South Bank toast cup glory after dethroning Kings

South Bank toast cup glory after dethroning Kings

A first-half blitz including a stunner from Kaylem Weadock crowned a brilliant performance and saw LSBU take home the cup

 

 

The game could not have been more appropriately matched. Of all the teams in the competition, the final came down to what was statistically the best two. Kings had won every game this season whilst South Bank had won every game since their opening day defeat against Suffolk. Both teams overcame tough semi-finals to get here. Kings had to rely on the drama of a penalty shootout to overcome St George’s. LSBU had to wait until the 86th minute to breakthrough against Imperial 4ths. It seemed destined, right up until kick off to be both teams tightest and most competitive game of a long season.

 

So, it was a huge surprise that, after half an hour the game appeared all but over. LSBU ran out expecting to face King’s second team, only to find out that their opponents had bussed in a bunch of their first team contingent, including the manager. For clarification, the King’s first team are in the 3rd tier, whilst South Bank are in the 6th. None of this should distract from the brilliance of LSBU who bombarded their opponents who simply could not contain what they had been confronted with.

 

 

The warning signs for King’s were there in the first couple of minutes, the first corner of the game led to a free header at the back post for Connor Burrows but his effort went harmlessly over. Almost straight after that, the ever-dangerous Ismail saw his shot deflected wide for another corner that this time came to nothing. All this excitement in just the first five minutes would then culminate with a contender for goal of the season in the biggest game of them all.

 

Kaylem Weadock fires in a stunning opening goal after just five minutes

In what has been nothing short of a spectacular, goal-laden season, with the fair share of bangers to boot, it should no longer be a surprise when Kaylem Weadock manages to smash the ball home. He got his 19th goal of an incredible season after making a masing run down the left wing. On the very edge of the box, where the position was perfect for a cross, only a shot came to mind. The second the ball left his foot, it was destined to nestle right into the top corner of the goal. That’s exactly where it went, the keeper had no chance and no choice but to stand and admire.

 

Weadock celebrates with his teammates after his brilliant opening goal

 

South Bank didn’t have long to wait for their next chance. Ismail, operating just behind the main striker of James Leyton, picked the ball up in middle of the King’s half. Spotting the run of midfielder Matt Clarke, he dinked a perfectly timed ball through to him, with a little bit of space in front, Clarke sent his volley goalwards, but it swerved just wide.

 

Another corner presented LSBU with their next chance. Failing to properly clear the first ball in, Weadock had slipped unmarked to the rear of the pack, he sent his fierce volley into the pack of players, but it missed them all, going just wide of the right-hand post in the process.

 

Clive Sarireni appears shocked to have put his team two ahead

The pressure was intense, and it wasn’t long before the rickety King’s dam burst again. Intercepting a poor pass from the King’s right-back, LSBU’s left-back, Clive Sarireni, both got in front of his man, and got his pass off to Leyton. Holding the ball up like he has done so well this season, Leyton picked his moment to release the ball back to marauding Sarireni who hadn’t stopped after winning the ball back. A lovely clipped pass into Sarireni’s feet was controlled and moved onto his trusty right foot. As the King’s centre-back put in a desperate lunge, Sarireni had already gotten his shot off. It was by no means the cleanest of strikes, but it completely wrong footed the goalkeeper who had anticipated a shot to his left. The ball however trickled into the opposite corner giving Sarireni his second goal of the season, not a bad time to get it either.

 

It had taken going two goals down for King’s to show any kind of attacking promise. Their first chance both came and was denied thanks to LSBU keeper Joe Cook. Originally failing to properly claim a deep free-kick into the box, he then made amends, first by leaping on the loose ball to deny a strike and as the ball went loose again, he stood up well to push the resulting strike wide of the goal after the ball had deflected off of one of his own defenders.

 

In between King’s chances, Weadock found himself one on one after being released by an excellent lobbed pass from Clarke. Sensing the keeper was off his line, he attempted an ambitious long-range lob but caught it all wrong and the ball ended up rolling safely wide. At the other end. Cook pulled out a trademark save, standing up well to the King’s attacker that has powered his way through down the left. Making his body as big as possible, he narrowed the angle, meaning the ball had nowhere to go other than straight at him. LSBU survived again as King’s finally began to realise they were playing a cup final.

 

Brian Yego is congratulated after heading home South Bank’s third goal

Before King’s had another chance to score, the game was all but put to bed. Having already started and finished the second goal. Sarireni then turned provider. Deep in the King’s half, Sarireni launched a cannon of a throw in from the left. The King’s keeper should have had a routine catch but the ball simply flew through his hands and bounced in the six-yard box. Making its way to the back, the ball sat up to be nodded home by Brian Yego and he duly obliged, heading home from little more than a couple of yards to give LSBU the simplest and softest of three-nil cushions.

 

King’s were now on the ropes, and like all dangerous animals. They started to look their most threatening when they seemed down and out. After tussling back and forth with King’s attacker, only a brilliant, last ditch leg from Burrows prevented a simple one on one. An almost certain goal-saving tackle. A piece of individual brilliance shortly afterwards from Leyton almost culminated in a spectacular solo goal. Weaving in and out of every defender that came his way, Leyton worked the ball onto his right foot and from the edge of the box, attempted to curl his effort into the top corner. However, it curled just that little too much and allowed the King’s keeper to push it away.

 

With the last effort of the half, King’s should have really pulled one back. Again it was both created and then rectified by Cook. His kicking was not at its usual high standard, not helped by the quality of the pitch that differed so much from the usual Burgess Park astro. His attempted clearance was charged down and fell to a King’s player on the left side of the box. He gave it straight back to the man who had charged down the kick. He turned sharply and booted an effort that was destined for the bottom left corner but Cook threw himself to his right and pulled off a stunning save to keep his clean sheet intact and his team firmly in control as the referee blew for half-time.

 

The second-half was one of complete contrast. South Bank offered little going forwards although there was a good chance for Leyton at the start, receiving another excellent pass from Clarke, he found himself with his back to goal but with a free header than he could only drop straight into the keepers midriff.

