Spartans humbled by an old foe

Posted by admin on February 19, 2013

After the performances of recent weeks in training and games, there was cautious optimism going into this top of the table game against Dronfield. Previous encounters have always been close and there is always an air of tension as both teams usually match each other quite well.

As far as the game went, this continued, but the score was anything but close.

Dronfield chose to kick down the slope at the beginning of game one and quickly got into their stride, no slow start here. Within the first ten minutes, the Spartans had conceded 4 goals - three of which would on another day have been saved and could be considered 'soft goals'. Small mistakes in the defence and errors in goalkeeping were ruthlessly punished. But, that does not tell the whole story. The Spartans were trying to play their own game and creating half chances and chances that were being saved by the Dronfield goalie. Another goal by Dronfield followed before half time. 5-0

Mark and Dan really tried to encourage the boys at half time, they were playing really well and did not deserve to be five behind. The second started and things really picked up, the Spartans pressed constantly, creating chance after chance - hitting the woodword three or four times and had two cleared off the line. But, it was Dronfield who exyended their lead, playing the ball to their main offensive threat who twice more broke and finished clinically for 7-0. So far Dronfield had had 7 shots and scored 7 goals, whereas the Spartans had had 10 or 11 shots and scored none. Whoever, the Spartans did get on the scoresheet when Alfie finished with a great shot into the top right corner as the ball broke after yet another Spartans attack. 7-1 at the end of game one and loads to do in game 2.

With a six goal defecit, the Spartans really had to get off to a good start to get back into the game, but things went the wrong way as on Dronfields first attack, the ball was turned into their own net by a Spartans defender and another small defensive lapse was ruthlessly punished to make the score 9-1 in no time. The Spartans really worked as hard as they could, using the passing game to create chances of their own, only to be thwarted by a confident goalie in good form. Three more goals followed before half time as Dronfield capitalised on their game plan of playing most balls to a single attacker who knew how to score...

At half time, the coaches really worked hard to lift the boys. They were playing really well and just not getting the breaks. They were given the challenge of winning the second half and this seemed to lift spirits. The boys dominated the first period of the second half, agan creating chances aplenty. Eventually the Spartans got their break and Kieren scored a great goal that the team deserved. 12-2. Dronfield however were always a threat (particularly their gigantic centre forward). An number of times they broke, but the defence had sorted themselves out somewhat and coped better until he broke free, James making an initial great save but the rebound fell to the attackers feet and he thundered in the goal for 13-2. That was not the end though, as the Spartans never gave up and tried to score more and Dronfield breaking an number of times, but James made sure that was that in terms of Dronfield scoreing with some great late game work.

Final score 2-13. A dreadful score, but a very hard working game that certainly deserved alot more. Dronfield will undoubtadly be promoted as they are a good team, but the Spartans should be proud of the way they played football today.

Spartans back to winning ways against Birley Spar

Posted by admin on February 12, 2013

Sunday morning dawned to heavy snow showers mixed with rain, but an early pitch inspection cleared the game to go ahead. 

This was an important game for the Spartans after last week's cup defeat and the manner of the defeat where they had been outpassed for big chunks of the game.

As game one started it was clear that the boys had taken on board what Mark and Dan had said about playing more of the passing game. Jack MB moved into the midfield as cover for Kieren and this proved to be a great decision from the off as the boys immediately put Birley Spar under pressure with plenty of movement and some well worked passing through midfield. Jack MB played Ramarye in a number of times before eventually the ball broke loose in a packed penalty area and Ramarye slotted home for 1-0. The boys the kept the pressure on, with Sam working his legs off on the left. Betsy then found himself on the scoresheet for the first time in a while as more pressure created another chance and he knocked it in off the post. Jack MB then broke down the right and fired in a strong shot that came off the crossbar. Betsy then made it 3-0 before half time as Sam made a fantastic cross after good work down the left, Ramarye missed it and Batsy fired in at the far post. It was not all one way ahowever, with James spiling a shot that skidded on the wet grass and then diving full length to stop the follow up. Josh and Cameron were their usual solid selves at the back, keeping things calm. The second half saw Birley Spar bring on a huge player, and this changed the complexion of the game somewhat as his strength and power (as well as good skills) disrupted the flow of the Spartans game. Birley Spar forced some pressure and a few goal kicks from wayward shots, until one break from the big lad was bravely saved by James as the player closed in. The Spartans passing game went to pot a bit in the second half, with Jack MB particularly trying to score spectacular goals every time he got the ball. The Birley Spar goalie made a few good saves too, keeping the score down to finish 3-0.

Game two started with the snow now stopped but rain still falling, but the pitch was holding up well. This was a more even game than the first as Birley stepped up their game. The Spartans tried from the off to keep the passing up, making the game easier for them. The first goal of the game came as some good work just outside the Birley area resulted in a shot  that was blocked with both hands in the area by the defender for a penalty. Alfie stepped up and fired straight down the middle for 1-0 (4-0). But the lead was not to last long as Birley pressed down the right  and a good shot to Kians left nestled in the corner for 1-1 (4-1). This woke the Spartans up again and the boys finished a great passing move with a finish from Alfie for his second of the game and 2-1 (5-1). Birley had a shout for a penalty themselves as the ball brushed Williams arm as he got his hands out of the way, but the ref decided otherwise. The second half was much the same pattern, the Spartans pressing when the pplayed their proper game, and Birley dangerous on the break, but Pav, William and Aman dealt with most things that came their way. Birley had the last word though. As time was about to expire, they broke down the left, crossed into the box, the Spartans failed to clear and a Birley player fired home with the last kick of the game 2-2 (5-2).

Overall, a much better performance at times, with some selfish play at others - but getting there. The result leaves the Spartans joint second in the league.

Spartans exit cup at Millmoor Juniors

Posted by admin on February 5, 2013

After two consecutive games called off due to snow and ice, practices indoors and then a power cut over the last three weeks, the chances of a fluent, confident game were quite small, but on the back of a summer tournament victory over Millmoor there was always a chance.

The Spartans were two players short, one ill and one missing. The game was moved at the last minute to Millmoors ground (the kind of place every team dreams of owning) due to waterlogging at the Carribean Club.

Game one saw a team of Kian, Aman, William, Alfie, Jack MB, Logan H, Blade and Morgan take the field and the first few minutes were encouraging. The Spartans pressed Millmoor in their own half, looking for the opportunities to get a shot on goal. However, in a move that was to be repeated twice more in the game, the Spartans defence failed to spot two Millmoor players behind them as they both pushed up and Millmoor broke down the field clear on goal. Kian did his absolute best, but it was 1-0. This was to form the pattern of the first half - Spartans pressing (sometimes trying to win the game indiviudally) - Millmoor break as the Spartans defence slept and score - Kian getting hands on two of the three goals. Half time 4-0.

Some half time encouragement from Mark and Dan seemed to do the trick in the second half. The midfielders starting to pass the ball rather than running in to trouble which gave the Spartans more opportunities than the first half. The defence, while still at times failing to spot players all on their own behind them, where much stronger and cleared where in the first half the Millmoor players were getting shots in. When the shots did come in Kian managed to get something on them to keep it out. End of a disspointing first game 4-0.

Could the second team learn from the first game? Rmarye was moved up front with Kieren coming into the midfield for this game and straight away seemed to hit off a partnership that could well pay dividends in future games. The first half was a much stronger performance with the defence being marshalled by Josh and Sam and Kieren running down the wings. The Spartans tried to pass the ball and fought when they lost it. However, it was Millmoor who added to their lead as a move broke down and a shot came in from the right and curled away from the goalies hands into the opposite side. Sam then received an injury in a tackle which finished him for the game (thankfully only cuts and bruises rather than anything broken). In this game though, the Spartans were creating chances. Crosses from either side were just missed by the attackers and shots on goal saved by the Millmoor goalie. Half time 5-0.

The second half was more of the same, Spartans creating enough chances to win the game but not finishing as they usually would and Millmoor trying to counter attack with some slick passing and moving. The game was sealed mid way through the second half, James miss-kicked a goal kick which fell to a Millmoor player half way to the centre line who hit it first time passed James as he tried to recover to the middle of his goal. 6-0. Mark and Dan had to encourage the players as some heads dropped, and this worked as the boys worked really hard to try and get just one in reply. In the end it was not to be, despite pretty much constant pressure towards the end.

