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August 2017

from “The Goals of Bingo Boot” by Allan Ahlberg


The fans in the stand went barmy

City had won one-nil.

The Devil stayed in his dugout

Defeat was a bitter pill.

Till God came along with an offer

Quite genuine and real

To forget their bet and agree instead

On a little … transfer deal.


So Bingo rose to Heaven

Up to the Pearly Gate.

“The boy done good!” St Peter cried

“The boy done great!”

And there he lives … forever

His goals in life complete

That sainted soccer player

With the most amazing feet.


The fans in the stand are leaving

As fast as their wings will allow

They think that the story’s over

It is now.




Tuesday 1st August 2017

Essex Senior League

Burnham Ramblers  0

Stansted  1

Jack Sykes 26,

Referee:- Steve Marr                                       Attendance:- 28

Admission:- £6.00                                      programme:- £1.50

I’d set my sights on a new club in The Essex Senior League – West Essex – but when I got there, I found that they were playing at Barking’s Mayesbrook Park and I immediately switched sat-nav to Burnham some 41 miles away. The Leslie Field Stadium is not much more than thirty years old, but it is looking tired and jaded. I had difficulty in persuading the gateman to let me pay full whack (I must look older than I feel!). The welcome was warm and helpful and team sheet news was available. Sadly, the hosts were less than impressive and the margin of defeat could have been far greater!

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Division 1

Wisbech St Mary 3

Bradley Easey 43,

Jack Friend 67, 90+3,

Swaffham Town 2

Alex Vincent 49, 79,
Referee:- Nathan Walker                             Official Attendance:- 85
Admission:- £5.00                                                Programme:- £1.00
Wisbech St Mary can hardly boast above a thousand souls and yet, in the community hall adjacent to the football club, and prior to the match, they were serving a sizzling carvery, which, at £7.95, I thought was just too good to turn down! The ground is rather basic with a couple of covered areas (one with seats for fifty spectators) on one side, whilst the other three sides are open to the elements and the surrounding fields. Both these teams had been involved in high scoring matches at the weekend, Swaffham enjoying a 6-1 victory and St Mary on the wrong end of a 7-3 home thrashing. Tonight it was the hosts who triumphed. With the match drifting to a close, they scored the winner in the 93rd minute!

Thursday 3rd August 2017
Cottenham Charity Cup – Group Stage

Cottenham United 1

Jamie Jones 90+2

Girton United 0
Referee:- Spencer Warburton                                    Attendance:- 28
This was the final group stage match and Cottenham with one point needed a win to overtake rivals Girton (3pts) and progress to the final. It was not the greatest of matches and very few chances were created. The hosts won it with a goal in the 93rd minute! Both teams play in the second tier of The Kershaw Cambs County League. The hosts were sporting a brand new changing room facility (see below).

Saturday 5th August 2017
The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Guisborough Town 4

Nathan Steel 24,

Louis Goldsack 37, 61,

Mason McNeill 83,

Stockton Town 2

Kallum Hannah 3 (pen),

Sonni Coleman 51,
Referee:- Paul Burt                                           Attendance:- 256
Admission:- £6.00                                        Programme:- £1.50
On a day of sunshine and showers, John and Chris and I descended upon the delightful King George V Stadium, home of Guisborough Town,” The Priorymen”. Lovely neat and tidy ground, a seated stand down one side and standing cover opposite, but nothing behind the goals. There was a warm welcome and access to team sheets and this near-derby provided a real cup-tie tussle. Last season, Guisborough were reprieved from relegation after an appeal to The FA and Stockton have just gained promotion from Division 2. It was Stockton who took the lead, but they had relinquished it by half-time. In the second half, the visitors dragged it back to 2-2, but the hosts were not to be denied and two further strikes carried them to victory and the next round!

