Saturday, 16 September 2017

On the wing, via Manchester

Saturday 16 September 2017, Ipswich Town 2 Bolton Wanderers 0 - Championship, Portman Road

Not the most convincing of displays, but good to get back to winning ways - and the new winger from Manchester City is sure to be a crowd favourite.

At last, a win!

Saturday 16 September 2017, Ipswich Town Under18s 4 Birmingham City U18s 3 - U18 Professional Development League, Playford Road Training Ground

At half time it looked like we heading for another heavy defeat, but a great second half comeback, started by the two substitutes coming on in midfield saw Ipswich get a late winner and their first win of the season.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A match worthy of the FA Cup name

Wednesday 6 September 2017, Grays Athletic 2 Hertford Town 3 (aet) - FA Cup, 1st Qualifying Round, replay, Parkside

Looking forward to this game for a number of reasons, new ground, saw the first game and thought there would be goals.

Not disappointed with my choice- not a fan of new grounds, but this one is well build, smart, fit for purpose and plenty of potential. On the pitch saw the goals that I expected but thought Grays would be too strong at home but in fact Hertford raised their game from Saturday, the G4 pitch suited their passing style and a number of their players including the keeper were outstanding.

Was a fantastic game with some brilliant goals and Hertford deserved the win.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

And the lights go on!

Tuesday 5 September 2017, Little Oakley 2 West Essex 3 - Memorial Ground, Essex Senior Cup, 2nd Round

A year ago I visited Little Oakley, when they were members of the Border League, and it is amazing the work they have done at the ground in just 12 months. Tonight was the culmination of that work with the hosting of their first floodlight match.

182 people paid to see this cracking game and the visitors, West Essex just deserved the win in what was a close game.

Little Oakley may struggle on the pitch this season but 'off' the pitch this is a club that is well organised, well run and appreciated by the village. Well worth a visit (or 2).

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Hosts get a deserved replay

Saturday 2 September 2017, Hertford Town 1 Grays Athletic 1 - FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round, Hertingfordbury Park

Not sure I expected find what I did when I set of for Hertford at lunchtime - newly promoted to the Isthmian League (Bostik), I thought the ground would be quite basic - I was wrong.

I found a substantial, elevated seated main stand, plus covered, pre-fab terrace behind one goal plus a small but friendly clubhouse - but that was not all, the ground was surrounded by woods and allotments, a large wooded hill overlooked the ground and not far away you could see a large railway viaduct.

The ground is basic in places, a bit rough round the edges - but it has character - and on top of it the ,locals were friendly and their team likes to get the ball down and pass it.

Their opponents,  Grays Athletic were the better team, had the most chances but Hertford deserved the replay they got, they worked hard whilst Grays had some players who were coasting through the game. Hertford need someone with a goal threat, Grays should win the replay but at least they are still in the cup and they do have a picturesque ground.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Village life

Wednesday 30 August 2017, Fulbourn Institute Reserves 1 Milton 1 - Cambridgeshire, Kershaw 'A' League, Home End

My first venture into the Cambridgeshire League and I found it an enjoyable watch. It was the second tier of the league but some decent football was played, a small league so many of the players know each other, maybe a reason why the games  (first half) was played in such a good spirit.

Second half was much more scrappier and a number of the subs seemed more willing to roughen up the opposition so the ref had to use his yellow card.

Set up was basic, with the pitch a long way from the pavilion but at least it was roped off and in very good condition, which helped both teams play football.

How not to take a penalty!

Tuesday 29 August 2017, Ipswich Town U23s 3 Sheffield United U23s 2 - Professional Development League, Portman Road

Great game for entertainment with Celina and Rowe impressing, until late on when Celina attempted a 'Panenka' penalty and almost put the ball over the North Stand roof.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Seasiders take the spoils in Kent derby

Monday 28 August 2017, Tonbridge Angels 2 Folkestone Invicta 3 - Bostik Isthmian Premier, Longmead

Some football watching days are better than others but this was one of the better ones - Longmead, the home of Tonbridge is fantastic non-league ground - you have a media tower! Various other stands, a clubhouse, two tea bars and on a hot day they sold ice cream as well as burgers.

Plenty of room to enlarge the ground, and a large free car park, but the best part of the ground is the 80M long seated stand, the main part of the stand is quite old and came from their old ground, but it now has 5 rows of brand new seats and a great place to watch football from - even better than the odd VIP/Directors/Press stand that sits opposite.

On the pitch, we had a cracking game that the visitors eventually won 3-2, but the game could have easy enough finished 5-5!

Not as many Folkestone fans present  as I thought would turn up but they did have a dog.. dressed in a Folkestone shirt! Must be a Kent thing!

Owners v old tenants

Monday 28 August 2017, Banstead Athletic 1 Epsom & Ewell 1 - Cimbined Counties, Premier Division, Merland Rise

For a number of years, Epsom were the tenants at Banstead, so this was like a homecoming for them - not that many of their fans know what a real home is as they continue to live a nomadic life.

When they were tenants the ground had to be improved as Epsom played at a higher level at the time than Banstead. This investment paid off for Banstead, as it has helped them as they have gone up the non-league pyramid.

Cracking clubhouse, stands will do but the pitch is a joke - long grass, dead grass, and bumps and slopes all over - certainly did not help either team with their passing.

The Combined Counties Premier is at the same level in the pyramid as the Eastern Counties Premier but it was obvious today that in both the standard of football played and crowd size the Combined Counties lags well behind their East Anglian equivalent.

But still can't complain as there was still plenty to entertain the crowd on a Bank Holiday morning.