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The End of January 2012

It was a bit of a comedown getting back to dear old Blighty! Between the last match at SC Veendam on Monday 23rd January, I only saw three more matches before the end of the month! I did come back from Holland nursing a bad chest but when has that stopped me in the past? It did this year, I stayed in on the Wednesday evening and drank hot toddies, my fevered brow mopped by ‘er indoors! Then on the Thursday after my return, I limped over to Ibstock for a hastily rearranged Leicester & Rutland Jelson Homes Senior Cup Quarter Final tie. I think the rule is that if the home team postpone the match twice, the game is given to the away team for a home match – usually at very short notice and usually resulting in NO PROGRAMMES!!!! Anyway, enough of this drivel. The match was on and according to the website a 7.30pm start was envisioned, so I set out nice and early and very shortly into my journey discovered that I was short of fuel. what with one thing and another just not going right, it was just on 7.15pm when I rolled into the ground and………..the game was already starting. It started at 7.15pm!!!!! Both teams were from The East Midlands Counties League, but the gulf in class was all too  apparent as the away side ran out easy winners by 2-0

Leicestershire & Rutland CFA Jelson Homes Senior Cup Quarter Final

Ibstock United 0           Oadby Town 2

            attendance 66                J. Gordon, M. Moore

It was a freezing cold night and escape to the bar at half-time was imperative. There was a goodly contingent of Oadby fans in attendance making themselves heard and generally under dressed for the weather, but seemingly undeterred! Their team deservedly won.

Saturday 28th January and FA Cup 4th Round day and a chance to go to a ground I hadn’t been to before AND to get in cheaply! This time I chose Hull City, for although I had been to Boothferry Park, I had never been to The KC (Kingston Communications) Stadium. I found out later that I could have had the possibility of free hospitality as another acquaintance whom I know mainly through cricket, was enjoying hospitality at the ground and could have got me in too! I went up by train for the princely sum of £46.00 return (with a rail card!) and took a bus to the ground (£2.50 return) and having got there in good time I searched around for some pub grub! However, all the pubs were full of hardened boozers drinking lager and watching Sky football, but I espied a small chinese restaurant that was open and all by myself (and the Guardian crossword) I enjoyed sweet and sour chicken washed down with a good bottle of house red. Because it was FA Cup day, the tickets were cheap and I got a fine seat high up in the stand between the half way line and the goal for just £7.00 (who says the magic of the FA cup still exists?). Even so it was a paltry crowd and perhaps the ones who stayed away knew something the rest of us didn’t because this was a game which the opposition in the form of Crawley Town, recently promoted to League 2 from The Blue Square Bet Premier, took a firm grasp on the game and won with a strike from star goalscorer Matt Tubbs, whom they promptly sold at the end of the transfer window to AFC Bournemouth. It wasn’t a bad game but there was precious little in the way of  fireworks and it ticked off The KC Stadium!

FA Cup (with Budweiser) 4th Round

Hull City 0                   Crawley Town 1

Attendance 14,473        Matt Tubbs 57

And that was nearly it for January. I came back on Hull Trains to Doncaster and transferred to Great North Eastern Trains to Peterborough. Not a bad day out!

The final game in January was two days later on Monday 30th January 2012 at Hinckley United’s Greene King Stadium. Hinckley United play in The Blue Square Bet where they are in danger of falling out of The North Division, but this evening they had some light diversion in the form of another Leicestershire Senior Cup tie, this one (regarded as the more important) is sponsored by Westerby and, apparently, clubs with more seniority in Leicestershire take part in it! It was a cold evening and well  wrapped up, I watched Hinckley United frustrated by their lower league opponents, eventually glean an equaliser and force the tie into extra time. No further goals were forthcoming and the sparse crowd lined up behind the goal to witness the penalty shoot out. At 4-3 to Hinckley, the first penalty was missed and Hinckley took the honours by 5-3 on penalties. Yet again, there were no programmes and the team sheet pinned to the window of the club shop was too faint to read, so if anyone knows who the referee was, please let me know!

Leicestershire & Rutland CFA Westerby Cup Quarter Final

Hinckley United 1                     Quorn 1     aet.

       Lloyd Kerry 78                            George Lutaaya 62

                                           Attendance:- 88                      Hinckley United won 5-3 on penalties

And that was it for January! I did attempt  a match on Tuesday 31st January, after I had been advising a Czech family who had just suffered a house break-in. I went over to S&L Corby to see them play Brackley Town in the semi final of The Northants Senior (Hillier) Cup. It promised to be a good game, with Brackley going well in The Premier Division of The Southern League and S&L doing pretty well in The UCL. When I got there, disgust hung in the air like the ripe smell of dung! The referee had called the game off because, he said that although the pitch was playable, it might not be by the end of the match. There were three other games in  the UCL area that evening at Deeping Rangers (v St Ives), Peterborough Northern Star (v Potton) and at Biggleswade Town who were entertaining AFC Kempston Rovers. All those games went ahead!!!! There was nothing wrong with the Occupation Road pitch, it looked to me like it was a namby pamby decision by a weak referee. However, increasingly these days, we find that games which would have gone ahead routinely thirty, nay even twenty years ago are now postponed for the slightest of reasons. It is just not good enough!!!!!!!

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