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December 2016

The fans in the stand are silent

You could hear the fall of a pin

For the fabulous game just ended

And the tale that’s about to begin.


From “The Goals of Billy Boot” by Allan Ahlberg (1937 – )


Saturday 3rd December 2016
Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 North

Brightlingsea Regent 3

Phoenix Sports 4
Referee:- Abigail Marriott              Attendance:- 114
Admission:- OMGDS:- £5.00 (£8.00)
Programme:- £2.00
The ground may not be much to look at but today’s match was a cracker! Brighlingsea scored the first and last goals of the first half, but in between, they conceded four! Phoenix, from mid-table in the division, were the dominant side against opponents only one point off the top of the table. In the second half, the hosts competed more effectively as both sides slugged it out toe to toe. They scored and missed a penalty and perhaps should have gained a point, but it was not to be! Number seventeen appeared on the field in the second half. He was not a substitute, but first half damage to his shorts meant a complete change of kit at half-time! Very competent woman referee in a boisterous match!











Sunday 4th December 2016
The Emirates FA Cup 2nd Round

Notts County 2

Peterborough United 2
Referee:- Ben Toner                  Attendance:- 3,940
Admission:- OMGDS £12.00 (£17.00)
Programme:- £3.00                  Cornish Pastie:- £2.70
We weren’t the only three generation family at Meadow Lane this afternoon as grandson, Freddie enjoyed, not only the match but also the train ride to Nottingham and back! It was very cold, but the opening display by the visitors when they took a two goal lead in the first fifteen minutes, suggested that this match might be embarrassing for the hosts. They clawed themselves back into the match with a goal two minutes from half-time and then enjoyed a huge slice of luck when a Peterborough player was dismissed for lashing out when he was plainly being held back by his shirt. The home offender received NO penalty! The second half belonged to County, but it took until the second minute of added time before they could craft an effective strike, but it was enough to put them into the pot for the next round!








Young Freddie, training to be a nerd like his grand-dad Ed!


Taken with Mike’s mobile telephone camera, this shows a panoramic view of Meadow Lane!



Wednesday 7th December 2016
The Buildbase FA Vase 3rd Round Replay

Sleaford Town 0

Sporting Khalsa 3
Referee:- Scott Robertson                        Attendance:- 110
Admission:- £7.00                                    Programme:- £1.00
Eslamore Park is a fairly recent build and is pretty basic. There is a Meccano covered terrace behind one goal and down the far side is a Meccano seated stand for perhaps seventy or eighty spectators. Excellent club, very friendly officials, but on the night, they were no match for the opposition who won at a reasonable canter and never allowed the hosts a clear sight on goal. Perhaps a game to remember Jeremy Biggs by. His funeral (aged only 55) was on Monday and The UCL press officer will long be remembered as a gentleman of football!












Jeremy Biggs 1961-2016

Very sad to hear of the passing of Jeremy Biggs, whom I often met on The UCL circuit. He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) drive and all the games he went to, he had a lift! He was the fixtures secretary and publicity officer for The UCL and what he didn’t know about the league and its clubs wasn’t worth knowing! Lovely man!

Friday 9th December 2016
Abacus Lighting Central Midlands League
Black Dragon North Division

Collingham 1

Newark Town 2
Referee:- Jack Forder Official Attendance:- 265
Admission:- £3.00 Programme:- £1.00
This was my seventh visit to Station Road, but my first with Collingham as hosts. They groundshare with tonight’s opponents, Newark Town. Much has happened since my last visit in 2012. You can no longer access the ground via Station Road, but must park in the brand new Co-op Supermarket. The club house has been extended to include a new downstairs bar and an all weather 5-aside pitch has been built behind the stand. For all that there is precious little cover and hardstanding down one side of the ground only! The hosts were the lower ranked of the two sides and despite opening brightly and dominating for long periods – and scoring the opening goal after an hour – they succumbed to a couple of late strikes to the visitors who also had a defender sent off with some ten minutes to go.









Saturday 10th December 2012
English Schools Football Association
Premier League National Tournament

Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- Free
There were eight teams from all over the Midlands for this girls U-11 tournament (which followed a similar tournament for the boys, this morning). I was only there as a driver for the minibus taking one of the teams to the tournament! It was my first visit to West Bromwich Albion’s Training facility, just down the road from The Hawthorns and I was pretty impressed. There was one full sized indoor pitch and one full sized outdoor pitch, both 3G. There was some pretty impressive football played, especially by the winning team from Telford. Not too sure about the format. Nine aside seemed to many at this age and half a full sized pitch with full sized goals seemed to overpower the players. For many of them, also, it was their first taste of offside! They all enjoyed it, however, even my team, who eventually finished at the bottom of the pile!









