Tag Archives: Corinthian-Casuals

Corinthian-Casuals 2 AFC Wimbledon 6

Well it didn’t rain, but I did get my legs eaten away by hordes of blood sucking insects. That’s the last time I wear shorts to an evening game, that’s for sure. My fault for having sweet blood I suppose, but makes me wonder why the players aren’t similarly affected. Maybe they are… maybe they just don’t moan about it as much as I do.

It was one of those really sweating evenings as well, by the time I made my way into the bar at King Georges it smelled like a rabbit hutch. Meaning a lot of sweaty Wombles had already passed through, that or they actually keep rabbits in there on non-matchdays. Terry made a note of praising the pitch before the game, which admittedly looked like a bowling green… albeit a bowling green that had a number of thick, deep trenches running down one side of it. I don’t want to exaggerate, but they must have been about four inches wide and as much deep – enough for someone to lose a foot in!

Which probably affected Terry’s starting lineup, starting Andre Blackman and keeping him out of the ruts. Not that this stopped Blackman getting injured… a late challenge from a Casuals man did for him on the half hour mark. As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, the ref refused to allow him to be treated on the field, and ended up ordering him off the pitch, from which he was destined not to return… At one stage I thought the referee might have sent him off, but with no Dons sub available until half time, they had to play out the remaining quarter-hour with ten men anyway…

As an aside, the referee was one of those little Hitler types, typical small man syndrome, whose efforts to ruin the game frustrated players and supporters alike. I’m all for the Respect campaign and that, but here’s hoping he enrages the wrong person to such an extent he gets his comeuppance later in the season…

Anyway, back to Blackman. He shuffled off the pitch, mumbling to himself, barely managing to acknowledge the presence of the Casuals substitutes in the corner asking about his wellbeing, before looking anywhere but at the Dons fans behind the goal applauding him on his way through… and fortunately for him Casuals have reduced the size of their pitch, meaning he didn’t have to get too close to the unwashed masses (who also happen to own the club he now plays for…) on his way past…

I also heard, albeit second-hand, about a Dons journo’s attempts to interview him after the game… and his monosyllabic responses. He certainly knows how to win popularity contests, that boy… It seems no matter how hard we search for something of interest in Blackman’s character, the more he comes across as a spoilt ex-Premier League starlet who thinks he’s too big for the Dons. I mean even the rumour that he squared up to DK probably isn’t true… and looking back it always seemed unlikely.

Having said all this, Andre Blackman can be the biggest knobhead on the planet for all I care. As long as he turns it on a Saturday afternoon (and occasional Tuesday evening) for the club I support… well I can overlook a certain amount of arrogance.

Plus there was another player in a Dons shirt whose name was on the tips of Wimbledon supporters tongues, and that man was… trialist Delano Sam-Yorke. Of course, most Dons fans had to double-check the team sheet or rely on Chinese whispers to work out who he was (leading to a couple of not entirely incorrect calls to ‘Go on, Sam’…). Sam-Yorke was to trouble the scorers later in the half, but his first moment of impact came after a turn of pace saw him clear of a slightly dozy Casuals defence before being upended by the keeper. Fellow trialist Reece Jones, a skinny, eager midfielder, was first to the ball and thus stroked home the resulting penalty.

The Dons second resulted from fantastic footwork from Steven Gregory, the ball came to him quicker than expected but he still passed the ball home, almost in slow motion but with perfect placement enough to beat the Casuals custodian. The second followed another sloppy moment at the back by Casuals, as Christian Jolley picked up the ball on the right side of the hosts area before cooly picking out Sam-Yorke to slot home.

Sam-Yorke’s second, which in turn led to Casuals response, was a bit strange. After a drop ball that was supposed to return possession to the hosts, the Dons trialist nipped in a little too soon for everyone’s liking, side-stepped an opponent and expertly found the bottom right corner with a curling effort. The fact that twenty-one blokes were shouting ‘No!’ at him didn’t seem to affect his concentration… not that I blame the kid either. Put yourself in his shoes – you have sixty minutes to make an impression, you’ve just scored… it would be a case of put the ball in the net and ask questions later, wouldn’t it?

The Dons allowed their hosts to walk one in, or rather slow jog it in… although to be honest they could have let them have three and it wouldn’t have made any more of a game of it at that stage. The second half… a bit of a let down after the all action performance of the first. Perhaps it was down to Casuals electing not to turn the floodlights on until it was more or less dark (and what did that save them? A couple of quid at most…). Whatever, it spurred them into action and Jack Turner was forced to make a couple of smart saves before his removal on the hour mark… at which point the gentlemen next to me leaned over and remarked what a great keeper he’s going to be when he’s 19, reminding me once again just what a jewel we could have in him. Blackman the first ex-Don of the AFC era in the Premier League? If he doesn’t make it, Jack will…

Lets face it, the last half hour must have seemed like a kick around for the rest of the squad having been put through a training session on the training pitch next door. Jon Main certainly enjoyed himself; receiving the ball with his back to goal, spinning and firing past the despairing keeper in one smooth motion – all this literally seconds after his introduction.

