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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August 2017

from “The Goals of Bingo Boot” by Allan Ahlberg

.

The fans in the stand went barmy

City had won one-nil.

The Devil stayed in his dugout

Defeat was a bitter pill.

Till God came along with an offer

Quite genuine and real

To forget their bet and agree instead

On a little … transfer deal.

.

So Bingo rose to Heaven

Up to the Pearly Gate.

“The boy done good!” St Peter cried

“The boy done great!”

And there he lives … forever

His goals in life complete

That sainted soccer player

With the most amazing feet.

.

The fans in the stand are leaving

As fast as their wings will allow

They think that the story’s over

It is now.

.

.

.

Tuesday 1st August 2017

Essex Senior League

Burnham Ramblers  0

Stansted  1

Jack Sykes 26,

Referee:- Steve Marr                                       Attendance:- 28

Admission:- £6.00                                      programme:- £1.50

I’d set my sights on a new club in The Essex Senior League – West Essex – but when I got there, I found that they were playing at Barking’s Mayesbrook Park and I immediately switched sat-nav to Burnham some 41 miles away. The Leslie Field Stadium is not much more than thirty years old, but it is looking tired and jaded. I had difficulty in persuading the gateman to let me pay full whack (I must look older than I feel!). The welcome was warm and helpful and team sheet news was available. Sadly, the hosts were less than impressive and the margin of defeat could have been far greater!

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Division 1

Wisbech St Mary 3

Bradley Easey 43,

Jack Friend 67, 90+3,

Swaffham Town 2

Alex Vincent 49, 79,
Referee:- Nathan Walker                             Official Attendance:- 85
Admission:- £5.00                                                Programme:- £1.00
Wisbech St Mary can hardly boast above a thousand souls and yet, in the community hall adjacent to the football club, and prior to the match, they were serving a sizzling carvery, which, at £7.95, I thought was just too good to turn down! The ground is rather basic with a couple of covered areas (one with seats for fifty spectators) on one side, whilst the other three sides are open to the elements and the surrounding fields. Both these teams had been involved in high scoring matches at the weekend, Swaffham enjoying a 6-1 victory and St Mary on the wrong end of a 7-3 home thrashing. Tonight it was the hosts who triumphed. With the match drifting to a close, they scored the winner in the 93rd minute!

Thursday 3rd August 2017
Cottenham Charity Cup – Group Stage

Cottenham United 1

Jamie Jones 90+2

Girton United 0
Referee:- Spencer Warburton                                    Attendance:- 28
This was the final group stage match and Cottenham with one point needed a win to overtake rivals Girton (3pts) and progress to the final. It was not the greatest of matches and very few chances were created. The hosts won it with a goal in the 93rd minute! Both teams play in the second tier of The Kershaw Cambs County League. The hosts were sporting a brand new changing room facility (see below).

Saturday 5th August 2017
The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Guisborough Town 4

Nathan Steel 24,

Louis Goldsack 37, 61,

Mason McNeill 83,

Stockton Town 2

Kallum Hannah 3 (pen),

Sonni Coleman 51,
Referee:- Paul Burt                                           Attendance:- 256
Admission:- £6.00                                        Programme:- £1.50
On a day of sunshine and showers, John and Chris and I descended upon the delightful King George V Stadium, home of Guisborough Town,” The Priorymen”. Lovely neat and tidy ground, a seated stand down one side and standing cover opposite, but nothing behind the goals. There was a warm welcome and access to team sheets and this near-derby provided a real cup-tie tussle. Last season, Guisborough were reprieved from relegation after an appeal to The FA and Stockton have just gained promotion from Division 2. It was Stockton who took the lead, but they had relinquished it by half-time. In the second half, the visitors dragged it back to 2-2, but the hosts were not to be denied and two further strikes carried them to victory and the next round!

Tuesday 8th August 2017
Spartan South Midland League Division 2

Loughton Manor 4

Jacob Hack 30,

Jim Davey 71,

Russ Whitcombe 72,

Matt Line 81,

MK Gallacticos 1

Zakariya Tritar 14,

Ryan Hanley s/o 5,

Zakariya Tritar s/o 75
Referee:- Trevor Gregory                                  Attendance:- 28
Gallacticos threw away this match after just five minutes when captain, Ryan Hanley, was sent off for a reckless challenge. The ten men held on well and actually took the lead. By half time the deficit had been cut and the sides went in level at 1-1. The visitors reckless indiscipline continued after the break and two further bookings saw another of their team dismissed, but by this time, they were already 3-1 in arrears. The hosts finally taking the victory and the points after an 81st minute fourth goal.

Wednesday 9th August 2017
Spartan South Midland League Division 2

Tring Town 2

Ryan Quinn 7,

Tom Garraway 37,

Mursley United 5

Adam Bone 13,

Lewis Delahaye 26, 51,

Ellis Spence 47,

Adam Moore 85,
Referee:- Geoffrey Blackmore                          Attendance:- 26
Admission:- F.O.C.                                        Programme:- £2.00
The rain came down in stair rods as it had all day, but the pitch at Miswell Lane was in perfect condition – all credit to the groundsman! This was a friendly club, ever willing to help out with team sheets and cups of tea/coffee, but they had a lesson on the pitch this evening as ambitious Mursley came back from a goal behind to draw level at 2-2 at the interval. Thereafter, they pulled away like a Rolls Royce in overdrive and deservedly seized the spoils! The visitors looked like early title contenders, but the hosts did enough to suggest that they will compete comfortably this season! Good to see Andy English there!

This large wall mural adorns the rear of the club house!

Saturday 12th August 2017
Bostick Isthmian League Division 1 North

Aveley 1

Jordan Peart 70,

Bowers & Pitsea 3

Fahad Nyanja 56,

Lewis Manor 66, 82,
Referee:- David Harrison                                        Attendance:- 354
Admission:- OMGDS £6.00 (£10)                      Programme:- £2.00
A first visit for a first league match (with John Main & Graeme Askham) to Parkside, the new home of Aveley (and Grays Athletic). It is a pretty impressive new build, with seating along both sides and cover behind both goals and plenty of space – including in the bar area. I was impressed, but not only that, there were TWO additional pitches, BOTH with minimal cover and one of them also had floodlights! Sadly, the Millers got off to a losing start. After an entirely forgettable first half, the visitors stepped up a gear and their superiority told with three goals in a twenty-five minute spell which earned them the victory. The hosts pulled one back at 0-2, but it wasn’t enough!

Graeme Askham and John Main outside the impressive new stadium!

The adjacent pitches (one with floodlights) and both with a minimum of cover. These two meccano stands were purchased from elsewhere, but not deemed suitable for use INSIDE the new stadium!

Tuesday 15th August 2017
Spartan South Midlands League Division 2

Tring Corinthians 2

Pasquale Greco 75,

Adam Bradley 85,

Loughton Manor 3

Dale Collins 14, 17,

Matt Line 45+1

Dale Collins s/o 90+4
Referee:- Jonathan Brown                                            Attendance:- 43
Corinthians ground is tight and constricted, but nevertheless neat and well kept. It was unfortunate that a combined harvester was raising crops in an adjoining field and spraying dust across the playing area! The visitors bossed the first half and deservedly led 3-0 at the interval. The only question seemed to be: how many? Not so. In the second half, Corinthians knuckled under and ran and chased every ball. The visitors went off the boil and their passing deteriorated and the hosts snatched two late goals, but couldn’t conjure up an equaliser! Dale Collins, the Manor striker, scored two early goals, missed a penalty and was sent off at the death for a second bookable offence!
With Graeme Askham.

“They flash upon the inward eye which is the bliss of solitude”

Saturday 19th August 2017
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round

Chertsey Town 1

Bukele Mukudi  36,

Horsham 3

Darren Boswell 27,

Toby House 62,

Rob O’Toole 77,
Referee:- Graham Ions                                            Attendance:- 120
Admission:- OMGDS:£4 (£7)                             Programme:- £1.50
We wuz robbed at the local hostelry, where we were charged thirty quid for a bar snack and a pint for the two of us!!! The ground was pleasantly quaint, but it has seen better days. Chertsey Town, known as “The Curfew” after a bell hung in the local St Peter’s Church,are presently plying their trade in The Combined Counties League. Their opponents today, Horsham, are a division higher in The Bostick Isthmian League Division 1 South. The match hinged on the 21st minute sending off of the home goalkeeper, who came out of his area to try to head away the ball, but caught an opponent instead! However, it was all square at the interval with Horsham, presently homeless and sharing with Lancing, stretching away after the hour mark to take two further goals, the tie, a place in the next round and the £2,000 prize money!
With Graeme Askham.

Graeme “in vacant or in pensive mood”

Tuesday 22nd August 2017
Midland League Division 1

Brocton 3

Tom Vaughan 1,

Joe Hartshorne 17,

Shaan Stuart 83,

Heath Hayes 3

Regan Smith 18, 78,

Alex Scott 53,
Referee:- Josh Hackett                                                 Attendance:- 119
Admission:- OMGDS £3 (£5)                                 Programme:- £1.00
Almost in Stafford, this surprisingly spruce and well kept ground has an extra pitch adjacent to the main arena and although the stands are Meccano and the facilities are prefabricated, they have been developed with some degree of taste – especially the new social room and bar which is due to open in the near future. This was a rip roaring match which got off to an explosive start with a goal to the hosts in just 35 seconds! They were soon 2-0 up, but the visitors replied within a minute and that concluded the first half scoring. In the second period, the visitors first of all equalised and then had the audacity to take the lead. Back came The Badgers to equalise and then, deep into added time at the end, they were awarded a penalty. The opportunity was squandered and a draw was a fitting end to a fine game …….. even if the players unseemly melee at the end was less than salubrious and resulted in at least one red card!

Wednesday 23rd August 2017
Midland regional Alliance Premier Division

Wirksworth Ivanhoe 2

Daniel Watson 4, 23,

Chesterfield Town 2

Billy Page 34,

Jordan Parsons 51,
Referee:- Brittany Smith                                                  Attendance:- 32
On Wirksworth Recreation Park, there are facilities for cricket, bowls and football. Football is definitely the poor relation, but the setting is idyllic with hills stretching away into the distance and the vast cricket pitch right next door! A draw was a fair result in a match which started well for the home side who raced into a two goal lead inside twenty-five minutes. The visitors, however, were made of stern stuff and had reduced the deficit by half-time. The equaliser came, deservedly, just after the break and thereafter, despite great effort, neither side could snatch a winner!

This is Ivanhoe’s football pavilion. It is better than it looks!

Welsh Hop 2017

The season only really gets under way with the arrival of the first “hop” of the season in Wales. We have travelled all over The Principality on ‘hops’ for more than ten years and this visit contributed a further twelve new grounds to add to my list of Welsh football stadia, which now comfortably tops the century mark!

Treforest and the halls of residence of The University of South Wales, was our base for the weekend with the impressive “Ottley Arms” providing a fine array of choice and quality in the drinks department each evening. The walk up to our rooms gave plenty of opportunity to get fit!

As usual, Chris Berezai had organised a formidable challenge, with eleven matches across the South Wales Alliance being covered in four days. It was great to meet old friends and compare notes since the last ‘hop’

Friday 25th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Premier Division k.o.:- 6.30pm

Cwm Welfare   2

Rhys Williams 24,

Jacob Whitfield  90+6

Cardiff Corinthians  3

Iwan Withers  7, 90,

Zaki Misbah 56 (pen),

Referee:- Nigel Jones (Ton Pentre)            Attendance:- 233

Admission:- £3.00                                      Programme:- £1.00

John Main had gone to Barry Town after this afternoon’s match at The Leckwith Stadium as he had already visited Cwm Welfare. I was able to pick up a Chinese takeaway menu for Graeme’s collection on a wander round the village before the match.

Cardiff Corinthians was the last match of the Spring Welsh hop in March this year, when we had been visiting grounds like Kidwelly Town and Seaside in Carmarthenshire. That afternoon (Sunday 12th March 2017), they lost 1-2 at home to Pontyclun. This evening showed that they were made of sterner stuff! It is early days, yet, but on this performance, Corinthians might be a force this season in their fight to get back Welsh League status. Cwm Welfare might struggle to achieve mid-table mediocrity!

The ground at Cwm Welfare was fairly basic and it adorned on one side the local rugby ground, which had floodlighting and a stand with seats! If truth be told, the Welsh prefer their rugby; football is the poor relation.

The floodlights belong to the rugby club.

Saturday 26th August 2017

First things first! We started the day with the short drive down to “The Upper Boat”  inn at Pontypridd for breakfast – all you can eat, all you can pile onto your plate, and there was many a plate piled high! The two coaches were named “Dastardly” and “Muttley”. I feel that I ought to know why, but I can’t dredge up a creditable answer!

Coach drivers Carl (left) and Roger

The Upper Boat

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1    k.o.:- 10.45am

Trebanog   4

Chris Howe 2, 9,

Anthony Hares  53,

Anthony Cory 57,

Garw SGBC  0

Referee:- Mar Boucher                                     Attendance:- 265

Admission:- £3.00                                      Programme:- £1.00

Trebanog sits atop the ridge that separates the Rhondda Valley from the Ely Valley and behind one goal at Trebanog Field there are two large water towers. Water is drawn up from the Rhondda Valley and stored in the towers for consumption by the population of the Ely Valley!

Indeed, before Trebanog appeared on the scene, the team that used Trebanog Field was called Ely Valley! All this I gleaned from the very knowledgeable Dave Collins who edits and produces “Welsh Football”.

We saw the corresponding fixture last season at Garw SGBC and today’s hosts were well beaten that day by 7-2. That must have been their last significant defeat, because at the end of the season, both clubs were promoted to Division 1.

There was some spectacular scenery and, on one side of the pitch, the field banked steeply giving a panoramic view of the entire ground.

There was never any doubt about this match. The hosts grabbed two early goals and then consolidated their lead by scoring a further two goals just before the hour mark. Their win was emphatic! However, as Chris Berezai pointed out, it still left them in arrears by 6-7 over the two ‘hop’ games between these sides.

