April 2022

 My Old Football
You can keep your antique silver and your statuettes of bronze,
Your curios and tapestries so fine,
But of all your treasures rare there is nothing to compare
With this patched up, worn-out football pal o’ mine.
Just a patched-up worn-out football, yet how it clings!
I live again my happier days in thoughts that football brings.
It’s got a mouth, it’s got a tongue,
And oft when we’re alone I fancy that it speaks
To me of golden youth that’s flown.
It calls to mind our meeting,
’Twas a present from the Dad.
I kicked it yet I worshipped it,
How strange a priest it had!
And yet it jumped with pleasure
When I punched it might and main:
And when it had the dumps
It got blown up and punched again.
It’s lived its life;
It’s played the game;
It’s had its rise and fall,
There’s history in the wrinkles of
That worn-out football …
by J. Milton Hayes (1884 – 1940)

 

Saturday 2nd April 2022
Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Sheppey United 7
Billy Bennett 6, 17, Dean Grant 57, 78, Warren Mfula 61,77,84,
Deal Town 1
Billy Monday 72,
Referee: Teddy Osborn.                         Attendance: 449
Admission: OMGDS £5.00 (£7).         Programme: £1.00
Sheppey United, champions elect of The SCEL, have a 4G plastic playing surface and a ground that looks like it has been thrown together from a pile of lorry containers and then liberally splashed with red paint. Prior to the match, a truly sumptuous repast at The Aviator, a hostelry maybe half a mile from the stadium. A pretty ordinary opening session saw the 4th placed visitors battle determinedly, but still fall two goals adrift at the interval. In the second half, Sheppey ran in five more goals to a solitary reply from Deal and ran out worthy and emphatic winners. With John Main (pictured).
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John Main at the turnstile
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On the balcony adjacent to the bar, a display of “Items” material
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The bar and Board Room are on the top floor behind the terraced area.
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Tuesday 5th April 2022
Sky-Bet EFL League One
Cambridge United 1
Harvey Knibbs 80,
Wycombe Wanderers 4
Sam Vokes 7, 54, Josh Scowen 56, Garath McCleary 89,
Referee: Craig Hicks.                                        Attendance: 4,751 (454 away support)
Admission: Hospitality.                                   Programme: incl. (£3.50)
Very impressive and generous hospitality, well managed and arranged, with seats in the directors box! The Abbey Stadium has not changed much in the six years since my last visit, but the team are a division higher! This evening, however, they were comprehensively dismantled by a visiting side who gave them no time and no space and for whom four goals was scant return for their effort. Thoroughly enjoyable evening with son, Mike and grandson, Freddie.
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Freddie and his Dad, Mike at the hospitality table!
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Harvey Knibbs, scorer of the Cambridge United goal, with Freddie after the game!
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Wednesday 6th April 2022
United Counties League Division 1
Saffron Dynamo 1
Jamie Starbuck 36,
Hucknall Town 2
Joe Butler 62, Craig Westcarr 77,
Referee: Andrew Cuthbert.                             Attendance:- 61
Admission: OMGDS £3.00 (£5).                  Programme: £1.00
It must be a five minute walk from the club house to the pitch, which has a tiny Meccano seated stand and a small covered terrace area and viewing realistically from behind the near side goal and on the far side of the ground, only. Well placed Hucknall struggled in the first half and went to the interval a goal down. In the second half, they took the game by the scruff of the neck and scored twice – the second from Craig Westcarr – to record the win and secure the points. With son, Mike and grandson, Freddie.
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Thursday 7th April 2022
EUFA Europa Conference Quarter final
Leicester City 0
PSV Eindhoven 0
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (SVK).                  Attendance: 31,327
Admission: OMGDS £20.00 (£30).         Programme: £3.00
A frustrating night at The King Power Stadium as these two teams fought out a cagey quarter final first leg in front of a bumper crowd. The Foxes main concern appeared to be avoiding defeat and several of their players were below par. For PSV Noni Mandueke impressed with his skilful, mazy runs, but in total, there were only three accurate attempts on goal and that, in a nutshell, says it all! With grandson Freddie and John Main.
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Saturday 9th April 2022
Southern Combination League Premier Division
Hassocks 2
Sam Smith 58, Jack Troak 86 (pen),
Littlehampton Town 6
Aaron Capon 19, Dion Jarvis 22, Zac Harris 47, 82, Lewis Jenkins 61, Jordan Clark 63,
Referee:- Neil Wallace.                       Attendance: 178
Admission: OMGDS £3.00 (£6).     Programme: £1.00
Champions elect and FA Vase finalists, Littlehampton Town were today’s visitors at The Beacon Ground, Hassocks’ rustic establishment overlooked by not one but TWO windmills on the South Downs. The trip down by train was not uneventful with our starting point, Huntingdon, gridlocked because the main road into town was closed! The slow detour to the station and the subsequent rail journey to Hassocks was made worthwhile by a match that produced eight goals as the lowly hosts were soundly thrashed by the visitors. Good game and Hassocks never gave up, but they just weren’t in the same galaxy! With John Main.
The view from London Bridge Station as we made our way by rail from Huntingdon down to Hassocks

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March 2022

The Frog

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Be kind and tender to the frog

And do not call him names

As ‘Slimy Skin’, or ‘Polly Wig’,

Or likewise ‘Ugly James’

Or ‘Gap-a-grin’ or ‘Toad-gone-wrong’,

Or ‘Billy Bandy-knees’:

The Frog is justly sensitive

To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay

A treatment kind and fair;

At least so lonely people say

Who keep a frog (and by the way,

They are extremely rare).

