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March 2016

They ran and shouted, ran and shot

(At shooting they were not so hot)

Pulled a sock up, rolled a sleeve

And scored more goals than you’d believe


Slid and tackled, leapt and fell

Dodged and dribbled, dived as well

Headed, shouldered, elbowed, kneed

And, half-time in the bushes peed.


With muddy shorts and muddy faces

Bloody knees and busted laces

Ruddy cheeks and plastered hair

And voices buffeting the air

From:- “The Match (c. 1950)” by Allan Ahlberg (1937 – )




Wednesday 2nd March 2016
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Sleaford Town 3

Andy Wright, 33

Ryan Oliver, 39,

David Hone 87,

Wisbech Town 3

Matt Sparrow 9, 18,

Luke Wilson 90+2,
Referee:- Junior Jones-Eyre Attendance:- 112
Despite the filthy weather, around a score or more of Wisbech fans had made the forty mile journey north for this match. It is only in this kind of weather that you realise just how exposed The Elsaforde Stadium really is! On the far side there is a Meccano stand for perhaps 150 seats and a small covered area behind one goal. Otherwise all is open to the elements! I was glad that Jeremy Biggs was there to garner the team news for me! The Fenmen started like an express train and raced into a two goal lead after only eighteen minutes. They were pegged back, in a titanic struggle, by two goals from Sleaford in the final six minutes of the half. The second half continued the war of attrition, but it wasn’t until the 87th minute that the hosts dramatically stole the lead for the first time in the match. However, in the second of five added minutes, Wisbech pulled themselves level and a draw was probably the right result!







Saturday 5th March 2016
JD Welsh Cup 5th Round

Cwmbran Celtic 1

Lloyd Kinsella 61,

Port Talbot Town 2

Luke Bowen 29, 66,
Referee:- Ryan Stewart (Cardiff)               Attendance:- 210
Admission:- £3.00                                       Programme:- £1.00
I’d seen the advert from The FAW about free transport from Newport Train Station to Cwmbran and Cardiff Met and had received a confirmed offer of a seat on the coach.

Hi Eddie,

Thanks for your interest in the JD Welsh Cup experience.

Fortunately, we still have a few spaces left on our ground hoppers bus leaving Newport at 12pm.

I will put your name forward so your place is now confirmed on the bus.

Kind Regards,

Kayne Mclaggon

Imagine my surprise when alighting at Newport Station, I found four other putative ‘hoppers’ and NO bus!



Fortunately, Dave Collins, who produces “Welsh Football”, was there and he ensured that we found a bus service for the short trip to Cwmbran and guided us from there to Celtic Park, hard by Cwmbran Stadium (where, apparently, Cwmbran Town still play). The ground, was, to say the least, primitive, but the welcome was warm and two pints of Rev James over the road at The WMC, certainly improved my chagrin.




Celtic were unlucky to lose this match. They had more of the chances, but seemed stage-struck in front of goal. They did score an equaliser straight from a corner, but were then undone some twenty minutes from time, by a powerful strike from Luke Bowen. I still couldn’t believe that the Welsh FA had jilted us so badly, but at least we had a very generous offer of a lift from Martin Bamforth to the second game of the day!


Martin Bamforth, who was our saviour at Cwmbran Celtic by offering us a lift to the second match of the ‘double’ at Cardiff Met.



The view through the trees to Cwmbran Stadium

Saturday 5th March 2016
JD Welsh Cup 5th Round

Cardiff Met University 0

gap Connah’s Quay 2

Nathan Woolfe 45+1

Callum Morris 57,
Referee:- Mark Petch                       Attendance:- 217
Admission:- £4.00                          Programme:- included
Martin ferried us down to Cardiff Metropolitan University for the second cup match of the afternoon. This was my second visit, with the first coming almost two years to the day previously, and not a lot had changed! The pitch is 3G there is a Meccano stand for about 250 spectators on the far side of the ground and a snack bar with hot drinks and chocolate bars on the near side of the ground which is overshadowed by a large sports hall covering the entire length of the pitch. The match itself was a fairly regulation victory for the Welsh Premier League side over their opponents who were a couple of divisions below them in the Welsh pyramid. The students, as usual, didn’t leave the field of play at half-time! After the match, Martin drove us to Cardiff Central Station in heavy early evening traffic – Many Thanks, Martin!!!!









