Game 13: Inter Milan 7.1 Atalanta (Serie A)

Game 13: Inter Milan 7.1 Atalanta (Serie A) 12.03.17

A trip to Milan meant an opportunity to visit one of Europe’s iconic grounds, the San Siro. Booking tickets was straightforward online and we took the Metro out to the ground. After a quick ticket and ID check we were into the ground and walking up several flights of steps to our seats to soak in the atmosphere.

Atalanta were 4th in the table, Inter 6th going into the game so I expected a close encounter. Atalanta started brightly and Gomez put a shot just wide before Inter took control. They won a free kick near the edge of the box and when the shot hit the defence it fell nicely for Icardi to slot past the keeper. Several minutes passed when Icardi was felled in the penalty area by the Atalanta keeper. The crowd were happy to get a penalty but less enamoured with the referee when the keeper just received a yellow card. Icardi took the penalty, a perfectly struck chip down the centre as the keeper dived to the right. Icardi then added a third with my favourite goal of the game, a great run to get into space and flick a header past the keeper. A perfect hat trick scored in just over 9 minutes after 26 minutes of the game, the quickest Inter league hat trick since 1948!

Inter added two more before half time, Candreva twice cutting the ball in from the right side of the box to set up Banega. Atalanta managed to pull a goal back just before half time, Freuler receiving the ball in space on the edge of the area and hitting a great shot past Handanovic. This was the first time Inter had scored 5 goals in the first half of a Serie A game since 1964 and the first time ever that Atalanta had conceded 5 goals in the first half of a Serie A match.

After the excitement of the first half, the second half was a closer affair with Inter remaining in control. We didn’t have a great view of the sixth goal as a drinks vendor was stood in the aisle, Gagliardini striking Banega’s cross into the top of the net. The final goal of the game saw Banega score the second hat trick of the game. He hit a freekick around the wall with the keeper motionless, the first time two Inter players have scored a hat trick in the same game since 1933.

After the game we walked around the stadium and took a tram back into central Milan. A truly remarkable game to celebrate Inter’s 109th anniversary and a result few in the 59,359 crowd would have predicted.

Teams:

Inter – Handanovic,D’Ambrosio,Medel,Miranda,Gagliardini,Kondogbia,Candreva,Banega (Mario 70),Perisic (Eder 82),Icardi (Palacio 77)

Atalanta – Wolfli,Toloi,Caldara,Zubas,Conti,Kessie (Bastoni 61),Freuler,Marques (D’Allesandro 69),Kurtic,Gomez (Mounier 61),Petagna

Game 12: Chard Town 5.2 Corsham Town (Western 1)

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Game 12: Chard Town 5.2 Corsham Town (Western 1) 04.03.17

Another new ground and the first time I’ve seen a game on this day. There were a few showers on the drive down to Chard and it looked like there had been some heavy rain when I arrived with a rainbow above the ground. This was one of my bucket list grounds to do with the famous slope down the pitch meaning one end is 12 feet higher than the other.

With more rain forecast at the start of the game I decided to watch from the stand and keep under cover – a wise move as more rain fell during the game. Chard opted to kick down the slope and took the lead after a couple of minutes. A corner was cleared to the edge of the area and a well hit shot went over the keeper and under the bar. Chard scored again from a corner after 24 minutes, this time the ball went over to the right and a powerful shot found the back of the net. They were unlucky not to score a third when the Corsham keeper cleared the ball but was well out of his goal. A shot came in before the keeper could get back but from some distance and it just went wide. Just before the interval, Corsham scored somewhat against the run of play, a long ball was played into the centre of the area and a Corsham player scooped the ball over the keeper.

At half time some comments were made about the situation at Corsham and it turned out that during the week they had lost most of their regular team and had to put together a team using several young players from their reserve team. To their credit the visiting team came out in the second half and put together a good performance. They equalised from a corner after 58 minutes when the ball fell to the feet of a Corsham player in the box and his on target shot was deflected in. Both teams then had good chances to score – Corsham saw a header cleared off the line, Chard saw a cross to an unmarked player hit wide of an open goal. Corsham were unlucky when one of their strikers took the ball round the Chard keeper only to be forced wide, allowing covering defenders to clear the ball. Just a minute later and Chard almost took the lead when a shot was hit past the keeper but slowed up in the mud, allowing a Corsham player to clear.

It looked like Corsham would earn a point but a mistake allowed Chard to take the lead. With just over ten minutes to go a shot was spilt by the visiting keeper and hit fell kindly for a Chard player to score. Shortly afterwards Chard added a fourth from a breakaway attack and in injury time there was a fifth goal from a well placed shot. An exciting game, well worth the trip.

Game 11: Cribbs 2.0 Odd Down (Western Premier)

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Game 11: Cribbs 2.0 Odd Down (Western Premier) 25.02.17

With two current Western Premier grounds left to visit, I originally planned to visit Chipping Sodbury Town but changed my mind after realising that this was the last Cribbs home game I could get to this season. The weather forecast wasn’t great although the rain had eased up by the time I had arrived at The Lawns. Paul had mentioned that the game should be fine as there was a very good surface here and that proved to be the case.

Both teams were in the top half of the table before kick off and played some good football despite the wet conditions. Odd Down started well but Cribbs started to dominate and took the lead just before halftime when a low shot skidded past the keeper’s dive and in. There was a young referee and unusually he went right across the pitch at one point to discuss a decision with the home manager who was upset as he felt his players weren’t getting enough protection.

