You are here: Home > Uncategorized > Preliminary FA Cup

Preliminary FA Cup

Team Talk

Kevin, a word.

Their number seven

You’re supposed to be marking him

And he’s scored five already, right?

Well that’s … enough

Close him down

(Allan Ahlberg)




Wednesday 28th August 2013 West Midlands (Regional) League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Cradley Town                                            5

Scott Devlin 32 (pen), 69 (pen), 83

Lewis Wemm 77 (go)
Chris Bladen 90
Bustlehome                                              0
referee:- Olley Spillett (Fradley)                   attendance:- 44


My son, Michael accompanied me to Beeches View Avenue, on a very pleasant and warm evening, for a first visit to this stadium afflicted by genteel poverty. It was perfectly adequate for the level of football being played there, but it had seen better days! Plans are afoot however to improve the facilities and a feasibility study is being carried out, so we know little of what may be mooted, but it must be an improvement on what is already there!


When we got there, we weren’t even sure if the game was on, but a friendly young lady assured that it was and we collected a most interesting and informative programme (£1), paid for entry and repaired to the bar. Sadly, the ale ran out after but one pint. However, Mike managed to make up for it with several yards of lager! The programme was excellent. It was full of information and match reports, but there was additionally, a picture of the view from the ground in Edwardian times, complete with provenance, a lovely page with “a list of laws that really work” (such as:- The Law of Probability:- The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of the act!). There was a league round up with lots of photos and a bloggers report from Epsom & Ewell v Whyteleafe, as well as a career profile of the referee.


Bustlehome are struggling this season with only one point from their opening four games. Cradley sit in mid-table obscurity having won their two home games, but lost three away. For half-an-hour, nothing much happened, and then, man of the match Scott Devlin, converted the first of two penaltiesfor the home side and they went in at half-time deservedly 1-0 up. It was in the second half that the floodgates opened and Bustlehome capitulated cravenly. Cradley went nap and maybe should have had a couple more!


I forgot to mention the appalling traffic on the way to the game, and it was just as bad after ten o’clock on the way back. They had even closed the M6 access to the A14!

Saturday 31st August 2013 FA Cup with Budweiser k.o.:- 3.00pm
Preliminary Round

Waltham Abbey                                    1
Darelle Russell 10
Whitton United                                    1
Tom Bradlaugh 69 (pen)
referee:- Dave Bushell                                    attendance:- 105


It was another very fine day on Saturday and already the second round of matches in the FA Cup. Phil picked me up from Watford Station (a tricky manoeuvre at the best of times), and we drove around the M25 to Waltham Abbey, where we stopped in good time for a bite to eat in the town centre. ‘The Sun’ was the hostelry selected, and to my dismay, after we had ordered the food, I found that they had no ale! What is it with English pubs? Don’t they know that crotchety, cantankerous old groundhoppers need beer to sooth their fraying nerves? Worse than that, the food didn’t appear until forty-five minutes had passed and several reminders to passing waitresses!


So t was with only ten minutes to kick-off that we arrived at “Capershotts”, Waltham Abbey’s well appointed ground, just on the edge of town. I enquired about team-sheets and a very helpful official promised me that he would have one for me at half-time. Phil, rightly, poured scorn on my doubting Thomas act and sure enough in the bar at half-time, the very same official came in, sought me out and provided me with the team sheet he had promised!


There were quite impressive stands down one side and behind the nearside goal, but little in the way of cover elsewhere in the ground – not that it mattered today, with the sun beating down like an enormous yellow pancake.

The extreme heat seemed to drain the players, too. After a bright start in which they took the lead through a tenth minute Darelle Russell goal, the home team seemed to wilt in the humid conditions and just after the hour, their visitors, Whitton United, from Ipswich, converted a surprise penalty and gained an unlikely draw!


