June 2018

A Hand in the Bird

I am a maiden who is forty,
And a maiden I shall stay.
There are some who call me haughty,
But I care not what they say.
.
I was running the tombola
At our church bazaar today,
And doing it with great gusto
In my usual jolly way ….
.
When suddenly, I knew not why,
There came a funny feeling
Of something crawling up my thigh
I nearly hit the ceiling
.
A mouse! I thought. How foul! How mean!
How exquisitely tickly!
Quite soon I know I’m going to scream.
I’ve got to catch it quickly.
.
I made a grab. I caught the mouse,
Now right inside my knickers.
A mouse my foot! It was a HAND!
Great Scott! It was the vicar’s!

(by Roald Dahl 1916 – 90)

.

Ah well, it’s got nothing to do with football but it is the silly season! Only seven games in June, this year, and the new season starts in July. I did, however, manage a short trip across The Irish Sea with Chris Berezai. We flew to Dublin and drove a hire car from there to Cork. It was considerably cheaper to do that than to fly directly to Cork. Flew in on the Monday and returned the following day. Had a wonderful couple of days in Cork and Cobh (The Titanic’s last port of call) and then drove the 165 miles (or 264km) back to Dublin. Other than that it was The CONIFA (Confederation of Independent FAs)  World Cup and, at the last, a single match in The Summer League at Osmaston Polo Club, preceded by a handsome repast in The Coach & Horses in Brailsford.

Saturday 2nd June 2018
CONIFA World Cup Group D

United Koreans of Japan 0

Kabylie 0
Referee:- Leon Dastych.                                         Attendance:- 302
Admission:- OMGDS £6.00 (£11)                       Programme:- £5.00
Wow! What a difference since my last visit! The ground, then, was decrepit and careworn. Today, the whole place had been rebuilt in a very positive and effective fashion with a 3G pitch and new stand and tarmac footing all round. Very impressive! Sadly, the match did not live up to it’s surroundings, but the colourful and noisy fans – especially of Kabylie – more than made up for the lack of goals. Sad to say a serious injury to a Kabylie player meant a fifty minute wait for medical assistance!!!

Saturday 2nd June 2018
CONIFA World Cup Group D

Punjab 0

Western Armenia 1

Vahagn Militosyan
Referee:- Kristian Michel.                                            Attendance:- 462
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£11)                         Programme:- £5.00
First visit to an impressive council owned ground with a 3G pitch. Hard to believe that Panjab hit seven in their last match. They hardly had a chance in this one! The impressive Vahagn Militosyan scored the only goal, but his side won fairly comfortably. Very impressed with the officials who ensured that we had team sheets and official tickets (which weren’t issued at the gate!) and the official attendance and even provided funds for a half-time coffee!!!

Monday 4th June 2018
Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division

Cork City 4

Karl Sheppard 7, 47,

Kievau Sadlier 74,

Graham Cummins 85,

Derry City 2

Ronan Curtis 68,

Ronan Hale 72,
Referee:- Robert Hennessey                                 Attendance:- 3,865
Admission:- OMGDS €5 (€15)                                  Programme:- €3
Probably the longest trip in the League of Ireland from Derry in the Province down to Cork on The Republic’s far south coast, this match in blazing sunshine on a bank holiday was a cracker! Derry certainly weren’t here for the ride! They went two down, but fought back to parity with fifteen minutes to go. A crumbling defensive wall saw them concede a third and the fourth was the icing on the cake for reigning champions, Cork City who returned to the top of the table with this victory!

Monday 4th June 2018
Airtricity League of Ireland Division 1

Cobh Ramblers 0

Galway United 0
Referee:- John Gregg Official                                           Attendance:- 323

Admission:- OMGDS €5  (€10)                                        Programme:- €3
The second match of this Irish Republic Bank Holiday double kicked off just down the coast from Cork at 7.15pm. The Rambler’s ground at St Colman’s Park has seating all down one side and behind one goal, with terracing along the opposite side and hard standing behind the opposite goal. Despite the scoreline, this was a pulsating encounter, especially in the second half as the hosts, struggling, this season, in the nether reaches of the table fought tenaciously against their high flying opponents. A draw, in the end, was a fitting result!!!

Thursday 7th June 2018
CONIFA World Cup Semi-final A

Northern Cyprus 3

Billy Osman 39, 84,

Halil Turon 79,

Padania 2

Ricardo Rasasi 28,

Nicolo Daman 45,
Referee:- Dimitrii Zhukov.                                       Attendance:- 311
Admission:- £12.00.                                            Programme:- £5.00
Both semi-finals were held at The War Memorial Ground, Colston Avenue, the home of Carshalton Athletic. The first semi-final saw the Northern Cypriots triumph over the Italians, but only after a titanic struggle, urged on by their vociferous fan base and a drummer of some intensity. Even so, it took two goals in the final ten minutes to pull back the deficit and finally send them through to the final!

Thursday 7th June 2018
CONIFA World Cup Semi-final B

Karpatalya 4

George Toma 22, 75,

Gergely Kunki 58,

Csaba Peres 90+2

Szekely Land 2

Norbert Benke- Biro 78,

Barna Bajko 79,
Referee:- Mark Clattenberg.                                        Attendance:- 491
Admission:- £12.00.                                                 Programme:- £5.00
An even larger crowd attended the second contest for the right to meet Northern Cyprus in the final. Karpatalya had a single goal half-time lead, but only courtesy of a penalty saved by Barna Nagy from Alex Svedjuk in the 39th minute! In the second half, Karpatalya eased into a 3-0 lead. Back came Szekely with two goals in the final fifteen minutes AND a host of missed chances for an equaliser, only for a break away goal in added time to confirm a deserved victory for Karpatalya.

Thursday 21st June 2018
(Ashbourne) Summer League

Osmaston 2

Rich Bailey 32, 38,

Biggin 1

Tom Mellor 61,
Referee:- Syd Atwal. Attendance:- 26
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- NONE
The Osmaston Polo Ground was bathed in sunlight, but with a biting breeze for this re-arranged Summer League fixture. Three points separated these teams in third and fifth place and a well deserved home victory saw the hosts draw level with their rivals. Two first half goals proved decisive for the hosts who had to hold off a determined response from the visitors in the second half. With John Main

“Cura et Industria” – By Care and Hard Work

 

___________________________________________________________________________

Matches:-
This Month:-    matches:- 7              new grounds:-  3
This Season:-   matches:- 235         new grounds:- 111
Total:-             matches:- 3,932      new grounds:- 1,451

 

 

 

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May 2018

The pitch upon the village green

Still sparkles with its morning dew

Except, that is, for one mysterious patch.

We fasten Timmy’s dog lead to a bench.

.

Descending from a battered van

The opposing team are not what we expect

Older and scowling, oddly kitted out

Their goalie has an eye patch and a beard.

.

The referee too has a sinister air

Arriving out of breath and with a limp.

He keeps the ball clutched closely to his chest

And seems unwilling to relax his grip.

.

‘This lot aren’t Barford Rovers, that’s for sure,’

We whisper as we line up on the pitch

Julian pretends to tie a bootlace up

And tells the rest of us he’s got a plan.

from “The Famous Five-a-Side” by Allan Ahlberg (1937 – )

The cricket season is already in full swing and I have umpired or scored in over twenty matches so far! However, football proceeds deep into May and will possibly carry on into June.  And, of course, there is always The Summer League based in Ashbourne, to look forward to! But first of all, this month’s matches:- 

Thursday 3rd May 2018
Kershaw Cambridgeshire County League Senior A

Bar Hill 4

Ashley Shipp 8, 76 (pen), 79

Chris Brown 83,

Over Ports 0
Referee:- Phil Crossland.                                              Attendance:- 45
Admission F.O.C.                                                   Programme:- NONE
Bar Hill are on course for the championship and promotion to the premier division, but they have been unable to play any games on their home ground since last November. Cambourne Sports Centre is some five miles from their home, but they have still managed to pursue their promotion push. Over Sports were relegated from the top division last season and presently lie in fifth place, but after providing stern opposition for seventy-five minutes, they conceded three late goals and were well beaten at the final whistle.

Friday 4th May 2018
UEFA Under-17 Championship Group A

Italy 2

Jean Freddi Pascal Greco 22

Manu Emmanuel Gyabuaa 64,

Switzerland 0
Referee:- Zbynek Proske (CZE).                                          Attendance:- 488
Admission:- £2.00.                                                            Programme:- F.O.C.
This was one of the opening games of the tournament, played at The FA’s lavish headquarters at St George’s Park. Other venues include Walsall, Rotherham United, Chesterfield and Loughborough University. The healthy attendance was bolstered by large numbers of disinterested Primary School pupils. Italy won the game at a canter in a group that also includes Israel and …….. England!

Friday 4th May 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1

S&L Corby 1

George McKay 90+3

Irchester United 1

Martin Brown 69,
Referee:- Cameron Smith.                                                     Attendance:- 21
Admission:- £3.00.                                                        Programme:- NONE
Thirty-three defeats from thirty-seven league games this season sees S&L rooted to the foot of the United Counties League, but a plucky performance this evening saw them snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat with an equaliser in the fourth minute of added time at the end of the match.

 Wednesday 9th May 2018
Total Motion Midland League Division 2

Smithswood Firs 2

Luke Keen 17,

Troy Baker 79,

Fairfield Villa 1

Dan Pitt 51,
Referee:- Guy Thrower.                                                     Attendance:- 41
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
After four consecutive days of officiating at cricket, it was good to get back to a football match! Smithswood Firs play in Solihull just down the road from Hampton FC at The Glades Football Centre. Tonight’s victory was hard earned against a spirited Villa side and ensured promotion for the hosts to Division1.

 Thursday 10th May 2018
EUFA U-17 Championships Group D

Norway 2

Slovenia 0
Referee:- Rob Harvey.                                                    Attendance:- 912
Admission:- £2.00.                                                    Programme:- £1.00
Slovenia lost this match at Loughborough University in the 20th minute with the sending off of captain Tamor Svetlin for a second bookable offence (taking a dive in the penalty area). Norway scored two goals shortly afterwards and the less said about the rest of the match ….. the better!

 Thursday 10th May 2018
Kershaw Cambridgeshire County League 1A

Steeple Morden 3

Luke Gurney 60, 

Jordan Bultitude 67,

Lewis Roskilly 82,

Thaxted Rangers 1

Shane Vince 73,
Referee:- Mark Wilson.                                                        Attendance:- 8
Admission F.O.C.                                                        Programme:- NONE
A very pleasant repast at The Waggon and Horses in the village preceded this entertaining encounter, where I met up with Andy English. Thaxted are challenging for promotion whilst the hosts are mid-table having suffered a 6-1 thrashing on Tuesday! No goals in the first half, but the home side hit the frame of the goal no less than four times. After the break, Steeple Morden took charge and gained a convincing victory.

 Monday 14th May 2018
Total Motion Midland League Division 2

Redditch Borough 6

Dave Phelan (pen) 3,

Ben Cox 9,

Jac Albutt 10, 31,

Billy Garvey 78, 90,

Hampton 0

Simon Hinsley s/o 2,
Referee:- Ian Hopkins.                                                Attendance:- 205
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                Programme:- NONE
On a lovely warm evening, second bottom Redditch Borough gave a serious drubbing to 4th placed Hampton and did their hopes of avoiding relegation a substantial boost! In the first sixteen minutes, there were three goals, two bookings a penalty and a sending-off! Thereafter, the game tailed off until two goals in the final ten minutes sealed the victory.

Wednesday 16th May 2018
Spartan South Midlands League Division 2

Clean Slate 3

Godwin Ameyaw 26, 69,

Tyrelle McLeod Bentley 55,

Pitstone & Ivinghoe 2

Kieran Doughty 46,

Danny O’Donnell 57
Referee:- Geoffrey Blackmore.                                        Attendance:- 19
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
Clean Slate is a church in Milton Keynes with an alternative view of religion. The football team(s) were formed in 2010. They play at Downs Barn with it’s forbidding, foreboding club house and eccentric dug-outs. On a cool, breezy evening, an entertaining encounter see-sawed each way and finally fell in favour of the hosts. It wasn’t until the seventieth minute that I heard the only swear word uttered involuntarily by a home player!

Thursday 17 May 2018
EUFA U-17 Championships Semi-Final k.o. 1.00pm

Italy 2

Emmanuel Gyabuaa 31,

Edouardo Vergani 71

Belgium 1

Yorbe Vertessen 57,
Referee:- Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson.                              Attendance:- 2,429
Admission:- £2.50.                                                          Programme:- £1.00
Rotherham United’s New York Stadium was sparsely populated on a cool breezy lunchtime – mainly with prattling schoolchildren. Italy were the better side and deserved to advance to the final here on Sunday, but Belgium gave them a good scrap and were excellent value for their equaliser, just after half time! Utterly incomprehensible was the club (or tournament) official’s intransigence about issuing team sheets. I had to obtain one by virtual subterfuge. Yet, we saw Italian and Belgian fans openly flaunting them! I can’t understand WHY it is so important to deny the REAL fans the opportunity to know who is actually playing!

Thursday 17th May 2018
EUFA U-17 Championships k.o. 7.00pm

England 0

Netherlands 0
No extra time. Netherlands win 6-5 on penalties
Referee:- Horatiu Fresnic.                                                Attendance:- 7,952
Admission:- £2.50.                                                           Programme:- £1.00
England’s penalty hoodoo struck again at The Proactive Stadium, home of Chesterfield FC on a cool evening with a stiff breeze. The match had 0-0 written all over it, England squandered several early chances, but The Dutch came increasingly into the game in the second half and really should have scored at the death when with the goal gaping, the chance was hurriedly scuffed wise!

Monday 21st May 2018
Midlands Regional Alliance Premier Division

Newhall United 0

Rowsley 86. 3

Anthony Charlton 11,

Liam Hallam 12,

Michael Lettall 13,
Referee:- Chris Pectu.                                                       Attendance:- 18
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
John and Graeme and I enjoyed a chip tea in the town centre before venturing over to St John’s Drive for the match. The Blues stadium was well equipped for this level of football with three areas of cover and one small stand with seats included! On a warm evening, the visitors and champions elect, scored three times in the opening fifteen minutes and largely rested on their laurels for the remainder of the match.

from the left:- Graeme Askham, yours truly and John Main

The thick undergrowth made it impossible to negotiate along behind the goal!!!

Tuesday 22nd May 2018
North Bucks League Premier Division

Wing Village 4

Ross Elliott 7,

Reece Mills 12,

Brett Robinson 64,

Dan Spence 83,

Duston Dynamos 2

Jack McLoughlin 44,

Richie Collier 49
Referee:- Adam Jackson.                                                  Attendance:- 21
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                    Programme:- NONE
A pretty big village, not far from Leighton Buzzard, with a busy main road adjoining the ground and there were half a dozen or more ‘hoppers’ in attendance at this match. Neither team have set the league alight this season, but the visitors have big plans to win back their place in The United Counties at the end of next season. They also have a young striker (he scored this evening) who is, apparently, being closely monitored by several clubs from higher echelons! The hosts, who were badly defeated by the bottom club in their last home fixture, deservedly came out on top in this lack lustre encounter – despite the generous scoreline!

A bevy of hoppers occupy the main stand!

Wednesday 23rd May 2018
North Bucks League Division 1

Steeple Claydon 4

Gareth Dench 28,

John Patterson 42,

Ben Chittenden 63,

David Beckett 71,

Stewkley Reserves 3

Chris Collins 5, 54,

Tyler Trower 69,
Referee:- James Ward.                                                          Attendance:- 18
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                        Programme:- NONE
Florence Nightingale has connections with the village. Apparently, she stayed at Claydon house and supported a local charity. A clock on the Recreation Ground commemorates her association. Six ‘hoppers’, including Les Bull, Paul White, John Main and Lee West, were in attendance as an end to end seesaw of a match finally – and deservedly – ended in victory for the hosts on a cool, breezy evening with rain in the air.

Saturday 26th May 2018
North Bucks & District League Premier Division

Duston Dynamos 2

Jack McLaughlin 18, 49,

Potterspury 3

Ollie Whittome 36,

Adam Kelly 55, 80,
Refere:- Ebby Saleh                                                        Attendance:- 23
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                  Programme:- NONE
On a very warm, sunny afternoon, the visitors defeated the hosts for the second time in three days to keep their championship hopes alive. Next door, a packed and colourful bowling contest was taking place whilst at the football, most of the attendees were ‘hoppers’. The final match of the season in this league takes place next Tuesday and Potterspury will become champions – but only if they prevail at Stewkley! Will you be there?

Monday 28th May 2018
Midland Regional Alliance Premier Division

Castle Donnington Cobras 7

Kari Munton 5,

Will Pearson 22, 66,

Jack Brownett 29, 

Matthew Brian 35,

Oliver Brown 37, 86,

Newhall United 0
Referee:- Jerome Fields.                                                 Attendance:- 55
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                  Programme:- NONE
Recently formed Cobras share a playing field – but not the same pitch as long term tenants Castle Donnington Town at Moira Dale Recreation Centre in the shadow of East Midlands Airport. This evening, they sealed runners up spot in the league with a game to spare and a resounding thumping of Newhall United. A goalfest of hoppers attended the event!

Tuesday 29th May 2018
North Bucks & District League Premier Division

Potterspury Champions!

Stewkley 1

Jack Howe 20,

Potterspury 8 (eight)

Danny Sheppard 7,

Adam Kelly 15, 76,

Jamie Hall 25, 74, 89,

Andy Ord 65,

Ollie Whittome 85,
Referee:- Ron James.                                                     Attendance:- 69
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                 Programme:- NONE
And so it came to pass, on a murky, breezy, chilly evening, visitors Potterspury swept to victory and took the championship majestically with a crushing defeat of seventh placed Stewkley at The Recreation Ground. Stewkley pressed hard for the opening ten or fifteen minutes, but having conceded against the run of play soon found themselves three down. They pulled a goal back before the interval, but in the second half, they were swept away by a Potterspury master class.