 

Whilst LSBU did not really threaten, neither did their chasing opponents. The chances that did come their way were not exactly golden. A well hit strike from the edge of the box was straight at Cook and was gathered easily. The game was starting to drift. King’s were dominating possession and inside LSBU’s half, so it was by no means a walk in the park for South Bank, their defence and midfield was working incredibly hard to ensure no more clear cut chances came the way of their opponents.

 

Indeed South Bank continued to carve out the odd good chance here and there. Three substitutes combined., first Amin Martinez laid the ball off to Pol Bass-Pinol who played through Mo Gani on the right side of goal. He galloped forward before unleashing a rasping drive goalwards. The keeper was at full stretch but couldn’t reach it, however, the shot flew just wide of the left-hand post.

 

South Bank are magnanimous in victory as they clap their opponents in the medal ceremony

There really was nothing else of note, every time the ball approached the LSBU defence it was either won back or dispatched to safety. Potential attacks were being thwarted in midfield with the wingers assisting in defence when needed. A through team performance was rewarded as the referee blew the final whistle sparking cheers and cries of delight from South Bank players and fans alike. Hands on heads and fist pumps flew about everywhere. A game that started with an attacking masterclass was firmly shut out by defensive brilliance. A long hard series of cup games had culminated in brilliant triumph. What began with a hastily arranged game away at Brunel in October when it should have been played at Burgess saw LSBU rely on a late goal in extra-time from Martinez ended here. That journey of six games has seen them play five teams in a higher division. After Brunel came Roehampton and Essex, both comfortably dispatched. A quarter-final against Chichester was tight in score-line but never was the result really in doubt. After seeing off Imperial, King’s should have proved the toughest of tests. With nine wins out nine in their league and a promotion to division four already assured before this final. It would be fair to assume that King’s would be regarded as favourites. But in what has been a golden season for South Bank, with a settled team bristling with talent, goals and resilience. All have been called upon at crucial moments this season and every time, they have delivered. On the biggest game of them all. They all shone brighter than ever before.

The entire team celebrate with their medals after a long hard cup run

South Bank defence shines as title creeps into sight

South Bank defence shines as title creeps into sight

Darnell Depradine’s brilliant header saw LSBU take the spoils over UCL in this table topping six pointer

 

Having comfortably dispatched a spirited but underwhelming Middlesex the week before with ease, this game proved to be the exact opposite in more than just score line. It was a game that held all the hallmarks of a top of the table clash. LSBU were just a point behind UCL but with a game in hand. UCL had dispensed with the other team vying for the title – Suffolk the week before. A draw would have made South Bank favourites for the title, a defeat would hand the initiative back to UCL.

 

The pitch before South Bank ensured that a smooth, quick passing rhythm was unlikely to flow. The bobbles meant the fall never stayed flat across the turf. Acclimatising to this surface from the smooth astro turf of Burgess Park meant that South Bank started the game firmly on the back foot.

 

After a poor clearance, the ball was slid into the LSBU box, some grappling failed to stop the ball being squared to the middle where the pitch made its first intervention, the ball bobbled up meaning the scuffed goalwards shot was comfortably, yet vitally blocked on the line by Clive Sarireni.

 

It was South Bank that had the best chance of the game so far. Exploiting a weak UCL backline, a brilliant lofted through ball from Amin Martinez found LSBU striker James Leyton. Having already bagged a dozen goals this season, you would have bet that after showing excellent control to bring the ball down and bear down on goal, he would have slotted his shot past the keeper but it wasn’t to be as his poked shot went agonisingly wide.

 

In game of such fine margins, it often takes either a moment of brilliance or moment of luck to produce a goal. In the case of the opening goal, it was neither. Just a long through into the box from the left wing. The ball sailed over everyone only to be met on the six-yard line by a gleeful UCL poacher who volley home the simplest and most frustrating of goals to reward UCL’s dominance thus far.

 

South Bank were firmly on the back foot and were indebted to their keeper Joe Cook who made the first of a string of saves to keep his team in the game. A well placed through ball from the left wing was seized upon by the UCL man who without needing a touch, struck his shot goalwards bring a smart save from Cook and keeping the game to within the one goal. South Bank almost broke the dominant period by scoring against the run of play. A throw in of their own from Bradley Baterip on the right was controlled by Leyton despite a big shunt in the back, getting back up quickly and showing all the dogged determination that has shone throughout his season, he turned his man and dinked a cross to the back post. It found an onrushing Kaylem Weadock who planted his volley straight into the ground where it bounced painfully over the bar and it was yet another golden chance gone awry.

 

UCL responded with the best chance since going in front. An interception in midfield was grabbed by the UCL defender, the loose ball was nudged around the oncoming LSBU defender leaving the UCL frontman with a one on one of his own. Charging to the edge of the box before picking his moment to strike, the fierce shot was met by a powerful and brave save by Cook, standing up strongly to deny UCL once again.

 

If LSBU had ridden their luck before-hand, they were perhaps fortunate to benefit from their own slice as half-time approached. As mentioned, luck can make all the difference but good teams make their own luck and it was with that luck that South Bank equalised. A corner from the left sailed across the six-yard box where it was only half-cleared. Connor Burrows managed to half control the ball before it was kicked of his toes. Matt Clarke on the edge of the box brought the ball back under control before moving it on to Weadock on his right. His first-time cross was only flicked on by Burrows but luckily behind him lurked Pol Basso-Pinol. There were claims that he was offside but before they came, he headed goal-wards over the keeper but the lack of power gave UCL a golden chance to clear. Bizarrely however, the UCL man on the line chose to stoop to head clear rather than the obvious option to boot it clear. His header could only fall as far as Burrows who had stayed up and volley home easily from six yards to give South Bank a crucial leveller.

 

Connor Burrows (L) scored a crucial equaliser for LSBU whilst keeper Joe Cook (R) made a number of vital saves

 

There is never a bad time to score in football, but there are most definitely better times than others to score. And with only a few minutes remaining in the half when you’re one-nil down is certainly one of the better times to score.

 

After a warning shot from LSBU substitute Ishmail sailed wide of the post. South Bank got their chance and they grabbed it. A throw in from the left was flicked into the path of Leyton by Darnell Depradine. He twisted and turned, trying to find a route further into the UCL penalty area. Unable to advance further, he laid the ball off to Ishmail. He took one step to his right before swinging a cross into the box where it was met by Depradine who thundered his header into the top corner and fired his team into the lead.

