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since 01 January 2008

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1st XI v CHARBONNIERE LES VIEILLES 10th MAY 2009

It's the final match of the season and Pionsat, safe from relegation, are at home against Charbonniere les Vieilles, another mid-table team.

And how a team can be so fortunate as to be 2-0 up with just 15 minutes to go and still walk away from a game with nothing at all to show for their efforts is one of those little mysteries that will always remain unanswered.

fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI forward shoots over Charbonniere les vieilles bar football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

The game starts with Pionsat going forward on the attack. They win a throw down the right wing and a couple of the players combine with some good play to work themselves a little opening.

There's a good but high cross into the centre and Romain, who has managed to sneak in behind the defence, uses some kind of acrobatics to get his foot to the ball. He can't quite control it and it goes over the top for a goal kick. But it was a good effort all the same.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI Charbonniere les vieilles lob the ball over the pionsat keeper and pionsat bar football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

But ominously, after being under the cosh for quite a while, Charbonniere suddenly wake up and start to play.

A good ball over the top of the Pionsat defenders and a missed header puts an attacker into acres of space with just the keeper to beat. Matthieu in goal rushes out to the edge of his area to narrow the angle but is lobbed by the attacker. Luckily the ball goes over the bar as well as over the keeper.

Pionsat were pretty fortunate there.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI defender sticks foot out clearance Charbonniere les vieilles attack on goal football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

I remember saying to myself after the first 15 minutes of this game that it looked as if Charbonniere didn't have all that much to offer. I wish I'd kept my mouth closed now.

There's another ball through the centre of the Pionsat defence (which is definitely having an off-day today) and one of the Charbonniere forwards goes steaming down on goal with the ball. There's a lucky last-minute foot out from a Pionsat defender that prevents something serious happening here.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI keeper puts Charbonniere les vieilles shot behind for a corner football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

And it's all Charbonniere right now. Once more their attack is clean through on goal with the two central defenders out of position. The forward gets in a shot on goal that the keeper does well to block. The ball cannons off into the post and behind for a corner. You can see the referee's signal.

But it's worrying, the ease with which the Charbonniere attackers have been getting the right side of the Pionsat defence with the ball just recently.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI corner powerful header into hands of Charbonniere les vieilles goalkeeper football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

The Pionsat players manage to steady the ship a bit after this and it's their turn to put some pressure onto the Charbonniere defence. Good play down the right wing (Pionsat is definitely stronger going forward down the right) leads to a Pionsat corner.

There's another beautiful delivery from the Pionsat winger and it's met with one of the most powerful headers that I've seen for quite a while. A header like this would have been a goal in almost any circumstances, but the Pionsat attacker puts it straight at the keeper who gratefully hangs onto it.

This was probably the best chance of the match so far.


The second half saw a couple of changes to the Pionsat side. Christophe the sponge guy came on and went to centre-forward and Cedric went to play in midfield. One of the central defenders was also substituted, replaced by the no12. It clearly wasn't his day today.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI thomas gets good shot on goal Charbonniere les vieilles keeper sticks foot out to divert football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

The changes seemed to galvanise the Pionsat side a bit more in the second half and they looked more comfortable. There was some more good work down the centre of the field from Christophe and young Thomas who had impressed me so much the other week gets himself into a really good position in front of goal.

He puts his shot too close to the keeper though and that latter sticks out a despairing foot that just about reaches it and pushes it wide of the post.


This is two good chances gone begging for Pionsat either side of half time. I hope that they are not going to end up paying for it.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI thomas shot hits underside of the Charbonniere les vieilles bar bounces out football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

And just how unlucky can you be?

We have an object lesson from Thomas about what to do with lost causes, and that is to keep on going. This ball was never going to be his but he harried and worried the central defender into conceding possession. Thomas is pushed wide by the rest of the defence but still gets off a shot from a tight angle.

The ball easily beats the keeper but hits the underside of the bar, drops to the goal line and bounces out. Thomas and one or two others are convinced that the whole of the ball crossed the line for a goal but neither yours truly nor the referee was in any kind of good position to see


What with all of the Pionsat pressure and missed chances just now, you don't need to be a TV pundit to work out what is going to happen next.

fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI 0-1 Charbonniere les vieilles score a goal football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

There's another Pionsat attack but this time Charbonniere break it up well inside their own half and the defender quickly plays the ball forward. Some good one-touch football from a couple of Charbonniere players catches the Pionsat defence completely out of position.

The ball is eventually crossed into the centre of the defence to an unmarked attacker who beats the keeper comfortably.

Somehow you knew that this was going to happen.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI thomas flattened by Charbonniere les vieilles defender yellow card football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

I don't know what Michel put in Thomas' half-time cuppa but I'd like to have a dollop of it. Thomas is playing the Charbonniere defence all on his own right now at the start of the second half.

