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The Albion returned to league action, following their “Marcus Lipton” cup exit to Battersea Park Rangers. The game was played on one of the nicer pitches in the league, over at Dulwich Sports Club, against league leaders “SWAG”.

The Alex. A pub not a person.

The morning started off in bizarre fashion and with a hive of activity on the Albion Wattsapp group. New signing Marc Ferrer had not made the pre-arranged meet at the “Alex” on Clapham Common and whilst there was a tiny amount of concern for Marc’s wellbeing, we were more worried about having a play the game with 10 men.

Unfortunately, last minute signing and Albion stalwart Dave McPhee, himself pulled out on Saturday, following a mysterious illness. Early reports that McPhee might have suffered a split anus, following an unlucky “biking accident” have not been confirmed.

Marc eventually turned up at the ground, safe and sound. More on this later.

The game eventually got underway, after the lads had warmed up on no less than 3 different pitches.

The Albion started brightly, creating a number of chances and eventually going one up, after a fine through ball from Haz set Chaz free and in on goal. Showing no signs of last season’s “yips”, Chaz smashed the ball into the far corner, taking his tally to 3 for the season.

SWAG soon equalised with a more than dubious goal. The ball was pumped from deep into the treacherous wind, Stew headed the ball back to Luke in goal, who jumped and claimed with both hands. Only the onrushing SWAG striker to clatter into Luke, causing him to drop the ball and the striker to poke home for 1-1. No foul?!?

The wind was starting to cause real problems for both sides, with it being end to end stuff but with not much football being played.

In one of the few remaining incidences of quality, “wee” Carlile threaded through “younger” Carlile with Haz eventually lobbing the goalie and Albion retaking the lead for 2-1.

Unfortunately, the half ended at 2-2 when Albion centre back Stew let the SWAG left winger in for a tap in around Luke. Bugger.

2-2 at half time and a few words of encouragement shouted into the wind.

Not much to report on the second half! The Albion didn’t really come out, with the game descending into a scrap, however with SWAG showing quality up front and their striker completing his hat-trick with their 3rd and 4th goals to win, 4-2.

“Man of the Match” was straightforward. Haz and Chaz tied second with 2 votes each but it was goalie Luke who won “MOM” with an outstanding performance, making numerous saves, some even described as “Walteresque”.

“Henri Leconte” was a similar walkover. All votes went to the “winner”, apart from one for their #14, AKA “Thunderbirds Man”, “Rubber Lips” or “Mr Angry”.

The remaining 8 votes all went to Marc for confusing “Alex” the pub with a team mate, not meeting everyone at Clapham Common and causing those waiting for him to be 20 minutes late.

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The Albion faced Battersea Park Rangers in the second round of the “Marcus Lipton” cup, losing 5-1 for their troubles.

Despite going 1 nil up thanks to a goal from Tom South, BPR quickly equalised and went 2-1 up after a perfectly mistimed tackle from Stew gave them a penalty.

Walt : Refuelling before going to collect one of his wayward goalkicks

The Albion eventually when in at half time 3-1 down, after BPR added another following a well-placed back-post corner gave their number 8 a tap in.

At the start of the second half, the Albion came out fighting and produced several attacks which unfortunately didn’t amount to anything tangible.

BPR added 2 further goals as the team tired, the first bouncing over Walter (yes, Walt) from distance and the final was a tidy finish from BPR’s striker Adoo.

Despite losing heavily, there were several performances of note. Tom picked up a solitary vote to go with his goal. In second place, Will, Al and Greg on his full debut, all picked up 2 votes.

However, picking up his first MoM of the season was the oldest man on the pitch and Albion’s own Roger Milla, Steve Leslie.

There wasn’t much to report in “Henri Leconte” as it was a walkover.

Tied in second with a vote apiece were Stew “the chopper” Lauder for the aforementioned “late” tackle and Matt for having a mental breakdown, thinking the ref had awarded another penalty. He awarded a goal kick.

