Birkbeck 4 – 5 The Children’s Society

Match Report

Birkbeck 4 – 5 The Children’s Society

Thursday 2 February 2017, 1-2pm

Reporter: Chris Baker

Two goals in the last five minutes from TCS condemned the boys in blue to a devastating defeat at Corams Fields on Thursday afternoon.

A mixture of very wasteful finishing and some sloppy defending was ultimately Birkbeck’s undoing.

BBK FC did, however, start the match in very positive fashion. Setting about their opposition early on with a high press that unsettled TCS. Steven Jefferies created two opportunities for himself through his tenacity but was unfortunately unable to convert either chance.

It came then as somewhat of a surprise that TCS got themselves in front with a goal of the simplest variety. Direct from what must have been their first corner of the match. 1-0 soon became 2-0 to the Children’s Society and their second goal was almost a carbon copy of their first.

Birkbeck were at sixes and sevens at the back and were left scratching their heads as they fell behind, lightening truly can strike twice. Despite these setbacks the boys in blue looked comfortable in possession and were always dangerous in attack. Paul Majewski soon reduced the arrears after firing low past the goalkeeper at his near post with his right foot. Game well and truly on.

Birkbeck continued to forward and were rewarded for their positive intent when Steven Jefferies turned home from close range. Chris Baker then spurned a golden chance to put BBK FC in front when he managed to side foot the ball an inch over the bar when a third goal looked inevitable. It was a real shame as it would’ve capped a flowing attacking move. Rob Carter did really well down the left wing and cut the ball back perfectly into the path of the onrushing Baker but he could not apply the necessary finish.

TCS were clearly rocked by this turnaround but it did stop them scoring their third goal from yet another corner. It was a decent cross into the box but their giant midfielder didn’t have to do much to get a free header and promptly buried his effort into the top corner. 2-3 at HT to TCS.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first. Birkbeck looking decent on the ball but TCS always posing a threat on the counter attack. It must be said that a makeshift back line of Matthew J, Alex & Chris E stuck manfully to their task & were a good unit from open play. Jack Cain also made a number of good saves as TCS looked to test him from distance. Krish also filled in well when called upon as our rolling sub.

At the other end it was a case of deja vu with Carter, Majewski, Baker & Boyd linking up nicely but the final ball/shot just wasn’t quite there. Paul hit the outside of the post on a couple of occasions. Matt B almost found the top corner with a curling left footed effort from the edge of the box. Baker again fired over when well placed and should’ve done better. While Jefferies and Carter were unfortunate not to get on the end of a couple of crosses.

You were beginning to wonder if it would be Birkbeck’s day but at the moment Mawjewski finally displayed the calmness and composure that had generally being lacking in front of goal. The striker shifted the ball onto his left foot and made no mistake 3-3! At this point there only looked to be one winner and the boys in blue thought they’d won it when Mawjewski & Baker combined with a neat one-two that set the latter through on goal. This time Chris made no mistake slotting the ball home off the inside of the post.

The celebrations were a mixture of joy and relief that finally they had taken one of their numerous and this time it would be decisive. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be as TCS’ star player produced a moment of individual magic. After hurdling a couple of challenges he let fly with his left foot and found the top corner. BBK FC will be disappointed that they allowed him to get a shot away with so little pressure on the ball. Take nothing away from the strike though it was a superb shot that gave Jack Cain absolutely no chance whatsoever 4-4.

If Birkbeck were crestfallen at having being pegged back so late in the game they would be left devastated at what was to follow. In the dying embers of the contest a hopeful low cross from the left wing evaded the grasp of Cain and fell into the lap of the TCS forward, who couldn’t believe his luck and he rolled the ball in. 4-5 FT.

This defeat will hurt for some time and the nature of the loss will sting but if they play like this more often they will win more than they lose from now until the end of the season.


Birkbeck 2 – 3 Athletico Pascals

Match Report

Birkbeck 2 – 3 Athletico Pascals

Thursday 13 October 2016, 1-2pm

Birkbeck fell to a narrow defeat in their second game of the season at Coram’s Fields on Thursday afternoon but it was a marked improvement on their display against ITV2.

BBK FC welcomed debutants Rob Carter and Paul Majewski into the fold while Alex performed admirably in an unfamiliar defensive position.

Athletico, wearing the same strip as their Madrid namesakes, began the match in confident fashion. Controlling the majority of the opening exchanges as the Blues struggled to settle and find their rhythm. Pascals were having plenty of joy down the left-hand side so it was no surprise that this was the source of their opening goal. Not for the first or last time in the game, the red and whites got an overload down their left before cutting the ball across the six yard box where their attacker was given the simple task of side footing the ball high into the net.

Matthew Jayes was being kept busy in the BBK goal and made several good stops to ensure that the score line remained at 1-0.