 

Darnell Depradine (center) scored the crucial winning goal with an excellent header

 

Being at your most vulnerable when you have just scored almost proved true for South Bank. Another poor clearance allowed UCL in again, initially one on one before being chased back by Baterip. It almost stalled the attack completely before the UCL forward shimmied his way into a shooting position and with his left foot, unleashed a snap shot that Cool did excellently to keep out given it travelled through the legs of Baterip.

 

South Bank finally began to settle on their lead and almost increased it soon after that chance. A free kick out on the left was whipped in by Ishmail and bounced all the way to the back post where Depradine nodded it back across goal, Leyton was waiting to pounce but the ball was whipped away from him at the crucial moment.

 

That chance wasn’t to prove costly though as the referee brought the curtain down on a brilliant and determined victory that could prove invaluable as the league comes towards its conclusion. Two points clear and with a game in hand on UCL mean the initiative is well and truly with South Bank in the run in. However, three games still remain and they will be wary of conceding any ground and giving any hope to those chasing as they remain in the pursuit of title glory.

Weadock quadruple sends South Bank top

Weadock quadruple sends South Bank top

The LSBU winger eased to his 12th goal of the season against Middlesex but second half defensive frailties will be of concern going forward.

 

In what could have easily passed for a carbon copy of the reverse fixture in November last year, the game against Middlesex followed an oh so similar pattern. Race into a massive lead in the first half, score some great goals, win the game after 45 minutes. Then come out again and sit off, and leave the first half magic in the changing room. The only difference here today, is that sitting off cost them more dearly than the first time, three goals rather than one, and they did at least check the poor defensive errors by scoring four more goals to make it 9-3 at full-time.

 

Fast starts have been a bedrock of LSBU’s impressive form this season. In fact, they scored their quickest goal of the season in the reverse fixture. Today was no exception. Racing onto a loose Middlesex pass, Amin Martinez charged forward before sliding through a pass to Kaylem Weadock who took the ball out of the path of the defender and slotted home from 12 yards.

 

 

That goal meant Weadock and James Leyton were tied for goals scored this season and the LSBU frontman almost responded immediately. A flick from Darnell Depadrine was chested down and from the edge of the area, Leyton fired a powerful volley that looked for all the world like it was going to nestle in the bottom corner only for the post to come to Middlesex’s rescue.

 

South Bank pressure kept up relentlessly. Matt Clarke had a powerful shot tipped over the crossbar and Mo Gani shot narrowly wide from outside the box before a rare Middlesex foray into LSBU’s half almost gave them a shock equaliser. A cross from the left went deep to the back post, initially headed half clear from Clive Sarireni, the ball was controlled by the Middlesex forward who spun well before unleashing a ferocious volley goal-wards only to see it met by a spectacular block from Sarireni who denied Middlesex a certain equaliser.

 

After preventing a goal at one end, Sarireni turned from saviour to provider just moments later. Latching onto a through ball from Clarke, Sarireni, turned inside his man and despite being harassed by the Middlesex defender, managed to hold up the ball long enough to lay it off to Leyton who dropped back to receive the ball and fired home a brilliant first time left-footed shot from the edge of the box and South Bank had powered into a two-goal lead.

 

Leyton was instrumental in LSBU’s next goal. His quick feet and trickery drawing a cynical foul from the Middlesex defender just outside the box. Up step Weadock. Having found the net twice already this season from free-kicks, this one was presented to him on the other side of the goal, better suited for a right footer. But nothing was going to prevent him curling another sublime effort into the top right corner, leaving the keeper flat-footed. 3-0 and nothing less than South Bank deserved.

 

LSBU’s forth also came courtesy of a free-kick, although, with a huge degree of fortuity about it. Wide out on the right wing. Clarke swung a left-footed curling ball into the box that flicked off a Middlesex head and nestled perfectly – if unluckily into the corner. A cruel own goal but an own goal nonetheless.

 

LSBU’s fifth was as simplistic as they come really. Depadrine won a good tackle just inside the Middlesex half, spun and released Mo Gani who charged at the solo defender in front of him. To his left was the lurking Leyton who tucked away with ease after Gani’s simple forward pass.

 

Easy enough to say a job well done at half-time and that the second-half emphasis would be on pushing on with ruthless aggression. But far from keeping Middlesex on the back foot, it was South Bank that found themselves going backwards. Despite the scoreline, Middlesex possessed their own danger man who struggled to get going in the first-half but wasted no time asserting his ability in the second. The number seven received the ball just inside the LSBU half and proceeded to carve through the entire South Bank team like a blowtorch through butter. Poking the ball home past stand-in keeper Charlie Wetton to ruin any chances of second successive clean sheet.

 

5-1 however is no reason to fret but it almost became 5-2 almost straight after. A corner was only half cleared and as the ball ran away from the goal, the referee blew after adjudging that Depadrine had tripped the Middlesex man. Penalty to Middlesex. Usually players are pushing to take the penalty, in this case though, it was trying to give the ball to someone else. Once responsibility had finally been assigned, Wetton got down quickly to his left to push the penalty behind for a corner, the lack of power reflected the lack in confidence in the penalty taker.

 

The chance may have gone but more kept coming. A lobbed ball was seized upon by the Middlesex frontman who had beaten the offside trap, the bouncing ball made it awkward and may have been the reason his shot cannoned off of the post rather than nesting the corner of the net.

 

The game started to drift afterwards. Weadock had a chance to complete his hat-trick after an excellent one-two with substitute Pol Basso-Pinol but could only roll his shot into the keeper hands. At the other end, Wetton pushed a long shot wide with Middlesex’s number seven continuing to run all of his team’s attacks. LSBU got themselves on the second-half scoresheet soon after. Finding himself in a chasm of space in the centre of the Middlesex defence, Basso-Pinol received a straight forward pass and one on one with the keeper, toyed with one shot before slotting home South Bank’s sixth.

 

Middlesex responded with a quick one-two of their own. Receiving a defence splitting long ball through the middle, the Middlesex number seven latched onto the loose ball and initially completely missed his first kick at goal, but made no mistake with his second, rolling the ball home. He ran on to another long ball only a few minutes later, taking the ball past the on-rushing South Bank keeper and finishing well from a tight angle to complete his hat-trick.

 

After being kicked back into reality and finding themselves reduced from a five-goal lead to a three-goal lead. South Bank finally found the extra gear they needed to put Middlesex to the sword. Basso-Pinol kicked things off with his second since coming off the bench. A goal very similar to his first. Weadock received a pass to feet from substitute Brian Yego he waited on his pass through, finally releasing the ball to Basso-Pinol, he finished with a smart side-footed strike that made the score 7-3.

 

Weadock had dominated the Middlesex midfield and defence all afternoon and easily deserved his hat-trick. And he could not have been given an easier goal to get it with. Amin Martinez’s corner was curled in; it could have easily gone straight in under the bar. Rather it bounced off the top of the crossbar and then delicately fell to an unmarked Weadock who couldn’t miss his nod home from two yards.

 

The final goal of the game came from a cross from the right. Full-back Bradley Baterip’s deep cross was controlled after the bounce by Yego. Only six yards out, his fierce shot was blocked but Yego persevered to find Basso-Pinol. He was crowded by two defenders but in an attempt to clear, the ball only succeeded in bouncing straight to Weadock who tucked away his second simple tap in and his fourth overall to round of the score at 9-3.

 

The result in truth was never really in doubt. Despite the wobble at 6-3. South Bank’s five goal cushion at half-time was always going to prove insurmountable. The irritation will be conceding three goals to a team bottom of the league with minus three points. That said, to score nine against any opponent is a startling achievement. To do it two games in a row is remarkable. No doubt they will not meet as generous a defence in UCL next time round but the knowledge is there that even when one good opposition player can take a game to them, they can always respond by simply outscoring whoever stands in their way of the title.

Essex swept aside as imperious South Bank march on

Essex swept aside as imperious South Bank march on

LSBUFC recover from a first half deficit to obliterate Essex thirds and reach the quarter finals

 

Facing the prospect of a team with exactly the same record as them this season, only in a higher league. LSBU once again faced the daunting prospect of a team a division above them. On what was on paper, their toughest game of the season in reality was a mismatch with the supposed lower division team putting a shoddy and largely toothless opposition to the sword.

 

It was an insult to the scoreboard as much as a shock to the system that South Bank walked in at half time one-nil down, Essex having pounced on a rare defensive mistake to take a shock and undeserved lead. But in what can only be described as a right old rollicking at half time had the effect of producing two goals in two minutes on two occasions within the first ten minutes of the second half. If the game was being played in a large stadium, fans returning late after their half time pie and pint could have easily not known the score had gone from 0-1 to 4-1 in a matter of moments. 

 

 

The first half was an equivalent to a boxing match where one boxer lands blow after blow without getting the knockout whilst the other retreats to the corner, keeps his arms up and yet still manages to flatten his opponent once during the half. The initial onslaught started quickly, when James Leyton exchanged an excellent one-two with Kaylem Weadock on the edge of the box, working the ball to a tight angle, the shot was easily parried by the Essex keeper but still, it was an early warning shot.

 

A dangerous free kick from Amin Martinez was swung into the box. Rising above his marker was Connor Burrows whose header seemed goal bound until it was hooked clear, both of the goal and the onrushing Harry Thompson who was lurking at the back post. Burrows was finding little luck from excellent jumping, the resulting corner was beautifully floated in by Mo Gani. Burrows rose again, his header destined to find the net but for a good goal line clearance that left the South Bank players with their heads in their hands.

 

Piling forward and with Essex yet to settle at all and constantly losing possession in the final third of their own half, South Bank carved out yet another opportunity. A rather tame shot from the edge of the box from Ishmail was spilled by the keeper. However, Leyton who has already poached a couple of goals this season wasn’t quite able to clip the ball home, the Essex keeper making amends with a smart save. The ball was cleared for a matter of seconds before an excellent ball from Thompson found Martinez who dangerous cross just evaded Leyton. Falling unmarked at the back post, an onrushing Weadock attempted to volley home and was disappointed when the ball sailed over the bar and South Bank’s best chance so far had gone begging.

 

The next couple of chances denied to LSBU were the result, first of bad luck, then brilliant defending. Far out next to the sidelines. Left back Clive Sarireni lofted the ball into the box, surely what was meant as cross completely missed all of his teammates but the swirling ball dropped painfully onto the top of the crossbar bringing a sigh of relief for the floundering Essex keeper.

 

James Leyton came close a number of times and was unlucky not to add to his 4 goals this season

Only minutes later, after more brilliant play down the left from Weadock, he surged into the box having evaded an attempted tackle, cutting the ball back from the byline found Leyton. Believing he faced an open goal, he opened up his body and calmly slotted the ball towards goal. Having done everything right, the pain when the Essex defender brilliantly threw himself in front of the ball caused disbelief that South Bank were still level although, huge credit should be given to the Essex defender for a magnificent block.

 

Bad enough was it that South Bank had spurned so many chances. What came next was a cruel and unlucky blow. After a tackle on Darnell Depadrine in midfield that could easily have been given as a foul, the ball was played in behind Sarireni at full back, with minimum pressure behind him, his backpass to South Bank keeper Joe Cook was too light allowing the Essex frontman to take the ball around Cook and slot into an empty net to give Essex a lucky, unfortunate and underserved lead.

 

While it could have been that South Bank became deflated after such a sucker punch, as has been proved repeatedly throughout the season, their resilience rallied them and they continued to push forward, now in the search of an equaliser. Good work on the right by full back Bradley Baterip released Gani again. His deep cross was met by Weadock who skewed his volley into the path of Leyton. With his back to goal, he tried a speculative left-footed bicycle kick that just cleared the bar.

 

Leyton as always continued to be involved in most of South Bank’s attacking forays. He was unlucky, having latched onto a brilliant Ishmail pass to be flagged offside after applying a tidy finish. His long pass out to the right found the ever dangerous Gani who tricked his way around the full back with ease, his cross rebounded to Martinez lurking on the edge of the box but like Leyton before found his shot on goal changed down by the Essex defence.