During half time the rain got heavier and I was glad that there was decent cover in the stands. Midway through the half Cribbs extended their lead. A corner wasn’t cleared and a cross came over from the right side, beating everyone in the middle. A Cribbs player ran out of the area to collect the ball and put in a perfect cross for a sub to leap up and head in. Several Cribbs corners looked close to going in directly which put the Odd Down keeper under pressure. A few minutes after the second goal he struggled to clear the corner and the ball was bundled into the net only for the goal to be disallowed for a foul on the keeper. Odd Down were awarded a penalty in the last minute of the game for a push in the box. The ball was struck fairly centrally and the home keeper made a good save to preserve the clean sheet.

Game 10: Baffins Milton Rovers 4.0 Hythe & Dibden (Wessex 1)

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Game 10: Baffins Milton Rovers 4.0 Hythe & Dibden (Wessex 1) 18.02.17

Drove down to Portsmouth on a mild and sunny afternoon to meet Alan and watch the second of this seasons promoted to the Wessex League clubs, Baffins Milton Rovers. The ground was easy to find, just off the Eastern Road with a big sign for the Kendall Stadium. The approach road also leads to a yacht club but there wasn’t much traffic which was handy as this road was the only place to park nearby.

The programme mentioned that Baffins had the most goals in any step 6 league so far this season so we were hopeful of seeing a few today. Despite this record, Hamble Club had an 11 point league and a better goal difference so realistically Baffins needed the points to keep ahead of Laverstock & Ford who were 3 points behind with two games in hand.

Baffins started well and almost scored in the first minute only to see the visiting keeper push the ball wide for a corner. They were dominating in midfield and passing the ball with confidence so it was no surprise when they took the lead midway through the first half. A long high ball played in a striker who lobbed the advancing keeper. There were several other chances but the final shots were either lacking direction or pace.

The second half was a similar story as Hythe found it difficult to create any clear cut chances. Baffins extended their lead on the hour with a good volley following a cross. Ten minutes later a superb dribble down the right took out several defenders with the subsequent cross leaving a Baffins player with a straightforward tap in for their third goal. The final goal came with five minutes to go, an overhead kick in the area that looked to have been cleared off the line before the assistant referee flagged to confirm it had gone in. An enjoyable game to watch.

Game 9: Melksham Town 2.0 Cadbury Heath (Western Premier)

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Game 9: Melksham Town 2.0 Cadbury Heath (Western Premier) 21.01.17

With many local games called off due to a heavy overnight frost, it was a relief to find that the first league game at Melksham’s new Oakfield Stadium was still on. Although we had the postcode for the new ground, it didn’t appear on a satnav or Google maps. After a quick drive around and an internet search we found a map link on the rugby team’s site that took us to the ground.

Parking up, we found a Wiltshire League game between Melksham’s reserve team and Trowbridge taking place on the outside pitch and we caught Trowbridge’s first goal before going into the new ground. The facilities looked impressive with a main seating area leading up to a glass fronted bar area. At ground level there was a teabar, portable food vendor and a tented area with seating for those eating. We were impressed with how up to date the programme was as it included postponements up until noon that day.

Cadbury Heath won a penalty after ten minutes when a player went down in the area. The Melksham keeper guessed right and managed to save it. Melksham took the lead ten minutes later when a cross from the left beat the defence and keeper but found a striker who headed the ball in. Cadbury Heath then went down to ten men as one of their players took out a Melksham player with a sliding tackle.

Melksham controlled the game in the second half but found the Cadbury Heath keeper in good form. He managed to get a hand to a fantastic overhead kick and followed it up with a point blank save shortly afterwards. When he was beaten by a header, a team mate got back to the goal line to clear it. He was finally beaten with ten minutes to go by a glancing header.

Game 8: Liss Athletic 1.2 Liphook United (Hampshire Premier)

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Game 8: Liss Athletic 1.2 Liphook United (Hampshire Premier) 31.12.16

Headed over to Liss to meet Alan for a noon kick off on an overcast last day of the year. The ground had floodlights and a path down one side opposite the dugouts and a steep slope. We chose to stand behind the goal where there was a metal barrier along the width of the pitch to lean against.

Liphook took the lead in this local derby after ten minutes, knocking the ball in at close range at the back post. They continued to control most of the play in the half but couldn’t add a second, missing a sitter when the ball flew over the crossbar with the keeper out of position.

Liss had a better start to the second half and were unlucky not to equalise on the hour, the ball cleared off the line and a follow up shot saved. They managed to get that equaliser shortly afterwards with a low shot past the keeper. With five minutes to go Liphook saw the ball cleared off the line twice and it looked like the game would be a draw. With their next attack however, the ball was crossed in from the left giving the Liphook player a free header which he placed past the keeper for the winner.

Game 7: Timsbury Athletic 0.1 Clutton (Somerset County Division 1 East)

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Game 7: Timsbury Athletic 0.1 Clutton (Somerset County Division 1 East) 24.12.16

My first game on a Christmas Eve thanks to it falling on a Saturday and the Somerset County League having a full set of fixtures. After some discussion with Paul we decided on this game as it was a 2pm kick off and close enough to get home before 5pm and family / pub duties. The Recreation Ground was very busy for this local derby with c 125 people watching this local derby.

There was only one goal in the game, a mishit ball that ended up being superbly placed to lob the keeper and come down into the net. Timsbury had one good chance in the first half, a shot from their speedy number 9 that went wide. They created plenty of chances in the second half and saw the ball cleared off the line but couldn’t snatch an equaliser.