Tuesday 3rd September 2013 FA Cup with Budweiser

Preliminary Round REPLAY

Whitton United                                          0

Waltham Abbey                                         3

Ayrton Coley 25,

Darelle Russell 36

Tom Bruno 71

referee:- Mr Block                                         attendance:- 102


After the first encounter, I returned to London the following day by train for the annual MCC Schools cricket fixture against ESCA (English Schools Cricket Association) at Lords. The match itself was played on the Monday and I stayed with the ESCA team for two nights at The Washington Hotel in Mayfair. ESCA won the match with a swashbuckling display of batting which saw them overhaul their opponents score with four and a half overs to spare. There were certainly one or two players whom I expect to see on the county circuit in the not too distant future, maybe, who knows…. even playing for England! Then, that very same evening we all went to the banquet in the Long Room at Lords and drank too much wine!


It is just under 100 miles to Whitton from Gretton and I made the journey almost exclusively along the A14 in around an hour and a half. The ground was lovely. Small stands and covered terracing were dotted round the pitch and outside the ground is a club house. At the far end of the ground a giant netted fence is all that lies between the main road from The A14 into Ipswich and the ground.



Sadly, there were no programmes. It is hard to believe in this day and age, that nobody can even take the trouble to print off a double side of A4 with team’s names on! But, no! The programme editor was apparently “on holiday”. Fortunately another official posted the teams on the side of the turnstile and even managed to obtain the names of the match officials, when prompted. The turnstile operator was very helpful and he it was who provided me with the official attendance from his tally sheet where he collected the entrance fee(£4.00 – which was exactly half of what Waltham Abbey had charged for the first match!).


This time, there was no listlessness from Waltham Abbey. Two divisions higher in the pyramid than their opponents and tonight they made it show. They were more skilful, quicker and had more tactical nous than their opponents and the 3-0 scoreline did not flatter them!




The ninety-nine miles back to Gretton was achieved in just 77 minutes!

Wednesday 4th September 2013  Calor Southern League k.o.:- 7.45pm

Premier Division

Corby Town                                                1

Josh Moreman 63

St Neots Town                                            0

referee:- Ian Rathbone (Northampton)    attendance:- 317


After eighteen new grounds in a row, it was perhaps likely that I would return to a ground which I have visited one hundred and fifty five times previously. No, that’s not quite right. Tonight was the one hundred and fifty-sixth time I had been to a Corby Town ground. There were three visits to Occupation Road, followed by one hundred and thirty-two visits to Rockingham Δ, and now twenty-one visits to Steel Park.


Enough of pedantry, it was a balmy evening and although I went to the match with my son Mike, it was John and Bruce whom I sat with and bemoaned the ineffectiveness of the once proud  Conference North side! In the first half they were woeful and as John said: ” I don’t think they would have scored even if you had been in goal!”. In the second half, they were better (they could hardly have been worse) and a strike on the hour mark from last season’s best player, Josh Moreman, who had been brought off the bench, was enough to secure a victory which was hardly deserved!


It was Corby Town’s largest crowd of the season, bolstered, no doubt, by a few from St Neots Town, some thirty-five miles away and those supporters who had made the journey, must have been desperately disappointed not to have come away from this game with at least a point!


“Laws that really work” (from The Cradley Town programme)

“Law of Mechanical Repair” – After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you’ll have to pee!

“Law of Gravity” – Any tool, nut, bolt or screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

“Law of Random Numbers” – If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

“Law of The Shopping Queue” – As soon as you join the smallest queue, the cashier will need to summon assistance.

“The Law of Traffic Lane Variation” – If you change lanes in traffic, the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in.

“The Law of the Bath” – When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

“The Law of Close Encounters” – The probability of meeting someone you know, increases dramatically when you are with someone you don’t want to be seen with.

“The Law of The Result” – When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will.

“The Law of Biometrics” – The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

“The Law of the Event Arena” – At any event, the people whose seats are furthest furthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times during the event to go for food or beer or the toilet. They always leave early before the end, or the game is over. The folk in aisle seats always come early, never move once from their seats, have long gangly legs or fat bellies, and stay to the bitter end. They are also a miserable, surly bunch!


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS