Sunday, 13 September 2020

Good cup win for the 'Hoops'

 Saturday 12 September 2020, Deal Town 4 Sittingbourne 1 - Charles Ground, FA Cup Preliminary Round

My first visit to Deal and completed that division, some moan that the Deal ground lost its charm when the old wooden stand was removed, but I liked the ground- the stand with a press gantry above, the changing rooms in the corner, a double decker bus commemorating a 2000 FA Vase win, and odd bits of cover all over the ground and a modern clubhouse.

Very organised, good track and trace system in action however most supporters seemed to ignore advice on social distancing.

Deal shocked their higher placed visitors by going ahead in the first minute from the spot, Sittingbourne did not pancic , but struggled to take control and it was Deal who scored next and by half way through the half you could see that the two wingers from Deal were too hot for the visitors full backs and just before the break the number 11 made the goal for the other winger, number 7 to score- three up at the break.

The visitors changed one of their full backs at half time and that made them look more solid at the back but they were arguing amongst themselves and struggling to do anything with all the possession they had and it was Deal who scored next, adding a 4th goal. the visitors managed a consolation with just a few minutes left in the game. A good win for the home team.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Great start as Frenford return home

Saturday 5 September 2020, Frenford 3 Holland 0 - The Dive, Eastern Counties League, Division One, South

G5, cage but two stands inside, pitch railed on 3 sides. First competitive  game on new pitch. Some might not like G5, or these new complexes but as the idea of football is to get people playing sport, you can't fault the new ground. Tea and coffee in the sports centre, a cricket match on the next pitch and a good track and trace set sup, including two temperature checks. Club officials very friendly and at £4 to get in, has to be a bargain. The sports centre also had a couple of displays showing the history of Frenford, pictures of their various grounds and how the whole project from 1928 had been the brains of one person- Jack Carter a local quaker.

The old admission hut and red and white metal rail from behind one goal on the old grass pitch is still in place. 

Nice club, nice set up but not much local support, with the 54 in attendance included a number of 'hoppers' plus Holland fans.

First half started with Holland on top but they picked up a couple of injuries, Frenford then got on top however Holland came closest to breaking the deadlock with a goalmouth scramble just before the break.

Second half was all frenford as they physically dominated their visitors, in particular they were a threat at all corners., three second half goals for Frenford meant it was great result for a club starting a new chapter in their long history.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

The season starts for real

Wednesday 2 September 2020, Park View 1 Hashtag United 2 - FA Cup, Extra Preliminary Round, New River Sports Stadium

Pre-season over, one that fans seem more interested in this year- because of the lack of live sport for last 6 months. But now the real fun starts- competitive football and nothing beats the FA Cup.

So it was drizzling, it was in an athletics stadium, no bar, no hot food but it was still enjoyable,

As athletics stadiums go, the New River stadium does have a decent stand, and even ten rows of terracing the other side of the pitch, but what made this enjoyable was it was a good game of football.

Hashtag United may have a bad name, a club from nowhere, on their third ground (this was like coming home, as their first ground was also on white Hart Lane)  and involved in 'You tube' but forget that, what I found was a good team, a large away following that included many girls, families and good mix - so I think they will prosper. their opponents only started at step 6 last year but they have also come a long way in football terms if still rooted in the community they started in. A team based round the Ghanaian ex pat community, but now they take players from anywhere in Tottenham and they also want to play good football.

It was  Park View who took the lead but Hashtag hit back from the spot. Park View also lost two players to injury in the first half. The first half was quite even, but in the second half, Hashtag dominated and it was only the efforts of the Park View keeper who manged to keep the goal tally for the visitors to 2 goals.

So the season has started officially, competitive football - but it still feels strange - but the way the crowd stayed to the end - was obvious that people were just happy to be ack watching live sport.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Where has summer gone?

 Saturday 29 August 2020 

 Reigate Priory 1 AFC Ewell 2 at 11am  - Netherne Amateur Sports Club, PSF

Saw this opportunity of a double and decided to make an early start to go south of the Thames - Reigate may be playing at Step 9 -however they are one of the oldest clubs in the world and were one of the 14 teams to enter the initial FA Cup. A good as reason as any to give them a visit.

The 1st team are playing at Netherne till October (because of cricket their usual home ground) but after that the clubs junior teams will continue to play here. It is basic! But pitch fully railed, and small piece of cover and brick dugouts. Pitch is in good condition but rest of ground looks like a ground that has up to recently been very overgrown.

Football wise, Ewell were much the better team, scoring on 37 and 49 minutes, Reigate did get one back on the 81st minute but they never looked like getting back on terms. After we left at 1pm to head to Kent, there were further two Reigate games on the same pitch

Snodland Town 3 New Romney 1 at 3pm - Potyns Sports Ground, PSF

Easy drive over to Kent and arrived with a hour to spare, Snodland is a basic ground, but clean, neat and looked like a new stand which has new changing rooms and possible club room at back of stand - stand was open but new changing rooms and club rooms not open till next week.. Good news was that the tea hut was open ( most locals were just buying Foster's!) So we got a tea and then sat back in the car till kick off as it felt more like November than August.

Football wise, easy to tell Snodland were from a higher level league, however New Romney had their moments - the home side did go in front from the penalty spot on 12 minutes but looked like a dive to most in the ground, but they added further goals in the 16 and 66 minute, New Romney kept trying but it was not till Snodland lost control of the game through numerous substitutions, did Romney get a goal back, however it was probably the best of the game. Just as we thought we would get a close finish, a New Romney player was sin-binned, so the game  was left to fizzle out.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

A club with ambition

 Saturday 22 August 2020, Halesworth Town 4 Walsham-Le-Willows Reserves 2 - Dairy Hill, PSF

A change of plan saw us head up the A12 to Halesworth, an opportunity to complete the Suffolk and Ipswich league, Senior Division plus look at newly promoted Halesworth.

What i saw on the pitch makes me think Halesworth will have no problem surviving in the Senior division and may even challenge those at the top, however what i also found was a club with ambition- a club official told me that they wanted to be in the Jewson league in 2 years and they certainly have the room to build a ground for promotion and also the crowds to make sure enough money comes through the turnstiles. A club with ambition that the whole town seems to want to get behind.


Real village football

 Wednesday 20 August 2020, Coddenham Athletic 1 Tiptree Jobserve 0 - School Road, PSF

Rained throughout most of the first half but do not stop this from being a very competitive game, a few 'tasty' tackles and a bit or arguing- mainly from the two central midfield players for either side.

Lovely rural setting, with an enclosed feel thanks to the high hedges and tees- and a cracking two substantial, homemade wooden dug outs.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Summer rain

 Saturday 15 August 2020 - Long Stratton 1 East Harling 1 - Manor Road, PSF, Attendance- 26 

Both in top division of Anglian Combination, but as a village playing field not possible to play behind closed doors.

Pitch in very good condition, pitch has rail and hard standing on 2 and half sides. Behind one goal is skate park with a children's playground behind the other goal. A modern pavilion/changing rooms slightly off set next to a small car park. Two portable dug outs by the side of the pitch.

Competitive game which was kept under control by the game having 3 neutral match officials. 0-0 at half time and would not have been surprised if it had stayed like that but Harling went in front on the break after 70 minutes with the home team managing to equalise with 3 minutes left on the clock, past the 16 year old keeper making his Harling debut. Most of the second half was played in heavy rain - but still warm!!