 

“Not good enough” was the message at half time. South Bank responded by scoring 4 times in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half

 

As half time approached, South Bank launched one final attack. Burrows hoofed a huge volley downfield. The ball, swerving all over the place wasn’t cleared by the Essex centre back, eventually controlled by Leyton who rushed through on goal only to be met with an out coming goalkeeper who managed to kick the ball away from Leyton just outside the box where it rebounded kindly for the keeper to clear safely.

 

Upon the whistle for half time. The question “how on earth are we one-nil down” was asked with a lot more force and with choicer language than can be written. A half which had seen South Bank produce a level of dominance that could only be compared to the first half mauling of Middlesex where they scored four times without reply. In all honesty, if they had walked in at half time two-nil up, the team talk would likely have been pretty much the same. I.E – why are we not out of sight?

 

Much is credited to half time team talks. Whether it is justified as to if it does actually make a difference is up for debate. Today however, it wasn’t in doubt that South Bank heeded the warnings, both of what is expected of them and what was at stake for them. It took a matter of seconds to turn scoreline worry into scoreline delight. Stooping to direct a header from a long Essex pass into the pass of Martinez. His one touch laid it off to Ishmail who allowed it to run before unloading an unstoppable 25-yard rocket into the left corner. Coming straight from the Essex kick off after half time, they found themselves kicking off for the second time in 60 seconds. But they didn’t learn their lesson.

 

Losing possession in his own half to Depadrine, he looked up and attempted to play in Ishamil behind the centre back. What should have been a routine clearance skipped over his boot and Ishmail was able to walk the ball out to the right-hand side. Depadrine had stayed over and received the ball, looked up once again and picked out Weadock unmarked at the back post with a pinpoint cross leaving Weadock to head home well and within two minutes, South Bank went from one down to two one up.

 

After an entire half of pounded the Essex dam, LSBU ensured that when it burst, a flood would follow. A long clearance from Cook was excellent controlled by Leyton. Suddenly along with Ishmail to his left and the freshly introduced Callum Bedward to his right, South Bank found themselves with a three on one. Leyton chose left to Ishamil who almost effortlessly lifted the ball over the sole Essex defender to the marauding Bedward who with his first touch nodded the bouncing ball over the onrushing Essex keeper finishing a sublime move. From Cook’s kick to Leyton’s touch and pass, Ishmail’s sublime lobbed pass and Bedward’s deft and brave header. This was one of South Bank’s goals of the season purely because at no point did they allow the Essex defence to get close to them.

 

LSBU’s tackling this season as a whole has been both excellent and dangerous to opponents who have been caught napping and suddenly have to find themselves defending. Another recent substitute Pol Basso Pinol but in what is fast become a trademark challenge on the halfway line, robbing the ball, powering forward and finding Ishmail to his left with a precise pass. Allowing the ball to roll past him onto his left foot, he calmly slotted the ball past the keeper and gave South Bank an assured three goal lead.

 

Amin Martinez (R) chats with Kaylem Weadock. Weadock scored his 4th and 5th goals of the season

 

South Bank were blessed this day to have top quality reserves on the bench, Bedward and Basso Pinol had already made their mark. Now the returning Matt Clarke was also introduced, his heaving run forward set up South Bank’s next chance, his pass to Leyton produced a snap shot that was blocked, another substitute Jack Haywood got to the loose ball first passing to Bedward on the left. He took aim and his looping shot was heading were it not for a good save from the Essex keeper who pushed it over the bar.

 

Seemingly content with 4-1 lead. South Bank stepped off the gas, whilst not an uncommon feature among cruising teams, it doesn’t seem to suit LSBU who started to get a little sloppy. Essex were unlucky when a great run into the box on the right saw a shot cannon of the left post. At that stage in the game with almost half an hour remaining, it could have been a dangerous end to the game. Another sloppy mistake followed. Thompson receiving a pass from Weadock attempted to pass first time, however it was charged down by the Essex striker who manoeuvred forward to goal, going clean through his shot was excellently saved by Cook. South Bank could only half clear before Essex found themselves one on one again but this time the weak shot was saved by Cook and the rebound which was perhaps an even easier chance was put wide. South Bank had survived a period of play that should have seen the scoreline narrow.

 

Essex did keep pushing and after having a goal ruled out for offside they got the goal they had been threatening. A long ball down the right was met by the Essex winger. He lobbed the ball over Cook who had come off his line in an attempt to meet the ball. The ball bobbled across the goal, Thompson attempted to clear but couldn’t quite hook it clear leaving a tap in at the far post. It was too little too late, but still an irritant to South Bank who had played and defended so well throughout the game.

 

However. Typical of South Bank all season, they responded with renewed attacking intent. The ball broke to Basso Pinol on the edge of the box, having weaved into the penalty area he set to shoot before the ball was knocked away from him, but only into the path of Ishmail who had a golden chance to seal his hat-trick, but his powerful shot cleared the bar.

 

As the game wound down, a handball by the Essex defender on the edge of the box gave South Bank a free kick that was perfectly set up for a left-footed strike. Naturally of course, up stepped Weadock. Whilst it certainly didn’t match his sublime free kick against Suffolk on the first day of the season, the skill to get a ball up and over a wall and on target is not an easy one to replicate. And yet again, the ball sailed over the ball and nestled into the bottom corner. The Essex keeper looked a little suspect in his attempt to save and the muted but happy celebrations seemed more a reflection that the day was a job well done.

 

The full-time whistle brought the game to an end on a thoroughly efficient days’ work. The nature of the goals conceded from two bits of sloppy play were annoying but not issues South Bank should be concerned about going forward for they were confident on the ball, and brilliant at winning back possession from an Essex team that will be disappointed in the nature of their defeat to a team a division below them. But as South Bank have proved three times already in the cup this season and will have to prove again against Chichester in February, facing higher league opposition means nothing because they will believe, rightly so, that they can beat anyone.

 

 

Weadock double condemns UCL and lifts South Bank

Weadock double condemns UCL and lifts South Bank

The LSBU winger scored twice adding to a James Leyton penalty as LSBUFC claimed their fourth successive victory

 

Whilst no one could deny the quality of football South Bank had played in their previous two games was excellent, they were certainly helped by poor opposition defending and goalkeeping. Today however, as they lined up for their toughest league match of the season against table topping UCL, they knew that nothing was going to be given to them.

