7
20 Nov 2011

Last week’s chastening experience of a last minute, extra-time concession against lower league opposition was truly put to bed today as Fanzines ran riot over an indifferent NWM Olympico.

Tom returned to the centre of defence to add some much needed steel, while Andy Shaw continued his recent full-back hokey-cokey by reverting to left back, allowing Joe to do his best Scott Parker impression in the middle of the pitch. Jamie was given a well-deserved start which allowed Stevo to slot into right back.

Best laid-plans were put into disarray after just 2 minutes as Stevo’s knee gave way under the first of many typically high challenges, meaning Josh came on, moving Dave to right back. Challenges continued to go in, sometimes fairly, often not, and Fanzines began to pass their way into the game. Charlie was released down the left flank to scamper away from the keeper, unselfishly squaring the ball for a 2-yard tap in for Jamie. Josh went close with a couple of headers, including one that hit the post, before Charlie played a neat one-two with his strike partner to beat the offside trap and coolly finish over the exposed keeper.

Half time arrived with Kip wondering whether he had been in a game, protected as he was by his back four. Rich Shaw was needed to put his body on the line once or twice, including one terrific block to deny the lively opposition striker.

If the first half had been a war of attrition, the second genuinely was a footballing lesson. Andy and Dave brought the ball out from the back and, along with Tom and Rich, won the first and second ball time after time. Dan and Lewis worked the flanks and supported their full backs in equal measure, while Joe and Josh, who were later nominated by the opposition as joint men of the match, harassed, harried and kept the ball. Charlie was his usual livewire self, while Jamie’s show of strength and self-control was first class.

It was Jamie who lashed home his second and Fanzines’ third from the edge of the area after Lewis had pressured the defence into a mistake. His ability to hold the ball up frustrated the opposition to such an extent that the only way to stop him was with a vicious scissor kick which could have broken his leg – amazingly the perpetrator got away without a booking. Lewis stepped up to dink the free kick Koeman-style into the corner, leaving the keeper motionless.

If Olympico hadn’t already lost their heads, then what came after certainly gave that impression. Endless late challenges on Josh, kicks at Jamie’s ankles and uncontrolled lunges at anyone in red and black meant that Fanzines could keep possession with ease, either by gaining free-kicks or by passing around the cumbersome defence. It was the latter option that naturally appeals to the current set of Fanzines players, and some lovely interplay between Jamie and Charlie led Joe to open his account for the season. Charlie then broke the offside trap for the umpteenth time to dance around the keeper for his second before Josh slid the ball past the hapless custodian, who exacted some sort of personal revenge by scraping his studs halfway down Josh’s leg.

The scoring stopped there, and the impressive attacking displays of recent weeks were finally realised with a scoreline that could have been more. The injury list could have been more as well – the bizarre post-match explanation from the referee suggested that he hadn’t wanted to book any of the Olympico players as it would have only wound them up – work that one out.

No matter, for Fanzines extended their winning league run to three, and notched up their largest victory in the league since the 08/09 season.  For once, everything fell into place. Goals scored,  a clean sheet kept and a variety of scorers. Things are looking up.

Team: Broughton, Connor (Kakoschke) (Morris), Shaw A., Shaw R., Tebbutt, Greenwood, Doorly, Bradley (Francis), Wray, Gardiner, Bower
Goals: Bower 2, Gardiner 2, Doorly, Kakoschke, Bradley
MOM: Jamie Bower
NWM Olympico MOM: Doorly and Kakoschke

Fanzines United 4 Farndon United Reserves 0
County Junior Cup 3rd Round
27 Nov 2011

Having been knocked out to teams from neighbouring Nottinghamshire leagues in the previous two campaigns, Fanzines adventures in the 2011/12 County Cup once again paired them against unknown opposition in the form of Farndon United Reserves.

The previous weeks bruising encounter meant Ste and Josh were absent due to injuries sustained in the fog, while Franco was AWOL following a night out. Tom was once again fishing French waters, but Rich C returned, nursing a headache unrelated to his previous outing.

A typical dithering start almost proved costly, but a combination of last ditch defending and lack of composure in front of goal meant that Fanzines survived the early scare. Panic over, the home side started to play the neat, accurate passing game that had served them so well in the Rylands murk. Farndon stood firm limiting the early chances to, at best, half and snatched.

It was Fanzines that broke the deadlock; a right wing ball that begged to be finished, a couple of ricochets and the ball looped up allowing Jamie to hook the ball over his shoulder past the unsighted ‘keeper. Not quite scissors, not quite bicycle, but a deft touch from the big man to continue his scoring run.

The opener settled the nerves of the hosts and it wasn’t long before they began to dominate the play. Dan, cheered on by his good lady, delivered a series of wonderful corners, one of which found the head of Whitts, who doubled both his seasons and Fanzines tally.

With Joe and Rich C stifling any attempts of a comeback, both full backs linked superbly with their respective wide midfielders. Charlie was seemingly given carte blanche, dropping deep to receive balls and linking the middle and forward lines to great effect. Despite their dominance, Fanzines couldn’t add to their advantage. Lewis tried a cheeky free kick, Charlie bustled menacingly but all to no avail.

The manager’s team talk at the interval was upbeat. Farndon were chasing the game, Fanzines had the breaks; two goals up, the early concerns nullified and the Elms Park sunshine/slope combo placing the visitors very definitely at a disadvantage for the second period.

Farndon, to their credit, started brightly. Disappointingly for them, too often the final ball failed to meet its target, and when crosses were delivered they tended to be to unoccupied space. But, they huffed and puffed, ensuring that Messrs Shaw (x2), Whittaker and Greenwood were kept busy for large periods of the half.

It was a cleared away side corner that led to the killer third goal; Joe found Dan with a wonderful angled pass, who in turn fed Jamie who raced clear to place past the exposed ‘keeper. A super counter attacking goal that effectively ended the game as a contest, the proverbial bridge to Far(ndon)…

There was still time for Lewis to add a fourth. His smart turn from twelve yards allowed him to finish, much to the cheering WAGs delight. Game over.

Silver and Ant were introduced to add energy and pace for the remaining twenty minutes, replacing impressive performers Rich C and Dan.

A performance that journalists would describe as clinical. Statistically, Fanzines had (maybe) five efforts on target and scored four of them. No injuries, no bookings and a no nonsense performance. The reward is a fourth round home tie against more unknown opponents in Nottingham Pirates. Thank you to the girls who inspired their boys; their presence would be very welcome in January (15th) as we steadily pursue the elusive silverware…

Team: Broughton, Greenwood, Whittaker, Shaw.R, Shaw.A, Wray (Silver), Chappell (Morris), Doorly, Bradley, Bower, Gardiner
Goals: Bradley, Bower x2, Whittaker
MOM: Dan Wray

Plumtree 4 Fanzines United 1
4 Dec 2011

Aaaargh! The frustrations continue! Yet another game where Fanzines produced some sparkling passages of play, only to be punctuated by lapses and errors that gifted chances to the opposition. And inevitably, these gifts were gratefully received. The fact that victory here at Gresham against unbeaten league leaders Plumtree would have, despite our own troubles this season, narrowed the lead at the top to just three points makes it all the more disappointing. This is a team that is capable of success, if only we can avoid killing ourselves.

For once again, at times, we played some great stuff on the small fat windswept pitch, attacking with poise and purpose, Lewis gamboling in the hole, having a shot blocked on the line and another effort cracking off the bar following great work from Ste. And then Plumtree countered, a cross was whipped in, the ball flicked off the striker's toe and flopped into the corner of the net. Dammit. At least there was a strong element of luck involved, unlike with the second which again came when Fanzines appeared to be in control, the tricky striker simply ghosting away from his marker at an innoucuous throw-in, receiving the ball in the six-yard box and proceeding to tuck it away.

Two-nil down at half-time, having to play out of our skins to create half-chances, whilst the opposition had barely had to do anything for their lead. Sound familiar? And of course it's difficult to raise your game when the majority of the time the team is playing well. It's the small details that count, marking men at corners for instance and not letting the opposition attack the ball and head it straight into the net. Lucky for us then that we somehow got a second opportunity to practice, thanks to eagle-eyed Assistant Referee Morris who had flagged that the ball wasn't in the correct position for the corner, and it therefore had to be retaken. Unfortunately, we somehow managed to conspire to present an even simpler chance that Plumtree didn't fail to convert.

False hope was provided when we pulled one back, scrappy play saw Dan cross for Jamie to tap-in, his seventh goal in only eight appearances, stat-fans! But there was to be no miracle comeback. In a game between two pretty even teams, just like the first time we met them in the first game of the season, we ended up losing by three, the final goal coming with virtually the last touch as the gaffer found himself on his backside in the six-yard box, watching the ball float past him.

The annoying thing is that, ten games into the league season, it seems clear that the division as a whole is stronger and more competitive this year, but that the better teams are not of the same standard as recent winners. A consistent team that avoids mistakes can achieve great things here. Unfortunately this year, it looks like that's no longer going to be us.

Team: Broughton, Connor, Hall, R. Shaw, Tebbutt, Greenwood (Silver), Wray, Doorly, Bower (Irvine), Bradley (Morris), Francis
Goal: Bower
MOM: Matt Francis

Fanzines United 5 Nottingham Law School 0
11 Dec 2011

Six years to the very day since the last "home" game at Gresham, Fanzines were BACK BACK BACK. Given the indifferent performances this year on the Elms Park slope, the "possibility of flooding" in Ruddington gave a perfect opportunity to treat this game against the struggling Law School students as an away fixture, and thus, y'know, actually win.

A lot has changed in the last six years, not least the facilities at Gresham, but some things are still the same. Five of the players who started in that 6-1 annihilation of Brinsthorpe Rangers in December 2005 were starting again here. The Gresham pitches are still rutted. Our warm-ups still make Rich Shaw angry. And Nottingham Law School are still in Division 1, the only one of the current Div 1 teams that's been in the top league longer than us. But probably not for much longer, given their dismal results so far this season, without a single point and looking a shadow of their former formidable sides.

So a "potential banana peel", as the gaffer emphasised pre-game, but one which was neatly avoided thanks to impressive performances all over the pitch. Granted, the opposition were somewhat limited, and certainly time and space was made available, but there's no doubting the quality of some of the play on show.

Once again, Jamie was leading the line with strength and control, and brilliantly made the first goal with a dink to the far post for Lewis to nudge home. And Lewis made it two when a succession of great crosses from Dan were finally capitalised on, a flying acrobatic scissor-kick into the ground looping into the net to make it 2-0. And then a fantastic slide-rule pass from the irrepressible Bradley put Charlie clean through, and he made no mistake.

3-0 at the break, and to be honest it probably should've been more. With the solidified defence, exemplified by the brilliant work of Joe Doorly, snuffing out any signs of danger, things were almost too comfortable. And the rather relaxed start to the second-half maybe explains why it took so long for the fourth goal to arrive. But when it did, what a belter it was, Stevo running onto the square pass from Lewis and spanking one first time across the flailing keeper into the top corner. Scorchio! A fifth and final goal came minutes later when the keeper spilled Lewis' cross/shot and Ste tapped in for his second of the game. So that's seven for the season for Connor and 96 for his Fanzines career. The celebratory centenary t-shirts need to be ordered, methinks. And if you step back and consider what Fanzines have achieved over the last six years, how those 96 goals were earned, where the club is now, and where we were, and what has happened to ALL of our former rivals, then things are actually pretty ok. Things are fine. Just fine.

Carry on!

Team: Broughton, Greenwood, Hall (A. Shaw), R. Shaw, Doorly, Francis (Tebbutt), Wray (Silver), Connor, Bower, Gardiner, Bradley
Goals: Bradley 2, Gardiner, Connor 2
MOM: Lewis Bradley

Fanzines United 2 Nottingham Pirates 1
Notts Junior County Cup
15 Jan 2012

Fanzines didn’t so much march as hobble into the quarter-finals of the county cup quarter finals last weekend. A narrow 2-1 victory against Nottingham Pirates was enough, though the excuses were quick to be made as the game was dissected following the final whistle.

The first half was almost like an attack against defence training session, with Fanzines doing their best to practise the short passing game that is so often preached, and Pirates happy to sit deep and clear the ball unceremoniously upfield.

And perhaps we could learn from it. An unceremonious lump forward was the undoing of Fanzines, as is their wont these days, as firstly Dave allowed the ball to bounce, then Stevo failed to clear from the resultant throw-in. Cue last-ditch tackles and desperation, resulting in Dave twatting the ball at Kip, whose uncertainty of whether to catch or to kick resulted in neither, and the ball bobbled between his legs. Bizarre – definitely. Undeserved – probably, though the visitors had hit the bar with their first attack earlier in the game.

Most of Fanzines best attacks were coming down the left flank – Andy Shaw had already played a wonderful cross-field ball through to Charlie, who went on to strike the post – so it should have been no surprise that this is where the equaliser came from. Lewis slalomed through the defence, then checked back, did it again backwards, had a look around and dropped a shoulder to finish. The end result was a pinpoint cross that Jamie initially struck against the keeper, before blasting in from centimetres.

Then came the second half. A numbing, empty nothingness, in which each goalkeeper made one good save (in fact Kip’s was outstanding). Pirates knocked in several corners without really threatening, and Tom somehow got away with virtually catching the ball in his own area. With about fifteen minutes remaining, Lewis was hacked down on the edge of the area. Stevo’s shot was well-struck but central, but a spillage allowed Jamie to double both his and Fanzines’ tally.

So, a limp, lifeless second half, but the result was right. Is this a good or bad thing? Positive performances before Christmas give plausibility to Rich’s excuse that festive excess slowed the momentum. The assumption that the game might have been off due to the frozen pitch may have ‘changed the mindset’, but at this level, that shouldn’t be an excuse, while discussions in the changing room accurately diagnosed an ambivalence and disinterest among the team in general. Why? Who knows. Hopefully the players will be awoken from their slumber by the realisation that there is a cup quarter-final to look forward to and that there are plenty of points up for grabs too. Hooray!

Team: Broughton, Greenwood, A. Shaw, R. Shaw, Tebbutt, Doorly, Wray (Chappell), Connor, Bower, Gardiner, Bradley
Subs Not Used: Morris, Silver
Goals: Bower 2

MOM: Joe Doorly
Nottingham Pirates MOM Nomination: Charlie Gardiner

Freeman & Mitchell 0 Fanzines United 2
22nd Jan 2012

Gresham. Again. A bright and blustery January morning. Keen young limbs twitching with eagerness. The vivid, cowardly yellow of the home team shrinking as the blood red and ebony black shirted visitors flexed and limbered in unison, a single minded machine, a behemoth, a dream.

It begins. The glinting orb, so precious, yet so casually disdained, drifting from leathered toe to leathered toe, skipping off sodded turf, smashed into the very middle of next week. 'Ave it. No game this. Or is it? I don't know.

Who are these people? Galacticos of the mind? The limp, lame and ineffectual, scuttering vaguely through unrehearsed patterns. Triangle. Circle. Hold down R2. Release.

A rush and a push and the goal is ours. Corner flight and soaring, towering, gigantico leap from the Tebbutt, Tebbuteo, like a salmon, like a salmon farm, forehead smash to onion bag. Take that.

More hussle and scuttle. In the engine room, Doorly controls it all, effortless, tranquil, composed. Morris and Silver make compelling case for inclusion. Makeshift keeper stands bored and unoccupied. A tackle from the last ditch. Man down. Carted off. The reducer.

Calm at the break. Soothing words. Encouragement. Hashtag banter.

Resumption. Nothing changes. We are what we were and what we always will be. Endeavour and inadequacy. Effort is all. Finally, keeper calamity and the space to breathe, failure to handle a little bender and our goalgetting legend creeps closer to the century.

Time for a debut, Fish on. First of many? It's in the bag now. Final flourish as veteran appears for three minutes, four touches, of PURE GOLD. Shame. About. The. Finish. But victory, the great seducer, is ours. Three whole, holy, points. Are you listening unbelievers? I doubt it. But we care not. Same time next week? Sure thing. Seeya later.

Team: A Shaw, Silver, Morris, R Shaw, Tebbutt, Doorly, Wray, Connor (Fish), Bower (Greenwood), Gardiner, Bradley
Goals: Tebbutt, Connor
MOM: Joe Doorly

Fanzines United 1 Kings Arms 2
County Cup Quarter Final
19 Feb 2012

A thrice rescheduled fixture, following a January of cancellations, Fanzines finally got the chance to carry on their ‘march’ in the County Cup, their opponents, the enigma that was Kings Arms: Mansfield Chad or Newark Alliance- you decide?

Absences to manager Shaw and talisman Connor meant a reshuffle for stand in gaffer Greenwood. Kip and Whitts returned to the side that had overcome Freeman and Mitchell way back in January. A rare start for Ant (at left back), Dave reverted to right back and a fledgling partnership of Joe and Whitts meant the rearguard were changed for the umpteenth time this season. The centre of the park also saw an untried duo of Shaw and Tebbutt in an attempt to stifle a team that had been free scoring in reaching the pre-quarter final stage.

Fanzines were unsurprisingly sluggish in the February sunshine. A pitch that, bar its considerable slope, looked fit enough to grace a much higher profile encounter, seemed to favour the visitors, as the early exchanges saw two wayward passes intercepted allowing attackers to run unchallenged into the home sides area; fortunately both efforts were wasted. Slowly Fanzines started to settle into the game. Lewis was benefitting on the left, his pace caused concern without really penetrating, whilst Dan on the opposite side was overlooked for long periods. Cutting out diagonal balls enabled the home side to adopt a counter attacking ploy that had the potential to punish, but it was Kings Arms who were to break the deadlock. After a third interception saw Kip save with his feet, on the fourth occasion Fanzines were punished. A loose ball was squared across and met at the near post; the deftest of flicks saw the ball end up in the opposite corner.

But, Fanzines continued to play the better football. Dan Wray’s corners almost brought an equaliser, when Whitts’ looping header hit the bar. The persistence paid off; a swift counter attack saw Lewis feed Charlie, his pace saw him race clear and clip the ball across to an unmarked Dan. With work to do he was able to drill the bouncing ball past the covering defenders. Game on.

Fanzines nearly grabbed a second after Andy’s marauding run saw him beat a plethora of Kings Arms players; at the vital moment the ball stuck and he wasn’t able to get his shot away.

The response was emphatic. Another long ball was partially cleared by Whitts. The high ball caused confusion between Kip and Joe, as the latter cleared, the ball fell invitingly to the chasing front man who finished from a tight angle.

The break, when it came, was a welcome opportunity for the home side to regroup and discuss a plan of action before the chance of silverware this season vanished.

Unfortunately the discussions failed to materialise. Things were certainly tightened up at the back as Kings Arms continued to press, but in doing so Jamie and Charlie became increasingly isolated. A series of testing corners were dealt with by the home side and Kings Arms were limited to shooting from range. The one goal bound effort was turned away superbly at point blank range by Kip, whilst a header shaved the upright much to the relief of a mis-timing Lewis.

Fish (for Ant) and Silver (for Andy saw) a reshuffle (Tom to centre half, Dave and Joe back in the midfield) and fresh legs in the pursuit of an equaliser.

A sickening injury to a burly forward after a tangle with Kip (legal) and Tom (illegal) saw a delay giving some much needed breathing time and the promise of injury time. Mat came on for the battered and bruised Jamie, and the final minutes saw Fanzines come close; first Lewis waltzed through only to fire high and wide, whilst a shot from the edge of the area drew a good (and first) save from the visitors ‘keeper.

Too little too late, as Kings Arms held on to progress with a 2-1 victory. Disappointment both in defeat and perhaps more so in the manner of the elimination. Unforced errors (for which Ant and Kip took the responsibility for) coupled with excellent finishes meant Fanzines were always chasing a game against a well organised outfit. By no means a bad performance off the back of a three week break, but disappointing that Fanzines couldn’t maintain the tempo and football that they had demonstrated for much of the first half.

Lessons learned perhaps, and the opportunity to concentrate on a strong second half of the season that will hopefully justify our endeavour.

Team: Kip ©, Dave, Whitts, Joe, Ant (Fish), Dan, Andy (Silver), Tom, Lewis, Charlie, Jamie (Mat).
Goal: Dan Wray

Punjab Colts 5 Fanzines United 2
26 Feb 2012

Every season, Fanzines manage to produce one display that confuses, frustrates and raises questions. Questions like, how have they managed to get 19 points this season? Last year, for example, they were dumped out of the cup in a limp display against FC Headstocks. Go back a year further and a 6-1 reverse against Ardley Athletic stands out. The previous year, then-unknown quantities Wollaton Pirates bullied Fanzines into a 7-0 submission.

Which brings us to Sunday’s game against Punjab Colts. A 5-2 defeat, demoralising only because the Fanzines players know they could, even should, have won.

An early concession from the first of many long balls over the static rearguard was quickly cancelled, as Tom Tebbutt unleashed a 25 yard fizzer that he has been threatening all season. A wonder goal that stirred the away team into action, as they began to attempt to pass on a terrifically bobbly pitch.

Fanzines then deservedly took the lead minutes later, as a swift counter attack was started on the edge of their own area, allowing Charlie and Jamie to begin tippy-tappying their way up the pitch; the former tucking a fine effort through the goalkeeper’s legs for 2-1.

Now, one of manager Shaw’s favourite sayings this year, other than “get into his pants”, has been a hearty, Brian Blessed bellow of “This is when we concede!” Whether this presumption is true or not remains to be backed up by statistics, but on this occasion the soft underbelly of the Fanzines defence was only too happy to roll over and be tickled.  

Any game plan was blown out of the water as every Fanzines attack was met with a hoof away, onto which the pacy number 9 latched, looked up, and shot. GOAL! GOAL! FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!  Maybe we should stop attacking. He even had time to miss a penalty for one of the most ridiculous falling-downs seen since Lewis won that free-kick in Beeston, but no matter. The man had his 4 goals and didn’t really have to work for them.  

4-2 at half-time then, which brought with it a chance to regroup, though a killer fifth was ushered in as all in red and black stood and watched a ball sky up into the air and land on the studs of the number 10. 3 goals conceded in about 15 minutes of playing time effectively ended the game as a contest.
At this point, Fanzines stopped arguing, made tackles, attacked in more numbers, and did look the better side. Whitts went close with a header, Charlie shaved the bar late on, Stephen headed against the post from an acute angle and debutant Panc forced the keeper into a couple of great saves. Lewis scuffed his penalty lines after Charlie’s progress had been halted, but a goal at that late stage would have made little difference to the final outcome.

