Under 12 Tawnys

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Manager: Ted Taylor

Mobile: 07970 731365

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Assistant Manager: Carl Watkinson

Mobile: 07752 711155

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The team play in the Leicestershire Foxes Sunday League 11v11- Division 3

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Oadby Owls Tawnys 4 Birstall Utd 0 - 28th April 2013 (League)

Risking the wrath of the formidable 'Mrs W' (who has just stormed off for a sunbed) I thought instead of doing one of the countless jobs she has been telling me to do - admittedly for a while now - I would sit down at my desk and file one last report for the Tawnys. I have missed a few matches out recently, so I should really begin with a brief recollection of the last couple of weeks. 

The midweek match against Wigston (away) was a shambles. With a dodgy penalty miss, a slightly more than 'slightly partisan' ref and a performance    by both teams which looked more like a division 4 clash, the 2-2 result had all the ingredients of a match I'd like to forget.....but can't!

Then we went to Melton for a lunch time kick off. Sadly this encounter was cut short and subsequently abandoned after one of the Melton lads unfortunately broke his leg. I have since heard that the lad in question has left hospital and is recovering well. I wish him all the best for a speedy return to football.

The next match was Melton again, this time at home, but with, who I suspect is, their best forward out of action, Melton posed very little threat. This was fortunate as with James suffering, and Tom absent for the second half, anything could have happened to the defense. Mercifully after the debacle against Wigston, we seemed a little more organised up front and ran out three unanswered goals to the good.

Last Sunday, we entertained Birstall Utd at home. This was, remember, a Birstall side that ran us very close early in the season. I remember the final frantic five minutes and how well we hung on to a 3-2 away win. I also vividly remember Sunday lunch that day, and yet still cannot definitively say if it was chicken or beef!  James has since concluded that it might have been a chicken who secretly wanted to be a cow. But either way, we'll never really know for certain..........which I guess, is a bit like this match. Have we grown stronger, or have Birstall got weaker?

The result was 4-0 to the good guys. But really even that doesn't prove anything. I don't remember them forcing a corner in the first half, or even Oadby having to take a goal kick. We pressurized from the beginning, and never gave them time to settle. The first goal was an own goal, which only ever happens if the defense is being forced backwards. All the other goals scored were the result of fast attacking play, and at times, some breathtakingly good passing. It was very good to watch, and yet quite infuriating at the same time.

This is a team which has an abundance of natural talent. And yet, as with the Wigston match, sometimes, natural talent isn't enough. We need to think more, communicate more, keep our shape - and composure - a lot better than is occasionally the case. For example, there are matches when we rely too heavily on the through ball. It's not a bad tactic, especially with someone like Harrison or Henry always seemingly willing to chase down the slimmest of chances. However, if it's evident that the opposition possess an equally fast, or sometimes, an even faster defender, then that tactic needs to be abandoned. The match against Birstall proved this. It proved that we can build our attacks with intelligence, speed and accurate passing. We should not be afraid to pass backwards, if the path ahead is blocked, because from there, we can build again. But it's often the case that the player on the ball doesn't know that there is someone backing them up. This is a matter of simple communication. Let them know where you are. In case you are needed. Tom and James seem to manage it in defense, but it needs to happen all the way up to the H's.

This is not intended to be taken as negative criticism. I say it because I want this team to be able to compete for a top spot next year. I say it because I believe it can compete for a top spot. But we will not do it without being more organized.

And just in case one or two of you think, 'here we go, he's in his Victor Meldrew/Arsene Wenger mood'. I'm not. I've watched these lads play in gales, in blizzards, in lashing rain, I've watched them play on every type of pitch from bone crunching ice, through arctic tundra to strength sapping mud, where dodging pools of standing water is a necessary tactic. I've seen them play some outstanding football, (Ratby away springs to mind) and have nothing but admiration for them all. Their spirit is wonderful. Their commitment, immense and admirable. All I want is for them to consistently play as well as I know they can. And I'm sure all we, as parents want, is to watch this fantastic group of lads get the results I think they deserve. 

It's time to play at the next level.

My thanks go out to, Tom, Finn, Sonny, Joe, Ben, Harrison, Henry, Jack, Bobby, Jak, Billy, Cole, Ryan and James. My gratitude also goes out to Ted and Carl, for giving up their free time to help shape all the above into a football team.  

OOPS, the recently returned (and bronzed) looking Mrs W is not happy.

"Have you done it yet?" She asks.

"Just about to." I lie. (I want to add a 'dear' but realizing the futility of it, I don't) It's not that I'm lazy, but.............LIST OF THINGS TO DO. It says on the piece of paper thrust into my hand.

No.1 Take Christmas tree down.

Ah well, best get to it. So as they say at the end of all the best cartoons............THAT'S ALL FOLKS. 

Player of the Day:  James Wyche.

Goals Scorers: Bobby, Jack, Billy, and 1 O.G

Hinckley Utd 5 Oadby Owls Tawnys 2 - 10th March 2013 (League)

I don't know about anyone else, but it felt strange to lose a match 2-5 and get home feeling that we deserved at least a point from the game!

