On Friday evening (26th April) Bracknell Town FC hosted the first iHASCO Account Managers/creatives vs New Business/marketing team football match. The event was put together in order to raise money for our newly chosen charity, the Marine Conservation Society.
A high level of professionalism, work ethic, teamwork, communication and a ‘can do attitude’ is seen every day at the office headquarters by iHASCO employees, but whether these skills could be transferred on to the football pitch, was yet to be seen, and questioned by many.
Firstly, on behalf of all players, I would like to thank everybody and our fantastic colleagues that came to support, cheer and encourage the players. You truly made the event worthwhile and your voices were all heard - THANK YOU! X
The First Half
Despite one of our core values being ‘have fun and look after each other’, a few full-force tackles demonstrated by Connor Drew, James Lakeman, James Willson and Stewart Lifton suggested that a light-hearted approach was not going to be adopted by either side.
However, the first goal fell to the New Business and Marketing team, on roughly the 10-minute mark. A fine forward pass found the feet of Jack Medhurst, who rolled his marker Stewart Lifton, and before having the opportunity to (probably) put it top corner, had his shirt pulled and was dragged to the floor. PENALTY! Despite the hesitation, up stood Captain, Leader and Head of New Business, Aaron Ridout, who, unlike when he sees very low call times, showed great composure and slotted home calmly to Matt Newport’s left-hand side, 1-0.
Just 5 minutes later, Medhurst again sensed an opportunity. Goalkeeper Newport, who went on to make some very important saves throughout, and demonstrated excellent kicking, played an ‘awful’ pass to his teammate. Jack Medhurst swooped in, cut out the pass and was in 1 v 1. All Medhurst had to do was stay focused, run forward and place the ball around the keeper and into the back of the net - which he did with ease. 2-0 to New Business and Marketing!
Overall, this was a very competitive half of football. Ali, the New Business and Marketing goalkeeper, made a super save when called upon. The defence of Jason Collins, James Bradley and Alex King seemed calm and able to sufficiently deal with all the challenges that came their way. It is unknown whether Jason Collins covered more steps on the pitch than he does on a typical working day, but his commitment to a hard days graft clearly transferred on to the football pitch in the first 30 minutes with a clean sheet.
Half Time - 2-0 to the New Business and Marketing Team (Ridout x 1 and Medhurst x 1)
Stand out Players - Will Davies was very tidy in possession, Jack Rosier was working harder than ever seen before at the office, Alex King was marshalling the defence well (despite bottling a 70/30 tackle in his favour) and AM player Jack Pitts showed great composure when picking a pass, despite everybody being able to see his heartbeat from the outside of his Jersey.
Despite being key and influential players every day at iHASCO, at this point of the game, it was still unknown whether the likes of Alex Morris, Lewis Adams and Connor Drew had completed a successful pass.
The Second Half
WOW. What a team talk Head of Account Management and team Captain Steve Wellman must have given his players. It is well known around iHASCO that Steve is a fantastic leader (winning manager of the year 18/19), who leads a very talented and committed team. But nobody expected them to come out and score 2 goals in the first couple of minutes. Josh Carter found himself in a shooting position 20 seconds after the restart, smashing the ball ( + a deflection) past the helpless Ali. 2-1. He then made it 2-2 just minutes later. GAME ON.
It was clear that the New Business and Marketing team were struggling to find their momentum. Stewart Lifton began to play like a conference standard central midfielder - picking up loose balls and spraying outstanding forward passes. Alex Wilkins and Steve Wellman then began to demonstrate a Ferdinand/Vidic type partnership, snuffing out any danger with ease. James Lakeman showed very impressive cardiovascular skills + a few naughty nutmegs and Connor Drew was happy to run around fouling everybody to the best that he could.
From here, the game could have easily been mistaken for a game of table tennis. With a mixture of both teams going all-out attack and some very questionable defending, the score found itself at 5-5. Josh Carter and Jack Medhurst both went on to pick up their Hat-tricks (Matt Newport will now be donating an extra £5 – thank you!) and Stewart Lifton scoring 2 himself. A sloppy ball out of the Account Management and Creatives defence put Steve Wellman in a spot of bother and Davies was able to steal possession, round a defender and calmly slot home. Going into the last 5 minutes, the scores were tied at 5-5.
A special mention during this stage of the game must go to Ali, in the New Business and Marketing goal. He was playing like a modern-day Fabien Barthez, pulling off a number of fine saves. One of the saves showed sheer bravery and the willingness to put his body on the line for his team - Something he doesn’t normally do until the last working day of every month.
At 5-5, when any team requires their leaders to step up, there was the New Business and Marketing Captain, Aaron Ridout again. Despite having worked very hard in every position of the pitch, Aaron created half a yard of space from outside the area and placed the ball beyond a helpless Newport. After such a great comeback and constant threat going forward in the 2nd half shown by the Account Managers, they were left with their heads in their hands.
With tired legs and lungs, and both teams having given it their all, ‘Mr Semi-Professional’, James Wilson, who had been in a fantastic midfield scrap with James Lakeman throughout, showed his class. He made a superb 40 yard forward run and powerfully thunder bolted the ball into the side netting from roughly 20 yards out - fantastic stuff and game over.
FULLTIME – Account Managers (Carter x 3, Lifton x 2) 5-7 New Business and Creative Team (Medhurst x 3, Ridout x 2, Wilson x 1 Davies x 1)
Player of the match – Ali
With half a dozen saves during a time where the New Business and Marketing were under constant pressure from the striking threat of Josh Carter - Ali was the players and supporters deservedly choice winner of the player of the match.
IHASCO’s ‘seek constant improvement’ player of the match – James Bradley
There was talk of a Cristiano Ronaldo Esque performance by Bradders, but it just wasn’t seen under the lights.
Another BIG thank you to all the supporters and fantastic members of staff who came out to support us - a truly superb turnout in numbers and a significant amount of money raised.
A final mention goes to Alex King, one of our New Business Managers. Despite a 5.5/10 performance, he has since had to go to the hospital and was told he has suffered a sprained ankle and minor ligament damage - speedy recovery from everybody at iHASCO!