Monday, October 29, 2012

MATCH REPORT; Madison 0 Vasco 3

Madison Celtic's adventure in the SASL second division came to it's expected end with a 3-0 loss to the newly crowned champions Vasco Da Gama. A season that started brightly with the Celts holding their own in the league went south after the break with the Madison bhoys gathering only 2 points out of a potential 27. The game itself was very typical  of the games that the Celts have had this year. An opening 25 minutes that was very even with the home team giving as good as they got. A strong Madison defensive line really blunting an aggressive Vasco attack that had scored 41 goals though this season. The Celtic midfield had lots of possession in these early parts of the game with John B, Roniildo and Rob dealing with the lions share of the battle. With only one lonely striker it was perhaps too much to expect an onslaught on the Vasco penalty box but chances were few and far between. One of the significant failings of the team this season has been an inability to score when the game is balanced or even when we have periods of domination. This pattern has shown itself in many games this year and this match was no different. The first sign that the game was turning in a negative direction was when the increasingly picky ref started to get to the Madison players. When the players get more focused on  the refs decisions than the game then we are in trouble. Some loose defending allowed Vasco to get some great scoring chances and it needed some big saves from Hulk to keep us on a level pegging. However, after a good solid 30 minutes the pattern consolidated when the ref gave a dubious free kick to Vasco just a few yards outside the box. Even though the box was packed with Madison players you have to give credit to the Vasco striker who curled an unstoppable shot into the top right hand postage stamp of the net. One nil down and though you couldn't argue that it was against the run of play it did seem rather unjust. The halftime whistle came with the team feeling disappointed with the score, but even more annoyed at the somewhat mercurial ref. The second half saw Vasco start to turn the screw on the home team with more and more chances coming their way. The Madison midfield was still trying hard but at times looked like five individuals running with the ball rather than a cohesive team. The simple out ball to a team mate was rarely used as the ball was smacked away as though it was a ticking time bomb. With that lack of love for the ball coming from the Madison players it was perhaps no surprise that Vasco grabbed another  goal. A nicely worked move down the Madison right ended with a cracking shot past Alex into the  net. On the sidelines you could tell the Vasco management and friends were greatly relieved that they had got this second goal and tied up the points. The visitors relaxed after this and Madison had some of its best play in the second half but any thought of a revival were quashed when Vasco scored yet another fabulous goal to round off a great win for the new champions.
A disappointing end to the season for the Celts, but Vasco played well and are worthy champions. I'll do a more detailed analysis of the season after Hurricane Sandy has passed but for the moment I just want to thank the whole squad for playing through a tough season. We will be back!

Man Of The Match; Some great saves by Hulk in the first half, some solid defending by Edimar and Edison throughout the game and some great running by La Boca up front but MOM goes to John B for holding the midfield together and always being available for the out ball.

Many thanks to LOTB for taking the great pics during the game!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NEXT GAME; Oct 28th Vasco da Gama

The crazy race is nearly over. The final game of the season is upon us and the league is running to a nail biting conclusion at both ends of the table! Vasco da Gama and the Norwalk Mariners are duking it out at the top end of the table while Madison, Fairfield and Guilford are clinging on for dear life at the other end. The simple facts are that Norwalk Mariners have to win and hope that Vasco drop a point for them to take the championship. And guess who Vasco are playing? Yes, the Madison Celts! In another twist of fate Fairfield are playing Norwalk Mariners in their last game. If Fairfield gain a point then they are safe assuming Guilford do not win their last two games. If Fairfield lose, then for us to stay up we simply have to beat Vasco Da Gama. The only other unlikely scenario is that we draw against Vasco and Norwalk hammer Fairfield 14-0 to demolish their hugely advantageous goal difference. Either way it should make for a very interesting last day of the league.

I'm not sure how we got ourselves into these dire straights after a reasonable start to the season. But the facts don't lie and the Celts have only won two points out of a potential 24 over the last 8 games. That's relegation form in anyone's books. All we can do now is go out on Sunday and enjoy ourselves.... i know we can do that!

Beers for the last game? I brought some last Sunday and a few of us had a few after the game. I can bring some more and if someone else wants to share the load just holler

See you Sunday!!  It's a 10 am kick off at Town Campus. Turn up early so we can warm up.

I've copied another update on the end of the season from Garry Archer of the SASL;

With only one week remaining in the season, there are still several issues
not resolved making for a very exciting end to the SASL 2012 for some teams.

The SASL Masters League Second Division has almost nothing resolved as yet
-- except Vasco da Gama CC and Norwalk Mariners will be promoted to the
First Division next season.

