MATCH OF THE DAY!
'Match of the Day' is our new feature for the 2017/18 season. Each matchday we will have an in depth match report from our featured game of the week!
April the 6th 2019 marks the day GKTFC wrote their name into university football folklore, a day that changed our club forever, the day NAMS came home. On this lovely spring morning the GKT boys arrived at the ground bearing mixed feelings of anticipation, excitement and also fatigue from our “small” social the night before. Nonetheless captain Mark “the Shark” Strasshine got the boys fired up with his pre tournament team talk consisting of famous phrases such as “boys we’ve got fresh tired legs” and “let’s just play, let’s just win” truly captivating words from the ones skipper.
On to the football, Shark made his intentions clear with his first line up which was almost identical to the one that won us the United Hospital final. Our first match was against Bristol ones, the game started off quite sloppily with neither side playing good football. It was evident from some of the decision making that the legs were indeed more tired than fresh. A moment of brilliance from centre half Harry bright, who is our teams second top goal scorer with 9 this season, put us 1-0 up. An exquisite move in which Bright chipped the ball up to himself on the edge of the box with his right foot and then hit it into the bottom corner with his left, a goal reminiscent of Zinedine Zidane in the 2002 champions league final. Not a performance covered in glory but we got 3 points and moved on to the next game.
We were all aware of the of the task we were up against in our second game. Manchester ones who are the 2017 and 2014 champions as well as being talked about as favourites by the neutrals this time round. Some of the fans where rattled as it was the first time the opposition had a bigger 9 than we did, the odds weren’t in our favour in this game . However the game was quite evenly balanced between both teams but in typical NAMS fashion the game was very cagey as none of the teams wanted to concede first. Unfortunately a blunder at the back resulted in their giant 9 scoring and the game ending 1-0 to Manchester. Even though we lost we knew it was just a mistake and we were good enough to give anyone a run for their money on this tournament.
A long break before the 3rdmatch allowed for us to refocus, rest and get a chance to recover from the bevs we had last night/ 5 hours ago. Our next opponents were St. George’s ones, a familiar foe. George’s had a weakened squad with players from their twos and threes, this is where GKT really began to play some good stuff and build some confidence. We easily dispatched George’s winning 2-0 including a wonder goal from Josh John truly crème dela crème stuff. Josh free from the shackles of Running club dú Wyatt could finally focus on doing what he does best, retiring average medic defenders. Lionel John received the ball on the half way line and after making light work of the two midfielders who were supposed to be marking him, he proceeded to skip past three more players sending them to Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda respectively. There was even a point in which Diego Joshadonna stopped the ball in the middle of the pitch looked for a pass as the oncoming defenders ran to “pressure” him, proceeded to skin them one by one. After probably going past every player on their team twice josh decided to stop the madness then calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner. The fans went wild.
We really showed character in the 4thgame after going down to 1-0 in the following game against Birmingham first half. The matches are only 20 minutes total so it was going to take a lot to get a win in this game. Big half time team talk from player turned manager Tom Lynne, rejuvenated the lads stepped back on the pitch ready to give it all. Soon after Harry Donkin leathered the ball into the back of the net, not even giving the keeper a chance to react. Birmingham seemed to be content with a draw and began to shut up shop but Tom Lynne had a plan. The scene was set, enter Big 9. Half hearted marking on the left wing from the Birmingham defenders resulted in a pinpoint spray/big clearance from fresher Rob Ashe straight in to path of Dami Aka Big 9. Dami took his time positioning his body before unleashing a venomous strike that went through the keepers legs, to give GKT the lead and bagging his first goal of this Calendar year. This would be the fans first glimpse of Big 9’s speed, some say Patrick Evans was rattled by the sheer pace of this man.
Last group match was against Brighton twos. This was quite a comfortable game for the GKT army as fresher Anas provided his first positive contribution of the day by playing the ball through to StrongBo (formerly known as Bo) who absolutely smashed the ball into the net. Keeper was rattled. Anas then took his new found confidence and began playing some lovely stuff including the best rabona cross the GKT faithful had ever seen. Shortly after Harry Donkin arrived at the right place at the right time to do what he’s been doing all season, slot the ball in and close the show. At this point the boys really began toying with the opposition as even Dictator Norris was getting in on the action. Sam Morris found himself on the wing faced with an inferior full back, Sam dropped his shoulder before nutmegging the defender in embarrassing fashion. Some say the fullback is still lying on the pitch in Nottingham pleading for Norris to put an end to his pain.
On to the knock out rounds.
In the round of 16 we drew Southampton 2s. The game was dominated by GKT however we were unable to put the ball in the net during regular time, penalties shortly followed. The first player to step up for GKT was Anas “sexy arab” Janjoum, although usually a confident pen taker Anas missed his pen. Not to panic we knew the quality we had the “best keepa at the cluurb” behind the sticks meaning anything was possible. Shark was obviously living rent free in the Southampton’s players head as he went the right way and easily saved his pen. Next up was Mr Wyatt who confidently placed the ball on the spot and tucked it home. Mark the Shark was fired up knowing another save from him would give us the advantage and put our fate into our pen takers hands. With a majestic dive to his left Shark was able to parry away the shot. Harry Bright, Shark Strasshine, and Harry Dokin all scored their pens and sent us through to the next round.