Runway “winner” with 6 votes was returning goalie, Walter Gwan Nulla. The 27 year old produced a performance worthy of Rene Higuita, Manuel Neuer and Jose Luis Chilavert all rolled into one.

At one stage Walt produced a triple combination of “Cryuff” turns and drag backs, that left the opposition strikers perplexed and himself so disorientated and so far out of play, he was 5 yards off the Clapham bandstand.

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Last Sunday saw the Albion return to league action, with an away fixture at Abbey Rec against FC Morden.

Carlile: “Ferret? I know a song about a ferret…”

The players were reminded early on of our atrocious record against FC Morden. Including last season’s 6-2 loss, which saw Sean going in goal within 5 minutes and his outfield replacement Alex, scoring a double.

The first 5 minutes of the game played out in a similar fashion. The Albion going 1 nil down, following a threaded through ball which found the Morden winger one on one with the returning Bill in goal, the winger eventually rounding Bill to put Morden up.

Whilst in the past this might have condemned the Albion, this weekend it simply sparked them to life.

The team started winning tackles, headers and most of the second balls. Following a whirlwind 10 minute spell, the Albion equalised, went one ahead and then two ahead.

The goals coming from Aleks, Haz and Sean – this time in his usual centre midfield position.

Half-time came around with the Albion leading 3-1, Stew took himself off to watch the rest of the game and prepare for the #10 “seeing him after the game”.

The second half picked up where the first left off, with the Albion adding a further 2 goals from Tim and veteran ball smasher, Steve Leslie.

The rest is a bit blurry as I know that FC Morden scored 3 and we replied with another 2, one from Haz and a beautiful move finished by leaping salmon, Chaz.

So we’ll leave it at that, 7-4, job done.

This week’s MOM was a family affair with the Carlile brothers picking up 7 votes between them. With the elder, Will winning with 4 votes. An all action display, saw the return of the “demented ferret”, throwing his slight frame around the pitch and into every tackle.

Both Tim and Bill picked up a vote a piece, to tie third.

Henri Leconte saw a wide range of voting, including “their #9 for being so hard”, “their player who tried to score from our goal kick” and Will for “avoiding a yellow, despite 3 or 4 reckless tackles”.

However, this week we have joint “winners”. Firstly, Chaz for a wrestling/jujitsu/judo battle with their #9, reminiscent of the silent fighting scene from the “Other Guys”. Alongside Chaz, was Woody for picking up a yellow for the most innocuous challenge, despite a previous phase of play during which he was fooled at least 4 times.

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With a loss and a draw under their belt Albion came out on the pitch on Sunday morning hungry for a win, and like a post-match Bodean’s that hunger was satisfied.

Carlile : “Sean, you sure this is what Stew meant by “making a wall”.

Albion were quick off the mark and within the first 5 minutes won a free kick on the right wing. South stepped up and delivered a ball that was reminiscent of Ronaldinho’s looper against Seaman in the 2002 World Cup, except whereas Seaman saw the ball float over his head the Bath Old Boys keeper seemed to just let it run through him as if he never even existed, which he might as well not have done. 1-0 to Albion.

Minutes later history repeated itself, this time Carlile looped in the dead ball. Woody flicked it back towards none other than Albion centre back Stewart Lauder who poked it home. The last time Stewart Lauder scored Jagger was top of the charts, Uber was just a silly German word and WAP was the height of technology. Lauder himself will be quick to tell you he went on to score in 2 consecutive weeks after that, so watch this space I suppose.

Albion controlled the play in the centre of the park for the remainder of the half with the wing backs and midfield linking well but failed to convert chances up top so the half ended Albion 2 Bath Old Boys 0.

Second half saw Albion pick up where they left with a nice move as Joliffe, absolutely relishing his new role as right back, found Woody in the middle of the park who fed a through ball to Carlile who kept his cool and slotted past the keeper.

Minutes later Carlile could’ve doubled his tally when a beautifully weighted and precision through ball came from defence (rumours have it the ball came from Lauder but these have been unfounded) he rounded the keeper but was cleared off the line by Uncle Fester who was disguising himself as the opposition centre back.

