Sunday, 29 January 2017

Down from Vase land

Saturday 28 January 2017, Newport Pagnell Town 3 Sunderland RCA 2 (aet) - FA Vase Round 5, Willen Road

The FA Vase final may be staged in London, but the real home of the Vase has become the North East of England with Northern League teams dominating the competition.

So the team from Sunderland and their supporters came south to Newport Pagnell with high hopes of helping keep the trophy in the north. The home club had never reached this far before and were hoping to make the most of their big day. The bar was packed, programmes sold and they even produced a glossy ticket.

The locals caught the cup bug and over 700 were in place (some never left the bar!) to see a fantastic cup game not that many expected the later excitement after the visitors dominated the first half and deserved their two goal lead. But the last few minutes of the first half when the home team, the 'Swans' had two good chances did indicate the match as a contest may not be over.

Sunderland started the second half like the first and only were stopped from extending their lead by two great saves by the home keeper. then the whole game changed, visitors made substitutions, game got scrappy and the ball was now spending most of the time in the Sunderland half as the home team now dominated. A goal was got back but would that be it?

96 minutes, home team at least had got one goal back but it seemed the visitors had held on then suddenly a glancing header and it was 2-2 and we were heading for extra time.

Then Newport Pagnell went ahead in extra time, possession was now shared but  Sunderland RCA looked out on their feet and so the home club fans invaded the pitch as they now wait for the draw on Monday.

Great day out, two good clubs and the best game I have seen this season.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Sun has got its hat on

Tuesday 24 January 2017, Colchester United U23 2 Southend United U23 1 - Central League Cup, Florence Park

A trip to Florence Park to not only visit the Colchester United Academy set up but also see the Essex Under 23 derby match - not a bad game and at least the frost had gone - in fact it turned out to be sunny day.

It may have been a derby match but the game was played in good spirit, thanks for that must go to a good set of match officials. Colchester looked more like a passing team and it was not till the game became scrappy in the second half did Southend get back in the game.

Colchester will be glad to get a win as they had lost their first 3 games in this competition, but to be honest this may have been one competition too many entered by the north Essex side.

Oh and I met non-league guru and super groundhopper, Peter Miles!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Dial M for Merthyr

Saturday 21 January 2017, Kettering Town 1 Merthyr Town 3 - Southern League Premier, Latimer Park

Kettering have a had a rough time over the last few years, going bust, forced from their old ground but recent promotion has seen them climbing the football pyramid again - and the club still attract good crowds.

The home of UCL side Burton Park Wanderers has improved since Kettering have moved in but the ground still seems very basic and the lights and pitch certainly do not look up to standard for this level of football, but the crowds still come.

But not everyone at Latimer Park is happy, many of the home crowd were moaning about the team and the manager but it may have been slightly unfair today as the pitch certainly did not help their ball playing central defenders and they should give their opponents some credit as they certainly put in a good away display. If Merthyr keep turning in displays like this they should at least make the play offs.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Nice to get back to winning!

Saturday 14 January 2017, Ipswich Town 3 Blackburn Rovers 2 -  Championship, Portman Road

3 points, but we made it hard- and all the pre-match talk was of keeping clean sheets, some hope currently!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Casual as you like

Wednesday 11 January 2017, Walton Casuals 5 Cray Wanderers 1 - Isthmian Division 1 South,  Church Road

This was a home game that was easier to get to for the away fans! Walton are tenants at Church Road whilst a new ground back in  Walton is built and they must be in desperate need to get back home as obvious today that the attendance of 51 saw the majority supporting Cray.

But it not all gloom and doom at Walton - they won and in the end quite easy, when they do go back to their home it will be a superb new community sports facility and their Chairman is an ex Pro footballer who is putting considerable effort into helping the Casual's up the football pyramid - Tony Gale, ex West Ham and current Sky pundits the man in question. He certainly shared his views of the match referee with the 51 spectators.

If they can keep winning they may still make the play-offs - so promotion and a new ground may be on the cards.

Monday, 9 January 2017

A wet one

Monday 9 January 2017, Ipswich Town Under 23 2 Colchester United Under 23 3 - Under 23 Professional Development League, Playford Road Training Ground

5 goals, plenty of action but all played under heavy rain!

Saturday, 7 January 2017


Saturday 7 January 2017, Ipswich Town 2 Lincoln City 2 - FA Cup 3rd Round, Portman Road

We were terrible but Lincoln players management and supporters should be very proud of their performance today.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Surrey double - Under the runway and Moatside

Monday 2 January 2017

Horley Town 4 Raynes Park Vale 0
Combined Counties Premier, 11.30am
New Defence

My first taste of Combined Counties football and thought both the skill and fitness was not at the same level as the Eastern Counties league, officiating was also poor – but I may have chosen the wrong game!

First half was very one sided as the home team went two up as Raynes Park Vale were very poor, but a few changes of formation (and attitude) at half time saw a closer second half – it took 20 minutes for the home side to get back on top and then they got two further goals.

‘New Defence’ is a smart newish ground with a seated stand attached to the changing rooms and bar. The bar is upstairs and game can be watched from there. Small covered terrace behind one goal and a more shed like cover behind the other goal.

Ground is  just  5 minutes from Gatwick Airport.

Merstham 0 Leatherhead 0
Ryman League Premier, 3pm

Attendance; 278

Home team had the better chances but Leatherhead good on the break, both teams had young players with plenty of skill but too many wanted an extra touch or try one trick to many. Good officiating kept the game flowing but neither keeper had many saves to make. Good to ex Ipswich player , Jimmy Bullard on the touchline.

Ground is neat and has plenty of character with views out over the Surrey hills , must lose some money having the clubhouse outside the ground.