Wednesday 30th May 2018
Leicestershire Senior League Division 1

County Hall 4

Connor Hughes 3,

Lewis Reid 18,

Owen Byrne 26,

Louis Bishop 40

Anstey Town 2

Ben Gibson 25,

Richard Kirk 55,
Referee:- Bill Almen.                                                       Attendance:- 13
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                 Programme:- NONE
John Main and I traipsed Round Leicester – as did a motley crew of ‘hoppers’ – trying to locate this match which eventually brought us to Thurlaston where a step eight club host their home games – with floodlights! On a mizzly, drizzly evening, County Hall were the better side in a high scoring contest.

_________________________________________________________________

OTHER MATCHES:-

Friday 11th May 2018

UEFA U-17 Championships

Bosnia & Herzegovina 0 Republic of Ireland 2      Attendance:- 406

_______________________________________________________________

Friday 11th May 2018

UEFA U-17 Championship

Netherlands 2  Serbia 0                                            Attendance:- 1,186

________________________________________________________________

Matches:-

This month:-  Matches:- 19           New Grounds:- 12
This Season:- Matches:- 228        New Grounds:- 108
TOTAL:-         Matches:- 3,925     New Grounds:- 1,448

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April 2018

Soccer

.

When I hear the whistle
It’s like a cannon
Giving the signal for the game to start
A war between warriors
With a victory on their mind
With the aim of bypassing the keeper,
Getting the ball inside the goal
The ball touching the net
Setting off the crowd
Hearing the screams
From a thousand miles away

.

Jose Santos

Sunday 1st April 2018
FA Women’s Premier League North Division

Leicester City Women 6

Leigh Dugmore 1, 55,

Rosie Axten 33, 40,

Nicole Nymoen 39, 

Ellie May 80,

Wolves Women 0
Referee:- Ian Danson.                                                                 Attendance:- 89
Admission:- £4.00.                                                                  Programme:- incl.
The hosts play their home games on the 3G at Quorn FC and are enjoying a pretty successful season sitting fourth in the division whilst their opponents languish one place from the foot of the table. Leicester Women won this match at a canter hardly moving out of second gear!

Tuesday 3rd April 2018
Sky-Bet EFL Championship

Aston Villa 3

Birkir Bjaarnason 47,

Conor Hourihane 63,

Scott Hogan 70,

Reading 0
Referee:- Darren Bond.                                                   Attendance:- 29,229
Admission:- OMGDS£20 (£30)                                    Programme:- £3.50
A pretty tepid first half saw the visitors down to ten men in the 30th minute (two bookable offences) and this had a major bearing on the outcome. Reading held out until just after half time and eventually conceded three goals. Neither side impressed and I will be more than happy to return to more fascinating adventures in non-League football! With son Mike and grandson Freddie.

Son, Mike and grandson, Freddie

 

Thursday 5th April 2018
Eco-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 South

Carlton Town 1

Kayla Mitchell 8,

Aaron Hooton s/o 26

Corby Town 1

Jake Bettles 69
Referee:- Gareth Davis.                                              Attendance:- 88
Admission:- OMGDS£6.00 (£8)                             Programme:- £2
After a slow-moving start which saw the hosts take the lead, the match warmed up quite nicely with Carlton reduced to ten men midway through the first half. They held the lead until just after the hour mark when Corby drew level and then put increasing and desperate pressure on the home defence. Even an added five minutes couldn’t break the deadlock. Corby hit the post with the last kick of the match!

Grandson, Freddie

Saturday 7th April 2018
FA Premier League

Watford 1

Roberto Preeyra 62,

Burnley 2

Sam Vokes 70, 

Jack Cork 74,
Referee:- Paul Tierney                                                    Attendance:- 20,444
Admission:- Hospitality.                                                Programme (incl) £3.50
Grandson, Freddie, is accumulating grounds a lot faster than I ever did!

What a change at Vicarage Road. The whole ground is now totally enclosed with seated stands all the way round!

Sadly, the team weren’t up to it today. They scored first just after the hour mark, but less than ten minutes later and LESS than ten seconds of being brought on as a substitute, Sam Vokes equalised. Four minutes later they were in front and never looked like relinquishing their hold on victory and the points. Excellent hospitality. Freddie got his picture taken with Luther Blissett!!! One minutes clapping at the start in memory of Ray Wilkins.

Hospitality in The Sir Elton John Suite!

Grandson, Freddie and Luther Blissett

A minutes clapping prior to kick-off in memory of Ray Wilkins who died recently

Tuesday 10th April 2018
Total Motion Midland League Premier Division

Rugby Town 2

Ruben Wiggins-Thomas 69,

Stuart Hendrie 75,

Sporting Khalsa 1

Mykel Beckley 17 (pen),
Referee:- Will Ottaway.                                                           Attendance:- 96
Admission:- OMGDS£4.00 (£8).                                     Programne:- £2.00
Rugby Town’s Butlin Road ground is suited to a much higher level of football. Two years ago, they were playing in The Southern League. This evening, there were given a stern examination by hosts, Khalsa. The visitors single goal half time advantage looked unassailable, but a spate of substitutions saw the hosts first of all equalise and then run in an unlikely winner! By the end of the contest, they looked worthy victors!
With Graeme Askham, we had earlier visited MK Gallacticos only for the match to be called off less than half an hour before kick-off.

Wednesday 11th April 2018
Eco-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 South

Corby Town 1

Ryan Bell 87,

Stamford 1

Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson 31,
Referee:- Robbie Dadley.                                                  Attendance:- 437
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 (£12)                                    Programme:- £2
Didn’t see much of this match as ferocious fog and driving drizzle on a very heavy pitch contrived to limit viewing opportunities! Stamford looked the better side and lead for over an hour, but The Steelmen had a penalty saved, and eventually equalised in the 87th minute. Son, Mike and grandson, Freddie were also there with Gary Miller.

Like grandfather, like grandson, keeping a record of the game!

Thursday 12th April 2018
Eco-Stik Southern League Premier Division

Banbury United 4

Elliot Sandy 16,

Ricky Johnson 45+1

Liam Howards 47,

Amer Awadh 74,

Stratford Town 0
Referee:- Ian Tallis.                            Attendance:- 302
Admission:- £5.00.                        Programme:- £2.00
The match hinged on the early sending off of the visiting goalkeeper who was suspiciously dispossessed in the area and attempted to retrieve the situation by grabbing his opponents ankle. The penalty was converted. Ten man Stratford strived valiantly to keep in touch, but The Puritans ploughed into them and the final result was a four goal thrashing! With sons, Jim and Mike and grandson, Freddie.

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Welsh Spring ‘Hop’ 2018

Friday 13th April 2018
Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division 1

Goytre 1

Kris Leek 17,

Llanelli Town 4

James Loveridge 14, 45+3, 90

Chris Jones 39,
Referee:- Jordan Harman.                                                     Attendance:- 151
Admission:- £5.00.                                                                 Programme:- £1
Hard by Goytre’s neat little football ground is the Mad Dog Brewing company. It would have been churlish not to take a peak – and enjoy a couple of pints of fine ale! Llanelli are runaway leaders of the league and former Chorley giant, Lee Trundle has helped himself to 45 goals this season. He was not to score tonight, but young Jamie Loveridge helped himself to three in an emphatic away victory – and that was despite playing most of the second half with ten men!

Saturday 14th April 2018
Premier League U-18

Swansea City 0

Leicester City. 0
Referee:- Darren Wilding.                                Attendance:- 113
Admission:- F.O.C.                                             Programme:- NONE -free teamsheet
An 11.00am kick-off at the lavish Swansea City Academy at Landore within a stones throw of The Liberty Stadium. Sadly an insipid encounter failed to produce a goal! Arnor Gudjohnsen, brother of former Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea striker, Eidur Gudjohnsen, came on as a Swansea substitute!

Saturday 14th April 2018
Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division 2

Pontardawe Town 1

Josh Roberts 90+1

Aberdare Town. 2

Seb Haggett 48 (pen), 50,
Referee:- Tim Drean.                                                          Attendance:- 109
Admission:- £4.00.                                                             Programme:- £1.00
Lovely afternoon at Park Ynysderw, home of Pontardawe Town. The sun shone and it was seriously warm. Sadly, the home arena couldn’t quite match the weather. For a team at the third level of Welsh football, NOT to have running water in the changing rooms seems a tad remiss! The game was pretty dire, too, enlivened only by two strikes for the visitors in the first five minutes of the second half. The hosts retrieved a goal – but only in the dying moments!

 

Saturday 14th April 2018
Highadmit Projects South Wales Alliance Division 2

Cardiff Hibernian 2

Chris James 32,

Calvin Refill 90+1

AFC Bargoed 2

Aaron Williams 14,

Jordan Thomas 28,
Referee:- Mark Poucher.                Attendance:- 197
Admission:- £3.00.                    Programme:- £1.00
The hosts have moved to a new ground since our last visit a couple of years ago. They now play on a pitch at the former site of Ely Racecourse in Cardiff – a racecourse no longer since 1937! Third bottom of the league, they found themselves two down to bottom club, Bargoed, in a tasty, feisty encounter and it took them until the first minute of added time to drag themselves level against spirited opponents!

Sunday 15th April 2018
Bridgend & District Sunday League Division 1

Wicked 4

Jack Picton 11,

Graham Davies 48, 56,

Kyle Griffiths 87,

Garth Vader 3

Tom Evans 25,

Kurt Vincent 47,

Richard Boydell 76,
Referee:- Goodman Maddox.                                               Attendance:- 47
Admission:- (by programme) £2.00
When you get this low down the pyramid on a filthy, rainswept Sunday morning with a very heavy pitch, the football is definitely of the thud and blunder variety. The hosts are curiously named after The Wicked Lady hostelry in Bridgend. The visitors, despite this defeat, are promoted to the premier division.

Sunday 15th April 2018
South Wales Alliance Division 1

AFC Butetown 1

Ibrahim Farah 80 (pen),

Tonyrefail BGC 1

Jordan Cicigoi 49
Referee:- Graham Evans.                      Attendance:- 120
Admission (by programme):- £2.00
There was a vast chasm between this arena and the Millennium Stadium just visible amongst the high rise flats at one end of the ground!! No TLC had been spared here! The grass was too long and the pitch too bumpy for any decent football. The area felt like Tiger Bay of the 1950s. Neither of these teams were pulling up trees in the league this season and the hosts were in some danger of relegation! A draw was probably a fair result, although the visitors looked the better side.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday 17th April 2018
Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division

Saffron Walden Town 0

Ely City 0
Referee:- – Aaron Farmer.                                        Attendance:- 142
Admission:- £6.00.                                                   Programme:- £1.00
It is a long time since my last visit to The Bloods (2nd January 2008:- Jewsons Eastern Counties League Division 1: Saffron Walden Town 1 Long Melford 0 Attendance:- 151) and there have been several improvements to the stadium with substantial cover on all four sides and seating on three sides of the ground.

A warm welcome and a fine refreshment area, not to mention a large bar suggested that such a club could easily have aspirations to play at a higher level, but they have tried that and the club fell back – and even out of existence for a short while!

Tonight’s encounter came on the back of 1-5 home thrashing at the weekend by Stowmarket Town. This time there was a steely determination from both sides to wrest the victory, but they cancelled each other out in a fine contest and settled for a point apiece!

 

Even after dark, the parish church is lit up with the contest carrying on in the foreground!

Wednesday 18th April 2018
North Bucks League Premier Division

Silverstone 2

Niall Duffy 22,

Robert Kirby 45,

Potterpury 1

Adam Kelly 38,

Referee:- Chris Ball.                                                                     Attendance:- 24
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                                Programme:- NONE
On a fine, cloudless Spring evening with vapour trails chasing across the sky, these two well placed teams fought out an entertaining contest at the village which is the home of British motor racing. A vicious culvert ran down one side of the pitch, a couple of metres wide and two feet of water dared the intrepid player – or spectator to retrieve the ball. 52 year old Jamie Cunningham, who numbers Kettering Town and Kings Lynn amongst his former clubs, led the home attack, but it was the trickery and speed of the diminutive Niall Duffy that brought the goals – one scored and one assist that won the game for the hosts!

Friday 20th April 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

ON Chenecks 0

Cogenhoe 2

Ryan Ansell 51,

Ryan Dove 56,
Referee:- Shaun Barry.                                                 Attendance:- 146
Admission:- £5.00.                                                   Programme:- £1.00
There was a good crowd for this local derby – supplemented by the prawn sandwich brigade from the rugby club veranda overlooking the ground. I hadn’t realised that the hosts had been promoted to The Premier Division last season. Two earlier championship wins had seen them denied promotion on ground grading issues. Tonight, there were decidedly second best to their rivals and the frustration broke through when a truly shocking tackle late in the game was only punished with a yellow card. Good to see Tony Morehead taking in the match en route to a visit to Needham Market on the morrow!

You can just about see the balcony of the rugby club to the right of the picture, from whence spectators could watch with impunity!

Saturday 21st April 2018
Southern Counties East League Premier Division

Sevenoaks Town 2

Frankie Sawyer 8 (pen), 67 (pen),

Sheppey United 5

Dan Bradshaw 4, 14, 35, 79,

Demell Davis 73,
Referee:- Joseph Dann-Pye.                                            Attendance:- 364
Admission:- £7.00.                                                        Programme:- £1.00
Champions elect, Sevenoaks Town suffered a rare, heavy and deserved defeat at the hands of mid-table Sheppey United. The weather was sunny and very warm and John and I enjoyed a fine repast at The King’s Head, a hostelry on the outskirts of the town.

The pitch is 3G and the ground is a mish-mash of Meccano stands and portakabins, with a garden summerhouse as the directors board room! The large crowd came to claim the championship. The hosts may have much to do in their last three games – all away- to make certain of the title!

A fine repast at a hostelry of some repute!

Spectators could watch for free from the embankment behind the far goal!

Tuesday 24th April 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Eynesbury Rovers 3

James Tricks 39,

Dan Quigley 48 (og),

Luis Vieira 58

ON Chenecks 2

Sam Watkins 44,

Brandon Williams 90+2,
Referee:- Andrew Hitchcock.                                  Attendance:- 40
Admission:- pay what you like (£3)                       Programme:- £1
On a cold, rainswept evening in Huntingdonshire, these two teams served up a cracker of a match which belied the end of season, meaningless encounter that this contest could have become!

The hosts are evidently sprucing up their arena to meet the ground grading requirements of the FA with a new stand being erected behind one goal and hard standing around the perimeter, but they are not happy about the expense involved and tonight’s attendance put that into sharp perspective!

Wednesday 25th April 2018
Vanarama National League North

Brackley Town 1

James Armson 18 (pen)

Chorley 2

Marcus Carver 25,

Dale Whitham 51,
Referee:- Dean Hulme.                                              Attendance:- 275
Admission:- OMGDS£6.00 (£12)                           Programme:- £2
A fine rainbow at the start of the match did little to dissuade the precipitation – or to aid the hosts in their quest for victory! They did score first, but The Magpies equalised midway through the first half and took the lead early in the second period. Thereafter, despite strong pressure, the visitors comfortably hung on for the win which cemented sixth place in the league (and a place in the play-offs) with but one game to go!

 

Saturday 28th April 2918
Sky-Bet EFL Championship

Burton Albion 2

Hope Akpan 28,

Lucas Akins 36,

Bolton Wanderers 0
Referee:- Graham Scott.                                                      Attendance:- 6,535
Admission:- OMGDS£18 (£20)                                           Programme:- £3
Not a good day for Notlob, they look doomed. Under grey skies and rain, they were dismantled by two first half strikes and though they showed more spirit in the second half, they had neither the skill nor the ability to disturb The Brewers equilibrium. First time this season that the hosts had a crowd of over six thousand and the away end was sold out! With son Mike, and grandson Freddie (who has already got eighteen league grounds to his name!).

Grandson, Freddie

Our view from behind the goal at the opposite end to the away supporters.

Monday 30th April 2018
Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 South & West

North Leigh 0

Cinderford Town 3

Richard Greaves 6, 90+3,

James Harding 45,
Referee:- Martyn Gospel.                                                Attendance:- 50
Admission:- £8.00.                                                    Programme:- £1.00
Contrary to reports, North Leigh are NOT resigning from The Southern League! We parked the car beside the cricket field adjacent to the ground where arrows were flying around in archery practice! The hosts were well beaten on the evening and were lucky to lose by only three goals.

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OTHER MATCHES:-

Wednesday 4th April 2018

National League U-19 Alliance:-

Nuneaton Town U-19  5  Mansfield Town Brooksby  0                         Attendance;- 17

_________________________________________________________________________________

Monday 9th April 2018

Premier League 2 Cup Quarter-final

Leicester City U23   2  Wolverhampton Wanderers U23  1                  Attendance:- 293

________________________________________________________________________________

Monday 23rd April 2018

Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City U-23  3  Derby County U-23  1                                   Attendance:- 2,116

_______________________________________________________________________________

Friday 27th April 2018

Premier League 2 Cup Semi-final

Leicester City U-23  2  Aston Villa U-23  3                                         Attendance:- 1,134

_______________________________________________________________________________

Matches:-

This month:-             Matches:- 25                New Grounds:- 8

This Season:-            Matches:- 209             New Grounds:- 96

TOTAL                       Matches:- 3,906          New Grounds:- 1,436

 

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March 2018

Everton supporters song from the 1960s

.

Bless ’em all

Bless ’em all

Bless ’em all

The long and the short and the tall

Bless wee Alex and Royston, too

Bless all the boys that are playing in Blue

Can you identify the two Everton players mentioned in the ditty?

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.

.