Monday 12th December 2016
Lancashire FA Trophy Quarter-Final

Daisy Hill 1

Chorley 5
Referee:- Paul Marsden Attendance:- 175
Admission:- OMGDS£3.50 (£7.00) Programme:- £1.00
Daisy Hill may sound idyllic but the reality is anything but! From the gaping, water-filled holes in the car-park to the bleak aspect from the club house and stand behind the goal, the whole place reeked of genteel poverty. The welcome, however was warm and spontaneous and the locals were plainly proud to be entertaining the lords of the manor. Excellent meat pies at £1.50 were a bargain and despite the persistent drizzle and a heavy pitch, the game was pretty good, too, with the visitors falling a goal behind, only to storm back with five of their own!. John Main and I enjoyed our visit to this gentle backwater of Lancashire!










Saturday 17th December 2016
Barclays U-18 Professional Development League

West Bromwich Albion 2

Manchester United 3
Referee:- Richard Gardner Attendance:- 110
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- NONE
The conspiracy of secrecy which seems to hang around West Bromwich Albion’s training ground meant that not only was it hard to find (there wasn’t even a sign at the entrance), but team sheets were not available and most of our information was gleaned from parents attending.Which was a pity, because this was an excellent match with some definite stars of the future. United at the top of the league, just about shaded it over their basement rivals, but both teams contributed to a very entertaining encounter!

Stars to watch for the future – Ethan Hamilton, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong (Manchester United) and Ronan Tulloch and Rhese Nani for west Bromwich Albion.


Sunday 18th December 2016
(Leicestershire) Alliance Football League

North Kilworth Sunday 11 (eleven)
Queniborough Park Rangers 5
Referee:- Graham Freer Attendance:- 7
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- NONE
This was not a match to wake up to from a nightmare! On a cold Sunday morning with heavy dew damping the surface, these two Titans came clattering out of the holding pens like crazed bulls! Except that it wasn’t quite like that. The home side started with nine men who had obviously quaffed well last night and the visitors looked pretty effective early on – that is until reinforcements turned up for the hosts, who then ran in four first half goals with only a single reply . The home custodian was exchanged at half time for a slip of a lad who picked the ball out of his net twice in the first ten minutes of the second half, but the hosts then ran in seven goals with five from striker Tendai, which was hardly surprising as they were in second place in the league table whilst the visitors were a long way adrift at the bottom. It was good fun, but I doubt if I shall essay forth into these quirky depths for some considerable time.







Tuesday 20th December 2016
West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division

Haughmond 3

Shifnal Town 2
Referee:- Mark Groves Attendance:- 86
Admission:- £3.00 Programme:- £1.00
Haughmond play at The Shrewsbury Sports Village but their football stadium is enclosed by a wire mesh and matches can be viewed for free. With this arena, they have probably reached the pinnacle of their progress. They bestride the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division like a colossus, but tonight, they were nearly undone by a battling Shifnal side who fought for every ball and rattled the league leaders with two first half goals. It took a stern examination of the Haughmond credentials to ensure that they scored the required three goals to ensure victory, but Shifnal being reduced to ten men with a sending off in the 70th minute, probably helped!






Wednesday 21st December 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division

Barwell 2

Stafford Rangers 1
Referee:- Richard Price Attendance:- 309
Admission:- OMGDS£6.00 (£10.00) Programme:- £2.00
It is the pantomime season and these two teams took to it with a relish. The hosts were garbed in pea green shirts and shorts and yellow socks, whilst the visitors had orange shirts with grey shorts and socks. The referee joined in, too, issuing eleven yellow cards in a match that was hard fought, but never dirty. There were quite a few supporters from Stafford and several hoppers!





Thursday 22nd December 2016
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division

Peterborough Sports 3

Yaxley 1
Referee:- Oliver Mackey Attendance:- 165
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£6.00) Programme:- £1.00
Table topping and ambitious Sports, comfortably saw off the challenge of mid-table rivals, Yaxley, but it was well into the second half before they made the game safe. They have ambitions to move to a higher grade of football, but there will need to be substantial development before that can be achieved. They have accomplished a great deal in a short space of time, but the next step will be quite a challenge!

I can remember playing cricket on the site more than twenty-five years ago when Peterborough Central were the hosts!






