Saturday, 25 February 2017

BATMAN WINS THE DAY AS RADFORD AND HOLBROOK ARE GOALLESS

RADFORD 0 V HOLBROOK SPORTS 0
EAST MIDLANDS COUNTIES FOOTBALL LEAGUE AT THE ON CALL ARENA
25 FEBRUARY 2017 --- 3PM
A MOODY ON CALL ARENA HOME OF RADFORD FC
Always a great little club to visit Radford and 0-0 affairs can be enthralling, this one was not. Forgotten by the time we exited onto Selhurst St outside the ground 30 seconds later.  The walk away from the game covered nothing of the proceeding 90 minutes football wise barring of course discussing the ground and the love of this superb little club.  The newly titled On Call Arena is nestled into the streets of Hyson Green just minutes away from the centre of Nottingham, close up to the action with a friendly welcome and a feel of a real non league ground its always a special visit.
It had been just short of a year since the blogs original visit, so I wont describe the set up again, and today following in the wake of a stormy week and with games falling to waterlogging the Rainbow 1 was picked up at Alfreton with the fall back options of 3g at Eastwood and Basford standing by.  But as ever the pitch here was well drained and ready for some sort of football action.
NEVER LET IT BE SAID THE BLOG CHERRY PICKS ITS GAMES
  Taking a few steps back we arrived just short of the ground and decided to eat at a new big 'M's at Bobbers Mill this was a smart looking former pub fast food establishment, seats were at a premium and I ended up sharing a table with superhero Batman who had a feel of familiarity about him!
DADADADADADA MICKMAN KAPOW!
After a brief meander around Hyson Green and an observation of a few of the magnificent trams in action we were ready to pop along and see John on the gate at the ground, always good to see a friendly face and a warm welcome was guaranteed.
THE NEW EXTENSION IS VISABLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE CLUBHOUSE AT SELHURST ST
  A brief catch up told us of the part built extension to the club house which swings out in front of the turnstiles and will offer a lovely development for Radford who are also hoping to extend the changing rooms to the other side of the clubhouse.  The home side will also have Notts County loanee Tamar Clayton-Naule making his debut today.
In the clubhouse it was good to catch up with Neil Allsop who was down to referee today but had been replaced by Mansfield Woodhouse based official Ian Jackson, good to see you today Neil hopefully catch you again soon.  Time moved on very fast and as the players came out it dawned on me this was of course a EMCL game not my favourite of league but at least it was at Radford and there was plenty of points of interest around the ground and how I was to need them on a dark afternoon that made action pictures difficult.
REFEREE IAN JACKSON WITH CAMERA CREW AND ASSESSOR KEEPING A CLOSE WATCH
The first half brought very little of note to the proceedings with Ashley Miles for the home side putting a high ball just wide in a one on one with visiting keeper and blond bombshell Daniel Graves.  At the other end just before half time Simeon Lawrence and Lobrada Domini fired across goal and just wide and that dear reader just about summed up the opening 45 minutes.
HOLBROOK KEEPER DANIEL GRAVES KEEPS THE COLOUR SCHEME INTERESTING
The second half saw the first action on 59 minutes when Matt Henley struck the post before Kenny Reeves side footed effort in the same move fell wide.  Holbrook were given the incentive to get back into the gme following this near miss and for a period of time looked the team likely to break the deadlock until the closing stages which probably produced the most exciting, if that's the right word, part of this game.  A superb left wing run from debutant Clayton-Naule which started deep in his own half fed Radford substitute James Forbes who just couldn't find the opening in a crowd box to find the back of the net on 83 minutes.  Just two minutes later the home side were awarded a free kick 25 yards out and Joe Meakin curled on towards goal only for Graves to push over for a corner.
SOME GREAT MOVEMENT
That about sums up the encounter it was one of those games you knew would end goalless after about 25 minutes a draw was a fair result although a few goals would have been nice I'm afraid some of the finishing was......well way of the mark.  Todays attendance was 39 but with only 15 paying spectators you have to applaud the crew at Radford, its so disappointing for me to see a lovely little club in need of some tender loving care from the Nottingham football loving public lets hope they will see an increase in interest soon.
ON CALL ACTION WITH RADFORD ON THE ATTACK
Game quickly forgotten a brief walk to the bus stop for the returning Rainbow 1 to Alfreton at just short of 5.20pm saw us finally board a bus heading towards Heanor at 5.45pm after our intended services non arrival.  Having seen the service to Alfreton now behind us at Giltbrook we got off our service and ran to the back off the bus to flag down the delayed Alfreton service which unbelievably picked up enough time to allow us to board the Comet to return back to base at 7pm, the joys of public transport.  It may be time to apply to do an Open University degree course in the operations of public transport from a customer perspective.
Shame about the game but Radford is always worth a visit and today supported that theory again.
A FIRST HALF INJURY FOR CALLUM GREEN SAW AN EARLY SUBSTITUTION

