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Whittingham secures Bluebirds win

first_imgPeter Whittingham’s header gave Cardiff a crucial 1-0 win over West Brom and extended the Baggies miserable run of form, which cost manager Steve Clarke his job. Morgan Amalfitano pulled back to Claudio Yacob but the Argentinian scuffed his shot to McAuley who made a better fist of hitting the target, only for Gary Medel to block on the line, with Marshall also in attendance. Cardiff hit back and took the lead. The excellent Noone delivered a pinpoint cross which Whittingham headed wide of Myhill’s despairing dive into the bottom corner. Caulker came close to doubling the lead from a Whittingham corner a few moments later, only for Odemwingie to get in the way and flick the ball away from goal. The game had suddenly sprang to life and West Brom had a decent penalty shout turned down by referee Howard Webb. Shane Long appeared to be bundled over by Turner as he turned in the box, but the Republic of Ireland striker was waved to his feet. Jordon Mutch then fired over after cleverly making room for himself on the edge of the box. Clarke sent on Saido Berahino and Scott Sinclair as his side launched a late bid for an equaliser. But their final chance came and went when a Long header was brilliantly saved by a full-stretch Marshall and later in the evening the Baggies relieved Clarke of his duties. Neither side had won in their previous five games, but Whittingham’s fine finish from a Craig Noone cross in the 65th minute gave the hosts a merited three points and opened up a little breathing space to the bottom three for Malky Mackay’s side. Gareth McAuley and Shane Long failed to convert West Brom’s best chances, while the striker also had a penalty attempt turned down after a push by Ben Turner. Both these teams had won just one of their last nine games, while Cardiff had gone three games without scoring. Mackay’s response to their lack of a goal threat was to field a two-man strikeforce, with Fraizer Campbell joined by former Baggies striker Peter Odemwingie. It prompted a lively start from the hosts, with Odemwingie working Boaz Myhill with a sharp free-kick. Winger Noone also featured prominently, testing Liam Ridgewell and turning in a threatening cross which Jonas Olsson turned behind with Campbell lurking. The best early chance fell to Steven Caulker, Turner flicked on Whittingham’s corner but the England centre-half put his shot wide with Myhill stranded out of position. But, after Campbell just failed to get on the end of a driven Odemwingie cross, the first half fizzled out. The visitors created very little and Cardiff’s only real alarm came when Andrew Taylor inadvertently diverted a pass across goal, but David Marshall made an easy save. Cardiff pressed again at the start of the second half, but it was West Brom who carved out the clearest chance. Press Associationlast_img read more

Hughes: Thompson should make run for Jacobs

first_imgAs general manager of the Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson wields the awesome power of assembling and designing Wisconsin’s beloved professional football team.The architect of Green Bay’s 2010-11 Super Bowl-winning team, Thompson is basically the supreme football being in the Dairy State. He is The Creator.And what is especially special about this Wisconsin football god is he remains humble and elects to pass on using certain powers. He opts not to take advantage of free agency – only plucking away veterans (mostly journeymen) here and there to fill in a minor role or two – and leaves the other 31 teams scrambling to catch the big fishes in hopes of contending for a Super Bowl.That’s about as best as I can do to romanticize the snowy-white haired Thompson. But yes, seeing him ink center Jeff Saturday last week was as refreshing as taking a seat on the Terrace during such an abnormally warm spring. The closest thing I can compare it to is when Darth Vader decides to strangle people with his mind.There’s no other way around it: That’s a pretty badass thing to do. And part of the reason why it’s badass is because Vader doesn’t abuse it. Same with Thompson and his power. When they go ahead and use it, everyone’s careful to watch.So, knowing full well that Thompson uses a draft-centric management style and that I don’t want to ruin my glamorized vision of him, I still must voice my advocation for bringing running back Brandon Jacobs to Green Bay (besides, Vader strangled a subordinate of his not once, but twice in “A New Hope,” so why can’t Thompson go for two higher-profile players?).Of course, the Packers still could re-sign Ryan Grant, which is the most likely course of action Thompson will take. Grant’s been a fine player in Green Bay, rushing for over 1,000 yards twice (he came 44 yards shy in 2007). He also told ESPN 540 two weeks ago that re-signing with the Packers is his “ideal situation.”I’ve been waiting for the Packers to make some sort of splash at running back for a while now. I’ve never seen them draft a running back in the first round of the draft or bring in a name with weight. This offseason, there are more pressing concerns that warrant a larger investment. Running back takes a backseat.But for two years nowk, short-yardage situations have been killer for Green Bay’s otherwise first-rate offense.If you asked the Packers’ offense to drive to the moon, it could probably get there for you. But ask it to move the ball one- to-three yards, and suddenly the line of scrimmage becomes loaded with landmines and bear traps.With Ryan’s contract up and Jacobs on the market, the Packers have a chance to end that stumbling block.Jacobs will turn 30-years-old by the time the 2012-13 season kicks off, but he’s a 6-foot-4, 264-pound battering ram that knows how to negotiate the trenches and earn whatever an offense needs, be it a first down or a touchdown from inside five yards.He would be a role player in Green Bay, but obviously that would be fine with him. He’s split carries his entire career with Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward while playing for the New York Giants.The size and brutality Jacobs employs would also finally give the Green Bay backfield some diversity for the first time since Ahman Green, Tony Fisher and Najeh Davenport ripped through defenses from 2002-05.Grant and his counterpart last season, James Starks, are too much of the same brand of running back and are rather unexceptional. Neither are particularly fast, strong or agile. They are, however, hardworking and smart running backs, which is why they averaged 4.2 and 4.3 yards per carry last season, respectively, and combined for 1,137 yards.But they just don’t keep defense on their toes enough.Jacobs is not by any means an elite ball carrier, but he would offer a change of pace from the 6-foot-2, 218-pound Starks and fix the short-yardage issue. He would be a big reason the offense would stay on the field longer and keep Green Bay’s porous defense on the sideline.The only hold-up in this deal (besides Thompson’s general disinterest in free agency) might be Jacobs’ price tag. Jacobs and the Giants couldn’t reach an agreement over the size of the running back’s pay cut and part of the reason why Thompson doesn’t bring in free agents is because he figures they’ve been let go for a good reason and are, in general, too expensive.But Jacobs has been without a job for nearly three weeks while other running backs like Michael Bush, Mike Tolbert, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Peyton Hillis have found homes. And, if enough time passes, Jacobs will slash his price.But something would still probably have to possess Thompson in order to give Jacobs a call – and despite him being available since early March, there are no reports of that happening. Grant could also sign with another team. But he’ll obviously hear the Packers out before doing that.Thompson’s system has proven to be effective, but standing pat with Grant and letting Jacobs would go would be a missed chance at making the Packers better. With him, the offense could traverse any obstacle.Elliot is a senior majoring in journalism. Would you want Jacobs in the backfield for Green Bay? Let him know at [email protected]last_img read more