The LSBU players prepare for the match with UCL

Fast and positive starts to games have been a staple of South Bank’s season so far but it was the visitors who dominated the early exchanges and could have easily found themselves out of sight had it not been for LSBU keeper Joe Cook and some poor finishing. Called into action early on to push a well struck volley wide, UCL were imposing whilst South Bank were sluggish.

 

What LSBU have found this season is the ability to create danger from very little. The always dangerous Mo Gani marauding down the right wing has baffled opponents in every game this season and after he was released by a superb pass from the excellent Pol Basso Pinol, he sped towards the box, bamboozled the full back and squared to James Leyton in the box who could only direct his shot over the bar. However, this period of danger from South Bank proved to be the exception rather than the norm in these early stages.

 

South Bank keeper Joe Cook (L) kept his team in the game with a string of first half saves

UCL were back on the front foot and threatening again soon after. A cross into the box was only parried away from Cook, but his quick reactions ensured the following shot was well blocked by his body. Again, UCL attacked down the left, weaving into the box, a powerful shot from an angle was straight at Cook who reacted quickly to push it wide again. Set pieces have been a thorn in South Bank’s side this season, a free kick just over the half way line was pumped into the box. Cook punched clear and was able to push the ball away twice after, thus not allowing a shot on goal.

 

After all the UCL pressure, the chances saved and squandered, it was LSBU that carved out the best chance of the half. Again, it was Basso Pinol who seems to have a gift for winning a tackle and releasing an attacker, again after stealing the ball, he instantly played in Gani through the right. With only the keeper to beat, he lashed his shot goalwards but the UCL keeper got down smartly to produce an excellent save.  

 

That shot really spurred South Bank into life and they were playing with a lot more intensity. A familiar attacking pattern was now emerging as Basso Pinol pass to Gani resulted in a superb cross into the box. Still up after a previous corner, centre half Harry Thompson found himself unmarked but will be disappointed that his header only skimmed his head and never troubled the keeper.

 

Attacking a Mo Gani corner that was played deep to the edge of the box, Kaylem Weadock rushed on to volley towards goal, the shot was well struck and only a solid clearance on the line prevented LSBU taking the lead. The game was now opening up as half-time approached. UCL then spurred their golden chance of the half. Some neat play down the right saw a perfectly weighted pass find the space between the two centre halves, unmarked from 6 yards out and only needing a decent connection, the UCL striker somehow managed to trickle his volley into the grateful arms of Cook. One more UCL was shot was savaged wide before the referee blew for half-time. Whilst it was perhaps a fair result at the break, the score line could easily have been 2-2 or 3-3.

The South Bank players are given a half time talking to after a sluggish start

South Bank attacked the first half with the same intensity from the off. Left back Clive Sarireni bombed down the left wing and his crossed picked out Leyton who couldn’t quite direct his shot on target. He came close shortly after, receiving a pass from Amin Martinez. With his back to goal, he span, worked an opening but his shot went just over the bar.

 

James Leyton (pictured) came close a number of times before scoring his 4th goal of the season

If the start of the first half was centred around the LSBU keeper, the start of the second was all about Leyton. The most controversial moment of the game came after a throw in from the right. It bounced to him from about 12 yards where he unleashed an unstoppable left footed volley which clattered against the underside of the post. The ball ricocheted down and the cheers from the South Bank players were an indication of if they thought the ball had crossed the line. The referee however disagreed and play continued with South Bank left to feel aggrieved.

 

As if that wasn’t bad enough on its own, what happened next was gut wrenching. The thorn in South Bank’s side returned to haunt them once again. A corner from the right was floated in and, climbing above his marker, the UCL centre back powered a good header towards to top corner. A desperate attempt by Weadock to head the ball clear was in vain and UCL found themselves in front with the simplest of goals.

 

South Bank heads didn’t drop however, they kept going forward and creating chances. Connor Burrows shot wide after some near play in the middle. Weadock came closer with one of his seemingly trademark curling free kicks that was well saved but only at the expense of a corner that gave South Bank their way back into the game. The keeper punched the first ball clear but some pinball ensued, with the ball bouncing all over the place, it eventually dropped down onto the arm of the UCL defender and the referee had no hesitation at pointing to the spot.

 

Kaylem Weadock (pictured) scored his 2nd and 3rd goals of the season

As sure as the referee was about the decision, as decisive Leyton was with the finish, giving the keeper no chance whatsoever and LSBU were deservedly level. With UCL still licking their wounds, South Bank went for the jugular. And they received a big dollop of help from the UCL full back. After Brian Yego attempted to run onto a through ball from Callum Bedward, the full back who had easily won the race inexplicably squared the ball across his own goal right into the path of a gleeful Weadock who gobbled up the chance and within five minutes, South Bank had come from behind to lead.

 

Chances then came to put the game to bed. The talented midfielder Ishmail twice game close and was twice thwarted by the impressive UCL keeper who had really been keeping his team in the game up to this point. Yego also had a double bite of the cherry. His first shot was blocked and he reacted quickly to get a rebound shot off but it went agonisingly wide.

 

All of this pressure from South Bank was still only yielding a vulnerable one goal lead. Cook had to be wary and made sure a trickling shot was pushed wide. It was always going to be safe but it was a reminder as the game ticked towards full time that LSBU needed to put UCL down. After all the neat play, close chances and controversy, it took a relatively route one approach to kill the game and claim all three points.A deep free kick from Cook bounced once, was flicked forward by Leyton, bounced again and was volley home from Weadock against a keeper who was off balance after coming up to attack a corner. However, it was no less than South Bank deserved.

It was indeed the last action of the match. LSBU had been made to work harder in this game than any other of their league matches. Putting aside a disappointing opening day defeat on this ground, they have responded with four wins, scoring 13 times. The football played at times was as good as anything they have produced this season. Coming a week before they return to Burgess Park for their crunch last 16 cup match against Essex thirds. They will also be boosted by the return to of Matt Clarke who made his first appearance since January after suffering a serious knee injury. The task ahead is great but belief can carry you a long way.

