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February 2016

Each team would somehow pick itself

No boys were left upon the shelf

No substitutions, sulks or shame

If you showed up, you got a game.


Not 2-3-5 or 4-2-4

But 2-8-12 or even more

Six centre-forwards, five right wings

Was just the normal run of things


Lined up then in such formations

Careless of life’s complications

Deaf to birdsong blind to flowers

Prepared to chase the ball for hours,


A swarm of boys who heart and soul

Must make a beeline for the goal.

A kind of ordered anarchy

(There was, of course, no referee).

from “The Match (c.1950)” by Allan Ahlberg (1937 – )




Tuesday 2nd February 2016
Midland League Division 1 – k.o.:- 7.45pm

Coventry United 10 (ten)

Richard Blythe 5, 49, 77

Matthew Brown 32, 90+3

Joshua O’Grady 40, 86,

Kai Williams 65, 88,

Brian Nduna 90+1

Coventry Copsewood 0
Referee:- Richie Watkins                                       Attendance:- 120
Admission:- OMGDS £3 (£5)                               Programme:- £1.50
Coventry United play at Coventry Sphinx’s ground – at least for the time being, until they can find a suitable ground of their own – Copswood is a very local ‘derby’ and there was good support for both teams, but less vocal for the visitors as the damage mounted! United are a wealthy club, it seems, and have endured only one league defeat this season – winning all the rest. Copsewood inhabit the nether regions of the division and after a feisty opening, they lost left back Stuart Adamson to two yellow cards by the 25th minute. The rampant hosts were ‘only’ 6-0 ahead with four minutes remaining, but managed a further four goals to complete a memorable rout!







Wednesday 3rd February 2016 k.o.:- 7.45pm
Evo-Stik Southern League
Red Insure Cup Quarter-Final

Cambridge City 1

Buster Harradine 55,

Hitchin Town 0
Referee:- Anthony Pope (Braintree)                      Attendance:- 133
Admission:- OMGDS £5 (£10)                               Programme:- £2
There have been many complaints this season about postponements at Westwood Road, but tonight, the pitch was in reasonable condition, even if the ground had a tired and weary look about it (except for the tiny new Meccano stand and the wooden framed covered area on the far side of the ground). The car park was well marshalled, but the match had to contend with the local sports centre and the cadet force playing at soldiers. The match itself was a dour affair with the hosts gradually wresting control from the visitors as the match wore on, and this despite the Canaries having the best player (Alasan Ann ) on the pitch by a country mile! The only goal came in the 57th minute and it gave The Lillywhites a barely deserved victory! Fifty-seven years ago, almost to the day, City had gone out of this cup at the third round stage by 0-1 at home to Kings Lynn in front of a huge crowd of 4,444. How times have changed!











Saturday 6th February 2016
Vanarama National

Welling United 1

Sahr Kabba 88,

Altrincham 1

Michael Rankine 56,
Referee:- Adam Bromley                                 Attendance:- 551
Admission:- OMGDS £9 + £1 for stand seat (£15 + £1)
Programme:- £3                                              Hot Chocolate:- £1 Bar of chocolate:- £0.80
Only Dover and Barrow (from opposite ends of the country) to complete Vanarama National, but, somehow, I feel that Welling won’t be staying there long! Altrincham were the far superior team, more direct, more composed and carrying a greater threat, but all their good work was undone in the eighty-ninth minute when they allowed Sahr Kabba to rifle in an unlikely equaliser. It looks like the ‘Wings” share the ground (on Welling main street) with Erith & Belvedere, but who are tenants and who are landlords isn’t very clear. It was a lovely neat and tidy ground with a fairly modern stand on the far side. I came down bu train and couldn’t resist the loco steaming on Victoria station!













Saturday 13th February 2016
Ryman Isthmian League Division I North

Wroxham 1

Seamus Kelleher 50,

Thamesmead Town 0
Referee:- Darren Stobart                                Attendance:- 112
Admission:- OMGDS £5 (£7)                        Programme:- £1
It was a cold day in East Anglia, but the welcome was warm in Wroxham! The ground is tucked away across the railway down a narrow cul-de-sac, but it has an antiquated, but well tended feel about it with an extensive club house and a pitch with cover on two sides – a terrace behind one goal and a seated stand for perhaps one hundred spectators down one side. The club own the club house, but not the playing are, which they rent for around £1,000 a year from a trust. The game hinged on the twenty-fifth minute dismissal of the visitors right-back. Even so, the hosts had great difficulty in despatching their visitors until a powerful header in the 50th minute decided the match! Very much enjoyed our visit and to our surprise, in a journey of some 140 miles, only six miles were NOT on dual carriageway!








Friday 19th February 2016
Netherlands Erstedivisie

Den Bosch 3

Furhgill Zeldenrust 45+2, 78,

Vykintas Slivika 34,

Eindhoven 1

Gervane Kastaneer 34.