The fourth and final nail in the Bath Old Boy’s coffin was hammered home by Albion’s veteran goal scorer, Steve Leslie. A nice piece of link up play by Baxendale and Marc Ferrer led to the Spanish recruit finding Leslie at the back post, the crowd gasped in anticipation of the upcoming pile driver that was about to be delivered but no, the Clapham Casanova took a different approach and kept it low and clinical (much like his approach to the London dating scene) and found the back of the net, again much like he does on the London dating scene.

Man of the Match and Henri Leconte was an easy one this week as Sean Holden put in a fine display in centre midfield. Keeping the ball and moving it well, proving all those chai latte’s and “downward dogs” have been worth it. His yoga retreats may be silent but his football is anything but.

Devon’s answer to Ravi Shankar also picked up the Henri Leconte award for completing his first ever Albion, and perhaps career, 90 minutes without injury not even his spine, knee, elbow, back, ear or hair were damaged. Well done lad.

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Following a disappointing opening fixture result, the Albion followed up with a match against last season’s unbeaten Champions, AFC Hammersmith.

This week’s “Henri Leconte”

During the opening exchanges it was clear that the Albion we’re playing well and had a very good chance of getting a positive result.

The game flowed back and forth, mainly down the wings, before AFC Hammersmith opened the scoring with an excellent move and finish. 1 nil to the ‘ Smith.

Albion did not let their heads drop and continued to play good football, eventually equalising 5 minutes before half-time with Steve slotting a Harry pass straight into the bottom left using his RIGHT foot.

The second half didn’t quite live up to the first, with both teams creating chances to win but ultimately the game finished 1-1.

There were many fine performances, in particular from the defence and this was reflected in the MOM voting.

Luke picked up a vote for a “fine right back performance”. In third place with 3 votes, was Neil for a solid performance at left back which included some great passing phases down the wing. In second was Woody with 3 votes for a great defensive performance in the “Dave Role”.

However, clear winner was Matt Mc for a faultless and combative performance at centre half. Clearly showing without a litre of vodka in his system, he’s a great defender!

“Henri Leconte” saw Woody and Matt B picking up a vote for “terrible misses”, Aleks scored a vote (no reason given!) and Will C for “being put through a human Corby trouser press”, whilst winning a header against their 6.5ft centre back. The Smith’s LB also picked up a vote for his “Tourette’s”.

In second place was the “comedy duo” on the side of the pitch, for a variety of reasons ranging from “threatening to see people after the game”, “swearing at their own players” and such like.

The “winner” was one half to the duo, namely the “greaseball”.

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New season! New start! New hope! To halftime at least.

Albion started their 2017/18 league campaign with a thumping from SWAG, with it all being documented on film by Albion’s own Nick Broomfield, Chaz Baxendale.

The best “Twigg”? You decide.

The Albion started brightly with some slick passing from the midfield and forwards, in particular from Will in centre midfield. It was one of the wee man’s through balls which allowed Chaz to break clear, round the goalie and slot in, to put the Albion 1 nil up on the half hour mark. Drought, what drought!

The first half finished with SWAG getting a foothold in the game and eventually equalising with a fantastic scissor kick.

SWAG started the second half as they finished the first, with the Albion being under constant pressure from the whistle. Following a foul nearly 30 yards from goal, the SWAG left back stepped up to fire a freekick at the Albion goal. Whilst the shot at first appeared tame, it bounced around the 6 yard box and sprung up and over the diving Luke in the Albion goal.

Later investigations revealed that the ball bounced perfectly on a twig, causing the ball to fly up and leave the Albion 2-1 down.

Shortly after the restart, Albion right back and debutant Borja challenged for a high ball and fell awkwardly onto the deck. Borja needed to leave the field for immediate treatment, which was provided by Stew in the form of a sling and safety pin. Whilst Albion first aider, Bill filmed the whole proceedings before eventually helping secure the sling.

I’m not sure what happened after this as I walked Borja to get an Uber to St. George’s, I just know when I returned the score was 5-1 to SWAG.

At least I got to see the last goal, which made it 6-1 to SWAG.

Despite a dispiriting result and in Albion tradition, we still voted for MOM and HL.

Borja and Luke tied third with a vote a piece, whilst Will and Chaz tied second with 3 votes each. However, starting up from where he left off last season, Woody won the season’s first MOM with 4 votes.

Henri Leconte was split three ways, firstly with the SWAG #14 picking up a vote for “looking like the kid from Deliverance”.

In second place came the “twig”, for providing a great assist for SWAG’s second goal.

Tied in first with 4 votes each, were Albion first aider Bill and Chazza “Ford Coppola”, both for offenses involving a camera. Firstly, Bill for filming Borja as he left the field in agony and then for Chaz “M Knight” Baxendale documenting the collapse of the Albion and filming the warm-up from behind a lamppost.

The video documentary is soon to be released in the club shop, along such classics as “5 Yards : The Complete Collection of passes by Neil Joliffe”, “High and Wide : The Complete Collection of free kicks by Jindy Mann” and “The Only Way is Nick Evans : Ibiza Pre-Season Tour 2016/17 (UNCUT)”.

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Parklife Striker : Not too happy

Albion could have been forgiven for approaching their penultimate game of the season against Parklife with a sense of complacency.  The annual task of simply having more players than one other team (also known as ‘staying up’) was complete and their final game against Hammersmith Town scheduled in alongside the completion of Crossrail sometime in 2026.

Instead, riding the wave of a recent upturn in form, Albion looked to make amends for the away performance against Parklife and starting brightly, snapping into challenges and looking to exact revenge for that awful Christmas parody single.  After the opening exchanges Albion looked to assert their dominance and Woody – no doubt angry that he didn’t get MoM last week despite being away – seized on a second ball in the Parklife box only to be hauled down.  Joliffe stepped up and put the ball to the keeper’s right.
Moments later, Woody – likely still angry – seized on another ball and was hauled down again.  Joliffe stepped up and put the ball to the keeper’s right.  The referee blew for encroachment and the penalty had to be retaken.  Joliffe stepped up and put the ball to the keeper’s right. 2-0.
Albion kept up the pressure and Chaz was unlucky not to usurp Alex Wichelo in the goalscoring charts when the Parklife keeper tipped over from point blank range.  No further scores before half time.
Albion fought throughout the second period, missing a handful of a good chances but crucially remaining sturdy at the back.  This, much to the frustration of the Parklife striker who, after rounding on his own team, decided to leave the field in a strop on the final whistle.  Presumably it’s a long drive back up to Stoke.
MOM was closely contested by the Albion midfield.  Will Carlisle picked up a couple of votes, one for ‘nerves of steel Neil’ and one, somewhat socialistically, for the ‘whole team’.  Josh takes it this week for a top performance and having curly hair.
Henri Leconte saw a number of nominations for the oppo’s grumpy striker questioning whether he actually ‘wanted to play for Parklife’ and one to Neil for reckless spitting on a football pitch.  However the absolute runaway winner this week was Sean for ‘being at a yoga retreat/being at a meditation retreat/ being a wet lettuce and going to the meditation retreat/being at a meditation retreat to re-align his body’.  Well played.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Alex Wichelo!

Sunday saw an Albion first with Alex coming out of goal and scoring twice, to move up to 2 in the goal scoring charts alongside current striker Chaz!

The “Calcium Kid” : “It’s me groin, it’s buggered!”

The tactical change came after Sean “The Calcium Kid”, “Wheatabix Man”, “I can’t believe he’s not butter” Holden hobbled into goal just 5 minutes, following a “groin strain”.

Before Al was to get on the score sheet, the Albion conceded 4 to go in 4 nil down at half-time.

