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Whatever The Weather

Now Winter Nights Enlarge

by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge
This number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.






Tuesday 19th November 2013        FA Cup with Budweiser   k.o.:- 7.45pm

1st Round Replay

Scunthorpe United                                                                1

Terry Hawkridge 46,

Grimsby Town                                                                        2

Lennell John-Lewis 9,

Clayton McDonald 58,

referee:- Stuart Attwell                                            attendance:- 5,699


Glanford Park, Scunthorpe United’s ‘new’ ground was one of only eight grounds in The Football League and Premier League that still needed to be ticked off. I had visited The Old Showground in March 1973 when The Iron were in the old “Third Division”. Bolton Wanderers had been the visitors that day and the match ended in a regulation 1-1 draw in front of 4,424 spectators. Glanford Park was opened some fifteen years later, and Scunthorpe United, who only joined the Football League in 1950 when The Third Division (North) was increased to twenty-four clubs, have enjoyed plenty of success over the years including three season spell in The Championship from 2008/09. Currently, Scunthorpe are Lincolnshire’s ONLY representatives in The Football League, however, they are now back in League 2!


Tonight’s visitors were close rivals and former Lincolnshire Football League representatives, Grimsby Town. They are commencing a third campaign in The Skrill Premier, but two Saturdays ago, they drew 0-0 at Blundell Park in the FA Cup 1st Round. Tonight’s replay would decide who would host Northampton Town in Round 2.


Glanford Park was built following the sale of The Old Showground to Safeways. United had a stark choice. Bring the old ground up to scratch following the Bradford City fire, or, build a new stadium. Either way, the costs were stupendous, but they chose the latter, in a day and age when there were no National Lottery grants or FA hand-outs. The result was a fairly functional arena – terraced standing behind each goal and seating down each side, with the main stand containing the hospitality features. All areas of the ground are under adequate cover.


I could have gained access for an £11 concessionary rate, but I chose the executive option at £20 (concessionary rate) and on a very cold evening, I was glad that I had. There was a warm bar at the back of the stand, free coffee  and biscuits at half-time, padded seats and we were all issued with team sheets before kick-off!


The away end looked pretty crowded and, indeed, the whole ground looked near to its 9,088 capacity, so it was a surprise at the end to find that it was little over half full! I was under impressed with the home singing! “If I had the Wings of an Angel……… ” was pretty old hat when I were a youngster some forty-odd years ago, but they persisted in purveying this relic and it was pretty informative of the lack of inventiveness of the home choir! The Mariners were the far more inventive on the field and belied their inferior status by taking a thoroughly deserved lead in the ninth minute. Scunthorpe equalised immediately after half time, but Grimsby were not to be denied and sealed the match with powerfully headed goal on the hour. “You’re getting sacked in the morning……….” from the away support, proved to be poignantly prophetic as Brian Laws, Scunthorpe’s iconic manager, was, indeed, fired the following day!

Wednesday 20th November 2013             FA Carlsberg Vase                   k.o.:- 8.00pm

2nd Round Replay

Huntingdon Town                                                                  1

Ben Seymour-Sharp 28,

AFC Mansfield                                                                         0

referee:- Mr Kevin Seckington                          attendance:- 72


It was a dismal, dreary, cold evening on Wednesday with thick drizzle permeating almost the entire match. I did worry that the contest might not take place, but was reassured by ‘tweet’ from the club. Jubilee Park is a cold, cold place at the very best of times, but this evening really tested one’s resolve and stamina.When I got there, the away team coach hadn’t arrived and the game was put back by fifteen minutes to an 8.00pm kick-off. There were no programmes – the usual excuse, the printing machine had broken down – but the home team secretary ensured that I had sight of the team sheets before the match started!!


Huntingdon Town’s ground has been developed over the years, mainly by The Huntingdonshire FA, and besides the quite comfortable club-house, there are now two temporary seated stands next to the covered standing area down one side. There is also a covered area behind the goal jutting out from the club house. However, everywhere else is open to the elements and with the land around being so flat, the wind plays havoc!


The match was a dour affair between two committed teams and the home side just about deserved their slender victory courtesy of a goal just before the half hour mark.


AFC Mansfield had brought quite a bit of vociferous support with them and they continually harangued the referee over his every decision against them. Worse than that, they suggested often and loudly that the rules were different ‘out here’  – mainly to their disadvantage – and one of the management team called one of the home players ‘country boy’! There was definitely the impression that AFC Mansfield were the big city boys coming down to teach the local yokels a lesson. When things didn’t go to plan, the abuse grew quite vicious!

In the end I was quite pleased that Huntingdon Town had won the tie. In the next round, they will be away at North-West Counties side, Congleton Town.

Friday 22nd November 2013 Chromasports & Trophies United Counties League  k.o.:- 7.45pm

Division I

Irchester United                                                                  1

Jordan Pendred 84,

Wellingborough Whitworth                                                 1

Jamie White 87,

referee:- Damon Pywell                                          attendance:- 60


Déjàs-vu! This time last week, I was at London Road in Wellingborough for the reverse of this fixture. Irchester are back in The UCL Division 1 after a spell in the seventh heaven of the Premier Division. The money dried up and the players left and they have returned from whence they came! Wellingborough Whitworth are still struggling, but they have indomitable spirit and there was bags of it in evidence this evening. Nick Turickki, the tall rangy striker who scored the opening goal for The Romans last week, was this evening playing in central defence.