Ruthless South Bank sense cup glory

Ruthless South Bank sense cup glory

Pol Basso Pinol’s wonder-strike helped LSBU ease into the last 16 of the cup with a sublime 4-1 victory over higher division Roehampton 2nds

 

After the mayhem of a hastily rearranged game in the last round of the cup. It was a relief to be back on home turf for the first time in a month. Although their last outing at Burgess Park saw South Bank capitulate to Suffolk, their two subsequent away games have been a lot kinder. The extra time winner against Brunel that got South Bank here was full of all the euphoric emotion you would expect from a late late cup goal. Whereas last week’s 5-1 destruction of Middlesex was routine, the result was a hugely satisfying lift off to the league campaign.

 

This match against Roehampton was a tough one to call beforehand. One thing that was almost certain was goals. Coming into this match, the Roehampton team’s two previous games had produced a staggering 19 goals, including ten in the 8-2 victory that got them to this stage. However, they had also shipped six in their first league game and South Bank smelt blood from the off.

 

LSBU’s players are sent out ahead of the match against Roehampton

 

The signs were obvious when Darnell Depradine header over from a Kaylem Weadock corner early on. A free header should have tested the keeper but nonetheless it was a positive start. Whilst the next shot didn’t test the keeper you could hardly blame the striker. After a quick pass from Pol Basso Pinol on the edge of the box, James Leyton worked the ball onto his left foot and unleashed a rasping drive from 18 yards that clattered into the crossbar.

 

After coming so close with that superb strike, they decided to have another go shortly after. After winning possession more than 25 yards out, Basso Pinol with his back to goal seemed to win the ball, spin around and unleash a spectacular shot that could not have been placed better into the top left corner if you did it with your hands. A goal of the season contender for sure and a maiden goal at that. The rushes to congratulate emphasised the quality of the strike.

 

 

The old saying is that you are at your most vulnerable when you have just scored. That almost proved the case when Roehampton countered at speed, suddenly facing a one on one with the Roehampton striker, South Bank keeper Joe Cook saved smartly with his legs to keep LSBU in front. Although South Bank responded with a shot over the bar from Leyton. Roehampton found a stroke of fortune to get themselves back into the match.

 

Some neat play on the right saw a good ball played into the feet of the Roehampton attacker, he weaved his way into the box before squaring, the onrushing striker struck the ball towards goal, whether Cook would have saved it is up for debate but the ball took a huge deflection of Harry Thompson, wrong-footing Cook and levelling the game.

 

LSBU then had to weather a storm of Roehampton pressure. Starting with an ambitious overhead kick outside the box that was on target but was never going to test Cook, only a few minutes later Roehampton squandered a golden opportunity to go ahead. A throw in on the right again saw the Roehampton winger worm his way into the box, a good low cross found the Roehampton striker in space on the edge of the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy, he could only fire ridiculously wide when it seemed easier to score.

 

You know it’s going to be one of those days when the opposition don’t take their chance and then immediately gift you one of your own. Picking the ball up in the Roehampton half, Basso Pinol guided the ball with the outside of his foot into the box. However the ball seemed too long for the oncoming Mo Gani to get hold off and the keeper was there, and then suddenly the ball appeared from underneath him to which Gani reacted and punished the howler and put South Bank back in front.

 

Tails up, South Bank went for the Roehampton jugular. Gani again weaved into the box following a short corner, his fizzing shot was straight at the keeper but he could only parry it into the feet of the lurking Leyton who prodded the rebound home, Although Weadock ensured the ball hit the back of the net, it had already crossed the line and just like South Bank had scored twice in a matter of moments and had themselves a comfortable lead going into half-time.

 

The lads reflect on a job well done at half time with the score 3-1

 

The second half was a tighter affair. South Bank started slowly and although they struggled to impose the same levels they had displayed in the first-half, they were never put under any threat by a lacklustre Roehampton. Weadock tested out a vulnerable keeper from distance but this time he held on comfortably. An excellent pass from Depradine found Gani who muscled past his defender and from an acute angle lobbed the ball over the keeper but also over the bar. Adnan Abdulhuessein tried a similar lob from just outside the box but his effort also dropped over the bar.

 

However, all this South Bank pressure was to pay off eventually. After winning a free kick from around 25 yards out. Weadock stepped up again. Anyone who was on this ground the last time he took a free kick in virtually the same position would know what he was setting up. A curling, dipping shot, went straight at the keeper. But given his form throughout the match so far, it was perhaps not so much of a surprise when he dropped the ball straight in front of two South Bank players who unlike their opponents didn’t bother to follow the ball in in case something like this happened. Originally, Clive Sarereni got his foot to the ball first, dislodging it from under the keepers legs where it felt to Leyton who from one yard out in front of an empty net prodded home and made the score 4-1. Protestations from Roehampton that the keeper somehow had control of the ball and therefore a foul should have been given were rightly dismissed as nonsense by the referee.

 

Roehampton briefly responded, an excellent through ball was taken in stride by the Roehampton striker, the onrushing Cook narrowed the angle enough that he could only poke his shot wide, a warning to South Bank with enough time left in the game to not feel completely job done yet.

 

However, South Bank shut up shop and saw the rest of the game out. Mo Gani came close to adding a fifth latching onto a brilliant pass from Armani Morris, surging into the box and blasting his shot just wide. Leyton had the chance to bag his hat-trick although his optimistic shot from distance also sailed wide of the post. And the moment the Roehampton keeper (this time) safely held onto a curling shot from Callum Bedward the referee had blown her whistle and LSBU had waltzed into the next round. Essex 3rds await for LSBU, the third time in a row they will have played a team from the league above, on this form, they will fear no one.

Dogged South Bank dig deep for victory

Dogged South Bank dig deep for victory

LSBU edged into the third round of the cup with an extra time winner courtesy of a goalkeeping howler in this controversial classic

 

You rarely get low scoring games that can grip you like this. You rarely have games that are subject to quite so much administrative muck ups. LSBU were meant to be playing this game at the comfort of their home ground of Burgess Park, but issues with booking the pitch saw South Bank making the four-hour round trip to Brunel thus turning this into an away game.