Paul Majewski was brought into the fray and started to cause the Athletico defence problems and give Birkbeck a focal point to their attack. Pascalls, however were determined to play the ball out from the back at every opportunity. Perhaps it was a mix of arrogance and complacency that led to the Birkbeck equaliser. Chris Baker seized upon some ponderous play from Athletico’s answer to Arda Turan; picking his pocket from a goal kick before finishing low into the ‘keeper’s near post.

This seemed to spark Birkbeck into life and shock their opponents at the same time. The Blues took advantage of this swing in momentum and one quickly became two. Paul M again winning the ball high up the pitch before playing in Rob Carter who produced a calm and neat finish to make it 1-2.

After this BBK were playing with a confidence and a swagger – dominating possession for longer periods of time than they had done previously. Pascals on the other hand were unsettled and Rob was as solid as a rock at the back for the boys in blue. Defending assertively and not afraid to carry the ball into midfield.

Athletico remained a threat on the counter attack, particularly in wide areas and they equalised on the stroke of half-time which was a real body blow for Birkbeck. Their second goal mirrored their first in many ways and BBK’s tired legs perhaps showed right at the end of a competitive first period. 2-2 at the break.

As you might expect things opened up in the second half and as such the contest became much more open and end-to-end. Birkbeck gave as good as they got but struggled to create clear cut chances while Pascals were robust (to say the least) defensively while also happy to leave men forward even without the ball.

Chris E, Jack and Matt B worked tirelessly in midfield while Rob, Chris B & Paul M continued to threaten in attack. Unfortunately, midway through the second half Athletico retook the lead and it is not a goal that BBK will look back on with any fondness. Having initially cleared a Pascals corner – somehow Rob was left horribly exposed in a two on one situation in defence. Matt J made a decent save at the first attempt but the rebound was not kind and the Birkbeck goalkeeper was out of position and could do nothing to stop it becoming 3-2.

Thereafter, the red and whites retreated and were happy to get men behind the ball – a what we have, we hold approach. Birkbeck were probing and patient in possession and with perhaps a little more luck might have found a deserved equaliser it was not to be. The Blues huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the house down.

Athletico Pascals are a decent side so it is certainly no disgrace to lose to them, they will win plenty of games this season. BBK however should take great heart from the way they played, the effort they showed and how well competed from start to finish.

If Birkbeck can field this team or ones of similar quality and cohesion more often; then it is surely only a matter of time before they get their first win on the board. Definitely a step in the right direction.

Man of the match: Chris Baker for a record 12th game in a row! Rob – marshalled the defence excellently, showed great composure and lead the team by example.

Why are we obsessed by who is the greatest of all time?

More of a philosophical post this time…

It is a question that is asked on an annual basis after the Wimbledon tennis finals. Where do they rank amongst the all time greats? Is Roger Federer the greatest male tennis player ever? Will Novak Djokovic eclipse him?  Is Serena the best female tennis player we’ve ever seen?

This phenomena is not merely confined to tennis, far from it. Any major sport you care to think of has the same ongoing debate. Is Messi the best footballer that ever lived? Is Tiger Woods better than Jack Nicklaus? LeBron James or Michael Jordan? Senna or Schumacher? O’Sullivan or Hendry? Bradman or Richards? Ali or Sugar Ray? Brady or Montana? The list is endless.

People/the media seem fixated by the issue – to use the most common example: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are constantly compared and contrasted with each other. Can’t we simply enjoy the fact that we are lucky enough to witness these two supremely talented players who have very different and individual strengths and weaknesses at the peak of their powers at the same time? They are two incredible footballers that usually come round once in a lifetime/generation. They have both set standards of consistent brilliance that may never be matched again. (For those wondering, having been fortunate enough to see both live in action on a few occasions, I’m very much in Team Messi).

I suppose part of the interest and debate stems from the intrinsically competitive nature of sport (human beings in general) and those that follow it with a passion want to know/put forward their case for who is best.  There also appears to be a desire for us to say we witnessed greatness. So we can talk to our children and our grandchildren about how good Usain Bolt was. Like our parents and grandparents would regale stories about the genius of Pele, Moore, Greaves, Maradona, Borg, McEnroe and so on.

One of the major problems is that comparing people from different eras is very difficult/nigh on impossible. As equipment, technology, nutrition, sports science and so on move on so quickly.

The truth about all such arguments is that it is all very subjective. Everyone gauges who is the best by very personal criteria. Some do it in black and white terms – he/she is the most successful in terms of records, victories etc therefore they are clearly the greatest, while others do it in terms of natural talent and ability or how hard they have worked to get to the top. Some do it purely based on personality or how he/she conducted themselves and what they have done to promote/raise the profile of their particular sport.

It is a debate that has raged for decades and shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. It’s certainly an interesting topic of discussion that is for sure.