With only one week left to go it is still a dogfight at the bottom end of
the SASL Masters League Second Division to see who will survive and who
will be relegated with four teams still involved.  Ironically, Vasco and
the Mariners are playing teams involved in the relegation battle and they
need the points also to see who will be Champions.  Here are their
remaining matches with the home teams listed first:

    - Greenwich Arsenal versus 7th-placed Norwalk Sport Colombia FC.
Arsenal are safe and Sport Colombia only need one point from this game and
a make-up game to be assured of safety themselves.  Sport Colombia have
drawn more games than any other team in the division.

    - Norwalk Mariners versus 8th-placed Fairfield GAC.  The already
promoted Mariners must not lose in order to stay in contention for the
Championship and would prefer all three points, meaning a very tough
road-trip for GAC.  One point from this game may be all GAC need, but they
cannot afford to take that chance, a win would assure safety.

    - 9th-placed Madison Celtic FC versus Vasco da Gama CC.  Vasco are also
already promoted, but are looking over one shoulder at the Mariners in the
race for the Championship, they cannot afford to slip up.  Celtic would
need to win and Fairfield GAC to lose to avoid relegation.  A draw would
not be enough owing to GACs superior goal difference -- unless GAC were
beaten by something like 14 goals!

    - Easton Rhinos versus 10th-placed Guilford Bell Curve.  The Rhinos are
already safe, but Bell Curve must win.  A win would still leave Bell Curve
in 10th place, but they have a game in hand, a game that they must also win
in order to stand any chance of survival.

    - Norwalk Sport Colombia FC versus Guilford Bell Curve.  This is a
make-up game scheduled to be played at Guilford.  As stated earlier, Sport
Colombia only need a point to be assured of safety, but depending on their
earlier result against Greenwich Arsenal, they may already be safe.  Bell
Curve must win.  Even if Bell Curve win their last two games, depending on
how other results go, it may not be enough to save them from relegation.

Good luck to all teams in the next week or so!

Monday, October 22, 2012

MATCH REPORT; Madison 0 Greenwich Arsenal 0

With only two games left in the season and a relegation battle as hot as Hell, the Celts started this game like they meant business. Strong confident passing, great positioning and strong defending had Arsenal on the back foot right from the start of the match. The midfield pairing of John B and Rob really played a major role in subduing the Arsenal team and created some great chances for the Celts. One superb move that released Tano into the box allowed him to unleash a powerhouse shot that was parried by the goalkeeper. Superb covering defending by Rugginho and box to box running were also a  feature of the first twenty minutes of the game. As ever though, the Celts were unable to convert any chances and gradually the game evened out with Arsenal getting more and more chances. More often or not these attacks were swept away by the impressive defence but it was clear the second half would be tougher. In fact it ended up being more of the same with two teams largely cancelling each other out with few opportunities arising for either team. Even though a few shots came in it became increasingly clear that no team was going to deliver a knockout blow. And so the game ended in a scoreless tie. A result that ensured Arsenals' future in the second division for next year but leaving the Celts with the daunting task of having to beat league leaders, Vasco da Gama in the last game of the year to stay up. Can the Celts do it?  Well, if they are as strong at the back as they have been over a few select games during the season then they have a chance. We do need to score though. One point won't be enough unless the Mariners beat Fairfield by a barrow load of goals

Anyway, it's been fun. Last game is coming up. See you next Sunday

Man of the Match;  Some great performances by the Hulk, Edimar and Edison in defence ably assisted by Rob and John B in midfield but my mom was Ruggerho for his non stop running and last gasp defending!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NEXT GAME; Oct 21st, Greenwich Arsenal

The penultimate game of the season is upon us with a home match against Greenwich Arsenal. This is a home game at Town Campus with a 10.30am kick off. I guess we just need to go out and have fun. Let's just play the last two games the way you would play a pick up game. Johnny B said this at half time in the last match and it's true. That's when you have the most creativity, the best fun and you never know.....we might actually play better because of that.

My one request is that you tell me before the end of Saturday if you are going to play, and if you are, can you please turn up well before kick off?

Could you also bring $20?

The team is officially broke because we did not pull in enough money at the beginning of the season to pay for 3 officials per game. I will bring my own personal check book to pay this weekend but I am already over $1000 out of pocket for the team over the last few years.  I'm not looking for that back but let's try and keep our playing fees up to date. It's  not that much money for 18 games a year. Thanks for your help on this.

See y'all Sunday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

MATCH REPORT; Madison 0 Norwalk M 5

Two nil down after four minutes, three down after twelve and five by half time.  It could have been a recipe for a world record defeat for the Madison Celts but they recovered a semblance of pride by holding the hard charging, title chasing Mariners to a dull scoreless second half.  Some pride possibly, but certainly no points and the team remain rooted to the bottom end of the table with games fast running out.
After beating the Mariners earlier in the season one would have thought the Celts may have had some confidence coming into this game but that would be ignoring the awful run of defeats they have gone through in the last eight games. Added to that, with two minutes to kick off time only 8 players had bothered to turn up. We finally had 11 guys  pulling up their shorts and tying shoes as the whistle sounded but I guess we should not be surprised that the team was totally unprepared for the game. Madison got what they deserved which was a total pummeling in the opening 15 minutes. No tactics, no passing, no fight other than shouting at each other. It was an unholy mess and frankly totally un-enjoyable. What's the point of getting out of bed on a Sunday morning for this?

