The start of November saw Convocation at Wyncote for yet another home fixture on the bounce.
After the disappointment of the previous week’s 2-1 reverse (following the optimism of the convincing 5-2 win over Alsop the week before that), Convo were looking to get back on track against their Welsh opponents Rhewl.
Despite a bit of rain the previous evening and early morning, the surface was a bit wet but overall, for this time of year, the pitch was still quite firm. You could still probably get away with the old mouldies for sure.
Convo lined up as:
The start was not the greatest.
Percell, Justin and Rossie had some jittery moments at the back in the first opening 20 minutes. A couple of panicked clearances, misplaced passed and the opposition gained some momentum. Then a goal. Again, messing around at the back let in Rhewl’s centre forward who danced through and slotted past Percell.
Convo’s game however in these situations usually goes one way or the other. Thankfully, it went the other. Convo appeared to scrap it out for the next 10 minutes with no decent football being played by either side and a lot of aerial battles. Then some good play down the flanks by Craig Kaye upfront let to getting the opposition goalkeeper well out of position. The ball rolled across the box for Richie Schofield who had a shot and the defender blocked it, but clearly raised their hands in doing so and the referee was left with no option but to point to the spot.
Geoff Poole took the ball out of Richie Schofield’s hands with not much protest it had to be said and slotted the ball home Lothar Matheaus style into the corner of the net. 1-1.
Convo then settled well and picked up the pace of the game and in the last 20 minutes of the half played some nice football. The best move of the game came from a ball rolled from Percell to Billy Lamb, to Geoff Poole who played it up the line to Si Holder who returned the path to Poole who then slotted it inside to Ian Poole who then made a further telling pass slotted across to Rich Schofield who’s shot was well blocked. This was good football and reminiscent of were Convo left off in the Alsop game.
Going in at the break 2-1 was just about deserved.
The 2nd half was a bit more of a struggle. Again, no side really playing nice football and Rhewl seemed the side most likely in the first 20 minutes of the half. They had a few corners and there were some vital interceptions and clearances by the Convo back line – who were looking more assured by now.
The pivotal or turning point of the game came when following a Rhewl corner, an opponent out jumped Geoff Poole In the area and his header was going straight in the top corner but for a tremendous headed interception by Lamb which Purcell then right behind it made an even better save, diverting it over the bar.
This was Rhewl’s moment which they didn’t take.
From then on, Rhewl’s players appeared to then turn up the volume; complaining for decisions, arguing with the ref and opposition and this appeared to go against them in every way. As due to a lack of concentration at the back, between the goalkeeper and defender, a ball was passed across the box straight to a orange shirt and Craig Kaye had the simple task of slotting home to kill the game dead – 3-1.
Rhewl’s persistent complaining carried on and it was to go against them further when referee Webster sent the goalkeeper off for what it appeared to be either abusive language or just because he was giving him a hard time. With 8 minutes left, Rhewl decided they had enough and walked off the pitch.
Man of the Match: Despite a jittery start, Purcell, Lamb, Ross and Justin in the defence really picked up well and stopped anything coming through. The midfield didn’t have its best game but some good play going forward with Holder, and the Poole(s) aswell as Schofield providing the energy, Ross edged it though for some good interceptions and overall play during the 2nd half.
Convocation (3-5-2): Purcell; Ross, Shanahan, Lamb B; Kearney, Poole I, Holder, Fairclough, Poole G; Kaye, Schofield R; Sub: Shokoya; Subs (not used): Dickson, McLaren
Convocation (3-5-2): Morgan; Madeloso, Railton, Lamb B; Ross, Poole I, Houston, Holder, Kaye; Knox, Schofield R; Sub: McLaren
Bobby Mimms reports in brief
“We played bloody well,” was Captain Andy McLaren’s post-match assessment of Convocation’s dismantling of a usually-half-decent Alsop side. “Storm Brian played his part [but it was] a real team performance!” he continued before proudly boasting: “We scored four worldies”.
That claim may well have been as blustery as the game itself was, but at the final whistle nobody was in any doubt that Convo had indeed put in an extremely good shift. There should also be no doubt though, that they benefitted greatly from playing with the aforementioned Brian behind them in the first half, the reporter-flummoxing two o’clock kick-off coinciding with the absolute worst the weather had to offer. However, while oil-rig football is not to everyone’s palate one man who seemed determined to make the most of a bad situation was Jamie Southern, who’d turned up to watch with a carrier bag full of the Tesco drinks’ aisle’s most delectable wares – it’ll never catch on.
Something else that you’d imagine will be a bit of a rarity was Convocation’s new 3-5-2 formation, although on the day loading the midfield and only playing with Chris McNally – who actually replied to an e-mail during the week; will wonders never cease? – Billy Lamb and Steve Ross at the back turned out to be a shrewd tactical manoeuvre. They looked as rock solid as any Convo defence ever can, allowing their colleagues further up the pitch to put all their efforts into attacking, so much so that by the time your correspondent turned up at Wyncote the home side were already two up, with one of the goals (the second?) being described by McLaren as “a Knox bullet header from a Prince cross”.
