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October 2017 and The Western Hop

Net to net rolls the ball
with the feet fast they scroll
the kicks find the bar too small
too hard to score a goal!


Sweats it out the forward
saves it tough the one at back
like a fort he must guard
not allow a crack!


On the grass no guide or map
rely on footwork skill
pierce the defense find the gap
go for the lethal kill!


The ball if once finds the net
stop breath a million soul
mourns the side in sealed fate
the air is rend with GOAL! ! ! !


Rhymes Of Football
Pradip Chattopadhyay




The Western League ‘Hop’

Friday 6th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1

Ashton & Backwell United  2

Sam Skidmore 36, 55,

Bishop Sutton  1

Nathan Rendell 71,

Referee:- Adam Osborne                               Attendance:- 225

Admission:- £6.00                                    Programme:- £1.00

“Where there is Unity, there will be victory”

Last season’s whipping boys, Bishop Sutton have turned the tables and are now competitive. On a reasonably mild evening, there was a good turn-out of hoppers – many, like myself, based at The Royal Grovesnor Hotel in Weston-super-Mare. This was to be the only match of the”Hop” where I had already visited, but it was good to get back and I would much prefer the first match to be a re-visit than the last match!

Ashton & Backwell scored two goals ten minutes either side of half-time. However, you sensed that the visitors were never out of it and when they scored on 71 minutes, the match was set up for a tense finale.

A beautiful red sky bathed The Lancer Scott Stadium before the match. It should have been a prelude to a fine day following, but, sadly, that was not the case ………………..

Choppy full tide at Weston-super-Mare before the first match of a dull, drizzly day!

Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1,  k.o.:- 10.45am

Welton Rovers  3

Tom Smith 27,

Chris Pile 42, 90,

Keynsham Town  1

Matt Brown, 4,

Referee:- Kane Lewis                                                Attendance:- 247

Admission:- £6.00                                              Programme:- £1.00

Long have I lusted after Welton Rovers and a visit to their West Clewes Stadium. I think it was the many times that I passed the ground en-route to somewhere else that made me determined, one day, to visit it. It felt a bit like a child growing up in H.G Wells short story: “The Door in the Wall”.

Sad to say, reality did not live up to expectation. They must have built a new stand since I was last in the vicinity and the ground seemed to be off a narrow town street rather than adjacent to the main highway to the south-west!

The weather had taken a turn for the worse and we endured virtually our only rain of the weekend during this match.

Welton eventually cruised to victory, but it was a difficult opening. The visitors struck in the fourth minute and it took the hosts until the 27th minute to draw level. It was just before half-time that the Rovers deservedly took the lead. The second half was a different story, but only one goal was added to the tally as Rovers took command and stamped their authority on the match.


Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1  k.o.:- 1.30pm

Radstock Town  1

Scott Gregory (og) 17,

Oldland Abbotonians  0

Referee:- Brian Lee                                               Attendance:- 213

Admission:- £6.00                                              Programme:- £1.00

Radstock have had a chequered history. They are believed to be the oldest football club in Somerset and whilst their club badge suggests 1895 as a birth date, there is plenty of evidence of Radstock football in the 1880s.

Radstock’s pleasant ground was graced by a large seated stand, but they are under threat of expulsion from the league due to ground grading shortcomings. Part of that has already been overcome with the installation of new floodlights, but they still need to introduce turnstiles to suit the suits at The FA (gawd knows why!!!).

This was not the best match of the “hop” and it was settled with an own goal from Oldland Abbottonian’s Scott Gregory, some seventeen minutes into the contest!


Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Premier Division,

 k.o.:- 4.30pm

Odd Down      2

Kane Simpson 31

Asa White (pen) 84,

David Gould s/o 34

Bitton   2

Tom Knighton 65

Joe McLennan 75,

Kyle Tooze s/o 65

Referee:- Brian Channing                                           Attendance:- 211

Admission:- £6.00                                                   Programme:- £1.00

White was the predominant colour at The Lew Hill Memorial Ground. Odd Down have only spent 39 seasons in The Western League (from 1977/78) and, indeed, were ejected from The Somerset League at one time for a lack of facilities! In 2015/16, however, they won the championship of The Western League, but allowed Barnstaple Town in second place to take promotion to The Southern League.

