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Football can make you cry
It can also bring you joy
I’ve played and watched it
As a man and a small boy.

(from:- “A poem for Football Lovers” by Kevin Halls)


Monday 28th January 2013 Evo-Stik Southern League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Hitchin Town                                 2                                St Neots Town                      2
Luke Gregson 72                                                                        Ben Mackey 45, 62
Michael Noone 85
referee:- N. Evans                                                                     attendance:- 265



Here is Peter Grant’s evocative picture which captures the essence of Hitchin Town’s olde worlde charm. In actual fact, the wooden terracing is lethal in wet weather, but it does contribute to the atmosphere of a ground still firmly rooted in the Victorian era! It was raining on Monday evening, so I kept well away, but Peter spent the entire first half treading the boards, so to speak. In the second half, however, he joined me in the main stand. He only has three weeks in this country and is aiming to cram in as much football as he possibly can. Later this week, he was to visit Leyton Orient, Arsenal, Ringmer and Washington before we met again on Saturday at Cheddar!


Hitchin are still deeply mired in the relegation zone and at half-time when they were already a goal behind, and certainly just after the hour mark, when they conceded a second, I wouldn’t have given a fig for their chances. However, St Neots Town are themselves in the midst of a losing streak and The Canaries deservedly hauled themselves back into the contest with two goals in the last ten minutes to grab a valuable point.

Tuesday 29th January 2013 Blue Square Bet North

Harrogate Town                              6                              Corby Town                         1
Cobbie Youhill 49                                                                         Francis Green 80
Chib Chilaka 51, 69 (pen)                                                           Carl Piergianni s/o 68
Dominic Knowles 65 (pen), 75
Adam Baker 87
referee:- Mr Anthony Tankard                                                 attendance:- 99



Oh dear! This was a reality check for poor old Corby Town. They were playing at The Keepmoat Stadium, home of Doncaster Rovers, for Harrogate are unable to play on their home pitch because it is still waterlogged. This was the “Home” club’s first match for three weeks and for some reason, they had chosen Doncaster to host the match. The Keepmoat Stadium has a capacity of 15,500 so you can imagine what it looked like with an official attendance of 99!


At half time, with the score 0-0, there had been little to shout about. Michael had driven me up in his large comfortable Suzuki SX4, we had got there in plenty of time, certainly in plenty of time to pop down the road so that he could latch onto a pint of lager or four! A couple more bottles inside the stadium set him up nicely, so that the second half came as something of a severe jolt to the system!

The Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, home of Doncaster Rovers.

The Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, home of Doncaster Rovers.

The home side scored two quick goals inside five minutes of the second half commencing. Corby Town seemed to lose heart. All the fight went out of them. Two penalties were awarded against them in quick succession and the second resulted in the away side being reduced to ten men! Harrogate were in complete control and Corby looked ragged. Two further goals in the final fifteen minutes completed the rout, although, sandwiched in between, The Steelmen did snatch a consolation goal.

Mike managed to float a pie on his sea of lager!

Mike “It’s got 0-0 written all over it!”

I drove the SX4 back. I think Michael was still dazed by the magnitude of the Corby Town disaster! Or maybe he was he just pleasantly comatose as a consequence of his close affinity with a Danish brewery!

Thursday 31st January 2013  npower Championship    k.o.:- 7.45pm

Leicester City               2            Wolverhampton Wanderers               1

Anthony Knockaert 24                                  Bakary Sako 52

David Nugent 73

referee:- Robert Madley                                attendance:-  21,677


This was a televised match, but I don’t subscribe to live football on TV, so it was in order, just for a rare occasion, to go and watch the match live. I had been a bit miffed when I tried to buy my ticket on line to find that I was being charged a £1 “administration” fee. It was just such a blatant rip-off that I decided I would buy the ticket in person at the ground when I got there! That was an error! My ticket in the same cheap end of the ground now cost me an extra £1 over and above the on-line price just because I was buying on the day. I was underwhelmed! Not only that, but a pint of uninspiring beer and a pork bap set me back a further £7. No wonder I visit league grounds but sparingly!


Leicester won a tight contest and moved into second spot in the table whilst Wolves are just above the relegation trap door. There was nothing between the two teams to indicate the gulf in status. The away team will play a lot worse and win, while The Foxes will, no doubt, play a lot better and lose. It was a pretty ordinary night’s football.


Saturday 2nd February 2013    Toolstation Western League         k.o.:- 3.00pm

Division One

Cheddar                                  3               Warminster Town                      1

referee:- M. Underhay                                 attendance:- 84

You can just see Chris at the boot of his Jaguar after the pleasant journey down to Somerset!

You can just see Chris at the boot of his Jaguar after the pleasant journey down to Somerset!

I had a lovely sedate and gentle ride down to Cheddar in Chris’ Jaguar. We had met at Tamworth Services on the M42 and I’d decanted my car on a nearby industrial estate. We reached the idyllic setting of  Bowdens Park in Draycott Road in Cheddar around 2.15pm. The object of our endeavours was nestling in a fold of The Mendip Hills and strong sunshine beat down on the back of the stand, down one side of the ground. There were several other hoppers there, all attracted by the news that this was likely to be the last season that the home team, recently promoted from The Somerset League, would be playing at this ground. Apparently, they will be moving to a council-owned ground from next season and Bowdens Park will be turned into…………… yes, you’ve guessed it, a supermarket!


There was excellent fare to be had. I enjoyed a pastie and chips at £3 and a couple of pints of Cheddar Ales at £2.70 a pint. I could have viewed the match, on a cold but bright afternoon, from the comfort of the bar, but with fortitude I went out to join the rest of the assembled hoppers to watch a match played out on a very heavy surface, which had only just been passed fit after a 10.00am inspection.


Neither team were setting any fires alight this season, but at least the home side had achieved mid-table respectability in their first season in this league. Their opponents sat just four points above bottom place, and there they remained after a decisive defeat to “The Cheese”. I’m not sure I would be happy to lend my support to such an idiotic soubriquet!


I never did find out who had scored any of the goals and so the following day an e-mail winged its way to Somerset with just that enquiry. If I ever get a reply, I will enter them above. Perhaps you were there too, and can help me out!


I have to confess that I dozed off several times on the return journey to Tamworth, not really sure whether that was a testament to the soporific effect of the fluent driving or whether it was just my venerable age! Probably a bit of both!

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