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1   k.o.:- 1.15pm

Tonyrefail  2

Thomas Davies 68,

Kurt Daniels 90+3,

Cefn Cribwr BC  3

Tom Harris  4, 29,

Kieran Davies 75,

Referee:- Clive Lene                                         Attendance:- 283

Admission:- £3.00                                        Programme:- £1.00

Big field, bright sunshine and a large crowd 

Les Bull (Les Boeuf) greets the camera with a cheery smile!

Deep in conversation, from the left:- Peter Miles, John Main and Lee West.

Enjoying the match – Peter Ford and Johnny Holland

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2   k.o.:- 4.00pm

Penrhiwfer   0

Blaenrhondda  2

Luke Jones 37, 72,

Referee:- Mike Pickett                                       Attendance:- 225

Admission:- £3.00                                       Programme:- £1.00

A feature of all of today’s games was the spectacular scenery which surrounds the grounds. This arena was no exception. Behind the small stand down one side of the ground lurked a considerable drop to the main road. Fortunately, it was well guarded with a stiff wire fence!

On the side of the ground opposite to the small covered area, the ground sloped away steeply to a row of houses a couple of hundred feet further up the hill.

Young John Main (picture courtesy of Mike Squires) is watching the match and texting at the same time, but without the use of his footwear! The socks are carefully laid out to dry, as are the shoes, after John tried to climb up to the aforementioned row of houses to take a picture of the ground. Not far into his odyssey, the ground became very soggy and swampy and soon covered his feet above the ankle. His jeans were caught in the mud too, but John preferred to let them dry whilst they were still on his legs!

This picture (courtesy of Magret Haenke) is what John was striving for!!! Mind you, I understand that Magret had the good sense to drive up to the houses to take the picture!

No doubts as to the winner of this contest. A goal in each half for the visitors saw them garner victory and three points!

The home side had a penalty saved after 55 minutes!

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Premier Division   k.o.:- 6.30pm

Ynyshir Albions  2

Jamie Williams 6,

Daniel Evans 9,

Ton & Gelli United  1

Jason Davies 40,

Referee:- Peter Small (Dowlais)                         Attendance:- 260

Admission:- £3.00                                         Programme:- £1.00

This was my favourite ground, today. It had a greater degree of permanence than any of the other three grounds. A river ran far beneath the stadium at one end of the ground and at the same end, the hill steepled above the ground and even above the houses perched high up on its sides!

This was a match between two clubs at opposite ends of the table! The home side (whose nomenclature definitely IS in the plural) sit at the top of the pyramid and started off with two goals in the first ten minutes. It seemed that little could stop a massacre. However, the visitors rallied and put up remarkably stern resistance and actually had the effrontery to halve the lead before the break. In the second half, Ynyshir clung on for the victory ……………… but perhaps a draw might have been a fairer result!

Karin Preene, a very comely official of The South Wales Alliance Football League.  She was happy to be photographed for the record!

Sunday 27th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1   k.o.:- 11.00am

Penrhiwceiber Constitutional Athletic  0

FC Cwmaman  2

Nathan Jenkins 41, 48,

Referee:- Martyn Cook                                       Attendance:- 292

Admission:- £3.00                                       Programme:- £1.00

The host’s name was a bit of a mouthful, but they had brought lots of their own support to this match (as indeed, had the opposition!).

There appeared to be several other sites in the town much more appropriate to football at this level. For various reasons, however, – belonging to a different club or pitch too small – none were acceptable.

Instead, a huge field  lying on the very edge of the village, was the chosen site for the match. At 116 yards – or is it metres, Laurence?- it is rumoured to be the longest pitch in South Wales.

It doesn’t say how many died down the pit, but I bet there were a few over the hundred and six years!

This was a tight tense encounter with few opportunities, but Cwmaman’s  Nathan Jenkins took two of them, one each side of half-time, his second a very sweet volley from a tight angle!

Sunday 27th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2  k.o.:- 2.00pm

Cwmbach Royal Stars  0

Tynte Rovers  1

Matthew Richards 2,

Referee:- Ian Thornton                                           Attendance:- 267

Admission:- £3.00                                              Programme:- £1.00

This was a ground perched precariously, it felt, on top of a hillside with a splendid view of the town and valley below. Sadly, this was the poorest game of the ‘hop’ by some considerable distance! The only goal was scored in the first ninety seconds. Thereafter, two mediocre teams slogged out the remaining eighty-eight minutes without ever carving out a reasonable scoring effort on target.

Much of the match was spent in trying to find some cover from the blazing sun and capturing pictures of the surrounding views.

One was tempted to say: “Cwmbach? No, I don’t think so!”

Robin and John relaxing behind the top goal

Margaret struggling to her feet after a nap pitch side!

Sunday 27th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Premier Division   k.o.:- 6.00pm

Brecon Corinthians   2

Jack Bain 53,

Craig Jones 82,

Pontlottyn  0

Referee:- Duncan Lewis                                              Attendance:- 236

Admission:- £3.00                                           Programme:- £1.00

This was a ground with plenty of history and tradition, but all their glory was in the past! There was a fine stand, but many of the seats were vandalised and those that weren’t leaned forward so that it was a sliding sensation for those trying to sit on them! They club had floodlights. I presume that they are still working (unlike Pontlottyn’s last year), but there was no need for them this evening

Brecon Corinthians are in a bit of no-man’s land between The South Wales Alliance and The Spar Mid-Wales League. It was a long way from the cosiness of all the other clubs we visited which were never more than ten minutes from each other, or so it seemed.

They were too good for their opponents, however, although it seemed to take them a long while to gird their loins for the conflict. It was nearly an hour before they breached the Pontlottyn defence, but then a second goal arrived to seal the contest, some eight minutes from time!

View of the Weekend!

Monday 28th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1   k.o.:- 11.00am

Cogan Coronation   0

AFC Whitchurch   6

Alex Bould  11,

Joshua Spencer 26,

Gazz Woodman 49,

Thomas Fry  53, 90+1,

Joseph Brazier 73,

Named after the local club – “The Coronation” – where they were formed in 1951, they merged for a while with Penarth Town and under the name of Cogan Corinthians, played in The South Wales Amateur League until voted out by other clubs.

Their ground is a pitch with an eight foot fence all around it which does nothing to add to the ground’s allure.

Trains roll past on the distant embankment on a regular basis – dirty, smelly, obsolete trains which tells you that you are nowhere near London where only the best in railway transportation is acceptable!

The hosts were just not at the races today.  It wasn’t a particularly scintillating match, but AFC Whitchurch won at a canter and could – and should – have scored several more goals.

Frustration got the better of the hosts and they had a man sent off for two bookable offences and on his way off the pitch, he appeared to push the referee. It was an offence for which Ronaldo of Real Madrid recently received a five match ban!

Monday 28th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2  k.o.:- 2.00pm

St Josephs   0

Cardiff Airport   5

Theo Richards  7,

Tee-Jay Caton 35, 71, 90,

Michael Fallas 54,

Referee:- Kevin Russell                                           Attendance:- 258

Admission:- £3.00                                               Programme:- £1.00

St Josephs is a football team founded in 1968 which is part of The St Joseph’s Catholic Sports and Social Club. The Maes-y-Coed Playing Fields are their headquarters.

Yet again, the sun was beating down remorselessly and shelter was at a premium.

There was a gulf between these two teams. The visitors were committed, determined and strong. They trampled on any home resistance and scored almost at will. Tee-Jay Caton was the pick of the strikers with three goals.

This was the second goal of Tee-Jay Caton’s hat-trick. The free kick came over and he deftly flicked wide of the advancing keeper.

Monday August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2   k.o.:- 5.00pm

Llanrumney United   3

David Cachia 19,

Dan Raymond 58,

Nicholas Beckley 74 (og),

Cardiff Cosmopolitan   1

Craig Graves  50,

Referee:- Graham Evans                                             Attendance:- 215

Admission:- £3.00                                               Programme:- £1.00

The last match of the epic weekend and it seemed to have gone in a flash! I haven’t mentioned The Ottley Arms (have I?) which was our nightly haunt and served some superb real ale.

Llanrumney United were unsettled by tales of heavy away victories today and were determined not to be included in the pattern! They scored first and although they conceded an equaliser shortly after half-time, they soon regained the lead and a decisive third strike from an own goal when a defender turned his back on a cross which rebounded into the net, gave them a handsome victory.

Towards the end of the match pizza arrived and I managed TWO slices!

Chris Berezai strides purposeful towards his pitch!

Michael Squires looking forward to the final encounter!

John Main, like many of us, seeking shelter from the blazing sun!

John Main and I had toured today’s matches by car, forsaking the coach for a quick getaway after the last match. It was a worthwhile ploy, because I was home by ten o’clock.

It had been an exhilarating ‘hop’.

Looking back on it, I think I enjoyed the Saturday matches the most and the Sunday games the least. But, you win some and you lose some. Not every game at any level can be a great game and it wasn’t for lack of effort or determination that some of the matches palled.

Once again, the organisation of the ‘hop’ was brilliant! It takes some managing to keep so many punters happy and Chris, once again, showed how good forward planning and capable administration could keep most of the people happy, most of the time!

I won’t be at the next one – The North Bucks League –  because I will be on holiday, but I am looking forward to The Western League Hop in October!!

 Other Matches:-

Monday 7th August 2017

(Derbyshire) Summer League

Ashbourne OB  0  Mappleton  12 (twelve)         Attendance:- 36

Monday 14th August 2017

Professional Development League

Coventry City U-23  1  Bolton Wanderers U-23  0      Attendance:- 141

Monday 14th August 2017

(Derbyshire) Summer League

Mappleton   4   Weston   0                                         Attendance:- 27

Monday 21st August 2017

Premier League 2 Division 2

Aston Villa  1  Stoke City  2                                        Attendance:- 114

Friday 25th August 2017

Professional Development League

Cardiff City U-23   2   Crewe Alexandra U-23  1       Attendance:- 92

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July 2017

from:- “The Goals of Bingo Boot” by Allan Ahlberg

.

Even God had a frown on his face

And powerful reasons to pray.

If I let this in, he told Himself

There’ll be the Devil to pay.

Now Bingo stepped up with the ball

And placed it on the spot

Stepped back, breathed deep, ran calmly in

Then shimmied left … and shot

.

In nineteen hundred and twenty-two

A little boy was born

His baby cot was second hand

His baby shawl was torn.

Who would have guessed that at the end

This tiny tot would be

The one who beat Almighty God

With the perfect penalty?

.

No goalie could have saved that shot

No God or Holy Ghost

But it went where Bingo placed it

And hit the holy post

Rebounded like a rocket

To Marie Antoinette

Who skipped up to the other end

And slammed it in the net.

.

.

.

Saturday 1st July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Bedfont Sports 5

Milan Ferguson 8,

Kim Pitt 30,

Darryl Thornby 66,

Jacobs Lambe 75,

Ellis Jones 76,

Lyne FC 2

Daniel Gibb 55, 64,
Referee:- Neil Keirs                                           Attendance:- 56
The start of another football season hard by Heathrow Airport where the planes come down so low you could nearly touch them! This was my first visit since 2012 and what a difference. There were new stands, new fencing and new hard standing around the pitch and a new plastic surface, but the iconic clock above the club house still remained. In bright sunshine, the hosts won this match comfortably against the reigning Surrey League Division 1 Champions.

Saturday 8th July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Chinnor 1

Rory Lonsdale 19 (pen),

Winslow United 7

Christopher Reid 12, 79, 82, 87,

Marcus Hussey 14,

Alex Woodbine 67, 90+2
Referee:- Andy Bennett                                                 Attendance:- 19
When John Main and I arrived, England had just secured the draw in New Zealand that tied the Lions tour. A large gathering of faithful were enjoying the moment and the breakfast trays were laid out and we were able to help ourselves to a free meal!!! It was sunny and hot and Winslow (from the Spartan South Midlands League) were too hot for the hosts (from the Hellenic League), knocking in five unanswered second half goals with four coming from Christopher Reid!

Saturday 8th July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Aylesbury 1

Charlie Hawtin 39,

MK Dons XI 2

Georgio Rasulo 6,

Samuel Nombe 85,
Referee:- John Farries      Admission:- £5            Attendance:- 481
The last time I was here, on 12th March 2009, they were known as Aylsebury Vale (and lost 0-4 to Biggleswade Town). Today, they were very unfortunate to concede a late winner to their illustrious visitors who had chairman Peter Winkelman sitting in the main stand. In the first half the game was competitive with each side scoring before the break. Wholesale half-time changes ruined the second half as a spectacle for the large and festive crowd. A draw would have been a fair result!

“For the good of the city”

Monday 10th July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Barwell   0

Solihull Moors   2

Shade 70,

Dapo 86,

Admission:- OMGDS£4 (£6)               No programme

Another regulation pre-season friendly with John Main (who took the photos) and Graeme Askham. It was a balmy evening and a Solihull Moors side containing seven players titled “triallist” on the match sheet, were comfortably held in the first half, but their superior fitness told with a late second second half brace of goals to win the match.

Friday 14th July 2017
Lincolnshire Senior Cup Quarter Final

Grantham Town 3

Lee Shaw 11,

Danny Meadows 19,

George Couzens 73,

Spalding United 0
Referee:- M. Chester                                        Attendance:- 165
Admission:- OMGDS £6 (£10)                      Programme:- £2
My first couple of visits to Grantham were to the old London Road ground which they vacated in 1990, For a short while, they actually ground shared with Spalding United, but in 1991, they took up residence at The South Kesteven Sports Centre, where they have remained ever since. It is a bit like all athletics arenas which are used for football – soulless, with a distant view of the match across the running track. This evening, the visitors huffed and puffed, but they were no match for the rampant hosts, who really ought to have won more decisively!