Final score 6-0 and some lessons hopefully learned. The Spartans player can learn alot from how Millmoor play - always playing the ball to players in space and not simply running with it till somebody takes it off you...

Hard work pays off for another double

Posted by admin on January 15, 2013

A crisp, still winter morning greeted everybody as we visited the Pheonix club to face one of the cities olded clubs, Brinsworth Whitehill.

The previous meeting earlier in the season had seen the Spartans run out to a resonably comfortable 7-2 win. So hopes were high formore of the same after the strong performance of last week. 

Mark decided to make a couple of experimental changes to try and balance the two sides a little after concerns about the relative strengths of each team. Jack MB and Betsy swapped to the other teams respectively.

Game one started quite brightly, Brinsworth playing a pressing game, trying to force the Spartans into playing the ball earlier than they would like, the Spartans trying to play the passing game we've come to appreciate. Betsy in midfield took a few minutes to warm-up (literally and figuratively), but then started to play the game he can with some good work in the middle, feeding Alfie particularly down the right. However, for the most part, the fluency of the previous week was missing, the boys tried but just could not achieve. One notable exception in the first half was Jack Bailey who produced one of the best halves of his time with the Spartans, with trickery, passing and strength all round (if only he could do that every week). The deadlock was eventually broken in the second half, with a big kick from Kian that was controlled by Kieren, who then squared across the box for Alfie to knock home. 

Kian then had to be on his toes with a good save on the edge of the box that was cleared by the defence (solid as always - Pav and Aman). The Spartans extended their lead soon after when Kieren produced some great footwork, turning this was and that, before slotting home for 2-0 (great goal). However, they say the most dangerous time for a team is just after they have scored and this proved true. Right from the kick-off, the Spartans were still not ready when Brinsworth broke down the right and fired in a powerful shot that beat the goalie for 2-1. That was it for scoring in game one, the Spartans forwards could not really get into the game and were left frustrated.

Game two was even more frustrating. Jack MB moved into the centre of midfield in his swap with Betsy, but seemed out of sorts for the whole game and not as effective as hoped. All the Spartans really worked hard, but just lacked the cutting edge, Sam working his legs off down the right, Rmarye using his strength and power a number of times down the left only to either pick the wrong pass or just shoot wide and Logan Pierce up front had left his control at home today (otherwise he would probably have had five or six goals). At the back, Josh was having his usual solid day - and actually had a full length of the pitch break and shot - and Cameron clearing up the pieces if it ever got loose. The downside was the Spartans did not really test the Brinsworth goalie at all in teh first half, a couple of near post stops were about it. Brinsworth's biggest threat came from the goal kicks - the goalie not taking them and a defender kicking them clear over the half way line to set up counter attacks. Half time 0-0.

The half-time team talk was quite loud from Mark.

More fo the same however in the second half, the passing game coming and going, players doing just that little bit too much (on both sides). Most of the threat was coming from the Spartans with a number of chances either going passed the post or being cleared in goalmouth scrambles. An injury to Jack MB caused a stir on the coaching sidelines and another to Sam meant the Spartans finished the game wit no subs. Not much for James to do in the second half (a couple of goal kicks and that was about it). But, not a dull game by any means, just not the fluency we've come to appreciate. The game finished scoreless.

FInal score 2-1 to the Spartans. We've lost a number of games this year when playing well, so to win when not playing our best is pleasing.

The result leaves the Spartans 4th in the league with 31points, tied with Dinnington.

Man of matches - Pav and Josh

League standing highlights.
Scoring - 4th: Jack MB - 17goals
Goalies - 2nd: James - 5 clean sheets

New year brings double delight

Posted by admin on January 8, 2013

In the first game of 2013, our near neighbours Thorncliffe travelled the couple of miles to the Carribean Club, but returned home empty handed as the Spartans did the double for the season with a convincing win.

Thorncliffe had been achieving some good results recently and would surely have been expecting a good performance against the Spartans who had spluttered towards the end of 2012.

A perfect day for football greated the teams as game one kicked off and it was immediately clear that the Spartans had taken on board the managers instructions in training and before the game as the passing was back. Great work in midfield between Alfie, Jack MB and Kieren was creating chance from the start and it was not long before the first goal came. Jack MB played a great through ball, splitting the defence, and Logan P latched on to it and fired home. The second followed quickly with a very similar ball, turning the defence, Alfie shot but was saved by the goalie and Logan P pounced for his second of the game. It was not all the Spartans however and the defence had to be awake for the Thorncliffe breaks, Aman and William were solid when needed.

The third followed before half time as Jack MB got his second assist of the game with a pass to Kieren who slotted home for 3-0. However, this goal seemed to change the mindset as the passing seemed to dry up and the Spartans tried to do it all by themselves again. This allowed Thorncliffe the opportunity they were looking for and got their reply to make it 3-1.

A half time reminder about passing and using the ball sorted things and the second half meant more goals, Kieren (2) nipped in to fire into the bottom corner after a lovely cross from Alfie, some more great work on the wing and then a great pass set up Jack MB for his deserved goal and then Jack MB got his second to make the score 7-1 at the end of game one. Jack could have had at least two more - both fantastic saves from teh Thorncliffe goalie (a tip over from a piledriver and a wonderful diving save to his right to knock the ball onto the post and out for a corner).

Game two was a lot tighter score wise and Thorncliiffe started the brighter with some good work which resulted in an early goal from a well worked corner (all their players lining on the edge of the box rather than in the penalty area caused confusion). But, after a shaky start the boys sorted themselves out, stuck to the gameplan and it paid dividends as Rmaryre roamed up and down the left flank playing some great balls in to feet setting up Jack Bailey (which he missed by miles), then doing the same again, this time Jack vollied a wonderful curling ball past the stranded goalie for 8-2. The rest of the first half was much of the same, Thormcliffe playing better but being kept at bay by the defence (Josh playing his usual solid game supported by Cameron), when they got past this, James was there to tidy up (mention must be made of his goal kicks which have suddenly come on great). The midlfield linking up well and settng Sam away for a number of chances.

The second half was almost all Spartans, James had nothing to do. The Spartans dominated midfield and pressed for more goals, Morgan played a very cheeky pass behind his own legs to Blade on the edge of the box to show the confidence that was in the team. Sam eventually finished the scoring, firing across the goalie from the right to nestle in the bottom corner.

Mention must go to the referee who did a great job.

Final score 9-2

Man of the matches: Kieren and Jack Bailey.

FA Cup Comes To Sheffield

Posted by admin on December 21, 2012

The FA Cup Trophy Tour is on the road again this month, as Sheffield prepares to host the famous trophy.

This season, The FA Cup with Budweiser has already called at Manchester, Birmingham and Milton Keynes, giving football fans the opportunity to have their picture taken with the most famous piece of silverware in the world.

From Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 December, The FA Cup with Budweiser will be at Fargate in Sheffield. 

And it won't cost you a penny to have your photo snapped with the iconic trophy.

At the end of each day The FA will post the photographs to The FA Cup Facebook page where you’ll be able to download your picture as a memento.

So don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime chance to get photographed with The FA Cup and give yourself the best ever late Christmas present.

Spartans frustrated by a solid Whiston Team

Posted by admin on December 11, 2012

A windy cold December morning greeted the two teams at the home ground of Whiston Wildcats for the Spartans first ever visit.

The Spartans had three players out with illness and at least one recovering so it was never going to be an easy game. A big improvement was needed after the dissapointment of the game at Dinnington and game one started just as required. 

Both teams set out to play a controlled game of passing and movement, Rmarye was roaming down the left wing (back to his usual strngth and pace) and Kieren Dodds running his legs off up front. Jack Bailey was on fire in midfield, playing some lovely balls to Kieren and Rmarye. Cameron was restored to the defensive partnership with Josh that has worked so well over previous seasons. 

Initial pressure and composure soon paid off as Rmarye knocked the ball home after the Whiston goalkeeper spilled a shot from Kieren for a deserved lead. From this point it looked like the Spartans might push on and score a few more. A great pass from Kieren to Rmarye was well saved by the goalie and a few times Rmarye shot when a cross might have been the better option. But, as usual the Spartans like to make things interesting and allowed Whiston back into the game with a scrappy goal for 1-1 at half time.

Second half started much the same, good work from the Spartans, some good saves by the Whiston keeper. However, the Spartans started to struggle with the conditions - strong wind being the main problem. James in goal had to make some good decisions to throw rather than kick into the wind. The Spartans were then undone in the space of a couple of minutes as they got away from what they do best. A scamble in the box was not cleared and was fired into the far corner for 2-1 and then all the Spartans inexplicably stopped to admire the game when Whiston got into the box again, for 3-1 with a good finish over James from close range. Whiston could have made it more as the ball appeared to leave the field (James was off the field as it passed him) and bounced off the far post (the goal was replaced a minute later confirming the ball was out).

So, 3-1, could the second game turn things around?

No substitutes for the Spartans in this game so all the boys had to play the whole game. Again things were improved from the week before as the Spartans played some nice moves, only to be thwarted by last ditch defending or the wrong final ball. Blade was working up front and making some great runs with the ball being supplied by Jack MB, Alfie and Morgan with a new defensive pairing of Aman and William (who played by far his best game for the Spartans).

The boys started to pull things back when Jack MB finished from a ball from Alfie (exactly as they have been told in training by Mark and Dan). However, the Wildcats were always a threat, but Aman and William did a brilliant job and meaning Kian had only to sweep up the pieces. But the goal of the game came before half time as the Wildcats player vollied in from inside the box as goal that would not look out of place at Old Trafford or Wembley.

The second half started more of the same, Blade had a brake that looked for all the world like he would score, only to have the ball taken away by their big strong defender. But as the half wore on, the Spartans found their strength and passing and started to boss the game. A corner from Alfie was turned in by Blade for 4-3 and when the goalie spilled a shot from Jack MB, Blade pounced to level at 4-4. The Spartans kept the pressure on for the next five minutes, missing chance after chance - they have to learn to finish better. The Wildcats nearly nicked it themselves (3 minutes into the last minute), but a 4-4 draw was the least the Spartans deserved after such a hard working game.

So, still thngs to improve on - the final choice of ball after good runs and finishing! But, much improved.

Next up - last game of the year at home to Staveley Miners Welfare on Sunday.


Bad day at the office for the Spartans

Posted by admin on December 5, 2012

Perhaps Halloween came a month late for the boys as the Spartans treated the spectators to a horror show on Saturday with a heavy defeat away at Dinnington.

Perhaps many players had hoped the game would be off as the forecast was for ice and snow, but in the event it was a crisp winter morning, but much warmer than forecast. However, for some reason right from the off the Spartans were completely off the pace and playing a different game to recent weeks. Where the passing game had previously been improving, they reverted to tring to beat the whole team. Players playing on the wrong side of the field or trying to take the ball off their team mates.

Game one was probably all over in the first ten minutes. Dinnington came to play and were ready from the first kick-off, applying pressure and passing and moving around, calling for the ball and using their strength to make sure they got it. Spartans didn't. An early goal after a scramble in the area made the task harder, which was followed by a similar goal after the Spartans backed off at a corner. By the time half time arrived it was 3-0 and the Spartans had hardly worried the Dinnington goalie. 

The second half began better with the boys trying to implement what Mark and Chris had said at half-time, however, as the half wore on, things began to slip again. However, more chances were created - Jack Bailey hitting the post from an overhead kick following a well worked corner, and Pav hitting the bar from a great snap shot. But it was William that eventualy bundled the ball into the Dinnington net after a typical goal mouth scramble that summed the day up. 3-1. This should have prompted the guys to push on, however, a mix up at the back between defenders and goalie allowed Dinnington to add another. End of game 4-1.

Game two started much better. A great passing move right across the pitch finishing with a shot showed what could have been. This followed by some early pressure gave the Spartans some hope, but their Achilles heel (not being able to score goals) came back to haunt them as Dinnington got things together and knocked in another. From then on things went downhill. Loads of pressure from Dinnington and the Spartans sitting deeper and deeper. Morgan had to come off after a very brave tackle, but somehow managed to give away a free kick on a clear 50-50 that resulted in another Dinnington goal. Things fell apart somewhat then, not helped by probably 10 mins of the most erratic refereeing we've seen all season.

At the end the final whistle could not come soon enough - time to regroup in training and get back to basics for another tricky away game at Whiston Wildcats on Sunday.