Saturday 24th December 2016
Uhlsport Hellenic League
Division II East

Stokenchurch 4

Henley Town Reserves 1
Referee:- Steve Anderson Attendance:- 90
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- £2.00
With so few games on Christmas Eve, this match attracted a lot of attention from fellow hoppers who made up the vast majority of the healthy crowd. It was a blustery and cold afternoon and I was glad that I had fortified myself with fish and chips at and a couple of fine pints at The Kings Hotel in the village. Last season’s champions of Division II East, Stokenchurch are seriously off the pace this season, but even so, they were more than a match for bottom of the table Henley Town. Striker Steve Park netted all four home goals!






Monday 26th December 2016
Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division 1

Ruardean Hill Rangers 0

Harrow Hill 0
Referee:- Paul Miles Attendance:- 255
Admission:- F.O.C. Programme:- £2.00
There was a fine crowd for this holiday match between rivals who are literally but five minutes apart by car! Ruardeen Hill is the highest point in The Forest of Dean at some 950 feet and it felt like it this morning in a stiff breeze but plenty of sunshine. The hosts are top of the league, looking to progress next season (and building for it!), unbeaten in the league (but they lost to today’s visitors in the cup!). Harrow Hill on the other hand are enduring an indifferent season, but if there is anything to improve your self image, it is a good performance against your neighbours and rivals! They played well and deserved the point. Ruardean played poorly and were lucky to gain theirs! It was not the best of matches and indifferent refereeing, did little to help matters!





Boxing Day 26th December 2016
Vanarama National League South

Bath City 1

Hungerford Town 1
Referee:- S. Yianni Attendance:- 798
Admission:- OMGDS£10.00 (£13.00) Programme:- £2.50
Lovely ground is Twerton Park, one of the classic, old fashioned grounds that you don’t see so many of these days. There was a good holiday crowd as well – more than was announced at the end, we thought! These two sides are becalmed in mid-table mediocrity and for an hour, it showed, and we believed a second 0-0 draw for the day was on the cards. A shuffling of the pack by both sides through the adroit use of substitutes, enlivened the final twenty minutes and produced two goals! The return fixture is as early as next Saturday. Would I really want to see it all over again?








Friday 30th December 2016
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division

Corby Town 0

Halesowen Town 0
Referee:- Matthew Smith Attendance:- 413
Admission:- OMGDS£8.00 (£12.00) Programme:- £2.50
This season:- Matches:- 138 New grounds:- 71
Considering The Steelmen had lost the last eight in a row, this was a very solid performance from the hosts and it was difficult to see how they had got into such dire straits! In a game of few chances, the visitors hit the bar twice and had a goal disallowed for off-side, but the hosts gave as good as they got in a very even game and honours even was definitely the fairest of results.





Saturday 31st December 2016
Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 West

Purton 3

Fairford Town 5
Referee:- Alan Overthrow Attendance:- 98
Admission (by collection):- £3.00 Programme:- NONE
This ground was definitely one step (and one division) up from Stokenchurch where I visited on Christmas Eve. There was a railing around the pitch, permanent dug-outs and hard standing down one side – with a steep incline to the pitch offering good viewing! Fairford Town have spent several years in the doldrums since their semi-voluntary demotion to Division 1 West, but now they are on the way back. They brought good support with them and lie, handily, in second place with games in hand. The hosts are sixth in the division, but they threw this game away in an error strewn first half when they conceded four goals. They were far better in the second half, but never good enough to affect the result! Purton usually provide programmes, but there were none today! There was no badge, motif or emblem of the club apparent anywhere around the stadium (or on players kit)!




Saturday 31st December 2016
Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division

Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1

Lydney Town 3
Referee:- Liam Beames Attendance:- 95
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£6.00) Programme:- £1.50
This was a first visit to Wootton Basset’s new stadium, The Gerard Buxton Ground, outside of the town itself. It is very functional and a little bleak, but the playing surface is lovely and there is an excellent club house and an even more excellent (is’t possible?) programme.It was a pity the home side were not at the races, but they claimed a sickness bug had decimated their squadrons (they only had two substitutes). Lydney took full advantage and were good value for their victory.







Other matches in December:-

Thursday 1st December Northants Senior Youth League

Jaymann Cup Group A

Bugbrooke St Michaels 1 Desborough Town 4    Attendance:- 33

Thursday 13th December Midland League Premier Division

Loughborough University 1 Westfields 1   Attendance:- 82

Wednesday 14th December FA Youth Cup 3rd Round

Leicester City  3  Leyton Orient  1    Attendance:- 490

Friday 16th December Premier U-23 Development Cup Group

Leicester City  2  Nottingham Forest  2      Attendance:- 101



This season –  Matches:- 140        New Grounds:-  73

TOTAL –          Matches:- 3,586    New Grounds:- 1,301

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