Tuesday 8t March 2016
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Wellingborough Town 2

Justin Dowling 35,

Dan Spaughton 71,

Rothwell Corinthians 0

Referee:- Douglas Lawson          Attendance:- 60
Admission:- £5.00                      Programme:- £1.00
I think it would be fair to say that Wellingborough has benefited from sharing its ground with Rushden & Diamonds, however, a serious fire, the result of vandalism, last November has kept the clubhouse out of action. It is due to be re-opened in two weeks. The bonus is £3,000 of CCTV cameras donated by a local firm to keep watch on the newly re-furbished premises. On the field, both these teams are in the bottom five in the division with Wellingborough the more in need of points. Corinthians started the more positively, but it was the hosts who deservedly prevailed in a tight contest of few chances.



Friday 11th March 2016

Ferrari Packaging Scottish Lowland League

Gretna  0

Dalbeattie Star  0

Referee:- Matthew McDermid       Attendance:- 366

Admission:- £5.00    Programme:- £2.00

This was the first match of the Scottish Lowland ‘Hop’ and after a long coach journey, we were glad to get our feet on terra firm, so to speak!



It is hard to believe that Gretna once reached the dizzy heights of The Scottish Premiership. One wonders how they were allowed to achieve that stays with such a lowly stadium.  True, in terms of The Scottish Lowland League, it was pretty impressive, but good enough for the top table in Scottish football? I think not! There was an impressive seated stand behind one goal and a small wooden seated stand down one side of the ground with very little room for manoeuvre for spectators travelling up and down the touch line. to the left of this stand, behind the goal, there was a roped off, grassed area so that the ground was, in effect, three sided.



This was a fixture which looked to be a tight contest from the start. Gretna were in sixth and Star were seventh and they were separated by three points. It was a game of few chances where defences dominated and the only incident of note was the sending off of the home right back, Dean Rea, after eighty-nine minutes for a second bookable offence.


The smart, reasonably new stand behind the far goal.


On the right is the old wooden stand down one side of the ground.


The old wooden stand

Saturday 12th March 2016 k.o.:- 11.00am

Ferrari Packaging Scottish Lowland League

Whitehill Welfare  3

Callum Connolly 16,

Anthony Muir 29,

Jamie Devlin 76,

Gala Fairydean   0

Referee:- Jonathon Bell       Attendance:- 324

Admission:- £5.00           Programme:- £2.00


Today’s matches were all in the Edinburgh region, so it was an early start and a long drive from the hotel in East Kilbride to the first match of the day in Rosewall where – according to Mike Squires – the famous Roslin Chapel is. It was not an easy ground to find and, indeed, we made one wrong turning and were saved by a club official who guided our coach to the ground! The arena was set in a slight depression with grassed banks on all four sides and a small stand with seats, perhaps, for a hundred spectators.


The hosts, playing in West Ham claret and blue, made all the early running and were two goals to the good inside half an hour. Just after half-time, the Fairydean skipper, Jamie Gibson, was sent off after he reacted violently to a strong tackle. Despite the man advantage, it was not until fifteen minutes from time that Whitehill finally – and deservedly – put the game beyond all doubt with a third goal.






By the end of this match, I was beginning to get a trifle sick of the endless ‘scotch pies’ on offer. A bit of variety would have been very welcome! Still, the breakfast in the hotel was hearty and there was no need to refuel at this, the opening match of the day!


Saturday 12th March 2016 k.o.:- 2.30pm

East of Scotland League

Civil Service Strollers  2

Kyle Bogey 32, 85,

Leith Athletic   3

Steven Glynn 2,

Neil Lawson 15,

Robbie Mason 45+1 (pen),

Referee:- Paul Hanlon   Attendance:- 165

Admission:- OMGDS:- £3.00 (£5.00)   Programme:- None


The second match of the day was scheduled to be at the eccentrically named ‘Pennypit Park’ in Prestonpans, where, in 1745, the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie routed the Hanoverian forces ranged against him. Sadly, when we arrived, we found that the match had been called off due to a waterlogged pitch!


It took a surprisingly long time to sort out a replacement game – only some half a dozen miles away – at Civil Service Strollers quaint, but tired Christie Gillies Park for an East of Scotland League match.



About a hundred ‘hoppers’ chose to take in this match and that considerably swelled the ‘gate’ at this match!


There was shelter only down one side with a few seats available under the cover. Today’s visitors were Leith Athletic and they deservedly won a fine contest played on a beautiful pitch – a pitch indeed, good enough to play bowls on! Leith were 3-1 up by the interval and it wasn’t until the eighty-fifth minute that the hosts were able to reduce the arrears.


Saturday 12th March 2016  k.o.:- 5.00pm

Ferrari Packaging Scottish Lowland League

Spartans  1

Keith Murray 90,

University of Stirling  0

Referee:- Chris McNab     Attendance:- 435

Admission:- £5.00           Programme:- £2.00


Spartans play at Ainslie Sports Centre on a 3G pitch with a stand down one side and a double decked club house behind the near goal. For once, I didn’t feel that the welcome had any warmth. Oh, yes, I’m sure that they were glad to see us, but there seemed to be a very much a commercial aspect to the event. Added to that, the petty infractions – we weren’t allowed to stand on the balcony behind the goal and even though both hands were filled with food and drink, we were’t allowed to put anything down!


Spartans were in third place in the table and University of Stirling one place above them in the table. This was a game that was nailed on 0-0. “It had 0-0 written all over it.” I’m not a great believer in 3G pitches and I think that they produce more than their fare share of 0-0 results. Then, imagine our surprise, in the 90th minute, the hosts scored with a shot from ranges that somehow squirmed beyond the goalkeepers grasp and Spartans had leapfrogged the students into second place!




Saturday  12th March 2016 k.o.:- 8.00pm

Ferrari Packaging Scottish Lowland League

Edinburgh City  1

Frazer Paterson 67,

East Kilbride  1

Craig Hastings 24,

Referee:- Peter Stuart    Attendance:- 418

Admission:- £5.00        Programme:- £2.00


There used to be a team called Ferranti Thistle and when they gained promotion – or were elected – to The Scottish League, they moved to the Athletics Stadium at Meadowbank (built, I think, for The 1986 Commonwealth Games) and changed their name to Meadowbank Thistle. Sadly, they have since vacated the stadium and taken their franchise to Livingston and the present incumbents of this fine stadium are Edinburgh City, last season’s inaugural champions of The Scottish Lowland League.


Edinburgh City look to have a pretty good chance of retaining the title this season! Mind you, East Kilbride, down in sixth place, were no push-overs and were good value for their point.





Sunday 13th March 2016 k.o.:- 12.00noon

Ferrari Packaging Scottish Lowland League

Edinburgh University   3

Nathan Evans 8, 89,

Jack Guthrie 14,

Selkirk   2

Ross King 19,

Garry O’Connor 86,

Referee:- Alan Hogg    Attendance:- 294

Admission:- £5.00       Programme:- £2.00


There were some fine views out at Peffermill on the outskirts of Edinburgh and some innovative catering on offer. I enjoyed a giant Danish pastry before the match!



The visitors had Garry O’Connor in their ranks. If you have not heard of him, I believe that he once graced the ranks of Hibernian,, Lokomotiv Moscow (where he scored the winning goal in the 2007 cup final), Birmingham City and even reached the dizzy heights of international football with Scotland (sixteen appearances). Some might say that he wasted a glittering career on fast cars and drugs, but he also had long periods fighting injuries.  He may be long in the tooth and carrying a little extra poundage, but he led the line well and scored a late goal.




Alan Chainey was a former member of the university PE staff who coached the football squad in the early seventies and enjoyed some success. I believe he was also the author of a book on golfing walks!


This is a view of The Royal Observatory in Edinburgh which can just be espied with a long shot from The East Peffermill ground


This stand provided the only cover at the ground, with seating for perhaps 200 spectators.


