Saturday, 30 January 2016

Cold afternoon at New Croft

Saturday 30 January 2016, Haverhill Borough 2 Diss Town 1 - Thurlow Nunn, First Division - The New Croft

I was intending to go to Royston but a morning postponment saw me change my plans and West Suffolk became my destination and a second visit to the New Croft, a new build ground but one done very well but could they have found somewhere not as cold!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Not a great example!

Tuesday 26 January 2016, Stotfold 3 Leverstock Green 3 - Spartan South Midlands League, Roker Park

My second attempt to see a game at Stotfold, beaten by the rain last time but even with Storm Jonas and it's gale force winds this time I would see some football.

A good size crowd with a number of other groundhoppers and neutral and some us still in the queue at the quaint tea bar when Leverstock scored-  and they should have been two up when the ref failed to give a penalty.

They eventually did go two up and were by far the better football team, Stotfold did have some good players but their captain and forward did seem to think he was better than he was (I would be proved wrong). The visitors soon went two up but by that time I had wandered round the pitch and was stood behind the Leverstock dug out and what a shock, I found a manger who instead of coaching or praising his team (who were playing well) spent the whole half moaning about the official, abusing opposition players and then arguing with the crowd.

Just before half time, Stotfold got one back so 1-2 at half time.

Second half and Leverstock stopped playing football and decided to follow the example of their manger, and moan, foul, and moan their way through the half and at the same time Stotfold started to play. The behavior of the visiting manger seemed to have persuaded most of the neutrals present to support the home team and it was their captain (who I had not been impressed with) who decided to show us all he could play and he scored twice, one in the last minute to give Stotfold a 3-2 lead but then a needless penalty was given away in injury time and the game ended 3-3.

Now I must say the ref did not have a great game but the abuse from the visiting manger was certainly not needed or appreciated and di make a mockery of the so called FA run 'respect' campaign.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Made very welcome

Saturday 23 January 2016, Biggleswade Town 1 Hungerford Town 4, Southern League Premier Division - Carlsberg Stadium

They may have a 'new build' ground but they certainly have kept a friendly non league feel with the luxury of some modern facilities for fans. modern spacious (but slightly cold) clubhouse, stand with covers and seats, and a quality burger van.

The clubhouse was even improved more by free teamsheets and a programme table with some outstanding bargains.

One drawback with the ground is the proximity of the river, the game was still on but the pitch very heavy. Football wise, Hungerford displayed more skill deserved their 4-1 win. But what an obnoxious manager, even when 4-1 up he spent most of the match swearing, having a go at the ref and chasing the linesman - love to see the results if he wore a heart rate monitor - make 'Fat' Sam look calm.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Boys against slightly bigger boys!

Monday 18 January 2016, Ipswich Town U21 0 Colchester United 3, U21 Professional  Development League, Division 2 - Playford Road

Bottom of the league!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Bore draw!

Saturday 16 January 2016, Ipswich Town 1 Preston North End 1 - Championship, Portman Road

Other than a bit of class from Murphy, not much to write home about.

Top talent

Wednesday 13 January 2016, West Ham United U21 3 Fulham U21 2 (aet) -  Premier League U21 Cup, Round of 16 - Rush Green

Rush Green is a former non-league ground now taken over by a Premier club as a home for their development teams, Rush Green  as a former sports ground for Fords offered West Ham not just a pitch and ground for their Under 21 team but also plenty of room for their other training pitches.

The sad part of it is that they do not allow the ground to be used by a local non-league team as their home ground so we have Romford now playing out by the M25 rather in their home town.

The ground itself has a great stand with a curved roof and the pitch is a distance from  the spectators due to it once having an athletics track round the pitch. plenty of room for the many coaches and staff these development teams seem to have.

On the pitch there seemed to be a higher standard of football than the Under 21 games at Ipswich with the West Ham player Reece Oxford looking like a future England player.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

For once, cheats did not prosper!

Tuesday 12 January 2016, Ipswich Town 2 Leeds United 1 - Championship, Portman Road

We did not help ourselves by letting Leeds score in less than 30 seconds!  But after that we maybe never saw 'dirty Leeds' but certainly plenty of cheating - with their largish manager encouraging them to time waste when they could - but because of that we had 5 minutes time added on, just enough for us to get a deserved winner.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Another non league gem discovered?

Monday 11 January 2016, Ipswich Town U21 2 Charlton Athletic 2, U21 Professional Development League, Division 2 - Playford Rd

Another non league gem discovered? - Brady Hickey from Barwell

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Luck of the cup - and it was all ours!

Saturday 9 January 2016, Ipswich Town 2 Portsmouth 2, FA Cup 3rd Round - Portman Road

We are lucky to be in the next round of the cup, a much changed team was made to look second best by a Pompey team that should be very proud of their display.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Struggling on - but with a smile on their faces

Saturday 2 January 2016, Barking 1 Bowers and Pitsea 0, Essex Senior League - Mayesbrook Park

Up the road from Mayesbrook Park, West Ham were celebrating another win and counting down the games till they move to the Olympic Stadium at Stratford. But down in Dagenham, Barking are struggling on in a rundown ground and surviving only because they have a fantastic bunch of club volunteers, the same sort of people you will find at non-league clubs all over the country,

Clubs like this need help from the Government, local councils and the FA, but in most cases they get little help and have to do everything themselves - compare that to West Ham who seem to have been given the Olympic Stadium for peanuts by Boris Johnson (Karen Brady and friends in high places?)

But we should all join together and thank those club volunteers who keep the non-league game going and today we were rewarded with a good game on a wet day where many games fell foul of the weather.

Barking and Bowers were evenly matched in the first half but Barking took a deserved lead in the second half after having most of the ball but they still had to rely on their keeper to give them a win as he was called on to save a late penalty from Bowers.

So thank you the great football people at Barking and Bowers.