Saturday 15th July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Buckley Town   0

Charnock Richard   4

Spencer Bibby 39 (pen),

Joseph Noblet 84, 87,

Callum Williams 90+1,

Referee:- John Jones                                      Attendance:- 82

Admission:- £3.00                                           No programme

On a fine day, Graeme and I drove up to North Wales for this friendly match which was late starting because the referee didn’t turn up! We nearly didn’t get there after the sat-nav dumped us in an industrial park in the town, only for a friendly face to direct us round the corner and across the road! It was a pretty ground which was very well kept as relegated Buckley took on the newly enterprising Charnock Richard (whom I had last seen playing a match in April 1968 in the final of The Lancashire Junior Shield, when they beat Vickers SC by 3-0 at Chorley’s Victory Park). There was a large following for the away side who competed on even terms for most of the first half. Young John Jones, the replacement referee from the crowd, was able to don his official gear for the second half after his father had dashed home to get it for him. The second half saw the match turn heavily in the visitors favour with three late goals sealing the result.

Saturday 21st July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Cosby United 2

Tom Langton 52, 

Sam Miller 81,

Whetstone Athletic 4

Jacob Chambers 4,

Josh Doody 21,

Micah Stewart 42,

Sam Ball 79,
Referee:- Graham Swan                                        Attendance:- 27
On the outskirts of Leicester, both these teams play in The Leicester & District League, although Cosby United were one time champions of The Leicestershire Senior League. Whetstone are a division below the hosts but, today, were by far the better (or better prepared) side. They held a 3-0 advantage at half-time and when the heavy rain halted proceedings on the adjacent cricket pitch, they managed to maintain that advantage despite a much improved second half performance from the hosts!

Monday 24th July 2017
Pre-Season Friendly

Eynesbury Rovers 3

Josh Bamford 35,

Aidan Bream 52,

Jamie Banners 90

Hitchin Town 2

Elliott Bailey 15, 68,
Referee:- Josh Croft        Admission:- £2.00          Attendance:- 57
Rovers are gearing up for the new season and whilst there is still a fair way to go OFF the pitch, this resounding performance suggests that they will be a force to be reckoned with in UCL Premier circles in the coming season.

United Counties League

and

Peterborough & District League

HOP

28 – 30th July 2017

Friday 28th July 2017

United Counties League Division 1

Huntingdon Town 0

Pinchbeck United 0

Referee:- Nicolae Manolescu                   Attendance:- 221

Admission:- £5.00                                 Programme:- £1.00

For this year’s Groundhop, Huntingdon Town were sporting their updated club image. Gone was the grim Cromwellian puritan and the new crest featured hunting and hounds! This, to be fair, is not one of my favourite grounds, and, despite the vast sums of money spent by The Hunts FA, and various grants, some seven years ago to improve it, it still lacks character and is the windiest ground in The UCL.

Newly relegated from The Premier Division, the hosts faced newcomers to the league, Pinchbeck United, who have had to leave their home in Pinchbeck to share with Spalding United, in order to gain promotion.

I think it would be fair to say that Jubilee Park is not John’s favourite United Counties League venue!

This match was a dour struggle. There were few attempts on goal and defences were well on top. Each side was determined not to lose the opening game of their season!

Saturday 29th July 2017

United Counties League Premier Division

Holbeach United   6

William Bird 15, 53,

Lewis Leckie 18,

Nick Jackson 60,

Charlie Sanders 75,

Callum Davies 86,

Sleaford Town   0

Referee:- Lee Hartley                               Attendance:- 333

Admission:- £6.00                                 Programme:- £1.50

My first visit to Carter’s Park, was in 1982 when the now defunct Moor Green were visitors in an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying tie. On that occasion, the hosts prevailed, unexpectedly, by 2-1 in front of a crowd of 259, which, until today, was the biggest crowd I had ever seen at the ground.

Today’s match was a bit of a one-sided affair and sympathies lay with Sleaford Town who have had their woes over the summer, losing a manager and several players in the close season. For them, it will be a season of struggle whilst their opponents look likely to resume their perennial tussle at the other end of the table!

The stadium is well looked – after, neat and tidy, and I always welcome the opportunity to visit!

Saturday 29th July 2017

Peterborough & District League Premier Division

Moulton Harrox   3

Marcus Parry 6,

Matthew Watkin 27,

Dan Woods 44.

Sutton Bridge United   0

Referee:- James Truman (Holbeach)         Attendance:- 280

Admission:- £4.00                                   Programme:- £1.00

Chris Berezai received an ear-wigging for mis-spelling Harrox as “Harrax” – well, you would, wouldn’t you! Les Bull consistently referred to it as Moulton Harro, pronouncing it, he said, after the French fashion! Whatever, the best feature of this visit was the cake stall in the Bowling Green clubhouse. I felt compelled to make a second visit! It would have been churlish to have foregone the opportunity.

The hosts were far too strong for Sutton Bridge United. All the goals came in the first half, after which Moulton cruised to victory without ever having to put their foot down!

 

Saturday 29th July 2017

Peterborough & District League Division 2

Spalding Town   2

Tom Coote 17,

Ash Wilson 90+1,

Wisbech St Mary Saints  1

Aaron McKenna 40,

Referee:- Mark Grundy                         Attendance:- 241

Admission:- £4.00                               Programme:- £1.00

There is a strange story of the local benefactor who recently died and left £200,000 to Pinchbeck United and £200,000 to Spalding Town and 2p to Spalding United!

This match was played at the former home of Pinchbeck United. Pinchbeck are heavily involved with a project to bring them back to the town, to a new site with substantially better facilities. That is something for the future.

For the present, Spalding Town have inherited the ground and today played hosts to Wisbech St Mary Saints, who are rumoured to have strong financial backing! These two teams may be in Division 2 of this league, but either could hold their own in the top flight. A draw would have been a fair result, but a goal from the hosts in added time at the end, gained Spalding Town all three points!

In the background is the leaning tower of Pinchbeck’s church, overlooking the pitch!

Saturday 29th July 2017

United Counties League Division 1

Bourne Town  1

Josh Russell 90+2 (pen),

Raunds Town  2

Dan Porter 35,

Dave Townsend 81

Referee:- Paul Gregory                               Attendance:- 459

Admission:- £5.00                                  Programme:- £2.00

A few years ago, Bourne Town, who had plied their trade in the Premier Division of The UCL for as long as I could remember, were demoted to Division 1, on the grounds that their stadium didn’t meet requirements for step 5. It was a load of nonsense really. I’ve seen plenty of step 5 grounds that are not fully enclosed! Abbey Lawns is set in a private park and is run by a trust. The park trust looks after cricket, bowls and swimming, as well as football. I can remember umpiring the cricket whilst the football team were playing an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie,  and the matches being adjacent to each other. There would be no chance of watching cricket and football these days, as the football pitch is now closed off! The trust is part of the Bourne Abbey Foundation which can count Adelina, granddaughter of Hereward The Wake, amongst its antecedents.

The club had really gone to town on The Groundhopper visit and there were entertainments and sporting activities all day. The biggest crowd of the hop watched this match!

Sadly, The Wakes were on the wrong side of the result. The visitors looked the better-equipped side and held on to a single goal lead until ten minutes from time. At this point, they scored a second goal, to secure victory, despite an added time penalty from the hosts.

Sunday 30th August 2017

Peterborough & District League Division 1

Long Sutton Athletic   A  

Tydd St Mary   A

Abandoned after twelve minutes due to serious injury to a player

Referee:- A. Murray                                      Attendance:- 346

Admission:- £4.00                                     Programme:- £1.00

Long Sutton Athletic spent five seasons in The Eastern Counties League from 1989/90 to 1994/95, achieving a high of 6th place in Division 1 (1991/92) and ending on a low of 16th in their final season.

Their ground has floodlights and a tiny covered standing area; it definitely wouldn’t meet ground grading criteria for step 5/6. There was a large holiday crowd for the occasion, so it was a great pity that the match was abandoned after only twelve minutes, when the home centre half received a serious injury, thought to be a broken ankle. The referee called the match off some forty-five minutes later. By that time, a couple of paramedics had arrived and administered first aid, but there was no ambulance in sight – another example of austerity Britain – and it was only later that we heard conflicting reports that the player had been taken to Kings Lynn Hospital by taxi, or, indeed, by air ambulance, depending on whom you believed!

Sunday 30th July 2017

Peterborough & District League Premier Division

Leverington  2  

Ryan Alexander 52,

Ivaylo Raychev 90+1,

Peterborough ICA Sports   0

Referee:- Paul Gale                                Attendance:- 304

Admission:- £4.00                           Programme:- £1.00

We got to Leverington quite early, Graeme and I, as a consequence of the previous game’s early conclusion. Fortunately, there was an excellent cake stall and cheese sandwiches – and a bottle of Old Speckled Hen! The facilities were extensive and beautifully kept (“The best toilets I’ve seen for a long time”, I heard somebody comment).

Peterborough ICA Sports – the ICA stands for Italian Community Association – had come to defend and for the first hour or so their tactics seemed to be paying off. However, when the home side struck, they had no means of finding an equaliser, and a second goal in added time  finally killed them off!

Sunday 30th July 2017

United Counties League Premier Division

Wisbech Town   2

Alex Beck 2,

Josh Ford 45+2,

Jon Fairweather s/o 90+2

Wellingborough Town   1

Justin Dowling 50,

Referee:- Paul McVey (Peterborough)        Attendance:- 433

Admission:- £6.00                                     Programme:- £1.00

This is the third ground where Wisbech Town have taken up residence. The old Fenland Park was a magnificent arena with a marvellous Victorian stand. “The Nest” at Outwell was a ground belonging to Outwell Swifts of The Cambridgeshire County League, where they spent a couple of years, before moving to this new arena around seven years ago. It is basic and functional and there are many similar stadiums dotted around the country – Evesham United, Raunds Town and Bishops Cleeve, immediately spring to mind; however, it does have a certain charm and the facilities – cover at both ends and a seated stand down one side – indicate that more thought had gone into the planning and execution than is normally the case. There was also a substantial club house running the length of the pitch on one side of the ground.

I rather suspect that these two sides will feature in the championship challenge this season. Wisbech got off to a flying start, with a goal in the second minute, and then doubled their tally in first-half added time ,as they dominated the period.

I don’t know what went into the half-time cuppa, but the second half was an entirely different matter. Wellingborough looked a team transformed and scored within five minutes of the re-start to reduce the arrears. They stormed forward and Wisbech reeled under the pressure. However, the hosts hung in and despite several good opportunities, the visitors were unable to conjure up an equaliser.

And then ……………………. that was it!! Eight games and the weekend had flown past. It only remained to take to the coach for the final journey back to Peterborough and the third – or is it the fourth? – UCL/PDFL Hop drew to a close.

Sadly, it wasn’t until the final match at The Elgoods Fenland Arena, that real ale was available on tap! At all the other grounds, it was only available in bottles.

I must admit to feeling a touch of nostalgia as this hop drew to a close. Most of the grounds I know well and I have attended several matches at each of them (Leverington and Long Sutton Athletic being the only exceptions). The crowds were excellent and the whole weekend went like clockwork – even the unexpected, like Long Sutton Athletic’s abandonment, was taken in its stride. A lot of hard work goes into the preparation and management of a hop such as this, and Chris Berezai has, once again, excelled in providing a well organised and stimulating weekend!

Here’s to the next hop in South Wales at the end of August!

Other Matches Attended:-

Tuesday 18th July 2017

Pre-Season Friendly

Brackley Town  2   Kettering Town  2                         Attendance:- 337

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June 2017

from: “The Goals of Bingo Boot”

by Allan Ahlberg

The Hades fans were howling

We’re the boys from Beelzebub

While God took Charlie Chaplin off

And brought Jesus on as a sub.

The second half went racing by

The pace was faster still

There was less than a minute left to play

And the score remained nil-nil.

.

Then Bingo dribbled round St Mark

Who never had a prayer

Left frail St Francis on his knees

And danced past Fred Astaire.

The goal was at his mercy now

It seemed he couldn’t fail

When – bang! – a tackle from behind

From Florence Nightingale.

.

A penalty! The crowd was stunned

The Devil’s lot gave thanks

Though God in goal, the angels cried,

Was as good as Gordon Banks

A cruel choice for Bingo

Whatever should he do

Be false to his god-given gifts

Or give the Devil his due?

.

.

.

Saturday 3rd June 2017

FA Women’s Super League Spring Series

Birmingham City Ladies 0

Chelsea Ladies 2

Karen Carney 21,

Fran Kirby 57,
Referee:- Daniel Middleton                                 Attendance:- 1,171
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 (£8)                       Programme:- £2.50
This was my third visit to Solihull Moors stadium in as many weeks for a Ladies match and it was also the last match of the mini Spring Series, where Chelsea Ladies confirmed their title with this regulation, if somewhat torrid victory. John Main and I were under impressed – particularly with the lack of atmosphere!

Chelsea sealed the championship of The Spring Series with this victory

Saturday 3rd June 2017
(Ashbourne) Summer League
Bill Redfern Cup – FINAL

Doveridge 5

Oliver Ritchie 34, 76,

Jonathan Atherton 44, 61,

Jake Avery 85,

Rose and Crown 2

Pat Newbold 36,

Rob Thorley 73,
Referee:- Peter Taylor                                               Attendance:- 84
Admission:- £2.00                                             Programme:- NONE
Osmaston Polo Fields was the venue for tonight’s final and the present leaders of the league, Doveridge, were playing fourth placed Rose and Crown who are but two points adrift. This was a rip-roaring match between two committed teams and made up for the soporific encounter John Main and I had witnessed this afternoon! The deserved winners were Doveridge, but not before enduring long spells of sustained pressure from their opponents. Two goals in the last ten minutes eventually seeing off their plucky rivals!

The Bill Redfern Cup

Monday 12th June 2017
(Derbyshire) Summer League

Biggin 0

Red Lion 0
Referee:- Jim Conway                                            Attendance:- 36
0-0 draws are about as rare as hen’s teeth in The Summer League, so it was just our luck that we managed to find that rarity this evening – and on John Main’s birthday, too! Biggin is tiny! Nestling in the peaks between Ashbourne and Buxton, it boasts fewer that forty dwellings and a square towered church. We were greeted by rain, but the match, for all its dearth of goals, was a pretty well contested encounter. The visitors shaded the first half, but the hosts dominated the second period and smote the woodwork on three occasions.

