You are here: Home > Uncategorized > November



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! –


Tuesday 12th November Toolstation Northern Counties East League k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Nostell Miners Welfare                             1
Will Hayton 48,
Barton Town Old Boys                              4
Ryan Cooper 24, 45,
Luke Thompson 36,
Henry Gill 40,
referee:- Chris Ward                                                 attendance:- 41


The original plan was to travel down to Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire, for a Molten Spartan South Midlands League Cup match, but that game was called off in the early afternoon and we settled instead on a long trip to Wakefield, with the usual delays and appalling traffic on The M1. Thankfully, Graeme was driving and the journey was completed without the road rage and expletives that would have been my response to the M1 mayhem! We got there in pretty good time and at first we wondered whether the games was ‘on’ or not as we could see no evidence of floodlights! The ground was part of the Crofton Community Centre on the outskirts of Wakefield and was at the lower end of the facility which was why we couldn’t immediately see the floodlights.


Coal mining in the area had been going on for over a thousand years! The Wynn family gained control of the Nostell Colliery in the 1650s and immediately developed it to sink deep shafts and put the whole venture on a commercial footing. In 1850, they were the only owners to pay compensation for injured miners or fatalities in the pit. Maybe they were influenced by another philanthropist, who lived close by. This was Titus Salt, who created Saltaire in Shipley. Even up to nationalisation in 1947, the family were regarded as benign owners.


The football club can trace its history back to the 1890s, and one hundred years later it benefited from serious FA funding to develop the sports facility. Thereafter, the club were promoted to The Northern Counties East League, a position to which they have clung fairly precariously ever since!


Tonight, however, Nostell Miners Welfare were playing high flying Barton Town Old Boys. Bottom of the league and with only four points from nineteen games, it was not a good time to face a sixth place Barton, who started cautiously but during the latter part of the first half, struck four times without reply. It was no less than they deserved on a cold evening, and we settled back for more goals in the second half. There was, however, only one second half goal and that fell to the Welfare. In the first half they played like relegation cannon-fodder, but after half time, they tightened up considerably and in scoring almost immediately after the break, not only held the Old Boys, but managed to ‘win’ the second half.

It might have been a different result if they had started the match with the resolve they showed in the second half. It was one hundred and one miles back to Leicester (most of them on the M1 with its ingenious array of roadworks), and another twenty-five miles back to Gretton, but I managed to get in before midnight!

Wednesday 13th November 2013 Anglian Combination k.o.:- 7.45pm
Premier Division

Cromer Town                                                 0
Dersingham Rovers                                      5
Paul English 39,
Zac Fountain 42,
Lewis Curson 62,
Robbie Palmer 75,
Ciarren Beales 90+1
referee:- Mr Richard Pace                                      attendance:- 154


It was another hundred mile journey on Wednesday evening, but this time without the benefit of motorways! Despite the paucity of dual carriageway, I managed to get to Cromer Town’s Cabbell Park in time to meet the home team players as they gathered for the match and before even the floodlights had been switched on! The match was being offered free to the public as a thank you to the people of Cromer during the club’s recent troubles! As a first time visitor to Cromer, I took full advantage! A compact full colour programme, costing £1, failed to expand on the club’s “recent troubles”!


The stadium was little more than a floodlit field with a railing all round it and a small covered area down one side for standing spectators. The club house behind the goal, had a bar and facilities for coffee and tea. The players and officials, however, had to make do with temporary accommodation behind the same goal. There was no pathway around the pitch except down the stand side where the car park had been recently improved. On a dank and cold evening, the dampness from the grass seeped through one’s shoes like icy tentacles!

It was a strange contest. After the opening skirmishes, the match seemed to settle down into tight, very even contest with the home side, perhaps looking the more likely to break the deadlock. The first goal, when it came, some six minutes before half time was a screamer into the top corner and was quickly followed by a second, to leave the bemused spectator wondering just how the home side, having enjoyed rather more of the play, could find themselves two goals down at half  time!