A 5-2 defeat never looks good, but the difference the Punjab striker made was striking (geddit?). He left the pitch after an hour and Punjab barely had an attack after that. Fanzines, overall, tried to play, but it might be a good thing to remember that none of us have ever been professionals, or semi-professionals, or even any good. So, we will make mistakes and the way we react to them is the most important thing. It is very easy to get on each other’s backs but, at the end of the day, what good does it do?

One side of the coin suggests that we have now only lost 2 of the last 7 league games, and that we surely can’t gift 5 goals in one game again. The other side of the coin is a cold fact – Fanzines are only 6 points above the team placed second bottom, and they beat Medics last week. Squeaky bum time.

Team: Broughton, Greenwood (Silver), Morris, Whittaker, Tebbutt (Shaw. R), Wray (Beri), Bradley, Connor, Doorly, Bower, Gardiner
Goals: Tebbutt, Gardiner
MOM: Bower
Punjab Colts MOM: Gardiner

Nottingham Law School 1 Fanzines 8
4 Mar 2012

Sloppy meringue of a pitch. Pissing rain. Eight goals for. One goal against. This is them:
1-0 – Charlie’s dinked ball through to Stephen slipped past the keeper, allowing the knee-knacked forward to slot the ball into an empty net.
2-0 – Jamie’s lay-off found Charlie on the right-hand edge of the 18-yard box; he slammed the ball in off the opposite post.
3-0 – Charlie then returned the favour by sliding Jamie in who dinked the keeper a la Theo Walcott against Spurs.

Half-time. Dave not impressed. Clothes all wet. Try harder.

4-0 – Big hoof by Joe not dealt with by defence, Jamie bustled through and said thank you very much.
5-0 - Charlie whipped in a free-kick from the left wing, allowing Dan to half-volley in.
5-1 – Highest free kick ever rebounds off the bar, Fanzines stand and watch their striker nod it in.
6-1 – Franco’s first touch was a delightful pass through to fellow sub Pank, who finished across the keeper with ease.
7-1 – Closing down by Jamie frees Dave to toe-poke accurately from 18 yards.
8-1 – Floated ball to the back post by Ant is volleyed home across the keeper by Stephen.

Other highlights
- Ant’s shot at the corner flag
- Rich getting excited in the opposition half – his shot nearly reached the edge of the area
- Ant’s diving celebration
- Lewis’ 44 shots off target.

Full-time. Cold. Win. Pint.

Broughton, Silver, Morris, Shaw, Tebbutt,  Doorly (Francis), Connor, Wray (Greenwood), Bradley, Gardiner (Beri), Bower
Scorers: Connor x 2, Bower x 2, Gardiner, Wray, Beri, Greenwood
Opposition MOM: Gardiner

Fanzines United 4 Freeman & Mitchell 1
11 Mar 2012

Bit of a battle. Lots of late tackles. Lots of moans. Tom crosses for Charlie to head in off the post. Bradley floats in a free-kick which keeper fumbles into own net. 2-0 half time.

Fanzines get bored, stand off, don’t shoot. More late tackles. Some dilly-dallying, Rich dives in to give a penalty away. Scored by moaner. 2-1. Fanzines wake up again. Charlie shoots from silly range. Keeper catches then throws into own net. Thank you. Dan plays Pank in to slide home for 4-1. No century for Stephen. Gaffer not impressed. Says so.

Sore legs. Another pint. Charlie tells us he’s leaving. Bugger.

Team: Broughton, Silver (Francis), Morris, Tebbutt, Shaw (Wray), Doorly, Greenwood, Connor, Bradley (Beri), Gardiner, Bower
Scorers: Gardiner x 2, Bradley, Beri
Opposition MOM: Jamie Bower

Kinoulton Villa 3 Fanzines United 3
EMPAL Division 1
18 Mar 2012

On a moist Sunday morning, the warriors of Fanzines United gathered at Gresham to compete in a game of football against… some team. Antony turned up steaming and begun giving banter out on another level.

The game begun at a canter and it appeared Antony had left his first touch in Oceana. Centre back duo Richard Shaw and Tom Tebbutt were getting terrorized by the opposing number 8 and 10 and 25. Antony Morris was running round trying to sweat it out. Centre midfield dynamos Joe and Franco were making small passes that were nice. A sharp low ball into the box by their number 6 was met by a ‘worldy’ touch by their number 9 who struck an unstoppable shot past kip. 1-0

Shortly after a small passage of banter and kisses, Steve Connor found some space on the edge of the box and slotted home his 100th goal for Fanzines. He was greeted by a series of high fives and pats on his perfect little head. From the restart Lewis decided to meg a few of their players. Whilst a neat passage of play was created down the left one of their players was being sick from his mouth on the sideline, probably due to some short dated prawn sandwiches. Anyway, just before half time there was enough time for Antony to get the wrong side of his man in the area and pull him down, while down he used his finger to molest the poor guy. The referee failed to spot this infringement due to his view being blocked by silver’s forward run.

Halftime. 1-1

During the half time team talk, Richard Shaw gave us tasty oranges to boost our moral and vitamin c count. They were tasty and desirable (the oranges). Surely this would kick us into life and we would find more goals.

The second half began with a visit from Fanzines biggest fan and chairman, Andy ‘Lowe-Rider’. He was in store for a treat. Lewis Bradley and Antony played some more triangles down the left and Lewis megged a guy (again). He then kicked him in the shin (which still hurts). This resulted in a free kick just outside the area. Lewis, with some quick thinking, passed it to Tom,  who swung his massive leg at the ball at it somehow found the bottom corner. 2-1 Fanzines.