Saturday 3rd March 2018
FA Premier League

Leicester City 1

Riyad Mahrez 90+7

AFC Bournemouth 1

Josh King 35 (pen)
Referee:- Lee Probert                                 Attendance:- 31,384
Admission:- semi-hosp                             Programme:- included (£3.50)
There was very little football around today because of the snow and Graeme and I decided to take the easy option of a visit to The King Power Stadium with a modicum of pampering! The game was nothing to write home about and I don’t think that Leicester City and Claude Puel fit together very well. Wilfred Ndidi had an off day and the visitors were tenacious in their determination to upset the host’s rhythm. Bournemouth scored well into the first half and held that lead until the seventh minute of added time at the end of the second half. A free kick, well outside the penalty area was rifled in by Riyad Mahrez and the relief of the home fans at gaining this unlikely point, was palpable!

Monday 5th March 2018
Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City 4

Harvey Barnes 2, 48,

George Thomas 32,

Sam Hughes 84,

Liverpool 0
Referee:- Christopher O’Donnell                                          Attendance:- 2,752
Admission:- OMGDS £1.00 (£3)                                          Free Teamsheet
This match between second and top in the division went emphatically the way of the hosts who took over Liverpool’s long held first position. The match was held at The King Power Stadium and there was a healthy attendance for the top of the table clash. Leicester were dominant throughout and scored after only two minutes. Liverpool never really got going and the scoreline could have been worse for them! John Main was in raptures, young Freddie was underwhelmed. Graeme and I just enjoyed a very entertaining match!

Tuesday 6th March 2018

Sky-Bet EFL Championship

Burton Albion  0

Brentford 2

Kyle McFadzean (og) 59

Ollie Watkins 80

Referee:- Tony Harrington                        Attendance:- 3,464

Admission:- OMGDS £18.00  (£24)         Programme:- £3.00

The Pirelli Stadium looked pretty full, but in reality it was a pitiful attendance for The Championship. It is amazing how Albion have survived two seasons at this level, competing with some big names like Aston Villa and Leeds United (to mention but two). The first half was dire with both sides seemingly intent on avoiding defeat. The second half was considerably better with The Bee’s half-time cuppa having been accompanied by stern words of encouragement. The visitors gradually assumed control of this match and a couple of goals was no more than they deserved. Burton were never really in the hunt, although they did test the visiting custodian on a couple of occasions! I went with my son, James and Jonny Crane, a lifelong Brentford fan.

It was all a far cry from my first visit to see Burton Albion in The (Multipart) Northern Premier League on 21st February 1987 at their old and quaint ground at Eton Park. Chorley were the visitors that day and they lost to a Gauden goal in the first half in front of a crowd of 729.

Wednesday 7th March 2018
Chromasport & Trophies Peterborough & District League
Premier Division

Warboys Town 0

Moulton Harrox 11 (eleven)

Marcus Parry 3, 20,

Billy King 30,

Matt Duncan (og) 39,

Danny Lambe-Hyner 44, 67, 86,

Louis Steadman 49, 75, 88, 89,
Referee:- Craig Hardy                                                        Attendance:- 45
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                     Programme:- NONE
The last time I visited Forge Way was on 9th December 2000, (Jewsons Eastern Counties League Premier Division: Warboys Town 1 Woodbridge Town 1 Attendance:- 46). Tonight’s attendance was almost exactly the same, but the team had dropped a couple of divisions in the meantime. However, they had acquired a lovely new club house with a bar and hall and a lounge. In the hall, an art group were busy with their paintings. Moulton Harrox used this game in hand to regain top spot in the Premier Division and they fully deserved the scoreline and maybe should have had more! Warboys Town are a top half side, but they were blown away like confetti by the panzer divisions of the visitors. It was a massacre! It was very good, however, to see a match totally bereft of cards of any colour!

 

 

 

Friday 9th March 2018

Cambridge University AFL Cuppers FINAL

Fitzwilliam College  6

Girton College  1

Referee:- Matt Haslett                                    Attendance:- 176

Admission:- F.O.C.                                   Programme:- F.O.C.

There was a good turn out on a filthy evening at Grange Road, the home of Cambridge University’s Rugby Union club for the final of the inter-football knock-out competition. The ground is pretty impressive, entry was free and there was a free programme, too! Fitzwilliam dominated this match scoring five times without reply in the first half. They were faster and more skilful than their opponents and really ought to have added more than one strike after the interval. Girton managed to get on the score sheet in the second minute of added time at the end of the match, but the trophy went deservedly to Fitzwilliam and their noisy band of followers were ecstatic!

 

Saturday 10th march 2018
Sky-Bet EFL Championship

Queens Park Rangers 1

Ebere Eze 62,

Sunderland 0
Referee:- Robert Jones                                                  Attendance:- 14,216
Admission:- OMGDS £23 (£34)                                   Programme:- £3.50
I haven’t been to Loftus Road for nearly 30 years (26th December 1990 Barclays League Division 1 QPR 1 Liverpool 1 attendance:- 17,848) and I shan’t mind if I don’t go for another thirty years. The ground is hemmed in amongst local housing and the feeling of claustrophobia inside the stadium is heightened by the cramped seats which give you back ache (my seat also had a £1 reduction for restricted view!). The game was poor and hinged on the sending off of the visiting goalkeeper for handling the ball outside the area. The only strike came midway through the second half after a turgid opening session. If I had to watch that week in, week out……………I think I’d lose the will to live!

Tuesday 13th March 2018
Total Motion Midland League Premier Division

Loughborough University 2

Cam Gordon 29,

Matty Crookes 83,

Shepshed Dynamo 2

Shay Brennan 42,

Josh Barr-Rostron 79,
Referee:- Rueben Ricardo.                                               Attendance:- 122
Admission:- OMGDS £2.00 (£5)                                Programme:- £1.50
These close rivals are probably less than five miles apart and the encounter was keenly contested. Free team sheets are now part of the service at the stadium. After a disastrous start to this season’s campaign, the students have pulled away from the foot of the table and look less threatened by fears of relegation. They were given a stern test by visitors, Dynamo, who came from a goal behind to lead by 2-1 with ten minutes to go. The plucky students pulled it back level on 83 minutes and a draw was probably a fair result.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Scottish Lowland ‘Hop’

The coach for the weekend left London at 9.30am on Friday morning with severe weather forecast for the weekend. I boarded at Birmingham International Railway Station at 11.15am and we proceeded up the M6 to Scotland and the outside temperature dropped like a stone and not only that, the wind began to howl and there was rain in the air. Indeed, when we reached Lockerbie, it was raining quite heavily, but by the time the match commenced, the rain had relented.

Friday 16th March 2018
South of Scotland Football League

Mid-Annandale 6

Liam Gibson 9,

Dean Smith 11, 35,

Dylan Neill 34, 59,

Andrew Thorn 47

Lochmaben 3

Denver Milligan 33,

Gavin Smith 38,

Darren How 87,
Referee:- Lloyd Wilson                                      Attendance:- 235
Admission:- £3.00.                                        Programme:- £2.00
The wind was howling like a bevy of banshees round the 3G fenced in pitch at The New King Edward ground in Lockerbie which hosts and visitors are currently sharing. It was bitterly cold, with no cover, but fortunately the rain held off. The hosts smote two goals in the first ten minutes and were 4-2 up at the interval. Two more were added in the second half and there should have been more. The visitors managed the last strike, three minutes from time. Dour and gloomy Lockerbie couldn’t have been better epitomised than by it’s bleak and foreboding church. Glad to get back on the bus!!!

Saturday 17th March 2018  k.o. 11.00am
East of Scotland League

Burntisland Shipyard 1

Thomas Graham 44,

Robert Kinnaird s/o 75

Jonathan Galloway – penalty saved 83mins,

Preston Athletic 2

Greg Binnie 37,

Jonathan Grotlin 61,
Referee:- David McAlinden                                        Attendance:- 166
Admission:- £5.00.                                                 Programme:- £2.00
Brass monkeys just doesn’t do it justice! It was blisteringly cold with light blustery snow about. For all that, it was a good game at Burntisland’s tight, shipshape ground, sadly bereft of seats, but with one covered standing area. The sharp, icy wind blew from goal to goal and in the first half it favoured the visitors. At half-time it was 1-1, but a second half breakaway goal, a penalty for the home team saved, and a home defender dismissed, all combined to ensure that the visitors took the victory and the spoils!

Saturday 17th March 2018 k.o. 1.45pm
East of Scotland League

Kelty Hearts 11 (eleven)

Brian Ritchie 11,

Scott Dalziel 30, 51,

Neil McCabe 42,

Errol Douglas 45+1, 74, 85,

Stephen Husband 54, 77,

Stuart Cargill 56,

Shaun Greig 80,

Tweedmouth Rangers 1

Lewis McKenna 22,
Referee:- Jonathan Bell.                                                              Attendance:- 278
Admission:- £5.00.                                                                  Programme:- £2.00
This was a stroll in the park for ambitious Kelty. They recently transferred from Scottish Junior football and are now a couple of promotions from the Scottish Football League! They have a lovely ground and a very friendly bunch of supporters and a canny financial genius behind their hoped for advancement! They are unbeaten this season, but lurking in the shadows are Lothian Thistle, also unbeaten, and the two play each other home and away towards the end of the season! Tasty!

Saturday 17th March 2018 k.o. 5.00pm
East of Scotland League

Herriot-Watt University 2

Michael Ward 11, 33,

Anton Dows s/o 77

Christopher Lane s/o 90+1
Leith Athletic 3

John Robertson 39,

Daniel Garvey 68,

Callum Mein 87,

Referee:- Michael Addy.                                                 Attendance:- 207
Admission:- £5.00.                                                      Programme:- £1.00
The Oriam Sports Arena at Herriot Watt University is a fully enclosed stadium which includes a full sized football pitch. There is a lovely and warm cafe area, but the temperature in the football arena is similar to the outside – in other words blisteringly cold. The students confidently and convincingly won the first half going in at 2-1. However they threw away the game recklessly in a second half which saw two of their number dismissed.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday 21st March 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1

Oakham United 1

Cameron Brookes 48,

Burton Park Wanderers 1

Mark Forbes 87 (pen)
Referee:- Louisa Thorold                                                         Attendance:- 29
Admission:- £5.00                                                             Programme:- NONE
A fourth visit to Sterling Meadows, but only the first since 2015 when 341 turned up for the ‘hop’ victory over Buckingham Town. Tonight’s support was considerably thinner! They still haven’t got draught beer in the bar, but there was live Conference football on the TV. It was a cold night at Oakham’s very rustic arena, but the match was played at high intensity and with the visitors appearing to be missing several key players, it looked a nailed on home win. Not a bit of it. It took the hosts forty-eight frustrating minutes to score and they were made to pay for missing other key opportunities when the visitors were awarded a penalty three minutes from the end. Woman referee, very competent.

Saturday 24th March 2018
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North

South Shields 4

Zehn Mohammed 14 (og),

Louis Storey 23,

Carl Finnegan 58,

Jamie Holmes 60,

Ramsbottom United 0
Referee:- Christopher Keightley                                               Attendance:- 1,552
Admission:- OMGDS£6.00 (£8)                                            Programme:- £2.00
Just for a change it was bright, sunny and mild for the long trip oop north! Didn’t think much of Mariners Park. There was one stand with around 150 seats and opposite were three Meccano covered areas, one of which had around 100 seats, but visibility was very poor, blocked by the huge plastic dug-outs. There was precious little terracing, but plenty of bar space for the substantial crowd. On the field, the match was fairly predictable. Ambitious Shields extracting a regulation victory whilst the visitors fought doggedly to stem the tide!

Tuesday 27th March 2018
Kershaws Cambridgeshire County League Premier Division

Chatteris Town 1

Anthony Brolia 4,

Gamlingay United 2

Harry Kennedy 24, 45+1
Referee:- Douglas Lawson                                                             Attendance:- 84
Admission:- £2.00                                                                  Programme:- NONE
Eighteen years since my last (and only) visit to West Street (21st October 2000 FA Vase 1st Round: Chatteris Town 0 Diss Town 2 Attendance:- 129). In those days, The Lilywhites were a thriving Eastern Counties League side. Today they inhabit the more rustic surrounds of The Cambs County League. The club house and changing rooms have been upgraded, but on the pitch, Chatteris are enduring an awful season and presently prop up the division. The visitors are only one place higher, so this was a real relegation six pointer! The hosts started with a bang, scoring in the 4th minute, but as the half wore on, it was United who began to dominate and two goals – the second on the stroke of half-time – gave them lead they were never to relinquish. Chatteris look doomed, but Gamlingaymay yet escape!

Wednesday 28th March 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1

Pinchbeck United 5

Oliver Maltby 12,

Aaron Eyett 18,

Josh Smith 38, 39,

Reif Bisset-Clarke 83 (pen),

Oakham United 0
Referee:- Chris Armond                                                                Attendance:- 72
Admission:- £3.00                                                                 Programme:- NONE
Pinchbeck are tenants at The Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, the council owned home of Spalding United and there was nothing inside the stadium to connect it to the club! This is their first season in the UCL and they are presently running away with the First Division title. 5-0 was a fair reflection of the gulf between these two sides, but the hosts gently took their foot off the pedal in the second half, having secured a 4-0 half-time advantage.

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

The Carlsberg South West Peninsular ‘Hop’

This was a hop organised by Phil Hiscox, secretary of the South West Peninsula League and which has been held periodically over several years (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2016 were the previous hop years).

Thursday 29th March 2018
South West Peninsula League Division 1 East

Newton Abbot Spurs 2

Oli Aplin 13,

Chris Metters 51,

Teignmouth 1

Sean Ayre 18,
Referee:- Shaun Edge.                                                    Attendance:- 318
Admission:- £4.00.                                                     Programme:- £1.00
There was a handsome crowd for this reasonably local derby on a rainswept evening in South Devon. The ground had precious little cover but at least the rain petered out as the match progressed. This was a contest of little finesse and lots of thud and blunder. The hosts triumphed in the end because they kept their heads, whilst the visitors had two second half dismissals.

Friday 30th March 2018
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division 1 East

Sidmouth Town 3

Ryan Davies 32,

Rob Knight 74,

Cameron Pow 83,

Budleigh Salterton 4

Andy Taylor 37,

Nathan Antat 48 (og),

Dan Boere 52,

Mike White 76,
Referee:- Ryan Edge.                                                          Attendance:- 336
Admission:- £4.00.                                                          Programme:- £1.50
This was a cracker of a match on a deteriorating pitch and in constant precipitation. A gulf separates third placed Budleigh Salterton from the hosts languishing in the lower reaches of the table, but at half time it was all square at 1-1. Two second half strikes seemed to have killed off the hosts, but they brought it back to 2-3 and then 3-4, but couldn’t quite conjure up an equaliser!

 

Friday 30th March 2018
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division 1 East

Honiton 0

Ilfracombe 1

Brodie Montague 58,
Referee:- Cameron Mann.                                              Attendance:- 227
Admission:- £4.00.                                                     Programme:- £1.00
This fixture was played, not at Honiton, but at Exwick Villa who play on the 3G at Exeter College Sports Stadium. Honiton‘s pitch was deemed waterlogged. There was no cover and the lasting impression is of heavy and unremitting precipitation and cold which seriously blighted the enjoyment of the match. The game went to form with the visitors scoring the only goal midway through the second half. Glad to get back to the car!

Friday 30th March 2018
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division 1 East

Axminster Town 2

Jon Hereford 13,

Sam Dibling 22,

Crediton United 1

Steve Morish 32,
Referee:- Chris Ibbotson.                                                      Attendance:- 306
Admission £4.00.                                                               Programme:- £1.00
The rainswept theme continued and there was even sleet and snow on the way there! Axminster have taken possession of a new stadium since my last visit (10th April 2009 Carlsberg SWPL Division 1 East:-  Axminster Town 4 Ottery St Mary 1 attendance:- 358) and there was plenty of cover and about 200 seats. The referee decided eventually that the match could go ahead despite a thoroughly rain sodden pitch. It was the right decision and the hosts took the opportunity to revenge an early season home FA Vase defea
t to Crediton by taking all three points on the night.

Great place for the ducks

Would this match have been played had it not been on the ‘hop’? I doubt it!!!

Saturday 31st March 2018
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division 1 East

St Martins 4

Ben Watson 5, 90,

Stuart Davies 62,

James Richards 80,

Alphington 0
Referee:- Keith Mann.                                                     Attendance:- 383
Admission:- £4.00.                                                     Programme:- £1.00
These two close rivals occupy top and bottom spots in the league table. Minster Park has a high slope with some excellent viewing points, however, the game was nothing to write home about. The visitors kept their illustrious hosts down to a single strike for over an hour, but three goals in the last twenty minutes sealed their demise and gave the score a more realistic look!

Saturday 31st March 3.00pm
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division 1 East

Brixham 1

Scott Walker 57,

Galmpton & Roselands 0
Referee:-Harry Chambers.                                                 Attendance:- 369
Admission:- £4.00.                                                         Programme:- £1.00
On a very cramped ground, the crowd felt much larger than it really was! Every spare bit of space was accounted for. Neither side had acquitted themselves with distinction, this season and the hosts – 11th in the table – triumphed by the only goal over their 15th placed rivals. Perhaps a draw would have been a fairer result! After the match as we waited patiently for our transport, we heard that the coaches had been locked in the car park!!!

 

Saturday 31st March 2018 7.00pm
Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division 1 West

Plymouth Marjon 2

Jay Johnson 59,

Morgan Parsonage 61,

Millbrook 3

Rik Shepherd 28,

Dan Chapman 67,

Tom Payne 75,
Referee:- Shaun Edge.                                                     Attendance:- 293
Admission:- £4.00.                                                      Programme:- £1.50
We seemed to be climbing forever to the top of Plymouth to The College of St Mark and St John. The match was played on a 3G surface inside a cage – but with access for spectators on three sides. In a fairly insipid opening session, Millbrook were clearly superior but managed only a single goal. Marjon looked better in the second period, but lost a player to a second bookable offence in the 53rd minute. This seemed to inspire them for two goals in as many minutes around the hour mark gifted them the lead. Millbrook stepped up a gear, made the extra man tell and deservedly wrested back the lead, the victory and the points.