This match was a pretty feisty affair with two sendings off (the home side lost a man, sent off, after 34 minutes and the visitors had a player dismissed in the 65th minute). A draw was probably a fair result. Odd Down took the lead up to half time, Bitton bit back with two goals, to lead with fifteen minutes remaining, but a penalty six minutes from time ensured that the spoils were shared!

Saturday 7th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Premier Division

k.o.:- 7.45pm

Hengrove Athletic  3

Craig White 53,

Rhys Hickery 60,

Jack Fillingham 90+1 (Pen)

Hallen   3

Scott Thomas 4,

Luke Mills 25,

Scott Cousins 72,

Referee:- Robert Cockle                                             Attendance:- 239

Admission:- £6.00                                                 Programme:- £1.00

“Dulce est desipere in loco – It is good to play the fool occasionally”.

Our visit to Hengrove Athletic felt like a visit to a stadium in the middle of nowhere! And that was despite, the queues of cars trying to get into the tight little ground causing minor traffic jams on the country road.

Hengrove Athletic are a comparatively recent club having been formed in 1948 and gaining promotion to The Western League in 2005/06.

This was a topsy-turvy game in which the visitors seemed to have total control after establishing a 2-0 half-time lead. The home side somehow drew level on the hour, but fell behind once again twelve minutes later. A penalty in added time at the very end of the match gave the hosts a share of the points in a game where they should have been beaten out of sight!

Sunday 8th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Premier Division

k.o.:- 10.45am

Shepton Mallet  4

James Billing 21, 48, 90,

Tyson Pollard 26,

Brislington  1

Danny Hunt  81,

Referee:- Nigel Whitfield                                       Attendance:- 285

Admission:- £6.00                                          Programme:- £1.00

An early start at 9.15am with Craig Dabbs at the wheel of our minibus for the thirty or so miles to Shepton Mallet. The Playing Field in West Shepton is a pretty impressive stadium. There is a large stand down one side and a seated stand along the side on the left as you enter the ground. In addition, there is seated cover behind the top goal.

Craig Dabbs (our driver), John Main and Chris Berezai

Covered seating behind the top goal

Covered seating down one side

Covered standing along the opposite side!

Shepton Mallet have not always enjoyed success. In 1986, they went bankrupt and a newly formed club took the place of the old club’s reserves in The Somerset County League Division 2.

Today, they were imperious as the swept Brislington aside with captain and defender-cum-striker James Billing claiming a hat-trick. It was 2-0 at the interval and 4-0 before the visitors managed to claim a consolation goal. The fine weather returned and it was very warm!!

Karl Senior

Jack Warner

front:- Robin and Paul, behind is Mike Squires

Sunday 8th October 2017

Toolstation Western League Division 1 k.o.:- 2.15pm

Bishops Lydeard  2

James Quick 37,

Ben Hebditch 43

Cheddar  3

Chris Coombes  7,

Adam Jones  67,

Ricky Bennett 73

Referee:- Kevin Rodd                                                 Attendance:- 264

Admission:- £6.00                                                Programme:- £2.00

The last game of the “Hop” took place at Cothelstone Road, the home of recently arrived members, Bishops Lydeard. Last year on the ‘hop’ we saw them win handsomely at Chard but, today, they were off the pace and struggled against a competent but pedestrian Cheddar team. Having said that, it was the hosts who, rather fortuitously, took a half-time lead after Cheddar had opened the scoring with an early strike.

Cheddar took the victory and the points with two second half goals and thoroughly deserved their success!

Besides the match and the sunshine, there were two different types of curry to choose from!

Giles and Andy enjoying the match

The Toolstation Western League organise their own annual ‘Hop’ and this year, once again, it was a very enjoyable sojourn in The West Country. Chris Berezai organised the hotels and the transport and it was good to return to The Royal Grosvenor after our dalliance last year in the seaside holiday camp! I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, the accommodation, the trip and the games

Chris deserves a word of gratitude for all the hard work that he put in to make the ‘hop’ such a success.

Here’s to next year!