There his probably about the same amount of cover at Irchester United as there is at Huntingdon Town, but all of it, in Irchester’s case is situated behind the goal. They share their ground with the local cricket team, so that one side is completely open. There is a pathway down the opposite side and no access behind the far goal.


These two teams are evenly matched and once again, the match ended in a draw. Talking to Nev, a retired policeman from Coalville, and a former chairman of Heather St Johns, in the first half, I got a pretty informative run down of local football in Leicestershire, and no doubt, there was a similar mafia of locals involved in UCL football, too! By half time however, we had both agreed that the contest “had 0-0 written all over it”. It seemed destined to be so, until the 84th minute when, quite against the run of play, The Romans bundled one in somewhat fortuitously. Three minutes or so later, it was all square again as Whitworth’s Jamie White drove through on his own and beat a despairing ‘keeper from just inside the area.


Saturday 23rd November 2013  Football League Youth Alliance  k.o.:- 10.30am

South East

Watford U-18                                                                               3

Tom Rosenthal 26,

Mahlondo Martin 36,

Alex Jakubiak 54,

Colchester United U-18                                                               1

Callum Harrison 25,

referee:- Mike Heavey                                               attendance:- 54


I met up with Graeme at Thrapston Services and we headed off down to London Colney for an occasional match in the series of U-18 and U-21 fixtures of Football League and Conference teams. Watford play their U-18 fixtures at The University of London Sports Ground at Bell Lane in London Colney, just off the M25. Needless to say, I took the wrong direction in heading off the M1 for the M25 and nearly collided with a vehicle whose driver was changing his mind, too, but in the opposite direction!


We got there with fifteen minutes to spare and there was plenty of signs of good organisation. Some spectators had tickets and even my car had to be parked ‘just so’! The match was played on a roped off field, where the only cover – on the far side of the pitch – had been commandeered as the teams’ dugouts.


Colchester United had started their season impressively with eight straight wins,but a first league defeat was followed by a loss to Northampton Town, third bottom of the division, in The FA Youth Cup. Watford came into this match in second place, some five points behind Colchester, but looking to close the gap. This was the top of table before the match began:-

Football League Youth Alliance South East

                                                      P     W     D     L     F     A      Pts

Colchester United                          9       8     0      1   30 – 14     24

Watford                                       10      6      1      3   22 – 14     19

Watford looked to have the stronger physical presence, but Colchester had plenty of skill. After a cagey opening twenty-five minutes, there was a sharp exchange of goals which kept the game all square until the 36th minute when Mahlondo Martin gave the home side a decisive advantage.


In the second half, despite plenty of work rate and commitment, Colchester were unable to get back on terms and the Watford captain – and best player –  Alex Jakubiak completed the scoring to condemn Colchester to their second league defeat and to narrow the gap between them and Watford at the top of the table.

Saturday 23rd November 2013          Ryman Isthmian League        k.o.:- 3.00pm

Division I North

Witham Town                                                                                   4

Tom Wraight 8,

James Stevens 30 (pen), 74 (pen),

Lewis Godbold 62,

Burnham Ramblers                                                                           0

referee:- Mr A. Crysell                                               Attendance:- 72


Just over fifty miles and an hour later we had travelled along the M25 and A12 to the small town of Witham in Essex between Chelmsford and Colchester. We found the ground, eventually after sat-nav decanted us on the wrong side of the railway line, and then Graeme’s nose for a fish and chip shop was unerring and we enjoyed a chip feast before returning to the eccentrically named “Village Glass Stadium” in Spa Road.


The stadium had cover on all four sides, about three steps of shallow terracing and a bar facility which was outside f the ground itself. We paid our money, collected our team sheets from the boardroom which was housed in a small container alongside the pitch, and repaired to the bar to jot down the teams! Everton and Liverpool were entertaining the punters in a seesaw 3-3 lunchtime draw on the TV.


Witham Town are enjoying their season! They spent many years in The Essex Senior League, but then progressed to  The Isthmian League and hung on in Division II and Division I North. They clung on to Isthmian League status from 1987-2009, and were then relegated back to The Essex Senior League. Last season, they returned to Isthmian League status, after a three season absence, and are currently in third place in Division I North.



Today’s visitors were old opponents from their Essex Senior League days. They too, have made the step up  to Isthmian League status, but their position is less secure, lying in sixteenth place, but some ten points above the relegation places. They were no match for their hosts who gained a comprehensive victory with two goals in each half! It might have been very different, if the home keeper had not pulled off a pretty spectacular save early on to keep his team from going a goal behind, but thereafter, it was all Witham!



After the match in the dark and the drizzle – and fairly heavy traffic around Braintree – we returned via the A120, M11 and A14 to Thrapston, and I was home by 6.45pm in very good time for the Dr Who fiftieth anniversary episode!

Monday 25th November 2013 Red Insure Southern League Cup   k.o.:- 7.45pm

2nd Round

St Albans City                                                    2

Harrison Georgiou 52,

Greg Ngoyi 81

Beaconsfield SYCOB                                       4

James McCluskey 25

Kofi Adam-Lockhart 29, 63,

Jack Hutchinson 67

referee:- Adrian Waters (Greenwich)                    attendance:- 90



The ‘new’ covered terrace along the side opposite the main stand 


The view from behind the goal


Interesting red and white quarters worn by Beaconsfield SYCOB

St Albans City reserves, mainly played in this encounter which was, nonetheless a sprightly affair!

Games this season – 94, new grounds – 74

Games in 2013 – 194, new grounds – 117

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