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                  No sun – no moon!
                      No morn – no noon –
                          No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.
                             No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
                                 No comfortable feel in any member –
                                    No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
                                        No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –

                                                                                               by Thomas Hood

It was a bit like that for the first match, but surprisingly, it was very mild for the time of year, so much so, that when I got to Bedford Station to catch the 18.36 to Elstree and Boreham Wood, I did think twice about whether I needed to take my coat or not!

Boreham Wood 1 Basingstoke Town 1

Quite amazing, the difference in price between Kettering and Bedford by train to Elstree and Boreham Wood. It is £23.70 fromKettering and fifteen minutes down the line at Bedford, it is a mere £11.15. So it’s a no brainer, I hopped into the car and drove to Bedford!

Boreham Wood FC Members of The Blue Square Bet Football Conference

Monday 12th November 2012         Blue Square Bet South               k.o.:- 7.45pm

Boreham Wood                              1                   Basingstoke Town                    1

Omer Riza (pen) 74                                                 Tim Sills 2

referee:- Mr. L. Betts                                                attendance:- 201

On the brightly lit streets of Elstree, nearly every cuisine under the sun was on offer at a variety of well patronised hostelries. In the ground itself, the usual gunk of burgers and hot dogs was on sale and the expensive (£3.00) cheeseburger that I eventually succumbed to was tasteless and arid!

Meadow Park, Broughinge Road, Boreham Wood, Herts

James Russell, the home goalkeeper, made a complete hash of a routine centre and dropped the ball which slid between his legs, goal wards and before it crossed the line, Tim Sills of Basingstoke prodded it decisively into the net. The home team were in the play-off places, their visitors struggling against relegation, but you wouldn’t have guessed as much from this contest. Basingstoke Town were manifestly the better side and but for a rare mistake in the penalty area some fifteen minutes from time, would have returned southwards with all three points!

Tuesday 13th November 2012 Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League

k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Desborough Town                   1                      Spalding United                       2

Kevin Byrne                                                              Ben Williams (og)

                                                                                    TJ Nightingale

referee:- A. Humphries (Daventry)                 attendance:- 72

The Waterworks Field, Desborough, Northants

It was another mild evening and I was making my first visit to The Waterworks Field since 25th September. Ian, who is even older than me (although he doesn’t look it!) and used to play for the club in the 1960s, was there amongst the usual crowd of knowledgeable and interesting spectators. In fact, this evening’s crowd was bigger than usual because the opposition had brought support of their own.

Spalding United are playing well this season after demotion from The Northern Premier League and lie handily placed in fourth position with only two league defeats all season.

Desborough meanwhile, have excelled themselves after the disasters of last season and although they have lost as many as they have won, they are comfortably placed in mid-table.

Desborough Town 1 Spalding United 2

In the first half, Spalding were rampant. They really should have scored at least four as their strikers were given free rein by the home defence. After half time, however, Desborough allowed them a lot less room and they had hardly an effort on target. Sadly, for all their huffing and puffing, the home team could not grab the equaliser and Spalding took all the points!

Desborough Town

In the culinary stakes, Claire, there was a new item on the Desborough menu this evening in the form of a mini Cornish pastie. It didn’t look much like a pastie, more like a latticed apple turn over. However, after our lunch out today, I refrained from further damage to my creaking frame!

Wednesday 14th November 2012        FA Carlsberg Trophy              k.o.:- 8.05pm

3rd Qualifying Round Replay

Corby Town                                     3                           Wealdstone                       2

Sam Ives 45, Carl Piergianni 82                                       Peter Dean 9, 69

Josh Moreman 90

referee:- Michael D’Aguilar (Cannock)                           attendance:- 280

A reference, I suspect, to The Hillsborough disaster and a message for my middle son, Mike!

It was a cool night with gusts of fog wafting across the ground and the Wealdstone team coach was late, only arriving around 7.30pm. Accompanying them were some eighty or so vociferous supporters and the game got under way at five minutes past eight.

Corby Town 3 Wealdstone 2. At half-time, the mist wasn’t too bad

It was a bit of a cliff hanger, really, Corby Town are a division higher than their opponents, but it was Wealdstone who opened the scoring and went ahead once more in the second half. It took late goals from Corby on 82 minutes to save the tie and 90 minutes to avoid extra time with the game finishing at 10.00pm.

In the second half, the fog became much thicker!

FA Carlsberg Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round Wednesday 14th November 2012 Corby Town 3 Wealdstone 2 amidst the swirling fog!

The official crowd was announced as 280, but I counted over three hundred people there.

Well, I went down to Bedfont last night. It was a new ground for me. I didn’t realise that, I thought they played at the same ground as Bedfont Town (where I went almost exactly a year ago in the same competition) who went bust at the end of last season. Apparently, however, Feltham are playing at that ground. Anyway, amongst the sparse crowd were half a dozen hoppers whom I usually meet on ground hops.
Thursday 15th November 2012  Middlesex Senior Cup 1st Round   k.o.:- 7.45pm
Bedfont Sports                              1                               Hanwell Town                    0
Jack Beadle 8
referee:- Sonny Gill                                                         attendance:- 40

Bedfont Sports 1 Hanwell Town 0 Middlesex Senior Cup 1st Round


Teamsheets for the match!


The clock tower at Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground

It was twenty-two stops on the Piccadilly Line from St Pancras to Hatton Cross. It took longer than the journey from Kettering to St Pancras! Most of the hoppers came on the tube with me at the end, but only one was there at St Pancras/Kings Cross and he was going home to Peterborough. I caught the 23.15 from St Pancras which dawdled into Kettering at 00.46 and I got home just after 1.00am.
Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground Hatton Road, Bedfont, Middlesex
The game itself was a very tight contest, mainly to see which side could miss the most chances! The only goal came in the eighth minute. A stunning volley from the goal line on the edge of the six yard box right into the top corner. It was good enough to win any match, and so it proved!
Saturday 17th November 2012 FA Carlsberg Vase 2nd Round    k.o.:- 3.00pm
Newport IOW                                1                              Cadbury Heath                       0
Alek Przepolewski 11
referee:- Colin Hubberd (Wimborne)                          attendance:- 201

A fast and efficient service between Wight and the mainland. I enhanced my naughty boy status by constantly having to be told to sit down! (and, yes, I know that is a spilt infinitive!).

Saturday morning was dull and cheerless with rain in the air. I lodged my car in the car park at Lutterworth for a king’s ransom and walked up to the M1 where Chris collected me for the journey down to Southampton and picking up Laurence in Oxford en-route. It all went like clockwork. We caught the 11.45 Red Funnel speed ferry which took a mere twenty minutes or so for the crossing to West Cowes on The Isle of Wight. It was a good sixty years since I last came here. I have but hazy childhood memories of it.

Laurence had remembered the whitebait, which came in portions so large there was no room for chips or any further sustenance! Above, a tonsured Chris counts his change outside Corries Cabin.

The fish and chips in Corries Cabin were excellent value and then it was a fifteen minute bus journey to Newport where the football game was. (Claire, I had the “classic” portion of haddock and chips, liberally sprayed with pepper and tomato ketchup!)

Newport (IW) FC, St Georges Park, St Georges Way, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2QH

Newport IOW is one of those grounds you dream of going to, never really believing that you’ll ever make it there! but make it we did and eventually, around 2.30pm, they even let us into the ground! It was a very friendly welcome for Chris had laid the foundations well and we even received a mention in the match-day programme!

Saturday 17th November 2012, FA Carlsberg Vase 2nd Round


Newport (IW) 1 Cadbury Heath 0, FA Vase 2nd Round



St Georges Park, Newport IOW













The match itself was a dour affair which the home side won, whilst Cadbury Heath will be disappointed to have come away with nothing. It was a combination of woeful finishing and frank bad luck that kept them off the score-sheet. Newport had their moments too, but I always felt that Cadbury Heath were inherently the better side and on another day might easily have won at a canter!

Behind the goal, the chalk cliffs rise with occasional brief glimpses of the chalk facing

















It gets dark early at this time of year. The floodlights enhanced the spectacle!


You can just about pick out the shape of the Red Jet as she came in to ick us up for the return journey to Southampton. This time, I didn’t stand up, but lots of other people did, and they didn’t get told off! Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!


The return journey in the dark slipped by in the smooth ride of the leather seated jaguar, expertly chauffeured by Chris, who drives with sublime serenity and without any of my aggression and irritability! My car was still parked where I’d left it, but covered in a layer of ice and I was safely home by 10.00pm in plenty of time for Match of the Day”!

Before I go, I must just mention an earlier blog where I went to Boreham Wood’s ground to see Arsenal Ladies take on FFC Turbine Potsdam in the UEFA Women’s European Cup. It was a match where, when I got there, the programmes had sold out!  I had sent an e-mail to the club requesting a few details from the match and even asking if there were still programmes about. I didn’t get a reply at first, but a week or so later, I had an e-mail from Ciara Grant who actually played in the tie and she very graciously answered all my enquiries and  even offered to send me her programme from the away tie in Potsdam to make up for the one I didn’t get in the first leg. That programme (and a selection of other programmes from their league season just past) arrived whilst I was in Newport (IOW) and capped what had been a splendid day’s football.

After such a generous response, I am determined now to follow Arsenal Ladies campaign in Europe (the next round is in March 2013) all the way to the final at Stamford Bridge on 13th May 2013. My sister, Mary, a lifelong Arsenal supporter (even though born and living in Lancashire), has said that she’ll come to watch them too!


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