The second half saw the Albion claw 2 back after both teams went down to 10 men, following a double sending off. FC Morden also scored 2 second half goals, meaning the game ended 6-2 to FC Morden.

Such a performance inevitably meant Al picked up “MOM” with 6 votes.

The only other 3 votes went to Stew, for what can only be described as the “ironic/joke vote” for being given his marching orders during the second half.

“Henri Leconte” was a certainty to feature all of the aforementioned and it did.

Chaz picked up a vote for providing the 2 assists to bring Al level with himself in the scoring charts and hating himself whilst doing so!

Stew picked up a vote for his second half misdemeanour.

Sean picked up 3 votes for “being made of play dough” and “outrageously bad in goal” (at least he stayed on).

However, taking the double and winning was Al Wichelo for celebrating like he’d won the World Cup, putting his finger to his lips in a mock gesture to the FC Morden left back – despite the score being 6-1 at the time.

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The Albion faced Battersea Park Rangers in the semi-final of the Frank Blunstone Cup, played over at Wimbledon Extension Pitches.

The absent Will Carlile : Trialling his new birthday bike

Despite a spirited start, the Albion went 1 down around the 30th minute. This was quickly followed by a thunderbolt strike going in off the bar and a badly deflected shot spinning in off the post; meaning the Albion went in 3 down at half-time.

The second half produced few chances of note and in the end BPR added a fourth to comprehensively seal the tie.

Despite the heavy loss, “Man of the Match” was divided between 3 defensive players – which perhaps indicates the way the game went.

Playing at right back, Marcus picked up a couple of votes for third and Jindy came in second with one extra.

Out on his own on 5 was Matt, who takes his second MOM of the season. (Yes Woody did play this week but alas his run stopped).

In the “Henri Leconte” award there were a couple of solitary votes to Tom for arriving late and for BPR’s “screaming midfielder”.

Chaz popped up with a couple of votes, for recreating Jade’s sensual massage on Woody (insert your own innuendo here).

The winner was Sean with 6 votes, who turned up with a jam jar filled with Lucozade and then tried to leave the ground without taking the kit, as he’d “forgot”.

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The Albion continued their New Year’s form, with a 1-1 draw with long-term league rivals Westminster Wanderers.

The pitch was passed playable at 9am, following a sterling effort from the league in getting around all grounds for early morning pitch inspections.

Napolina : The middle class’s running companion.

Whilst the pitch was difficult to play on and despite a bright start from Westminster, the Albion dominated the first half with an assured and confident display.

Midway through the half, Jim P scored a perfectly fine goal with a back post slot. However the referee failed to see it cross the line and ordered the game to continue.

Towards the end of the first half, the irrepressible Woody finally put the Albion ahead with a “slide in” finish – taking his total to 12 for the season.

Unfortunately, Westminster were to later score towards the death of the game with one of their few chances and earned themselves a hard fought draw.

In the “Man of the Match” award, Tim and Neil picked up a vote apiece to tie third. Stew came in second place with 3 votes.

However, with 4 out of 4 in the New Year, Woody wins this week’s “MOM” with 5 votes.

Despite scoring the only goal, Woody picked up 1 vote in the “Henri Leconte”, for his lunging/sliding finish/shot.

Also, picking up solitary votes we’re “Marcus for running 20 miles on Saturday, 3 miles to the game and home again”; “The jogger for running around the pitch with a can of Napolina chopped tomatoes in each hand”; “Jim and Will for setting up a 2 man wall, 20 metres from where the free-kick was taken”; “Poor man’s Akinfenwa coming on to the pitch wearing tights” and “Albion’s four yellow cards”.

However, with 2 votes and in second place, was Nick Evans for losing his boots in the changing room, only to later find them at his seat.

This week’s winner was Stew with 3 votes, for a phase of play which had the purists drawling. Bringing down a looping/spinning ball with his instep, to then spread the ball over 50 yards out to the opposite wing and into the path of onrushing Jim P. With a passing spectator shouting “Zidane” shortly afterwards. (This bit never happened).

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