Referee:- Rob Dieperink                         Attendance:- 2,588
Admission:- OMGDS €15 (€22)          Programme:- F.O.C.
Hertogenbosch is quite a major junction on NS (Netherlands Rail service), but the big attraction in town was The Hieronimus Bosch Art Exhibition. Graeme and I wandered across town to see it, but there were no tickets left, so we repaired to a local hostelry to revive our flagging spirits (and there, covering the whole of one wall, was a facsimile of one of Hieronimus Bosch’s most famous paintings, “The Garden of Delight”)! It was a ten minute bus ride from the station to the ground and a fairly standard Erstedivisie ground it was, too, – seating on four sides and a pen for the (fifty or so) travelling fans. On a cold evening, the visitors who, were in third place, but a long way off runaway leaders Sparta Rotterdam, scored first, early on. The hosts, however, equalised in the 34th minute and, right on the stroke of half-time, took the lead through the exasperating Furhgill Zeldenrust, who was frequently wayward, yet hit two of his teams goals! Den Bosch are going through a rotten patch with no wins in nine but a late second half strike sealed the points for them and ended their barren spell. After the match, there were no buses for an hour, but, as ever in Holland, there was a small railway station ten minutes down the road!!











Saturday 20th February 2016
Netherlands Topklasse

Kozakken Boys 0

Barendrecht 2

Bas Mourits 51,

Richie Basoski 90+2,
Referee:- M.J. Kloet                               Attendance:- c1,000
Admission:- OMGDS €6 (€9)              Programme:- F.O.C.
Kozakken Boys’ well endowed Sportpark de Zwaaier is in Werkendam and the nearest railway station is at Gorinchem, some ten kilometres away. It fits the template for many grounds in Topklasse, with huge racks of advertising stacked up behind each goal and an impressive seated stand down one side. In this case, there was additional cover on the side opposite the main stand. Jack and Graeme and I tentatively sampled the local vegetarian option at the club refreshment stall and were grateful for the seated cover in the persistent drizzle. Kozakken Boys lie third in the table with their opponents six places from the bottom, but the visitors were given a huge boost from the referee, who turned down TWO stone-wall penalties and, in addition – sent off the home manager for protesting over vehemently! With the trains running to their usual efficiency, we had plenty of time to return for the evening match!

There was a good gathering of English hoppers in The Topklasse today, for, besides Graeme and Jack and myself at Kozakken Boys, John Higgins and Chris Freer had gone to ONS Sneek and two of my sons – James and Michael – went to Drachster Boys (in Hoofdklasse) with Gary Miller, Darren Bibby, Jonny Crane and Mark Sumner.

I’ve wanted to visit Kozakken Boys ever since we saw them play at DETO Twenterand on Saturday 9th March 2013. On that day, Kozakken Boys ran in six unanswered goals against their opponents and the player who scored ALL SIX goals was:- Arif Irilmazbilek. He wasn’t playing today, but I would have liked to have seen him play again! I wonder what happened to him?
















Saturday 20th February 2016
Netherlands Eredivisie

PSV Eindhoven 2

Davy Propper 3,

Gaston Perreiro 44,

Heracles Almelo 0
Referee:- D. Makkelie                Attendance:- 33.400
Admission:- €27.00                   Programme:- F.O.C.
After the excitement of Kozakken Boys, The Phillips Stadion was but ten minutes down the road from the hotel. Admittedly, it was raining and quite windy, too and inside the stadium, you could see the rain being blown into the stands under the roof. We were glad of the very effective electric heaters installed under the stand roof. Leaders, PSV, were hosting third in the table Heracles Almelo, but any pretence that the two teams were evenly matched was despatched in the 3rd minute when PSV opened the scoring. They scored a second just before the interval and should have had several more! The second half was a considerable let down as each team strove to keep what they had got and that was exactly how if ended up!














Sunday 21st February 2016
Netherlands Eredivisie

De Graafschaps 2

Vincent Vermeij  40, 47,

Vitesse Arnhem 2

Marvelous Nakamba 16,

Lewis Baker 84,

Referee:- Serdar Gozabuyyuk                            Attendance:- 12,218
Admission:- €20.00                                           Programme:- €1.00
It was a rail journey of many changes from Eindhoven to Hertogenbosch to Nijmegen change again at Arnhem and finally, Doetinchem, where the bus took the strain from the rail station to the ground, which was pretty well hidden deep inside a residential neighbourhood. Once again there was a persistent drizzle and the front seats of the stands were all wet through. Our tickets, behind the goal allowed us to sit almost anywhere we liked! De Graafschap are not enjoying the most successful of seasons. They sit one place off the bottom, whilst Vitesse lie sixth. It was the visitors who opened the scoring and, initially it looked as if the hosts might struggle. Either side of half-time, two goals from Vincent Vermeij (whom John called “El Palomino” – big and rangy and sometimes a little clumsy), gave the home side the advantage, but six minutes from time an unlikely lob from out on the right curled over the goalkeeper – and into the net – for a slightly undeserved equaliser.














