League one

Pakistan pak too much of a punch for The Proteas

Pakistan wasted little time in wrapping up the first test against South Africa, in what turned out to be a convincing seven wicket win, with a day to spare. Hosts Pakistan, who wrestled control back in this test match, at the end of day three, were full value for their win.

South Africa, after being skittled all out for 220, in their first innings, did manage to get back into the match after they had reduced the Asian side to 27-4. Fawad Alam and Azhar Ali however, were the key for Pakistan as they frustrated The Proteas and gradually got back in the game.

This defensive rearguard, essentially knocked the wind out of South Africa’s sails and since then Pakistan have been on top. South Africa did threaten to get back into the game when Aiden Markram (74) and Rassie Van Der Dussen (64) combined for a second wicket stand of 127.

When the 30-year old Van Der Dussen, was dismissed from the bowling of Yasir Shah, the next eight South African wickets fell for just 70 runs. From being in a solid position of 175-2, the tourists inexplicably crumbled to 245 all out.

Debutant Nauman Ali, was the chief destroyer for Pakistan as the slow left armer claimed an impressive 5-35. This batting collapse by Quinton De Kock’s South Africa, meant that Pakistan just needed 88 to win, which they duly did with seven wickets to spare.

There was a couple of hiccups early on as both openers Abid Ali (10) and Imran Butt (12) fell in quick succession. Any hopes of a dramatic win for South Africa, were dashed as experienced pair Azhar Ali (31 not out) and captain Babar Azam (30) helped steady any nerves.

When the third wicket did fall, the wicket of captain Babar Azam leg before wicket off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj, there was just two runs needed to win. Those two runs were scored by the first innings centurion Fawad Alam, who won the game with a four.

South Africa, after being well beaten in this test will be looking to exact their revenge in the next test. The next test will be on 4th February in Rawalpindi.

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Saturday fourth round FA Cup round up

Southampton, knocked out holders Arsenal with a 1-0 win against The Gunners. South Coast club Southampton, who last won the FA Cup in 1976, were full value for their win against an Arsenal side who have been in good form of late.

The visitors were missing star forward Pierre Aymerick Aubameyang due to personal reasons, just couldn’t live with the home side’s attack intent in the first half. The Saints were full value for their win, and for visitors Arsenal this was their first loss in seven, and the first time they have conceded in over 500 minutes of football.

A trip to Molineux against Wolves awaits for Ralph Hassenhutl’s men, where they will fancy their chances. Wanderers, who have been struggling in the league, edged out non-league Chorley who put up a spirited showing in their fourth round game on Friday night.

The Midland club, have now addressed one of their weaknesses in a key area, by signing striker Jose Willian from Spanish side Real Sociedad. So maybe Southampton, won’t have it all their own way in this one.

Elsewhere in the Saturday games there were big wins for West Ham and Swansea City respectively. Premier League side West Ham, who have been impressive this year, and find themselves in seventh, faced a Doncaster Rovers team who are chasing promotion in League One.

Rovers were always going to be up against it, especially how well the East London side have played this season. Any chances of an upset were quickly dispelled as early goals from Pablo Fornals and Andriy Yarmolenko, helped the home side to a 4-0.

The other high scoring game of the day was between Swansea and Nottingham Forest. The Swans, who are flying high in the Championship, took their confidence into this one, and were simply too good for their Championships visitors as they steam rolled them 5-1.

Goals from Liam Cullen and Matt Grimes, effectively ended this game as a contest. The shock of the day was at Oakwell where midtable Barnsley defeated runaway Championship leaders Norwich 1-0.

To end my round up, the final game of the evening saw League two Cheltenham take on Premier League giants Manchester City. The League two side, looked set to cause an all mighty upset after they took the lead through Alfie May.

Town, battled really hard and kept out their illustrious opponents until 81 minutes. Phil Foden, who had some chances earlier in the game, finding the equaliser. Goals from Gabriel Jesus (84) and Ferran Torres (90+4) added further gloss on the scoreline, that arguably flattered the visitors.

Manchester City, will play Swansea in the next round. That’s my FA Cup round up, Sunday’s games will also be covered here on ayyazmalik.com.

Crawley stun Leeds in shock of the round in FA Cup

League two side Crawley, produced one of the biggest shocks in recent FA Cup history, with an emphatic 3-0 against Leeds.