There's some quick thinking in the Pionsat attack with a good ball through the centre. Thomas is after it and a Charbonniere defender cynically scythes him down - probably the only way to stop him. One of the clearest yellow cards that I've seen, and quite right too.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI goalkeeper yellow card Charbonniere les vieilles football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

In fact it's almost as clear as the yellow card received by the Pionsat goalkeeper although it's difficult not to sympathise with him right now.

He's on the receiving end of a woeful backpass from one of his defenders and has to rush out to clear it. His kick-out is smothered and he's the only Pionsat player around to prevent an almost-certain goal. He ends up on the bye-line trying to recover the ball but is beaten in a one-on-one.

The Charbonniere player is clear on goal and Matthieu is left with little option but to put in a tackle that can only be described as "late". So late in fact that if he had written a letter to say that he was on his way, the letter would have arrived before he did. The result is inevitable.


It gets worse almost immediately and Matthieu can count himself lucky to be still on the pitch. He's again left high and dry by his defenders and has to rush out to make a desperate clearance. His clearance cannons into a Charbonniere forward and heads straight back towards the goal, and Matthieu sticks out his hand to prevent it.

He's about 5 yards out of his area though, and so the ref blows quite rightly for handball. But "deliberate handball"? "Denying by foul means a goalscoring opportunity"? Anywhere else, that would have been a yellow card if not a straight red card, and the second yellow card means that the player would have to leave the field. Matthieu is very, very lucky.

fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI concede a free kick and goal 0-2 Charbonniere les vieilles football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

But he's not so lucky with the resulting free kick. The Pionsat defence lines up in a wall and a Charbonniere player neatly curls it round. Matthieu guesses the right way round, but he's not quick enough to keep the ball out of the net.

Pionsat despite having the lion's share of the game for the last 20 minutes are now 2-0 down and they really don't deserve this at all.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI pull one back 1-2 Charbonniere les vieilles football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

But the match is never over until the final whistle and there's still 15 minutes to go until the end. Cedric now playing in midfield is having a very good game just now and works his way nicely down the centre. He rides a couple of challenges and unleashes a shot that the keeper was never ever going to stop.

No wonder the Pionsat players are applauding.

Every now and again, Cedric puts together some play that is streets above this level of football. I'd love to know where he has been before this, and why he can't play like this all the time.


And in the meantime we have some controversy again. One or two of the offside decisions made by the Charbonniere linesman have been the subject of ... er ... "much discussion" by some players and supporters. The referee is now starting to make up his own mind about some of the decisions without any help from the linesman. This is now also the subject of ... er ... "much discussion" by other players and supporters.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI equalise good header from corner 2-2 Charbonniere les vieilles football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

And to everyone's surprise, Pionsat claw their way back to an unlikely equaliser. They win a corner down on the left and the no3 takes it, putting in another excellent delivery. There hzve been some really good crosses ino the box in this game.

Cedric is totally unmarked in the centre and you can't leave a player like him alone like that. He powers in another bullet header just like in the first half. Thus time however, he puts it well wide if the keeper and it almost bursts the net. No-one was ever going to keep that ball out.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI diving header on goal Charbonniere les vieilles keeper full length round the post football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

It's now Christophe's turn to show everyone how it should be done. There's a good driven cross into the penalty area from the right wing and Christophe goes full length to get his head onto it. The keeper also goes full-length and manages to get a hand to it and push it wide of the goal with Cedric lurking for any loose ball.

If that header from Christophe had gone in, it would have been goal of the season without a doubt.

It's all Pionsat again right now. They are right back in it.


Well, almost, because Charbonniere aren't going to give up this game lightly and they go back on the attack.

fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI Charbonniere les vieilles try to lob Pionsat keeper football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

It is as you might expect a ball over the top of the Pionsat central defence that drops nicely for a Charbonniere forward. Matthieu is all on his own and has come off his line to narrow the angle so the forward tries to lob him. He can't get enough on the ball however and Matthieu just about manages to grab it and hold on.

This was another lucky let-off for Pionsat. Another 6 inches more and it would have gone over Matthieu's head into the net.


fc pionsat st hilaire 1st XI take the lead 3-2 Charbonniere les vieilles bizarre own goal football french pyramid level 11 foot 10 mai may 2009 copyright free photo royalty free photo

And most astonishingly, with almost the last kick of the game, Pionsat take the lead with one of the most bizarre own goals I have ever seen.

Pionsat are on the attack again and some perseverence from the no3 wins him the ball. He plays it out wide to the winger who drives a really hard low cross into the penalty area. One of the Charbonniere defenders for a reason best-know to himself tries some fancy footwork to clear the ball but merely succeeds in backheeling it into his own net. There was absolutely no reason to do that, and every reason not to.


Pionsat, and two or three players in particular, worked so hard today to dig out a win from a match that they were in danger of losing. And it's nice to finish the season with a victory and a comparatively comfortable mid-table position.

But what with last week's lucky equaliser and this week's lucky winner, I'm hoping that next season they can do it properly. I'm getting old and my heart won't take too much more of this. If Thomas and Cedric can play like this every week then Pionsat won't ever have too much difficulty in keeping their place in Division 1




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