Tuesday 10th October 2017
Birmingham County FA Central League Cup

k.0.:- 2.00pm

Walsall 0

Doncaster Rovers 4

Liam Mandeville 18,

James Morris 21, 43,

Jacob Fletcher 54,
Referee;- Neil Howlett                                                   Attendance:- 55
Admission:- F.O.C.                                  Programme:- free teamsheet
This was my first visit to Ray Hall Lane and I was impressed with the facilities. There were no floodlights, but there were several pitches and refreshments, cover and seats for spectators. We never did find out the age group of the players. Some said U-18 others U-23 and even others that it was a reserve match. There was no doubting the better side. Rovers dominated throughout and were not flattered by the score.


Tuesday 10th October 2017
Staffordshire Senior Cup – 1st Round

k.o.:- 7.45pm

Abbey Hulton United 0

Walsall Wood 3

Tony Clarke 7,

Sam Agar 62,

Callum McFarlane 82,
Referee:- Jonathan Maskrey                                       Attendance:- 115
Admission:- OMGDS£3.00 (£5)                          Programme:- £2.00
This is Abbey Hulton’s debut season in The Hallmark Security North West Counties League. They marked the opening of their floodlights last week with a match against Sandbach United which, they say,  attracted over 2,000 spectators! For tonight’s run-of-the-Mill county cup encounter, there were programmes and even printed tickets. The refreshments were extensive including the local speciality of ‘oat cakes’. Walsall Wood, nominally a step higher than their opponents, had no difficulty in snatching a comfortable victory. However, the hosts are ambitious and they look to be at the start of a long adventure, with success beckoning along the way!

A ticket was issued for tonights game! 


Wednesday 11th October 2017
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 South

Corby Town 3

Sam Mulready 25, 37,

Leon Lobjoit 75,

Alvechurch 1

David Dubidat 85,
Referee:- Scott Postin (Coventry)                                Attendance:- 270
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£10)                           Programme:- £2.00
My 180th visit to see a Steelmen home game (albeit at three different grounds), and, for once, the fare served up was well worth the entrance fee! Alvechurch, seventh in the table, fancied their chances against 16th placed Corby Town. However, it was the Steelmen who took control with two goals midway through the first half and a third with fifteen minutes left to play. Alvechurch were left to score a consolation goal five minutes from time.

The James Ashworth VC Memorial Stand


Thursday 12th October 2017
FA WSL Continental Cup Group I South

Arsenal Ladies 7

Lisa Evans 22,

Emma Mitchell 33, 36,

Beth Mead 60, 79,

Louise Quinn  84,

London Bees 0
Referee:- Robert Whitton                                      Attendance:- c800
Admission:- OMGDS £5.00 (£10)                      Programme:- £2.00
This game at Boreham Wood’s ground was largely a mis-match. Arsenal are the seeded team in this group and were technically and strategically far superior to their cross-London rivals. Bees were spirited and determined, but had no match for their Women’s Premier League rivals. They did have a very promising forward on display, however, in Destiney Toussaint. She would have been an asset, even to the Arsenal starlets!


The Bedfordshire County League ‘Hop’

Saturday 14th October 2017

Bedfordshire county League Division 1

k.o.:- 11.00am

Wixams   4

Gaz White 6,

Grant Tibbett 19,

Max Natola 36,

Charlie Battams 58,

Sandy   1

Tom Hunt 66,

Referee:- Chris Howes                                              Attendance:- 125

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

There were two pitches at Wixams, a housing estate on the south side of Bedford, One pitch was 3G and enclosed in a wire cage. Wixams FC normally play there. However, today, they were on the grass pitch adjacent. Drinks and hot food were available in the club house and Craig handed out the programme packs before the game.

I didn’t really expect the hosts to win this match. Both teams were going well, but Sandy had games in hand and, on paper, looked the stronger side. It was something of a surprise, then when Wixams raced into a two goal lead in the first twenty minutes! Another strike followed before half-time and a fourth just before the hour mark. Poor old Sandy were shell-shocked, but they did recover to score a consolation effort some twenty minutes from time!


Saturday 14th October 2017

Bedfordshire County League Premier Division

k.o.:- 2.00pm

AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College  2

Colby Smith  23,

Perry Ronayne 36 (pen),

Caldecote  2

Jack Boyd  8,

Dan Fennel  33,

Referee:- Martin Darlow                                          Attendance:- 109

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

This was the opening fixture at a completely new ground just off the A428 on the north east side of Bedford.

There were excellent facilities in the club house and plenty of car parking space. In addition, there were four or five full sized pitches so that the scope for development was pretty substantial.

Both teams are well placed in the top half of the premier division of The Bedfordshire County League and the match was played at a good pace – at least for the first half, where the two sides shared four goals. The second half was less than scintillating as the sides settled for what they had and the game tamely fizzled out!

Saturday 14th October 2017

Bedfordshire County League Premier Division

k.o.:- 5.00pm

Cranfield United  1

Nev Allen (og) 68,

Renhold United  0

Referee:- Brian Cooper                                             Attendance:- 116

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

I had visited Cranfield United nine years previously, when they were in The Spartan South Midlands League Division 1. That very cold evening was memorable because my son preferred to watch from the club house window rather than brave the icy conditions outside as the home side defeated Bedford FC by 2-1 in front of a meagre crowd of 32. (2nd December 2008)

This season, both the hosts and Renhold United are struggling in the top division of the league – and it showed on the field of play as very few chances were created in a lacklustre first half! In the second half, Cranfield upped the tempo, but the match looked to be heading for the dreaded 0-0 draw until, in the 68th minute, when a comical error by the visiting goalkeeper produced the only goal of the match. He contrived to kick the ball into his own net rather than out of it – and it took more than one attempt to get it all horribly wrong!

This was the last match of Craig Dabbs Bedfordshire “Hop”. As he said himself: “There has never been a 0-0 draw on this hop”, but this match brought that possibility perilously close!

It is always a pleasure to attend this ‘hop’ and the day simply speeds past until darkness falls on the only ground today that was equipped with floodlights!

Tuesday 17th October 2017
Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay

Boston United 3

James Clifton 23,

Kabongo Tshimanga 51,

Greg Smith 82,

Chorley 4                                                             after extra time

Nick Haughton 50, 61, 111,

Andy Teague 55,

Matt Hughes s/o 102
Referee:- Wayne Cartmel                                       Attendance:- 1,132
Admission:- OMGDS £7.00 (£10)                     Programme:- £2.00
Team-sheet:- £1.00
This was my ninety-sixth visit to York Street, but still five years after my last visit!

On a murky, wet evening, these two teams put on a wonderful display of all out attack and physical determination.

It was a real shame that one side had to lose.

I know I would have been beyond recovery had Chorley lost!

The game see-sawed. 1-0 and 2-1 to The Pilgrims, then 3-2 to Chorley, before Greg Smith’s 82nd minute equaliser. In the second period of extra time Chorley, inexplicably, had a man dismissed, but managed to score almost immediately through the very impressive Nick Haughton, for whom it was his hat-trick! That goal sealed the victory and took Chorley through to a home first round tie against Fleetwood Town of League 1.

Sadly, Nick Haughton is on loan to Chorley from Fleetwood Town. Whether he will be allowed to play in the FA Cup 1st Round is still not certain.

Wednesday 18th October 2017
Birmingham Senior Cup 1st Round

Coventry United 3

Dominic Alleyne 17,

Craig Reid  26,

Scott Hammond  73,

Highgate United 5

Marco Adagio 15, 74,

Scott Rickards 39,

Lei Brown 40, 

Scott Turner 55,
Referee:- Ryan Haynes                                       Official Attendance:- 65
Admission OMGDS £6.00 (£7)                        Programme:- £0.50
Car Park:- £2.00
This huge arena was built in 2004 and features a 3,000 seat stand with facilities below, including a spacious bar. This is Coventry United’s first season sharing the stadium with the city’s rugby Union and League clubs.Besides the main stand, there is very little other areas around the ground, except for what looked like hospitality outlets behind one goal. Highgate won this encounter at a canter and their five goal haul could have been higher!

Saturday 21st October 2017
The Scottish Premier League

Hearts 1

Kyle Lafferty 74,

St Johnstone 0
Referee:- Nick Walsh                                               Attendance:- 18,534
Admission:- £26.00                                                  Programme:- £3.50
A bit of pampering, today, John Main and I took a first class ride on Virgin Trains from Peterborough to Edinburgh and then walked down from Haymarket Station to the very impressive Murrayfield Stadium. Hearts are using the stadium whilst they rebuild one of the stands at their Gorgie ground.The match itself was nothing to write home about. St Johnstone were unlucky to lose to a wildly deflected shot from Kyle Lafferty, which gave the goalkeeper no chance. However, the ground and the atmosphere were pretty impressive and probably almost unique as Hearts will only play one more match here before returning to their Tynecastle home.

Wednesday 25th October 2017
Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Cup  

2nd Round

Blackstones 2

Ben Porter 18 (pen),

Lee Clarke 50,

Peterborough Northern Star 1

Craig Rook 33,
Referee:- Lee Hartley Attendance:- 102
Admission:- £5.00 Programme:- £1.00
You can’t beat Blackstones on a mild Autumn evening with the floodlights highlighting the golden colours of the trees and a carpet of bronze leaves coating the pitch. This evening, they were entertaining higher division rivals, Peterborough Northern Star, and in a cracker of a match, they edged it with an early second half strike after the sides had gone into the break level pegging at 1-1.

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.   
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.   

Saturday 28th October 2017
The Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round

Tiverton Town 2

Owen Howe 61,   Callum Hall 65,

Banbury United 2

Ravi Shamsi 16,    Jefferson Lewis  45+3,
Referee:- Declan O’Shea                                             Attendance:- 248
Admission:- OMGDS£6.50 (£9)                          Programme:- £2.00
It was a long drive down to North Devon, but the welcome was spontaneous. I made the mistake of requesting a Cornish pastie, only to be told that they were Devon Pasties and very tasty they were, too! The ground was spruce and neat with cover on all sides, but seating only down one side. Banbury had already knocked Tiverton out of The FA Cup and by half-time, when they were 2-0 up, it looked as if they would do the same in The FA Trophy! Tiverton pulled out all the stops in the second half but, they had a little help from the referee who was a tad harsh on the penalty and the free kick which preceded it! All to play for next Tuesday in Banbury!

Tuesday 31st October 2017
Sussex Principal Royal Ulster Rifles Charity Cup
3rd Round

Haywards Heath Town 3

Trevor McCreadie 11,

Max Miller 52,

Callum Saunders 89,

Lancing 3             (after extra time – score at 90 minutes 3-3)

Scott Chamberlain 38 (og)

Lewis Finney 40, 74,

Tom Watson s/o 118,
Lancing won on penalties by 4-3
Referee:- Michael Barnes Attendance:- 98
Admission:- OMGDS:- £5.00 (£7) Programme:- incl.
After a frustrating train journey and a taxi to the station, who should be there, but Andy English with all the team information like manna to a dying traveller! There is one big stand at Hanbury Road and a small covered standing area behind one goal, but not a lot else. There was an extensive club house and a small cafe which, unusually for a southern club, sold pies (and cakes!). It was a pulsating game between two of the top teams in The Southern Combination League. The visitors had five players booked and one sent off, but they triumphed after extra time failed to produce a winner and will progress in the competition at the expense of their hosts!


Other Matches:-

Monday 2nd October 2017

Southern League Cup 1st Round

Hitchin Town  4  Bishops Stortford  2                        Attendance:- 138


Tuesday 3rd October 2017

Chromasport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division

Desborough Town  2  Deeping Rangers  0                Attendance:-63


Wednesday 4th October 2017  k.o.:- 2.00pm

National League U-19 Alliance Division I

Mansfield Town  6  Kidderminster Harriers  0          Attendance:- 38


Wednesday 4th October 2017   k.o.:- 7.45pm

Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division

Godmanchester Rovers    3  Haverhill Borough  1    Attendance:- 45

Monday 23rd October 2017

(Under-23) Premier League 2 Division 1

Leicester City  2  Swansea City  0                            Attendance:- 443

Tuesday 24th October 2017

Carabao Cup 4th Round

Leicester City  3  Leeds United  1                         Attendance:- 31,516


Monday 30th October k.o.:- 2.00pm

Professional Development League

Coventry City U-23    0         Millwall U-23    0            Attendance:- 190

Monday 30th October 2017 k.o.:- 7.45pm

Northants Senior Youth League – East Division

Rottweil Corinthians  3  S&L Corby  1                           Attendance:- 56

This Month:- 

Matches:-  28          New Grounds:- 15

This Season:-

Matches:-  89              New Grounds:-   48


Matches:-  3,788       New Grounds:-  1,390


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