Tuesday 23rd February 2016
Midland League Division 1

Pershore Town 3

Dan Ludlow 12, 16,

Dane Aldington 70,

Pelsall Villa 0
Referee:- Corin Readetts                   Attendance:- 30
Admission:- OMGDS £4                   Programme £1.50
About a mile from the ground, the tyre deflation warning light came on, but when I arrived – under the floodlights – I could see no deflation! Graeme said that the cakes were lovely at Pershore, but when I enquired, the cake lady was off ill, so I could only manage a sausage bap! The ground was fairly basic, with a stand on one side and a large car park behind the left hand goal. The paying attendance was 30, but there must have been more than fifty there in total. Neither team is setting the division alight this season, but the hosts had the better of this encounter, with two goals from man-of-the match Dan Ludlow in the first quarter of an hour and a final strike, twenty minutes from time, to wrap matters up on a very cold evening! I drove the ninety miles home VERY gingerly, but without mishap!








Saturday 27th February 2016
Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Motherwell 3

Loius Moult 37, 52,

Marvin Johnson 69,

Partick Thistle 1

Callum Booth 75,
Referee:- Stephen Finnie                       Attendance:- 4,302 (away – 979)
Admission:- OMGDS £16 (£23)           Programme:- £3
The Victoria House off Sauchiehall Street was once more our abode for yet another sally on Scotland’s finest. This time, Motherwell were the victims and we were impressed with their fine stadium, with seats on all four sides and a towering stand for away fans behind the far goal. We were sat amongst the liberally oiled hospitality clientele, in the main stand and were surprised to find out that hospitality could be had for as little as £30. These two clubs are mired in the nether regions of The Premiership and both sides find scoring difficult! It was something of a surprise, then, to find four goals scored in an very entertaining encounter. Motherwell took the points with their bolder more determined approach, but Thistle contributed significantly to an engaging contest!












Sunday 18th February 2016

The West of Scotland Cricket Club in the Partick District of Glasgow, is where the first ever international football match took place on 30th November 1872. Having a bit of time on our hands, John Higgins, Jack Warner and I popped down to check it out. The cricket club itself is fairly unprepossessing, but that could be because it is out of season. It was difficult to see where the pitch might have been and the only acknowledgement of the match was a plaque set high into the wall of the pavilion. Beyond the outfield, there was evidence of some terracing and the whole was surrounded by tall, stone Victorian terraced housing. You could imagine the crowd (only some 2,000) pressing through the gates – there was at least one left standing – on the day of the match. You could feel the atmosphere redolent with History!






Sunday 28th February 2016
The Scottish Inter-League Trophy Final

Ayrshire AFA 3

Craig Connell 61 (pen), 64 (pen),

Mick O’Connor 77,

Aberdeenshire AFA 2

Graeme McDougal 56,

Gianpierro Franchi 82,
Referee:- David Sommers                   Attendance:- 126
Admission:- F.O.C.                               Programme:- F.O.C.
Apparently, Lesser Hampden – in the shadow of Greater Hampden – doesn’t have a safety certificate and The Scottish FA was therefore not allowed to charge for entrance. I gather that Queens Park reserves, U21 and Ladies teams use the ground, but the first team still use the main stadium, playing their matches to a few hundred hardy souls in that cavernous expanse! The surface in the small arena, is 3G and the plethora of besuited officials obviously hadn’t met a hopper before. “Team sheet? What d’ye want that for? Who d’ye think ye are?”. At the same time as waving a printed team sheet, one of them declaimed that “we haven’t got a printer!’. The weather was fine, the game woke up to become a lively second half affair and, at the end, the losing goalkeeper, in a fit of petulance, kicked a full bin of rubbish across the terracing in disgust! Ayrshire were just about worthy winners in a very tight contest!










Other matches attended in February 2016:-

Monday 1st February 2016 Northants Senior Youth League:-

Corby Town 3 Desborough Town 2 Attendance:- 31

Tuesday 9th February 2016 Midland League Premier Division:-

Loughborough University 5 AFC Wulfrunians 1 Attendance:- 65

Wednesday 10th February 2016 Southern League Premier Division:-

Cambridge City 1 Histon 2 Attendance:- 229

Thursday 11th February 2016 Northants Senior Youth League:-

Wellingborough Town 4 Rushden & Higham United 0 Attendance:- 57

Sunday 14th February 2016 Northants Womens & Girls Football League:-

Corby Town 6 Woodford United 0 Attendance:- 22

Tuesday 16th February 2016 Sky-Bet League Two:-

Oxford United 0 Northampton Town 1 Attendance:- 9,559

Wednesday 24th February 2016 Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division:-

Harrowby United 1 Leicester Nirvana 6

Monday 29th February 2016 Northants Senior Youth League:-

Desborough Town  3  Kettering FC  0


This Season:-

Matches:-  169              New Grounds:-  89


Matches:- 3,375           New Grounds:- 1,207




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