Boca Juniors arrive in Madrid to end Copa saga

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp Madrid, Spain | AFP |  Boca Juniors landed in Spain on Wednesday as they prepare to end the long-running Copa Libertadores final saga over two weeks after a fan assault threw the fixture into doubt.Boca players were greeted by an army of fans outside their hotel in Madrid as they prepare to finally dispute the second leg of the final against arch-rivals River Plate on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with the scores level at 2-2 after the first match at Boca’s La Bombanera ground almost a month ago.The match has been delayed ever since River fans attacked the Boca team bus hours before the match was supposed to take place at River’s El Monumental stadium on November 24.River jetted off from Buenos Aires on Wednesday afternoon, with Boca already in the Spanish capital in order to contest the decisive leg of the biggest match in Argentine football history at a venue at which they had both initially refused to play.Over the weekend River joined Boca in saying that it was “incomprehensible” that the game had been moved to Spain, insisting that the club bore no responsibility for the “faults in the security operation” for the high profile fixture in Buenos Aires.On Tuesday Boca hero Juan Roman Riquelme slammed the decision to move the match away from Buenos Aires to Spain, saying that it would make one of the world’s fiercest derbies “the most expensive friendly in history”.“The final is losing a bit of its magic,” Cristian Farfalla, a young Boca Juniors supporter who made the transatlantic trip from Argentina, told AFP. “Honestly, I would have preferred the game to be played over there (in Argentina). But on the other side, I have the chance to be able to come and see it, which I wouldn’t normally have been able to do.”On Monday the two clubs each put 5,000 tickets on sale to supporters in Argentina at 3,600 pesos (84 euros), or a quarter of the average monthly Argentine salary.Meanwhile in Spain 20,000 tickets were put on sale for Boca fans outside Argentina on Tuesday, and a source close to the match organisers told AFP that the same number of tickets would go on sale to River supporters who live abroad.last_img read more

Top award for volunteer squad manager Wendy Lodder

first_img Tags: Coaching Conference, Volunteer Manager of the Year, Wendy Lodder Volunteer squad manager Wendy Lodder has been honoured with an award at the England Golf coaching conference.Wendy, who suffers from a rare cancer, was hailed as the 2017 Volunteer Manager of the Year, in tribute to her inspirational dedication to her players in the England U18 East region squad.Guests at the awards dinner watched a video of player after player speaking about Wendy’s contribution to their progress. They told of her positive attitude, her encouragement, her welcome, her big smile, her friendship and her belief in them.Squad coach Sarah Bennett said: “Wendy is just incredible. The connection she has with everyone and the respect she has from the players is amazing. She makes everything run so smoothly and has so much desire and commitment for the people who matter, the players.”Wendy, a member at Colchester Golf Club in Essex, was a late starter to golf, achieving a single figure handicap and becoming a Level 1 volunteer coach 10 years ago.She’s been the East Region U18 squad manager for the past two seasons and said of her award: “It’s a great honour to be recognised by England Golf, the East Regional coach Sarah Bennett and my Team East squad.“I love working with the coach and the squad and get a great deal of enjoyment from seeing them grow as players and people. I’m thrilled to use my life skills to help other players strive for their dreams.“I have had great support from England Golf, Sarah and the squad in recent months after I was diagnosed with cancer. This has inspired my fight against the disease and made me even more determined to beat it.”Wendy was recognised alongside two top coaches. Yorkshire’s Steve Robinson, who led the England women’s team to back-to-back European championship wins, was named Coach of the Year 2017 for the second time in succession.  It’s the second year in a row he has received this award.Top putting coach Phil Kenyon received the Award for Excellence in Coaching, in recognition for years of service to the England men and boys’ squads. Kenyon, who is based at Formby Hall in Lancashire, is now concentrating on his professional portfolio, which includes Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick.Image © Leaderboard Photography 22 Nov 2017 Top award for volunteer squad manager Wendy Lodder last_img read more