It soon became three-nil when Richy Houston tried his luck from the centre circle having spotted the opposition ‘keeper off his line, and though he scored with what was undoubtedly a fine finish any tale of the goal would be incomplete without mentioning the fact that it was VERY wind assisted. Before what was turning into a breeze could restart referee Phil Webster took umbrage with something one of the Alsop players said in his direction and issued him with the obligatory yellow card that accompanies all games he officiates, but then that strangest of things happened when he began to book another of the visitors (again, for being mouthy): he never completed the paperwork after appearing to be sweet-talked out of taking any action by the miscreant in question.
Ian Poole made it four-nil with a few minutes of the half remaining when he took on five opponents before dinking a shot over their advancing #1, but then in the dying seconds Alsop managed what had seemed most unlikely ever since kick off and got the ball past Jack Morgan in the hosts’ nets. On most days there would have been concern that it was one of those ‘oh, oh concessions’ that tend to presage a Convocation collapse, but not on Saturday. There were two further goals after the interval, one for either side, but Convo coped much better playing into the conditions than their guests had and as this was probably their best performance of season so far to boot, they ultimately won with a fair bit to spare.
Man Of The Match: Your correspondent was only at the game for thirty minutes-or-so, and even during that time the gale and driving rain froze the mind to the point that it was difficult to remember anything but the absolute basics afterwards, so the award will have to be withheld. You could argue though, that Jamie had the best idea of what was a very uncomfortable afternoon weather-wise by sticking two fingers up to the elements and getting slowly sloshed on the sideline – so he gets the move-of-the-match bubbly (like he needs it).
Convocation (3-5-2): Morgan; McNally, Lamb B, Ross; Holder, Poole I, Houston, Poole G, Kaye; Schofield R, Knox; Subs: Shokoya, Prince, McLaren; Other Major Contributor: Brian
Convocation (4-4-2): Morgan; Ross, Prince, Willis, Lamb B; O'Brien S, Poole I, Houston, Poole G; Schofield R, Kaye; Subs: Shokoya, Holder
With the Firsts game away to St Margaret’s rained off due to Saturday’s deluge of rain (and mercifully so … we didn’t have a recognised keeper available again) this observer took full advantage to go and get involved with the elder statesmen of our club. Making the short trip to Crosby to face our seasoned rivals Ramblers, the Vets were looking to break a 2 game losing run. They’d manage to succeed in this, but not after proving that it’s not just Messrs’ Klopp and Koeman who have trouble with leaky defences …..
A couple of the firsts who should have been playing at St Margaret’s answered the last call of captain MacLaren (or should that be called him to see if there was any space left), so the XI would start as follows:
Morgan protected by a back line of Mike Edwards, Prince, I Poole and Farrell. Richie Schofield and Paul [Fairclough] would provide the battle in the centre of the park, with Kaye on one wing and Geoff Poole on the other. Round and Knox started up top. Kearney, Dickson and Ross made up the bench alongside the injured skipper.
And it was a flying start to the game for Convo. Kaye had already whipped in a ball that inexplicably evaded Knox from a yard out (he would later say he was nowhere near getting it, although he’d later atone for this) before Round was able to get on the end of a ball into the box from the same wing to make it 1 nil to the away team. A confident start had been greatly rewarded with, dare I say it, Convo looking in control.
Now, I must make it clear, that I’m used to watching the Firsts make a right cock up of things every week, so I was looking forward to seeing the Vets show us how it should be done. Confident on the ball, keeping control of the ball, no daft goals getting given away …. But then again, this is Convocation. A club like no other.
And so it was, with us dominating the game, we gave away a corner. For the first time this season I can say this, but it was well defended. However, as it fell to Round, he played a ball back into our area. Cue the latest game of “Convo Musical Statues” as nobody reacted, leaving the opposing striker through on goal to finish calmly past the stranded Morgan. 1-1, and all to do again.
But that we did. We made a few good chances with Schofield and Paul combining well in the middle of the park, and Pool e in particular marshalling the backline. One move ended with Schofield sliding a fine ball beyond the defence, with Knox on hand to deliver (in his own words) a “Crespo-esque finish”, dinking the ball over the keeper, simultaneously redeeming himself for the earlier miss(es) and putting us 2-1 up, a lead we took into the break.
Truth be told, we struggled in the second half, but not before we stretched our lead, with a cross fired in low across the home teams box (by Kaye I believe?) turned in to this own net by a hapless Rambler. Yet we struggled after this point. Morgan had already been called upon to make several top saves to keep the lead intact, but two soft goals (I’m getting used to typing that about our club) saw Ramblers level things up. Firstly, with a 3 on 2 situation favouring Convo at one end, we had an excellent chance to put ourselves 4-1 up, yet Geoff managed to trip on the ball before getting his pass out. As Convo beat a hasty retreat to get themselves set, Ramblers broke quickly and before we knew it the ball was in the back of the net. Our cavalier approach to defending had cost us, and would cost us again for the 80 minutes were out. With an extraordinary amount of Convo players up the field at this point (remember, we were winning at this point), a long ball (hoof) up field from Farrell was intercepted. Cue another quick break from the home team, with the striker applying a calm finish to the move, slotting through the keepers legs.