The main stand at Biggin!

There were more sheep in this field than spectators on the football field!

Thursday 15th June 2017
(Ashbourne) Summer League

Kirk Langley 1

Andy Thornhill 26,

Mappleton 6

Nick Partridge 7,

Sam Birks 30, 33,

Charlie Wibberley 36,

James Ingram 39,

Bill Clews 55,
Referee:- Peter Taylor Attendance:- 16
High flying Mappleton thumped lowly Kirk Langley mercilessly, striking five goals before half-time. They lie second in the league two points behind leaders Doveridge but with a game in hand. Kirk Langley play at The George Barrington Cricket Field, with St Michael’s Church brooding in the background, where the gravestone of George Barrington lies at the entrance. After Monday evening’s 0-0 draw, Chris Berezai, John Main and I were treated to a welcome avalanche of scoring!

 

Monday 19th June 2015
(Ashbourne) Summer League

Brassington 5

Steve Coates 27,

Ben Cartwright 37,

Harry Delaney 42,

Sam Froggatt 44, 73,

Red Lion 1

Tom Gregory 2,
Referee:- John Ford                                                 Attendance:- 32
On a fine, warm summer’s evening, John Main and I, suitably replenished and revictualled at The Rose & Crown in Brailsford, visited Brassington’s impressive home. We’d seen them twice this season, both in away fixtures, one lost by 5-1 and one won by 6-0. Tonight, they went behind early to a goal after only two minutes, by half-time, they had the lead and three second half strikes sealed an efficient victory.

Monday 26th June 2017
(Ashbourne) Summer League

Doveridge 5

Ben Atherton 21,

Ollie Ritchie 30, 54, 79,

Jack Conlon 78,

Brassington 1

Ben Cartwright 63,
referee:- Frank Webster                                             Attendance:- 43
Doveridge is a small village just off the A50 and The Recreation Ground also hosts the Village Hall and other amenities. Brassington were 5-1 victors this time last week, but tonight they were sadly off the pace and a determined and rampant home side ran them into the ground.

The main changing rooms at Doveridge

Other Matches:-

Monday 5th June 2017

(Ashbourne) Summer League

FC Hulland  1  Doveridge  4                                     Attendance:- 15

This match was played out amidst a constant and unrelenting downpour. Top of the league Doveridge had won it by half time when they were leading 4-0. Plucky Hulland fought well in the second half and deserved their consolation eight minutes from time!

 

This season:-

Matches:- 250              New Grounds:- 114

TOTAL:-

Matches:-3,696           New Grounds:- 1,341

 

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May 2017

From “The Goals of Bingo Boot”

by Allan Ahlberg

The Devil sat in his chairman’s chair
And spoke in Bingo’s ear
‘I’ve pulled a few strings, I must confess,
To arrange your transfer here.
For we’ve got this little match, y’see
(And I’ve got this little bet)
Away to The Heavenly City
And we’ve never beaten them yet.”
.
The Heavenly City were quite a side
(With fans who could really sing)
Cherubs and seraphs in the squad
And angels on the wing
St Paul was a rock at centre half
St Elvis a rock ‘n’ roll
They had Mother Theresa to captain the team
And Almighty God in goal.
.
The kick-off time was three o’clock
At the city’s heavenly ground
The angels of the lord came down
And passed the ball around
The tackles started flying
Nero fouled a nun
And the ref booked Good King Wenceslas
For a trip on Attila The Hun.

.

.

.

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League
Black Dragon North Division

Collingham 2

Tom Moore 3, 32,

AFC Bentley 2

Luke Farrar 21,

Brad Maddison 90+2,
Referee:- Zachary Parris                                       Attendance:- 61
Admission:- £3.00                                          Programme:- £1.00
The last league match of the season for these two clubs, fourth and third respectively in their division. Indeed, Collingham were on a fine run of seven straight wins which included a 23-1 victory against Thorne Colliery! One place above them, AFC Bentley could not be caught by their rivals who really ought to have won this match. The hosts led 2-1 at the interval and squandered several mouth-watering opportunities in the second half, only for the visitors to equalise in the second minute of added time!

Monday 8th May 2017
The (Derbyshire) Summer League
Bill Redfern Cup 2nd Round

Rose & Crown 5

Dan Bould 7. 16, 56 (pen),

Steve Wright 47, 84,

Brassington 1

Joe Redford 31,
Referee:- Syd Atwal                                                     Attendance:- 36
Admission:- F.O.C.                                              Programme:- NONE
This was our first foray into this season’s Summer league – indeed, it was John’s first dip of the toe into this alternative arena. The Rose & Crown pub in Boylestone, just over the road from the ground, sponsors the team (and serves excellent ale), but the evening was a chit billy with quite a cutting breeze. The hosts, who are the early season front runners in the league, ran out easy and deserved winners with a hat trick from Dan Bould.

Tuesday 9.th May 2017
Spartan South Midlands League Division 2

Pitstone & Ivinghoe 2

Loughton Manor 2
Referee:- Neil Howard                                            Attendance:- 52
Admission:- OMGDS£1.00 (£3)                           Programme:- NONE
The new ground for the hosts (this is their first season there), is not as good as the old one (in my opinion!). There is little more than a changing room pavilion, although, there are training lights and a small room for tea and crisps! Poignantly, the bench dedicated to Ben Wesley, pre-dates the new ground. Ben, a former youth player for the club, died in a road accident in 2012, aged only 18. Tonight was a game of two halves. The visitors scored two goals before the interval and the hosts replied with two of their own after the break. The healthy visiting support frequently reminded the referee vociferously of his shortcomings!

Wednesday 10th May 2017
Staffordshire County League Premier Division

Silverdale Athletic 2

Abbey Hulton United 2
Referee:- Chris Jackson                                        Attendance:- 58
Admission:- £2.00                                             Programme:- NONE
On a warm sunny evening, this arena had a beautiful, yet rugged, setting in the old Silverdale Colliery. The galleries run right underneath the pitch. The ground is adjacent to the extensive park built on the slag heaps from the coal mine. Tonight, champions Abbey Hulton United were the visitors. They will be playing North-West Counties League football next season. However, they have narrowly lost the last two fixtures and were a tad fortunate to escape with a point this evening. They took the lead in the first half, but were pegged back on the hour mark. They withstood heavy pressure from the hosts and broke away to score a second goal with four minutes remaining. Silverdale responded and deservedly equalised in the 90th minute.

Thursday 11th May 2017
Kershaws Cambridgeshire County League
Foster Challenge Cup Semi-final

Meldreth 2

Great Chisill 3

(after extra time FT:- 2-2)
Referee:- Peter Howard                                              Attendance:- 30
Admission:- F.O.C.                                                Programme:- NONE
Good pint in “The British Queen” down the road and there was a bar in the extensive facilities at Meldreth’s Eternit Sports Ground. Brian Buck, Peter Miles and Keith Slater were all there and the match was played on a very warm and pleasant evening. The visitors are some two divisions higher than Meldreth – indeed it will be three divisions, next season, as they have just won promotion. By the interval they had secured a two goal advantage and the result looked beyond doubt. Fifteen minutes into the second half, the hosts deservedly drew level. Thereafter however, chances to both sides were few and far between. With the light fading, the referee chose to allow twenty minutes of extra time and it was in the final of those twenty minutes after squandering several lucrative opportunities, that Great Chisill eventually overcame their plucky opponents, who surely had merited a penalty shoot-out.

Peter Miles (left), Keith Slater and Brian Buck on the right!

Friday 12th May 2017
Northants Combination Division 4 K.O. Cup Final

Corby Raven 1

Jamie Irvine 89,

Stanwick Rovers 1

Bill Gates 70,
No Extra Time. Stanwick Rovers won 5-4 on penalties.
Referee:- Tom Stapleton                                          Attendance:- 145
Admission:- £5.00                                          programme:- included
Wellingborough Whitworth’s ground forms the long leg of The “T” with Wellingborough Town’s ground (see photo below). This evening, they hosted a Northants Combination cup final. It was not a classic and, frankly, no surprise when the scores remained level at full time. There was no extra time and after Ravens missed with their first penalty, all the other penalties were scored and Stanwick Rovers took the cup by the slenderest of margins!

Behind the goal you can see the stand at Wellingborough Town’s ground!

The Flour Mill after which the side is named!

Monday 15th May 2017
(Derbyshire) Summer League

Mayfield 0

Brassington 6

Joe Redford 14, 25, 37, 40,

Will Duke 48 (og),

James Slater 54,
Referee:- John Ford (Sen)                                        Attendance:- 33
Last week, it was the visitors who were on the end of a thrashing, but this week they were dishing it out to a poor Mayfield side who huffed and puffed to little effect! It was my first visit to the compact and neat home of Mayfield and with me came the rain which grew increasingly incessant! The visitors had a star in their ranks – young Ben Cartwright plays for Chesterfield’s youth team and has recently been watched by Leicester City, so we were told. He didn’t score, but he did manage to find his name in the referee’s notebook! John Main, Graeme Askham and I drove up to the match and it was good to see Peter Ford there, too – fourteen games in a row, now with four or more goals in each of them for Peter!!

Graeme watches cocooned from the weather!

Wednesday 17th May 2017
FA Women’s Super League Spring Series

Birmingham City Ladies 2

Ellen White 39, 45,

Bristol City Women 0
Referee:- Sarah Garratt                                              Attendance:- 419
Admission:- OMGDS £5 (£8)                             Programme:- £2.50
The heavy rain that had pounded down all day relented as this match at Solihull Moors FC commenced this evening. Birmingham City, fresh from their cup final appearance last weekend, bombarded the Bristol goal but their only reward was a two goal burst from Ellen White, just before half-time, that won the game and the points. It was a good match on an excellent playing surface.

Sunday 21st May 2017
Non-League Finals Day at Wembley

Buildbase FA Vase Final

Cleethorpes Town 0

South Shields 4

Carl Finnigan 43,

Dillon Morse 80,

David Foley 86, 89,
Referee:- Darren England

Buildbase FA Trophy Final

Macclesfield Town 2

Rhys Browne 13,

Oliver Norburn 45+2

York City 3

Jon Parkin 8,

Vadaine Oliver 22,

Aidan Connolly 86,
Referee:- Paul Tierney
Attendance:- 38,224                         Admission:- OMGDS £10 (£25)
Programme:- £5      Hot dog:- £7.50          Pint of Real Ale:- £4.95
Great day out and a real bargain! The first match was a fairly pedestrian victory for a far superior South Shields team (who also brought the most support of all the teams on the day). The second match was much more entertaining with four goals being shared in the first half and a lone second half effort for The Minstermen claiming the victory after they had been under sustained pressure for much of the half.

Friday 26th May 2017

The Gayford Carrott Memorial Invitational Trophy Cup Final

The Leicester & Charnwood Sunday Football League

Shepshed United 2

Charlie Dunkin 64,

River Hardy 70,

Birstall Stamford A  5

Liam Derry 15, 29, 65, 68,

Aiden Black 38,

Referee:- Richard Robertson          Attendance:- 143

Admission:- £3.00                Programme:- incl.

I think they must have been holding cup finals at Holmes Park in Whetstone, Leicester, for nearly every day in May! This was one of the last ones and the Gayford Carrott Trophy is named after a chairman of the Leicestershire League who sadly succumbed to cancer in 2015. Birstall were the dominant team and had nonchalantly gained a three goal advantage before Shepshed got their names on the score sheet. There were four goals shared in the last twenty-five minutes, but Birstall decisively clinched the match and the trophy!

Saturday 27th May 2017
TWR Shipowners Charity Cup FINAL

Richmond Town 2

Martin Butterworth 48,

Wayne Greoziak 67,

Cleator Moor Celtic 4

Luke Close 6,

Callum Birdsall 53, 88,

Josh Charlton 90,
Referee:- James Westgate                        Attendance:- 359
Admission:- £2.00                                  Programme:- £1.00
We’ll forget the appalling traffic on the journey up to North Yorkshire, Earl’s Orchard was a dream of a ground in the vast shadow of Richmond Castle. There is no chance of development, no matter how ambitious Richmond Town are, no floodlights or stands would be allowed. Today, they entertained close rivals Cleator Moor Celtic, who bossed the first half, before a torrential downpour with hailstones and lightning, extended the half-time to nearly forty minutes. When play resumed, the hosts were more determined and managed an early equaliser. With three minutes to go, the sides were locked at 2-2 but two goals from the visitors right at the death, saw them claim the victory and the trophy – quite deservedly!

Blanked out by the heavy rain, the castle walls are barely visible!

Tuesday 30th May 2017
(Ashbourne) Summer League

Wheel Madrid 3

Tom Trevors 21,

Dan Hodgkinson 31,

Tom Hodgkinson 46,

Kirk Langley 2

Max 68, 84,
Referee:- Culi Sidhu                                               Attendance:- 31
Wheel Madrid hail from The Wheel Inn, in Ashbourne and play their home matches on Ashbourne Recreational Park (sharing with Ashbourne OB). This year, rugby has been added to the list of sports played there, but Ashbourne Town are still playing at Rocester and the site of Ashbourne Town’s new ground is still pretty derelict! Kirk Langley, who are not enjoying the most successful of seasons, looked the more likely early on, but the hosts struck twice in the first half and added a third in the second, before the visitors re-awoke their early match zeal and plundered a couple of goals late on, but it was too little, too late!

Notice the large sand covered furrow in the foreground!

 

Other matches:-

Monday 1st May 2017

Northants Senior Youth League East

Rothwell Corinthians 3  Desborough Town  4         Attendance:- 59

Tuesday 16th May 2017

Coventry Alliance Premier Division

Folly Lane 5 Jaguar/Daimler 5                            Attendance:- 16

Friday 19th May 2017

Everards Alliance League EW Foster Cup Final

Blaby United  6  FC Tumar  0                                 Attendance:- 319

Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Leicestershire & Rutland FA Challenge Cup Final

Barwell  3  Coalville Town  1                                 Attendance:- 592

Wednesday 31st May 2017

FA Women’s Super League Spring Series

Birmingham City Ladies 0 Yeovil Town Ladies 0    Attendance:- 625

 

Matches:-

This Season:-    Matches:- 243             New Grounds:- 114

TOTAL:-            Matches:- 3,690         New Grounds:- 1,341

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April 2017

From:- “The Goals of Bingo Boot” by Allan Ahlberg

.