The Lillywhites who are in mid-table in the Premier League, were fielding a weaker side. Having said that, the Yorkshire side did include Rodrigo, Kalvin Phillips and Ezgjan Alioski in their side.

So they did have some of their first team squad at their disposal. What would have been alarming for the visitors, is that the League Two underdogs Crawley could have scored even more.

There was no such look for Morecambe, the Lancashire side were well beaten by Premier League side Chelsea 4-0.

Goals from Tino Werner (His first since November), amongst others helped The Blues through in this one.

Former winners Manchester City capped off a good week, with a convincing 3-0 win over Birmingham.

City’s rivals Tottenham, who were facing Non-League Marine, ended up winning 5-0 in a match that could have been difficult for Spurs.

Marine, did well to get this far and were rewarded with a glamour tie with North London side Tottenham.

In a show of respect by Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese boss did field a starting line up that has 402 international caps between them.

The beauty of the cup, is still alive and going going strong. We will bring you the FA Cup fourth and fifth round draw, which takes place on Monday 19:00.

Saturday FA Cup Round up

In a season, that started late due to the ongoing Covid situation, this year’s FA Cup third round got under way, pretty much as per usual.

Marine, Chorley and Stockport are three sides from Non-League football and have done brilliantly to get this far.

At time of writing, Lancastrians Chorley shocked the footballing world with a 2-0 win against Championship side Derby.

Upon further reflection, it can be argued that this result for Chorley, isn’t that much of a shock due to The Rams’ first team squad being depleted . This has been due to a Covid outbreak in the East Midlands side first team.

The fourth round and fifth round draw, will be taking place later on today. Manchester United who are one of the most successful teams in the FA Cup , put their name into the hat for round four with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Championship play-off chasing Watford.

Despite The Hornets having plenty of good moments in the game, Watford weren’t able to fashion too many good chances and can arguably see this as a chance lost in getting to round four.

Holders Arsenal, beat Newcastle 2-0, to carry on their recent good form. The Gunners left it late, and they need Extra Time to get through.

Andy Carrol had a great chance in normal time for The Magpies , but the striker missed a chance, which can only be described as a sitter.

West Brom, are still yet to win under new Head Coach Sam Allardyce, after his West Brom side were beaten on penalties by League one side Blackpool.

Fellow Premier League strugglers Sheffield United won for the first time in six months, after they beat League two side Bristol Rovers 3-2.

There’s plenty more action to commence later today, with matches including Marine vs Tottenham, Newport vs Brighton and Manchester City vs Birmingham.

Here at ayyazmalik.com, we will be providing a round up of today’s matches this evening. See you then!

FA Cup third round preview

It’s a pandemic that has swept the nation, not just our nation, but all across the world. So football will be taking a backseat in terms of priorities right now.

It’s emerged that the third round FA Cup game between Aston Villa and Liverpool will be going ahead, despite initial concerns.

The Villains will be playing with their youth side due to several members of their playing being struck with COVID.

This game, just like a series of games has been taken over by COVID this season. Arguably, this game in particular isn’t about the result, but rather to ensure the game goes ahead safely.

Other ties see in this years third round of the FA Cup sees joint top of the Premier League Manchester United take on stuttering Watford of the Championship.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United side will be looking to take out their recent semi-final disappointment on The Hornets. My prediction Manchester United 3-1 Watford.

Cross- city rivals City take on Birmingham. Although a potential banana skin, I expect The Citizens to pass this test with flying colours. My prediction Manchester City 2- Birmingham 0.

Last but not least in the games I want to cover is Arsenal against Newcastle. The Gunners have come back to form of late, and are heading up the right direction in the table.

The Magpies on the other hand, have badly missed the impact of Alan Saint Maximan, and have duly struggled in the process too.

My prediction Arsenal 2-1 Newcastle, and that’s my predictions. The FA Cup third round matches are to be played over this weekend.

Tottenham, are through to final after Brentford win

Tottenham Hotspur booked their place in the final of the Carabao Cup after a 2-0 win over Brentford. The West London side, did beat Premier League side Newcastle 1-0 in the last round to get here.

With that in mind, it was evident that The Bees would be no pushover in this game. Brentford have had to rebuild after the sales of Said Benrahma and star forward Ollie Watkins.