________________________________________________________________________________________

OTHER MATCHES

Monday 12th March 2018

Northants Senior Youth League East Division

Huntingdon Town 1    S&L Corby 2                          Attendance:- 20

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Premier division

Leicester Nirvana 0 Oadby Town 1                        Attendance:- 77

________________________________________________________________________________________

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February 2018

Who Kicked Cock Robin

.

Not I said the owl

Gazing down sleepy eyed

I’m not that kind of fowl

And we’re on the same side

.

Not I said the bee

Buzzing back to his hive

Cock Robin kicked me

And then took a dive.

.

Not I said the grub

My excuse is complete

I was only a sub

And – I ain’t got no feet.

(by Allan Ahlberg 1937 – )

.

.

.

Friday 2nd February 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Division 1

Burton Park Wanderers 1

Mark Forbes 35,

Thrapston Town 2

Danny Wells,

Luke Cummins 55,
Referee:- Jakob Gierczyk.                                            Attendance:- 60
Admission :- £5.00.                                                       Programme:- £1.00
Burton PW now share their ground with Kettering Town and it is the senior club who seem to hold sway. It is not a pretty venue and I doubt that it is good enough for The Vanarama Nationwide. Tonight, it was very cold and a largely insipid match was won by the visitors because they wanted it more! Good to see Brian Buck and Terry there, I went with son Mike and grandson Freddie.

The club house was a tiny shack set in one corner of the ground where hot drinks (and bottled beer) could be had. The original club house is just outside the ground, but that has been taken over by the tenants, Kettering Town who are better able to pay the substantially increased rent! Park Wanderers have always struggled and one wonders for how much longer they can hold out!

Saturday 3rd February 2018
West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division

Hereford Lads Club 3

Adam Hockey 19,

Rory Worthing 69,

Kiea Cowley 79

Dudley Town 1

Jordan Davies 21,
Referee:- Joshua Brockland                                                 Attendance:- 46
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5)                                         Programme:- £1.00
Not an easy ground to find despite it being right next to Westfields FC and within sight of the floodlights at Edgar Street. It was a miserable day and the precipitation barely relented. The ground was sparse – but bright and cheerful – with only one stand with seating for perhaps fifty spectators and two dug-out type shelters for standing out of the rain! Despite being in a lowly 12th place, the hosts were some twenty-three points better off that Dudley Town who occupied last but one place in the division. The Lads Club won a fairly innocuous encounter. With the sides level at 1-1 at half-time, two second half goals and a sending off for the visitors, settled the match for The Lads Club! Widemarsh Common is also the county ground for The Herefordshire FA.

One of the temporary covered standing areas at a corner of the ground.

Monday 5th February 2018

Bigfreebet.com Southern League Cup Quarter-final

Hitchin Town  2

Brett Donnelly 14,

Connor Vincent 89,

Kempston Rovers  0

Referee:- A. Rayment                                                 Attendance:- 105

Admission:- OMGDS £6.00 (£10)                          Programme:- £1.00

Another regulation Monday night visit to Top Field in Hitchin. This was my thirty-eighth visit since 1979 and not all of them were on Monday evenings! Having had several crowds recently (though not the results to go with them) of four and five hundred, the attendance for tonight’s league cup match was pitifully thin! Kempston Rovers, who are a division below Hitchin, provided stern resistance and, after going behind before the break, produced several good chances to equalise in the second half. None of them materialised and in the 89th minute, the hosts scored a second and stole the match and the tie to move into the semi-finals!

Tuesday 6th February 2018
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier division

Oadby Town 1

Amiyah King 70,

Kirby Muxloe 1

Aaron Black 81,
Referee:- Shaun Gregory                                                     Attendance:- 61
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£6)                                     Programme:- £1.00
With a light dusting of snow falling throughout and matches called off to the weather elsewhere in the local vicinity, it was good to get this match in, despite the cold! Sadly, it was not a good advert for UCL football. In a match littered with unenforced errors, mid-table Kirby Muxloe looked to be going down to bottom placed Oadby, until an 81st minute equaliser saved their blushes, although a draw was probably a fair result!

Friday 9th February 2018
Welsh Premier League

Aberystwyth Town 3

John Owen 5,

Declan walker 27 (pen)

Craig Hobson 90+2

Llandudno Town 1

Sam Hart missed penalty 22,

Mark Williams 49,
Referee:- Bryn Markham-Jones                         Attendance:- 286
Admission:- £7.00.                                               Programme:- £2.00
This was a battle in the lower half of the Welsh Premier League when, in the past, Llandudno had held sway. The ground reputedly holds 3,000 and tonight’s attendance, gleaned from officials, seemed much smaller than the number of people actually in the ground – counted by Andy English and myself!! The hosts were 1-0 ahead when a penalty was awarded against them. The spot kick was badly missed and minutes later a converted penalty at the opposite end doubled the hosts advantage. Right at the start of the second period, the visitors reduced the arrears, but a goal in added time gave the hosts a worthy advantage and they took the game and the points!

Saturday 24th February 2018

Sky-Bet EFL Championship

Preston North End  0

Ipswich Town  1

Mustapha Carayol 21,

Referee:- S. Duncan                                 Attendance:- 11,511

Admission:- OMGDS£16.00 (£24)               Programme:- £3.00

This was my first game for two weeks! I’ve had a pretty rotten chest infection, but I took the opportunity of my sister’s 65th birthday celebrations, to nip out with my grandson, Freddie, for his first visit to Deepdale. It was a bitterly cold day, but I was pleasantly surprised on several counts. Firstly, my grandson’s ticket cost only £1.00, secondly, they actually had butter potato pies available in the snack bars and thirdly, the car park (a small Primary School playground close by the stadium) cost only £3.00 compared with the £10 regularly charged elsewhere!

Deepdale has changed considerably since my first visit there on 5th January 1963 for an FA Cup 3rd Round tie against Sunderland (which Sunderland won 4-1). It is no longer the Victorian relic that it once was, but is now a fully enclosed, fully seated stadium with quite spectacular floodlights.

Today’s match was not a thriller by any stretch of the imagination! Preston North End were awful. They have enjoyed a pretty successful season, but today, they were no match for a competent, well drilled opposition who snatched a goal in the first half and clung to it tenaciously. Preston were so poor that their manager made TWO first half substitutions!

 

Young Freddie braves the cold conditions!

Monday 26th February 2018

Premier League 2 Cup – Group Stage

Leicester City U-23      2

Khanya Leshabela 86,

Hamza Choudhury 89 (pen),

Everton U-23                1

Alex Denny 71,

Referee:- Daniel Middleton                                Attendance:- 286

Admission:- OMGDS £1.00  (£3)                       Free Teamsheet

It was a very cold evening at Holmes Park and flurries of snow drifted across the pitch and right into our faces. The match wasn’t particularly brilliant, either. I counted only one shot on target in the first half and, as Graeme remarked, “my grandmother could have saved that”. The second half was a little better, but all the action was crowded into the final twenty minutes. Everton scored first and an equaliser from the hosts seemed to have settled the match as a draw until a handball in the last minute swung the game Leicester’s way – perhaps a little fortuitously. A draw would have been a fairer result!

Seven matches in February is a wretched haul, but I have to admit that for most of the month I had a pretty rotten chest infection. In fact, I went fifteen days (from 9th – 24th) without seeing a match at all! Then the “Beast from The East” arrived and the last two days of the month were wiped out by snow! Let’s hope that next month brings better fortune!

Matches:-

This month:-     Matches:-  7         New Grounds:-     2
This season:-    Matches:-  160       New Grounds:-   76
TOTAL:-            Matches:- 3,857     New Grounds:- 1,416

 

 

 

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January 2018

Football Haiku

.

Football teaches you
teamwork; reaching goals in life
by striving to win

.

Carolyn Brunelle

.

.

.

 

Monday 1st January 2018
Sky-Bet EFL League Two

Barnet 1

John Akinde 21,

Swindon Town 2

Ellis Iandolo 18,

Matt Preston 45+3,
Referee:- Craig Hicks                                                    Attendance:- 2,035
Admission:- OMGDS£14.00 (£24)                            Programme:- £3.00
They’ve built a new stand behind the goal since I was here last and Phil Evans says that the old one is going to Exeter City for their away end! The car parking was a bit steep (£6.00), but the match tickets (for old men) were just about right. It wasn’t a bad match. Barnet didn’t deserve to lose, but they missed that little spark of creativity which might just have gained them a draw – or even victory. The Robins weren’t much better, but they always seemed to have just that little bit extra. 

The ‘new’ stand behind one goal – well, new since I was last there – for away supporters. There were 629 away supporters at this match!

The covered standing area behind the goal at the opposite end!

Thursday 4th January 2018
Leicestershire Midweek Floodlit Youth League South

FC GNG 6

Mashmoud Idrisse 7, 20, 72, 75,

Hicham Koultoumas 14,

Kiril Vasilev 90

Oadby Owls 6

Dan Boydon 15, 28,

Charlie Woolerson 24,

Jordan Clarke 27, 57,

Dylan Sandhu 61,
Referee:- Kevin Sinclair                                       Attendance:- 19
Admission:- F.O.C.                                               Programme:- NONE
This U-18 match could easily be dismissed as a schoolboy kick about, but it was much more than that. Two evenly balanced sides with not a little real talent between them, fought out an absorbing encounter in very cold and windy conditions. The hosts were 3-1 up after twenty minutes and 3-4 behind at the interval. It got worse for them in the second half as they went 3-6 behind. However, inspired by Mahmoud Idrisse, their skilful striker, who scored four goals, they dragged themselves back into the match and fully deserved to gain the draw. The Guru Nanak Gurdwara ground, The Riverside stadium, is almost the mirror image of Aylestone Park who play in The East Midlands Counties League. There is no cover, however, but they did have lighting in their dug-outs!

They did have lighting in the dug-outs!

Saturday 6th January 2018
Emirates FA Cup 3rd Round

Coventry City 2

Jordan Willis 25,

Jack Grimmer 68,

Stoke City 1

Charlie Adam 54 (pen),
Referee:- Martin Atkinson                                      Attendance:- 14,199
Admission:- semi-hosp. (£48.00)                        Programme:- incl.
Possibly the shock result of the round, the pitch at The Ricoh Arena looked tired and worn, there was a pretty huge following from The Potteries, an entire area behind one goal was unused and the attendance was comfortably the hosts best of the season. I went with two of my sons and a grandson and enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining match. Joe Allen and Charlie Adam probed away for the visitors, but it was The Sky-Blues who took a half-time lead after some sterling defensive work. A second half penalty brought the scores level, but the Sky Blues were not to be denied and a blistering strike from Jack Grimmer after 68 minutes decided the tie. You had to feel a touch of sympathy for Mark Hughes!

Freddie and Ed record the teams in their note-books!

Coventry City had their largest crowd of the season, but still, the area behind one goal was completely closed!

This smoke bombe was thrown near the end of the match from the away supporters end!

Mark Hughes last match in charge of Stoke City!

Sunday 7th January 2018
Emirates FA Cup 3rd Round

Tottenham Hotspur 3

Harry Kane 63, 65,

Jan Vertonghen 71,

AFC Wimbledon 0
Referee:- David Coote                                                 Attendance:- 47,527
Admission:- OMGDS£7.50                                        Programme:- £3.50
John Main and I caught the train from Bicester and rolled into Wembley a scant hour before kick-off. There was a very much larger attendance than either of us had anticipated and much of it was made up of a noisy, vocal away section. The game was pretty pedantic for an hour as the hosts kept chipping away and the visitors kept their tight defensive formation, but two Harry Kane goals in as many minutes killed off the Dons and briefly woke me from my slumbers! Below, is the view from our seats!

Tottenham Hotspur are playing their games here this season, whilst their White Hart Lane ground is being completely rebuilt!

Photo courtesy of John Main

Tuesday 9th January 2018
Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 East

Chalfont St Peter 0

Fleet Town 0
Referee:- Steven Rea                                          Attendance:- 67
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 (£9)                Programme:- £1.00
Tonight was a bit of a disaster, really! The usual awful traffic on M25, then, just as we got within a mile of the ground, the road was closed and a further six mile detour was added to the journey! The ground has deteriorated since my last visit. The main stand is no longer in use, the club house is used as a nursery, there was no food and then the match itself was a dire, dreadful contest with 0-0 written all over it from the moment it kicked off! Worse was to follow on the journey home, with the M1 closed at Luton Airport, we traipsed all the way through Luton and Dunstable town centres to reach the A5 to continue our journey. It was well after midnight when we got home! As far as Graeme and John were concerned, it got even worse! The M1 was closed again at junction 18 which added further time and miles to their journey.

The last time I was here, I sat in this stand, but it has since been rendered unfit for spectators!

Wednesday 10th January 2018
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division

Hadley 4

Jake King 18, 43,

Tom Milton 32,

Tariq Turag 54

London Tigers 0
Referee:- Neil Fyfield                                          Attendance:- 54
Admission:- OMGDS:£3.00 (£6)              Programme:- £1.00
Right at the bottom end of the A1 is Brickfield Lane, the homely setting for Hadley FC. It has a rustic feel to it with wooden palisades surrounding the ground and a wooden cottage for the clubhouse. On an evening which grew increasingly cold, they put poor London Tigers to the sword. 3-0 up by the interval, they were content to play out the second half with the addition of only one further strike, but they were worthy winners.

Saturday 13th January 2018
Bostick Isthmian League Division 1 South

Shoreham 0

Phoenix Sports 2

Jack Barry 32,

Jeff Duah-Kessie 79,
Referee:- Peter Cruize                                          Attendance:- 84
Admission:- OMGDS:£6.00 (£9)                 Programme:- £1.00
Shoreham-by-the-Sea was definitely not sunny, today. There was gloom in the sky and a nip in the air. John and I enjoyed a fine repast at a very reasonable cost at a hostelry just down the road and then repaired to the stadium on Middle Road (The Taxi-Link Community Sports Ground). This is Shoreham’s third (and likely, last) season in The Isthmian League. They currently lie fourteen points adrift at the bottom of the table and today’s visitors had no trouble in wrapping up a confident victory with a goal in each half in a lack-lustre game. The ground barely meets step four requirements but there was every help from the club’s officials who were positive and cheerful.

 

Monday 15th January 2018
Total Motion Midland League Premier Division

Coleshill Town 2

Daniel Tymon 54,

Reece Leek 72,

Westfields 1

Aidan Thomas 52,
Referee:- Luis Martin                                         Attendance:- 92
Admission:- OMGDS£4.00 (£6)                      Programme:- £1.50
It is more than ten years since I last visited Pack Meadow and the stadium has improved. There is a 3G pitch with a secure rail around it, but there are any number of eccentric buildings around the ground – mainly of the container variety. These two teams have been making strong running of late. There was a large and vociferous away contingent in the crowd and perhaps, they deserved something out of the game. They were the stronger team for an hour but when the scores were level at 1-1, the visiting defender decided that he was playing volleyball in the penalty area. The penalty was saved but the rebound was stroked home and the victory went to the hosts!

Tuesday 16th January 2018
Emirates FA Cup 3rd Round REPLAY

Leicester City 2

Kelechi Iheanacho 43, 77,

Fleetwood Town 0
Referee:- Jonathan Moss                                                       Attendance:- 17,237
Admission:- Legends Lounge (£72.00)                             Programme:- incl (£3.50)
A spot of hospitality with Graeme Askham and John Main and a seat in the directors box for this match AND the first goal awarded by VAR (video assistant referee). I was also at Burnden Park on 21st August 1965 when Keith Peacock became the first substitute in English football! Tonight’s game was not a thriller. Kelechi Iheanacho netted three times but only two of them counted and the third one only after consultation with VAR. Adrien Silva, (see below), fourteen seconds late in arriving in the transfer window last August, was man of the match!

Adrien Silva, Man of the Match being interviewed by Steve Walsh

picture, courtesy of John Main

Friday 19th January 2018

La Liga

Getafe 2

Jorge Molina 21 (pen), penalty saved 51,

Angel 74,
Athletics Bilbao 2

Inaki Williams 13,

Raul Garcia 48 (pen)

Referee:- Jesus Gill                                                          Attendance:- 11,457
Admission:- €40                                                              Programme:- F.O.C.
Cracking game -good atmosphere. No roof to speak of anywhere on the ground – a sun hat for the main stand. Still it was 17 degrees and a very pleasant evening as these two teams fought out an entertaining contest!

from the left:- Jonny Crane, Mark Sumner, Jim McGeown and Ed

Jonny, Mark, Jim and Ed

The following morning, we decided upon a walk along the river. It was a walk of about two miles to The Estadio Vicente Calderon which is where Atletico Madrid used to play. There were cafes all along the river and the coffee was strong and sweet.

The Estadio Vicente Calderon has held up well since Atletico moved to their new arena on the outskirts of the city at Wanda Metropolitano. Goalposts were still in evidence on the grassed pitch and a huge dual carriageway went underneath the stand on the river side of the stadium (see middle picture above).

Saturday 20th January 2018
La Liga

Atletico Madrid 1

Antoine Griezemann 35,

Girona 1

Portu 73
Referee:-De Burgos Bengoetxea.                      Attendance:- 55,076
Admission :- €52.00.                                          Programme:- NONE
What a magnificent stadium. Vast by any standards with a glorious view! Girona are no mugs this year in La Liga and Diego Costa, despite an assist for the home goal, had a game to forget. The visitors regained parity after 73 minutes after some sloppy defending and a lack of confidence in the home side. Draw a fair result!