Tuesday 8th August 2017
Spartan South Midland League Division 2

Loughton Manor 4

Jacob Hack 30,

Jim Davey 71,

Russ Whitcombe 72,

Matt Line 81,

MK Gallacticos 1

Zakariya Tritar 14,

Ryan Hanley s/o 5,

Zakariya Tritar s/o 75
Referee:- Trevor Gregory                                  Attendance:- 28
Gallacticos threw away this match after just five minutes when captain, Ryan Hanley, was sent off for a reckless challenge. The ten men held on well and actually took the lead. By half time the deficit had been cut and the sides went in level at 1-1. The visitors reckless indiscipline continued after the break and two further bookings saw another of their team dismissed, but by this time, they were already 3-1 in arrears. The hosts finally taking the victory and the points after an 81st minute fourth goal.

Wednesday 9th August 2017
Spartan South Midland League Division 2

Tring Town 2

Ryan Quinn 7,

Tom Garraway 37,

Mursley United 5

Adam Bone 13,

Lewis Delahaye 26, 51,

Ellis Spence 47,

Adam Moore 85,
Referee:- Geoffrey Blackmore                          Attendance:- 26
Admission:- F.O.C.                                        Programme:- £2.00
The rain came down in stair rods as it had all day, but the pitch at Miswell Lane was in perfect condition – all credit to the groundsman! This was a friendly club, ever willing to help out with team sheets and cups of tea/coffee, but they had a lesson on the pitch this evening as ambitious Mursley came back from a goal behind to draw level at 2-2 at the interval. Thereafter, they pulled away like a Rolls Royce in overdrive and deservedly seized the spoils! The visitors looked like early title contenders, but the hosts did enough to suggest that they will compete comfortably this season! Good to see Andy English there!

This large wall mural adorns the rear of the club house!

Saturday 12th August 2017
Bostick Isthmian League Division 1 North

Aveley 1

Jordan Peart 70,

Bowers & Pitsea 3

Fahad Nyanja 56,

Lewis Manor 66, 82,
Referee:- David Harrison                                        Attendance:- 354
Admission:- OMGDS £6.00 (£10)                      Programme:- £2.00
A first visit for a first league match (with John Main & Graeme Askham) to Parkside, the new home of Aveley (and Grays Athletic). It is a pretty impressive new build, with seating along both sides and cover behind both goals and plenty of space – including in the bar area. I was impressed, but not only that, there were TWO additional pitches, BOTH with minimal cover and one of them also had floodlights! Sadly, the Millers got off to a losing start. After an entirely forgettable first half, the visitors stepped up a gear and their superiority told with three goals in a twenty-five minute spell which earned them the victory. The hosts pulled one back at 0-2, but it wasn’t enough!

Graeme Askham and John Main outside the impressive new stadium!

The adjacent pitches (one with floodlights) and both with a minimum of cover. These two meccano stands were purchased from elsewhere, but not deemed suitable for use INSIDE the new stadium!

Tuesday 15th August 2017
Spartan South Midlands League Division 2

Tring Corinthians 2

Pasquale Greco 75,

Adam Bradley 85,

Loughton Manor 3

Dale Collins 14, 17,

Matt Line 45+1

Dale Collins s/o 90+4
Referee:- Jonathan Brown                                            Attendance:- 43
Corinthians ground is tight and constricted, but nevertheless neat and well kept. It was unfortunate that a combined harvester was raising crops in an adjoining field and spraying dust across the playing area! The visitors bossed the first half and deservedly led 3-0 at the interval. The only question seemed to be: how many? Not so. In the second half, Corinthians knuckled under and ran and chased every ball. The visitors went off the boil and their passing deteriorated and the hosts snatched two late goals, but couldn’t conjure up an equaliser! Dale Collins, the Manor striker, scored two early goals, missed a penalty and was sent off at the death for a second bookable offence!
With Graeme Askham.