This goal gave the team a small and minty boost with some of the team raising their banter levels by around 2 to 3. Sadly Richard Shaw let their number 10 or 12 turn on a sixpence in the area for them to make it 2-2. He failed to get in their pants.

The opposition had their tails up and the rained shots on the goal, Kip was making saves for fun, annoying them immensely.

As I sit here watching the apprentice Alan sugar gave me some sparkling advice ‘please don’t eat lemons with sir Linda macartney’ Thanks Alan.

Tom Tebbutt won a free kick in his own half, he then took the free kick 20 yards further forward himself. The subsequent freekick went straight to the keeper who then managed to throw it in the goal, howler. With this goal came great responsibility, could we hold on to this slender lead? With Antony beginning to regain his first touch he decided to drop his shoulder and show his large array of tricks. The team followed suit by showing composure as we continued to find Jamie’s feet, he used this time to display his ‘Heskey step over’ fooling his opponents with such wizardry as Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix.

With the opponents attempting to pile on the pressure Kip decided to be awesome in every way and pulled off some spectacularly athletic saves which left the opponents both frustrated and erect.

We began to gain confidence but a swift blow this was received from number 10 (minus 2) who found enough space to poke a ferocious lick of the ball past a blinded kip. God damnit. 3-3.

Now with the scores level this is where we had to show the character not fall to another display of master class from their central midfielder. As the game grew to a close both teams felt a draw would suffice in the well battled game.

To the showers for post match debriefing and a wash down. First in the shower was Dave Greenwood with his sweet smelling gel douche. He was swiftly followed by Lewis Bradley Antony and Richard Shaw. Glorious views. Antony ‘did things’ to Lewis while he tried to wash himself with his lynx excite shower gel.

Onwards and upwards. I love you guys.

Team: Broughton, Silver, Shaw, Tebbutt, Morris, Greenwood, Doorly, Francis, Bradley, Connor (Collinson), Bower.
Goals: Tebbutt x2, Connor.
MOM: James Silver
Kinoulton Villa’s MOM Nomination: Kip Broughton

Fanzines United 1 Elwes Arms 2
EMPAL Division 1
25 Mar 2012

A fully deserved but hard won point seven days earlier left Fanzines in a positive frame of mind for their latest challenge, mid table Elwes Arms.

Boasting a similar playing record, (Fanzines nicked the head to head way back in October) Shaw was once again forced into several changes; Ste’s personal absence and Tom’s sickness countered with the welcome return of Dan (unscathed), Panc (fit) Rich Chappel (rare Sunday off) and Tino (yes, that Tino). Line up news: Joe to cosy up with Shawy, Dave in with Franco, Dan restored to the right and Panc partnering Jamie. Otherwise unchanged.

Fantastic spring sunshine saw Elwes start more positively and Fanzines play the better football. While not quite route one, the visitors were certainly more direct in their play, occupying most of the rearguards thoughts and time. Great movement from the mini Woody (John Wood, Fanzine legends) was creating space for the two widemen, and but for a succession of overhit crosses and the superb work of both Silv and Ant, Kip may well have been tested. In fact the only moment of concern came when Ant, caught in two minds, hit a woefully short backpass. The interception and subsequent rounding of Kip saw the opening goal thwarted, somehow, by Rich. His full length lunge diverted the ball to safety with the majority of the red and blacks preparing to restart from the middle.

Spurred by the bosses example Fanzines started to dominate and dictate the play. Dave was scampering and snapping around the middle, Franco stroking the ball around with great accuracy while Dan and Lewis were able to play more like wingers than fullbacks.

The breakthrough when it came was a little scruffy, though probably deserved. Good work from Lewis allowed the ball to travel to Panc the prolific. He steadied, shaped, scuffed and shot. The merest deflection took it past the ‘keeper.

For all their huff and puff Fanzines were unable to double their tally; Lewis tried several efforts from range, Panc fired across the face and Ant should have grabbed his first for the club as he rose to meet Dan’s pinpoint cross. A goal to the good at the break, but everyone aware that the remaining 45 was going to be difficult.

The difference at the restart can only be accredited to psychology. Faced with the slope and the sun Fanzines seemed to shrink into themselves, content to try and hold the visitors at bay. Elwes started to dominate, still rarely threatening, but the warning signs were there. The immergence of Andy Lowe and Chris Whitts as observers did little to settle the nerves, and slowly cracks started to appear. Panc and Jamie were isolated, Lewis and Dan were required to drop deeper (the former had been subjected to a series of late tackles that seemed to hinder his usual ‘swagger’) and the away side started to raise the tempo. A dipping volley was superbly kept out by Kip before the match winning substitution was made by Elwes. Suddenly the long, hopeful balls became more accurate, the set pieces more threatening and the final ten minutes devastating. Three corners caused panic, two clawed away and the third scrambled behind for a fourth; this one proving to be the proverbial straw. The delivery was met at the far post, the downward header somehow finding its way in for a deserved equaliser with less than ten minutes remaining.

Not satisfied with the point Elwes continued to press and, worryingly, it was a set piece that once again proved to be the undoing. Escaping his marker, the Elwes man was able to race to the near post. His deft flick was enough to beat Silv and Kip. The celebration was more akin to a cup final, but understandably they were delighted. Three points had been gained in a five minute spell, Fanzines time was up.

With a run in that suggests there may be a lot more defending to do, Fanzines should remain positive. Once again, the team was forced into a shuffle. Once again there were periods of very good play. Once again, the commitment levels, the discipline and the encouragement was extremely positive. But, as the masked statistician will no doubt highlight, once again the frailties (other EMPAL teams please look away) were set piece based.

FANZINES UNITED: Kip ©, Silv, Rich, Joe, Ant, Dan, Franco, Dave (Rich Chap), Lewis (Tino, yes, that Tino), Jamie, Panc
Goal: Panc
MOM: James Silver (again!)
Elwes Arms MON Nomintion: Richard Shaw

Fanzines United 1 NWM Olympico 4
1 Apr 2012

Having lost the points so late in the game the previous week, what Fanzines needed was a confidence boost. A three pointer. Welcome NWM Olympico; second from bottom. On the wrong end of a rare goal fest earlier in the campaign. It was almost as if the fixture Gods were smiling down on us. But, as regular readers will be aware, sure things are not the Fanzines way.

With Jamie absent (back injury), Shawy had to make his regular reshuffle to an ever changing eleven. Joe dropped back to partner Rich, Dave stepped in to support Franco and Panc was asked to assist hall of fame newbie Steve.

In the sunshine, Fanzines started very slowly. Olympico were allowed to dominate the exchanges, stretching the back line for large periods of the opening twenty minutes. Unsurprisingly the deadlock was broken shortly after. A long throw could have been dealt with before it was partially cleared into the path of an Olympican(?). His shot found its way through a crowd and into the net.

The equaliser came shortly after. Panc was able to beat one defender, ‘nudge’ a second off the loose ball before the ‘nudge’ was returned. The result, a penalty much to the disgust of the visitors and the surprise of the hosts. Panc opted to take; his comedy Jonny Wilkinson style run up fortunately silenced the baying Olympicans.

The parity was short lived. Moments after the restart, Olympico were awarded a very dubious free kick. Its delivery was met at the near, the flick found its way in at the far.

Words of encouragement at the break and a belief that we were very capable of putting in the performance that would get the points.

The second half started well enough. Fanzines still seemed content to prod and probe without really stretching the visitors, although one sublime cross saw Rich (!) very nearly double his career tally with a header. Dan went close when he clipped the bar with a speculative effort, whilst Steve saw his opportunist header after a ‘keeper error strike an upright. Sandwiched between these was a couple of very good saves. Still plenty of time to go, and Fanzines were definitely on top.

Midway through the half Olympico, on a rare attack, were gifted a penalty. Had he not (incorrectly) awarded the free kick that had led to their second, the neutral would say that the referees decision to point to the spot was his way of levelling things. But the innocuous tangle of legs made three wrongs, none of which made a right.

The penalty was dispatched, the lead increased and the combination of frustration and panic saw Fanzines required to chase the game.

Olympico seemed to adapt to the counter attacking style far better than anticipated. This meant the back four were otherwise engaged when the requirement was their attacking support. It was one of the visitors rare forward runs that ended the game as a contest. A well struck effort was equally well saved, the rebound was unfortunately deflected in.

Whilst most of the personnel remained the same, the visitors were almost unrecognisable to the side that had been so poor in the reverse fixture. Whether complacency had something to do with the outcome, I guess we’ll never know. But with three elusive points required to guarantee survival (and a very scary looking run in), now is not the time to take anything for granted.

Team: Kip©, Silv, Joe, Rich, Dan (Andy), Dave, Franco (Tom), Lewis, Steve, Panc
Goals: Panc
MOM: Pankaj Beri
NWM Olympico's MON nomination: Pankaj Beri

Cropwell United 5 Fanzines United 0
15 Apr 2012

It would be easy to write a damning report of Fanzines’ latest failure. It would be just as easy to make a defence for the performance; injuries and absences, conspiracy- like road closures hindering pre- match preparation, Mother Nature (dazzling sunshine and gale like winds) and a pitch not conducive with Fanzines’ flowing football. But lets avoid the excuses and stick to the facts.

For the first ten minutes Fanzines were able to compete. Early hesitation to the robust, tough tackling hosts eroded and Fanzines started to grow in confidence, coming to terms with the undulating surface. However, with only fifteen minutes gone a horrendous error saw the ball given away, an unimpeded cross to an unmarked striker, the easiest of tasks to stroke home.

The deficit was doubled shortly after; a carelessly conceded free kick was drilled into the danger area and the attempted clearance flew in.

To their credit Fanzines didn’t let their heads drop. An effort went close from distance (Fanzines first strike on target in three games against Cropwell!) and then a lofted freekick caused some unrest. The forward line hustled and bustled, the midfield huffed and puffed and the rear-guard, despite some unsavoury finger pointing and name calling, did a decent enough job of damage limitation. Zero two at the break and the visitors could probably have considered themselves unlucky.

The second forty five was contested in stark contrast to the first. Whether Cropwell upped their game or Fanzines dropped theirs, I’m not sure. But there were flashes of brilliance from Cropwell, highlighting the difference in the league standings. True, the wind was a huge hindrance, but in all honesty Cropwell were by far the superior side. Number three came early in the half; dogged work and a pull back from the by-line saw another easy tap in. There were several lovely passages that resulted in efforts narrowly off target, long range shots that were all off target and a couple of (correct) off side decisions that would have resulted in three against one scenarios.

The fourth goal was as disappointing as it was comical. Once again a free kick was struck into a crowded area; the opportunity to clear was overlooked and the result ended the game.

There were little moments of encouragement. Once upon a time Fanzines would have employed the long ball to chase the game. This time, with the elements stacked against them, they decided to build from the back. Several times they caused concern at the opposite end, switching from side to side. Not once did anyone deviate from a pass and move ethic that has started to creep into the Fanzines way. People communicated, passed, encouraged and looked up. Simple balls were played. Tackles were made. Unfortunately there was no reward.

With seconds remaining Cropwell added a fifth. A carbon copy of the third (cut back, tap in). In my opinion, five flattered them. But, the outcome was fair.

Three games to go. At the moment the league position could be anything from fourth from top to third from bottom. With the EMPAL officials speculating of a reintroduction of a fourth division, relegation is a real possibility. Final push most definitely required…

Team: Kip©, Andy, Rich, Tom, Ant, Dave, Ste, Joe, Lewis (Mat), Panc, Jamie.
Goals: Still none
MOM: Steve Connor

Fanzines United 3 Kinoulton Villa 2
18 Apr 2012

A sloppy kind of midweek evening in Ruddington where a couple of pitch inspections, a few dark mutters and an array of sceptical glances couldn't deter the heroes of Fanzines from embarking on other footballing adventure. Maybe spurred by the prospect of abrupt cancellation should another downpour ensue, the home side roared out of the soggy blocks, their brand of battling honesty perhaps more suited to the conditions than the flouncy petulant showboating arrogance of some of the opposition's numbers. But don't go thinking that this is just a team of grafters, oh no sirree. We're far too flimsy for that. There's silk amongst the grit, as shown when - BAM - Stephen played a neat one-two with Pank on the edge of the box and guided the ball into the top corner. And THWACK - Joe nonchalantly floated a delicious shot into the top corner from 40 yards. And WALLOP - Jamie cracked a third after some fantastic link-up play with the returning special guest star Charlie Gardiner.

Somewhat annoyed, Kinoulton decided to exploit a secret weakness by smashing in two goals via headers from set-pieces (how original!), but thanks to some determined defending, some spilt blood and the reduced playing time, Fanzines were able to cling on to the lead and grab a lovely bunch of three points to secure a mid-table finish. Which is nice.

Team: Broughton, Silver, R Shaw, Tebbutt, Hall, Doorly, Greenwood, Connor (Chappell), Bower, Berri, A Shaw (Gardiner)
Goals: Connor, Doorly, Bower
MOM: Joe Doorly

Fanzines United 0 Nottingham Medics A 1
24 Apr 2012

Forget the result. It is irrelevant. For this was the finest team performance by Fanzines all season, the kind of performance that has been glimpsed in patches this year only to dissipate when error or ill fortune intervened. Finally, this was a team that worked together, stuck together, played together for 90 minutes, without complaint or accusation, with endeavour and skill.

Yes, we lost. Lost to a magnificent strike, a break from a Fanzines corner, and a shot under pressure from 30 yards that evaded Dave's outstretched leg and Kip's outstretched glove. A shot that the player tried and failed to emulate for the rest of the game. But either side of that strike this was a game played in good spirits and at a high tempo, against the strongest side that the champions elect had to offer, and one where neither side ever had the upper hand.

For some of Fanzines' interplay here was simply breathtaking. One move in particular started with Lewis on our touchline, and ended with Lewis having a shot in their penalty box, the ball having being swept from one side of the pitch to the other, and back again, all with one or two touch passes, always under control yet always under pressure. And in the second half, whilst the clear chances never came, not for one moment was the workrate dropped, or the opposition given time on the ball. It was great to see.

After all, what's the point of playing if victory is the only aim? There are higher goals than that and, finally, Fanzines hit the target.

Team: Broughton, Silver, R Shaw, Collinson (Barker), Greenwood, Doorly, Chappell (A Shaw), Connor, Bower, Berri, Bradley
MOM: James Silver

Nottingham Medics A 2 Fanzines United 1
9 May 2012

It started with a defeat in September followed by one win in six, and ended with a defeat to cap off a run of one win in seven, but in between, there were some good bits you know.

This final match of the season perhaps embodied what has been an up-and-down season, coming as it did with fine attacking play; sharp, incisive football; battling qualities throughout and a tendency to capitulate at any given moment. Playing against now-champions Notts Medics was never going to be easy, but Fanzines could feel aggrieved at not coming away with something.

Fanzines started the brighter of the two teams – quick in the tackle and accurate in possession, but even they might not have expected a goal within the first five minutes after fine interplay between Stephen and Pank. The latter slipped a perfectly weighted ball through to Lewis who easily dispatched past the onrushing goalkeeper to take him into double figures for the season.

Medics slowly woke from their slumber, although Kip only had one thing to do in the first half, which  was to practise his now well-rehearsed act of despair as Fanzines conceded from yet another set-piece. Medics had more of the possession but were erratic in their finishing, while Fanzines prodded and probed at the other end without ever really creating.

Half-time calls for more communication and a bit more belief were heeded as Fanzines began brightly; Joe stopping everything coming through the middle, Dave and Silver linking up on the right and Jamie holding up everything he could. It was the frontman who created a fine chance for himself with typical hustle and bustle, but his shot ended up going straight to the keeper, and later another  free-flowing move saw Pank whip a delightful ball onto J’s lovely head, but he nodded  just the wrong side of the post.

Tiredness began to show and Medics were beginning to slice their way through the defence with worrying frequency, and they must have thought they had taken the lead on 80 minutes with a cracking drive from the edge of the box. Kip, however, had other ideas, saving his best save of the season until last as he deflected the shot onto the bar. That was simply a warning though, and with just one minute to go, the Medics frontmen combined to pass their way through a static defence, and a sliced finish left Kip with no chance.

So 2-1, and two games in quick succession against a team who have won the league with relative ease, but will doubtless look back on these two games as two of their toughest. Who knows what next season will hold, but if Fanzines can perform like they did against the best team in the league on a regular basis, they’ll be just fine.


Team: Broughton, Silver, Morris, Shaw, Tebbutt, Greenwood (Wray), Doorly (Francis), Connor, Bradley, Beri, Bower.
Goal: Bradley
MOM: Stephen Connor

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