This match was played in near blizzard conditions and, had it not been so cold, I would have taken my hat off to both teams for trying to play decent football on a very slippery pitch. Hinckley are a well drilled side who build their attacks nicely with speed and neat passes through midfield, and almost from the whistle they put oadby under a lot of pressure. The defense held firm and somehow, somewhat against the run of play, a counter attack finished by a fine Henry strike found the Tawnys a goal to the good. This, however, only served to galvanize a vexed Hinckley squad who were soon back on level terms.

Then we did our now famous 'rabbits caught in headlights impersonation' (or 'ball watching exercise' to you and me). We gave them far too much room. We let them spend far too much time thinking about what they were going to do next. We let them do what they wanted to do. And you can't do this with a team like Hinckley. Two quick goals followed and little surprise, it was 1-3.

Half-time was looming when James rifled a free kick into their penalty area for Cole to poke home from short range and make it 2-3 as the whistle went.

On for the start of the second half, came the identical twins. For the first ten minutes or so, we were all over them. We pushed, we threatened, we bullied. We played excellent football, all up to the moment when the ball should have been put in the back of the net. Henry went close, Harrison went close, Cole went close, but somehow, it would just not go in. Just one goal at this stage would have changed the entire complexity of this game. Having said that, credit must go to the Hinckley forwards, they only had two real solid chances in this half and they took both of them well.

It was 2-5 at the end, but it should have been very different. This leads me to believe that a summer shopping list should be something like:

1/ A quality forward. To take some of the (enormous) pressure (and weekly expectation) off Henry and Harrison.

2/ A quality left sided defender. This would allow James to fulfill his role as a sweeper and let Cole push up into that void between the sweeper and the halfway line.

3/ A new car for me, I think mine is falling to pieces.                             

Player of the Day:  Sonny. Great keeping in very difficult circumstances.

Goals Scorers: Henry, Cole.

Braunstone Trinity 4 - Oadby Owls Tawnys 3 - 24th February 2013 (League Cup)

Never mind the old adage about football being a game of two halves - or in West Ham's case, a game of 85 minutes - this match was a game of 4 quarters. 

In the first quarter, I heard it said that Oadby played the best football. It was true that we were passing it around a lot, and passing it well, but we were not making any in-roads on the Braunstone goal. Indeed, to be honest, I think a well organised Braunstone defense had the better of this period. They kept their shape and, under the leadership of their very impressive No 6, stood their ground. And when this happens, we seem to run out of ideas. Then, as is so often the case, momentum swings, and confidence builds in favour of the other team. Braunstone only had a couple of chances during this quarter, but took both of them well.

It was 0-2, but it shouldn't have been.

The second quarter was mostly clueless. Braunstone seemed content with going into half time with a good lead and Oadby seemed content to chase after the ball without much idea of what to do with it when they had it. We never threatened, we never looked like scoring. Only Cole showed any imagination and decided it was time to take a more direct approach. He collected the ball just outside the penalty area rounded a couple of players and shot home from short range.

Would this inspire the rest of the team? It was 1-2. It was half time.

In the third quarter, the answer to the question above, was sadly, no. More poor football followed. We were sloppy and slow and were soon 1-4 behind.

What happened in the last quarter, was very odd.

My theory is that you have all been having a bit of a laugh at my expense and this is actually a team - apart from James, that is - made up entirely from identical twins. At some point, when you see that I am not paying attention, you all quickly substitute the non-football playing twin for the football playing one. It's the only explanation. Suddenly we were all over them. The two H's were testing the defense with pace and intelligence and found that they were not that good after all. We were 'at them', we were causing them to panic, we were hitting the bar, going inches wide - more than once - we were creating chances and, as I've said before, when you create chances, more often than not, you score. And we did. Twice!

But then the whistle went, and it was too too late.

3-4 to Braunstone. And before it had really began, it meant, our cup runneth over. 

We can all rue dodgy refereeing decisions. And true, it did seem as if a push on their player in our penalty box was not equal to a push on Harrison in their penalty box, but, the fact is that this game should have been won long before a last minute penalty was not given. The fact is we spent much of this game playing as if we didn't really want to win.     

This is a daft approach to football. We are not a daft football team.

But we need to prove it.                  

Player of the Day: Cole and Henry.

Goals Scorers: Cole, Henry and Harrison.

Oadby Owls Tawnys 1 Leicester Nirvana 5 - 17th February 2013 (League)

1-1 at half-time slightly flattered Oadby.

1-5 at full time massively flattered Nirvana.

A bad day at the office. Nothing more.

Player of the Day: Jack Beale. 

Goals Scorers: Henry (Roberto Carlos) Bevins.

Ratby Sports 4 Oadby Owls Tawnys 5 - 10th February 2013 (League)

My Sunday morning (sporting) wish list would have been a win for the Tawnys, a win for England against Ireland, and a win for the Hammers at Villa Park. I thought England might just shade a narrow kicking game playing a very physical Irish team, and hoped West Ham might just scrape an away win. As for the Tawnys, well if the preceding mid-week texts from Ted were anything to go by, things were not looking good for a full house of three out of three wishes. I found an empty bottle (of Lucasade sport) and was disappointed when no matter how hard I rubbed it, no Genie emerged. I would have to leave everything to fate.