Casuals had a bit of pressure after that, pulling one back and forcing Sebb Brown (who looks like he spent the summer in the gym) to make a couple of saves. Repeated leg scratching and the knowledge that at that time of night the London-bound trains only leave every hour meant I made my excuses and left just as Jon Main capitalised on a defensive error to grab number six. Apparently. I was behind the stand at the time, so will never know. Perhaps we didn’t score a sixth, the fake cheer and celebration were all for my benefit, and right now several hundred people are laughing at me behind my back…

To summarise – a decent run out, especially from those eager to please to win first team places/contracts… Sam-Yorke looks like the sort of player I would like to see more of, and I’m glad we are looking at trialists still… I certainly hope there will be a degree of flexibility in terms of squad numbers. Eighteen is a small squad regardless of the number of players who can master multiple positions, and is the only aspect of this summers squad building that is worrying me. If Terry can shuffle the budget, and we can bring in an extra player in the three main areas of the pitch, then I for one will feel a lot more confident going into the season…

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Tuesday Evening In Tolworth (A Corinthian-Casuals Preview)

You just know its going to rain.

Our latest pre-season opponents quite helpfully knackered themselves out by contesting a four team tournament over the weekend (why don’t we ever get invited to this type of thing? And IOM doesn’t count as it was three team…). Which means we could see a few goals down at King Georges Field if the Dons remember to pack their scoring boots… although as a responsible, thoughtful blogger I have to point out that Terry is unlikely to learn anything new about his squad from this type of fixture… but you always have to have at least one seven goal spree or the pre-season fixture list just doesn’t look right…

Actually, my hunch is this will be a low scoring bore-athon, the sort of pre-season game that makes you question your very existence, but I’m not sure CC would welcome such negative publicity in the build up to their biggest PSF of the summer. The Dons enter the game off the back of a decent performance against Millwall and having newly signed Sammy Moore in the squad meaning not only will those who own a replica shirt with Luke Moore’s name on the back will have to add an ‘L’ for next season, but the squad is now all but complete except for that centre-half shaped hole that needs filling.

Whether that will be the end of the squad building remains to be seen; after all, eighteen is quite skinny for a squad with intentions of doing well next term, especially when injuries and inconsistency hit. Terry wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t kick down Eriks door when news of the extra £35k from the Premier League came through… and then kick him in the nuts if he refuses to add it to the playing budget (after all, everyone else will…). Squad building should never be complete in my mind, and while better players become available as the season nears (or more accurately, their wage expectations fall into our budgetary reach…) we should be flexible enough to accommodate them if the manager so wishes.

A giveaway as to whether we will sign anyone else will be how many trialists appear tomorrow that aren’t centre halves… Friday night saw us field Rene Steer at left back, although no-one – including the manager – seemed to be all that sure why. Terry obviously saw a decent player with a great pedigree become available and couldn’t resist the chance to take a closer look, even if he was effectively window shopping. This didn’t stop the conspiracy theorists put two and two together (the other ‘two’ being the shiner sported by Andre Blackman), and come up with something unlikely…

I don’t normally make a point of commenting on gossip (well, unless it was gossip that I actually started…), but when I heard the news about Blackman’s spat in training, or rather the supposed details of it, I was really encouraged. Training ground bust ups happen all the time, especially at full-time clubs… Dons teams of years gone by used to scrap it out a Richardson Evans from Monday to Friday, then take apart the opposition on the weekend. When I heard this one, well if Blackman had gone up to Luke Moore and started something, I would have ben disappointed. But what he actually did was face up to the biggest, meanest player in the squad…

…If indeed any of it actually happened. Blackman featured a black eye, but it could have been a collision, or I have heard he has moved back in with his mum and if she is a ‘You’re never too old for a clip round the ear…’ variety… well you just don’t know. What I do know, is from what I’ve seen of Andre Blackman on the pitch, he’s the sort of player I want at Wimbledon for as long as possible. And I just get the feeling that, if he’s still at the club by the end of September,will go on to be a real player before earning (yes, earning) a move back to a Premier League club for a transfer fee that can buy us a new stadium three times over… Or maybe not.

Back to tomorrow nights game, Terry has announced he will follow recent friendly protocol by giving his players 60/30 minutes, although the recent cull of first team trialists, along with Mark Nwokeji and Lee Minshull both out injured, suggests at least one or two might be in for their first full game of the summer.

I might even make notes at this one, so keep ’em peeled on Wednesday/Thursday for that effort…

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