His goals in life were modest though

He had no wish to be

Sir Bingo Boot of Camden Town

Or Bingo O.B.E.

He loved his wife and family

His Kiddies, Joyce and Jim

He never went to see the King

The King came to see him.

.

His twilight years were mostly spent

With a ball in the local park

Kicking about with the local team

Having a laugh and a lark.

Yet still they couldn’t stop him

His old swerve worked a treat

Till he died at last with his boots on

Those most amazing feet

.

Eyes down for Bingo (in his grave)

The final whistle blown

The fans rolled up from miles around

“You’ll never walk alone!”

While Bingo’s spirit shimmied

With all its usual grace

And then was … relegated

To a most appalling place.

.

.

.

Saturday 1st April 2017
Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 South

Tooting & Mitcham United 2

Michael Dixon 59,

Jack Mazzone 78,

South Park 0
Referee:- Michael Smith                                Attendance:- 623
Admission:- F.O.C.                                    Programme:- £2.00
There was a hint of April Showers in the air, but the weather generally behaved itself! The KNK Stadium is quite spectacular (see the pictures), and outside the stadium are a further two 3G pitches, both in use today! The club owns the ground and, no doubt some of the funding came from the sale of their old Sandy Lane arena. It was packed today with fans taking advantage of the free admission (average attendance this season is around the 200 mark). Craig had come down from Bedford and together we enjoyed the match, despite the dour first period. The second half was much livelier, and it was the hosts who took the spoils after stern resistance from South Park. Wonderful reception from the club. Invited into the boardroom, provided with team sheets, we couldn’t have been better treated!

Tuesday 4th April 2017
Kershaws Cambridgeshire County League
Foster Cup Quarter-final

Harston Bostocks 1

Stephen Barrett 71,

Sawston Rovers 2

Lee Gentle 77,

Shaun Skinner 82,
Referee:- Christopher Severino                       Attendance:- 18
Admission:- F.O.C.                                      Programme:- NONE
The hosts are champions of Division 5 of The Kershaw Cambs County League. The visitors are in Division 1. Before the game we speculated on how many Sawston might score. In reality, Harston were very unlucky to lose. To be fair, Rovers played badly and Bostocks played out of their skins. They even took the lead with less than twenty minutes to go and were good value! A couple of free kicks in the last fifteen minutes saw Rovers recover to win the match, but both were outside the area and whilst the goalkeeper was at fault for the first, the entire defence conspired to concede the second!

A frequent train rolls past in the background!

Wednesday 5th April 2017
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division

Welwyn Garden City 0

Sun Sports 1

Karl Penny 45+1
Referee:- Martyn Cannon                                 Attendance:- 41
Admission:- £6.00                                        Programme:- None
Well, there was no programme, but the outside cover was available free of charge and with the current league table and both teams listed. They just hadn’t printed the inside pages! Herns Lane was looking just a little bit like a building site, maybe there are plans afoot to improve the stadium. In the first half, the visitors dominated and a goal duly arrived, but not until the very stroke of half-time. In the second half, the hosts huffed and puffed to no avail and Sun Sports from Watford deservedly took the victory and the points.

A small covered standing area on the far side with the floor covered in metal piping.

Friday 7th April 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League

Premier Division

Peterborough Northern Star 1

Jezz Goldson-Williams 79,

Wisbech Town 4

Sam Murphy 15,

Luke Wilson 25,

Liam Adams 50,

Alex Beck 90+2
Referee:- Alex James                                           Attendance:- 135
Admission:- £6.00                                          Programme:- £1.50
Peterborough Northern Star started their existence at Eye, outside the City of Peterborough. Then, they were known as Northam Star after two brick yards in the area. When they left Eye and moved to the city, the name became bastardised into ‘Northern Star’ and so it has remained to this day! Tonight, they were humbled by a resolute and determined Fenmen side who popped in two goals in each half and for whom the star was wingman Liam Adams. The hosts scored a consolation ten minutes from time!

Saturday 8th April 2017
Sky Bet EFL League One

Chesterfield 1

Joe Rowley 54,

Port Vale 0
Referee:- Richard Clark                                     Attendance:- 5,527
Admission:- Hospitality                                  Programme:- Included
It was good to meet up with my two elder sons and my eldest grandson for the trip to Chesterfield. The weather was gorgeous and the Proact Stadium looked at its best, bathed in golden sunshine. The hospitality was excellent but perhaps the match lacked a little in glamour. No goals in a fairly turgid opening half, but the second period was much more lively and after a spirited spell by the visitors, the hosts broke away and scored the only goal of the encounter, seventeen years old Joe Rowley being the lucky striker. Both these teams are in serious danger of relegation to League Two and this match helped neither as other results meant that the hosts have to win their remaining four games and the visitors were dragged into the basement pack!

Grandson Freddie

Son, James and his nephew, Freddie

Freddie

Birthday boy, son Mike

The old man with eldest son Jim and grandson Freddie

Monday 10th April 2017
Barclays Premier League 2 Division 1.

Leicester City U-23 0

Manchester United U-23 0
Referee:- Simon Barrow                                Attendance:- 3,425
Admission:- OMGDS £1.00 (£3)                Programme:- None
This is not the first time that Leicester City have drawn 0-0 in one of these matches. They managed the same result at St Georges Park against Derby County when I saw them last month. It wasn’t that bad a match. Leicester were well organised and United had no cutting edge and despite the increasingly frustrated Nicky Butt on the touchline, it was Leicester who seemed the more likely as the match wore on! However, the draw was probably a fair result!

Nicky Butt, manager of Manchester United U-23s

Tuesday 11th April 2017
Kershaws Cambridgeshire County League Premier Division

Foxton 3

Eliot Keating 2, 20,

Mark Hobbs 39,

Fulbourne Institute 4

Ashley Skipp 8, 59,

Matt Edwards 29, 33,
Referee:- Christopher Darling                                Attendance:- 73
Admission:- F.O.C.                                          Programme:- NONE
Foxton is a village, maybe some ten miles from Cambridge, well endowed with sporting facilities. The pavilion is extensive and besides the children’s leafy play area, there ia a cricket pitch, football pitch and bowling green. Sadly, the football team are languishing in the nether regions of the division, whilst opponents, Institute are well placed in the top half of the table. Six goals were shared in the first half as the hosts twice took the lead and then equalised. In the second half, both sides could have scored, but it was the visitors who claimed the decisive strike and took the victory and the points.

 

The Northern Counties East League

and

The North West Counties League

“Hop”

13 – 17th April 2017

Thursday 13th April 2017

Toolstation Northern Counties East League Division 1

Campion   4

Jason Davis 49,

Daniel Cunningham 70,

Ben Kendall 75,

Eli Hey 86,

Dronfield Town 1

Danny Wood 47,

Referee:- Benjamin Tomlinson              Attendance:- 268

Admission:- £5.00                             Programme£2.00

This was one of the earliest homes of Bradford Park Avenue when they lost their own ground, but as they moved up the leagues, it became unsuitable!

Friday 14th April 2017                k.0.:- 11.00am

Northern Counties East League Premier Division

Garforth Town  0

Staveley Miners Welfare  0

Referee:- Peter Walker                                     Attendance:- 324

Admission:- £5.00                                    Programme:- £1.50

My Latin is a bit rusty, but I think the translation (roughly) suggests:- “If I can, I will”

The covering on the stand is about as much use as a chocolate teapot in inclement weather!!!

At a football ground?

Friday 14th April 2017                      k.o.:- 2.30pm

Toolstation Northern Counties East League

Premier Division

Harrogate Railway Athletic    0

Pickering Town  5

Lewis Taylor 20 (pen),

Nick Thompson 32,

Eddie Birch 44,

George Bissett 52,

Ryan Blott 62,

Referee:- Craig Buxton                                  Attendance:- 353

Admission:- £5.00                                Programme:- £2.00

Again, the translation is a little rough –

“Hard work never killed anyone”.

Les Bull enjoying a coffee in the stand behind the goal

Cliff and Margaret. Smile Margaret!!!!

Friday 14th April 2017                                        k.o.:- 5.30pm

Toolstation Northern Counties East League Division 1

Knaresborough Town   1

Colin Heath 38,

Pontefract Collieries   5

Glyn Cotton 51, 70,

Luke Jeffs 56,

Jack Greenough 67,

Kane Reece 69,

Referee:- Gareth Thomas                  Attendance:- 405

Admission:- £5.00                            Programme:- £1.50

Saturday 15th April 2017                        k.o.:- 11.00am

Toolstation Northern Counties East League Division 1

Rossington Main   0

Hall Road Rangers   1

Chris Spinks 37,

Referee:- Peter Henger                                    Attendance:- 323

Admission:- £5.00                                   Programme:- £1.50

Saturday 15th April 2017                       k.o.:- 2.00pm

Toolstation Northern Counties East League

Premier Division

Armthorpe Welfare   1

Ruben Pearse 87,

Memsworth Miners Welfare   6

Nash Connolly 4,

Billy Law 31,

Richard Collier 33, 63, 79, 90,

Referee:- Tom Bishop                        Attendance:- 231

Admission:- £5.00                           Programme:- £1.50

John Main at the entrance to the ground.

Saturday 15th April 2017                        k.o.:- 6.00pm

Toolstation Northern Counties East League Division 1

Selby Town   1

Jason Crisp 33,

Penistone Church   1

Scott Whittington 70,

Referee:- Ricky Taylor                            Attendance:- 386

Admission:- £5.00                         Programme:- £1.50

Hallmark Security North West Counties League

Sunday 16th April 2017                         k.o.:- 11.30am

Hallmark Security North West Counties League

Premier Division

Ashton Athletic   2

Daniel Smith 10,

Lee Vaughan 63,

Squires Gate   1

Joseph Noblet 2,

Referee:- Richard Holmes                               Attendance:- 298

Admission:- £5.00                                  Programme:- £1.50

French, this time! I think it translates as:-

“In God is my hope”.

Sunday 16th April 2017                            k.o.:- 2.30pm

Hallmark Security North West Counties League Division 1

Ashton Town   0

Stockport Town  2

Jamie Hinchcliffe 31, 58,

Referee:- James Sheppard                       Attendance:- 315

Admission:- £5.00                             Programme:- £1.50

Sunday 16th April 2017                              k.o.:- 6.00pm

Hallmark Security North West Counties League

Premier Division

Runcorn Town    4

Craig Cairns 16 (pen), 55,

Mark Reed  48, 77,

Barnton   1

Jason McShane 73,

Referee:- Wade Smith                               Attendance:- 335

Admission:- £5.00                           Programme:- £1.50

The ground was dominated by the Chemical works which loomed behind it!

Monday 17th April 2017

Hallmark Security North West Counties  League

Premier Division   K.O.:- 11.00am

Atherton Collieries   5

Darrhyl Mason 4,

Jordan Cover 21 (pen), 67, 71 (pen),

Vincent Bailey 49

AFC Darwen  1

Nicholas Hepple 80,

Referee:- E. Swallow                                Attendance:- 478

Admission:- £5.00                          Programme:- £1.50

A free Easter Egg for all spectators!!!

Monday 17th April 2017 K.O.:- 2.45pm

Hallmark Security North West Counties League 

Premier Division

West Didsbury & Chorlton   3

Nia Bayunu 70,

Saul Henderson 90+1,

Carlos Mendes Gomes 90+4,

Congleton Town  1

Callum Gardner 84,

Referee:- C. Porter                                    Attendance:- 295

Admission:- £5.00                                Programme:- £1.50

Monday 17th April 2017

Hallmark Security North West Counties League  K.O.:- 5.45pm

Premier League

Maine Road   2

Matthew Morgan 17, 50,

Abbey Hey  2

Matthew Cook 62,

Ashford Blake 79,

Referee:- Robert Wainwright                         Attendance:- 259

Admission:- £5.00                                       Programme:- £1.50

Tuesday 18th April 2017
Kershaws Cambridgeshire County League Premier Division

Sawston United 2

Will Rolph 7,

Jamie Campbell 29,

Eaton Socon 3

Mayson Byatt 4,

Lee Bassett 17,

Shane Fox 72,
Referee:- Joseph Karram                                  Attendance:- 32
Admission:- F.O.C.                                      Programme:- NONE
Sawston United share some very impressive facilities with the cricket club on the site of Sawston Community College which also houses the rugby club, bowls club, library, and swimming pool. In the football club house there is tea/coffee and small snacks and there is also a bar next door. However, things have not gone so well on the field of play. The manager left before Christmas, the team sank to the bottom of the division and only a herculean task by the players has salvaged a pretty awful season. At least relegation now seems unlikely. The visitors had problems of their own. Ambitious for step six football, they suddenly discovered that their pitch dimensions did not meet the requirements and negotiations are in hand with the local council to extend their pitch. On the field, they are handily placed in fourth, but this match was won with a single second half strike after the teams went into the interval at 2-2. Perhaps a draw might have been a fairer result!

Thursday 20th April 2017
Kershaws Cambridgeshire League Premier Division

Hemingfords United 3

Jack Jefferson 42, 49,

Matt Wright 52,

Fowlmere 3

David McMurrough 47,

Roger Skeggs 56,

Scott Piggott 61,
Referee:- Christopher Darling                                Attendance:- 52
Admission:- F.O.C.                                          Programme:- NONE
There is Hemingford Grey and (posh) Hemingford Abbotts and the football team encompasses them both, being known as Hemingfords United in the plural! They have an extensive club house and facilities which includes cricket, tennis, bowls, table tennis and squash. There was tea and (free) chocolate digestives for the spectators and it was good to see a smattering of hoppers including Andy English, Dave Garrow and Tony Incenzo. The match exploded in the 36th minute with the sending off of a visiting player for violent conduct. Immediately afterwards, the hosts took the lead but that signalled only the beginning of a goal rush which saw six goals shared in a ten minute spell either side of the interval. These two sides are battling relegation, but it is the hosts who will be the better pleased with the draw!