Jonny and Jim

Sunday January 21st 2018
La Liga Segunda

AD Alcorcon 1

Mateo Bakic 14

Cádiz CF 0
Referee:- Santiago Varon                                                       Attendance:- 3,873
Admission:-€25.                                                                      Programme:- F.O.C.
Not a cloud in the sky and bright sunlight, but still the floodlights shone throughout at this pleasant, small stadium on the outskirts of Madrid and presently gracing the second tier of Spanish football. The match was poor entertainment and if Cádiz – as looks likely – do gain promotion, then they will become La Liga cannon fodder. The standard was barely League 2!

Strange programme. Not sure what the connection is with Darth Vader!

Sunday 21st January 2018
Segunda B Group 1

Gimnastica Segoviana 1

Dani Arribas 3,

Rapido Bouzas 2

Alex Kaxe 24,

Pedro 71,

Referee:- Galech Apezteguia-Iosu                                                      Attendance:- 1.269
Admission:- OMGDS €6 (€12)                                                        Programme:- NONE
Segovia is around forty minutes by train (Renfe) north and west of Madrid and is well worth a visit at the third tier of Spanish football.
A quite spacious municipal stadium for the status of the club, but looking a bit tired. The hosts are threatened with relegation and the visitors challenging for promotion and the match went to form, but it was an enthralling and titanic tussle.

Jim and Ed

Jonny, Jim and Mark

Across the road behind the main stand is a full sized athletics stadium with a football pitch in the middle!

Saturday 27th January 2018

Sky-Bet EFL Championship

Bristol City 2

Famara Diedhiou 45+1,

Joe Bryan 67,

Nathan Baker s/o 33,

Queens Park Rangers  0

Referee:-Keith Stroud                                                             Attendance:- 21,492

Admission:- Hospitality                                       Programme:- included (£3.00)

The train took the strain for all of us on a wet drizzly day, but we came from different parts of the country! Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lancashire, Surrey, Kent, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, to name most of the counties of origin! The weather was pretty miserable with a thick drizzle falling for most of the day. Amazingly, the entire party was able to assemble before the official start of the hospitality and that despite train disruptions and bus replacement services for some of us!

I hadn’t been to Bristol City for a match since 25th August 1973 (Football League Division II – Bristol City 1 Bolton Wanderers 0 Attendance:- 13,288). The stadium was totally unrecognisable! The hospitality was superb and one or two of our party imbibed, not wisely, but too well! We were well looked after and the food was excellent. The match itself was a fairly nondescript affair emblazoned only by the sending off of the home number 6, Nathan Baker after 33 minutes. Even with ten men, Bristol City were well worth their victory!

from the left:- Ed, Lloyd, Jim, John, Daz, Graeme, Chris, John Lord

The Johnny Ayteo stand now houses the away fans and is probably the smallest stand in the ground!

Freddie with the vast new main stand behind him!

Rory, John Lord and Phil

Chris, Aman and Rory

Graeme, John and Chris

Daz, Lloyd and Wids

Liam, Gary and Mike

Freddie, Jim and Daz

Freddie

Gary and Mike

Tuesday 30th January 2018

Chromasport & trophies United Counties League Premier Division

Deeping Rangers  2

Tom Smith 84,

David Burton-Jones  90+5

Desborough Town 1

Will Arnold 10,

Referee:- Robert Stanley                                   Attendance:- 63

Admission:- OMGDS £4.00 (£6)                 Programme:- £1.00

Things have improved at The Haydon Witham Stadium since my last visit in August 2014. A new board room has been added to the stand and incorporated into it, is a new snack bar. Behind the nearside goal, there is new covered standing and adjacent to the dug-outs, to each side was more covered standing area. This was a very competitive match which hinged on the injury just before to hour mark to Leo Adams, the visiting centre half. Up until then, Ar Tarn had dealt competently with everything that Rangers threw at them, however, when he was replaced following what looked like hamstring trouble, the Desborough defence came under increasing pressure. The equaliser came six minutes from time, but it wasn’t until five minutes into added time at the end of the match, that the hosts finally took the lead and won the match!

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OTHER MATCHES:-

Wednesday 3rd January 2018

U-23 Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City  6  Tottenham Hotspur 1                                Attendance:- 497


Thursday 25th January 2018

Leicestershire Midweek Floodlit Youth (U-18) League

Allexton & New Parks Hawks  2  Heather St Johns  5       Attendance:- 58

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Monday 29th January 2018

U-23 Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City  0  Manchester City  0                                 Attendance:- 652

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Wednesday 31st January 2018

The National League U-19 Alliance Cup Quarter-final

Nuneaton Town  2  West Ham United  0                          Attendance:- 88

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Matches:-

 

This month:-            Matches:-  19               New Grounds:-  7

This season:-           Matches:- 153              New Grounds:- 74

Total:-                      Matches:- 3852           New Grounds:- 1,414

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December 2017

Dream Football

Dream Football is the harder game

The grass is devilishly long

And growing

Fish appear in the trainers bucket

Your mother has set up a small shop

On the halfway line

You are obliged to play in your underpants.

by Allan Ahlberg (1937 – )

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Saturday 2nd December 2017
JD FA of Wales Cup 3rd Round

Llanrhaedr YM 3

Iwan Matthews 25, 85,

Kyam Whitton 88,

Cefn Druids 2

Jamie Davies 19, 83,
Referee:- Ashley Jones                                               Attendance:- 101
Admission:- OMGDS£2.00 (£3)                      Programme:- included
Minnows, Llanrhaedr Ym Mochnant from The Spar Mid-Wales League, took on mighty Cefn Druids from The Welsh Premier League. The match started at 1.30pm in case extra time was needed and it very nearly was! The small village hosted a fish ‘n’ chip shop which Graeme and I patronised and then we met Tony Morehead inside the neat little ground with a club house and a separate stand that housed around fifty spectators. The game was 1-1 with ten minutes to go and drifting towards extra time. Druids scored after 83 minutes and we all thought that was that!!! Back came the hosts, playing up the hill in the second half, they scored two goals in the final five minutes for a famous victory!

 

About fifteen miles before we reached Llanrhaedr, we passed through the village of Knockin. Yes, you’ve guessed it, there was a Knockin Shop there (see photo).

Tuesday 5th December 2017
Boodles ISFA Cup Quarter -final

Repton School 2

Elliott Killington 28, 47,

Harrow 0
Referee:- Nigel Freelove                                                                                     Attendance:- 96
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                                                          Programme:- Free
Repton School, where “Goodbye Mr Chips” was filmed in 1939, provided the backdrop some seventy-eight years later for a titanic struggle between two teams vying for a place in the semi-finals of The Boodles Cup competition! Repton were the stronger and more determined and a goal in each half proved sufficient for them to advance!

A scoreboard was kept by the side of the pitch – a very old throwback! I can remember playing for my school with something similar to remind us of the score – and that was more than fifty years ago!

Tuesday 5th December 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Leicester Nirvana 0

Daventry Town 0
Referee:- Danny O’Sullivan                                                                                   Attendance:- 63
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£6)                                                                    Programme:- £1.00
There wasn’t much to write home about this game. The referee was tardy in arriving and so we started seven minutes late. It was cold and windy and the pitch was like a rice pudding. All of which contributed, I suppose, to probably the worst game I’ve seen this season! Nirvana in third place, have been off the pace recently and they were thwarted by a ninth placed Daventry determined not to lose!

This is the third ground that I have seen them play. Last season, they played at Highfield Rangers and in a previous incarnation as Thurnby Nirvana, they had a floodlit ground in Thurnby.

Thursday 7th December 2017
Leicestershire Midweek Floodlit Youth League – South

Allexton & New Town Youth 2

Cain Beckett 10, 32,

Aylestone Park Youth 1

Kieron Cooper 90,
Referee:- Andy Collin                                                                                                Attendance:- 37
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                                                             Programme:- NONE
“The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas”, and it was very cold, too, as these two clubs met for the second time this season and once again Allexton triumphed, though not nearly as convincingly as their 5-1 victory in the away fixture. Two well drilled sides with plenty of individual talent, but it was the hosts who took a 2-0 half-time lead and the visitors were only able to grab a consolation in the final minute of the game.

Saturday 9th December 2017
Bostik Isthmian League Division 1 South
Chipstead 1
Sam Bell 19,
Ramsgate 1
Alfie Paxman 10,
Referee:- Jamie Wells                                                                                    Attendance:- 66
Admission:- OMGDS£6.00 (£9)                                                        Programme:- included
On a very cold day we were apprehensive that this match might fall to the weather. Not a bit of it! We got there in good time and even had a fine repast at The White Hart Inn, just down the road. The ground is very basic, shared with Epsom & Ewell FC, but in good condition with cover on three sides and seating down one side. The match involved two clubs lower down the division, but in an open attacking match, it was probably fair to see the outcome drawn. Enjoyed the visit with John Main and Graeme Askham.
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Wednesday 13th December 2017
FA Youth Cup 3rd Round
Derby County   2  
Connor Dixon 3,
Jayden Boyle 24,
Manchester United  2              After extra time. Score at 90 mins 2-2
Tahith Chong 13,
Aidan Barlow 58
Aliou Traore s/o 99,
Referee:- Edward Pidduck                                                                      Attendance:- c400
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                                     Programme:- Free teamsheet
We had no idea when we arrived at The Ipro Stadium of the drama that was about to unfold! I suppose we expected Manchester United to take the tie with some ease, but after only three minutes, the hosts scored and, although United levelled ten minutes later, a second goal from The Rams ensured that they took a well earned half-time lead.
Manchester United equalised once again on the hour mark and so it stayed until the end of normal time, with neither side able to fashion an opening.
 In extra time, the visitors had a straight red card for substitute Aliou Traore and then lost another player through injury with six minutes of extra time remaining.
All the while the snow fell unremittingly and a thin coating covered the pitch. Two well matched teams were unable to break the deadlock and so it went to penalties.
Manchester United missed all of their first three penalties and by the time James Garner scored from their fourth spot kick, Derby County who had only missed the first of their penalties, had Jason Knight on hand to strike for an unassailable 3-1 lead and victory to the hosts.
Friday 15th December 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Division 1
Irchester United  2
Ethan Goodman 53,
Josh Burge 60,
 Thrapston Town  0
Referee:- Cameron Smith                                                                       Attendance:- 40
Admission:-  £3.00                                                                           Programme:- NONE
On a very cold Friday evening, the club house at Alfred Street was very welcoming! There was nobody on the gate to take an entrance fee, but half way through the first half, the club secretary came round to collect the money. It was, apparently, at the request of the visitors that the match was played on a Friday evening (Thrapston usually play their home matches on a Friday evening), but it looked like the hosts were unprepared for the occasion! Besides the eccentric entrance fee collection, there wasn’t even a programme!
 The match was fairly even in the first half, but gradually as the second half progressed, the hosts took control and two goals around the hour mark settled the contest.
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Saturday 16th December 2017
Spartan South Midlands League Division 2
Mursley  4
Lewis Delahaye 5,
Adam Moore 54,
Jamie Green 79,
Mitchell Spiers 84,
 Grendon Rangers  3
Sam Jay (og) 17,
Joe Walls 25,
Dean Garrad 73,
Referee:- Chris Flack                                                                                 Attendance:- 30
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                                                    Programme:- £1.00
 In the morning, we had gone to see MK Dons U-18s play Leyton Orient at Woughton Green in Milton Keynes. No rain had been forecast, but it poured down like stair rods and then when we went to MK Gallacticos for our second match  ……….surprisingly it was off! By now, time was pressing and with less than five minutes to spare (and a large portion of chips for each of us!!!) we arrived at The Station Road Playing Fields in Mursley on the outskirts of Milton Keynes. We found out later that it was the only match played in the area and Mursley’s small, homely ground had a stand of sorts with seating – and, especially, cover from the incessant rain. Not only that, we were able to obtain drinks (with free biscuits) and a list of the two teams!
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Mursley are a strong team, this season, in The Spartan South Midlands League Division 2. Last August, when we were at Tring Town, they won convincingly by 5-2. Today was a very different affair. Grendon Rangers are struggling in the lower reaches of the division, but by half-time, they had established a 2-1 lead. In the second period, they fell behind, only to drag the scores level at 3-3 with but ten minutes remaining. Sadly, they couldn’t hold out and an 84th minute winner saw the victory and the points go to the home side.
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Tuesday 19th December 2017
Carabao Cup Quarter Final
Leicester City 1
Jamie Vardy 90+5 (pen)
Manchester City 1
Bernardo Silva 26,                      after extra time.     Manchester City won 4-3 on penalties.
Referee:- Robert Madley                                                                         Attendance:- 31,562
Admission:- (Walkers Hall – West Stand) £35                        Programme:- Incl. (£3.50)
 Sadly, the new Leicester City boss didn’t play his best team from the start. If he had done, I suspect that they just might have nudged this very even contest! As it was, Manchester City without Kevin De Bruyne and Kun Aguerro amongst others, led for most of the match until Claude Puel, the Leicester manager brought out his big guns in Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, but only after an hour had been played. It was Jamie Vardy who equalised, well into added time at the end from a very dubiously awarded penalty.
When it came to the penalty shoot out, City were leading 4-3 after each team had been successful with their penalties and it was The Foxes turn to take TWO penalties in succession under the new (and daft) ABBA system. First of all, Jamie Vardy missed with his penalty and then Riyad Mahrez had his shot saved and Leicester were OUT!
 Before the match, grand dad and grand son writing up the teams in their note books!
 Mike, with son, Freddie and Dad Ed!
Father and son in The Walkers Suite after the match at The King Power Stadium!
Friday 22nd December 2017
Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League
Black Dragon South Division
Keyworth United  3
Adam Taylor 56,
Jordan Newton 78,
James Price 84,
Linby Colliery  0
Referee:- Lewis-Saunder Johnson                                                                 Attendance:- 45
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                                                     Programme:- £0.50
 Graeme Askham and I drove up for this match and met up with Chris Berezai and Stuart Long and Tony in the bar at Keyworth, before the game. There was no entrance charge, but there were programmes available at 50p each – or there would have been if we had got there in time and not had to queue for so long for out chips! As it was, Tony kindly donated his programme to me and Chris gave his to Graeme, which was a fine gesture by both of them!
 It was a cold night and there was no cover at all at pitch side. Keyworth were much the better side, but they didn’t make their superiority count until well into the second half when three goals in half an hour gave them a very solid victory!
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Saturday 23rd December 2017
Kershaw Cambridgshire County League Senior B
Steeple Bumpstead 4
Elliott Knight 4, 86,
Kurtis Nobbs 53,
James Haylock 66,
Jake Rawlings s/o 84
Needingworth United  1
Cam Stephens 2,
Referee:- Malcolm Mizon                                                                                  Attendance:- 23
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                                                     Programme:- NONE
I have to admit that it was the name that attracted me to this fixture! Steeple Bumpstead has all the resonance of Agatha Christie’s murderous 1930s England. It smacks nostalgically of the lord of the manner and country yokels.
 I cajoled Graeme into accompanying me and when we got there, we had travelled through Cambridgeshire, touched on Suffolk and into Essex! There were two pubs in the village, The Lion and The Fox and Hounds and it was to the latter that we betook ourselves for a small repast.
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 It is hard to believe that the village of Steeple Bumpstead had a church with a TOWER!!!!
 Needingworth United, the visitors, opened the scoring as early as the second minute. They were ahead for a scant couple of minutes before Bumpstead replied and then added three second half strikes to score a resounding – and deserved – victory.
 Boxin Day Tuesday 26th December 2017 12.30pm k.o.
Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 East
Moneyfields 1
Joseph Briggs 12,
Fleet Town  1
Chris Wales 79 (pen),
Referee:- Rob Ablitt                                                                                     Attendance:- 118
Admission:-    OMGDS£4.00 (£8)                                                       Programme:- £1.00
It was John Main who took charge of the driving, today, as we all met up at Blisworth and travelled down to Portsmouth for a couple of Boxing Day games.
 Moneyfields FC, who have risen from relative obscurity of late to take their place in The Evo-Stik Southern League, are to be found on Moneyfields Avenue in Cocknor and is squeezed in behind a housing estate. Besides the main pitch, there is a second and full sized pitch behind a row of tall Leylandii growing on the far side of the pitch.
 There was not much to say about the game. There was a gulf between the two teams in success rate with Moneyfields aspiring towards the top and Fleet Town looking anxiously beneath themselves! When the hosts opened the scoring early on, it seemed only a matter of time before the floodgates would be opened and a substantial margin being developed. However, Fleet Town showed great determination and hung on grimly until achieving a deserved equaliser some ten minutes from time.
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 Boxing Day 26th December 2017 3.00pm k.o.
Vanarama National South
Havant & Waterlooville  0
Bognor Regis Town  0
Referee:- Wayne Cartmel                                                                      Attendance:- 1,010
Admission:- OMGDS£9.00 (£14)                                                     Programme:- £2.00
 The weather was now deteriorating quite rapidly. When we got to Westleigh Park, we found a parking space on the wrong side of the ground. Hence we had to cross round three sides of the stadium on very soggy and muddy grass! Once inside the ground and having garnered a couple of team sheets, we headed for the main stand which offered the best defence against the now torrential rain!
 We had made this match with but a few minutes to spare and sitting behind us in the stand was the radio commentator for the club. He kept up a commentary of sorts throughout the match. We wouldn’t have missed him had he gone AWOL.
 Westleigh Park is quite an impressive venue with cover on all four sides and a food outlet at opposite corners of the ground. Mind you, it wasn’t just the rain that made life difficult for players and spectators alike. There was a cutting wind and it was very cold!
 Bognor Regis Town, today’s visitors from along the coast, are struggling somewhat this season, whilst the hosts are vying for promotion to The Vanarama National (“Conference Premier” to the likes of you and me!). Not that you would have noticed the differing fortunes of the teams involved from this match! From very early on the signs were out. “This match has 0-0 written all over it”, we said, and so it proved. It wasn’t a bad match, however, there was plenty of action and not a little thud and blunder. Sadly, little of either took place in or around either goalmouth!
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Friday 29th December 2017
Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division
Haverhill Borough  3
Ryan Weaver 49,
Charlie Holmes 90+2
Ash Botten 90+5,
 Haverhill Rovers  2
Rafal Wozniak 6, 21,
Referee:- Richard Holmes                                            Attendance:- 463
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£6)                                Programme:- £1.00
 This match should have been played on 29th September last. Indeed, I was there that night as a medical emergency occurred and an elderly gentleman had to be airlifted to hospital. That evening, the players never even reached the pitch and the game was finally abandoned without a ball being kicked at 9.15pm.
 Once again, a huge crowd had assembled for this local derby, yet I was able to meet up with Brian Buck and Terry and Dave Wooding and Andy from Colchester, whom I had last seen at Motherwell last season!
 An early injury left the hosts unbalanced at the back and they conceded a goal whilst their centre half was off the pitch. Indeed, Rovers, the visitors were very much in control in the first half and fully deserved their 2-0 lead. The second half was a completely different kettle of fish. Borough replaced their faltering centre-half with a substitute who grafted the defence together and they got back into the game with a goal in the 49th minute! There was high drama in added time at the end of the match as the hosts grabbed two goals to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and it was a victory which they deserved.
 Saturday 30th December 2017
Bostick Isthmian League Division 1 South
East Grinstead 2
Jordy Mongoy 28,
Alex Gaggin 83,
Chipstead 1
Allan Tait 56,
Referee:- Ollie Butcher                                                                                                            Attendance:- 122
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 (£10)                                                                                     Programme:- £2.00
We travelled in hope, John Main and Graeme Askham and I down to East Sussex, and were rewarded, en route, when Twitter announced that the pitch had passed inspection and the game could go ahead. Before the match we enjoyed a sumptuous repast in The Dorset Hotel and then we adjourned to The GAC Stadium which was East Grinstead’s neat and tidy home. It really is a well kept ground with a hundred seat stand on a raised bank down one side. The Wasps are not enjoying the most successful of seasons, but today they prevailed, when, perhaps, a draw might have been a fairer result!
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 Sitting in the stand with her husband, was Heather Armstrong, the Chipstead match secretary (amongst other titles!), whom we had met some three weeks earlier when we had visited Chipstead for their match against Ramsgate.
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OTHER MATCHES