Ratby as I have mentioned before, are a good side. Their players are confident, competent, and fast. They defend well, knock the ball nicely about in mid-field, and strike with accuracy and pace. The early moments of the first half went much as I expected them to. It was mostly the home team doing the attacking. Oadby were defending on instinct, weathering the storm (and the weather) through determination, and to be honest, a bit of luck. Ratby were getting the best of the loose balls, the best of the stray bounces - and though I might get into Rob Farrar's bad books for this - the best of some poor decisions. To end the half at only 0-1 down, almost felt like a success.

By the start of the second half, the rain soaked pitch had become a mud bath. Good football was no longer on the agenda, it would now be down to guts and spirit. Then Oadby went 0-2 down. would the flood gates now open. How would Oadby respond? Would Oadby respond!

Of course they would. This is an entirely different team to the early season Tawnys.

Numerically, the rest of the half went. 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-3, 4-3, 5-3, 5-4. But 'numerically' doesn't come close to telling the real story.

Oadby were little short of magnificent. I've been trying to think of an instance to sum up this performance in one sentence. It might be Henry's magical free kick - or even his wonderful header. It might be James' more than professional defensive display at the back. It might be the muddy heroics of Sonny in goal - least I think it was sonny, difficult to tell after the first half hour or so. Might even be Tom who carried on playing even though his hand had just been stamped on. It could be any of the above, or many more by players I can't even mention! The moment I've chosen to sum up this display is Harrison's goal line effort. So determined was he to score, when his shot stuck in the mud on the line, and a Ratby player threatened a clearance, that he charged at both, and I think that the Ratby player hit the back of the net harder than the ball.

This match had many similarities with the England rugby performance later in the afternoon. Hard graft and spirit won the day. Well done to everyone today. You were all, brilliant.......unlike the Hammers.

As for my wish list, well you can't have everything. And as Mr Meatloaf once sang.....'Two out of Three ain't bad.' 

Player of the Day: James.  Had a lot to do and did all of it well. 

Goals Scorers: Henry (2) Harrison 2) Ryan.

Oadby Owls Tawnys 5 Wigston United 2 - 3rd February 2012 (League)

I made three resolutions this year.

1/. To not learn to speak Swahili. (Going very well)

2/. To not start doing crack-cocaine. (managing it, so far - but the price is coming down and it will soon be cheaper than cigarettes!)  

3/. To talk more about football in these reports. (Not looking good, if the opening sentences are anything to go by. However...we'll see).

The match against Ketton seemed a long time ago, and with such a lengthy break, I wondered, before the kick off, if the excellent momentum, and pleasing team spirit we built up at the back end of last year was still there. Wigston, it's not unfair to say, are not a strong side. That said, they did beat us in a (dubious) cup match, a match still has to be won, and as everyone knows, in 60 minutes of junior football, anything can happen.

There was no need to panic. From the beginning we were all over them and the first half felt like a team happy to be playing together again. With very few loose balls not won, and plenty of available passing options, we dominated, pressed, worked hard, and the 2-0 lead we took into half-time was no less than we deserved.

If the first was good, the second half was truly excellent. It wasn't really the number of goals we scored that made it so good to watch, moreover, it was the attitude of every single player in the team. Everyone was positive. Everyone did what they should. The defence was solid, the midfield, likewise, and up-front, Harrison and Henry did what they are supposed to do. This was a business like effort, with no frills, no heroics, just plain, workman-like football.

In many ways it was the perfect match for the start of the second half of the season. Sonny, now standing in for the injured Olly had time to get used to his new role. Bobby and Jack are developing nicely down the flanks, and are continuing to trouble the opposition with crosses of ever greater accuracy. Tom and James had lots of time and plenty of space to renew their partnership, Cole is impressing more and more, and the two H's carried on where they left off before Christmas. There are much tougher tests to come. We have to cope with the speed of Loughborough, and Nirvana, and match Ratby for their skill, and sheer dogged determination, but there were many signs today that showed we can do it. Well done to everyone, you were all very, very good today.                   

Player of the Day: Cole Wilden.

Goals Scorers: Henry Bevins (3) Harrison Vincent (2)

Ketton Juniors 1 Oadby Owls Tawnys 6 - 9th December 2012 (League)

A few years ago I was invited down to R.A.F Duxford by a couple of friends. There, it was my privilege to get up close and personal with the Mk Vb Spitfire which they had just helped rebuild. Sitting in it, was a thrill, but what I remember most, was watching the chaotic way the Merlin V12 engine coughs and splutters into life. The firing order seems random. There seems to be no order at all, but then, somehow, after a few moments, something magical happens. When all twelve cylinders are running smoothly, and in harmonious sequence, my god, what a glorious sound that is.

I was thinking about that day at Duxford on the way back from Ketton this afternoon because in a strange way, today's match reminded me of that Spitfire engine. In the opening minutes of the first half, we seemed to cough and splutter a lot, without achieving very much at all. Nobody was doing anything wrong; or playing badly. We were trying hard, as always, but somehow, within ten minutes, we still found ourselves at 0-1. We seemed to be enjoying more of the ball than Ketton, and created many more chances, but annoyingly, something remained elusive.

