MANCHESTER UNITED 1 LEICESTER 0 United are now unbeaten in their last 134 home Premier League games when they have scored first. Leicester continued their horrific run against United, now losing 18 times against them - more than any other opponent. Only 2 got this spot-on, and a further 16 had the outcome, that included 13 who went for a 2-1, in what was the weeks most predicted score. Ironically 7 predicted a 2-1 win for Leicester.
TOTTENHAM 4 CRYSTAL PALACE 0 Spurs have now won each of their last nine Premier League games against Palace after this outstanding performance. They will probably have a harder game than this on Tuesday week. Nobody had this spot-on, but a big 29 did get the outcome.
WOLVES 2 CHELSEA 5 Chelsea have become the first team in Premier League history to have 11 consecutive league goals scored by players aged 21 or younger as they destroyed Wolves. A Tammy Abrahams hat-trick means he has scored 7 goals in his last 3 appearances. There were 13 different scores predicted for this game, but it is not surprising nobody got it spot-on, though 9 did have the outcome.
HULL 2 WIGAN 2 Teenager Joe Gelhardt's first goal in professional football rescued a point for Wigan. The draw did little to get either team's season going, with both having won just once in their opening seven league games. Just 2 got this spot-on, and 2 also had the outcome.
MIDDLESBROUGH 1 READING 0 Boro toast their 500th league match at the Riverside with a sixth straight Championship win over the Royals, after this unconvincing victory. A massive 9 had this spot-on, and another 13 got the outcome.
SWANSEA 0 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1 Swansea's unbeaten start to the season came to an end as substitute Alfa Semedo earned Forest a deserved win. Noticed that Swansea keeper is Freddie Woodman. Son of ex-U's Andy. Only 2 had this spot-on, and 2 also got the outcome. 22 predicted a win for Swansea.
For the second week running 3 pointers proved hard to come by, and just like last week one teams victory made all the difference, with Middlesbrough's 1-0 providing 9 of the 15 total spot-ons. Considering how hard 3 pointers were to find, it was another outstanding week from noah4x4 to get 3 of them, the 1-0 wins for Man Utd, Middlesbrough and Notts Forest, and one outcome means he is the weeks top scorer with a brilliant 10 points. In these early days of the season the 1-0 scoreline has certainly been the way to go, with 11 of the 40 games ending that way. 8 home wins and 3 away. With another one today the 2-2 draw has now had 5, outscoring the popular 1-1 and 2-1, who have both had 3 ending that way. Another two members to benefit from that 1-0 scoreline were Daniel, who had the wins for Man Utd and Middlesbrough on his way to getting an excellent 9 points, and mfb_cufc, who had the wins for Middlesbrough and Notts Forest to give him a decent 7 points. Best of those to get one spot-on was Blue4U2, the Hull 2-2, and four outcomes also gave him a decent 7 points.
In the Premier The phenomenal start to the season made by noah4x4, with almost 1 in 3 of his predictions earning him a 3 pointer, continued this week, and he has stretched his lead at the summit to an amazing 14 points. A tremendous effort for someone thinking more cricket than football at the moment. Three outcomes were enough for Sector4 to hold onto second place, and a good week for mfb_cufc consolidated his top three spot. A solid week for RSCOSWORTH, that included having the Middlesbrough 1-0 spot-on, moved him into the top half for the first time this season. At the bottom It was good to see Colukev avoid having to be expelled, but the next task is to avoid being relegated. Past performances prove he is up to it. After another disappointing week he is joined in bottom three by TheHappyGooner.
In Division One After having to settle for second on the tie-breaker rules for the last two weeks Blue4U2 has finally made it to the top, and at the same time created a useful 5 point cushion. Up three places into the other automatic spot is ghughes11, who was another one to benefit from having the Middlesbrough 1-0 spot-on. Last weeks leader Lewi_1 has to make do with a play-off spot this week. After getting his first 3 pointers of the season Daniel moves up an impressive nine places, and into the play-off spots for the first time this season. The other play-off places are still held by concordman and BFG, but only on the the first to post rule. Further down the league well done to gsy163 on getting his first 3 pointer this season. This means everybody in both divisions has achieved one now.
THE TABLES (40 out of 280 played) (Tie-breaker: Most 3 pointers, and then the first to post)
Week 7 Fixtures picked by this weeks guest ghughes11. DON'T FORGET THE DEADLINE THIS WEEK IS 12.30.