“They flash upon the inward eye which is the bliss of solitude”

Saturday 19th August 2017
The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round

Chertsey Town 1

Bukele Mukudi  36,

Horsham 3

Darren Boswell 27,

Toby House 62,

Rob O’Toole 77,
Referee:- Graham Ions                                            Attendance:- 120
Admission:- OMGDS:£4 (£7)                             Programme:- £1.50
We wuz robbed at the local hostelry, where we were charged thirty quid for a bar snack and a pint for the two of us!!! The ground was pleasantly quaint, but it has seen better days. Chertsey Town, known as “The Curfew” after a bell hung in the local St Peter’s Church,are presently plying their trade in The Combined Counties League. Their opponents today, Horsham, are a division higher in The Bostick Isthmian League Division 1 South. The match hinged on the 21st minute sending off of the home goalkeeper, who came out of his area to try to head away the ball, but caught an opponent instead! However, it was all square at the interval with Horsham, presently homeless and sharing with Lancing, stretching away after the hour mark to take two further goals, the tie, a place in the next round and the £2,000 prize money!
With Graeme Askham.

Graeme “in vacant or in pensive mood”

Tuesday 22nd August 2017
Midland League Division 1

Brocton 3

Tom Vaughan 1,

Joe Hartshorne 17,

Shaan Stuart 83,

Heath Hayes 3

Regan Smith 18, 78,

Alex Scott 53,
Referee:- Josh Hackett                                                 Attendance:- 119
Admission:- OMGDS £3 (£5)                                 Programme:- £1.00
Almost in Stafford, this surprisingly spruce and well kept ground has an extra pitch adjacent to the main arena and although the stands are Meccano and the facilities are prefabricated, they have been developed with some degree of taste – especially the new social room and bar which is due to open in the near future. This was a rip roaring match which got off to an explosive start with a goal to the hosts in just 35 seconds! They were soon 2-0 up, but the visitors replied within a minute and that concluded the first half scoring. In the second period, the visitors first of all equalised and then had the audacity to take the lead. Back came The Badgers to equalise and then, deep into added time at the end, they were awarded a penalty. The opportunity was squandered and a draw was a fitting end to a fine game …….. even if the players unseemly melee at the end was less than salubrious and resulted in at least one red card!

Wednesday 23rd August 2017
Midland regional Alliance Premier Division

Wirksworth Ivanhoe 2

Daniel Watson 4, 23,

Chesterfield Town 2

Billy Page 34,

Jordan Parsons 51,
Referee:- Brittany Smith                                                  Attendance:- 32
On Wirksworth Recreation Park, there are facilities for cricket, bowls and football. Football is definitely the poor relation, but the setting is idyllic with hills stretching away into the distance and the vast cricket pitch right next door! A draw was a fair result in a match which started well for the home side who raced into a two goal lead inside twenty-five minutes. The visitors, however, were made of stern stuff and had reduced the deficit by half-time. The equaliser came, deservedly, just after the break and thereafter, despite great effort, neither side could snatch a winner!

This is Ivanhoe’s football pavilion. It is better than it looks!

Welsh Hop 2017

The season only really gets under way with the arrival of the first “hop” of the season in Wales. We have travelled all over The Principality on ‘hops’ for more than ten years and this visit contributed a further twelve new grounds to add to my list of Welsh football stadia, which now comfortably tops the century mark!

Treforest and the halls of residence of The University of South Wales, was our base for the weekend with the impressive “Ottley Arms” providing a fine array of choice and quality in the drinks department each evening. The walk up to our rooms gave plenty of opportunity to get fit!

As usual, Chris Berezai had organised a formidable challenge, with eleven matches across the South Wales Alliance being covered in four days. It was great to meet old friends and compare notes since the last ‘hop’

Friday 25th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Premier Division k.o.:- 6.30pm

Cwm Welfare   2

Rhys Williams 24,

Jacob Whitfield  90+6

Cardiff Corinthians  3

Iwan Withers  7, 90,

Zaki Misbah 56 (pen),

Referee:- Nigel Jones (Ton Pentre)            Attendance:- 233

Admission:- £3.00                                      Programme:- £1.00

John Main had gone to Barry Town after this afternoon’s match at The Leckwith Stadium as he had already visited Cwm Welfare. I was able to pick up a Chinese takeaway menu for Graeme’s collection on a wander round the village before the match.

Cardiff Corinthians was the last match of the Spring Welsh hop in March this year, when we had been visiting grounds like Kidwelly Town and Seaside in Carmarthenshire. That afternoon (Sunday 12th March 2017), they lost 1-2 at home to Pontyclun. This evening showed that they were made of sterner stuff! It is early days, yet, but on this performance, Corinthians might be a force this season in their fight to get back Welsh League status. Cwm Welfare might struggle to achieve mid-table mediocrity!