Even a scrambled equalizer didn't seem to change anything for a while. But then. Just before halftime, like that wonderful moment before a Merlin engine roars into a mechanical symphony, something almost magical happened. Eleven players seemed to became one, they moved, as one, they played as one, and it was of no surprise to me that on the stoke of halftime, we took the lead.

Ketton Juniors are a good team. Their football is uncomplicated, and, as we found out at the beginning of the season, it is highly effective. But in the second half they must have felt, as the Luftwaffe must have felt, when trying to deal with a Spitfire. They had no answer to a team firing on all cylinders. We outplayed them in every part of the pitch. We dealt with them in defense, and moved the ball with accuracy and haste through midfield. Up front Harrison, Henry and Bobby threatened every time they had the ball. We had pace, desire, and energy seemingly in abundance. We muscled our way through when a pass wasn't on, and vice, I'm happy to say, versa. We poached a goal, even headed a goal, and from a James free kick, a cleaver touch from Harrison found Henry who's sublime turn and shot was surely the move and goal of the day.

Everyone had their moment to day; everyone played their part. It was a performance of a team in full flow. And it was a joy to watch.

Now Know what you're thinking. You're saying to yourself, 'but wait! you can't end this report without letting us know the correct firing sequence of the Mk Vb Spitfire Rolls Royce Merlin engine.'  

And I wouldn't. It's, 1A-6B-4A-3B-2A-5B-6A-1B-3A-4B-5A-2B.

I,m off to try to get professional help (and play badminton with my imaginary friend) but would like to end by wishing anyone reading this, especially everyone connected with Oadby Owls Tawnys.

A very happy and safe, Christmas.                              

Player of the Day: Jak Denton.

Scorers: Henry Bevins (2) Jak Denton. Harrison Vincent. Jack Beale. Bobby Brown. 












































































































































Goals Scorers: 

Wigston Utd 4 Oadby Owls Tawnys 3 (A.E.T) - 2nd December 2012 (County Cup)

Another Sunday. Another dodgy pitch. Does anyone else want to do these reports? I hate moaning, but as the winter progresses, and the pitches get worse, I find that more and more, I'm turning into Victor Meldrew!...

....But anyway, back to the beginning...

With the sled-dogs howling their impatience outside, my wife said to me. "You can't go out wearing that jumper!"

"Why not?" says I.

"You've got food down the front of it!"

It was true. However. "...But I might get hungry at half-time."

Suzanne's incredulity was eloquently expressed by the raising of one eyebrow, a slight shake of the head, and a gentle - but firm - nudge out of the door.  And so, with a crack of the whip, we were of to the frozen waste-lands of Wigston.

I wasn't hungry at half-time, I was completely mystified. How in the name of Hades, were we 1-2 down. We had by far a good majority of possession. We created more chances than I can remember. We totally out played them.

On an pitch so icy that the start had to be delayed 15 minutes. And where, on an adjacent pitch, the match was postponed (the ground being, 'unfit and dangerous') I can only sympathize with the team who tried their utmost to play decent football. If I had to pick one moment to sum up the first half, it would be a tackle on Tom T. He was fouled, but the free kick went the other way. Then a fairly innocuous ball was knocked through the penalty area, and was heading out, when it was sliced by Jo into his own goal. Nobody could blame Jo. But it did kind of highlight the way this match was heading.

The second half, thanks to Harrison, we won 2-1. But the with a ball covered in frost, and getting increasingly wet and heavy, good football was never going to be on the menu. How many times did the ball slice of the boot of an Oadby foot only to land nicely for Wigston? I certainly lost count. Even the equalizer, a second or two from full time, didn't seem right some how!

If the pitch was bad, and some decisions were suspect, then extra time was a farce. True the Wigston goal was a quality strike, and I think on balance, their players showed more desire to win than ours. But each extra period, was only five minutes long! At best this is inconsistent, at worst, it is just plain unfair. I'm not saying that we would have won, but I do think we deserved - and should have been given - a chance to find out.

I will carry on with these reports, because as my wife has just pointed out, I do actually rather enjoy moaning. And my wife is always right. But I think it's not Victor Meldrew I'm turning into, it's Arsene Wenger, and as he would say.

"Errr...I sink er....per..raps errrr, zis woz a match zat maybe-er should..av errr, never av append today."

And for once, he would be right.              

Player of the Day: Harrison Vincent - for tireless running and more   

Goals Scorers: Harrison Vincent (2) and Bobby Brown.

Leicester Nirvana 4 Oadby Owls Tawnys 4 - 18th November 2012 (League)

Legend has it that on Christmas day, 1915, members of the Royal Welch Fusiliers climbed out of their icy trenches and played a game of football against their German counterparts in the space between the two front lines known as no-mans land. No one knows the score (the Germans probably won on penalties) and although that God-forsaken strip of land had been bombed, and fought over for almost 14 months, I'll bet it was in better condition than Nirvana's pitch at Hamilton Park.

It was a swamp! A bog! And it was not going to lend itself to a game of football for the purists!