LEICESTER CITY v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (12.30) BURNLEY v NORWICH CITY NEWCASTLE UNITED v BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION BRISTOL CITY v SWANSEA CITY DONCASTER ROVERS v PETERBOROUGH UNITED GILLINGHAM v IPSWICH TOWN MILTON KEYNES DONS v SOUTHEND UNITED WYCOMBE WANDERERS v PORTSMOUTH CAMBRIDGE UNITED v SWINDON TOWN COLCHESTER UNITED v LEYTON ORIENT
Apologies all, it’s been quite a hectic week at work so this one had to wait until today I’m afraid. I’m off to the New Lawn after this, so looking forward to seeing Noah and anyone else when I get there.
Newport County v Colchester United Saturday 17th November 2018 Sky Bet League 2 (Tier 4) Attendance 3,512
Match 11 of the series, and we’re not travelling far back in time for this one, just 11 months ago at Rodney Parade. So, there have been plenty of firsts going around on the Matches of Yesteryear, and here’s another one, the first of the series that I only have the tickets for, and not a programme (though that in itself is quite notable in a way – see if you can spot why on the tickets).
This was quite a local game from where I’m based in North Wiltshire, so me and the youngest drove over for this one. I’ve trained it in the past, which is fine if I want to have some beer, but not so fine when the train takes twice as long and is significantly more expensive. In the league, back-to-back 1-0 home wins against promotion favourites Lincoln City and Swindon had propelled the U’s into 3rd place before this match, with Newport in the play-off places. However, immediately prior to this game results had been considerably less ‘glorious’ for the U’s, exiting the FA Cup 1-0 at Accrington Stanley the previous Saturday, followed by a Tuesday night meaningless 3-1 defeat against meaningless Cambridge United in the meaningless EFL Trophy…meaning that was all three cups over for us – again.
The U’s lined up at Rodney Parade: 1….Dillon Barnes 2….Ryan Jackson 22..Kane Vincent-Young 6….Frankie Kent 5….Luke Prosser (c) 4….Tom Lapslie (Ryan Gondoh ’76) 16..Diaz Wrigh 10..Sammie Szmodics 7….Courtney Senior (Collins 81’) 11..Brennan Dickenson (Mikael Mandron 58’) 45..Frank Nouble
Looking at the Newport line-up that day, there are no obvious names of note to pick out, though there was considerable speculation at the time that their talismanic striker Pádraig Amond might be off to the lofty heights of Shrewsbury – they needed have worried, he signed a contract extension in the January transfer window, and went on to score 21 goals for them that season – and four already this season. Of course, the really big name, and for a big big player, was our very own Big Frank, and his first match against his former club. By the way, Brandon Comley was away on international duties with Montserrat.
With the U’s riding high in the league, and despite the distance from Essex, there was a pretty decent and vocal following from the U’s, and a lot of familiar faces to catch up with as a result. Mind you, it was a bit of a scrum trying to jam us all in the relatively small section of seats available – and not without some pretty heated steward-fan banter back and forth about where our choir could stand to serenade the audience. This was also the first time I’d tried the bar facility for away fans at the ground (having just the one mind you 😉), and whilst it had the general look and feel of an East European bunker, it wasn’t that bad otherwise.
With the game relatively recent, there are still plenty of match reports out there on the internet, so I’ll try and restrict myself to just my subjective perception of the game. The U’s certainly started brightly, passing the ball around well, controlling possession for long spells, but (and this will sound familiar) with very little to show for it. No killer ball into the box, no decisive runs, virtually no one prepared to leather it from 25 yards, apart for one effort from Big Frank, but it was catching practice for their ‘keeper. After the match, Newport manager Mike Flynn said “They were by far the better team in the first half” – better probably, by far certainly not. Still, lots of pretty passing triangles with nothing to show for it meant it was still 0-0 at half-time.
The U’s continued in the same vein into the second half, seemingly believing they had all the time in the world to ponderously pass the ball into the net. The wake-up call came in the 54th minute, with a completely unmarked Newport player delightfully flicking on a corner for Matt to score from point blank range. At the time, I was certain Barnes was to blame, looking asleep to the danger of the flick-on, and maybe with hindsight the video evidence suggests I was being a tad harsh, but in my defence Barnes did not have a particularly good game. Far too often, with a swift break on the cards, Barnes dithered about who to throw it out to, until the opportunity had been and gone.
The goal forced McGreal to change things around, and Dickenson (who had been dreadful all game) was replaced by Mandron. Though the wake-up call did, sort of, wake the U’s up, we still weren’t really creating any decent chances for ourselves, so again Newport County kindly showed us how it should be done. A delightful defensive splitting pass right through the middle of our back line, and Pring easily side-foots past Barnes, who had no choice but to commit but went the wrong way – not his fault this time.