The second half followed the same pattern as the first. At no stage did Cromer look inferior to their opponents from The Sandringham Estate village, and yet goals were conceded regularly right up to the final minute and Cromer were on the end of a crushing defeat to rivals who have only played nine games this season and are trying to catch up on their fixtures. Dersingham have won six of their nine fixtures, mind you, whilst Cromer, flirting with relegation, have won only two of eleven fixtures!


As I started the long drive back to Gretton, the rains came, but even the weather and the regular supply of lorries and slow moving traffic couldn’t stop me retracing the one hundred and one miles in just one hundred and five minutes and I was home before midnight!

On Thursday evening, I left Gretton at 5.30pm and, fortified with sat-nav, I began the hour and a quarter journey to Milton Keynes for The England U-21 fixture in The European Championships against Finland. I travelled along the A45 around Northampton and at the M1, I headed south on sat-nav’s advice. However, as soon as we were safely ensconced on the south bound carriageway, sat-nav announced that there was a six mile hold up before the next exit! If I’d had a baseball bat at that precise moment, the sat-nav would have been toast! Sure enough, ere long, I was sitting midst a giant stationary traffic jam which made occasional limps forward and there I stayed for an hour, before I was able to exit at the Milton Keynes junction. I had actually thought about NOT using the M1 and going via Roade and The A5, but, ruled by technology, I concurred with the blandishments of sat-nav and now, a scant fifteen minutes before kick-off I was in a second traffic jam trying to get to the ground! I gave up when the match was fifteen minutes old and returned home – via the M1, where I noted that the previous traffic jam had now dissipated!!!!

Friday 15th November 2013 Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League k.o.:- 7.45pm

1st Division

Wellingborough Whitworth                                2

Jamie White  79,

Taylor Orosz 84,

Irchester United                                                     2

Dan Turickki 39,

David Boddington 90+4

referee:- Mr R. Porter                                 attendance:- 67


This was only my third visit to Whitworth which is a very friendly club where nothing is to small where it concerns the paying spectator and where I had the team sheets provided by the chairman himself!

Whitworth is Wellingborough’s “other” club (if you discount the phoenix Rushden and Diamonds, who play at The Dog & Duck). Wellingborough Town, play almost next door and yet for all their senior status (they once graced the Southern League and are presently a division higher than Whitworth), they, too, have undergone the dreaded administration and, less than ten years ago, were reformed as Wellingborough Town 2004. Whitworth live from hand to mouth. They don’t pay their players and the vast majority of the gate money goes on officials fees and expenses. It is very hard these days to attract volunteers who are trustworthy, as Whitworth have found to their own cost.


The arena has been improved since my last visit. Metal fencing surrounds the ground and a temporary bar has been put up behind the near goal. Plans are afoot to build a new club house on the site. Behind and slightly to the left of the nearside goal is a seated stand for perhaps about fifty spectators and behind the opposite goal is a covered terrace. There are also small covered terraces along each side of the pitch.

Whitworth was established as a football club some forty years ago and were admitted to The United Counties League as recently as 1985. They have spent their entire career since then in Division 1, in spite of a Championship season in 2006/07 when they were undefeated.


This season, they are in the bottom three with two wins and a draw from seventeen games. Their rivals, The ‘Romans’ from Irchester, are a little better off with four wins and five draws from fifteen games. In the first half, the home side pressed gallantly and were mostly on top only to be undone by a bullet header into the top corner in the thirty ninth minute by tall striker Dan Turickki. In the second half, the home side continued to battle gamely and were rewarded with two late goals to take the lead. It was a lead that they just about deserved, but all the good work was undone as The Romans found a ninety-fourth minute equaliser and the spoils were shared!

Laurence commented that it was a pretty poor turn-out for what was in effect a local ‘derby’ match. I put this to the friendly gate man, who told me that the match had been switched to Friday night in the hope that the game would attract a higher than usual attendance. “Not if England are on the telly”,commented Laurence! The game was on the telly in the club bar throughout the match, but I saw very few people in there.

Saturday 16th November 2013 Essex Senior League       k.o.:- 1.00pm

Clapton                                                                          2

Ray Hallowell 60,

Raphael Duyille 72,

Southend Manor                                                         0

referee:- Ray Wells                               attendance:- 56


The chance of a London double header was not to be missed and Chris and I met up at Thrapston Services on The A14 and I drove us both along the a14 and down the M11 to the East End of London on a fairly bright day, but quite chilly.


