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Frustration –

My mind’s frustration weighs
Heavier than failure.
Alas, my heart and I
Know not how to endure.

– Sri Chinmoy

Tuesday 12th February 2013 Blue Square Bet North k.o.:- 7.45pm

Histon                            2                                       Altrincham                          0
Kaine Sheppard 5
James Stevenson 24 (pen)
referee:- Martin Dexter                                         attendance:- 240


Last December, I had bought a ticket for Scunthorpe United v Carlisle United, only to find out on the way up there in my car that the match had been postponed due to a frozen pitch. The rearranged fixture was played this evening and my son, Michael, and I went off to see the match.The traffic was awful and we hadn’t really given ourselves enough time, but just past Colsterworth on the A1, all northbound traffic ground to a halt and was stationary as far as the eye could see. For half an hour we sat without moving and the chance of making Scunthorpe, even before half-time, was slipping away. We moved off the northbound A1 and returned onto the southbound carriageway where Michael, who had been on the internet, had found two matches both of which we could just about get to in time. We chose Histon rather than Cambridge United.

Meanwhile, Scunthorpe United beat Carlisle 3-1 and moved a little further away from the relegation mire, but we missed our chance of clocking up another new ground.


For the second time in a week I watched an impressive display from Histon who took control of their match with Altrincham with two early goals and then easily contained their opponents for the rest of the match. The club had been slipping badly of late, from the heady heights of The Blue Square Premier and FA Cup ties against Swansea and Leeds. At one stage this season, relegation out of Blue Square Bet seemed a certainty. They seemed to have arrested the slide, however and are sailing for calmer waters in mid-table.


The following night, the youth team took on the mighty Liverpool in the 4th Round of The FA Youth Cup. The attendance for that match was a healthy 1,596, but Liverpool triumphed fairly easily by 4-0. It was still a remarkable effort for a non-league club to get their youth team to this stage of The FA Youth Cup!

Wednesday 13th February 2013 Thurlow Nunn Eastern League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Godmanchester Rovers              P                            Mildenhall Town                  P

referee:- Alistair Wilson


The weather wasn’t good but the website declared consistently all day that this game was ‘ON’. So I set off in the cold and the dark and the falling snow and was pleasantly surprised to find that none was falling in Cambridgeshire! When I got to Bearscroft Road, the lights were on and I parked my car and trotted off to the turnstile, where I was told that there was a ‘problem’. Apparently the pitch was perfectly playable, but the referee was concerned about a patch of ground, outside the playing area, where the referee’s assistant on the far side ran the line. To be fair, it was a bit boggy, but only for a stretch of about ten feet and certainly not concerning enough to postpone the match for! The referee thought differently and called the match off! I was, to say the least, absolutely flabbergasted. I even accosted the referee as he left the field with his two assistants. “You don’t know your Health and Safety”, was his response. I have been a head-teacher for nearly thirty years and I think I could teach him a thing or two about Health & Safety, but he wasn’t to know that, so I suggested that he was a pansy and we slanged each other for a bit before he disappeared into the dressing room!

In the car on the way home as I listened to Manchester United playing Real Madrid at The Bernabeu, I thought the incident over. There were very few spectators inside the ground and I wondered ….had there been collusion between club officials and match officials to call off what should have been a lucrative fixture against high flying Mildenhall Town? It had been a frustrating evening!

Thursday 14th February 2013  Nottinghamshire FA Senior Cip  k.o.:- 7.45pm

3rd Round

Linby Colliery Welfare               2                 Clipstone Welfare                    1

Barry Payne 47                                                        Steve Carty 45

Matt Murphy 50

referee:- Steve Abbott (Sutton)               attendance:- 68


This match was originally scheduled as a home tie in The Nottinghamshire FA Senior Cup – 3rd Round. Linby Colliery, however, recently promoted to The Central Midlands League, have no floodlights and so they commandeered Hucknall Town’s ground for the fixture. Then Hucknall Town’s ground was waterlogged and the fixture was finally transferred ON THE DAY to the away team’s stadium at The Lido Ground just outside Mansfield. I would have turned up at Hucknall Town if I hadn’t been forewarned by Chris!


The programme for the match had been produced by Linby Colliery and on a cold evening, there was little by way of refreshment to tempt the casual hopper (and I wasn’t the only one there!). I contented myself with a can of John Smiths and perused the very interesting fourteen page programme.


Clipstone Welfare had  been  promoted recently to The Northern Counties East League and so there was a division separating the two sides, and ,just before half-time, when they took the lead, it seemed just a matter of course that Clipstone would take the tie, even though there had been little between the sides in the first half. The second half exploded into life with two goals in the first five minutes, both of them to lower league Linby, who stunned Clipstone with two neat strikes and then easily fended off the “home” sides attempts for the rest of the half to get back into the match!