Finally, after enough encouragement, the U’s started to really press, and really start creating chances. Lapslie was terrier-like as usual, but having trouble staying on his feet, and was replaced by Gondoh on 76th minutes, and there-on in it was pretty much all U’s – we hit the bar, Big Frank had a shot cleared off the line, blasted decent efforts just wide – basically, did everything but score. I think special mention does need to be made here for Sammie and Frank, they did at least work hard all game.
However, if we want to talk about decent efforts on goal, we must spare a mention for the comedy gold moment of the match – with the U’s penning Newport back in their own half, inevitably they did break away very late in the game. Harris cut in from the right, evaded a couple of tackles, and clipped over Barnes (though he got a touch) from close range. The ball actually looked destined to spin in off the post, but with the Newport crowd already celebrating a goal, Pring decided to make sure and slide in with the killer touch – only to scoop it up on to the bar and away to safety!
Newport County 2 (Matt 54’, Pring 67’) Colchester United 0
Though that gave me something to smile about at the death, this was a disappointing performance from the U’s, very much reflecting concerns we all had about our style of play – too ponderous, too slow, not enough direct running, and not enough decent crosses into the box. Mind you, the fireworks display from across the river was a nice touch at the end.
The U’s slipped out of the automatic promotion places after this match, replaced by Newport, but went on to have a decent run right through to Christmas, which saw us back in 3rd place. Incidentally, on that Saturday evening, the top seven in order were: MK Dons, Lincoln City, Newport, U’s, Mansfield, Exeter, and Tranmere – Exeter slipped away and were overtaken by todays opponents FGR, so your starter for 10 – which other team wasn’t there at the end, and which team replaced them?
I must have been cross after the Newport game – when I got home I bought Reservoir Dogs…
Incidentally, the ticket thing – they were free! As me and Alfie arrived at the ground to buy our tickets, one of the U’s ladies (I’ve seen her loads of times at matches over the years) thrust this pair of beauties into my hand – must have been complementary tickets for someone else who no longer needed them, but I wasn’t going to argue 😊!
JM and his charges take to the road for a league double header in preparation for next weekend’s home fixture against the Orient and then the little matter of the Spurs Carabao Cup encounter.
JM will be looking to secure the U’s position in the top half of the table and ensuring that minds do not wander too far from the necessity to claim valuable league points.
I will review both games against Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn and the Tuesday evening game against Swindon at the Energy Check County Ground.
Saturday takes the U’s to Nailsworth in Gloucestershire for the eco friendly club led by Mark Cooper, but former U’s stalwart Matt Mills is unable to play for FGR this time.
A look at the table shows that after 7 games both FGR and Swindon are sitting in the play off positions. It is early but it is also vital that we continue to pick up points to maintain our climb of the table.
We have a decent record at the New Lawn but last season we lost 3-0 at home (a game that I watched on I follow) during our disastrous phase where we slumped out of the automatic promotion places on a wretched run of results. Another away victory would be very well received by the faithful.
Four points from the next two games would be a handsome return, especially as both fixtures will be close encounters.
The weather in Nailsworth will be sunny and 20 degrees Celsius tomorrow.
On Tuesday we travel to Swindon, doubtless still smarting from their Carabao cup defeat at the JobServe CS. Richie Wellens has obtained maximum value from his striker loanees Jerry Yates from Rotherham and Eoin Doyle from Bradford.
The weather in Swindon is likely to be 15 degrees Celsius with some early Autumnal sunshine in readiness for the evening game. The U’s to battle for a hard-earned point to prepare for the Orient game.
Now JM has a headache ahead of both games with returning players from international duty in Luke Gambin and Brandon Comley but sadly no return yet for Harry Pell. Kwame Poku is likely to remain in the matchday squad whilst Callum Harriott could come into contention this weekend.
There is little doubt about the first five positions:
Jackson Eastman Prosser Clampin
But JM must think long and hard about the midfield:
Does he play Senior and Gambin or go with Stevenson Lapslie and Comley or Wiredu With perhaps Brown, Nouble and Norris or is there a place for Cowan-Hall or Robinson. Can Callum Harriott also be drafted in. It is a real selection dilemma for the U’s tactical supremo.
He will already be thinking about his XI for the following Tuesday evening but there are 9 valuable league points up for grabs before that. JM will surely want to keep the unbeaten run going for as long as possible.
Therefore, I reckon the following for FGR tomorrow:
Jackson Eastman Prosser Clampin
Senior Stevenson Lapslie Gambin
Subs: Ross Chilvers Wiredu Brown Robinson Cowan-Hall Comley
JM may consider drafting in Callum Harriott at Swindon on Tuesday with Kwame Poku. He will also have Cohen Bramall and Omar Sowunmi available for squad selection, but the next two games might be too soon for them.
FLEETWOOD 2 OXFORD UNITED 1 Fleetwood's seven month unbeaten home run continued with this victory. A massive 12 got this spot-on, in what was the weeks most predicted score, and a further 15 had the outcome.
TRANMERE 2 GILLINGHAM 2 Tranmere came from two goals down at half time to rescue a point. It could have been even better if they hadn't missed a penalty. Nobody had this spot-on, but 6 did get the outcome. 17 predicted a win for Tranmere.
WYCOMBE 3 LINCOLN 1 Left-back Joe Jacobson scored twice as Wycombe moved to the top of League One. This convincing victory ensured Wycombe moved to their highest league position in their 132-year history. Again no 3 pointer for anybody here, though 8 did have the outcome.
CARLISLE 1 EXETER 3 League Two pacesetters Exeter maintained their unbeaten record with this win. Well done to wessex_exile for being the only one to have this spot-on, and another 16 got the outcome.
GRIMSBY 0 CREWE 2 Grimsby were another team to miss a penalty this week, and Crewe took full advantage as they continued their excellent start to the season. Well done to the not so Stupid_Gooner by being the only one to get this spot-on, with 8 more having the outcome.
LEYTON ORIENT 1 SWINDON 3 Swindon moved up to fourth in League Two after this comfortable victory. Well done to BFG for making it a hat-trick of members in being the only ones to get a score spot-on, and a further 16 had the outcome.
Last week produced a number of decent of scores, but it didn't prove to be so easy this week. It was left to Fleetwood - with their 2-1 win meaning the weeks most predicted score was successful for the second week running - to put some respectability to the weeks proceedings. Their win achieved 51 of the weeks total 114 points, and 12 of the 15 spot-ons. So with 3 pointers hard to come by without the Fleetwood effort, two members did well to have two. They were BFG and wessex_exile, who both had that Fleetwood 2-1 spot-on to go with the their good picks mentioned above, and two outcomes each means they share the honour of being the weeks top scorer with a decent 8 points. Best of those who had one 3 pointer were RSCOSWORTH, concordman and GOSBTS, who all had the Fleetwod 2-1 spot-on, and three outcomes, to give them a very good 6 points.
In the Premier For the first time this season noah4x4 failed to get a 3 pointer, but his four outcomes helped to maintain his 7 point lead, as Sector4 matched his score thanks to having the Fleetwood 2-1 spot-on. Others to benefit from getting 3 points for the Fleetwood 2-1 were mfb_cufc, who moved into the top three for the first time this season, thrillseeker, who also moved up a couple of places, and RSCOSWORTH, who moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. No shows from TheFatGooner and Colukev leaves them occupying the bottom two places. In the latter's case it is the third week running. So please post next week Kev and avoid me having to expel you from all Happy competitions.
In Division One As in the Premier it is four outcomes that keeps Lewis_1 at the top on the most 3 pointer rule despite Blue4U2 getting the same 4 points by having the Fleetwood 2-1 spot-on. Another to benefit from that Fleetwood win was blueeagle, and he remains third. Another of the 12 to be thankful for Fleetwood was ghughes11, and he stays in the play-off spots, even though he drops a place as BFG moves into the play-off places for the first time this season after his top scoring effort. Also achieving that goal is concordman, after his good score. Biggest mover in this league was the weeks other top scorer wessex_exile, up seven places, and just a point short of the play-offs. As is GOSBTS, who continued his gradual climb, with a good week, and unitedwhites who had to settle for five outcomes for the second week in a row. That same number of outcomes was also achieved by Daniel, and he is incredibly still waitng for a first 3 pointer, but has more outcomes than anybody in both divisions.
THE TABLES (34 out of 280 played) (Tie-breaker: Most 3 pointers, and then the first to post)
Week 6 Fixtures
MANCHESTER UNITED v LEICESTER CITY* TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v CRYSTAL PALACE* WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS v CHELSEA* HULL CITY v WIGAN ATHLETIC MIDDLESBROUGH v READING SWANSEA CITY v NOTTINGHAM FOREST
*WARNING these fixtures use VAR, that means the result could be affected by poor decisions. As Edwin Starr once said V(W)AR what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.