Friday 1st December 2017

U-23 Premier League Cup Group Stage

Birmingham City 1  Nottingham Forest 3                                Attendance:- 63

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Friday 8th December 2017

Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1

Thrapston Town  2  Bugbrooke St Michael  2                        Attendance:- 52

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Tuesday 12th December 2017

The Emirates FA Cup 2nd Round Replay

Peterborough United  5  Woking  2                                       Attendance:- 3,022

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Saturday 16th December 2017

EFL Under-18 Youth Alliance

MK Dons  1  Leyton Orient  0                                                  Attendance:- 45

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Thursday 21st December 2017

Premier League 2 Cup Group F

Leicester City U-23   7   Barnsley U-23   1                            Attendance:- 209

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Matches

 

This Month:-             Matches:-  21

                                              New Grounds:-  9

This season:-            Matches:- 135

                                              New Grounds:- 67

TOTAL:-                     Matches:-  3,840

                                             New Grounds:- 1,407

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November 2017

Our Teacher’s A Football Fanatic

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Our teacher’s a football fanatic.
It’s all that he has on his mind.
He listens to games on his headphones,
and frets when his team is behind.

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He jumps up and down with they’re winning.
He screams when they fumble a pass.
We know we’re supposed to be reading,
but watching him’s simply a gas.

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Our principal walked in on Friday,
and he was too angry to speak.
Our substitute started on Monday.
Our teacher’s been benched for a week.

Kenn Nesbitt

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Wednesday 1st November 2017  2.00pm
British Universities and Colleges Sport Midland Division 2

University of Leicester Women’s 1st 4

Millie Cutler 6 (pen), 37,

Caitlyn Kemp 56,

Shauna Cossens 82
Coventry University Women’s 1st 1

Morgan Patterson 40,
Referee:- Ali Cera                                                        Attendance:- 15
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                      No Programme
Leicester’s Women have already won their first two games of the season and sit at the top of the table. Today’s win at The Roger Bettles Sports Ground in Oadby, was less emphatic than the scoreline suggests. Several of last years team are still playing, indeed, Millie Cutler, last season’s leading scorer contributed two goals today. However, they will need to shake off a few cobwebs if they are going to live up to last seasons high levels, and please Tana who was supporting them with gusto!

Tana, lending her support to the women’s university team and Caitlyn Kemp in particular!

 Wednesday 1st November 2017 7.45pm
Cheshire Senior Cup Preliminary Round

Cheadle Town 1

Jake Ambrose 45,

Stockport County 8

Bohan Dixon 17, 44, 51,

Adam Thomas 26, 31,

Harry Brazel 45+3,

George West 70,

Szymon Czubik 82,
Referee:- A. Woodward                                               Attendance:- 410
Admission:- OMGDS£2.00 (£5)                           Programme:- £2.00
On a misty Autumnal evening, this was a big match for the home team and as they tweeted at the end, they were “edged out in a nine goal thriller!”.  Cheadle’s homely ground was packed to the rafters for this local derby. The attendance was some three hundred higher that the season’s previous best. Only the seated stand – which was pretty impressive – provided any cover and a couple of prefabs housed the snack bar and clubhouse. On the pitch, the visitors showed their class despite fielding a seriously weakened side.

What a comedown for once mighty Stockport County. After 105 seasons in the football league, they are now two divisions from getting back there.

Graeme Askham pays his (and our) dues!!!

Saturday 4th November 2017
The Premiership

West Ham United 1

Manuel Lanzini 56,

Liverpool 4

Mohamed Salah 22, 76,

Joel Matip 24,

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain 57,
Referee:- Neil Swarbrick                                        Attendance:- 56,961
Admission:- Hospitality                               Programme:- incl. (£3.50)
It was my grandson’s birthday present and we enjoyed the hospitality of “The Forge” at The London Stadium.

For twenty minutes, The Hammers looked quite threatening, but then they gave away a simple goal on a Liverpool counter attack and two minutes later, the ‘pool had doubled their lead!

It was a similar opening to the second half, except that this time, The Hammers scored to reduce the deficit. Within two minutes, Liverpool had restored their two goal advantage, Mohamed Sarah added a fourth and there could easily have been two or three more.

By the end of the match, the stadium was half empty. Bring back Big Sam, all is forgiven!

On the station at Kettering, awaiting the 12.26 to St Pancras! We travelled down by train and tube to The London Stadium and the match was an early evening (5.30pm) kick-off for live TV.

On his way into the ground, Freddie had his photograph taken with John Barnes of Liverpool and England fame.

After the match he had his photo taken with Lee Dixon of Arsenal and England fame!

Like Grandfather, like grandson! Entering the teams before the start of the match!

This is me on the left with son, Michael and birthday grandson, Freddie at our hospitality table. I paid £478.00 per person for the hospitality and seats at this match and I was VERY under-impressed. It was quite the poorest hospitality visit I have ever had!

Quite an impressive display for Remembrance Day

Monday 6th November 2017
Emirates FA Cup 1st Round

Chorley 1

Marcus Carver 58

Fleetwood Town 2

Devante Cole 76,

Jack Sowerby 90+1,

Lewie Coyle s/o 70
Referee:- Eddie Ilderton                                     Attendance:- 3,526
Admission:- (standing) OMGDS £9.00 (£12)
programme:- £5.00
My 168th visit to Victory Park and the old ground was heaving, packed to the rafters and with TV cameras at every angle for this FA Cup 1st Round tie.

First things first, I managed TWO butter-potato pies (the local delicacy!) and paid an exorbitant £5 for the commemorative programme.

The cameraman caught me as I wandered toward the main stand and I found myself on live TV!

For ninety minutes I lived in hope. Chorley deservedly took the lead on the hour, but then manager Uwe Rosler brought out his big guns and the equaliser was followed by a killer goal one minute into added time – to deathly silence!

A brave attempt, but all over for another year!

My son, James, was just settling down with his tea in front of the television for the Chorley match …..when who should appear on his screen, but your intrepid football hopper!

The match was screened live on BT television!

Tuesday 7th November 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Harborough Town 3

Daniel Forbes 22,

Barnes Gladman 58,

Greg Usher 82,

Leicester Nirvana 1

Mahmoud Juma 45
Referee:- Cristian Leonte                                             Attendance:- 53
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£6)                         Programme:- £1.00
On a wild and wet evening with matches falling like ninepins to the weather, Harborough Town gave their fans a convincing display against league leaders, Nirvana.

Mid-table Harborough Town scored first, but were level at the interval. In the second half, they deservedly pulled away and could have had more than the two goals they scored!

Paul “Splodge” Proctor was there all the way from Fareham in Hampshire. Not for him the shelter of the stand, despite the rain, he watched from pitch side!

Wednesday 8th November 2017
Total Motion Midland League Premier Division

Quorn 2

Ryan Evans 20

James Hicks 80

Long Eaton United 3

Tom Gamblen 36,

Matthew Savage 38,

Nicholas Hawkins 53,
Referee:- Joshua Hackett                                             Attendance:- 75
Admission:- OMGDS £4.00 (£6)                          Programme:- £1.00
My last visit to Quorn was ten years ago (27.10.07 – Unibond League Division 1 South: Quorn 1 Bring Town 0, Att.:- 97). Since then, someone has spent serious money on the ground. There are new floodlights, new FA regulation fencing around the pitch. The pitch is 3G – installed this summer – covered terracing behind one goal and substantial hard standing all round the pitch. Finally, there have been new turnstiles installed! However, on the pitch, Quorn are struggling, third from bottom of the league and this defeat to a team just three points in front of them, dragged them further into the morass of relegation.

Friday 10th November 2017
Buildbase FA Vase 2nd Round

Yaxley 3

Matt Sparrow 5, 30,

Tom Waumsley 90+2

Peterborough Northern Star 0
Referee:- Tom Harvey                                               Attendance:- 198
Admission:- £6.00                                                  Programme:- £1.00
Friday night, local derby, cup action certainly brought the fans out to Leading Drove. On a very cold evening, on a 3G surface, the Cuckoos ran out easy winners, despite recent problems, which included losing their successful manager.

 

My son, Mike and grandson, Freddie (above) came along to see the action!

Saturday 11th November 2017
Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League
Black Dragon North Division

Retford 1

Will Tomlinson 73,

Lincoln Moorlands Railway 1

Robbie Smith 76,
Referee:- Martin Fryer                                                   Attendance:- 94
Admission:- OMGDS£1.00 (£3)                             Programme:- £1.50
Early days and no floodlights (yet) at this homely, well organised club adjacent to The East Coast Mainline in Retford. They have just taken out a twenty year lease on the ground to enable them to receive FA support for the installation of floodlights. Everyone at the club was so helpful and apologetic over the refreshments – their burger van was stolen some weeks ago. On the pitch, second placed Retford were rather fortunate to gain a share of the points after fourth placed Moorlands missed a second half penalty. Good match and a venue well worth visiting!

An impressive display for Remembrance Day!

There were engineering works on The East Coast Mainline, so the few trains that actually used the line adjacent to the ground, did so gingerly and ……..fairly slowly!

Tuesday 14th November 2014
ISFA Boodles Cup 3rd Round

Repton School 6

James Parton 5,

Artem Alier 16, 18, 53,

Jake Raine 40,

Oliver Hickman 43,

Bedes School 1

unknown 60,
Referee:- Mark Warren                                               Attendance:- 24
Admission:- F.O.C.                                               Programme:- NONE
Five years ago, they held the annual Bunbury U-15 Cricket Festival at Repton School and I saw young Hasim Hameed score 130, before going on to play for Lancashire and England. Today, the young footballers of Repton showed just what they are made of in disposing of Bedes School from Sussex. On a mild Autumn afternoon, they scored three goals in the opening twenty minutes and were four up by the interval. The final scored did not reflect their toal dominance of the game.

The football pitch stood astride the two main school cricket pitches.

A throw back to days of yore!!! The score was kept on a board at the side of the pitch!

Wednesday 15th November 2015
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Sleaford Town 0

Holbeach United 2

Lewis Leckie 24,

George Zuerner 27,
Referee:- Paul McVey                                                     Attendance:- 93
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£6)                             Programme:- £1.00
Holbeach played Sleaford at Holbeach during the UCL/PDFL ‘hop’ in July and won 6-0. Sleaford are struggling, just two places off the bottom of the division. Their rivals this evening, sit comfortably in the top half of the table. Sleaford’s Eslaforde Park is a reasonably new build and suffers from the ‘Meccano” effect that seems to imbue the modern idea of a non-league stadium. In the gloom and the mist of this evening, the hosts were never a match for their rivals, who scored twice in the first half and comfortably saw out the second period.

Friday 17th November 2017
Sky-Bet Championship EFL

Preston North End 0

Bolton Wanderers 0
Referee:- S. Hooper                                                Attendance:- 15,213
Admission:- OMGDS £16.00 (£24)                     Programme:- £3.00
On 25th February 1967, Bolton Wanderers won 3-1 at Deepdale and Francis Lee scored all three of The Trotters goals. For his hat-trick  goal, he stopped the ball on the goal line, knelt down and headed it in!

The visiting Trotters faithful were baying in delight!

Sadly, this evening’s fare could not match the magic of that moment of fifty years ago. 0-0 was probably a fair result, but it was a match void of excitement!

Son, James, who drove us both up from Blisworth

Looking a bit careworn and weary around the edges, it was my 105th match of the season so far!!!

Saturday 18th November 2017
FA of Wales Trophy 4th Round

Chirk AAA   4

Matty Thomas 6,

Matty Woods 28, 82,

Louie Middlehurst 84(pen),

New Brighton Villa 0
Referee:- Alex Livesey                                               Attendance:- 54
Admission:- £2.00                                       Programme:- (included)
Chirk is a town of surprises with its own castle, an aqueduct that carries The Llangollen Canal across the valley and a chirpy, cheery little football club that plies its trade in The Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division. Behind the ground lurks the giant Cadbury’s factory churning out great clouds of smoke. Inside the ground, there is a small stand with about a hundred seats, situated behind the goal and concrete standing down one side. Today, The Colliers were too strong for their Division 1 visitors and eventually ran out handsome winners after a torrid spell for much of the second half at 2-0!

Behind the ground lurks the giant Cadburys factory churning out great clouds of smoke!

Tuesday 21st November 2017
Spartan South Midlands League Division 1

Langford 0

Baldock Town 0
Referee:- Chris Flack Official                                    Attendance:- 37
Admission:- OMGDS£2.50 (£5)                      programme:- included

 I first went to Langford in 2005 but I haven’t been back since 2011.

When my middle son, Michael, lived in Bedford, we used to visit quite often and grew quite fond of the club.

However, this evening put a new perspective on affairs. There really is nothing to the stadium. A couple of Meccano stands, a cosy club house and a bomb cratered car park are all that is on offer.

The ground is not even in Langford, but in Henlow, the next village along!

Tonight’s tepid encounter was played out to a very small audience – but not the smallest of my visits to the ground!

There was no hot food in the club house, but the tea ladies, who were cooking lovely home made pizza for the players after match meal, were very happy to knock up cheese rolls for us!

There were two “Meccano” covered areas along one side of the ground. This one was the covered standing area.

Baldock Town, this evening’s opponents are ground sharing at Arlesey Town, this season.

Wednesday 22nd November 2017
East Midlands Counties League Cup 2nd Round
Selston 0
Birstall United 1
Sam Moore 2,
Referee:- Kieran Shaw                                    Official Attendance:- 164
Admission:- OMGDS£2.00 (£4)                           Programme:- £1.00
On a wild, wet and windy evening, there was a very healthy turn-out for the home side’s first match under floodlights. The lights had been scheduled to open earlier in the season but an unexpected glitch delayed the switch on!
This is Selston’s first season at step six and in third place in the table, they are certainly enjoying themselves.
Perhaps not so, in the matches against ninth placed Birstall, who had already stuck four on them without reply earlier in the season. Tonight a second minute strike was enough to win the contest and spoil the hosts floodlit celebrations!
The club house was a full pitch width again from the playing area, but it was well victualled and a cosy retreat from the storm outside!
The floodlights were officially switched on at 6.30pm by Lisa Simpson, the clerk to The Selston Parish Council, at The Parish Hall Ground.
Saturday 25th November 2017
Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 South & West
AFC Totton 1
John Masterton 44,
Evesham United 1
Ashley Williams 12,
Ashley Williams s/o 26
Referee:- Benjamin Knight                                      Attendance:- 315
Admission:- OMGDS£6.00 (£10)                     Programme:- £2.00John Main and I made good progress down to Hampshire and dined pretty well at The Testwood, close by the ground.
Evesham United were late arriving because their transport had broken down! The match didn’t start until 4.00pm. In the meantime, we toured the ground which is one of the better examples of a new build, with terracing on all four sides and seated cover along each touchline. The roof of the stand reminded me of Corby Town’s roof – useless against the elements! However, the only elements here were the very cold conditions. These two sides are in sixth and fifth place in the table and early in the game it was the visitors who dominated, opening the scoring on 12 minutes. When the visitors had a man sent off in the 26th minute, The Stags gradually eased back into the game, equalising just before the break. A very even and entertaining second half ensured that the points were shared!
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Tuesday 28th November 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division
Oadby Town 1
Luke Shaw 51,
Harborough Town 4
Daniel Forbes 5,
Barnes Gladman 33,
Greg Usher 45
Aaron Preston 61
Referee:- Wayne Bright                                                  Attendance:- 55
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£6)                            Programme:- £1.00
On a cold, cold evening, Graeme and I were well wrapped up for this local derby. Oadby have won only one match this season and that was by 2-1 a couple of weeks ago at Boston Town. They have yet to win at home. This evening, they were 0-3 down at the interval but it could so easily have been 3-3.
In the second half, the referee decided to take sides with the opposition, and, after the hosts had pulled a goal back, he awarded a strike to Harborough despite a blatant transgression in the lead up. The Poachers fought well and will be disappointed to have lost by so wide a margin.
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Wednesday 29th November 2017
British Universities and Colleges Sport
Midland Division 2A

De Montfort University Women’s 1st        2

Emilia Davies  25,

Tiara Henman 72
Loughborough University Women’s 3rd    3

Lucy Brown 61, 70, 89,
Referee:- George Malkou                                                 Attendance:- 2
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                  Programme:- NONE
This floodlit contest kicked off at 5.00pm at Beaumont Park, Leicester, on a raw and very cold evening. A pretty even contest was decided only in the final minute when the lethal Lucy Brown completed her hat trick and sealed a win for the visitors. Earlier, Emilia Davies, the best player on the park, opened the scoring after twenty-five minutes. In the second half, with DMU trailing to the first two of the deadly Lucy Brown’s strikes, Tiara Henman equalised with a spectacular shot from thirty yards. A draw would have been a fair result,………… but for Lucy Brown’s decider!!!