The sense of disappointment was palpable, with Morgan in particular hard done by as he’d played well enough to merit a win. Half chances came and went as the referee blew up for full time, and as both teams applauded each other off the pitch, it was hard not to rue the chances we’d both missed and given away. However, let’s not dwell on the negatives. The losing streak came to an end, and the strike partnership up top got themselves a goal apiece.
MOTM: The centre midfield partnership of Richie and Paul battled well, and Morgan made some fine saves. But special praise this week for Ian Poole, who found himself in the centre back role that has doomed many a Convo player over the years, and acquitted himself rather well.
Convocation (4-4-2): Morgan; Poole G, Southern, Madeloso, Lamb B; Prince, Poole I, Houston, Holder; Round, Schofield R; Sub: McLaren
Convocation (4-4-2): Willis; McCormack, Madeloso, Prince, Lamb B; Kearney, Shanahan, Poole I, Holder; Schofield R, Houston; Subs: McLaren, Southern (not used)
Jimmy Buffet writes:
Steadfastly resisting the modern trend to arrange amateur football games in August, Convocation’s Second Team Fixture Secretary insisted the team’s season curtain raiser should be on the first Saturday in September and not earlier. Accordingly, Andy Big Mac took his charges off to Fazakerley to play the chaps of St. Martins, where a 2.00 kick off beckoned but delayed somewhat by the tardiness of the caretaker. Behind every cloud lies that silver lining and the delay allowed the assembled chaps to get to know each other again with embraces of the usual gung-ho combined with admiring glances of a splendid array of the usual sartorial fastidiousness.
So, onto the game, the beautiful late summer sunlight filtered through the trees of Fazakerley and shone on a splendid line up of: Jack in goal; Lamb, Jamie, Now TV Lee and new Liam in defence; a midfield of Simon (Noddy) Holder, the Poole brothers, and Paul (Len) Fairclough; topped off by Richie (Andrew) Schofield and Colin (John) Knox up front. Substitutes were Andy (Malcolm) McLaren and Paul (Etuhu) Dickson
A disgracefully attired referee got the game kicked off in the style of an odd job challenge where the head of James Bond has to be knocked off by a spinning bowler hat and shouts and jeers occupied the area; however, it isn’t so long since the pitch was filled with the sound of children’s laughter as boys and girls who were grateful to have found a new home played hopscotch and hurried to the chapel at the top of the road alongside the field.
It was once the haven for Fazakerley Cottage Homes, where hundreds of Liverpool children grew up safe and secure after being left without a family to call their own. “I was the most miserable child in the world the day I arrived and I can, on three occasions, remember climbing down the drainpipe from my upstairs dormitory window,” wrote one late resident, who moved there in 1949. But he continued: “I began to settle down and make friends and, although not ideal, the house mothers and the head of the home, Mr and Mrs Phillips, made my stay a very happy and pleasant one.”
Fazakerley Cottage Homes were built in 1888 and opened in March 1889 after it was decided that workhouses were not the best places for children, partly because other adults who were housed there too were not always the best influence. They put a roof over the heads of youngsters who had been orphaned or whose parents had been unable to support them or who had abandoned them.
Local historian Laird Hatters says: “I knew the Cottage Homes very well in the period 1959-1964. We would travel by bus from the Kirkby Aldi a few miles away. “The homes were pretty grim. We sometimes saw rather forlorn children looking at us from the gloomy windows. They used to go the big hall or chapel in the centre of the complex, I think possibly for lessons as well. “We changed for sports in one of the cottages before running out on to the nearby playing fields. The cottages were old-fashioned and quite eerie but the surroundings were pleasant.”
There were 24 cottages on the estate, designed like a small model village, and each could house up to 25 children until its closure in 1959. The village was completed with a central hall which acted as a chapel and a school, as well as a swimming pool, an infirmary and lodges.
Congratulations to Billy Lamb, starting his 40th consecutive season for Convocation.
A great pass from Holder to Schofield for the 3rd goal.
A bit of an argument between Lee and Colin over his continual failures in front of goal – mind you Colin was playing in the style of Sean Dundee.
Paul Fairclough playing like Christian Poulsen.
Lee and Jamie constantly getting in each other’s way and blaming others.
The game finished 2 goals to St. Martins and 4 goals to Convocation. Man of the Match – Simon Holder who managed to overcome the depression caused by the holiday closure of Hannah’s fish shop to have a great game.
Following the game, the chaps were entertained to cheese sandwiches with a choice of brown bread for the health conscious in the delightful Holy Name Social Club which did not stock any local beers.
Next up: Essemay (St Margaret’s Aigburth) now, they did have some teachers…….