To their credit after an arguably slow start, are competing within the higher reaches of the Championship again.

Key to this, has been Ivan Toney, the 26-year old former Newcastle and Peterborough striker has scored and impressive 16 goals this term.

The homeside Tottenham, knew that if they were to progress in this one, they will need to keep Toney quite and star forwards Harry Kane and Son Heung Min will need to perform.

Perform they did. Despite Brentford having, bright moments in this game, Spurs through goals by Mohammed Sissoko and Son, are through to the final, at the expense of the visitors Brentford, who were in their first competitive semi-final in their history.

A red card for Brentford’s Josh Da Silva, effectively ended any chance that the visitors had in progressing to the final.

For Tottenham, this is their chance to get their hands in silver for the first time since 2008, when they won this competition by beating Chelsea 2-1 that day.

Despite losing this semi-final, Brentford exit this tournament, with their heads held high.

They have clearly shown by their performances this year in the Championship and Carabao Cup, they are a very capable team and are a match for any one.

Come May, they will be back in the promotion race for sure.

This Tottenham team, have gone some way to show that they’re now ready to move to the next level. Jose’s back, Manchester City or Manchester United … you’re next are you ready?

The Beardnet

Hello and good evening my bearded soldiers, I hope you’re well and looking after your beards. Greetings, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader and flag bearer of all beards. Brothers, I want to talk about an important issue this evening, that’s the issue of the Beardnet.

Nope, it’s not a Bearded alternative to a certain broadband provider who have a clean-shaven Jessie fronting their ad campaign (I know crazy and absurd). Brothers this evening’s topic is about the nets that workers in food shops put in their hair.

Here though, I will be mentioning when our Bearded brothers have to put their beards in captivity. The official line is, it’s hygiene and on one hand, they do have a point. When you’re eating your food and you see a stray hair in the food, it’s disgusting, right?

The last thing we want is someone experience that due to beard hair going astray, and they do go astray. When we say go astray, we’re not saying the beard is being rebellious but it kinds of exercising it’s right I guess, of leaving the face when it fees necessary.

There have been times, where hair mysteriously comes in my cereal. It’s not my head hair, I am bald! It can only be my beard hair. The feeling of putting a Beardnet on your beard would no doubt be uncomfortable, but better it’s than better than Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Hair Flakes.

When playing snooker and you run the cue through your chin, but your chin is a beard, it can get uncomfortable, but also distressing. I say that because, right under your very nose your beard is getting messy, but you feel powerless.

Ok, so to raise the issue of another uncomfortable moment for your beard, I will be mentioning the moment when you put on a Coronavirus mask. The mask, as seen in the cover image (of me), is a mask that looks not too dissimilar to a mask of a surgeon.

At times, when combing your beard or trimming your tash, you need the precision of a surgeon. With those masks, it’s like your essentially practising putting your head down at the swimming pool’s deep end, the level you have to go to, to control your breathing .

On top of that, you have to deal with the fact that one, the mask puts a weird line in your beard and two it takes ages to come out! Coronavirus, it’s hoped is easing. Brothers, I know wearing masks may be uncomfortable but console yourself with this fact, clean-shaven look like what we do in our masks now.

It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

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Thank you

The Bearded Captain with a revamped look, but still Captain of the cool beards

Ayyaz Lister Park

Still captain of The Cool Beards, even with a changed look

 

Hello and greetings from your Bearded Captain. My beards, I sincerely apologise to you my bearded soldiers, my bearded beloved’s. I pray you’re all well and in the process of growing beards and maintaining the way, that is fitting for a bearded man.

My soldiers, it’s clear and apparent I have for you (the ones who grow their beards nicely and look after their beards). It is an issue I have spoke about time and time again, so for the day one fans, sorry but I am going to talk about this issue, the issue of growing and shaving your beard as you please.

My beards, the beard isn’t a fashion accessory. Yes, my beards you look desirable by growing a beard, but please note, this is by no means a symbol for you use, lose it and abuse it as you please.

Just wish the fella at work would see the light, but patience, perseverance etc etc. As annoying at that is, I am not here to talk about him, I am here to talk about me. Why? Well this blog is about me, and I love me! (hehe).

My beards, I used to make many entries before I didn’t need glasses, but ever since I am now wearing glasses, I sadly haven’t made any entries since. Of course that’s going to change my beards, the reason why I am saying this is because, just because I need glasses, the need for facial change won’t be needed.