It was a deserved victory, in a ‘home’ tie at the away ground of their opponents from a higher league!

Friday 15th February 2013  Sydenhams Wessex League  k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Alton Town                           4                      Totton & Eling                            0

Steve Brown 18, 77

Simba Mlambo 28

Scott Sanderson 35

referee:- P. Davies                               attendance:- 114


I haven’t got many clubs in The Sydenhams Wessex League, so when Chris proposed a trip to Alton Town for a Friday evening game, I was more than happy to oblige! He picked me up in Blisworth just off the A43 outside Northampton and we drove serenely down to Hampshire with very little traffic difficulty and got there around six o’clock.


In the middle of the small town, Claire, we enjoyed some excellent fare at a local hostelry. We both had chicken. leek and cider pie with mashed potatoes and peas and I washed it all down  with a fine pint of a local brew!



Back at the ground, we were greeted by the chairman who expounded on his club’s troubles. We had been especially keen to get to Alton Town’s ground because this could very easily be their last season there. The Chairman, Jim, explained that originally they had played across the road where Alton United, a youth set up, now play (without floodlights). The Bass Brewery team played at the ground opposite, but then the two teams amalgamated and Alton Town crossed the road, so to speak. Bass were taken over by Molson Coors and the community link was severely weakened. Coors want to re-develop the area (there is also a cricket pavilion on site). Alton Town could become homeless by the end of the season! All is not lost, however, and the best scenario would be for Alton Town to return across the road with investment from Molson Coors to install floodlights there. The Chairman has been busy drumming up support for his club and there will be a match on 2nd March against Hayling when the club hopes to gain 500 supporters to raise money for their campaign.


Sponsors of The Wessex League

Sponsors of The Wessex League

The team are not doing particularly well this season, flirting with relegation in fourth bottom place. Their opponents, Totton & Eling were some ten points better off and comfortably placed in mid-table. There must have been at least twenty-five ‘hoppers’ there for this match and each was personally greeted by the chairman! Better than that, the team responded very positively. They comprehensively thrashed their opponents, commandingly 3-0 up at the interval and added a fourth goal fifteen minutes from time!


Saturday 16th February 2013   North West Counties League      k.:- 3.00pm

League Cup 3rd Round

Alsager Town                     0                    AFC Liverpool                          2

                                                                           Steven Williams 5

                                                                           Liam Louchlin 76 (pen)

referee:- Mr N. Barnard (Warrington)   attendance:- 152

Recently lost Northern Premier League status due to ground grading issues.

Recently lost Northern Premier League status due to ground grading issues.

This was a first visit to the idiotically named LAW Training Stadium and this time, Chris, sadly, had to suffer the vagaries of an ordinary car with a very hard suspension! Getting to Alsager was fine, even finding the ground was very little trouble given the assistance of sat-nav, but then, Claire, we went off in search of food and patronised one of two chippys which faced each other across the main street. Two fish cakes, a sizeable chips and a portion of peas later, I felt like somebody had laid a lead weight on my stomach!


Notice the pre-fab huts behind the stand. A severe fire in 2012 destroyed office, dressing rooms and clubhouse!

Inside the ground, the away team had a band of four in the nearside stand, three of whom were wielding 1950s rattles and the fourth weighed in with a high tech digital camera. The noise from the rattles was quaint and nostalgic, but it still raised a complaint from a home supporter further down the stand! On the opposite side of the ground, a giant poster was attached to the back of the stand; ‘Far Side Ultras’. For a while nothing else happened and the banner was more lonely than a tethered goat! Gradually a bunch of home supporters rallied to the banner and soon the noise from the AFC Liverpool rattles was drowned by the cacophony from the strong and vocal home support. There were whistles and trumpets and chanting, but it was all good natured in support of their team. I was surprised to see them all disappear as half-time was approaching, but the temporary bar was full during the interval and the ‘Far Side Ultras’ were never as potent in the second half as they had been in the first!

The Far Side Ultras

The Far Side Ultras

Perhaps that was due to the flow of the match. AFC Liverpool scored early on and held the upper hand throughout the match eventually sealing victory with a penalty in the last quarter of an hour. The home number nine continually berated the linesman on the near side, but was largely ineffectual in his primary role!


Chris with an AFC Liverpool banner casually draped across the pitch side barrier.

Chris with an AFC Liverpool banner casually draped across the pitch side barrier.

On the way home, it was FA Cup 5th Round day and in the early evening encounter, Oldham Athletic were giving a good account of themselves against Premiership Everton at Boundary Park.

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