Basic mistakes, poor positioning, lack of communication, no team spirit and a total lack of support for team mates on the field were just some of the off field observations I could make. We were lucky to make it to the half only five down.

A half time "pep" talk and some basic truths got the team back out on the field with at least some idea that they should go out and try and enjoy themselves.  We were beat so what  would we have to lose?  Well we could have lost another 5 goals but the second half was much more even although the Mariners were always the dominant team.  Some great midfield play by Rob B and John B kept the team in the game and the defence played a much stronger game. The chances were few and far between up front and the final whistle was a pleasant sound at the end of the game. It felt like a victory not letting in any second half goals. But, it was no victory and the team has now gone through 8 games gathering only 1 point!  Two games left before the end of the season. Next week is a home against Greenwich Arsenal.  Our best chance of points before meeting the league leaders Vasco in the last game of the season!

Man of The Match;  Rob B ran his heart out  and was the clear MOM

Monday, October 8, 2012

NEXT GAME; Sunday Oct 14th, Norwalk Mariners!

You ever feel broken and downhearted? You ever feel like sitting in your car after a game and just crying? Well you can join TomP after this weekends game for a group cry. Our next game is a home game against the team in second position, Norwalk Mariners, and it's an 8.30 am kick off at Town Campus. Believe it or not, this was the last team we managed to beat 8 games ago! We have been in a death spiral since then whereas they have gone from strength to strength. If we want to save ourselves from relegation then the fight has to start now. We need to start getting some points! No more tears, no more excuses! Control your fears and let's go out and play like we are enjoying ourselves!

If you want to know what is happening through the rest of the leagues as they get to the business end of the season then read below. The  following article is from Garry Archer of the SASL and it his assessment of the league campaign in all the divisions with only a few games left. We do get a mention but you can tell where Garry's sentiments lie!

"For the Shoreline Adult Soccer League, the 2012 league season has rounded
the "final bend" into the "home stretch."  For most teams fifteen matches
are already in the records book and there are only three more to go.

It is typically here where teams pour on the pressure -- or falter with
"the tape" in sight.  Championships, promotion and relegation are all at
stake.  Here is a brief look at how the 2012 season is shaping up in the
final weeks.

*SASL Over-30 League*

*First Division*
Club Napoli currently lead the division with a "massive" five point lead *
and* a game in hand!  Only Danbury United and Waterbury Albanians, in
second and third place respectively, can catch them.

In the relegation battle, disbanded Westport FC will count as a relegated
team, so there is only one other spot open for relegation, currently owned
by Milford Tuesday.  The Tuesday are only three points behind Greenwich
Rhinos and Newtown Salty Dogs are the only other team who can be caught,
mathematically at least, and it would take a lot of goals to overtake
them.  Salty Dogs' safety seems assured, but a point from their last three
games will make it definite.  One of the Salty Dogs' remaining games is
away at Milford Tuesday.

*Second Division*
The teams who win the East and West divisions will be automatically
promoted to the First Division, but there will be a post-season play-off
game for the two winners to see who will be the overall Champions and
Runners-up for this division.

Currently the *West* division is being lead by Bridgeport Blue Dragons by a
healthy four points, but Henry Reid FC and Stamford FC can still catch
them, no-one else can.  It will still be a battle though, perhaps even
"down to the wire," but the Blue Dragons with the extra points in the bank
already are probably feeling pretty confident by now of reaching the
Championship play-off game.

In the *East* division North Branford SC lead Newington Portuguese by a
narrow two points.  Mathematically, Hamden Hawks could still catch these
two, but no-one else can.  It would take a massive collapse by the top two
for the Hawks to make the Championship play-off game.  North Branford SC
only need one more point from three games to ensure that does not happen.

*SASL Masters League (Over-40s)*

*First Division*
Wilton Ancient Warriors FC are leading the division by three points with a
game in hand.  Rowayton FC, Cheshire Azzurri and Greenwich Gunners are all
still in the chase for first place, but the Azzurri are six points behind
the Warriors and the Gunners are a huge eight points behind the Warriors.
Mathematically, Connecticut Storm FC could still finish in second, but
Rowayton FC only need one more point to ensure they do not.

*Second Division*
Vasco da Gama CC have lead the division pretty much all season with only
Norwalk Mariners and Greenwich Pumas in serious contention for the
Championship and Runners-up places.  One of those teams will be very
disappointed at the end of the season.  Vasco lead the Mariners by four
points and the Pumas are only one point behind the Mariners.