 

A squad of just 13 travelled. But nothing was going to going to deter the LSBU boys from marching into the next round of the cup. In their way stood Brunel 4ths A team a division above South Bank and sitting top of the league having scored 9 in their previous two games. LSBU meanwhile lost their opening game of the season, falling to a miserable 3-2 home defeat.

 

Games are precious at this level. You are not guaranteed your ten league fixtures in a season, so a good cup run is essential for anyone wanting that extra 90 or in this case, 120 minutes. From the get go however, South Bank played like a team determined to go all the way. That said, it took 20 minutes for the first chance of the came to come along. A lightening Mohammed Gani was released down the right wing by a Weadock pass, he powered towards goal, but his shot was safely wide. That shot however spurred South Bank into life and they had the best chance of the game only eight minutes later. Clive Sarireni at left back won the ball in a dangerous area where he teed it up for James Leyton. One touch to set and he fired it towards goal. It brought a terrific save from the Brunel keeper who bettered that by reacting sharply to push aside the rebound effort from Mohammed Yassinn.

 

Shortly after Weadock fired a rasping shot just over the bar, came the first big moment of the match. An horrific pass from the Brunel centre back was intercepting by Pol Basso Piñol. He exchanged a quick pass with Leyton, surged into the box only to be pulled down just as he was about to get his shot off. The referee correctly pointed to the spot but surprisingly showed no card to the offender. Considering a shot on goal was inevitable and no attempt was made to win the ball, the challenge could easily have seen the Brunel defender dismissed for a professional foul, but the referee believed that there was sufficient cover that warranted no card.

 

The penalty itself was a matter of textbook refereeing however. Leyton stepped up to take it, but his well struck penalty cannoned off the post. It quickly rebounded to him where he successfully buried it, but as no other player had touched the ball, the referee correctly ruled out the rebound effort.

 

Half time was rapidly approaching, and the upcoming break caught the South Bank players napping either side and were thankful to their keeper Joe Cook on both occasions to keep the score level. Corners have been a recent problem for LSBU and they were nearly undone again. The ball drifted to the front post where it was flicked on before a first-time volley limped through a crowd of players. On first look, it seemed a routine save but in reality, the close proximity of the ball to the keeper at first contact meant the quick reactions of Cook to beat the ball away was even more impressive.

 

A beautiful day greeted the players as they come back for the second half

 

Straight after half-time, Cook was worked again. A free-kick far out on the left was put into a dangerous area but no-one was able to get a touch on, however the ball itself was on target and needed a smart stop from Cook to push it wide. South Bank dominated the remainder of the half. Both teams had chances thwarted by the flag but neither team really looked like winning the match in normal time. So another 30 minutes was required for a winner to emerge.

 

Both teams displayed all the nerves and exhaustion you would associate with tight games in extra-time. This game proved that games at any level mean so much to football lovers. Both teams gave everything but still the score remained 0-0 as the first half of extra-time ended. The second half was a different matter altogether. The nerves remained but the game became mired in controversy.

 

A lobbed ball into the box fell kindly to the feet of the Brunel winger, who controlled well and slotted it home. He was however to be thwarted by the linesman’s flag. The referee blew up straight away but by then, Brunel were already celebrating and felt aggrieved. Their main protestations centred around the fact the lobbed ball into the box was then flicked on further by Harry Thompson. Although this was true, the original pass was intended for the same man and as a result the referee after conferring with the linesman ruled the goal offside and South Bank had received a major let off.

 

It’s fair to say the Brunel were sore about the decision. And perhaps whilst they were still licking their wounds, they let their guard down, or rather the Brunel keeper let his guard down. A huge kick downfield from Cook was chased and won by Leyton on the left-wing. He cut inside and was felled by the Brunel right-back. It’s fair to say that way out on the left wing and a long distance from goal doesn’t present a particularly good opportunity for a direct free-kick on goal. Quite whether Amin Martinez meant what he did when he curled the ball into the box is not yet known. The ball sailed lazily into the box, far away from a South Bank attacker, the Brunel keeper had the simple of task of catching the ball in front of his face. It looked like a routine catch right up until the moment that it slipped through his hands and into the net. The roar of delight from all eleven players on the pitch, both substitutes, the touchline coach Matt Clarke and the cheering supporters was deafening. It proved one thing at least. This game really mattered to South Bank players and they proves it with an outpouring of emotion.

 

The South Bank players ready themselves for one final slog in extra time

 

On the other end, the emotions would have been very different and it’s impossible not to feel sorry for the Brunel keeper who otherwise had been the difference in the match so far with some exceptional goalkeeping. LSBU weren’t bothered, how, who, where or when. Just that they did score and scored when it mattered most, the game was only four minutes from a penalty shootout. All they had to do now was se it out, clear every ball, run down the clock, do everything and anything. Relief was visible across the players face every time a cross was caught by Cook, or a dangerous run ended by a tackle.

 

As with all tense finishes, the losing team has to have at least one opportunity, a corner brought the losing keeper up as 21 players crowded the box, the ball was sent to deep, but kept it by the right back, his cross was good towards the back post but as two Brunel players jumped at once, they could only succeed in heading innocently over the bar. The moment the ball was safe, the whistle blew, cries of “yes” filled the air as LSBU had come through everything to win one of the tensest games you could imagine.

 

To change venues and travel a long way to face a team a division above and flying high, scoring goals for fun could have had you thinking that this game was always going to be a bit of a mismatch. As it turns out, it really was, just for the other team. Other than a couple of smart saves from Cook either side of half-time, LSBU were the dominant side. They controlled play better, they won more challenges, got the ball into more dangerous positions. They nullified the pace of the Brunel front three and used the pace of their own front man Leyton to harass the opposition. Their midfield controlled the ball, winning tackles and starting attack in one go. And perhaps best of all, their defence was ready for pretty much anything thrown at them. They kept the aerial presence from the big front man to a minimum, they never allowed anyone to have space or time to shoot or pass.

 

Thumbs up. Goal scorer Amin Martinez relaxes at the end of the game

 

But most of all, stripping the game down altogether, ultimately, South Bank just wanted this game more, they had that little bit more and it finally showed and they got what they deserved, a win and a spot in the next round of the cup!