You get some, who just find any reason to give the man fur the heave ho. Err, excuse me! you need your beard and the beard doesn’t need you. I thought if you have glasses, you would be able to see that better?

For some bearded brothers, sadly that isn’t the case. That negativity aside, my bearded brothers (as shown in the photo), I now where glasses! It’s not changed the fact that I have a beard, but as it happens what’s changed is my weight.

Alhamdulillah, I have lost three and a half stone in six months! So the lesson is there my beards, you can make changes in life, life doesn’t stay still, but for the love god, please don’t change your best gift …. your beards.

It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain *** gives Bearded Salute ***

Fleetwood Fight Back Hits Bradford’s Hopes

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams - but couldn't prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams – but couldn’t prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Two late goals from Fleetwood meant that the Lancashire side came back from Valley Parade with a point, after being two goals down. The result against the ‘Cod Army’ leaves the Bantams in 12th, all be it with two games in hand on their play off rivals.

Bradford who missed the chance of a Wembley date earlier in the week with an agonising FA Cup replay defeat against Reading had Filipe Morais unavailable for this one. The former Chelsea man’s sending off in that defeat on Monday night means the 29 year old will have to sit out of this one.

As for the visitors Fleetwood they could call on Stephen Dobbie, after the midfielder was previously unavailable.

After enduring the heart ache of missing out on a chance of a Wembley date with Arsenal, the Bantams came into this one in determined fashion – and it was of no surprise when the home side took the lead.

Jonathan Stead who was a key part in the memorable FA Cup opened the scoring. Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell wasn’t able to hold on to a Billy Clarke cross, which allowed Stead to score.

The opening goal was a reward for Bradford’s dominance – and it was of little surprise when the home side double their lead. Christopher Routis who replaced the suspended Morais doubled the hosts lead. Routis managed to squeeze in James Hanson’s far post cross – and at that point the Bantams looked in complete control – but that goal seemed to spark Fleetwood to life.

The visitors who were dominated, managed to pull a goal back when Jamie Proctor pulled a goal back when he headed in Tyler Hornby- Forbes’ cross. Despite the disappointment of conceding that goal, you still would have back Bradford to see the game out – but unfortunately for the home fans Fleetwood’s Nathan Pond had the last say as the Fleetwood man scored in stoppage time after an all mighty scramble.

Two apiece it finished then – but this result will be a better result for the visitors no doubt. Having said that Bradford aren’t out of the promotion race just as they do have two games in hand on their play off rivals – but more dropped points in a fiercely competitive play off race is never ideal.

Mow Of The Same Please

Alex Mowatt scored the only goal of the game as Leeds came out on top in the Championship relegation battle against Millwall.

Alex Mowatt scored the only goal of the game as Leeds came out on top in the Championship relegation battle against Millwall.

Alex Mowatt’s goal 6 minutes before half time proved to be the difference in the relegation battle against Millwall.

Both sides came into this ironically on the back of good form – but both sides league form over all this season is the reason why both sides are at the wrong end of the table.

Home side Leeds were pretty much unchanged for this one. Forward Mirco Antenucci continues on the bench – but there are starts for Sean Morrison and Sol Bamba. As for the visitors Millwall they had a full squad available. On Loan Michael Tonge is in eligible to play against his parent club Leeds so Angel Martinez comes in.

The match it self was quite even – but the home side Leeds slightly had the better of the possession. Both sides had plenty of shots on goal – but very few of those efforts were on target which showed why both teams are struggling.

In a game that lacked goals, this game definitely didn’t lack in tension as a lot of fouls were committed by both sides. The visitors did have some good periods in this game – but lacked the quality to turn that possession into any goals.

The home side did actually start this game well as Sam Byram hit the Millwall post. The home side eventually made their good early start and took the lead. Millwall’s Sean Williams brought down Sam Byram for a free kick which was beautifully scored by Alex Mowatt.

The visitors needed to respond – but unfortunately they weren’t able to. Martyn Woolford will rue blazing over the bar when well placed. This defeat leaves the Lions 1 point adrift of Championship safety. As for Leeds, the Whites can now look up the table – this win against their relegation rivals sees the Yorkshire side up to 12th.