Saturday, 18 February 2017

CAMPION SHOW TALENT IN WIN AT OLLERTON

OLLERTON TOWN 0 V CAMPION 2
NCEL 1 AT THE LANE
18 FEBRUARY 2017 --- 3PM
ACTION FROM OLLERTON V CAMPION
After a tight first half the skill of Talent Ndlovu shone through in a successful second period that saw the Bradford based visitors secure two goals without reply against an Ollerton side who had more than matched their high flying visitors before the break.
After an enforced lay off last week the blog was back on the local road and once again although not the first visit to Ollerton Town Fc it would be the first time blogged and the first afternoon match here for a game featuring the 2 league newcomers promoted from step 7 last season.  Fortunes have left both clubs in different league positions with Ollerton in good recent form struggling at the wrong end of the table and Campion with a bit more consistency challenging for a play off slot.
As with all local journeys its a case of setting up the bus connections and todays had 2 frustrating changes with just 5 minutes at each point and for once they went like clockwork from Comet departure at Alfreton onto a 'nines' to take us over the border into Mansfield and finally a 14 to Ollerton and we would were soon in deepest darkest Nottinghamshire.  The journey from Stag town took us past many other local non league grounds and the local derby at Forest Town today featured AFC Mansfield v Rainworth and we even had AFC secretary Pete Craggs gracing our bus before departing at The Arena. Onwards through Clipstone passing ground and headstocks from the once dominant industry sadly lost to my county and also of course in the end to Nottinghamshire too.  Robin Hood was not in residence at Edwinstowe today and the former Thoresby Colliery ground was nearby before we sped past the old Thoresby Colliery closed in 2015 to signal the end of mining in the county.
JUST FOR THE LOVE OF FISH AND CHIPS
Just short of 5 lane ends roundabout which is a surprisingly small and busy round about as you may imagine we depart at a point 500 yards or so short of Old Ollerton.  This area is a feast of menus with the Big 'M's', a new Public house eatery, The Big Fish and a petrol station, which probably does a mighty sausage roll, all cuddling the circular traffic controller. 
On this visit we opted for the good old fish and chips and just to keep regular blog readers happy I reckon the picture does them pretty good coverage I can tell you the top of the table area of the fish and chip league now has another addition.  Having risked all, fish and chips included, to cross the busy Newark bound road we found ourselves eating and ambling into the attractive Old Ollerton which is well worth a visit, a pre planned footpath route took us the back way into New Ollerton and onto the site of the former colliery which is now festooned with a big T's plus a business park of circular fashion, circular is clearly todays featured word.
HOME OF OLLERTON TOWN FC
Back out onto the main street Ollerton is quite unique in that its drag of shops are all on one side of the busy main A6075 walking away from the shops and down Beech Rd its just a 5 minute walk to Ollerton Town Fc.
The ground is set away from the road and adjacent is the cricket pitch although I guess looking at the lack of sight screens etc that cricket may have seen its day at this site.  The old pavilion is now the clubs changing facility were as previously it was the snack bar facility in a cost environment having paid our admission and purchased programmes we entered through a framework similar to security checking at a travel hub.  It was lovely to almost immediately catch up with Campion who had remembered us from a lovely visit we had to their ground earlier on in the season, thanks.  Snack bar and toilets were just around the meshed corner and of standard fare with to the side and behind the long standing covered terracing an area for the players to warm up away from the pitch.  I mention this early because full credit here to groundsman Neil for the excellent playing surface nice and flat all round.  While on the praise front the clubs programme is a good steady effort well set out with interesting features in an attractive presentation.
THE OLD STAND AT OLLERTON STILL LOOKING GOOD