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OTHER MATCHES:-

Thursday 2nd November 2017

Leicestershire Midweek Floodlit Youth League

Aylestone Park U18  1   Allexton & New Parks U-18  5   Attendance:- 57


Tuesday 7th November 2017

HIDL Independent School League

Repton School  5  Charterhouse  0                                   Attendance:- 33


Monday 13th November 2017

Premier League 2 League Cup Group Stage

Leicester City U-23  0  Portsmouth U-23   0                Attendance 260

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Tuesday 14th November 2017

Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division

Desborough Town  0  Kirby Muxloe  1                          Attendance:- 57

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Thursday 16th November 2017

Leicestershire Midweek Floodlit Youth League South

Aylestone Park   5  Harborough Town  1                     Attendance:- 41

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Monday 20th November 2017

Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City u-23  0  Sunderland u-23  0                 Attendance:- 321

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Wednesday 22nd November 2017

National League U-19 Alliance Division H

Mansfield Town Brooksby  3  Grantham Town  5     Attendance:- 10

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Monday 28th November 2017

Premier League 2 U-18 Cup – Group Stage

Leicester City u-18  1  Fulham u-18  1                         Attendance:- 51

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Wednesday 29th November 2017

British Universities & Colleges Sport Midlands Division 3A

University of Leicester 1st  6    Aston University   4   Attendance:- 6

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Matches:-

This month:-            matches – 25                  new grounds – 8

This Season:-           matches – 115                 new grounds – 57

Total:-                       matches – 3,810             new grounds – 1,398

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October 2017 and The Western Hop

Net to net rolls the ball
with the feet fast they scroll
the kicks find the bar too small
too hard to score a goal!

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Sweats it out the forward
saves it tough the one at back
like a fort he must guard
not allow a crack!

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On the grass no guide or map
rely on footwork skill
pierce the defense find the gap
go for the lethal kill!

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The ball if once finds the net
stop breath a million soul
mourns the side in sealed fate
the air is rend with GOAL! ! ! !

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Rhymes Of Football
Pradip Chattopadhyay

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The Western League ‘Hop’

Friday 6th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1

Ashton & Backwell United  2

Sam Skidmore 36, 55,

Bishop Sutton  1

Nathan Rendell 71,

Referee:- Adam Osborne                               Attendance:- 225

Admission:- £6.00                                    Programme:- £1.00

“Where there is Unity, there will be victory”

Last season’s whipping boys, Bishop Sutton have turned the tables and are now competitive. On a reasonably mild evening, there was a good turn-out of hoppers – many, like myself, based at The Royal Grovesnor Hotel in Weston-super-Mare. This was to be the only match of the”Hop” where I had already visited, but it was good to get back and I would much prefer the first match to be a re-visit than the last match!

Ashton & Backwell scored two goals ten minutes either side of half-time. However, you sensed that the visitors were never out of it and when they scored on 71 minutes, the match was set up for a tense finale.

A beautiful red sky bathed The Lancer Scott Stadium before the match. It should have been a prelude to a fine day following, but, sadly, that was not the case ………………..

Choppy full tide at Weston-super-Mare before the first match of a dull, drizzly day!

Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1,  k.o.:- 10.45am

Welton Rovers  3

Tom Smith 27,

Chris Pile 42, 90,

Keynsham Town  1

Matt Brown, 4,

Referee:- Kane Lewis                                                Attendance:- 247

Admission:- £6.00                                              Programme:- £1.00

Long have I lusted after Welton Rovers and a visit to their West Clewes Stadium. I think it was the many times that I passed the ground en-route to somewhere else that made me determined, one day, to visit it. It felt a bit like a child growing up in H.G Wells short story: “The Door in the Wall”.

Sad to say, reality did not live up to expectation. They must have built a new stand since I was last in the vicinity and the ground seemed to be off a narrow town street rather than adjacent to the main highway to the south-west!

The weather had taken a turn for the worse and we endured virtually our only rain of the weekend during this match.

Welton eventually cruised to victory, but it was a difficult opening. The visitors struck in the fourth minute and it took the hosts until the 27th minute to draw level. It was just before half-time that the Rovers deservedly took the lead. The second half was a different story, but only one goal was added to the tally as Rovers took command and stamped their authority on the match.

 

Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1  k.o.:- 1.30pm

Radstock Town  1

Scott Gregory (og) 17,

Oldland Abbotonians  0

Referee:- Brian Lee                                               Attendance:- 213

Admission:- £6.00                                              Programme:- £1.00

Radstock have had a chequered history. They are believed to be the oldest football club in Somerset and whilst their club badge suggests 1895 as a birth date, there is plenty of evidence of Radstock football in the 1880s.

Radstock’s pleasant ground was graced by a large seated stand, but they are under threat of expulsion from the league due to ground grading shortcomings. Part of that has already been overcome with the installation of new floodlights, but they still need to introduce turnstiles to suit the suits at The FA (gawd knows why!!!).

This was not the best match of the “hop” and it was settled with an own goal from Oldland Abbottonian’s Scott Gregory, some seventeen minutes into the contest!

 

Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Premier Division,

 k.o.:- 4.30pm

Odd Down      2

Kane Simpson 31

Asa White (pen) 84,

David Gould s/o 34

Bitton   2

Tom Knighton 65

Joe McLennan 75,

Kyle Tooze s/o 65

Referee:- Brian Channing                                           Attendance:- 211

Admission:- £6.00                                                   Programme:- £1.00

White was the predominant colour at The Lew Hill Memorial Ground. Odd Down have only spent 39 seasons in The Western League (from 1977/78) and, indeed, were ejected from The Somerset League at one time for a lack of facilities! In 2015/16, however, they won the championship of The Western League, but allowed Barnstaple Town in second place to take promotion to The Southern League.

This match was a pretty feisty affair with two sendings off (the home side lost a man, sent off, after 34 minutes and the visitors had a player dismissed in the 65th minute). A draw was probably a fair result. Odd Down took the lead up to half time, Bitton bit back with two goals, to lead with fifteen minutes remaining, but a penalty six minutes from time ensured that the spoils were shared!

Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Premier Division

k.o.:- 7.45pm

Hengrove Athletic  3

Craig White 53,

Rhys Hickery 60,

Jack Fillingham 90+1 (Pen)

Hallen   3

Scott Thomas 4,

Luke Mills 25,

Scott Cousins 72,

Referee:- Robert Cockle                                             Attendance:- 239

Admission:- £6.00                                                 Programme:- £1.00

“Dulce est desipere in loco – It is good to play the fool occasionally”.

Our visit to Hengrove Athletic felt like a visit to a stadium in the middle of nowhere! And that was despite, the queues of cars trying to get into the tight little ground causing minor traffic jams on the country road.

Hengrove Athletic are a comparatively recent club having been formed in 1948 and gaining promotion to The Western League in 2005/06.

This was a topsy-turvy game in which the visitors seemed to have total control after establishing a 2-0 half-time lead. The home side somehow drew level on the hour, but fell behind once again twelve minutes later. A penalty in added time at the very end of the match gave the hosts a share of the points in a game where they should have been beaten out of sight!

Sunday 8th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Premier Division

k.o.:- 10.45am

Shepton Mallet  4

James Billing 21, 48, 90,

Tyson Pollard 26,

Brislington  1

Danny Hunt  81,

Referee:- Nigel Whitfield                                       Attendance:- 285

Admission:- £6.00                                          Programme:- £1.00

An early start at 9.15am with Craig Dabbs at the wheel of our minibus for the thirty or so miles to Shepton Mallet. The Playing Field in West Shepton is a pretty impressive stadium. There is a large stand down one side and a seated stand along the side on the left as you enter the ground. In addition, there is seated cover behind the top goal.

Craig Dabbs (our driver), John Main and Chris Berezai

Covered seating behind the top goal

Covered seating down one side

Covered standing along the opposite side!

Shepton Mallet have not always enjoyed success. In 1986, they went bankrupt and a newly formed club took the place of the old club’s reserves in The Somerset County League Division 2.

Today, they were imperious as the swept Brislington aside with captain and defender-cum-striker James Billing claiming a hat-trick. It was 2-0 at the interval and 4-0 before the visitors managed to claim a consolation goal. The fine weather returned and it was very warm!!

Karl Senior

Jack Warner

front:- Robin and Paul, behind is Mike Squires

Sunday 8th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1 k.o.:- 2.15pm

Bishops Lydeard  2

James Quick 37,

Ben Hebditch 43

Cheddar  3

Chris Coombes  7,

Adam Jones  67,

Ricky Bennett 73

Referee:- Kevin Rodd                                                 Attendance:- 264

Admission:- £6.00                                                Programme:- £2.00

The last game of the “Hop” took place at Cothelstone Road, the home of recently arrived members, Bishops Lydeard. Last year on the ‘hop’ we saw them win handsomely at Chard but, today, they were off the pace and struggled against a competent but pedestrian Cheddar team. Having said that, it was the hosts who, rather fortuitously, took a half-time lead after Cheddar had opened the scoring with an early strike.

Cheddar took the victory and the points with two second half goals and thoroughly deserved their success!

Besides the match and the sunshine, there were two different types of curry to choose from!

Giles and Andy enjoying the match

The Toolstation Western League organise their own annual ‘Hop’ and this year, once again, it was a very enjoyable sojourn in The West Country. Chris Berezai organised the hotels and the transport and it was good to return to The Royal Grosvenor after our dalliance last year in the seaside holiday camp! I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, the accommodation, the trip and the games

Chris deserves a word of gratitude for all the hard work that he put in to make the ‘hop’ such a success.

Here’s to next year!

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Tuesday 10th October 2017
Birmingham County FA Central League Cup

k.0.:- 2.00pm

Walsall 0

Doncaster Rovers 4

Liam Mandeville 18,

James Morris 21, 43,

Jacob Fletcher 54,
Referee;- Neil Howlett                                                   Attendance:- 55
Admission:- F.O.C.                                  Programme:- free teamsheet
This was my first visit to Ray Hall Lane and I was impressed with the facilities. There were no floodlights, but there were several pitches and refreshments, cover and seats for spectators. We never did find out the age group of the players. Some said U-18 others U-23 and even others that it was a reserve match. There was no doubting the better side. Rovers dominated throughout and were not flattered by the score.

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Tuesday 10th October 2017
Staffordshire Senior Cup – 1st Round

k.o.:- 7.45pm

Abbey Hulton United 0

Walsall Wood 3

Tony Clarke 7,

Sam Agar 62,

Callum McFarlane 82,
Referee:- Jonathan Maskrey                                       Attendance:- 115
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£5)                          Programme:- £2.00
This is Abbey Hulton’s debut season in The Hallmark Security North West Counties League. They marked the opening of their floodlights last week with a match against Sandbach United which, they say,  attracted over 2,000 spectators! For tonight’s run-of-the-Mill county cup encounter, there were programmes and even printed tickets. The refreshments were extensive including the local speciality of ‘oat cakes’. Walsall Wood, nominally a step higher than their opponents, had no difficulty in snatching a comfortable victory. However, the hosts are ambitious and they look to be at the start of a long adventure, with success beckoning along the way!

A ticket was issued for tonights game! 

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Wednesday 11th October 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 South

Corby Town 3

Sam Mulready 25, 37,

Leon Lobjoit 75,

Alvechurch 1

David Dubidat 85,
Referee:- Scott Postin (Coventry)                                Attendance:- 270
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£10)                           Programme:- £2.00
My 180th visit to see a Steelmen home game (albeit at three different grounds), and, for once, the fare served up was well worth the entrance fee! Alvechurch, seventh in the table, fancied their chances against 16th placed Corby Town. However, it was the Steelmen who took control with two goals midway through the first half and a third with fifteen minutes left to play. Alvechurch were left to score a consolation goal five minutes from time.

The James Ashworth VC Memorial Stand

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Thursday 12th October 2017
FA WSL Continental Cup Group I South

Arsenal Ladies 7

Lisa Evans 22,

Emma Mitchell 33, 36,

Beth Mead 60, 79,

Louise Quinn  84,

London Bees 0
Referee:- Robert Whitton                                      Attendance:- c800
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£10)                      Programme:- £2.00
This game at Boreham Wood’s ground was largely a mis-match. Arsenal are the seeded team in this group and were technically and strategically far superior to their cross-London rivals. Bees were spirited and determined, but had no match for their Women’s Premier League rivals. They did have a very promising forward on display, however, in Destiney Toussaint. She would have been an asset, even to the Arsenal starlets!

———————————————————————————

The Bedfordshire County League ‘Hop’

Saturday 14th October 2017

Bedfordshire county League Division 1

k.o.:- 11.00am

Wixams   4

Gaz White 6,

Grant Tibbett 19,

Max Natola 36,

Charlie Battams 58,

Sandy   1

Tom Hunt 66,

Referee:- Chris Howes                                              Attendance:- 125

Admission:- F.O.C.                                            Programme:- £2.00

There were two pitches at Wixams, a housing estate on the south side of Bedford, One pitch was 3G and enclosed in a wire cage. Wixams FC normally play there. However, today, they were on the grass pitch adjacent. Drinks and hot food were available in the club house and Craig handed out the programme packs before the game.

I didn’t really expect the hosts to win this match. Both teams were going well, but Sandy had games in hand and, on paper, looked the stronger side. It was something of a surprise, then when Wixams raced into a two goal lead in the first twenty minutes! Another strike followed before half-time and a fourth just before the hour mark. Poor old Sandy were shell-shocked, but they did recover to score a consolation effort some twenty minutes from time!

 

Saturday 14th October 2017

Bedfordshire County League Premier Division

k.o.:- 2.00pm

AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College  2

Colby Smith  23,

Perry Ronayne 36 (pen),

Caldecote  2

Jack Boyd  8,

Dan Fennel  33,

Referee:- Martin Darlow                                          Attendance:- 109

Admission:- F.O.C.                                            Programme:- £2.00

This was the opening fixture at a completely new ground just off the A428 on the north east side of Bedford.

There were excellent facilities in the club house and plenty of car parking space. In addition, there were four or five full sized pitches so that the scope for development was pretty substantial.

Both teams are well placed in the top half of the premier division of The Bedfordshire County League and the match was played at a good pace – at least for the first half, where the two sides shared four goals. The second half was less than scintillating as the sides settled for what they had and the game tamely fizzled out!

Saturday 14th October 2017

Bedfordshire County League Premier Division

k.o.:- 5.00pm

Cranfield United  1

Nev Allen (og) 68,

Renhold United  0

Referee:- Brian Cooper                                             Attendance:- 116

Admission:- F.O.C.                                             Programme:- £2.00

I had visited Cranfield United nine years previously, when they were in The Spartan South Midlands League Division 1. That very cold evening was memorable because my son preferred to watch from the club house window rather than brave the icy conditions outside as the home side defeated Bedford FC by 2-1 in front of a meagre crowd of 32. (2nd December 2008)

This season, both the hosts and Renhold United are struggling in the top division of the league – and it showed on the field of play as very few chances were created in a lacklustre first half! In the second half, Cranfield upped the tempo, but the match looked to be heading for the dreaded 0-0 draw until, in the 68th minute, when a comical error by the visiting goalkeeper produced the only goal of the match. He contrived to kick the ball into his own net rather than out of it – and it took more than one attempt to get it all horribly wrong!

This was the last match of Craig Dabbs Bedfordshire “Hop”. As he said himself: “There has never been a 0-0 draw on this hop”, but this match brought that possibility perilously close!

It is always a pleasure to attend this ‘hop’ and the day simply speeds past until darkness falls on the only ground today that was equipped with floodlights!


Tuesday 17th October 2017
Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay

Boston United 3

James Clifton 23,

Kabongo Tshimanga 51,

Greg Smith 82,

Chorley 4                                                             after extra time

Nick Haughton 50, 61, 111,

Andy Teague 55,

Matt Hughes s/o 102
Referee:- Wayne Cartmel                                       Attendance:- 1,132
Admission:- OMGDS £7.00 (£10)                     Programme:- £2.00
Team-sheet:- £1.00
This was my ninety-sixth visit to York Street, but still five years after my last visit!

On a murky, wet evening, these two teams put on a wonderful display of all out attack and physical determination.

It was a real shame that one side had to lose.

I know I would have been beyond recovery had Chorley lost!

The game see-sawed. 1-0 and 2-1 to The Pilgrims, then 3-2 to Chorley, before Greg Smith’s 82nd minute equaliser. In the second period of extra time Chorley, inexplicably, had a man dismissed, but managed to score almost immediately through the very impressive Nick Haughton, for whom it was his hat-trick! That goal sealed the victory and took Chorley through to a home first round tie against Fleetwood Town of League 1.