To their great credit, Oadby persevered with their passing game. They were playing more elegant football than Nirvana, and enjoying greater possession. But the pitch was against them. Standing water was a problem. And when three or four defence-slicing passes out to Jack on the wing failed due to the ball stopping as suddenly as a schoolchild caught running in the corridor, something has to change.

Nirvana handled the conditions slightly better than we did for the first ten minutes, and against the run of play, they were soon two up, courtesy of two scrappy goals. But I think it's a sign of the growing maturity of this Oadby team that they seemed collectively to realise that if they were to get anything from this game, they would have to muscle, like Nirvana, and they would have to work, like Nirvana worked. Again, great credit to them all. The football may not have been elegant anymore, but thanks to particularly strong play by Harrison and Bobby around the penalty area, Oadby were back on level terms by half time.

(Talking of standing water, Bobby's goal contained a heart stopping moment when, although his shot had beaten their keeper, the ball splashed to momentary halt in the two inches of muddy brown liquid on the goal line and in horror I thought, it was not going to go any further. I was near the goal and it took a lot of self-restraint not to nip round the goal-post and kick it in myself. Mercifully, it rolled over the line, and spared my blushes.)

Good football was even harder to play in the second half. So much mud clung to the ball, at times it looked as if it was Fred Flintstones' bowling ball. Oadby continued to dominate, and but for the ball being kicked out of Olly's hands, they would not have found themselves, behind again. It was unlucky, though there didn't seem to be any need to panic. We were creating chances. We were outplaying them. It was only a matter of time.

Cue Henry B and an equalizer of pure class. 3-3. A silly mistake let Nirvana re-take the lead. Oadby though were not finished by a long way. A shot by Tom was headed off the line, and another lad had an excellent chance but 'spooned' one over the bar (I say 'another lad' to not embarrass the particular  individual - but next time, head over ball, eh jack) Henry's second rescued a draw for Oadby, and I thought as the whistle went for full time, that we deserved more from this match. Then I realized that if we have learnt what can happen if we play like this for the full hour, then that is reward enough. I have never seen this team work so hard as they did today. Each and everyone should be congratulated. Everyone should feel very proud of themselves. It was a great team effort.

In 1915, the match ended when a British General raged at the troops 'You are here to kill the Hun, not embrace him.' Most of the details of that Christmas day have not been recorded, but when the Royal Welch Fusiliers trudged back to their trenches, I expect they had at least two things in common with the Tawnys as they left the pitch at Hamilton Park; they were both covered in mud, and probably both a little wiser from their experience.                         

Player of the Day: Bobby Brown.

Goals Scorers: Harrison Vincent. Bobby Brown. Henry Bevins (2)

Oadby Owls Tawnys 4 Ratby Sports 7 - 11th November 2012 (League)

In which direction do the hands on a clock turn? Clockwise I hear you say! But do they? From the clock's perspective, they turn anti-clockwise. The (slightly existential) point is, there are two ways you can look at just about anything. Here's another example. Every day, my wife wakes up....I mean, every-bloody-day.......but then again, who else on this entire planet would care enough about the cleanliness of our kitchen floor, to buy me a new mop!!

And yet another example would be our match on Sunday against Ratby Sports.

On the one hand, it's another defeat. Another Sunday league game without points - incidentally, at this level at least, why not, 4pts for a win, 2pts for a draw, and a bonus point for a defeated team that scores more than 3 goals. this would reward both attacking play, and effort!. But on the other hand, a cursory glance at the score line doesn't come close to describing the positives Oadby can take away from this game. Indeed I would suggest that there are more good things to be taken from this 4-7 loss than there was from last week's 9-1 win.

And I hope all the team takes note.

Ratby's style of play is different to Oadby's. They defend in numbers and try to score on the break. Oadby are developing a (very pleasing) passing game which, when it works, is excellent to watch. At times we were extremely good. We passed with speed and accuracy, and gained ground every time. We enjoyed the majority of possession, but unfortunately, we couldn't finish what we started. We were caught out twice, by their forwards, and at 0-2 down I feared the worst. But Oadby showed great heart in this match, we didn't panic - as once we might have - and before long we'd leveled the score at 2-2. We continued to play our football, always forcing them back, and a foul on Ben should have resulted in a penalty. Sadly though, after an uncharacteristic mistake by Olly, instead of going into the break 3-2 up, we were 2-3 down.

Not long after the break we were level again, and not long after that, we were down 3-4. Spaces were opening up as legs tired from end to end football. But neither team showed any signs that that they were read to give up. Oadby continued to play their football, and when Deno got the ball on the edge of their penalty area, he curled in a beautiful strike to make it 4 each.

It was never going to be the last goal though.

I will not report on the final 7 minutes of this game. Suffice it to say, 'old habits die hard!'

Instead I would like to congratulate Ratby Sports for playing their part in a thoroughly entertaining, and pulsating match. They deserved 3 points if, for nothing else, for teaching Oadby that you must play for the whole hour! I would also like to congratulate all Oadby players, for their skill, their determination, and for trying their hardest to play exciting football. I predict that if they continue to play this way, the wins will come, and our lowly place in league two, will improve. Well done to everyone. You are slowly becoming a very good football team.                          

Player of the Day: James Wyche.