The ground at Cwm Welfare was fairly basic and it adorned on one side the local rugby ground, which had floodlighting and a stand with seats! If truth be told, the Welsh prefer their rugby; football is the poor relation.

The floodlights belong to the rugby club.

Saturday 26th August 2017

First things first! We started the day with the short drive down to “The Upper Boat”  inn at Pontypridd for breakfast – all you can eat, all you can pile onto your plate, and there was many a plate piled high! The two coaches were named “Dastardly” and “Muttley”. I feel that I ought to know why, but I can’t dredge up a creditable answer!

Coach drivers Carl (left) and Roger

The Upper Boat

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1    k.o.:- 10.45am

Trebanog   4

Chris Howe 2, 9,

Anthony Hares  53,

Anthony Cory 57,

Garw SGBC  0

Referee:- Mar Boucher                                     Attendance:- 265

Admission:- £3.00                                      Programme:- £1.00

Trebanog sits atop the ridge that separates the Rhondda Valley from the Ely Valley and behind one goal at Trebanog Field there are two large water towers. Water is drawn up from the Rhondda Valley and stored in the towers for consumption by the population of the Ely Valley!

Indeed, before Trebanog appeared on the scene, the team that used Trebanog Field was called Ely Valley! All this I gleaned from the very knowledgeable Dave Collins who edits and produces “Welsh Football”.

We saw the corresponding fixture last season at Garw SGBC and today’s hosts were well beaten that day by 7-2. That must have been their last significant defeat, because at the end of the season, both clubs were promoted to Division 1.

There was some spectacular scenery and, on one side of the pitch, the field banked steeply giving a panoramic view of the entire ground.

There was never any doubt about this match. The hosts grabbed two early goals and then consolidated their lead by scoring a further two goals just before the hour mark. Their win was emphatic! However, as Chris Berezai pointed out, it still left them in arrears by 6-7 over the two ‘hop’ games between these sides.

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1   k.o.:- 1.15pm

Tonyrefail  2

Thomas Davies 68,

Kurt Daniels 90+3,

Cefn Cribwr BC  3

Tom Harris  4, 29,

Kieran Davies 75,

Referee:- Clive Lene                                         Attendance:- 283

Admission:- £3.00                                        Programme:- £1.00

Big field, bright sunshine and a large crowd 

Les Bull (Les Boeuf) greets the camera with a cheery smile!

Deep in conversation, from the left:- Peter Miles, John Main and Lee West.

Enjoying the match – Peter Ford and Johnny Holland

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2   k.o.:- 4.00pm

Penrhiwfer   0

Blaenrhondda  2

Luke Jones 37, 72,

Referee:- Mike Pickett                                       Attendance:- 225

Admission:- £3.00                                       Programme:- £1.00

A feature of all of today’s games was the spectacular scenery which surrounds the grounds. This arena was no exception. Behind the small stand down one side of the ground lurked a considerable drop to the main road. Fortunately, it was well guarded with a stiff wire fence!

On the side of the ground opposite to the small covered area, the ground sloped away steeply to a row of houses a couple of hundred feet further up the hill.

Young John Main (picture courtesy of Mike Squires) is watching the match and texting at the same time, but without the use of his footwear! The socks are carefully laid out to dry, as are the shoes, after John tried to climb up to the aforementioned row of houses to take a picture of the ground. Not far into his odyssey, the ground became very soggy and swampy and soon covered his feet above the ankle. His jeans were caught in the mud too, but John preferred to let them dry whilst they were still on his legs!

This picture (courtesy of Magret Haenke) is what John was striving for!!! Mind you, I understand that Magret had the good sense to drive up to the houses to take the picture!

No doubts as to the winner of this contest. A goal in each half for the visitors saw them garner victory and three points!

The home side had a penalty saved after 55 minutes!

Saturday 26th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Premier Division   k.o.:- 6.30pm

Ynyshir Albions  2

Jamie Williams 6,

Daniel Evans 9,

Ton & Gelli United  1

Jason Davies 40,

Referee:- Peter Small (Dowlais)                         Attendance:- 260

Admission:- £3.00                                         Programme:- £1.00

This was my favourite ground, today. It had a greater degree of permanence than any of the other three grounds. A river ran far beneath the stadium at one end of the ground and at the same end, the hill steepled above the ground and even above the houses perched high up on its sides!

This was a match between two clubs at opposite ends of the table! The home side (whose nomenclature definitely IS in the plural) sit at the top of the pyramid and started off with two goals in the first ten minutes. It seemed that little could stop a massacre. However, the visitors rallied and put up remarkably stern resistance and actually had the effrontery to halve the lead before the break. In the second half, Ynyshir clung on for the victory ……………… but perhaps a draw might have been a fairer result!

Karin Preene, a very comely official of The South Wales Alliance Football League.  She was happy to be photographed for the record!

Sunday 27th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1   k.o.:- 11.00am

Penrhiwceiber Constitutional Athletic  0

FC Cwmaman  2

Nathan Jenkins 41, 48,

Referee:- Martyn Cook                                       Attendance:- 292

Admission:- £3.00                                       Programme:- £1.00

The host’s name was a bit of a mouthful, but they had brought lots of their own support to this match (as indeed, had the opposition!).

There appeared to be several other sites in the town much more appropriate to football at this level. For various reasons, however, – belonging to a different club or pitch too small – none were acceptable.

Instead, a huge field  lying on the very edge of the village, was the chosen site for the match. At 116 yards – or is it metres, Laurence?- it is rumoured to be the longest pitch in South Wales.

It doesn’t say how many died down the pit, but I bet there were a few over the hundred and six years!

This was a tight tense encounter with few opportunities, but Cwmaman’s  Nathan Jenkins took two of them, one each side of half-time, his second a very sweet volley from a tight angle!

Sunday 27th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2  k.o.:- 2.00pm

Cwmbach Royal Stars  0

Tynte Rovers  1

Matthew Richards 2,

Referee:- Ian Thornton                                           Attendance:- 267

Admission:- £3.00                                              Programme:- £1.00

This was a ground perched precariously, it felt, on top of a hillside with a splendid view of the town and valley below. Sadly, this was the poorest game of the ‘hop’ by some considerable distance! The only goal was scored in the first ninety seconds. Thereafter, two mediocre teams slogged out the remaining eighty-eight minutes without ever carving out a reasonable scoring effort on target.

Much of the match was spent in trying to find some cover from the blazing sun and capturing pictures of the surrounding views.

One was tempted to say: “Cwmbach? No, I don’t think so!”

Robin and John relaxing behind the top goal

Margaret struggling to her feet after a nap pitch side!

Sunday 27th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Premier Division   k.o.:- 6.00pm

Brecon Corinthians   2

Jack Bain 53,

Craig Jones 82,

Pontlottyn  0

Referee:- Duncan Lewis                                              Attendance:- 236

Admission:- £3.00                                           Programme:- £1.00

This was a ground with plenty of history and tradition, but all their glory was in the past! There was a fine stand, but many of the seats were vandalised and those that weren’t leaned forward so that it was a sliding sensation for those trying to sit on them! They club had floodlights. I presume that they are still working (unlike Pontlottyn’s last year), but there was no need for them this evening

Brecon Corinthians are in a bit of no-man’s land between The South Wales Alliance and The Spar Mid-Wales League. It was a long way from the cosiness of all the other clubs we visited which were never more than ten minutes from each other, or so it seemed.

They were too good for their opponents, however, although it seemed to take them a long while to gird their loins for the conflict. It was nearly an hour before they breached the Pontlottyn defence, but then a second goal arrived to seal the contest, some eight minutes from time!

View of the Weekend!

Monday 28th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 1   k.o.:- 11.00am

Cogan Coronation   0

AFC Whitchurch   6

Alex Bould  11,

Joshua Spencer 26,

Gazz Woodman 49,

Thomas Fry  53, 90+1,

Joseph Brazier 73,

Named after the local club – “The Coronation” – where they were formed in 1951, they merged for a while with Penarth Town and under the name of Cogan Corinthians, played in The South Wales Amateur League until voted out by other clubs.