The remainder of this division have basically all been in one huge
relegation battle where anyone can beat anyone at any time, any place.  As
the season winds down, however, time is fast running out for the bottom
two, currently Fairfield GAC and Guilford Bell Curve.  Both can still get
out of this sticky situation, but they need to win points now rather than
later.  The Bell Curve are only three points behind eighth-placed Madison
Celtic FC *and* still have a game in hand, to prove that *both* the Bell
Curve and Fairfield can still escape the drop zone.  With 12 points still
to play for Bell Curve could haul themselves well out of trouble and
mathematically, at least, could still overtake Orange SC in fourth place!
This relegation battle is that close and it will be interesting to see how
it develops over the next few weeks.

*Third Division*
As if anyone has doubted it all season long, Ridgefield Kicks still have
four games to play, but are already Champions.  They have won every game
and have scored nearly an average of six goals per game.  For this
division, it has really only been to see who will finish with the
Runners-up trophy.  Currently, Cheshire Inter FC, Albanian Eagles and North
Branford SC are only separated by a mere three points -- one win -- and the
odds seem to favour one of these teams to finish in second place.  But!
Newington Portuguese, Delaney's FC and New Haven Americans -- all tied on
19 points! -- are only three points behind North Branford SC.  Perhaps a
late all-winning surge from one or more of these three could make the race
for second-place even more interesting, so hold on to your hats!  Even
Wallingford Morelia with 16 points have an extremely slim mathematical

*SASL Over-48 League*

*First Division*
The teams who win the North and South divisions will be entered into a
post-season play-off game for the two winners to see who will be the
overall Champions and Runners-up for this division.

In the *North* division Falcon Polonia Stars FC have lead the way the whole
season with only Glastonbury Celtic FC and New Britain Falcons,
interchangeably, giving the best chase, but both Cheshire United and
Waterbury Pontes have also given a good account of themselves.  Initially
this season, New Britain Falcons seemed to be the only team to challenge
the Stars as Celtic got off to a slow start.  But, as the Falcons faltered
this fall half of the season, Celtic have surged and are now nine points
ahead of New Britain and with a huge goal difference.  Celtic are now
"only" six points behind the Stars and with both clubs still with nine
points to play for, so, who knows?  The key game will be when Celtic host
the stars this coming Sunday!  Should be a cracking game!

In the *South* division it is Club Napoli who have lead the whole way and
have already qualified for the Championship play-off game with still three
games to go.  In fact, Club Napoli are 15 points ahead of their nearest
challengers, Vasco da Gama CC, so it was decided some time ago when, not
if, Club Napoli would make the Championship play-off.  The other contenders
where Greenwich Wolves, who got off to a solid start but have slowed up in
recent weeks.  Vasco got off to a slow start, but kept getting better as
the season went on"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

MATCH REPORT; Orange 3 Madison 0

Another game, another defeat but this time the score really doesn't reflect the evenness of the game through most of this encounter. Games against Orange are always tough and after the run of terrible form that the Celts have endured you would not have been surprised with another hammering. As it turned out this was a close game with some real chances for the Celts to score throughout the match and to dominate significant passages of the encounter. The opening fifteen minutes of the game were all about the attacking force of Orange and the shot stopping abilities of Hulk who kept the game at zero zero. Those great saves built some confidence in the team and the defensive pairing of Carlos and Jodingo!! well assisted by Edmilson meant we had a fairly strong defensive line to keep the home team out. Up front Tano and Edison tried their best to get some of the ball and take shots when they could. It looked like we were heading for a scoreless first half when Orange got a corner and during the split second it took to organize the defense they took a short one, got the ball into the box causing some real panic. Unfortunately, their striker was first to react to the loose ball and slammed it past the blameless Hulk for the lead goal.
The second half was very similar to the first with some real chances falling to the Celts. Posts were hit, bars were glanced and saves were made but no goals were scored. Unfortunately, this has become the norm for the Celts. Over their last seven games only five goals have been scored and our inability to get through a game without losing a goal means we have been losing more often that not. And so it came to pass in this game. Two defensive mistakes from an otherwise solid defense were cruelly punished by the home team to make the final score 3 0. It looks like every mistake we make at the back results in a goal for the opposition and every mistake they make results in a miss by us. We need to change that equation in the last three games of the season if we want to stay up. Luckily for us, our current abysmal run of lost points has been matched by two or three other teams  and only 5 points covers the last 5 teams! Our next game is a tough one against the high flying Norwalk Mariners. Let's try and bring our best form and stay in the second division!

Man of the Match;  Great game by Jodingo!! and Carlos at the back but even though he only played the first half the great saves by Hulk made him my MOTM! Oh, and happy birthday to Roniildo!