Clapton’s ground is called “The Old Spotted Dog’ after the pub of that name which is situated next door. The first thing we noticed was that the pub is now boarded up and doesn’t appear to have been in use for a long time! Clapton FC is a name resonant with Amateur football. They won the FA Amateur Cup five times and were founder members of both The Southern League and The Isthmian League. Since the Second World War, they have gone into gentle decline, culminating in demotion from The Isthmian League to The Essex Senior League, where they have made little impression in the last ten years or so.



The ground is a decaying, unkempt and overgrown arena. Leaves and branches clog the pathway around the pitch, there are more letters missing from the club name than are visible on the top of the stand and the entrance appears to be through a local car tyre business. For all that, it had a certain charm and they certainly have noisy support in the scaffolded stand on the far side – some would say that they were West Ham Ultras practising, whilst others that they bring some much needed local colour. On the nearside halfway line is a seated stand for perhaps one hundred spectators and it was from hear, in the company of the referee’s assessor, that I watched the contest.


The 1924 FA Amateur Cup winning Clapton FC team


Difficult to tell who this stand belongs to!


It was a scrappy game with both teams guilty of giving the ball away too easily. It was one of those games that a referee must pray for when the assessor is present! Nothing happened – except for a litany of errors – until the last half hour when Clapton grabbed a couple of goals to clinch victory.




Back at the car, just as I was about to give sat-nav the directions for the next match, I, inadvertently pressed the wrong button and the damned machine decided that it would start talking to me, and directing me in GERMAN!!!! Fortunately, Chris was there and eventually retrieved the situation, but not before my blood pressure had gone through the roof!

Saturday 16th November 2013             Skrill Premier                   k.o.:- 5.30pm

Barnet                                                                           2

Luisma Villa 38,

Curtis Weston 45,

Cambridge United                                                    2

Kwesi Appiah 28, 31,

referee:- Mr Adam Bromley                    attendance:- 2,853 (ground record)


I never expected to travel to Barnet’s new ground (The Hive), by car. The Jubilee Tube line runs just behind the stadium and Canons Park station is close by. However, from Clapton with Jack following in his car, we travelled the twenty or so miles in just under an hour and took a place in the club car park for a fiver.


I was sad when Barnet left Underhill. It was there in March 1989 that I had witnessed a 4-2 Chorley victory in The Conference in front of over 2,300 spectators. The new ground is pretty good and probably more spectator friendly. On the railway embankment side there is a huge stand taking up the whole length of the pitch and it was here that we paid a whopping £21 for entry (or, in my case £13 for old men) and a further £3 for a programme. I know that they have to pay for the new ground, but those prices are a rip-off! Opposite the main stand is a smaller seated area with the club bar and shop behind it. At each end are covered, standing terraced areas, one for each set of fans.



Cambridge United, the visitors are the current run-away leaders of The Skrill Premier, whilst Barnet are hovering just outside the play-off zone. The match took quite a while to get going, but exploded into life on the half hour mark with two precision slide rule goals from The ‘U’s, followed ten minutes or so later by a couple of blockbusters from The Bees and the sides went in at half time locked at 2-2.


The second half was a much more cagey affair as each side wore the other down in a war of attrition. Then, in the final minute as a flare was lit in the terracing behind the home goal, and smoke billowed out across the pitch, The Bees thought that they had won it! A corner floated over and from the resulting melee, the ball was again crossed, bounced on the crossbar and came back into play, where a Barnet foot poked it into the net! Initially, the referee appeared to give a goal, but on consultation with his linesman, he ruled that the ball had gone out of play before landing on the crossbar and he awarded a goal kick to Cambridge United, quickly followed by the final whistle.


We bided our time, Chris and I, and eventually, around half an hour after the final whistle, we got away from the car park and headed for The A1 which was free and clear and we hurtled up like a bullet from a gun! I was home by 9.30pm!

2013/14 matches – 88, new grounds – 71

2013 matches – 188, new grounds – 114

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS