IMS Football

THE RUTHERFORD ROUND-UP – 21/22 MARCH

With two games for the Rutherford B Unit this weekend, the Cherries knew 6 points were needed to maintain the title push. First up were Telford, who had collected 21 points from their last 8 games and sat above Rutherford before kick-off.

Coach Jelliffe woke up from a heavy night on the orange juice with a chest infection, meaning Catlow took player/manager responsibility. Telford struck first and deservedly so, but Ross Atkin stepped off the bench on 20 minutes to find the bottom corner with a tidy finish – his first of the season. Telford pressure continued though, and a half-cleared corner was shovelled successfully past Higgins, who was impressively deputising in goal with first-choice Bogdos spending the weekend outside of the Loughborough Bubble. 2-1 Telford at half time.

Required changes to formation and personnel were made at the break. Rickenbach, who turned up 30 minutes late after a busy ending to his FND, added midfield steel while Catlow put himself on up front. Jamie Owen, who was now on the right wing, found Catlow with a delicious pass which was slotted into the corner for the Reds’ second equaliser.

Azam, captain Tipping and Rickenbach were now dominating the middle of the park and it was no surprise when Owen, at the second attempt, found the top corner of the net to send the on-looking players of league leaders Rigg Rut into raptures. Sims, Miles, Coxhill and Bigman had error-free second halves and Rutherford deservedly held on for a win that took them up to second place.

RESULT: Rutherford 3 (Atkin, Catlow, Owen) – Telford 2

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RUTHERFORD vs FARADAY – IMS ‘B’ LEAGUE

Saturday’s win saw unprecedented interest in the Rutherford B Unit, with 22 players keen to don the famous red and white shirt. Sadly, none of them were goalkeepers – Higgins injured himself in the rugby sevens tournament, Bogdos was still AWOL, scrum half Papuca had a purple thumb, former All-Star and Blue Square North keeper Williams retired years ago and Tipping was required in midfield. It was therefore left to right back Chris Sims to wear the gloves.

Faraday are a strange football Hall. Their A’s are one of the best in the business, who dominated Rutherford during a goalless contest last December. Their Bs on the other hand have a mixed record but, as was feared, Faraday quite literally brought their A game to the midfield party. It was defensive howlers that gifted Faraday the early lead though – 2 goals up within 3 minutes.

Miliband dealt with this about as well as Rutherford did with Faraday's midfield.

Miliband dealt with this bacon sandwich about as well as Rutherford did with Faraday’s midfield.

Rutherford – without the injured Azam in midfield – were struggling more than Labour’s leader does with his breakfast. Tactical tinkering was appearing to have little impact, but Suleyman pulled a goal back just before the break to offer hope. 1-2 at half time.

Rutherford’s second halves have been odd lately – conceding 5 against Bill Mo, but turning it around against Telford and Bakewell. A lucky long-range strike from Faraday’s forward seemed to end hopes of a Telford-like comeback though; 1-3 with 55 minutes played.

Faraday’s midfield gun trio of Mark ‘Vote Ron’ Osmond, Lewis Elliott and Doug Howie were enjoying the space offered to them in the middle of the park. Faraday’s fourth goal was something that most opposition wouldn’t prevent though – a superb ball in was met with a towering header back into the far corner. Not quite Niall Quinn-esque, but not far off. 4-1 Faraday.

 

Catlow was on by this point and was having a personal tussle with Faraday’s centre back, who was displaying moves more suited to the Sevens tournament that finished an hour before kick-off. Sharp play from Pistak, Lal and Suleyman put Catlow through to make it 4-2, and a rare decision from referee Hulk Hickson in favour of Rutherford gave Tipping his chance from the penalty spot to reduce the deficit further. He found the net – but time had run out on Rutherford’s spirited comeback.

Two games left, then, for the B team of 2015. They’ve already won 9 more games than the class of 2014, but defensive shortcomings look to have put pay to the Cherries’ title challenge. Faraday move up to 8th in the B-League ladder.

RESULT: Rutherford 3 (Suleyman, Catlow, Tipping (pen)) – Faraday 4

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IMS Football

THE RUTHERFORD REPORTER ROUND-UP, 13-15 MARCH

The triple-header of weekend IMS men’s football got underway on Friday night with a challenging match up against improving David Collett. The Cherries started the game 13 points ahead of DC and the league position superiority showed in the first 15 minutes when centre midfielder Al Roberts scored first from a set piece.

Somewhat surprisingly, that was as good as it would get for the reds. The performance, strewn with miscommunication and misplaced passes, was in stark contrast to the 3-0 demolition of Elvyn Richards 7 days previously. DC equalised thanks to a deflected shot 18 yards out that squeezed over keeper George Tipping – and a wasteful Rutherford in the second half were made to pay when DC struck the knockout blow with 20 seconds on the clock remaining. DC’s revival continues; Rutherford’s chances of a top 3 finish now look as likely as Wayne Rooney winning a boxing contest.

Wayne 'Glass Jaw' Rooney, before he met Advanced Hair Studio.

Wayne ‘Glass Jaw’ Rooney, before he met Advanced Hair Studio.

RESULT: RUTHERFORD 1 (Roberts) – DAVID COLLETT 2

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Just 12 hours later, those willing to sacrifice a heavy night in the Union were on the front crumb for an early Saturday morning clash with William Morris in the B League. Bill Mo are a quality A team outfit, but often lack defensive mettle in reserve team fixtures. This was demonstrated in the first 30 minutes – Rutherford gave an exhibition of attacking flare and potency that included 4 goals and a rare assist by Noah Bigman. Goals were shared amongst Barber, Tipping, Coxhill, and an own goal. A Barber penalty miss before half time proved, very nearly, to be costly.

The second half begun at 9:40am and, by then, it was clear that Bill Mo had sobered up. Rutherford’s opponents fired in two quick goals before a Barber cross was smashed home by Azam, who was demonstrating the upside of alcohol abstinence. Bill Mo replied by scoring 8 seconds from the restart – if this was Fifa, Rutherford would be delivering Subways to the off-campus hall. The Barber-Azam partnership was at it again, making the score 6-3 with 10 minutes left. Bill Mo went on to score 2 more goals, setting up a finish more nervous than wannabe committee members giving a hustings speech. The Cherries held on but any repeat of this pathetic final 20 minutes in future matches would surely end all ambitions of a strong run-in.

RESULT: RUTHERFORD 6 (Coxhill, Barber, O.G., Tipping, Azam x2) – BILL MO 5

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Still with us? It’s appreciated. Onto the final game of the weekend, a Super Mothering Sunday clash between the impoverished Cherries and the prosperous Bakewell B Team. Only those with long-distance (or distant) parental relationships were available, which somewhat forced Coach Jelliffe’s hand. Jelliffe is struggling to let go of his Sports Sec powers, but fair play to him for rescheduling his Harvester date for this clash.

Bakewell started like Barcelona. It always helps when the opponents are statuesque, but it took a wonderful finish to put the affluent hall in front on 5 minutes. Rutherford then discovered Bakewell’s Achilles heel – long balls and defenders more sluggish than Ipswich Town’s centre back pairing in the video below. Cal Miles punted it forwards, Catlow scooted around the back and found the net with his right foot. 1-1 at half time.

Some hormonal shouting from a couple of the returners fired up the Cherries for the final 35 minutes of the footballing weekend. Rickenbach, Huz and Tipping completely dominated the midfield. Miles and Coxhill were stopping all Bakewell attempts at the back, and an injury-free Aditya Lal continued his rehabilitation into the IMS setup with two superbly-taken goals. Catlow rounded off the goalscoring with a volley. Jelliffe sent on Big Dave Dawkins in a fraught attempt to get him his first goal of the season, but the Bakewell referee blew the final whistle 4 minutes early, scuppering his chance. The passing, confidence on the ball and use of width was all impressive from the Cherries, destroying Bakewell’s flow. Even Spiros International Athlete Bogdos was a safe pair of hands between the sticks. If only the A team could have replicated this effort.

Rutherford B’s 2015 form guide reads WWWDWW and leaves them 2 points off the pace in third. 4 matches remain against lowly opposition. Will the Cherries be lifting a trophy in Room 1 at the IMS Awards in May? Form suggests it’s a possibility.

RESULT: RUTHERFORD 4 (Catlow x2, Lal x2) – ROBERT BAKEWELL 1

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IMS Football

IMS FOOTBALL ‘A’ TEAM – RUTHERFORD vs. JOHN PHILLIPS, 13.02.2015

With Rutherford’s recent form guide reading DLLD, title hopes were over but the search for a top 3 place was still on. What wasn’t needed, then, was a calamitous oversight from the hierarchy in reading the fixture list. 4 hours from kick-off against winless John Phillips, a surprisingly-strong team was assembled and marched down to the new Holywell crumb in the rain.

There's more black rubber than grass on Holywell. Think this amount of crumb on the 4g, then multiply that my 50.

There’s more black rubber than grass on Holywell. Think this amount of crumb on the 4g, then multiply that by 50.

New captain Harry Barber insisted on a 3-2-3-2 formation, much to stalwart left back Alex Martin’s confusion. Die-hard Leeds fan and goalkeeper George Tipping is used to disappointment and was therefore unsurprised at how the first half hour played out. There were no shots on target from either side, despite Rutherford’s midfield trio of Aitken, Roberts and Sanchez (who was back from a footballing sabbatical) dominating possession. Alex Bare-Back Rickenbach took a whack and was replaced by Owen, but 30 seconds later Rutherford found themselves 1-0 down after a sharp counter-attack. It stayed this way until the interval. For those wondering – John Phillips haven’t won a single point in IMS football for 45 weeks. Disaster and embarrassment was looming.

Tinkering of the formation occurred at the break. Netherway came on at left back, Owen went wide left, Catlow right wing and Azam came on in central midfield. The changes soon took effect with Catlow, who mistook breaking his elbow for a slight bruise last weekend in the tame draw with Telford, wrong-footed JP’s full back and found the bottom corner in typically one-footed fashion. 1-1.

This left captain Barber behind in the top scorer stakes, and led him to immediately step up his game. Delightfully put through by soon-to-be-single Aitken, who cancelled a Valentine’s date to partake in the game, Barber beat the impressive keeper to put the Reds in front for the first time. 2-1

Despite this, something was still awry in the tempo of Rutherford’s game. The arrival of the Faraday posse on the touchline, who were baying for a JP equaliser, didn’t help – and nor did newly-installed manager Noah ‘homewrecker’ Bergman’s insistence on switching the formation once again. JP began pressing further into Rutherford’s half and were rewarded with a well taken goal by the left midfielder. 2-2 with 10 minutes to play.

Coach Bergman's trousers with 3 minutes remaining.

Coach Bergman’s trousers with 3 minutes remaining.

Lazlo Henry and Sam Themistocleous were now on the field as the Reds’ desperate search for goal number 3 continued. Catlow made a complete mess of a presentable opportunity, and Aitken fired wide after creating a yard for himself in the D. With 2 minutes remaining, Faraday laughter ringing in the Rutherford ears and Coach Bergman’s trousers turning brown, Themistocleous found himself on the right wing. Some partly-unintentional skill led him to the by-line. The ball was pulled back to where Catlow, Aitken and Henry were all set up for one last smash. It was Henry who took responsibility and found the corner of the net, with a surprisingly helpful hand from the JP keeper. 3-2.

Nervy final moments were safely negotiated by Connor and Stewart-Green at the back, and a relieved Rutherford held on for win number one of the new calendar year. JP probably deserved better and it’s a surprise that their goal difference stands at -32 from their seven games.

According to the schedule, the next IMS ‘A’ Team fixture for the Cherries is Friday 20th at 6pm on Holywell. Players and supporters are advised to put this in their diary now, just in case management again fail to remember. Rutherford now top of the league, but have played up to 3 more games than the title challengers.

FINAL SCORE: John Phillips 2 – 3 Rutherford (Catlow, Barber, Henry)

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