Final score - 8-1

Spartans avenge opening day loss to Pumas

Posted by admin on November 20, 2012

The Spartans wiped memories of the opening weekend loss to the Pumas by winning in the most convincing way.

An early start on a cold and frosty Sunday morning at a place we've never played before seemed to concentrate minds. José swapped the starting teams around for this week, and Kian returned from injury.

Game one started as well as it could, some early pasing and movement resulted in pressure that the Pumas could not cope with and the Spartans were 4-0 up within the first five minutes - effectively finishing the game as a contest. However, the Pumas, just like the Spartans, did not give up and made a few attacking moves of their own, forcing Kian into a save with his feet and going wide with a couple of other attempts.

The Pumas goalie started really well and kept the score in the first half very reasonable, however a burst of goals in the second half meant that all his hard work was in vain. But again the Pumas still pushed on when they could and meant that the Spartans back three (Cameron, Aman and Kian) had to keep concentrating all the time. However, the score sheet does not lie and the game finished 12-0.

Game two was alot like the first, but the Pumas had far less of the play, with James having to touch the ball just twice before he was swapped for Josh late on in the second half. However, the scoring was not the same. Possibly, due to the first half scoring, there was not the same fluency and cutting edge as game one - some players trying to do too much, or loosing concentration. The chances just did not come as often.

Special mention has to go to the Pumas goalie who pulled off a great save from Kieren when it looked for all the world as if the Spartans had another to add to the tally. 

So 16-0 it finished - it could (and probably should) have been more, so plenty still to work on and next up its our nemesis team Dronfield Town at home...

This win also elevates a couple of players up the league standings - our top ones being:
Jack M B - 4th in scoring list with 14 goals for the season
James - 3rd in goalies with 4 clean sheets 

Game 1

1-0 Jack M B
2-0 Jack M B assist by Blade
3-0 Logan P assisted by Jack M B
4-0 OG assisted by Alfie
5-0 Morgan after keeper spilled from Jack M B shot
6-0 Blade from a Morgan throw
7-0 Alfie assisted by Logan P
8-0 Jack M B assisted by Logan P
9-0 Jack M B
10-0 Jack M B
11-0 Morgan after keeper spilled from Logan P shot
12-0 Jack Bailey after keeper spilled from Jack M B shot

Game 2
 13-0 Rmaraye assisted by Doddsy
Fantastic save by HP keeper, diving to top left to deny Doddsy
14-0 Doddsy after Sam Ford cross spilled by keeper
15-0 Pav assisted by Logan H
Keeper change with 10 mins to go, James out Josh in.
16-0 Bettsy won ball from a goal kick and put past retreating keeper from outside box



Another week, another win!

Posted by admin on November 19, 2012

The Spartans continued their winning ways with a tough game at home to Birley Spa.

Game 1
Mark (Jose) decided to swap Kieran from the black team to the red and he was a menace to the Birley defence from the start with some great footwork. Rmaraye was also proving a nuisance and really terrorised the Birley defence down the left wing.
Pav also switched teams to team up with Josh in defence and together with James they earned themselves a clean sheet.
Game 1 was a really tough battle of which Sam and Bettsy thrived, and the referee was keen to keep the game moving, rarely using his whistle.
The only goal came after a goal mouth scramble from a Bettsy corner, and as the ball was half cleared to the edge of the box, Pav was there to shoot home through a crowd of players.
Half time 1-0

Game 2
The black team had a new look about it with Cam and Logan P coming in, and we flew out of the traps with a Jack M B goal neatly slotted into the keepers bottom right corner - 2-0.
Jack Bailey deputised in goal again and was solid as usual, but could do nothing about the thunderbolt of a strike which brought Birley back into the game. We have seen some cracking strikes at the Caribbean Club this season, and this was one of them - 2-1.
The final goal of the game was another for the highlight reel as Jack M B and Alfie teamed up. Jack found himself on the right wing so Alfie pushed in to the centre in anticipation of a cross. And what a cross it was. Jack sent the ball in with a lot of pace and Alfie stuck his head on it and smashed it in to the back of the net. A real bullet header - 3-1, and another great overall performance from the boys.

M.O.M Rmaraye and Alfie

Next stop, Hillsborough Pumas away.

Our sponsors Singh's Premier Tube Bending Solutions