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by Hilaire Belloc (1870 – 1953)

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Tuesday 1st March 2022
West Midlands (Regional) League Division 1
Sikh Hunters 3
Chris Brown, Ricardo Dudley 84, Jack Bradley 90+1,
Gornal Athletic 4
Thomas Rann 21, Callum Lloyd 29, Bradley Maslen Jones 42, 66, Matt Holland s/o 52,
Referee:- Simon King.                                    Attendance: 42
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5).             Programme:- NONE
This was a rip roaring contest at Long Lane Park where bottom of the table Sikh Hunters nearly pulled off a shock result against top of the table, Gornal Athletic. They were 0-3 down at the interval, but pulled one back almost Immediately. The visitors, apparently comfortable, then had a man sent off and were reduced to nine men when a further player was sin-binned. They added another goal and looked safe until the closing minutes, when Hunters pulled back two goals and only the final whistle prevented an equaliser! Eight bookings, two sin-binned and one sent off. With John Main, Joanna Baroudi and Antony Robinson.
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The main stand looks quite good in this picture, but, in reality, it was pretty dilapidated with bird droppings on some seats and others broken.
It was situated nearer to one goal down the nearside of the ground
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Friday 4th March 2022
Lancashire Football League West Division
Macclesfield Town u23 2
Mir Ishaq 7, Zoller Gray (pen) 84,
Fulwood Amateurs u23 1
Kane Froggatt 35,
Referee:- Ethan Murray.                        Attendance:- 58
Admission: F.O.C.                               Programme: NONE
John Main drove us both up to Lancashire and the Premier Inn just off junction 4 on the M65 for the start of the North West Counties Hop, but we didn’t go to the first game at Golcar (we’d already been) and plumped for this esoteric fixture at The UCLAN Sports Arena, where we met up with a very worried Graeme Holmes, whose beloved Everton are sinking towards the foot of The FA Premier League! The kick-off for this match had been put back to 8.00pm because of children’s training sessions and, prior to kick-off, we adjourned for cake and hot chocolate to a cafe situated across the road from the car park.
Quite what Macclesfield Town are doing in The Lancashire League is a mystery as is why they are playing at UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire). There was some mention of sponsored players from abroad playing in Macclesfield’s colours and Fulwood Amateurs of The West Lancashire League must be at least a couple of steps below the hosts – even at their demoted level. This was a feisty match which threatened to explode on more than one occasion and did so right at the final whistle. A draw would have been a fair result, but a dubious penalty award, six minutes from time, gave victory to the hosts! With John Main and Graeme Holmes.
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Saturday 5th March 2022
North West Counties League Division 1 North – k.o.: 11.00am
Bacup Borough 6
Dennis Sherriff 7, Alex Mellor 25, 45, Anthony Hall 36, Kyle Siddle 77, Joseph Fallon 90,
St Helens Town 1
Dale Korie-Butler 14 (pen), Phillip Clarke s/o 34,
Referee:- Kieron Chell.                              Attendance:- 460
Admission: £5.00.                                   Programme:- £2.00
A very pleasant and olde world stadium.
On a very heavy playing surface at Bacup Borough’s rustic Cowfoot Lane, these two teams played out a rip-roaring encounter, especially in the first half where there were five goals, five bookings and a dismissal. The hosts added a further two goals after the interval to register a convincing victory against the backdrop of the lower Penines.
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Saturday 5th March 2022
North-West Counties League Premier Division – k.o.: 2.00pm
Padiham 1
Benjamin Hoskin 45+2,
Ashton Athletic 5
Joe White 16, Thomas Carr 23, 54, 74, Daniel Morton (og)50,
Referee:- Lee Harding.                               Attendance:- 378
Admission: £5.00.                                      Programme:- £2.00
Arbories Lane Memorial Ground was neat, fresh and resplendent in Royal blue and the corned beef hash was in great demand, but the home team were mugged. Playing down the slope in the first half, the visitors garnered a slender 2-1 half-time advantage. However, two strikes within ten minutes of the restart and a final goal fifteen minutes from time, ensured an imperious and well deserved victory.

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Saturday 5th March 2022
North West Counties League Division 1 North – k.o.: 4.45pm
Nelson 3
Kit Lloyd 12, 46, Jack Foster 33,
Chadderton 1
Harry Dean 86,
Referee:- Adam Watson.                               Attendance:- 351
Admission:- £5.00.                                        Programme:- £2.00
Victoria Park in Nelson is idyllic, with a row of former cotton workers cottages hiding the cotton mill with its tall chimney. On the opposite side of the pitch is an impressive stand, with seating for perhaps a couple of hundred souls. On the pitch, the hosts were in determined mood and held a two goal advantage at the interval. A further strike immediately after the break killed the game off and the visitors consolation came four minutes from the end. Nelson included four brothers from the same family in their team, and one of them scored two of their goals!
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Saturday 5th March 2022
North West Counties League Premier Division – k.o.: 7.45pm
Barnoldswick Town 0
Avro 2
Liam Ellis 53 (pen), 62,
Referee:- Adewunmi Soneye.                         Attendance:- 517
Admission:- £5.00.                                          Programme:- £2.00
The hosts had worked hard to make a success of this fixture off the pitch and a huge gathering turned out to support them with noisy “Ultras” from both sides contributing to the decibel level. On the pitch, however, the hosts, after dominating the first period without success, met a considerably more determined Avro side in the second half. The visitors took the game by the scruff of the neck and scored twice midway through the half, for a deserved victory.
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Sunday 6th March 2022
North West Counties League Division 1 North
Steeton 2
Tobias Jeffrey 33, Jordan Townsend 84, Andrew Briggs s/o 90
Ashton Town 1
Declan Hill 14, Ethan Van-Aston s/o 80,
Referee:- George Dennis.                            Attendance:- 479
Admission:- £5.00.                                       Programme:- £2.00
After the wonderful stadiums of yesterday, this characterless arena had a small covered area behind one goal created out of a lorry container and a small stand down the near side with seating for perhaps 100 spectators. Other than that, there was no cover. Two evenly matched sides jostled for supremacy. A goal to each side in the first half and deep into the second half, a draw looked the likely outcome . A visiting player dismissed for violent conduct some ten minutes from time tipped the balance and the hosts scored the winner with five minutes remaining, only to find themselves reduced to ten men with a dismissal for a second bookable offence. This was a finely balanced match, won by the finest of margins!
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Sunday 6th March 2022
North West Counties League Division 1 North
Ilkley Town 0
Garstang 0
Referee:- Anthony Parr-Robinson.                   Attendance:- 455
Admission:- £5.00.                                              Programme:- £2.00
Despite the sunshine, this was definitely not a day to venture onto Ilkley Moor without appropriate headwear. This ‘Roses’ fixture between teams from Lancashire and Yorkshire, was played out in a drab, featureless cage on a 3G surface with minimal cover – maybe fifty seats behind one goal and a short stretch of cover down one side. The match, sadly, was equally featureless as the two teams cancelled each other out and goals proved elusive.
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Monday 7th March 2022
FA Cup 5th Round
Nottingham Forest 2
Sam Surridge 30, Ryan Yates 37,
Huddersfield Town 1
Tom Lees 13,
Referee:- Graham Scott.                                    Attendance:- 27,417
Admission:- OMGDS £15 (£20).                     Programme:- £3.00
A good crowd on a cold evening for this fifth round FA Cup match, the last of the round, and a tasty home tie in prospect for the winners. All the goals came in the first half, the visitors striking first after a quarter of an hour and the home side scoring two in a seven minute spell ten minutes from the interval. Despite best endeavours, there was no addition to the score after the break and it will be Forest who entertain Liverpool in the next round. With John Main.
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Tuesday 8th March 2022
United Counties League Premier Division South
Rugby Town 0
Harborough Town 2
Freddie Robinson 44, Nathaniel Ansu 88,
Referee:- Stephen Davies.                         Attendance:- 212
Admission: OMGDS £4.00 (£8).            Programme: £2.00
The hosts, fourth in the table were looking to put one across the league leaders, however, it was not to be as the visitors dominated the opening session and scored with a strike on 44 minutes. The second half was an entirely different story, with a revitalised Rugby side pressing very hard for an equaliser which never came and then, in the 88th minute, a breakaway by the visitors saw them wrap up a hard won victory. With John Main.
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Thursday 10th March 2022
EUFA Europa Conference Round of 16
Leicester City 2
Marc Albrighton 30, Kelechi Iheanacho 90+3
Stade Rennais 0
Referee:- Orel Grinfeeld (IRS)                            Attendance:- 25,848
Admission: OMGDS £15.00 (£20).                   Programme: £3.00
A good result for The Foxes which didn’t look possible after an over cautious opening spell. Rennes looked confident and competent to upset the hosts, but only landed one shot on target all match! A blistering drive from Marc Albrighton in the first half and a precise and deft strike from Kelechi Iheanacho three minutes into added time at the end will probably be enough to clinch the tie. With John Main.
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Saturday 12th March 2022
Wessex League Premier Division
Bashley 2
Jamie Webber 9, Dan Thompson 30,
United Services Portsmouth 0
Referee: Derek Pratt.                                  Attendance: 192
Admission: OMGDS £5.00 (£7).             Programme: £2.00
Bashley, in recent memory, graced the upper echelons of The Southern League and, now, are trying to regain that status. Their ground is relatively compact, with covered seated and standing down one side of the ground, but no cover elsewhere. We were treated to a tour of the boardroom and a sumptuous breakfast repast, prior to the match. The hosts dominated the opening session of the contest and quickly established a two goal advantage, but thereafter criminally wasted several quite tasty opportunities. After the break, the visitors tightened up considerably and a dull stalemate ensued until the final whistle! With John Main.
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Tuesday 15th March 2022
Sky-Bet EFL League One
Sheffield Wednesday 1
Callum Paterson 66,
Accrington Stanley 1
Ross Sykes 83,
Referee:- Ross Joyce.                                         Attendance:- 20,688
Admission: OMGDS £20.00 (£30).               Programme: £3.00
Hillsborough is looking a tad careworn these days, but there was a healthy turn out to welcome the minnows from Lancashire, particularly after Saturday’s 6-0 mauling of Cambridge United. Stanley, however, are made of sterner stuff, robust in defence and spirited in attack. Even when they went behind with a scant twenty minutes remaining, they kept plugging away and upset the home crowd with a deserved equaliser in the 83rd minute. Perhaps Wednesday should not have substituted influential skipper, Barry Bannan in the 71st minute! With son, Mike and grandson, Freddie.
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The small gathering of away support, maybe 250 fans, at the Leppings Lane end of the ground.
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Father and son – Mike and Freddie
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Grandfather and grandson, Ed and Freddie
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Friday 18th March 2022
Cinch Scottish Championship
Dunfermline Athletic 1
Lewis McCann 89
Greenock Morton 1
Iain Wilson 42,
Referee:- Kevin Clancy.                                 Attendance:- 4,593
Admission:- £5.00.                                       Programme:- £3.00
I left home early in the morning to catch the plane from Luton to Glasgow International Airport and when I got there I picked up a Ford Fiesta hire car and drove to Dunfermline, where John Main had booked us both into The Premier Inn just off the A90. I had a truly enormous carvery at a hostelry, The Sweet Chestnut, just down the road from the hotel. I met up with Jim and Jonny Crane at The ground around 7.00pm.
Collecting the tickets in the afternoon gave me the opportunity to have a good walk round East End Stadium in all its daylight glory. Tickets were all a fiver and sit where you like. Both teams had a noisy following in the stand opposite and whilst the hosts enjoyed a large measure of possession, it was the visitors who struck first, three minutes before the interval. In the second period, the hosts became increasingly desperate but eventually, with time fast running out, they squeezed a deserved equaliser. It was a good contest, and probably, just about the right result.
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Jim and Jonny Crane
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Saturday 19th March 2022
East of Scotland League Conference B
Glenrothes 3
Lea Schiavone 4, Kyle Bell 25, Stuart Cargill 64,