Next up were the hosts Nottingham ones in the round of 16, which may have been the most thrilling match of football I’ve seen in my life. In the first half we conceded a wonder goal where the Notts midfielder put the FIFA sliders all the way up to 100 and smashed the ball into the top corner. Nothing to do with Sharks goal keeping, a whole family of sharks wouldn’t have been be able to prevent that goal going in. Half time StrongBo and Big 9 where subbed off by Tom Lyne as he wanted fresh legs to chase the ball and apply pressure on the opposition. We chased the game and played somewhat erratically for that part of the game, most of the bystanders thought we were done for, expect for one man… and that man is StrongBo. StrongBo took of his top and rattled Tom to the point where he had no choice but to get him back on the pitch, and in virtually the last kick of the game Josh John floated the ball to a dangerous area at the back stick. And who was there? The one, the only, StrongBo. Bo did so well to make up ground and get into the box and make a clean contact with the ball on his left peg, aiming to direct the ball back where it came from across the keeper. Unfortunately the ball was struck right into the middle of the goal by Bo and the keeper palmed it into his own net. Some say Bo used similar scare tactics on the keeper as he did on Tom causing the keeper to make this mistake, other theories claim dictator Norris had something to do with this howler from the keeper. I personally believe it’s a bit of both. Nonetheless we were going to pens.
Long story short Anas missed again, Criag shanked his panenka and missed, Harry Bright the coolest man on the pitch scored as did Shark and Donkin. Important to mention Shark made 3 penalty saves in this shootout a contribution equal to if not bigger than that of Strongbos goal. Captain fantastic saved us to live another day. What we all felt now was indescribable, being so close to going out it lit a fire in all of us to not get let it get this close again. We were also in the semis and only 40 minutes away from becoming nation champions.
In the Semi finals we came up against a tough Brighton side which featured some former Gkt players, this was a tough task but the boys believed we could do anything. We rallied against them for the full 20 minutes with plenty of changes made by superstar Coach Tom Lynne. But it ended in deadlock, pens again. In football penalties are any ones game, unless you have a Mark Strasshine in goal. The lads weren’t phased by the penalty kicks apart from Anas who mentioned he heard a constant rattling in his ear since his second Penalty miss. Anas gave his penalty to Rohit who slotted it home, Craig then missed again. We once again had to rely on captain fantastic as Shark proceeded to save 2 of the Brighton’s players penalties. It came down to the last kick, in steps Harry Donkin probably the most confident man at the club, a very big game player in a very little man’s body. Harry dispatches the penalty into the bottom corner, leading to the third pitch invasion of the day. Important to note up until this point every penalty Harry Bright took was tucked away into the side netting, Shark not only scored every pen he took he also didn’t have a shootout where he didn’t at least save two penalties. Harry Donkin took the big pressure fifth penalties and dispatched them comfortably which is reminiscent of what has been doing all season, stepping up to score the big goals in the big moments and always contributing to the team’s success.
In the final we faced a familiar foe. The only team that had beat thus far. Manchester ones. But we did not fear as we grew into the tournament and were a much better side by the final than we were in the group. However we knew this would be no small feat. A full team talk commenced where Mark and Tom spoke about how important this game was not only to us as players but also to the history of the club. The line up was announced and we warmed up for the first time all day then went out on the pitch. You could see the confidence radiating from the players of GKT this was only intensified by the presence of all the GKT2s players, the GKT Womens and also Brown Striker and George Friel who are GKT season ticket holders. We truly had the 12thman on our side. The match kick off and you could see how much it meant to the boys, pressing from the front, big tackles from the boys in the middle and Sam Morris nicking the ball off a number 9 who is about 3 times his size. About halfway into the first half StrongBo got the ball on the left side of the pitch near the half way line he beat 2 unsuspecting Manchester defenders before Gareth Baeling the third. He now found himself in the box at a tight angle with no options and his shot was blocked. StrongBo then got the rebound and squared it to Sam Ayoola who slotted it home to up GKT 1 up with about 13 mins to play. We all knew how big this moment was for us all and we were ready to do anything to defend this lead. As the second half proceeded Tom sent Dami AKA Big 9 to warm up and told him “when you get on put the pressure on, I want you to sprint everywhere”. We were absorbing pressure from Manchester and our forward players were seemingly tired so Tom took off Bo and Sam Ayoola and put on Big 9 and Rohit. What follows has been mentioned to me by many as their most entertaining memory from NAMS, some say the moment of the tournament ,I shall try to do it justice. Big 9 steps on the pitch with a different kind of motivation, he knows if does what Tom has instructed him to for 5 minutes then NAMS will come home for the first time since 1992. The ball is being passed around the back of the Manchester defence from left to right, at the speed of light Big 9 tracks this ball for player to player until the right back receives the ball. Big 9 is Big tired, he slipping all over the place, the defender is about 30 yards from him with the ball at his feet, he wants to give up.
But he hears the fans on the sideline cheering for him to get him, Big 9 clenches his fists closes his eyes and gives everything humanely possible in order to win the ball. This embodied what the tournament was about, 16 boys working and fighting for each other with all they’ve got. Stumbling and barely still on his feet Big 9 somehow managed to win the ball just before the defender was able to play it. The roar from the crowd was immense, felt like we were playing in front of 50 thousand. Celebrations were short lived as Big 9 passed the ball to Donkin who for some reason hoofed it down the line for Big 9 (who had nothing left) to chase. More of the same from the team loads of pressure and some time wasting in the corner from Rohit. Then we heard the final whistle. Scenes as the boys on the pitch and boys on the side went mental it still hasn’t sunk in. We won NAMS. A tournament that was last won by Guys hospital in 1992. We are the National Association Medical Schools champions for the first time as GKT, a moment that will live in the club forever. GKT is indeed the finest football club in the world!
Written By Dami
LUSL Intermediate Premier
George's 3s 0-3 GKT 5s
[Joseph Sheldon x2, Ben Swain]
It’s not often the grounds of a team featuring in the 7 & 8th divisions of English football are subjected to a masterclass of the game, but GKT 5s vs. St. Georges 3s was one of those rare instances.
Looking to take command early on, GKT 5s were quick out of the blocks; wasting no time Joe Sheldon opened up the scoring within the first 10 minutes to put the visitors ahead. A strong start to the game by GKT was almost nullified by St. George’s, who were denied at the top corner by an excellent save from goalkeeper James Pryor.
Playing as they mean to go on, GKT 5s had an air of authority over the game and inevitably are able to double their lead over the home team, again through Joe Sheldon, capping off an excellent team move. Mercifully, the referee blows for half-time and St. George’s are able to appreciate the excellence just witnessed over half an orange and a Lucozade.
As the game restarts it’s clear GKT are keen to push on and continue to assert their dominance. Leading as a captain should, Zach Hunt is able to pick up a Yellow Card not long into the half, through a combination of time wasting and laughing at the referee, but the team go on undeterred, with Jan Sindhar and fresher James Ellis notable in keeping St. Georges prolific no. 9 at bay. Several offside rulings see Sheldon still waiting for his elusive hat-trick, but the team are still very much in control of play thanks to the midfield of Ben Swain, debutant Ithihad Mushrat and Phil Herz.
As the pressure continues to pile onto a tired George’s defence, the handling of the ball by one of their players rewards GKT with a penalty and the chance for Sheldon to score his third. Rolled down the middle, the goalkeeper makes a comfortable save as it proves not to be his day and cries of “Gin!” are heard echoing the pitch.
As the floodlights come on and the match nears an end, Ben Swain takes it upon himself to add to the scoring and seal the fate of the three points. Turning two players on the edge of the box, Swain curls the ball past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Proving excellent throughout, Ithihad is the best of a good bunch and Man of the Match as the 5s continue their unbeaten run out of preseason.
MotM- Ithihad Mushrat
DotD- Joseph Sheldon
Written by James Pryor
Roehampton 2s 2-6 GKT 2s
[Lighthouse x3, Konstantin Beckers, Calogero Scannella, Charlie Wade]
It was a hot, sunny day when the 2s travelled away to play their BUCS match against Roehampton 2s. The match kicked off and it was a positive start with the 2s, pressing well with the front three of Calogero Scannella, Konstantin Beckers and Charlie Wade.
This high press proved too much for Roehampton's back line and Beckers slides the ball through to Lighthouse who bags his first of the game. This GKT team were too hot to handle, and it wasn’t long until to quick fire goals from Calogero Scannella and Beckers made it 3-0. Unfortunately, just before the break, Roehampton capitalise on a ridiculous foul throw and grab one back.
Half time involved the skipper, Lighthouse, arguing with the referee about the goal that stood. Attempting to demonstrate his knowledge of the game by bringing his football rule book out.
Nevertheless, the second half began and Roehampton came out strong and scored to make it 3-2. The lads looked unnerved. Ryan Lupton, Ellis England and Juan Carlos steadied the ship, which allowed the three half-time substitutes to settle into the game.
It wasn’t long before Umair Baig whipped in a first time cross on to the head of Lighthouse, who buried it to make it 4-2. Roehampton looked rattled and the GKT lads played the game out with a real intensity and bite, which was beautiful to see. A few quick interchanges lead to a neat finish from the big man to complete his hat trick.
As the game came to a close, Charlie Wade breaks free and rounds off the scoring to make it 6-2. The lads looked comfortable against a strong Roehampton team.
To top off a fantastic afternoon, the notorious fresher John managed to swipe the snapchat of the keepers' Missus after a six-goal thrashing. The triumphant GKT 2s marched to Guy's Bar for another classic night .
DotD- Josh Pedro
Cheers Roehampton, you were a laugh. Until next time,
Love Lighthouse xx