School of Planning and Geography (CPLAN) Staff –Student Charity Football Match
Monday December 10th 2012 Kick-Off 4pm
Result: CPLAN Staff 0 – 7 CPLAN Students
This eagerly anticipated clash of the Titans at Llys Talybont was watched by a strong contingent of travelling fans from the Glamorgan Building, and didn’t disappoint. As the sun set and the temperature plummeted, the game kicked off with the newly formed 'CPLAN staff' team (in red) opting for a festive, Christmas tree formation against the relatively longer established 'CPLAN students' team (in green) defending the Tesco end.
It was destined to be a game of two halves. 'Early doors' it looked ominous for the staff team who went a goal behind after only 44 seconds following a sublime headed goal from attacking number nine Adam Cornish who got the students off to a perfect start. However, the staff team quickly regrouped to put in a solid first half performance characterised by battling displays of midfield prowess and the occasional journey into the students’ half. In a pacey, physical 25 minutes, Jon Anderson and Pete Mackie shone for the staff, both demonstrating their finely honed talents for spatial awareness, but both disappointed to miss the target with a number of Beckham-esque long range shots. The staff team’s planning expertise was also on display with expert marshalling of the extensive team bench from manager Bob Smith in conjunction with Denise Phillips and a highly versatile pink 'etch-a-sketch'. Bob was admittedly fortunate not to be sent to the stands for frequently straying out of his technical area and on to the pitch. Paul Milbourne demonstrated a talent for passing the ball through the channel, but solid defence from the students prevented staff striker Dimitris Potoglou, and later super sub Richard Gale and new signing Chris Bear from playing more prominent roles in the game.
Clearly a team that likes to play football, the students enjoyed both territory and possession but couldn’t extend their initial advantage into further first half goals. Looking dangerous at set pieces, it took solid defensive blocks from the staff’s well-organised back four (Radcliffe, Mason, Smith and Lever) who variously used heads, legs and even stomachs to stop a number of impressive student shots on goal. Students Alex Henderson and Louie Davis were prominent, laying down a marker for what would prove to be decisive second half performances. But at half-time it was still just one nil to the students and all to play for.
Following robust half-time team talks (without the hairdryer treatment), both teams made attacking substitutions for the second half. The students made effective use of erstwhile coach and West Brom stalwart (Tom Marsh) - the staff bringing on Andrew aka 'Alan Shearer' Flynn minus his cardigan (reluctantly), Jessica Spayde who looked lively on the wing, as well as Craig Gurney and Neil Harris who both put in solid defensive shifts against an increasingly threatening student team. Just five minutes into the second half it was two nil to the students with Alex Henderson scoring the first of his two goals in an impressive display of striking ability. The staff tried to respond with what can only be described as a number of speculative efforts, one of which looked destined for row Z. Soon the goal chances came thick and fast for the students with one effort drawing an impressive save over the bar from staff goalkeeper Andy Smith. But for his keeping talents and the staff team’s obdurate commitment in defence, the scoreline would have been much worse. Not even Paul Milbourne’s 'Maradonna' moment in the dying moments of the match (a rather blatant hand ball) could turn things around for the reds however. At the end of the day the superior fitness and speed of the student team shone through with second half goals from Marcus Evans, Tom Curtis, Mark Tagliaferri and (future) Greek international Laurie Perdikis demonstrating their strength in depth.
In a very disciplined and good-natured game, referee Lawrence Kitchen was as untroubled as student captain Rob Appleby turned out to be in the student goal. Rob kept an impressive clean sheet even keeping out the last ditched efforts of the staff team coming from a tricky corner in added ('Fergie') time. Both teams were also fortunate to finish the game injury free although the referee was temporarily sidelined and all wish him well. With the icy conditions making the surface very slippery, it was a relief to see all players emerge unscathed, several however having tried their best to audition for this season’s Dancing on Ice. That said, it was a highly entertaining and even game – end to end stuff – and all played a blinder.