Sadly, Nick Haughton is on loan to Chorley from Fleetwood Town. Whether he will be allowed to play in the FA Cup 1st Round is still not certain.

Wednesday 18th October 2017
Birmingham Senior Cup 1st Round

Coventry United 3

Dominic Alleyne 17,

Craig Reid  26,

Scott Hammond  73,

Highgate United 5

Marco Adagio 15, 74,

Scott Rickards 39,

Lei Brown 40, 

Scott Turner 55,
Referee:- Ryan Haynes                                       Official Attendance:- 65
Admission OMGDS £6.00 (£7)                        Programme:- £0.50
Car Park:- £2.00
This huge arena was built in 2004 and features a 3,000 seat stand with facilities below, including a spacious bar. This is Coventry United’s first season sharing the stadium with the city’s rugby Union and League clubs.Besides the main stand, there is very little other areas around the ground, except for what looked like hospitality outlets behind one goal. Highgate won this encounter at a canter and their five goal haul could have been higher!

Saturday 21st October 2017
The Scottish Premier League

Hearts 1

Kyle Lafferty 74,

St Johnstone 0
Referee:- Nick Walsh                                               Attendance:- 18,534
Admission:- £26.00                                                  Programme:- £3.50
A bit of pampering, today, John Main and I took a first class ride on Virgin Trains from Peterborough to Edinburgh and then walked down from Haymarket Station to the very impressive Murrayfield Stadium. Hearts are using the stadium whilst they rebuild one of the stands at their Gorgie ground.The match itself was nothing to write home about. St Johnstone were unlucky to lose to a wildly deflected shot from Kyle Lafferty, which gave the goalkeeper no chance. However, the ground and the atmosphere were pretty impressive and probably almost unique as Hearts will only play one more match here before returning to their Tynecastle home.

Wednesday 25th October 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Cup  

2nd Round

Blackstones 2

Ben Porter 18 (pen),

Lee Clarke 50,

Peterborough Northern Star 1

Craig Rook 33,
Referee:- Lee Hartley Attendance:- 102
Admission:- £5.00 Programme:- £1.00
You can’t beat Blackstones on a mild Autumn evening with the floodlights highlighting the golden colours of the trees and a carpet of bronze leaves coating the pitch. This evening, they were entertaining higher division rivals, Peterborough Northern Star, and in a cracker of a match, they edged it with an early second half strike after the sides had gone into the break level pegging at 1-1.

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.   
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.   

Saturday 28th October 2017
The Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round

Tiverton Town 2

Owen Howe 61,   Callum Hall 65,

Banbury United 2

Ravi Shamsi 16,    Jefferson Lewis  45+3,
Referee:- Declan O’Shea                                             Attendance:- 248
Admission:- OMGDS£6.50 (£9)                          Programme:- £2.00
It was a long drive down to North Devon, but the welcome was spontaneous. I made the mistake of requesting a Cornish pastie, only to be told that they were Devon Pasties and very tasty they were, too! The ground was spruce and neat with cover on all sides, but seating only down one side. Banbury had already knocked Tiverton out of The FA Cup and by half-time, when they were 2-0 up, it looked as if they would do the same in The FA Trophy! Tiverton pulled out all the stops in the second half but, they had a little help from the referee who was a tad harsh on the penalty and the free kick which preceded it! All to play for next Tuesday in Banbury!

Tuesday 31st October 2017
Sussex Principal Royal Ulster Rifles Charity Cup
3rd Round

Haywards Heath Town 3

Trevor McCreadie 11,

Max Miller 52,

Callum Saunders 89,

Lancing 3             (after extra time – score at 90 minutes 3-3)

Scott Chamberlain 38 (og)

Lewis Finney 40, 74,

Tom Watson s/o 118,
Lancing won on penalties by 4-3
Referee:- Michael Barnes Attendance:- 98
Admission:- OMGDS:- £5.00 (£7) Programme:- incl.
After a frustrating train journey and a taxi to the station, who should be there, but Andy English with all the team information like manna to a dying traveller! There is one big stand at Hanbury Road and a small covered standing area behind one goal, but not a lot else. There was an extensive club house and a small cafe which, unusually for a southern club, sold pies (and cakes!). It was a pulsating game between two of the top teams in The Southern Combination League. The visitors had five players booked and one sent off, but they triumphed after extra time failed to produce a winner and will progress in the competition at the expense of their hosts!

_______________________________________________

Other Matches:-

Monday 2nd October 2017

Southern League Bigfreebet.com Cup 1st Round

Hitchin Town  4  Bishops Stortford  2                        Attendance:- 138

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Tuesday 3rd October 2017

Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division

Desborough Town  2  Deeping Rangers  0                Attendance:-63

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Wednesday 4th October 2017  k.o.:- 2.00pm

National League U-19 Alliance Division I

Mansfield Town  6  Kidderminster Harriers  0          Attendance:- 38

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Wednesday 4th October 2017   k.o.:- 7.45pm

Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division

Godmanchester Rovers    3  Haverhill Borough  1    Attendance:- 45


Monday 23rd October 2017

(Under-23) Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City  2  Swansea City  0                            Attendance:- 443


Tuesday 24th October 2017

Carabao Cup 4th Round

Leicester City  3  Leeds United  1                         Attendance:- 31,516

________________________________________________

Monday 30th October k.o.:- 2.00pm

Professional Development League

Coventry City U-23    0         Millwall U-23    0            Attendance:- 190


Monday 30th October 2017 k.o.:- 7.45pm

Northants Senior Youth League – East Division

Rottweil Corinthians  3  S&L Corby  1                           Attendance:- 56


This Month:- 

Matches:-  28          New Grounds:- 15

This Season:-

Matches:-  89              New Grounds:-   48

TOTAL:-

Matches:-  3,788       New Grounds:-  1,390

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September 2017

Why do you love football

by Candy Simpson

.

Why do you love football?
What do you see in it?
Why not watch another sport
Like Rugby, Golf, or Cricket?

.

Well let me answer that my friend
And put your mind at rest
I love the beautiful game
Because it’s simply the best

.

No other sport is as exciting
No other comes anywhere near
Football can create passion
And lots of atmosphere

.

It is loved all around the world
Most children kick a football
Rich kids, and poor kids
small kids, and some very tall

.

A good football match is a joy to watch
That’s why thousands go to every game
When you get goals and lots of action
All the fans are so glad that they came

.

So yes my friend I do love football
It’s by far the number one sport for me
So while you’re watching Golf and Cricket
I’ll be watching Match of the Day, or Man U F.C.

.

.

.

Saturday 2nd September 2017
Vanarama National League South

Whitehawk 2

Connor Tighe 65,

Liam Gordon 85,

Poole Town 2

Warren Bentley 26,

Jez Bedford 34,
Referee:- Matty Buonassissi                                       Attendance:- 298
Admission:- OMGDS £7 (£12)                                Programme:- £2.00
On a blazing hot day Phil Evans and I feasted al fresco at a beachside hostelry in Rottingdean before adjourning to The TerraPura Ground, home of Whitehawk, the currently embattled and winless members of National League South. In the first half they looked a sad side and were given a sharp lesson by the visitors who took a two goal lead into the interval. I don’t know what went into the half-time cuppa,or what was said by newly appointed Dan Harding, but they were a team transformed in the second half. It was a pity that they took so long to get going. In added time and having already cancelled out the visitors two first half strikes, Lucas Rodrigues had a glorious chance to snatch the victory, but his effort was turned away by the Poole custodian. On this form, a first league win could well be in the offing!

Monday 4th September 2017
Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round Replay

Hitchin Town 1

Callum Donnelly 32,

Haringey Borough 1 aet

Christopher Benjamin 21,
Referee:- Elliott Swallow                                         Attendance:- 201
Admission:- OMGDS £6 (£10)                           Programme:- NONE
It was very pleasant to make my acquaintance once again with the wooden terracing of Hitchin Town’s Top Field. Sadly, they were not able to produce a programme as the first match had only been played on Saturday! The game started out looking like a home banker, but gradually, the visitors began to show their poise and it was no surprise when they took a 21st minute lead. The hosts equalised ten minutes later and for the next hour and a half, it was pretty boring stuff! Eventually, in the penalty shoot-out, the hosts missed the first two whilst Haringey scored theirs. The Canaries scored the third and fourth but missed the fifth and that condemned them to a defeat by 3-2 on penalties to their lower league rivals!

Tuesday 5th September 2017
Midland League Premier Division

Loughborough University 0

Quorn 1

George Lynam 26 (og),
Referee:- Ben Watkiss                                             Attendance:- 109
Admission:- OMGDS £2 (£5)                             Programme:- £1.00
Always a pleasure to meet up with the students in their opulent stadium, but this evening matched two sides – each with one point from six games – propping up the league table and at times and in passages of play, it was easy to see why! In the end, the visitors deserved their victory, achieved with the assistance of an own goal after twenty-six minutes.

Wednesday 6th September 2017
Thurlow-Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division

Godmanchester Rovers 1

Tom Spark 32,

Ben Yeomans s/o 90+1

Newmarket Town 2

Austin Diaper 17,

Steve Spriggs 71,
Referee:- Martin Gospel                                           Attendance:- 155
Admission:- £6.00                                                Programme:- £1.00
Hadn’t been to Bearcroft Lane for a while and the first thing that greeted me was the substantial housing estate which now lies next door. Indeed, the ground, I noticed, is called The David Wilson Homes Ground!!! I well remember Goddy when they first burst upon the Eastern League scene and what a shoddy and very basic arena they had. Much has changed, including a lovely new clubhouse opened by John Major in 2012. The match wasn’t anything to write home about, The Jockeys were the stronger side, but Goddy, managed by Ollie Drake, who last season took Hardwick to The Kershaws Premier title, will improve given time and a little more luck!

Friday 8th September 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1

Thrapston Town 3

Cory James 25, 44,

Chris Hope 87,

Burton Park Wanderers 4

Michael Byrne 17,

Stuart McMichael 45+2

Paul Caswell 73, 78,
Referee:- Paul Gregory                                                 Attendance:- 135
Admission:- £5.00                     Programme:- NONE – free teamsheet
This was Thrapston’s first home game of the season after five consecutive away fixtures. Cricket had taken precedence! However, it wasn’t a winning home match. Honours even at the interval when the sides shared four first half goals, but thereafter, Wanderers pulled away and it was only a consolation three minutes from time that brought a little respectability to the scoreline for the hosts!

I liked the motto on the crest which said: “Oppido Servire”, which, if my dog Latin is correct, means: “To serve the Town”!

The home side photo call before the match. I’m glad they weren’t wearing that abominable colouring for the match!

The cricket season is in full swing and Thrapston Town played the first five games of their season away from home to accommodate the cricket!

Saturday 9th September 2017
Buildbase FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round

Skegness Town 3

Daniel Stevens 34,

Jordan Smith 41,

Luke Rayner-Mistry 65,

Sleaford Town 0
Referee:- Jack Forder (Lincoln)                              Attendance:- c150
Admission:- £4.00                                                    Programme:- £1.00
Skegness Town is part of a whole new complex on the edge of the town which includes Rugby as well as three football pitches.
The Vertigo Stadium is named after a local Scaffolding group
The reserves were playing on an adjacent pitch behind the far goal and the only difference between the two pitches was the absence of covered standing or seating on the second pitch. Poor old Sleaford. They are having a terrible season. The last time I saw them, they lost 6-0 at Holbeach United. I don’t think that they have won since, and, today, against a side two steps below them in the pyramid, they were turned over with ease by a team with more skill and determination. I hope it gets better for them, but on this showing……. it is not very likely!

Monday September 11th 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 South

Romulus 2

Jordan Francis  6,

Romario Martin 61,

Cameron Lee s/o 10,

Lee Brown s/o 69,

Kidsgrove Athletic 4

Rhys Thompson 27,

Anthony Malbon 29 (pen),

John Beaumont 63,

Kyle Diskin, 75,

Referee:- James King                                               Attendance:- 102
Admission:- OMGDS £5 (£7)                             Programme:- £2.00
Romulus share with Sutton Coldfield Town and there have been changes at Coles Lane since my last visit some five years ago. A new seated stand named after a former president of the club who died in May has been erected where the covered walkway used to be on the side opposite the main stand. A tiny stand, pinched, no doubt, from Edgbaston’s T20 players adorns a corner behind one goal.

Sadly, the changes did not extend to the team, recently relegated from the Premier division of The Evo-Stik NPL. It didn’t help that they had TWO players sent off for what appeared to be violent conduct. Despite being down to nine men, they chivvied and harried and were worth their two goals. But the visitors were too good for them and ran out comfortable winners. The referee was, sadly, over officious!

Friday 15th September 2017

Hallmark Security North West Counties League Premier Division

Squires Gate  1

Dean Ing 27,

Widnes  2

Christopher Lomax 52,

Thomas Mitchell 65,

Referee:- Chris Porter                                            Attendance:- 100

Admission:- £6.00                                            Programme:- £2.00

When I were nobbut a  small lad and following the mighty Chorley in The Lancashire Combination, (this would be the period from the late fifties to the mid-sixties) Squires Gate was a field on the way from Preston to Blackpool and even Chorley Reserves wouldn’t have deigned to muddy their boots on such lowly turf!

Nowadays, the ground is fully enclosed with covered seating and standing all around the arena. The club house is warm and welcoming and even the car parking is well managed!

Sadly, the team languish at the foot of the Premier Division of The North West Counties League, without a win to their name all season and one or two pretty heavy defeats. Tonight, they played well and actually led at half-time, only to fall to two second half strikes from the visitors.

They deserve better and there were one or two instances during this evening’s game which suggested that the green shoots of recovery may be thrusting their way through.

Saturday 16th September 2016

Emirates FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Warrington Town   1

Gerard Kinsella 68,

Hyde United   1

Karl Jones 90+1

Referee:- Elliott Swallow                                          Attendance:- 429

Admission:- £10.00                                           Programme:- £2.00

Warrington Town are enjoying a highly successful opening to this season’s campaign and would have expected to give their lower division opponents the brush off in this cup-tie. They huffed and puffed and managed to score midway through the second half and seemed to rest on their laurels. Hyde never gave up, and their equaliser in the 91st minute was no more than they deserved!

Warrington Town have quite a neat yet impressive stadium with a bar accessible outside the ground and another inside.

Monday 18th September 2017

Hallmark Security North West Counties League Division 1

Stockport Town   6

Daryll Grant 41,

Aaron Dwyer 48,66

Jamie Hinchcliffe  64,

Ben Halfacre  69, 77,

New Mills  1

Nathan Neequaye 73

Referee:- Zac Parris                                                     Attendance:- 201

Admission:- £5.00                                             Programme:- £2.00

The rain poured down all evening onto Stockport Town’s 3G surface. Not many seasons ago, I knew them as Woodley Sports, but they have since changed their name. The ground is part of a sports complex and there are good catering facilities (including a bar) and a covered stand for, perhaps, 250 spectators.

However good the score looks, this was never a rout. New Mills always seemed to be in it, but whereas the hosts had the Midas touch, with every chance seeming to go in, the visitors had no luck at all with the chances that fell their way!

There was a good turn-out for this near derby match!

Tuesday 19th September 2017

Hallmark Security North West Counties League Premier Division

Bootle      3

Liam Loughlin 19,

Ryan Cox 34, 82,

Irlam        3

Macauley Harewood  49,

Jordan Icely   58,

Isaac Illidge   68, 

Referee:- Richard Aspinall                                          Attendance:- 117

Admissi0n:- £5.00                                                 Programme:- £1.00

I didn’t realise that it was Bootle who nearly replaced Liverpool as the city’s second club back in the 1890s when both clubs were vying for a place in the recently formed Football League.

A chequered history followed for Bootle FC, including a period of being defunct. Now they are back and enjoying a successful season in the top division of The North-West Counties League.

It looked comfortable at half-time with the hosts holding a 2-0 advantage, but three goals in a twenty minute spell midway through the second half, gave Irlam the lead and only a late equaliser spared the home blushes.

It was a splendid game!

“Look to the past, the present and the future”

The raised decking along one side of the pitch gave an excellent view of proceedings!

Tuesday 26th September 2017
Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 East

Hayes & Yeading United 2

Manny Duku 15, 34,

Moneyfields 2

Steve Hutchins 56,

Brett Poate 61,
Referee:- Craig Green                                                  Attendance:- 145
Admission:- OMGDS £6 (£10)                             Programme:- £2.00
The towering stand was the stand out feature of the new ground, built approximately on the old Yeading ground (the remains of a covered area behind one goal from the original edifice). There was little else of mention at the ground and even the stand itself was only in partial use for lack of sufficient stewarding.
For all that, this was a marvellous game, with unbeaten leaders, Moneyfields, given a real run for their money and the outstanding player on the pitch, the home number 11, Rohdell Gordon, giving an absolute master class which provided his side with two goals before the interval. In the second half, the visitors restored parity within fifteen minutes, but thereafter neither side was able to make the breakthrough.

Yes, there really was a fox nonchalantly watching us as we parked the car!

Other Games:-

Thursday 7th September 2017

FA Youth Cup Preliminary Round

AFC Rushden & Diamonds 12 (twelve) Rushden & Higham Town 0

attendance:- 131

Tuesday 12th September 2017

Chromasport &Trophies United Counties League Cup 1st Round

Thrapston Town    1   Desborough Town  4

Attendance:- 55

Wednesday 13th September 2017

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 South

Corby Town  2  Peterborough Sports  2

Attendance:- 336

Friday 22nd September 2017

Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City U23       2               Chelsea U23         0

Attendance:- 755

Monday 25th September 2017

Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division

Hitchin Town  2  St Ives Town   2

Attendance:- 325

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