This fairly uneventful match sprang into life late on. The Students had garnered a 2-1 half-time lead and seemed to be cruising to victory, until a goal only four minutes from time by Garry O’Connor. A draw seemed likely, but the students had other ideas and pinched victory with a goal in the final minute!

Tuesday 15th March 2016

Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East

Chinnor   0

Finchampstead  0

Referee:- Steve Rea            Attendance:- 32

Admission:- F.O.C.           Programme:- £2.00


Chinnor had been mentioned recently (in The Traveller) as having returned to their old ground – well, it is a new ground really, with a lovely club house in the adjacent village hall. There is not much at pitch side beyond a Meccano stand which contained around fifty seats – most of them vandalised – and a standing area. However, the goal to the left, if you were sitting in the stand, was completely obscured by the large brick built dug-outs!


It was a chilly evening with a persistent thin drizzle and the match was probably one of the poorest I’ve seen all season! My son, Jim, who had broken his big toe in the nets preparing for the new cricket season, managed about twenty minutes outside, before repairing indoors to watch Manchester City who, by his account, were nearly as bad as the two teams entertaining us at Station Road, Chinnor!


Wednesday 16th March 206
Molten Spartan South Midlands League
Division 1

Wodson Park 3

Anthony Anstead 63, 69,

Harry Bushel 90+3

Risborough Rangers 0
Referee:- Kieran Haywood Attendance:- 15
Admission:- £4.00 Programme:- £1.00
The Wodson Park Sports & Leisure Centre is where Ware FC have their home, but they have a self-contained football stadium. Wodson Park FC used to play there, too, but now play on the athletics area behind the main entrance and offices. Upstairs, there is a lovely lounge with a bar and half-time coffee and biscuits available. Outside, however, there is a football pitch surrounded by a running track with the hammer/discus protective shell rising like a minuteman missile launch behind one goal! It is not the best footballing scenario that I’ve visited. It was a desperately cold evening as well, but it was good to meet a keen hopper from Wivenhoe who had the interesting job of visiting ATM machines to fill them up with cash! Wodson Park took their time – the first goal came after the hour mark – but they were good value for their victory!






Saturday 19th March 2016
Welsh League Division 2

Pontadarwe Town 2

Kyle Cockings 8,

Josh Roberts 50, (pen),

Llanwern 4

Gareth Delve 1,

Dean Clifford 25, 41,

Aaron Carew 80
Referee:- Aled Jones Attendance:- 23
Admission:- £3.00 Programme:- NONE
Down in the Welsh Valleys, they hide away a myriad of teams like these and “hide” was the operative word today as we took an unconscionable age to find the stadium.


The ground was Spartan, with a small covered Meccano stand down one side, but otherwise no cover. The welcome, however, was very warm and everything was done (they even found an old programme for us!) too make our stay enjoyable.



Chris Berezai at Parc YnysDerw


These two teams were from different ends of the table, but the hosts, who are vying for promotion, came unstuck at the hands of The Steelmen from Llanwern, who had even brought along a small, but vociferous gathering to support their efforts!


Matches not included:-

Tuesday 1st March 2016

Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 South & West

Banbury United 2 Bridgwater Town 1    Attendance:- 302

Friday 4th March 2016

Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1

Peterborough Sports 2 Oakham United 0    Attendance:- 111

Monday 7th March 2016

Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division

Hitchin Town 4 Cambridge City 2        Attendance:- 374

Monday 14th March 2016

Northants Senior Youth League (East)

Desborough Town 0  Rothwell Corinthians  1      Attendance:- 44

Saturday 19th March 2016

Barclays Premier League

Swansea City   1  Aston Villa  0    Attendance:- 20,454

Monday 21st March 2016

Northants Senior Youth League (East)

Rothwell Corinthians  5 Kettering Town  1     Attendance:- 64

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division

Desborough Town  0  AFC Kempston Rovers  2    Attendance:- 64

This Season:-

Matches:- 189            New Grounds:-   99


Matches:- 3,395       New Grounds:- 1,197

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