Quick look at the ground its basic but the club of course are up from step 7 behind the near goal is the covered standing area that has stood for many a year but is smart and well maintained and drops lower than pitch level the nearer you get to goal leading to the far side which is out of bounds and the dug outs will remain peacefully un interfered with.  The bottom goal is also out of bounds and offers a vast expanse behind them, the only side you can stand on is the near touchline which offers Ollerton's new addition a stand of 2 rows in depth with a high roof, interestingly the seats have no backs to them but are smart and functional, hard standing continues to the far corner.  This area is very open to a slight cold wind which we suffered the longer todays game went on with it siding onto the cricket outfield.  Its a nice viewing ground close to the action the only down side being it is just a 2 sided, 1 touchline and 1 behind goal, ground.
THE NEW SEATED STAND AT THE LANE
The first period saw Ollerton match their high flying visitors and they would have been disappointed to not push home a slight advantage.  Chances though were at a minimum ten minutes before the break Josh Bowkett unleashed a 20 yard effort that Campion keeper Daniel Armitage pushed over well before at the other end Campion missed a great chance Eli Hey saw his shot parried by Scott Gretton into the path of Ndlovu who couldn't find the net.
SOD THE GAME THERE'S £35 RESTING ON THIS RAFFLE TICKET
First half highlight was the speed of movement of one old chap whose raffle ticket flew over the touchline onto the pitch, with a 'sod the game I'm getting my ticket back' approach he was on and nearly off  before the Campion clearance very nearly found him with a clean run up the right wing!
A nice touch at half time saw the club present a framed and signed Ollerton Town Fc shirt to long standing supporter Gordon Briggs presented by his grandson and a few of the home sides players, nice touch.
LEWIS BINGHAM OLLERTON TOWN FC
The other noteworthy pointer it was fantastic to hear a club at this level using a public address system for music and announcements it just adds to the experience.
OLLERTON ON THE ATTACK
The second half started with Campion fresh from I guess one heck of a motivational speech over the half time break they were on fire.  The undoubted skill of Ndlovu came to the fore where in the first half it had not been seen he was prominent in most moves.  Eli Hey was to go on a frustrating second period in the right place at the right time on so many occasions that he could have had 5 but always a player there to block his effort.  The first one was Ollerton keeper Armitage who denied the number 9 and then moments later his rasping 25 yard effort was alos pushed over by the home number 1.  The lead came on 56 minutes a corner off the left from Lee Bradshaw found Mathew Jones whose effort took a deflection off Bob Evans to beat home keeper Armitage.
CAMPIONS JACOB BUCHANAN
Normal proceedings resumed with Hey through on goal who fired just wide and the Ndlovu fed in the target man who saw his effort blocked on the line.  Moments later the same pairing saw the same outcome as Ollerton were struggling to get out of their own half with so much of the danger coming straight through the middle.  Substitute Jason Davis turned provider when he set up the livewire Ndlovu who fired over and as Campion created chance after chance Jacob Buchanan set up Liam Bartle who placed his effort just wide.  The second came on 72 minutes and it was nothing more than Campion deserved Davis once again found Ollerton's weak spot through the middle and Ndlovu latched on the pass to fire calmly past Armitage.
Ollerton were trying to put something together and you did feel that a goal back would make for a nervy and competitive finish to this game but it produced much of the same shortly afterwards when Hey saw his effort cleared off the line on 87 minutes!
An enjoyable visit with Campion looking good in the second half, the first half had been so close and I'm not sure what happened to Ollerton in the 2nd period although they showed enough in the opening 45 minutes to believe they will not be in danger of relegation.
The return journey had the same tight connections which started with a quick stride from the ground for the 4.55pm back to Mansfield something which we achieved with about 30 seconds to spare, it was more comfortable at Stag town with 10 minutes for the connecting service.  It was slightly worrying when at Alfreton I tried to scan off with my travel card on to realise it was a completely different coloured Tesco Clubcard that was not allowing me to do so!  Arrival back at base was achieved at 7pm and a pleasant trip to the outpost of Ollerton had been enjoyed with best wishes to both clubs for the remainder of the season.
LOYAL SUPPORTER GORDON BRIGGS RECEIVES HIS FRAMED SHIRT

Sunday, 5 February 2017

SHIREBROOK IN NARROW VICTORY

SHIREBROOK TOWN 2 V NOSTELL MW 1
NCEFL 1 @ LANGWITH RD
5 FEBRUARY 2017 --- 3PM
SHIREBROOK TOWN V NOSTELL MW
Shirebrook secured the narrowest of victories against bottom side Nostell MW in a game that had the home side finished more convincingly they probably would have won by a bigger margin but they didn't and consequently the visitors were in this game right to the end.  Indeed I had seen Nostell at Eccleshill towards the end of last year and on both occasions I believe they have belied their league position.
The blog was local again today andits  fantastic to cover my local clubs, clubs that I have visited many times but often not had the chance of putting on the blog or only for an evening game.  So after overnight heavy rain many games were falling to the wet stuff but with Shirebrook always on the cards this weekend and a pitch that drains well it was off to the former mining town.  The travel plans for some of the local games I looked at were more complicated than some of the long distance games the blog has covered this season.
THE VICTORIA ON THE MODEL
Having changed buses in Chesterfield the hourly service to Shirebrook dropped us off just short of the Market Sq to allow us a walk around The Model Village an area of the town I had not visited before.  As ever former mining towns in the north offer a warm welcome , I suppose being from one myself helps, with people all passing the time of day with one another.  Some of the 'Model' has seen a rebuild to more modern housing and with this large area formerly backing onto the pit the village had all its own facilities non more so than the massive Victoria pub, over the way the eloquently named shopping area called The Colonade which probably defies most peoples ideas of the town.
THE COLONADE FEATURRING THE MODEL CHIPPY
 Needless to say as I took a few pictures Mick had spotted The Model Chippy and was already inside, once again a warm greeting and a nice selection of food was gained.  Food in hand we walked around the far end of the area and viewed Shirebrook Wanderers warming up for their 2pm kick off.  Dropping back down into the town to our left is the massive sports warehouse that has seen the town in the news over the last few years.
SHIREBROOK MARKET SQ NO FOOTY HERE
Back in the town centre and the small market was now winding up alongside the shops which surround the square.  Shirebrook was due to have a big 'T's' but they pulled out after part preparing the site which is now surrounded by the large dark blue corporate wooden fencing.  You may well imagine this former industrial town, much like my base, was a hive of activity and the local shops busy and fully stocked just a few years ago but hard times came and stopped however the people are as friendly as ever.
THE SMART STANDS PLUS THOSE EVOCATIVE LIGHTS OF TIMES GONE BY
After a quick detour to have a look at the train station and a chance view of the 1408 to Worksop was just pulling in it was time to move along to Langwith Rd the home of Shirebrook Town.  Todays game pitted 2 mining sides together with both suffering from times of drought in their league postions.  I have described the ground before in a night time game here but it really his a special non league ground I well remember visits in the 80's when a hostile crowd was worth a goal start for the home side.  Sadly the extended covered terrace newly built a few years ago has now been condemned by Derbyshire County Council a great shame because I have seen many more dubious structures in the non league.
LANGWITH RD TERRACING
  Without describing the ground its remiss of me not to say a warm welcome on the gate at admission, the snack bar chap is one of the most pleasant and courteous in the non league plus warm drinks at 50p chip cobs £1.25 take note Football League clubs, plus today the chance to catch up with Pete Waby who keeps Shirebrook in pictures take a look at their site/twitter feed well done mate.  Then there is Ian Oxley always a pleasure to speak to you mate and thank you all for the welcome as ever at Shirebrook Town that you afforded us both today, this means a lot in non league football.
WHO SCORES YOU DECIDE
Too the game then on Shirebrook were in the lead on 14 minutes when a right wing corner was bundled over the line by Kallum O'Kane who shouted loudest to claim when it could have had a final touch from any of a group of players.  Nostell amazingly equalised on the half hour mark when a low cross found Aaron Fell unmarked at the back post who slotted the ball home.  Shirebrook went close on a few further occasions even hitting the bar but they looked slightly off the place against a side in a position you would have expected them to dominate on the goal front.
ANY CLEARER? O'KANES [10] CLAIMS IT
Within 5 minutes of the restart Shirebrook re took the lead in what proved to be the match winner with Scott Wesley heading home.  Mark Robinson went on to strike the post for the home side and O'Kane forced a good save out of visiting keeper Harrison Davidson-Hale, HDH if he gets another mention!
Gradually Nostell saw their chance to get back into this game as Shirebrook couldn't get a third and Callum Terrell broke through but fired over.  With 10 minutes remaining Mitchell Dunne forced HDH into a good save for a corner from the resulting kick Johnathan Hill saw his effort cleared off the line.  The Nostell keeper was on fine form again when he saved from Dunne for the second time in close succession.  In stoppage time Terrell nearly secured a point for the visitors but Shirebrook keeper Jack Dennison was equal to the effort.
SUNSET OVER SHIREBROOK THE BEAUTY
Overall Shirebrook didn't finish well enough to put this game to bed and Nostell so nearly secured a point towards their rescue act.
Return journey after a little while in the staff club awaiting the bus and a long route back saw arrival at base just short of 7.30pm!
Great little afternoon out if you haven't done Shirebrook pop along its a welcoming place and take a look at the town while your there too.