Friday 21st April 2017
Everards Alliance League Bill Watts Cup FINAL

Finchys 3

Ricky Taylor 10,

James Ireland 55, 90,

Sparta Moshdock 2

Steve Morley 20, 28,
Referee:- Graham Swann                                       Attendance:- 241
Admission:- £3.00                                         Programme:- Included
Holmes Park is the HQ of The Leicestershire & Rutland FA and also home to Leicester City U-23 sides. Both parties have ensured considerable development to the amenities. This was the fourth in a line of recent Friday evening Cup Finals. The Alliance Sunday League Cup Final pitched third placed Finchys against Premier Division Champions Sparta Moshdock (where do they get these names from?). It was a fast and furious, but a very open match and the five goal haul could easily have been surpassed. Moshdock deservedly led at the interval, courtesy of two strikes from captain Steve Morley. Thereafter, Finchys launched their own secret weapon in the shape of substitute James Ireland who scored two second half goals – the second on 90 minutes – to ensure that the under-dogs triumphed!

Tuesdsay 25th April 2017
Kershaws Cambridgeshire League Division 2B

Wimblington 4

Chris Fury  46, 53,

Alex Knowles 51,

Connor Morton 72,

Isleham United 0
Referee:- Martin Pettit                                            Attendance:- 11
Admission:- F.O.C.                                           Programme:- NONE
Delving a little lower down the Kershaws pyramid, brought Graeme and I to The Parkfield on Chapel Lane, home of Wimblington which is situated midway between Chatteris and March in the boringly flat fens! There was a well equipped clubhouse with a bar and food available as fourth placed Wimblington took on mid-table visitors, Isleham United. The hosts have no chance of promotion, but they thrashed their opponents in a four goal burst from the beginning of the second half after a fairly frustrating opening period.

Wednesday 26th April 2017
Hunts FA Senior Challenge Cup FINAL

St Neots Town 0

Eynesbury Rovers 1

Tom Coles 41,
Referee:- Hallam Cutmore                                  Attendance:- 440
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£8)                   Programme:- F.O.C.
Eynesbury Rovers play two divisions below St Neots Town and they had to play this final at their opponents Rowley Park ground.
The officials of The Hunts FA couldn’t have been more helpful. The match programme was free as was the team sheet. Rovers were magnificent! They defended stubbornly and scored the only goal of the encounter just short of the interval. After the break, St Neots’ play improved, but they were never a match for their well organised opponents who deservedly took the trophy!

Saturday 29th April 2017
Essex Senior League

Barking 2

Steve Willis 28, 82,

Stansted 5

Sam Ashford 37,

Jack Isherwood 38,

Jordan Holdsworth 85,

Jez David 88,

Tom Lakin 90+2

Referee:- Jamie Garwood                                    Attendance:- 70
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£5)                  Programme:- £1.50
There was a souvenir programme today to mark Barking winning The Essex Senior League Championship and with 100 points, too! Sadly, the ground has seen better days. Delapidation was everywhere evident and it took the gloss off the championship somewhat! Stansted must hold the evil eye on the hosts. Last season they won 5-0 here. Today, for a match with so many goals, it was a strangely lacklustre affair. However, three goals in the last five minutes that won it for the visitors! Meanwhile, the cricket brethren of Barking were crushing Ace CC, right next door!

The Essex Senior League Championship Trophy

 

Other matches in April:-

Monday 3rd April 2017

Northants Senior Youth League Cup Quarter-final

Desborough Town 1 Rothwell Corinthians o          attendance:- 65

Monday 24th April 2017

Northants Senior Youth League Cup Semi-final

Desborough Town  1  Bugbrooke St Michael  1    attendance:- 42

Bugbrooke won 5-4 on penalties

Friday 28th April 2017

U-23 Professional Development League 2

Birmingham City 5  Nottingham Forest  2            attendance:- 70

 

This Season:             Matches:- 225             New Grounds:- 109

TOTAL:                     Matches:- 3,671          New Grounds:- 1,337

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March 2017

from:- “The Goals of Bingo Boot” by Allan Ahlberg

And so the years went flying by

In liniment and sweat

Life was a great high-scoring game

An ever bulging net

And Arsenal won the cup and league

Six seasons on the trot

All on account of Bingo Boot

And his most amazing shot.

.

But now the storm clouds gathered

And at last the whistle blew

for the start of a really crucial game

The battle of World War Two.

It was England versus Germany

And Bingo heard the call

He marched away in his shooting boots

To assist in Adolf’s fall.

.

Then when the war was finished

And he’d left the fusiliers

Brave Bingo served the Gunners

For another fifteen years.

No net was ever empty

No sheet was ever clean

He scored more goals a season

Than even Dixie Dean.

.

.

.

Wednesday 1st March 2017
British Universities & Colleges Sport
Womens Cup – Semi-Final

Cambridge University Women 2

Becca Hirst 24, 90+1

Leicester University Women 1

Millie Cutler 81
Referee:- Peter Howard                                         Attendance:- 18
I can remember umpiring cricket matches at Fitzwilliam Playing Fields, but it didn’t make it any easier for John and Graeme and myself to find the place tucked away off a side road opposite Fitzwilliam College itself! We had high hopes for Leicester Women, but on the day they played like a hen party on the morning after. Cambridge were a good side who passed well and Leicester were unable to play with their usual freedom. They missed several straightforward chances in the first half, whilst Cambridge scored with their only effort on target. In the second half of a very even match, Millie Cutler equalised with ten minutes to go, but Cambridge won it in the first minute of added time!

Friday 3rd March 2017
Barclays U-18 Premier League North Section

Stoke City 0

Manchester United 2

Josh Bohui 47

DJ Buffonge 81,
Attendance:- 107                                             Admission:- F.O.C.
No programme – Free team sheets provided.
With all the rain around, we were never quite sure if this game would go ahead. In the event, the pitch was in very good condition and the match was played at a high tempo. Always a pleasure to visit Stoke City’s Clayton Wood Academy, where the welcome is warm and the impression is given that spectators are appreciated rather than begrudged! This was a match betweenn the whippets from Manchester against the carthorses of Stoke. There was no score in the first half, despite the visitors being awarded a penalty, which was saved. In the second half, the hosts performed much better and were themselves awarded a penalty which they, too, squandered! Either side of this second penalty, the visitors struck, but they were made to work hard for a victory they should have achieved at a canter!

Saturday 4th March 2017
Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 South

Faversham Town 1

Luke Harvey 16,

Molesey 0
Referee:- Jack Packan Attendance:- 188
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 (£10) Programme:- £2.00
Let the train take the strain, an hour from Kettering to St Pancras and an hour from St Pancras to Faversham, then a ten minute walk to the quaint old fashioned stadium with lots of evidence of prefabrication and brand new changing rooms almost completed – with room for another storey on top if they can find the funds! The game wasn’t much to write home about. A goal after sixteen minutes put the hosts in front and all the huffing and puffing that Molesey could offer came to nought. That’s three times I’ve seen Molesey, now, in a fortnight, and each time they have lost!

Tuesday 7th March 2017
East Midlands Counties League

Anstey Nomads 3

Mark Foster 62, 

Joe Hartopp 72,

Chris Rudkin 90+5

Barrow Town 2

Sam Beaver 65,

Chris Shaw 79,
Referee:- Adam Brierly-Lewis                          Attendance:- 52
Admission:- £5.00                                           Programme:- £1.00
This was my first visit to Nomads since 2009 and there has been a raft of improvements which rendered the stadium almost unrecognisable from my first visit!. Maybe they could have improved the floodlights, because they were very dim (as you can see from the photos). Barrow had won the reverse fixture handsomely by 4-0 and the hosts were seeking revenge. There were no goals at all in the first hour but then an avalanche as each side scored in succession. Right at the death, the visitors had a golden chance to score the winner and missed it only for Nomads to score in the fifth minute of added time to seal a victory they barely deserved!

Friday 10th March 2017

Welsh League Division 1

Risca United  1

Kyle Williams 46,

 Monmouth Town  3

Craig Lewis 38, 42,

Kaz Kareem 56,

Referee:- Mark Lynch                                Attendance:- 147

Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£5)           Programme:- £1.50

Plastic pitch at a fairly new stadium which had a rugby union stadium attached across the top behind one goal to form a T-shape double arena.

Plenty of ritzy light and colour and a pretty big main stand, but totally lacking in atmosphere. I even went down the road for a pint before the match!

Both of these teams are struggling this season and Risca United are in the more precarious position, some five points behind their opponents and in the relegation places. Monmouth fended them off for most of the first half and then produced a couple of strikes to kill the game off as a contest. Risca pulled a goal back immediately after half-time, but Town restored their two goal advantage some ten minutes later and deserved the win and the points.

 

Saturday 11th March 2017

K.O. 10.45am Carmarthenshire League Division 2

Kidwelly Town  3

Kyle Griffiths 36,

Gideon Griffiths 38 (og)

Ryan Jones 89,

Drefach  1

Chris Amos 7,

Referee:- Phillip Johns                      Attendance:- 154

Admission:- £3.00                             Programme:- £1.00

Above is a view of the entrance to The Ivy Bush Hotel where we have stayed for several years now, following both The Ceredigion League and The Carmarthenshire League. Always happy to return here!

Interesting place, Kidwelly! There is a really good castle, which John Main and I found time to explore. It is well preserved and obviously lovingly looked after by the people of the town. It was a great fortress in medieval times and passed from side to side as the English sought to establish hegemony in The Principality.

The football club is an appendage on the far edge of Kidwelly RFC. The rugby club boast floodlights, but the football club have only a field with a rope round it!

The three pictures above were all taken from a vantage point at the top of Kidwelly Castle!

For most of the opening half, the visitors held the lead through a 7th minute Chris Amos strike. Two goals, however, just shy of half time, sent them in arrears. In an end to end second half, it seemed that no further strikes would accrue, but then, in the last minute, Ryan Jones struck for the hosts to seal their victory!

Sir Alfred Stephens, who, at the beginning of the last century, brought prosperity to Kidwelly with the building of a vast brickworks. It is his name that adorns the town’s playing fields!

Saturday 11th March 2017

K.O.:- 1.30pm  Carmarthenshire League Premier Division

Evans & Williams 0 

Trostre Sports  1

Christopher Waters 23,

Referee:- Mike Jones                             Attendance:- 134

Admission:- £3.00                                Programme:- £1.00

This was a hastily arranged fixture between the two top sides in the division. It was played on a pitch on local council owned playing field and there was room for about five or six pitches, although only one other match was being played around the same time!

Evans & Williams were, apparently, wagon builders in the area.

This was a dour struggle of a match. Each side had chances to score – and to win, but it was the visitors, courtesy of a 23rd minute strike by Christopher Waters, who stole the contest and the points.

For Evans & Williams, it was only a third league defeat of the season. Their opponents, too, have only lost three league matches, but it is the hosts who, despite this defeat, look the most likely to take the championship!

 

Saturday 11th March 2017

K.O.:- 4.00pm   Carmarthenshire League Premier Division

Seaside   2

Sean Rogers 33, 66,

Carmarthen Stars  0

Referee:- Matt Deschoolmeister                Attendance:- 175

Admission:- £3.00                                  Programme:- £1.00

I could be wrong, but I don’t really think that there is a place actually called “Seaside”. I think that it is just the name of a football club on the south Carmarthenshire coast inside the borough of Llanelli. For all of that  – and the fact that it was little more than a field with a rope around – it was warm, friendly and welcoming and if they didn’t quite get the timing right for the curry and chips, it was well worth the wait!

Seaside have quite an impressive club house and England’s clinical dissection of Scotland in The Rugby was screened all during the match. There was a quite reasonable selection of beer on offer as well!

There is a little hillock on the far side of the ground, which offers a better view of the game and would, if there had been no mist, have offered sight of the sea across the road.

As for the game, Seaside are probably the only real challengers to Evans & Williams at the top of The Carmarthenshire League Premier Division. They lie six pouts adrift of the leaders and a point ahead of third place Trostre Sports.

Carmarthen Stars have ambitions to advance further – one of the few teams in this league who are so minded. However, it won’t be next season as a goal in each half from the hosts sent them home pointless!

Sunday 12th March 2017

K.O.:- 11.00am   Bridgend & District Sunday League

Premier Division

Garth Vader   2

Nathan Whelan 65,

Josh Garfield 86,

St Patricks Rovers   7

Lloyd Howells 14,

Dylan Llewellyn  23, 41,

Jack Thomas 29,

Sean Kyle  42,

Paul Evans 53, 87,

Referee:- Ron Preece                           Attendance:- 79

Admission:- F.O.C.                             Programme:- £1.00

This was Sunday League football at its most primitive! I doubt that the match would have been played except for the crowds of hoppers who came to watch this hastily arranged detour from the original plan, when one of the Carmarthenshire League clubs decided a week ago that their pitch would not be fit to play on this Sunday!

The mist hung low over the valley. Garth Vader play their home matches in Maesteg – or a suburb thereof. They are languishing at the foot of their league table, whilst their opponents are leading the pack and favourites for the title.

It was going to be one way traffic, surely. The very heavy pitch intervened. Parts of it were virtually unplayable and a dribble likely to be terminated by the pitch rather than any opposing player.

Despite this, St Patricks amassed five goals in the first half and a double digit scoreline certainly seemed to be on the cards.

Give credit to the hosts. The may have lost the opening half and conceded five goals, but the second half ended all square with the hosts proving their resilience – and determination not to be humiliated.

Chris organised a raffle for the club which raised £80 from the hoppers and spectators!

Sunday 12th March 2017

K.O.:- 3.00pm  South Wales Alliance Premier Division

Cardiff Corinthians  1

Jake Bartlett 50,

Pontyclun  2

Shaun Moss 49 (pen),

Joel Woodington 70

Referee:- Mark Boucher                         Attendance:- 189

Admission:- £3.00                                  Programme:- £1.00

The last match of the ‘hop’ brought us to Cardiff for another dip into The South Wales Alliance. Last August, we saw Grange Albion thrash today’s hosts by 3-0 as they started life in The Alliance after their fall from The Welsh League.

The ground was hard by the railway station and access was via a low bridge under the railway line. It is, in reality, a cricket club where Corinthians have purloined one end to play football. There is some cover on the far side of the football pitch and the club house was doing a roaring trade in bottled ale, faggots and chips and pizza slices!

For this match, the club had printed out souvenir tickets.

Mike Squires won’t thank me for this photo from before the match, as he sinks his teeth into today’s speciality of faggots and peas!

After a pretty awful first half and the scores 0-0, the game burst into life five minutes into the second half. I was standing behind the goal where the penalty was awarded to the visitors and I would have said that it was ‘soft’ at best. It was scored however, yet, within a minute, Corinthians swept down to the other end in a sweet, direct move and scored the equaliser.

The visitors always appeared to have too much in reserve and so it proved when they score the winner, some twenty minutes from the end

There was a good turnout for this ‘hop’, despite TWO last minute glitches which meant that matches had to be picked up elsewhere. However, there was a pretty good spirit amongst the hoppers and I think they appreciated the efforts that Chris had made on their behalf. I certainly did!

Tuesday 14th March 2017

EUFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg

Leicester City  2

Wes Morgan 27,

Marc Albrighton 55,

Sevilla  0

Samir Nasri s/o 73

Referee:- Daniele Orsato                        Attendance:- 31,520

Admission:- OMGDS£45.00                              Programme:- £4.00
What an absolute belter of a match! The King Power was rocking and the impossible came about through a circuitous route of happenstance. A worthy goal in each half from The Foxes, a crucial penalty save from Kasper Schmeichel at 2-0, Samir Nasri sent off for the visitors, the Sevilla coach dismissed to the stands, Jamie Vardy a prowling predator who pounced at every opportunity and the wonderfully supportive crowd who remained behind well after the final whistle had gone. It was a great night for Leicester City fans!

Leicester City win 3-2 on aggregate.

Wednesday 17th March 2017
British Universities & Colleges Sport
Women’s Midland Division 3A

Leicester University 5

Millie Cutler 51, 56, 87,

Shauna Cossens 59,

Emma Aspinall 76,

Nottingham Trent University 2

Dominique Moran 3,  5,
Referee:- Ian Danson                                          Attendance:- 31
Admission:- F.O.C.                                             Programme:- None
This was the last league match of the season and the championship decider, although the hosts were some three points better off and with a vastly superior goal difference. It was a warm Spring day and the sun shone down on the two best teams in the league. Two goals from Dominique Moran, the visitors striker, in the first five minutes gave a huge boost to Trent and it could have been more as a very lacklustre home team toiled through the first half. The second half was an altogether different affair as the Leicester phalanx rolled into action and battered the visitors mercilessly. A hat-trick from top scorer Millie Cutler and additional goals from Shauna Cossens and Emma Aspinall crushed the spirit out of the visitors and there should, perhaps have been more with better composure in front of goal. At the end, the Leicester team celebrated raucously, all the more so, as this time last year, it was Trent who were toasting the victory and the championship. The visitors, meanwhile, trudged off disconsolately, having been well beaten.

There was good support for this championship decider – especially from the women’s second team, who turned out in force!

I’ve enjoyed following the Leicester University Women’s team this season. Of course it is much better watching them on a fine sunny afternoon in Leicester in March, rather than a cold dank afternoon at Girton College in January. I like the way they play, without inhibition and with a good team spirit. Maybe I’ll see them again, next season!

Friday 17th March 2017

Netherlands Erstedivisie

Fortuna Sittard 3

Djibril Dianessy  11,

Emran Bassan  29, 70,

De Graafschap  2

Piotr Parzyszek  6 (pen),

Bart Straalman 90,

Referee:- A. Lindhout                         Attendance:- 1,512

Admission:- €25.00       No programme, but a free team-sheet.

 

An early morning flight from Luton Airport and a languorous non-stop train journey  on a double-decker train down to Sittard, a lovely olde worlde town with a huge square at the centre and a football club some mile and a half outside the centre.

I met up with my son James and two friends, Jonny Crane and Mark Sumner, who were completing their Odyssey through Dutch football some eight years after we had all started out. For me, this was a second visit to Sittard. I was last here in February 2011 when the hosts went down by a single goal to Go Ahead Eagles Deventer.

Some three hundred away fans made plenty of colourful noise with their fireworks and flares.

The last time I was here, the ground, which holds some twelve thousand spectators and has seated stands all round, was called “The Trendwork Arena”. Now, it has reverted to its original title – Euregionaal Sport- & Congrescentrum, Sportcentrumlaan 6 – which is a bit of a mouthful, and suggests that it is a council owned stadium.

It was sad to see how paltry was the attendance. It was even some twelve hundred less than on my last visit. The club has surely fallen on hard times!

It was a good game, though, De Graafschap were as recently as last season in The Dutch Eredivisie and they took the lead with a penalty after only six minutes. Back came Fortuna with two goals to take them into a half-time lead. It was a lead that they extended with only twenty minutes to go, but De Graafschap were not finished yet and clawed one goal back, right at the death.

 

Saturday 18th March 2017

German Bundesliga

FC Koln  4

Yuya Osako 6,

Anthony Modeste 36, 38, 64

Hertha Berlin  2

Vedad Ibisevic 50 (pen),

John Brooks 69,

Referee:- Marco Fritz aus Korb               Attendance:- 49,500

Admission:- €58.00                                  Programme:- F.O.C.

Another early morning journey by train from Sittard to Aachen, where I boarded a Thalys Train for the last leg of the journey to Cologne. I arrived there almost at the same time as my middle son, Michael and two of his friends, Gary Miller and Rory Clark arrived at the station from their flight to Cologne from Stanstead.

My middle son, Michael, on the right with yours truly in the centre and Rory Clark on the left on the approaches to The Rheine Energie Stadion.

The Rheine Energie stadium is a truly imposing piece of architecture. It perhaps lacks the flowing, majestic splendour of The San Siro Stadium and is much more Teutonic in design. Nonetheless it is very impressive!

Pre-match entertainment included these cheerleaders who kept up a non-stop show for a good half-hour!

The goat is the mascot of 1st FC Koln, and it duly appeared on the pitch before kick-off.

There are two areas for standing at the stadium. One for the home fans, behind the goal and festooned with flags and drums. The other, is behind the opposite goal and a smaller coterie of away fans did their best to break into the home-side’s cacophony.

Our seats must have been at least one hundred metres above pitch level. Not one for heights, I was pleased that there was a bar in front of each row of seats for the queasy to hang onto! We were right on the half-way line and it was a magnificent view!

It was also a thrilling match.Cologne were a couple of places below Hertha in the top half of the table, but they started like a train with a goal from Yuya Osako in the sixth minute and two more from Anthony Modeste in the final ten minutes of the half. In the second half, Hertha did pull a goal back through a penalty (see above) in the fiftieth minute, before Anthony Modeste (once on loan at Blackburn Rovers from Bordeaux) completed his hat-trick and John Brooks scored a consolation strike for the visitors.

Sunday 19th March 29017

German Bundesliga 2

VFL Bochum 1848   1

Johannes Wurtz 62,

Erzgerbirge Aue  1

Dimitrij Nazarov 11 (pen)

Referee:- Christian Dietz (Munich)      Attendance:- 13,875

Admission:- €34.00                             Programme:- F.O.C.

I don’t know if we chose a particularly difficult weekend, but German trains ran very badly for us today! There were delays and delays upon delays, but fortunately, we didn’t miss any of the action! In fact we got to Bochum under the mistaken apprehension that the match kicked off at 12.30pm, when in fact it started at 1.30pm!

from left:- Gary Miller, Mike McGeown, Rory Clark

I would class Bochum as a team like Bolton Wanderers in England. They have a pretty impressive stadium which can hold around thirty thousand spectators, but they are bogged down in the mediocrity of Bundesliga 2.

Even a town like Bochum has a tram service from the railway station to the football ground. We got there far too early. We thought the match kicked off at 12.30 and in fact it was a 13.30 kick-off!

Bochum are in the bottom half of the table, but higher than their opponents, Erzgerbirge Aue, who are flirting with relegation. Prior to this match, however, the visitors had pulled off a couple of wins and a draw to ease their relegation worries. They didn’t look a bad side, either. They scored early on with a penalty and easily kept the hosts at bay until they conceded an equaliser just after the hour mark. Judging from the play, they must have been disappointed to concede two late points and be forced to settle for the draw!

It was a dull day with squally rain showers. The floodlights were on for the second half.

Tuesday 21st March 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Leicester Nirvana 3

Ryan Calver 37,

Jurelle Phillip 55,

Jahdatin Harper 90+4,

Harborough Town 2

Greg Usher 25,

Ben Williams 88
Referee:- Oliver Mackey                                    Attendance:- 64
Admission OMGDS£3.00 (£5)
Programme:- £1.00
This is the third home of Nirvana that I have visited and judging by the amount of ‘hoppers’ present, it was a new ground for all of us! It was a cold evening with a biting wind and Hamilton Park, although up and running, is not quite finished yet with some covered standing still being erected adjacent to the Meccano seated stand. It is a stark and bare ground – but then again, the weather didn’t help! Nirvana have slipped of late and are languishing in the bottom four. Harborough, on the other hand are on the up, but this evening was not to be their night. Having led 1-0 and been down 2-1, they pulled the match back to 2-2 in the 89th minute, only to lose to a nonchalant flick of a goal in the 95th minute!

Tuesday 28th March 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Premier Division

Barwell 1

Dec Towers 50,

Rushall Olympic 1

Joe Hull 54,
Referee:- Daniel Hanna                                           Attendance:- 146
Admission:- OMGDS£6.00 (£10)                     Programme:- £2.00
After a week of enforced absence it was good to get out to a football match again! Not that this was a good match. It was probably marginally less boring than watching England playing Lithuania! A goalless first half was followed by two goals in the first ten minutes of the second half, when the game then reverted to type. Perhaps the real entertainment came from the group of eight or ten fans of The Norwegian Barwell Fan Club who kept up a cacophony of noise throughout the match!

Wednesday 29th March 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League

Premier Division

Huntingdon Town 0

Desborough Town 1

Jason Turner 24,
Referee:- Lukas Wood                                   Attendance:- 40
Admission:- £5.00                                        Programme:- £1.00
Huntingdon is the coldest, windiest ground in the United Counties League, but this evening, it was mild and still. In 2010, over £1 million was spent on a new clubhouse and changing facilities. Hunts FA hold many of their finals there, but the home club just seem bedevilled by lack of success. It was a good match. Ar Tarn should have won more convincingly given their territorial possession, but The Pilgrims stuck tenaciously to their task. the only goal came midway through the first half.

 

 

This Season:                Matches :- 197         New Grounds:- 97

Total:-                          Matches:- 3,643     New Grounds:- 1,325

 

Other matches:-

Wednesday 1st March 2017

Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League

Black Dragon North Division

Collingham  2  Askern  1                             Attendance:- 36

Monday 6th March 2017

Barclays Premier League 2 Division 1 (at St George’s Park)

Derby County U-23 0 Leicester City U-23 0      Attendance:- 162

Monday 13th March 2017

Barclays U-23 Premier League 2 Division 1 (at The Ipro Stadium)

Derby County U-23  2  Everton U-23  3                  Attendance:- c600

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February 2017

from:- “The Goals of Bingo Boot”

And all the while in streets and parks

On pitches large or small

Without a proper pair of boots

Sometimes without a ball!

With tin cans in the clattering yard

In weather cold or hot

Young Bingo shimmied left and right

And scored with every shot

.

His poor old mum scrubbed office floors

His poor old gran did too

The pantry was an empty place

The rent was overdue

Then Bingo had a brainwave

Shall I tell you what he did?

He sold himself to The Arsenal

For thirteen thousand quid

.

The first game that he ever played

At the tender age of ten

Young Bingo just ran rings round

Eleven baffled men

The fans of course went crazy

The fans went ‘Ooh!’ and ‘Ah!’

While Bingo took the match ball home

And bought his dad a car.

by Allan Ahlberg (1937 – )

.

.

.

Wednesday 1st February 2017
British Universities & Colleges Sport Midlands Division 1

Cambridge University 0

Oxford University 0
Referee:- Andy Phillips                                   Attendance:- 10
Admission:- F.O.C.                                         Programme:- NONE
What a miserable morning, grey leaden skies and heavy rain as John Main and I drove to Clare College Cambridge only to find that the match had been transferred to the cork 3G surface at Newmarket Town. Had this been The Varsity Rugby Union match, there would have been seventy-five thousand spectators at Twickenham, even The Varsity Football match between these two teams scheduled for Barnet FC on the morning of the Boat Race in March, will attract a couple of thousand! This was a tight contest between two evenly matched teams and what few chances came along, were squandered extravagantly and unforgivably with some woeful shooting. A draw was a fair result and a watery sun came out of the gloomy skies as we drove back in the afternoon!

Friday 3rd February 2017

Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur League 

Cup Final

Plains   3

Cambusnethan Talbot  1

Referee:-                                                    Attendance:- c600

Admission:- £3.00                                  Programme:- NONE

I flew up to Glasgow early on Friday morning on a cheap return flight and collected my hire car to drive to Dumbarton, once a scion of the shipbuilding industry. I circumnavigated Dumbarton Castle in the company of a very knowledgeable local twitcher and then popped into the football ground which is in the shadow of the castle rock. There is viewing on only one side and the locals would love to move away to somewhere more traditional for football watching!

In the evening, I visited The Excelsior Stadium for a local cup final. I am under impressed with Airdrieonians home as, not only has it got a plastic pitch, but it has singularly little atmosphere. There was plenty of atmosphere this evening, however, as the two local sides put on a good encounter, which Plains eventually won deservedly, but not without a mighty struggle from Talbot!

Saturday 4th February 2017

Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League 12.30pm k.o.

Motherwell  0

Carl McHugh s/o

Hearts  3

Alexandros Tziolis 78

Esmael Goncalves 84, 88,

Referee:- Andrew Dallas                               Attendance:- 4,651

Admission:- OMGDS£16.00 (£23)            Programme:- £3.00

This was my second visit to Fir Park on a rainswept morning and I met a musician from The Army who had decided on a whim to leave his warm bed in Henlow, in Bedfordshire, at 3.00am in the morning and to drive up to Scotland for, first of all, this match and then a quick ten minute drive across to Hamilton for a 3.00pm kick-off.

Hearts were today’s visitors and they seemed to have brought their own referee with them! It was goalless until the final fifteen minutes when the visitors scored three times, saw a home team player sent off and a blatant penalty ruled out for ‘Well!

Saturday 4th February 2017

Ladbrokes Scottish Championship 5.15pm k.o.

Dundee United  3

Thomas Mikkelson 45, 68,

Tony Andreu 48,

Raith Rovers  0

Referee:- Alan Muir                                          Attendance:- 5,232

Admission:- OMGDS£12.00 (£23)               Programme:- £2.50

It was some eighty miles from Motherwell to Dundee , but I was confident that I could make the journey in time and so it proved. Tannadice Park and Dens Park are so close, being but a street apart! This evening, it was the United half of Dundee that I had come to see.

Adjacent to Tannadice Park, you can see the floodlights of Dens Park at the bottom left of the photo.

Dundee United, recently demoted from the Scottish Premiership are locked in a battle with Hibernian to regain their Premiership place. At present, they are adrift of their rivals by some seven points.

This evening, they were far too good for their rivals, Raith Rovers. Quick goals either side of half-time and a third, some twenty minutes from time, saw them deservedly triumph and collect the spoils.

After the match I drove back to Glasgow. I was staying at The Victorian House Hotel, just off Sauchiehall Street (is that how you spell it?). It rained all night.

Sunday 5th February 2017

Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League

St Johnstone  2

Watson 31,

Boyata (go) 43,

Celtic  5

Henderson 6,

Dembele 61 (pen),75,85,

Sinclair 81,

Referee:- Craig Thomson                                     Attendance:- 6,458

Admission:- Hospitality                                     Programme:- incl. (£2.50)

Not only did it rain all last night, it teemed it down all this morning and all the way up to Perth in the car. I seriously wondered whether the match would survive, but it did.

My hospitality package included a car park pass.

I couldn’t get into hospitality because I wasn’t wearing a tie! Fortunately, next door, a very helpful official offered me the choice of tie from a box of left-overs and I was able, at last to make my way in! I had a small table all to myself (see above). There was a light brunch breakfast, soup at half-time and then after the match the main course was Perthshire lamb shoulder. The bar was free! Sadly, I couldn’t do it justice because I was driving!

A band played before the match

The match was fast and furious, but ultimately disappointing. The Perthshire side lead deservedly at half-time, by 2-1. A series of second half misfortunes for the hosts, saw them go down to ten men before not being awarded what appeared to be a stonewall penalty and then having a very soft penalty awarded against them!

However, it was the introduction of young Dembele after an hour which proved the real turning point. He scored three times to sink the hosts without trace and in the end, Celtic won at a canter. The standard of refereeing was underwhelming!

Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic manager and formerly of Liverpool, prowls the touchline during the match.

This is my hire car. a 1.4 Kia C’eed which had all the toys that my Honda has (sat-nav, reversing camera, reverse and forward warning alarms), but it lacked the power of the Civic! Really enjoyed its company and my six hundred or so miles driving in it this weekend!

Tuesday 7th February 2017
Midland League Division 1

Hinckley 2

Javia Roberts 9,

Ryan Paddock 78,

Stafford Town 1

Matthew Beedell 90+5
Referee:- Alec Cross                                        Attendance:- 121
Admission:- OMGDS£4.00 (£6.00)            Programme:- £1.50
Hinckley, after their fall from grace, are now playing at St John’s Park, home of Heather St Johns. A new team, ‘Leicester Road’ now play at The Marston Stadium in Hinckley (in the same division, but much higher than rivals, Hinckley). Tonight’s match was a rip roaring affair which was much closer than matters appeared on the field. The hosts struck the bar or post three times and squandered numerous other chances in taking a two goal lead. Right at the death, Stafford pulled one back, but the hosts deserved their victory and the points!

Wednesday 8th February 2017
Northants Senior (Hillier) Cup Semi-final

Corby Town 3

Andre Johnson 65, 70 (pen)

Guiseppe Iaciofano 89

Desborough Town 0
Referee:- Andrew Humphries Attendance:- 286
Admission:- OMGDS £3.00 (£6) Programme:- NONE
For three-quarters of this game you couldn’t have squeezed a cigarette paper between these two sides despite the two division gulf between NPL and UCL. Three goals in the final twenty-five minutes – all to the hosts – decided this tie and a meeting with either Kettering Town or Brackley Town in the final at Sixfields in April.

Saturday 11th February 2017

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North

Tadcaster Albion 2

Josh Greening 49,

Jono Greening 74,

Bamber Bridge 1

Michael Potts 12,

Referee:- Mark Haywood                     Attendance:- 239

Admission:- OMGDS £4.00 (£7)       Programme:- £1.50

It was a tad wet, in fact it was considerably more than a tad wet and had been so all weekend. Very few matches survived the weather, but Albion had installed underwater drainage to celebrate their promotion to The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League this season. This is a consolidation season for Tadcaster and they are well established in mid-table with Bridge but a few places higher. It was the visitors who bossed the first half and went into the interval leading by a solitary strike which in no way reflected their superiority. For some reason best known only to the management, they brought on two substitutes at half-time and the balance of the team was unduly affected. Taddy also upped their game and deservedly took the victory and the points in a pulsating encounter!

 Tuesday 14th February 2017
Sky-Bet EFL Championship

Reading 3

John Swift 22 

Danny Williams 77,

Roy Beerens 81,

Brentford 2

Jota 63,

Lasse Vibe 66,
Referee:- K. Stroud                                     Attendance:- 15,710
Admission:- Hospitality                           Programme:- included (£3)
The Madjeski Stadium is not the easiest football ground to get to and my grandson was travel sick on the way, as well! However, we were “Royally’ (sic) treated upon arrival even if we were an hour late. There was a knowledgeable and very friendly contingent of home supporters on our table including, no less, one of the host team’s scouts! The match was a cracker when it eventually opened up. The hosts led 1-0 at the interval, but could very easily have been two or three goals behind. In the second half, Brentford did stamp their superiority on the game and took a 2-1 lead, only for Jaap Stam to send for reinforcements by way of three substitutions at one go. This did the trick and very soon they had regained the lead. They held it to the end and claimed the points. However, if I were a Brentford fan, I would have felt very harshly done by. They deserved a draw at least!

Grandson, Freddie at The Madejski Stadium

The game was a special occasion to mark Jim’s 41st birthday!

Wednesday 15th February 2017
British Universities & Colleges Sport
Womens’ Conference Cup Quarter-final

Leicester University 5

Emma Aspinall 2,

Shauna Cossens 24,

Millie Cutler 55, 56, 66,

Loughborough University 2

Lucy Brown 6,

Maria Cienfuegos 37,
Referee:- John Carr                                           Attendance:- 17
Admission:- F.O.C.                                            Programme:- NONE
This was a close contest at The Manor Road Sports Ground, at least for the first half when the score was 2-2. Leicester, then, pulled away decisively in the second period and deservedly won the match and the right to travel to Birmingham or Cambridge for the semi-final. Hannah Watts, the host’s no-nonsense, swashbuckling midfielder was again the outstanding player on the park as she was three weeks ago at Girton College against Anglia Ruskin University. The rain came down like a monsoon and it was pretty cold, but these students served up a real treat!

Thursday 16th February 2017

Cottingham FC
The stand down the left hand side of the picture has gone and the moles have been active on the field! Cottingham joined The United Counties League in 1979/80 and promptly won the Division 2 title in their first season. The following season, the league was reduced to two divisions and Cottingham gained a creditable fifth place in Division 1. They were Division 1 champions in 1999/2000, but were never promoted to The Premier Division. Plenty of fine names have come and gone from the league during this period – Leighton Town, Milton Keynes Borough, Stevenage Borough, Towcester Town, Irthlingborough Diamonds, to name but a few! Sadly, 2003/04 was the last season that they played at Berryfield Road. The following season, they competed as Corby Cottingham, but then they folded and all that remains is what you see!

Friday 17th February 2017
Almary Green Anglian Combination Division 1

Aylsham 4

Stuart Boam,

Jack Mollicone (2)

Mark Gaskin

Scole United 4

David Coleman (3),

Ben Norton-Hugman
Referee:- Richard Gostling                          Attendance:- 114
Admission:- F.O.C.                                        Programme:- NONE
This is Aylsham’s first season at their spanking brand new ground and they are striding high at the top of their league as well. Tonight, however, for whatever reason, they were not at their best and with less than ten minutes remaining, found themselves 2-4 in arrears. A storming finale salvaged a point, with a penalty in added time, but it was hardly deserved! Lovely new ground, fine facilities for players and spectators, except that the only cover was a Meccano tin terrace which might hold twenty from the worst of any downfall!

The brothers, who play for Leicester Tigers, were born in Aylsham!

Saturday 18th February 2017
Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 South

Sittingbourne 2

Jono Richardson 71

David Abe 78

Molesey 0
Referee:- Isaac Searle                           Attendance:- 100
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 (£9)        Programme:- £2.00
Well, sat-nav brought us into the vicinity of the ground via a very rustic route which even had signs saying “unsuitable for motor vehicles”, posted all along the way! We never did see the town of Sittingbourne at all! The stadium was somewhat dilapidated and worn, with several interesting features! The welcome was warm and even team sheets were available! The match was a very slow burner and was positively soporific in the first half! Two goals in the final twenty minutes eventually brought the game to life, with the hosts just about deserving their success! We left by a different route!

 Monday 20th February 2017
Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division

Cambridge City 0

Kings Lynn Town 0
Referee:- Anthony Pope (Braintree)                         Attendance:- 213
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 (£10)                            Programme:- £2.00
Cambridge City are currently playing their home fixtures at Westwood Road, home of St Ives Town. Their woes continue as another High Court ruling sets back their move to Sawston and relegation is a very real threat. Kings Lynn are happily ensconced in mid-table and, quite frankly, this game was dire. As Peter Ford said: “it wasn’t just the worst game of this season …….”. Glad to get away at the end!

Tuesday 21st February 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Desborough Town 0

Newport Pagnell Town 1

Stuart Smeathers 21,
Referee:- David Jarrett                                  Attendance:- 69
Admission:- £5.00                                         Programme:- £1.00
Ar Tarn were not at their best this evening and any casual visitor would have been hard pressed to believe that they occupy third place in the league whilst Newport Pagnell languish in the nether regions! It was a scrappy and, at times, ill-tempered game not helped by some weak refereeing, but it was good to meet up with all the Desborough faithful once again!

Wednesday 22nd February 2017
British Universities & Colleges Sport
Midland Division 3B

Warwick University Women 7 (seven)

Annie Begamovic 27, 81,

Madeleina Maria Te Mundo 43, 74,

Eloise Cresswell 61, 65, 76,
Oxford Brookes University Women 0
The heavy rain disappeared just before the start of the match and top of the table Warwick had little difficulty in disposing of fourth placed Oxford Brookes. The Warwick University playing fields are a very pleasant area on the outskirts of Coventry. With Graeme Askham and John Main.

February 22nd 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League

Premier Division

Peterborough Northern Star 0

Peterborough Sports 0
Referee:- Trevor Basker Attendance:- 186
Admission:- £5.00 Programme:- £1.50
A second 0-0 draw in three days! If it’s 0-0 again tonight, said Peter Ford, I’m never coming to a match that you’re going to again!! These two city rivals stood toe to toe and slugged it out with chances few and far between, but surprisingly, only one yellow card was issued. It was a much better encounter than Monday evenings dreadful match at St Ives, but …………. there were no goals!

Saturday 25th February 2017
Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 South

Molesey 0

Lewes 4

Jonte Smith 21, 67,

Callum Kealy 79,

Wilkfred Grimaud 89,

Referee:- M. Heavey                                       Attendance:- 101
Admission:- OMGDS£5.00 ((£10)              Programme:- £2.00
Another dip into the lower reaches of The Ryman League, but this was a pleasant surprise, for the ground was neat and well kept with a lovely stand adorning one side and cover on all the other sides – albeit somewhat primitive! Today, they were entertaining once proud Lewes who were relegated from the Premier Division at the end of last season. Molesey are flirting with the relegation places whilst Lewes need more points to support a play-off spot. The visitors rarely got out of second gear as they brushed aside a brittle home outfit, particularly in the second half which yielded three goals and especially after the hosts had striker Dre Grobler sent off with just over ten minutes to go for what appeared to be injudicious use of the elbow. Also there were John Main and Chris Berezai.

Monday 27th February 2017
Northants FA David Joyce U-18 Cup
Quarter Final

Desborough Town 0

Peterborough United 4

Anorea Bora 8,

Josh Davison 23, 54,

Frazer Garner 80,
Referee:- Wayne Bright                             Attendance:- 57
Admission:- £2.50                                     Programme:- NONE
Desborough Town are flying high this season, unbeaten in The Northants Senior Youth League and including an 8-1 thrashing of Corby Town. It was a different story this evening as cool, classy, cultured Posh took them apart with a team, some of whom are rumoured to be on full time contracts! Two goals in each half and it could have been more except for the brave goalkeeping of sixteen year old Carl Curtis. Ar Tarn were well beaten, but not disgraced!

.

.

.

Other matches this month:-

Monday 6th February 2017

Barclays U-23 Premier League 2

Leicester City  0  Southampton  2

.

Wednesday 15th February 2017

FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final

Leicester City 0 Chelsea 1

.

This season:-    Matches:- 176               New Grounds:- 85

Total:-                Matches:- 3,621           New Grounds:- 1,313

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