About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Hennessey Gold

Wayne Hennessey gave what must have been one of the best goalkeeping performances of 2011 to earn Wolverhampton Wanderers a point that hardly seemed likely when Gervinho gave the Gunners a lead in the eighth minute. A subsequent lack of ruthlessness in the passage of play following the goal meant a Wolves equaliser put them very much back in the game and en route for a point. All of which did little to salve my Christmas cold.
Having struggled up the Piccadilly line through heavily laden tourists and shoppers I filled myself up with one of Fat Harry's delectable hot dogs, and after pausing to picture the fine statue of Herbert Chapman headed into the ground. I guessed it was going to be one of those days when I had to turf someone out of my seat (since when does 12 mean 14) and discovered I was sitting next to Master Angry who had clearly not had a good Christmas such was his eagerness to jump up and vent his fury at every opportunity.  As kick off approached the big screen replayed Arsenal's 1998 semi-final which only served to question why Wolves wouldn't be wearing their fine Old Gold colours this afternoon. Although The Wonder of You was played again pre match in favour of Good old Arsenal, at least the call and response reading of the Arsenal line up seems to have gone for good.
As my sinuses started to throb I began to contemplate an early exit which looked a possibility when Arsenal scored. The goal started with a piercing run by Matt Jarvis down the left wing but as the move broke down Arsenal counterattacked swiftly through Rosicky and Benayoun, the latters perfect pass allowing Gervinho to show off a delightful trick before to the surprise of everyone in the stadium rounding the keeper to score. Surely this would be the start of a goal avalanche that would allow me to depart early with the result safe? Far from it. Apart from one passage of play where Arsenal strung over twenty passes together they seemed to lack the diligence to patiently tear Wolves apart, tending to snatch at goalscoring opportunities.
Thus when Wolves found themselves with a free kick on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, the Berkshire Hunt somewhat fortuitously created an equaliser. Putting his lucky heather aside his kick deflected off Vermaelen and landed at the feet of Fletcher who deftly diverted the ball into the net with any chance offside disappearing with Song's tardiness in coming out.
With many around me morbidly willing a time wasting approach from Wolves as a fait accompli, aside from a short tetchy period which saw Song subbed after a booking and Milijas sent off, Arsenal pretty much did everything but score. Referee Stuart Attwell literally blocked the Gunners advance when he witlessly stood in the way of Van Persie's run up. When the path to the goal became clear Van Persie's effort became one of several long range efforts that Hennessey was equal too. It was at closest range that the keeper was most impressive though, instinctively blocking efforts from Mertesacker and Van Persie on the line meaning it was the fans from the West Midlands who were celebrating an unexpected point at the final whistle.

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