Hello guys, it’s me BadjokesFM back at you once again with blog #3 of Back to the Boleyn, my East Ham FC create-a-club series. We’ve created the club and assembled the squad, now it’s time to start the season. I honestly have no idea how this team will shape up, so we could be amazing and storm the league or, the more likely option we could be terrible and finish bottom of the league by about 20 points. So one way or another this is going to be an adventure. Let’s crack on with the first game of the season
The Boleyn Ground
Vanarama National League South
Attendance:4,516 (44 Away)
Our first ever game quite luckily, fell at home, as I’m not too sure about the mental strength of the lads with most of the squad being early twenties and presumably having not played in front of decent sized crowds before. So I wanted to get the first home game out of the way, early doors.
I decided to go with a very simple four four two on counter mentality and structured team shape, whilst telling the lads to just pump the ball into the box and hit early crosses and go route one from the defence. I told the team to play in their favoured roles for the first few games, until I can get a decent idea of what this team can and can’t do.
The players didn’t seem to be too overawed by the crowd or the occasion of playing our first game at The Boleyn, as Jamie Calvin scored the first goal of this series with an effort from just outside the box on twenty-three minutes, which turned out to be the only goal of the half as Whitehawk didn’t really threaten us too much.
During the half-time team talk I told the team they were doing well but not to get complacent, which most of them took on board. They came out strong in the second half as Tom Winter doubled our lead in the fifty-eighth minute, with a nice team goal as Sweeney on the left-hand side played a through ball to Wiltshire in the area, who squared it immediately to Winter, who was in oceans of space and placed the ball into the net first time.
As if that was not good enough, we made it three-nil in the seventy-first minute, when Jamie Calvin scored his second of the game, getting on the end of a long ball by Jordan Thompson that the Whitehawk keeper Tokarczyk really should have collected but he remained rooted to his line giving Calvin the freedom of the penalty box to score past him at his near post.
However, nothing can ever be perfect in football and Whitehawk managed to grab themselves a consolation goal in the seventy-fourth minute when the superbly named Gold Omotayo took advantage of Seabright making a mess of a long shot from Chaney, to slot home into an empty net.
Ross Johnson made the score four one with five minutes left in the game when he was the first to react after the defence had dealt with a Kim Jae Hoon cross, beating the keeper with a powerful shot to the left-hand side of the net.
East Ham 4-1 Whitehawk
Man of the match: Jamie Calvin
So we far surpassed my expectations with a cracking result in our first game and we had some really good performances from the likes of Jamie Calvin, who got himself a couple goals and Kyran Wiltshire, who had a very good game creating two chances with four key passes and making the assist for Winters goal.
VS Bognor Regis
Vanarama National League South
Attendance:959 (598 Away)
So three days later we travelled to Bognor Regis for our first ever away game, I have to admit that I came into this game feeling confident after our performance against Whitehawk. Also Bognor had lost seven two on the opening day of the season. We lined up with an unchanged side as everyone was still match fit and after a performance like the one against Whitehawk, only David Moyes would change the team. (I would insert a screenshot of the team here but erm I forgot to get one sorry).
As far as actual football goes there isn’t really much to talk about for this game, as I’m not sure what the players had been doing to celebrate their one victory but a few of the lad’s heads were clearly not on the game as we had not one, not two but three players sent off
The first was Robbie Sweeney who was given his marching orders in the twenty-first minute. His first yellow was deserved, as he clipped Davies from behind after the Bognor man turned on the ball.
HIs second came six minutes later and I’ve just looked back at it and I can see why it was given but it was a little bit harsh as Sweeney was just niggling at Muitt on the ball so that was us down to ten.
Despite Bognor’s numerical advantage, the sides went into the break level after a half of only a few chances, and I told the team to calm down and that we might still be able to get a result here, even if that was only a draw.
However, things got even worse for us in the sixty-fourth minute when Kyran Wiltshire got himself sent for two yellows. The first coming in the fifty-third minute when he tripped Ljubicic from behind off a throw-in. The second was completely deserved as he tripped Tuck as soon as he received a pass from Davies.