Kinnoull 0
Referee : Craig Wilson.                         Attendance:- 410
Admission: £6.00.                                Programme: included
Warout Park, home of Glenrothes must have been an impressive arena in its day, sadly, now it has the feel of genteel poverty, but is still, nonetheless, imposing with a seven hundred seater stand! The hosts sit in second place in the table and easily demolished fifth placed Kinnoull with two first half strikes and a final goal late into the second period.
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Saturday 19th March 2022
Cinch Scottish Championship
Raith Rovers 2
Aidan Connolly 14, Matej Poplatinik 32, Kyle Benedictus s/o 69, Ben Williamson s/o 90+3
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3
Shane Sutherland 27, Logan Chalmers 89, 90+1,
Referee:- Colin Steven.                                  Attendance:- 1,581
Admission: OMGDS £13.00 (£20).             Programme: £3.00
You live for games like these! It’s run of the mill for hundreds of games and then ….!!! The locals were very friendly to us in the 200 club under the home stand and the game progressed fairly moderately for and hour or so while the home side ground out a slender 2-1 advantage. A poor referee then dismissed a home player for violent conduct … maybe, and the home fans erupted, even so, the Rovers held on until a minute from the end when Caley equalised and a host of invective descended on the referee. Worse was to come. Another away goal and another home sending off and one spectator behind us just lost it, totally, unleashing a non-stop stream of abuse at the top of his voice. I seriously thought he was close to cardiac arrest! It was eye-wateringly funny, but sad, too, because we had met so many friendly locals!
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The away supporters at the far end of the ground, in The Val McDiarmid Stand.
Spectators were mainly behind each goal.
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The shadow of the floodlight pylon overshadows the terraced house below it,
and the light bulbs are reached by a precarious ladder which gave me vertigo just looking at it!
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These two photographs of me were both taken by Jonny Crane…
and the comment below the first one is Jonny Crane’s, too!
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Saturday 19th March 2022
East of Scotland League Premier Division
Hill o’ Beath 3
Ryan Connelly 19, 48, Ross Allum 90+2 (pen)
Linlithgow Rose 1
Alan Sneddon 35,
Referee:- Andy Gamble.                                  Attendance:- 584
Admission:- £7.00.                                          Programme:- £2.00
This was a game of commitment and determination. Linlithgow Rose sit proudly in second place whilst lowly placed Hill o’ Beath have recently acquired a new manager who has instilled some steel into their performances. Stopped on the way to the ground to capture the statue of a famous son of Hill of Beath, Scotland and Rangers hero, Jim Baxter, and then the ground, Spartan but well appointed and surprisingly spacious with cover on three sides, but no seating. Beath scored first, but the game was level at the interval. Three minutes into the second period, the lead was regained, but then, the hosts withstood enormous pressure, before clinching the match and the points with a penalty right at the death!
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‘Slim’ Jim Baxter, born in Hill of Beath and probably the finest left half Scotland ever had. 
He played mainly for Rangers, but later in his career he had spells with Sunderland and Nottingham Forest
Sadly, drink was a problem for him and caused his early demise in 2001 at the age of 62
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Sunday 20th March 2022
Cinch Scottish Premier League
Dundee 1
Christie Elliott 5,
Rangers 2
Aaron Ramsey 65, Connor Goldson 85, James Tavernier missed penalty 40,
Referee:- Bobby Madden.                             Attendance:- 7,669
Admission: OMGDS £22.00 (£30).           Programme:£3.00
This was the last game of my sojourn in Scotland with eldest son, Jim and Jonny Crane, and a first visit to Dens Park, which to my mind looked a tad decrepit and certainly not as good a ground as Tannadice, over the road. Bottom of the table, Dundee, gave a plucky and determined account of themselves in front of a crowd of Rangers supporters who outnumbered the home contingent, but made idiots of themselves, firstly plastering the home penalty area with toilet roll and later in the game raining tennis balls onto it! Dundee opened the scoring in the 5th minute and held on for an hour, including a missed penalty by the visitors. The equaliser was followed by the Rangers winner, a scant 5 minutes from time.
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Jim and Jonny Crane
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It was said that the toilet rolls and the tennis balls were a protest by Rangers fans
at the proposal to play an Old Firm derby in Australia, later this year.
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Monday 21st March 2022
Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division
Rugby Borough 1
Ethan Meadows 61,
Thurnby Rangers 2
Lewis Murphy 54, Shaun Barber 69,
Referee:- Martin Jarvis.                                  Attendance: 77
Admission:- F.O.C.                                          Programme: NONE
Kilsby Lane, home of Rugby Borough is a purpose built football complex with several football pitches and two adjacent and floodlit plastic pitches. Tonight’s game on the main pitch saw second place, Rugby, take on third place, Thurnby. The first half was largely forgettable, but the game livened up when the visitors shocked the hosts by taking the lead on the hour mark. Back came the hosts to equalise five minutes later, but the visitors struck again with twenty minutes to go and comfortably and deservedly won the match and the points.
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Tuesday 22nd March 2022
Spartan South Midlands League
Gladwish Trophy Quarter-final
Northampton Sileby Rangers 3
Nathan Burrows 10, 44, Luke Stevens 59,
Wellingborough Whitworth 3
Richie Bailey 20, 79, Fayed Rhaman (og) 90,
Wellingborough Whitworth win 5-4 on penalties
Referee:- Aaron Lloyd.                                    Attendance:- 70
Admission: OMGDS £3.00 (£6).                  Programme: NONE
Fernie Fields, home of Sileby, has improved since my last visit some four years ago. New toilet facilities and refreshment bar make it a much more welcoming environment. This evening, the hosts were equally generous on the field of play. Having worked hard to build a 3-1 advantage, they conceded twice in the final ten minutes and then lost the penalty shoot out.
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Saturday 26th March 2022
Sky-Bet EFL League 2
Leyton Orient 2
Barrow 0
Referee:- Simon Mather.                                    Attendance:- 6,032 (332 away)
Admission: Hospitality.                                            Programme:- incl. (£3.50)
Chris Berezai joined us at Kettering Station for the trip down to London and we met up with Jim and his boys (and Andrew and Christopher Coxon, Rory and Leanne Clark, who were spending a day in London for Rory’s birthday) at the pub on Kings Cross Station. From there it was a train from St Pancras to Stratford and Uber to Leyton Orient, where we met up with Phil Evans. The hospitality was fine – spare ribs and burgers and pecan pie and ice cream – and plenty of good red wine.
Brisbane Road (or whatever they call it these days) had a neat tidy feel to it with a block of flats at each of the four corners. The weather was balmy and, for an hour, there was little or nothing between the two teams, until the visiting custodian made the mistake of chasing the ball to the edge of the area, and leaving his goal unguarded for a precise strike. Ten minutes later a second strike killed off the opposition and the hosts claimed the spoils.
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from left: Gary Miller, Kingsley, Jim, Mike
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Freddie and Sonny
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Phil Evans and Chris Berezai
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Jonny Crane and Liam McGeown
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Tuesday 29th March 2022
United Counties League Premier Division South
GNG Oadby Town 1
Amarvir Sandhu 25 (pen),
Godmanchester Rovers 1
Mohammed Akhtar 67,
Referee: Callum Timperley.                       Attendance:- 53
Admission: OMGDS £3.00 (£6).              Programme: £1.50
It was sad to see the decline at Oaks Park and even more so, to hear that next season, the hosts are decamping to Holmes Park, the Leicestershire County Ground. It is entirely probable that this could be the last season that football is played here. GNG, who presently run their first team on the pitch have no connection with the club house facilities (and hence, no income from it). The substantial car park the far end from the club house has been long since sold and there is even talk of developing the pitch for further housing, although access might prove a problem.  On the night, these two mid-table sides provided reasonable entertainment with the visitors equalising the hosts first half strike and a draw was a fair result. With John Main and Mike Dean.
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Other Matches:

 

Monday 14th March 2022

Midland Midweek Floodlit Youth League: League Cup Semi-Final

Rugby Town u18 0 Leamington u18 0

No extra time, Rugby Town won 5-4 on penalties         Attendance:- 183

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Thursday 24th March 2022

Northants Senior Youth League – League Cup Semi-final

Rothwell Corinthians u-18 2 Bugbrooke St Michaels u-18 3  attendance:- 84

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Sunday 27th March 2022

FA Women’s Super League

Leicester City Women 0 Chelsea Women 9             attendance:- 2,278

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Monday 28th March 2022

Northants Senior Youth League Jaymann Shield Group Stage

Corby Town u18 3 Wellingborough Town u18 3     attendance:- 71

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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February 2022

Twice a week the winter thorough
Here stood I to keep the goal:
Football then was fighting sorrow
For the young man’s soul.

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Now in Maytime to the wicket
Out I march with bat and pad:
See the son of grief at cricket
Trying to be glad.

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Try I will; no harm in trying:
Wonder ’tis how little mirth
Keeps the bones of man from lying
On the bed of earth.

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by A.E. Houseman 1859 – 1936 (From “The Shropshire Lad”)

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Tuesday 1st February 2022
Wessex League Division 1
Andover Town 5
Downton 0
Referee:- Timothy Bunt.                                               Attendance:- 178
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5).                        Programme:- £1.00
Andover Town, reformed less than ten years ago from the ashes of Andover FC and also playing at Portway Stadium are enjoying a season of relative success. Tonight’s victory takes them to the top of the table and, maybe, the opportunity to return to the premier division. There was a good crowd for tonight’s encounter and the visitors certainly gave a good account of themselves after conceding in the opening minute. However, as the game drew towards the final whistle, they conceded two goals and gave young Ryan Griffiths the chance to claim a Hat Trick!
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Saturday 5th February 2022
FA Cup 4th Round
Huddersfield Town 1
Duane Holmes 19,
Barnsley 0
Referee:- Jeremy Simpson.                             Attendance:- 16,605
Admission:- hospitality.                           Programme:- included (£3)
It was an early start on the train north for Ed, Mike and Freddie (07.40 from Corby) and Jim, Sonny and Kingsley (07.57 from Banbury) Many stops later we reached a wet and windswept Huddersfield Station and met up with each other and garnered a taxi for the short trip to The John Smith’s Stadium
Inhospitable heavy northern rain and a chilly wind pervaded this Yorkshire FA Cup derby, but the hospitality for three generations of my family was warm and cheerful and three bottles of wine to accompany the meal certainly oiled the system quite pleasantly! Huddersfield were the better side and squandered several very acceptable opportunities, but Barnsley were always in it and, in added time, only the linesman’s flag stopped them from equalising! good game, with sons Jim and Mike and grand sons, Freddie, Sonny and Kingsley and another long trip home by rail!
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Sonny, Kingsley and Freddie
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Ed, Mike and Jim
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Heavy rain and equally heavy winds played havoc around the stadium before, during and after the match!
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Sunday 6th February 2022
FA Cup 4th Round
Nottingham Forest 4
Phillip Zinckernagel 23, Brennan Jackson 24, Joe Worrall 32, Djed Spence 63,
Leicester City 1
Kelechi Iheanacho 40,
Referee:- Paul Tierney.                                       Attendance:- 28,762
Admission:- OMGDS £20.00 (£30).               Programme:- £3.00
Leicester City were mugged, today. They put a pretty strong team out and for the first twenty minutes, they looked comfortable and in control. Two goals in a minute tipped them right out of their comfort zone and they never recovered. It was 3-1 by half-time and 4-1 after an hour, by which time Brendan Roger’s had thrown in the towel and replaced some of his stars with bit players. Forest were deserved winners and a large Leicester City following had dwindled considerably before the match ended! With John Main.
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Monday 7th February 2022
Northern Premier League Division 1 Midlands
Coleshill Town 0
Josh Willis s/o 89,
Halesowen Town 1
Richard Gregory 7,
Referee:- Neil Pratt.                                          Attendance:- 480
Admission: OMGDS £7.00 (£9).                   Programme:-£1.50
The league leaders were in town tonight and their followers swelled the attendance to three times the normal gate for the home side. In a very ordinary match, The Yeltz scored after only seven minutes and that was just about the end of the excitement for the evening. Try as they might, and they did attack with determination in the second half, the hosts were unable to break down the impenetrable barrier of the visitors defence. With John Main and Lee West.
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Tuesday 8th February 2022
Southern Combination League Premier Division
Lingfield 2
Sammy Clements 22, David Heaton 70 (pen),
Crawley Down Gatwick 0
Referee:- Darren Eaton.                        Attendance:- 62
Admission:- F.O.C. (£6/4).                  Programme:- £1.00
There was free entry to tonight’s match for intrepid hoppers (well, two of them, anyway) and, it was also possible to watch the match on big screen in the club house, rather than braving the elements (and Burnley v Manchester United was also showing on an adjacent screen). However, we watched from pitch side, from the 100 seater stand. Only two sides of the ground were open and, apart from the stand and the clubhouse/changing rooms, there was little other pitch side furniture. These teams are both firmly ensconced in mid-table, but it was the hosts who deservedly took the spoils in a fractious match. With John Main.
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There were TWO screens in the clubhouse bar, one screening the match outside and the second, smaller screen to the right, showing Burnley 1 Manchester United 1, in the Premier League!
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Saturday 12th February 2022
Isthmian League South Central Division
South Park 0
Hanwell Town 0
Referee:- C Barnett.                                        Attendance:- 95
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£9).               Programme:- £2.00
A trip by train down to Reigate and a substantial repast at The Beehive, a hostelry of some repute, before the visit to South Park’s small stadium which has a couple of Meccano stands behind one goal, seating perhaps 150 spectators, a substantial changing room area down one side with a refreshment kiosk at one end and a lorry container magically transformed into a boardroom! In midweek, the high flying Sparks mauled Marlow Town by 5-0. Today, they came up against sterner stuff in the shape of Hanwell Town and from very early on it was pretty obvious that 0-0 would be the most likely outcome. In a fractious match of few chances neither side were able to impose themselves, even when the visitors were reduced to ten men near the end, there was never a sniff of a goal! With Phil Evans, who took me for a meal in The Beehive before the match!.