Their ground is a pitch with an eight foot fence all around it which does nothing to add to the ground’s allure.

Trains roll past on the distant embankment on a regular basis – dirty, smelly, obsolete trains which tells you that you are nowhere near London where only the best in railway transportation is acceptable!

The hosts were just not at the races today.  It wasn’t a particularly scintillating match, but AFC Whitchurch won at a canter and could – and should – have scored several more goals.

Frustration got the better of the hosts and they had a man sent off for two bookable offences and on his way off the pitch, he appeared to push the referee. It was an offence for which Ronaldo of Real Madrid recently received a five match ban!

Monday 28th August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2  k.o.:- 2.00pm

St Josephs   0

Cardiff Airport   5

Theo Richards  7,

Tee-Jay Caton 35, 71, 90,

Michael Fallas 54,

Referee:- Kevin Russell                                           Attendance:- 258

Admission:- £3.00                                               Programme:- £1.00

St Josephs is a football team founded in 1968 which is part of The St Joseph’s Catholic Sports and Social Club. The Maes-y-Coed Playing Fields are their headquarters.

Yet again, the sun was beating down remorselessly and shelter was at a premium.

There was a gulf between these two teams. The visitors were committed, determined and strong. They trampled on any home resistance and scored almost at will. Tee-Jay Caton was the pick of the strikers with three goals.

This was the second goal of Tee-Jay Caton’s hat-trick. The free kick came over and he deftly flicked wide of the advancing keeper.

Monday August 2017

South Wales Alliance Division 2   k.o.:- 5.00pm

Llanrumney United   3

David Cachia 19,

Dan Raymond 58,

Nicholas Beckley 74 (og),

Cardiff Cosmopolitan   1

Craig Graves  50,

Referee:- Graham Evans                                             Attendance:- 215

Admission:- £3.00                                               Programme:- £1.00

The last match of the epic weekend and it seemed to have gone in a flash! I haven’t mentioned The Ottley Arms (have I?) which was our nightly haunt and served some superb real ale.

Llanrumney United were unsettled by tales of heavy away victories today and were determined not to be included in the pattern! They scored first and although they conceded an equaliser shortly after half-time, they soon regained the lead and a decisive third strike from an own goal when a defender turned his back on a cross which rebounded into the net, gave them a handsome victory.

Towards the end of the match pizza arrived and I managed TWO slices!

Chris Berezai strides purposeful towards his pitch!

Michael Squires looking forward to the final encounter!

John Main, like many of us, seeking shelter from the blazing sun!

John Main and I had toured today’s matches by car, forsaking the coach for a quick getaway after the last match. It was a worthwhile ploy, because I was home by ten o’clock.

It had been an exhilarating ‘hop’.

Looking back on it, I think I enjoyed the Saturday matches the most and the Sunday games the least. But, you win some and you lose some. Not every game at any level can be a great game and it wasn’t for lack of effort or determination that some of the matches palled.

Once again, the organisation of the ‘hop’ was brilliant! It takes some managing to keep so many punters happy and Chris, once again, showed how good forward planning and capable administration could keep most of the people happy, most of the time!

I won’t be at the next one – The North Bucks League –  because I will be on holiday, but I am looking forward to The Western League Hop in October!!

 Other Matches:-

Monday 7th August 2017

(Derbyshire) Summer League

Ashbourne OB  0  Mappleton  12 (twelve)         Attendance:- 36

Monday 14th August 2017

Professional Development League

Coventry City U-23  1  Bolton Wanderers U-23  0      Attendance:- 141

Monday 14th August 2017

(Derbyshire) Summer League

Mappleton   4   Weston   0                                         Attendance:- 27

Monday 21st August 2017

Premier League 2 Division 2

Aston Villa  1  Stoke City  2                                        Attendance:- 114

Friday 25th August 2017

Professional Development League

Cardiff City U-23   2   Crewe Alexandra U-23  1       Attendance:- 92

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