Goals Scorers: Harrison Vincent (2) Henry Bevins and Jak Denton.  

Oadby Owls Tawnys 9  Highfield Rangers 1 - 4th November 2012 (County Cup)

A cold, wet, and breezy Sunday! A former 1st division side! A cup match! A long half-term break! A team, that hasn't played together since we lost to....well, that hasn't played together for a while..... a potential banana skin of a game!......WRONG!!

This was by far the performance of the season so far. Forget the score-line (numerically, the only important thing in a cup match, is that we score more goals than they do) what made this performance so impressive, was the nature of the way the Tawnys went about their business. Apart from the opening few minutes when Olly was forced into making a fine save, Highfield were never in this match. From then on, Oadby did just about everything right. The first half was played with the wind and rain in the opposition's faces, which, like firing in high shots when the sun is in the eyes of the opposition's goalie, is always a good ploy, and within 15 minutes or so, Oadby led by 3 well taken goals.

There's a lot to be said about having pace up front, and Harrison and Henry rarely let us down in this department. What impressed me though about the football Oadby were playing towards the end of the first half, was the way we were now relying less on pace, but rather, we were 'working' the ball forward. We were finding space, we were moving, and passing, the net result of which, is always to find even more space.  Highfield, looked thoroughly deflated. They were barely clearing past the half-way line, and if they did, Tom and James were there to put a swift and businesslike end to any ideas they may of had of mounting a counter-attack. From Deno's corners, to Jack's crossing, everything was working like clockwork. Highfield had no answers at all and were forced to pick the ball out of their own goal two more times as the whistle blew for half-time.

As a parent, there is something nerve-wracking about watching under 12's play football. We began the second half 5-0 up, yet still I thought, another two or three, and we'll probably be safe!! Shouldn't have worried though, we just carried on dominating as we had before. We kept possession, we were solid at the back, skillful in midfield, and punishing up front.

I rarely mention individual goals, unless they are special - most goals are usually a result of team effort after all - and I am a firm believer that football is a passing game. However, Billy Ferguson deserves a special mention this week for his solo (almost George Best-esque ) effort. It was a skillful piece of football, played at speed, with great balance, and finesse and possibly another contender for goal of the season. If anything, Billy's determination, summed up the effort of the whole team, for the whole match. We concentrated for the full hour. We worked hard, and played well, in difficult conditions, from whistle to whistle.

We did what we should do. We won.                             

Player of the Day:  Another close one this week (I'm glad to say) but well done to Bobby Brown.

Goals Scorers: Bobby Brown (3) Harrison Vincent (3) Henry Bevins (2) Billy Ferguson (1)

Loughborough Dynamo 5 Oadby Owls Tawnys 1 - 14th October 2012 (League)

Imagine my delight when Stephan Hawkin phoned and says, "Hello-Nick-fancy-a-Chinese-tonight?" Stephen is an old friend of mine and as I had been thinking a lot recently about quantum mechanics of micro-causality I thought who better to ask than the former Lucasian Professor of mathematics at Cambridge university. As it was my turn to pay, we had the 'Economical Set Dinner' for two (£16.10) and a bottle of 'House Red'

Stephen, it turns out likes, likes nothing more than to put on a disguise and, swapping his wheel chair for a Lambretta scooter, go and watch Sunday morning football. I could tell something was on his mind, other than theoretical physics, so I asked him what was bothering him. There was a pause of twenty minutes or so, then finally his voice synthesiser spoke.


He is not alone.

With expectations higher than the morning temperature we played well enough in the first half to suggest a draw or even a win might be on the cards. Loughborough are undoubtedly a good side, and before we really settled we were one, then two nil down. But, as if collectively we rolled up our sleeves, we then got down to business and began playing some good football ourselves. There was an outstanding sliding tackle from Tom, a wonder strike from Bobby (goal of the season, so far) and my personal favourite, a five or six pass move out of defence - at pace - that would make a Spaniard smile. 1-2 at half time, is not, I thought, too much to worry about.

But then what happened?

We stood back. We watched them play. We chased them around like the proverbial whatsit chickens. We gave them space, and time (carrying on the cosmological theme to this report) We let them do what they wanted to do. In short we rolled over and let them win. Statistically, taking the last two matches into consideration, I think it makes more sense to give away a penalty than a corner. We just cannot seem deal with them. And we must. It was a woeful exhibition of second half football by a team capable of so much more. I thought at the time, it was a real backward step, with hindsight, however, I don't believe it was. It was, I think, merely a very bad 30 minutes of football which a technically sound Loughborough team took full advantage of.

I also think that if Stephen Hawkin could have shook his head at the performance, he would have done.

But let's try to end this report on a positive note. Um.....er.....my headache's gone!...and for those who care, the awning went up in 2 hours and 5 minutes without a single swear word............So it's not all bad.               

Player of the Day: Tom Taylor. 

Goals Scorers: A cracker by Bobby Brown.

Saffron Dynamo 2 Oadby Owls Tawnys 2 A.E.T. Oadby won 3-2 on penalties - 7th October 2012 (County Cup)

What is your idea of Sunday drama? For some, it is evening T.V. You know the type of thing; Edwardian gentleman, leaning on an Edwardian mantelpiece smoking an Edwardian pipe, talking in a way I'm sure no Edwardian gentleman ever really spoke. For my kids, it's probably watching mum and dad spend 3 hours trying to put an awning up on a caravan - 3 hours! and we still didn't get it right. (Sorry about the language kids, but you can only trap your fingers so many times before the phrase 'dash it all, that really hurts' fails to come anywhere close to expressing your true feelings)  For me, Sunday drama, certainly sporting drama, is a cup match played between to evenly matched football teams.

Sunday's drama took place on cold and misty morning at the home ground of Saffron Dynamo where, even before a ball had been kicked, Oadby found themselves without their first choice goalkeeper.

Act I.

This was a cagey affair, like the opening minutes of a Benn/Eubank title fight, or the opening gambits of a Spassky/Fischer chess game. Both sides batted to control midfield, with only the occasional break to test each others defences. Neither goal keeper was seriously troubled, but both teams made it plain that they were there to play good football, and they were there to win. It was 0-0 at half-time, and if a division 2 team has the tag of underdog, when playing a team from division 1, then someone neglected to tell the Tawnys.

Act II

The sun was now out and the standard of football became even better. Harrison and Henry were now being rewarded for their tireless effort and were starting to find holes in the impressive Saffron defence. We were looking - it must be said - like the better team. We were putting the opposition under a lot of pressure, and that pressure paid off when Ben Watkinson found himself in the right place at the right time to slot home from short range. 1-0 to Oadby. Not long after we took the lead, however, some slack marking on the left wing gave the Saffron number 17 the chance and space he needed to run at the Oadby. It was a great left foot strike. It was 1-1. But it was also, far from over. There was no head-dropping, if anything, Oadby looked more determined than ever. We were winning first and second ball. we passed with confidence, and didn't panic when Saffron pushed forwards in numbers. We calmly played our way out of trouble, and from the touchline, we were still looking the better team. Then from a corner, a shot from James was spilled by the Saffron keeper and Harrison was at hand to poach a second for Oadby. It was 2-1, with minutes left, but with the Saffron coach screaming at his players, no one on either side dared to relax. The pace or the latter moments of normal time was frantic. Saffron forced a corner, and  almost inevitably, equalised with a well taken header. It was extra time.


I think both sides had a lot respect for each other now. Oadby's defence had been battered, but had only grown stronger. Saffron's defence should also be praised. Oadby's midfield won loose balls, and so did Saffron. We passed with accuracy, the opposition did likewise. Neither team were given anything as the first period of extra time came to a close.

Act IV

As with all second periods of extra time (with the spectre of penalties looming) the emphasis is not so much on attack, rather, it's more about not making mistakes. If anyone was suffering from nerves, it didn't show. If any felt tired, it didn't show either. There is a good spirit building in this Oadby team. I think there is a belief that they can now compete with the best teams. They showed great determination, and a huge will to win, but after 80 minutes of gruelling football, it was still 2-2. It was penalties.

Act V.

They say the penalty shoot-out is a cruel way of deciding a football match. That's not entirely accurate. It's only cruel when you lose. It's tough on the nerves. It's tough on those who miss (but should never detract from the excellent contribution made by a player during regulation play) It is also very exciting - even Tess got out her car to watch.

I can't speak for anyone else, but when I saw the look on the faces of Sunny (our excellent deputy goalkeeper) and penalty takers, Harrison, Henry and James, I knew we could not lose. And we didn't.             

Player of the Day: The whole team.

Goals Scorers: Harrison Vincent 2 (1 pen) Ben Watkinson. Henry Bevins (pen) James Wyche (pen)

Birstall Utd 2 Oadby Owls Tawnys 3 - 23rd September 2012 (League)

Where to begin this report? Perhaps I should begin on a personal note. Sunday morning was not shaping up to be a classic. There was the threat of heavy rain, the necessity of a trip across town to Birstall, and maybe most worrying of all, the threat from my wife, to 'cook' Sunday lunch (my wife, it must be said, is the only person I know who uses the smoke alarm as a food timer!)  All things considered, should I fill my flask with tea, or Vodka!

I chose tea and had a cupful whilst watching our pre-match warm up. Was it me, or was there something different about the team this week? There seemed to be an eagerness, almost an impatience gripping the whole squad to get on with things. Could they carry this into the match. I'll admit I was sceptical. But what a disservice I had done to these lads. We were little short of magnificent in the first half. We did just about everything right. We hassled when Birstall had possession, we passed when we had the ball. We found space, we moved, we pressed. Indeed we spent so much time camped in the Birstall half that I wondered if we should pay site fees? At one point, the Birstall coach screamed, 'come on lads, let's start playing football.' The truth was, we weren't letting them play. With James and Jack, developing a good partnership on the left, and Ryan and Joe doing likewise on the right, and Sonny and Cole getting stronger in mid-field, our forwards were free to do what they do best. We were linking five or six passes together, and gaining territory with every one. It seemed only a matter of time before we took the lead. And thanks to Harrison, with a well taken strike, we were soon 1-0 up.

It felt strangely at odds that they should equalise, but with the type of running volley, which only rarely comes off, Birstall made it 1-1. Oadby were having none of it, however, and within minutes Deno restored our lead ensuring that at half-time, we finished deservedly ahead.

My wife rang at half-time, 'how's it going?' she asked. 'We have been really good' I told her. 'How's lunch coming along?' She replied that she'd taken the battery out of the smoke alarm just as the whistle went for the re-start.

No team can dominate for an entire game, and Birstall began the second half well. We were getting pushed further and further back, and defending deeper and deeper with every minute. We gave them too much space and they began to find their passes. We were holding on, but only just. They scored a second, and we now into what I can only describe as a premier game of football. There was no head, or shoulder dropping from Oadby, only character, spirit, and determination. We were forcing them back, like a boxer finding his second wind. But Birstall were strong too. And only a magnificent double save from Ollie kept it from being 3-2 to the home side. We forced a corner, for no reward, and had a free kick that came to nothing. We had another corner and this time, Cole was in the six-yard box to poke the ball passed their stranded keeper. It was 3-2 to Oadby, and mercifully, after Birstall wasted a free kick in front of our goal, that was how it stayed.

This was a football match, as it should be played - and thanks must go to Birstall as well. Players played, coaches coached, and supporters, supported. This was everything good about junior football. Hell, it even made Sunday lunch (was it chicken, or beef?) taste good..  

Player of the Day: Very difficult, but Cole Wilden shades it.

Goals Scorers: Harrison Vincent, Jak Denton and Cole Wilden

Oadby Owls Tawnys 0 Hinckley United 3 - 16th September 2012 (League)

First of all, a quick quiz;

Q.1. What is the difference between a land-mine and a football?

Q.2. Can you constantly give the ball away in mid-field and hope to win a football match?

Q.3. Do you know the 'Wyche Theorem concerning Chance/Goal Ratio?'

Q.4. What's worse than going down without a fight?

Answers to follow this report.

Both teams seemed evenly matched, and on a blustery Judgemeadow morning, both began the first half well. Hinckley enjoyed slightly more of the possession but the Oadby defence, with Tom Taylor being particularly impressive, handled the Hinckley attack with ease. There were enough sparks, in the first thirty minutes, namely Joe Curran, and Bobby Brown to suggest, as the whistle went for half -time, of greater things to come after the re-start.

Sadly, it was not to be.    

For those of you not fully conversant with the above Theorem (Q.3) and let's be honest, it will be all of you as it was only formulated 30 or so minutes ago during a fine evening at the local curry house, it states; That at junior level, for every 4 clear cut chances on goal created, 1 goal will be scored. Hinckley Utd, proved this by creating 12 chances (as the Americans say, 'you do the math') but this does not tell the full story of the second half. The truth is we were out-played in just about every department - when we shouldn't have been. The truth is, we were very poor indeed - which in general, we are not. It was only goal keeper Olly Colebourme who showed any heart at all. There are many talented players in this team, but they need to play for the full hour. They need to show commitment. They need to work hard. They need to create chances. They ALL need to play like I know they can play!  

Having got that off my chest, let's do some answers.

A.1. A football doesn't explode if you kick it. C'mon lads, there is nothing to be frightened of.

A.2. Rarely, if ever.

A.3. Answer already given.

A.4. Nothing I can think of. (See also second half of answer 1 for additional comment)

Player of the Day: Olly Coleboume

Goals Scorers: N/A

Oadby Owls Tawnys 1 Ketton Town 3 - 2nd September 2012 (League)

It was the opening day of the season, and a nervous start for both teams. No player wanted to be the first to make a mistake - or take charge - and for the first five minutes or so the centre circle resembled a human pinball machine. Oadby were first to find their footballing legs and soon began to threaten the Ketton goal. 

Attacks down both flanks resulted in corners, with scrambled clearences only serving to let Oadby re-group and begin their attack again. Ketton defended, Oadby attacked and when Bobby Brown found some space on the edge of the penalty area he didn't need a second chance. 1 - 0 to Oadby. The half ended with the Tawnys on top and in charge.

If, however, they thought that at half time the game was won, they forgot to tell the Ketton players. Ketton started the second half as Oadby finished the first. The visitors put some delightful moves together with three or four players linking with as many accurate passes. It was pressure on Oadby now. It was too much pressure. Ketton equalised, and then by virtue of an unchallenged header inside the six yard box, they took the lead. 

From the re-start Oadby went in search of a second goal. With both teams now camped inside the Ketton half chance after chance went begging. Ryan Butlin went close, Billy Ferguson likewise, then in a bizarre moment, all supporters held their breath as the excellent Harrison Vincent got a foot to a clearence sending the ball looping back over the defence, to bounce almost as high again over the ketton town goalkeeper, only to sail inches wide of the left up-right. 

When a team commit more and more players forward in search of an equaliser, they leave themselves vulnerable to a counter attack. And the inevitable happened. A hoof it and pray clearence found a lone Ketton Town forward who shot home with the force of an Andy Murray serve. It was a goal, it must be said, which would grace any league. There were no complaints. It was 3 - 1 to the visitors.             

Player of the Day: James Wyche.

Goals Scorers: Bobby Brown.

Team Notices

Leicestershire Foxes League