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Monday14th February 2022
Pitching-in Southern League Premier Division Central
Hitchin Town 1
Redditch United 1
Referee:- J Gibson.                                                  Attendance:- 302
Admission:- OMGDS £8.00 (£12) on line only.   Programme:- £2.50
Best part of two years since my last visit and many changes. The wooden terracing has been swept away and replaced by a new covered area with metal terracing behind the near goal, the refreshment kiosk has been moved along the side of the ground and there is evidence, in parts, of new security fencing. On the pitch, poor old Hitchin are struggling, rooted to the foot of the table. The first period was dreadful, but after the break, both teams came out with greater determination. The hosts struck just before the hour mark, but couldn’t hold out and the visitors scored with a scant seven minutes remaining.
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The new covered standing area behind the near goal with metal terracing replacing the original wooden steps.
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Wednesday 16th February 2022
Notts Senior Cup Quarter-final
Ollerton Town 2
Jacques Etia 52, Sean Dickinson 55,
Carlton Town 3
Nathan Watson 6, 13, Aaron O’Connor 78,
Referee:-                                                                    Attendance:- 94
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5).                    Programme:- £1.50
We arrived in Sheffield for the League One match between Sheffield Wednesday and Accrington Stanley, just in time to find that it had been called off due to a waterlogged pitch! Hurrying back southwards amidst Storm Dudley, we popped into Ollerton Town for a fast and furious Notts Senior Cup tie. Carlton Town, the visitors, play some two divisions higher than the hosts and, with a strong wind at their backs, soon established a two goal advantage. After the interval, the hosts equalised within ten minutes and the game hung in the balance until Aaron O’Connor’s 78th minute winning strike. With son, Mike and grandson, Freddie.
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Thursday 17th February 2022
EUFA Europa Conference Knock-out Round
Leicester City 4
Wilfrid Ndidi 23, Harvey Barnes 49, Patson Daka 54, Kiernan Dewsbury Hall 74,
Randers FC 1
Vito Hammershoy-Mistrati 45,
Referee:- Radu Perrescu (Roumania).                   Attendance:- 25,242
Admission:- OMGDS £9.50 (£15).                        Programme:- £3.00
A very relaxing evening if you were a Foxes fan, Premiership worries shelved temporarily and a convincing victory against Danish Side, Randers FC. It was an entertaining contest. At the interval, the sides were level, the visitors having cancelled out Wilfred Ndidi’s 23rd minute opener, but three unanswered second half strikes deservedly handed the victory to Leicester City. With son, Mike, grandson, Freddie, and John Main.
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Son, Mike and grandson, Freddie.
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Saturday 19th February 2022
Hampshire Premier League Senior Division
Denmead 2
Harvey Hawkins 42, 76,
Sway 1
Kejuan Barrow 85,
Referee:- Thomas Wells.                                     Attendance:- 18
Admission:- F.O.C.                                           Programme:- £2.00
The aftermath of Storm Eunice left a swathe of postponed fixtures – including ours at United Services Portsmouth, but not before we’d arrived there! A hurried change of plan saw us make the short journey to Havant for a first match in The Hampshire Premier League at Front Lawn, the 3G home of Denmead. Second in the table in only their second season in the league, they have high hopes of progress into The Wessex League … but there is much work to be done to bring the ground up to standard. Today, they made heavy weather in cold, blustery conditions of defeating middle of the table, Sway. A goal in each half for the hosts and a late, late consolation for the visitors. With John Main, Chris Berezai, Craig Dabbs and Phil Page.
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From the left: Ed, John Main, Craig Dabbs, Phil Page and Chris Berezai
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Tuesday 22nd February 2022
National League North
Kettering Town 2
Callum Stead 67, Jordon Crawford 71,
AFC Telford United 2
Jason Oswell 3, 54,
Referee:- Stephen Parkinson.                          Attendance:- 605
Admission:- OMGDS £10.00 (£15).              Programme:- £2.00
Gone are the glory days of Rockingham Road and regular crowds well in excess of 1,000. Latimer Park is a poor replacement, despite substantial development and the general impression is of a ground with a patchwork of stands and covered terracing, but not in the same class as other grounds in the division. The hosts were behind after only three minutes to a resurgent Telford side and they found themselves two goals down, ten minutes into the second half. They battled back well and drew level with twenty minutes to go. A draw was a fair result in a match where the ball spent a great deal of time up in the air!
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Wednesday 23rd February 2022
FA Women’s National League Division 1 Midlands
Leafield Athletic Ladies 1
Chloe Shirley 12,
Solihull Moors Women 1
Tiana Russell-Cartwright 8, Harley Savage (GK) s/o 83,
Referee:- Guy Thrower.                                      Attendance:- 52
Admission: OMGDS £1.00 (£4).                 Programme:- NONE
The hosts normally play their home games at Highgate United, but with that ground waterlogged, the match was switched at short notice to Studley’s 3G pitch. Apart from the pitch and a rail round it and hardstanding on all four sides, there is nothing more to add than a Meccano stand seating, perhaps, 100 souls. There was plenty of entertainment as these two sides slugged it out. Both goals were scored in the opening 12 minutes, but the keen competitive edge was maintained right through to the very end when the visiting custodian was dismissed for a Dogso offence.
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Saturday 26th February 2022
Wessex League Premier Division
Horndean 0
Brockenhurst 0
Referee:- John Foster.                          Official Attendance:- 116
Admission: OMGDS £3.00 (£5).      Programme:- £1.00
They could have played until the middle of next week and still they wouldn’t have scored. Second and third in the table cancelled each other out and they have it all to do again in the return fixture, next Saturday. Fortunately, I will be at The North-West hop! Five Heads Park is a rustic, but tiny ground, open on only three sides with a well stocked refreshment hut and a clubhouse and bar outside across the car park. The hundred seater stand is very cramped, but the officials were very friendly and helpful. The official attendance was 116, but there were at least 140 people there!
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Monday 28th February 2022
Southern League Premier Division Central
Hitchin Town 1
Jacob Hutchinson 55,
Tamworth 1
James Hurst 82,
Referee:- G. Swanton.                                       Attendance: 412
Admission: OMGDS £8.00 (£12).               Programme:- £2.50
It’s Monday so it must be Hitchin Town! After a good win at the weekend lifted them off the bottom of the table, the Canaries still found themselves four points from safety and tonight’s encounter did them no favours. Tamworth are one of the teams they have to catch to maintain their status, but after taking the lead ten minutes into the second half, they conceded with a scant seven minutes remaining. Relentless rain made conditions difficult, but a draw was a fair result.
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Other Matches:

Wednesday 2nd February 2022
Midland Midweek Floodlit Youth League Eastern Division
Rugby Borough Juniors 2 Bedworth United u18  4                      Attendance:- 61
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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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January 2022

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And, sorry I could not travel both

and be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

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Then took the other, just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

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And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

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I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – 

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

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by Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)

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Saturday 1st January 2022
Isthmian League South East Division
Phoenix Sports 0
Corinthian 1
Joshua Stirman 8,
Referee:- Dan Doyle.                                         Attendance:- 183
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£9).                  Programme:- On Line
Leyton Orient v Bristol Rovers was the menu of the day, with hospitality, but on the train down to London … COVID-19 intervened and the match was postponed! A quick train journey to Barnehurst and this was a pretty good replacement match, a fairly basic ground with two Meccano stands down one side, a bar with large screen football, free teamsheets and a food outlet, but, sadly, the hosts are struggling this season, whilst the visitors are riding high. The only goal was scored early in the first half!
Phil Evans and Chris Berezai and I went to this match. The rest of the Leyton Orient party went to see Sutton United defeat Exeter City 2-1 in League 2 at Gander Green Lane. On the way from the station at Barnehurst to the ground, I slipped on the stairs and badly grazed my hand, with which I was trying to protect my I-phone!
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Monday 3rd January 2022 kick-off: 11.00am
Southern Combination League Division 1
Worthing United 1
Dan Hills 30,
Hailsham Town 1
Connor Townsend 82,
Referee:- M Spence.                                    Attendance:- 61
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5).           Programme:- F.O.C.
Ignoring the tautology of the league title, Lyons Lane, home of Worthing United, is a quirky little stadium with around 150 seats and hard standing on three sides, set into a fairly steep hillside. Today’s match survived the recent weather, but these two teams are struggling at the wrong end of the table and the hosts have no win in ten matches. They took a first half lead, but were never completely comfortable and conceded the equaliser some ten minutes from the end. With John Main.
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Monday 3rd January 2022
Wessex League Division 1
Petersfield Town 3
Aaron Akoman-Emilepa 19, Paul Agreseyi 29, Brendan Jewell 60,
Andover 2
David Jerrard 68, Owen Trapnell 89,
Referee:- Catalin Tanase. Attendance:- 174
Admission:- OMGDS £4.00 (£6). Programme:- ON LINE
At Love Lane, Petersfield’s well appointed, but sadly, neglected, Stadium, the visitors, Andover Town, who currently hold second place in the division, suffered only their third league defeat of the season in a match of high intensity and determination from both sides. There were seven bookings, including a player sent to the sin bin, in a tasty, rip-roaring contest, which the lowly hosts won by the skin of their teeth. They led by 3-0 with a scant twenty minutes to go, but conceded two and clung on like grim death at the finish! Great game! With John Main.
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Tuesday 4th January 2022
United Counties League Premier Division North
Loughborough Students 0
Leicester Nirvana 1
Ethan Hulley 35,
Referee:- Stephen Davies.                                          Attendance:- 144
Admission: OMGDS £2.50 (£5).                              Programme:- £2.00
Football is a funny game! For the first half at Holywell, this evening, the students battered Nirvana and bottled them up in their own half, and then, just before the interval, they gifted them a goal. In the second half, they never regained the initiative and the visitors stole the points and the victory!
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Saturday 8th January 2022
Central Midlands League Premier Division North
SJR Worksop 3
Jaden Thackeray 2, Matthew Templeton 52, Daniel Wiltshire 86,
Dinnington Town 3
Brandon Ashmore 32, 58, 68,
Referee:- Phillip Campbell.                                            Attendance:- 66
Admission:- £3.00.                                                    Programme:- £1.50
A strong plastic fence surrounded the ground, but there was no cover, nor any hard standing. Despite the morning’s heavy downpour, the pitch was soft, but eminently playable. There was a club house, serving drinks and snacks about a hundred yards from the main pitch and across the cricket pitch, and team lists were readily available. St Joseph’s Rockware took a second minute lead, but were pegged back by half-time. The visitors took the lead twice in the second half, and each time looked worthy winners, but the hosts never gave up and eventually deserved a share of the spoils.
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Tuesday 11th January 2022
Southern Combination League Division 1
Oakwood 2
Sam Cane 24 (pen), Vitor Razeka 76,
Epsom & Ewell 3
Steven Springett 4, Luke Miller 27, Jamie Byatt 87,
Referee:- John Patrick Kane.                                           Attendance:- 64
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5).                           Programme:- on line
About ten miles down the M23 in the borough of Crawley, a long winding track leads to The South Sports Ground, home of Oakwood. The ground is basic and a tad careworn, with a 60 seater stand and hard standing on only two sides of the pitch, but there was a warm welcome and hot tea and coffee in the bar! The visitors have designs on promotion, but they made hard work of this victory, twice conceding the lead and only notching the winning goal in the final five minutes of a contest they dominated from start to finish.
Before the match, John and I went to a nearby sandwich bar for cheese baguettes (in my case) and ham for John.
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Saturday 15th January 2022
Western League Premier Division
Tavistock 3
Liam Prynn 13, 63, Dan Keith 57,
Cadbury Heath 1
George Boon 61,
Referee:- Nigel Lawrence.                                                    Attendance:- 158
Admission:- OMGDS £4.00 (£6).                                     Programme:- £1.00
Nestling in a fold on the edge of town, Langford Park looked recently developed, although the bar was across the car park. Seating for maybe a couple of hundred but no access behind the far goal. Plenty of very friendly officials and excellent Cornish pasties, but the hosts, who hadn’t played since Boxing Day, looked rusty and should have been a couple down after only fifteen minutes. They rallied and conjured up a half-time lead. Two further second half strikes, either side of a Cadbury goal, saw them safely home. It was a round trip of nearly five hundred miles!
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Tuesday 18th January 2022
Southern Combination League Premier Division
Alfold 1
Kelvin Lucas 37,
Littlehampton Town 2
Dion Jarvis 17, 54,
Referee:- John Pike.                                          Attendance:- 65
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£6).                  Programme:- £2.00
The Recreation Park at Alfold is a fairly Spartan accommodation with one Meccano stand seating perhaps eighty souls and adjacent to it, a terraced covered area. There was hard standing on three sides only, but a large club house and bar. The hosts, sixth from the foot of the table were entertaining the league leaders, so it was little surprise that the points went to the visitors. However, the hosts distinguished themselves and put up spirited resistance and, with a little more luck, might have pulled off a draw. Good match! With John Main and Ian Royer.
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Yours truly forlornly sat at the near end of the stand!
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Saturday 22nd January 2022
Sky-Bet EFL Championship
AFC Bournemouth 0
Hull City 1
Ryan Longman 77
Referee:- Michael Donohue.                                              Attendance:- 8,823
Admission:- Hospitality.                                             Programme:- incl. (£3)
First impressions are of how small the ground is and of just how good the hospitality is. The game, itself, was a tight affair. The hosts spurned several first half opportunities, whilst in the second period, a far more determined Hull side came out and snuffed away any threat. The only goal came after 77 minutes.
Sadly, Mike and Freddie weren’t able to come because they were booked in to watch Tess doing her performance in  “High School Musical” at The Cube in Corby. The following day, Charlotte and I went to see it, too! I was a bit upset because I put these matches on mainly for my children and grand children, but this year, we also had a small commemoration for Graeme Askham and I invited Dave Phillipson down from Hull  (his friend, Phil Grayson) died last November from cancer and COVID-19 complications. Also good to see Rob Hardcastle and Jack Warner, who hasn’t been for a few years, and who gave permission for a few additional photographs on the match (see below, copyright Jack Warner). It was a good day and an exceedingly easy trip by the minibus that I had hired to take the Corby contingent to the match.
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From the left: Eddie McGeown, Jack Warner, John Lord, Phil Evans, Rose Askham, Rob Hardcastle, Dave Phillipson, Chris Berezai
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From the left: Aman Singh, Jim McGeown, Jonny Crane, Sonny McGeown, Kingsley McGeown, Daz Bibby
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Tuesday 25th January 2022
Eastern Counties League 1st Division South
Buckhurst Hill 9
Nathan Sollosi 1, 11, 35, Fehinti Fall 33, 78, 90, Suleyman Zuhdu 42, 73, Sam Sollosi 87,
Wormley Rovers 1
Car Clark 25, Miller Allen s/o (DOGSO) 69,
Referee:- Dele Sotimitin.                             Attendance:- 151
Admission:- OMGDS £4.00 (£6).             Programme:- included
Buckhurst Hill’s first season at step 6 with floodlights installed and hardstanding all round and a stand for perhaps 100 spectators, but the ground has a bleak, empty feel about it, not so the team, who wrapped up a comprehensive and well deserved victory in front of a quite healthy attendance. With John Main, and good to see Laurence and Robyn, Andy and Frank amongst other hoppers for this rare Buckhurst midweek fixture.
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Yours truly entering the ground!
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Saturday 29th January 2022
Wessex League Premier Division
Hamworthy United 4
Max Wilcock 4, 61, Lee Francis 50, Jack Covell 86,
Amesbury Town 0
Referee:- Sean Jenkins.                                           Attendance:- 108
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£7).                     Programme:- £2.00
Blandford Close, the home of The Dorset County FA, has a 3G pitch and a seated stand down one side, with cover behind the near goal. There was a very warm welcome, a well stocked kitchen adjacent to a roomy bar. The hosts are currently challenging for the Wessex League title, with promotion in their sights. Poor Amesbury are propping up the table and at least a dozen points from safety. It wasn’t a classic. Hamworthy scored four and should have doubled that score, with several good chances going begging! Come the end of the season, these clubs will be going in opposite directions. With John Main and Chris Berezai.
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From the beach we saw an intrepid hang glider surfing the waves before the match!
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Other Matches:

Thursday 13th January 2022

Leicestershire Senior Midweek Floodlit Youth League

Aylestone Park 13  GNG Oadby Town 1                  attendance:- 47

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Friday 14th January 2022

FA Youth Cup 4th Round

Leicester City U18 1  Crewe Alexandra U18 0        attendance:- 448

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Monday 17th January 2022

FA U23 Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 1         attendance:- 230

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Monday 24th January 2022

Midland Midweek Floodlit