Even with a two-man advantage Bognor still couldn’t get through our defence, or our midfield which had been forced to change to three in the middle to try and escape with an unlikely point. Then things got even more unlikely as we took the lead in the eighty-seventh minute when Winter latched on to a long ball from center back Dean Pooley. Winter took one touch to put the ball in the area and then slammed past the keeper to make it one nil.
That would have been an amazing result but we got one more red card in the ninety-fifth minute when Charlie Higgins saw his second yellow card of the game after he raced in on B. Johnson from behind for his first yellow (I looked he is called Ben, not Boris). His second yellow card and thankfully the last of the game came after he tripped Whyte from behind right in front of the referee.
Unfortunately, we could not hold on until the end, as that man Whyte got himself some space in the box and scored to the keeper’s right-hand side, with pretty much the last kick of the game in the ninety-sixth minute.
Well, a one all draw in a game that against anyone else in the league, I feel we would have been thrashed by after the three red cards. I have now told the team in no uncertain terms, to stop getting so stuck in as we need much better discipline if we’re going to avoid relegation this season.
VS Havant & Waterlooville
The Boleyn Ground
Vanarama National League South
Attendance:4,552 (76 away)
Completing our first week of competitive games we faced Havant & Waterlooville and we had to make a few changes from the Bognor Regis game. We had Ross Johnson coming in for Wiltshire and Louis Hutton replaced Higgins in the centre of midfield and Tom winter had picked up a damaged heel vs Bognor Regis and would be out for a couple weeks. So we brought in De’Jaune Taylor Crossdale but the big area of concern was Wilson playing on the left, as he was the only option we had but he clearly wasn’t comfortable playing there.
The much-changed midfield gave us all kinds of problems in the first half as we just couldn’t get any rhythm going and we fell behind in the twenty-fourth minute when George Baker got onto a Matt Tubbs knock down an fired past Seabright, into the bottom right-hand corner to make it one nil to the away side.
Things got even worse for us when Matt Tubbs chested down a rose long ball just outside the box, beating our offside trap, running into the box and slotting past Seabright to double Havant and Waterlooville’s advantage.
At this point I was fearing a big thrashing but in the fortieth minute we scored a beautiful counter goal, which started from Seabright making a great save from Lewis’s free kick just outside our area, within thirty seconds, Taylor Crossdale was in their area and finishing calmly, to give us a bit of hope of getting back in the game and taking us to halftime at only two one down.
During the interval, I didn’t want to be too hard on the team, as they’re still young and developing. So I told them we had been unlucky, which seemed to motivate them, however, we fell even further behind in the seventy-eighth minute when our defence made a complete hash of getting the ball forward from our own throw in and eventually the ball landed at the feet of Matt Tubbs in our box. Then he finished past Seabright to seemingly put the game beyond doubt.
However, four minutes later RJ Pringling who had been subbed on, for a below-par Calvin, made the score 3-2 when he whacked the ball in the general direction of the net and hit a defender, before the ball found its way to the back of the net. How he got credited with the goal I’m not quite sure but hey ho it got us back into the game so they all count.
De’Jaune Taylor Crossdale leveled the game in the eighty-forth minute after Hutton played a nice ball over the defence to Crossdale, who finished past the Waterlooville keeper. I was tempted at this stage to settle for the point but before I knew it Crossdale completed his hat-trick in the ninety-third minute after the Havant defender tackled the ball away from Pingling. Luckily for us it fell to Crossdale with an open goal to give us a four three victory in a game that could have been much, much worse after our poor start in the first half.
So that’s our first week of competitive games completed. I think you will all agree that it’s been successful with us picking up two wins and a draw. I’m very happy with how that has gone and there is hope that we could be competitive this year. Thank you all for reading this, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I apologize if it’s been too long please let me know, it’s all trial and error at the moment as I try to find the best way to produce this blog please let me know any feedback or comments you have, either in the comments section below or on twitter @BadjokesFM