Monday, 30 January 2017

SELSTON TITLE PUSH CONTINUES

SELSTON 4 V BLIDWORTH WELFARE 0
CMFL SOUTH @ THE PARISH GROUND
28 JANUARY 2017 --- 2PM
SELSTON FREE KICK V BLIDWORTH WELFARE
Three more points for Selston against a hard working Blidworth helped maintained the home sides push for a second successive championship.  Leading 1-0 at half time it took a concerted 2nd half effort to breakdown a determined Blidworth who made the league leaders battle all the way for the points.
FOOTBALL AND CRICKET TO THE LEFT, ALTHOUGH NOT TODAY!
A local journey was a requirement this week and with a small selection of games available the overnight rain had intervened with a few of the usual candidates falling foul of the wet stuff.  As ever though the Parish Hall pitch had survived mainly once again due to the proactive action of Selston and their officials in actually working on the trouble spots and deployment of the super sopper shared with the adjoining cricket club.  As per last season when we had much wetter weather Selston had got their game on while others had succumbed including neighbouring Alfreton in The Conference North.  So with thanks to the club for a phone call back from Jay we set off with a change of buses in Alfreton and a total journey time of 40 minutes saw us arrive at the ground at around 20 minutes short of the 2pm kick off.  Thankfully in time for the team sheets and purchase of a programme.
DEVELOPMENTS ONGOING
I wont go into a big description of the ground because a larger feature was done last season, however it would be remiss not to mention the clubs intention to bring the ground up to a standard for promotion including the addition of a seated stand of which the base and framework are in place and the walkway and bank terracing are ready for more substantial hard standing are well advanced.  The club are working hard towards floodlights and it would appear have the support of their Parish Council which is an advantage, however I hope the club can obtain the funds necessary its a big ask but they deserve to get any promotion gained as they are a hardworking bunch who always offer a warm welcome to visitors and would be an asset to step 6 with their current squad and of course manager Craig Weston.
SELSTON MANAGER CRAIG WESTON
Not too many shops in the village so we stopped by in the large chained sandwich shop in Alfreton and had half an hour waiting for our connection and ate a hearty lunch, sorry no fish and chips picture today!
TEAMS ON THEIR WAY MIND THE SQUARE
To the game and Blidworth were floating just below mid table but it would appear have lost a selection of players to nearby Clipstone while Selston were chomping at the bit to get 3 more points in the bag in what is developing into a tighter race for the title than last year.
GARY DONCASTER FLYING THROUGH THE AIR FOR BLIDWORTH
It took just 15 minutes for the home side to take the lead when Dominic Airey headed home a right wing corner.  The first half was a well contested affair but did not produce much action of note save for a Dave Bullock 30 yarder that went just over for the visitors and a snap shot from Kane Hempshall for Selston that was blocked on its route towards the Blidworth goal.
CLOSE ACTION AND THE SUNS OUT TOO

Bovril and eats secured from the snack bar we took up position for the early part of the second half atop the high banked terrace which offers a commanding view of proceedings.  Selston had doubled their lead by 52 minutes when Elliott Jones fired a shot in from 14 yards and as the ball struck Hempshall on his back it looped over Gary Doncaster in the visitors goal, you can discuss whose claiming that one lads.
BLIDWORTH KEEPER DONCASTER TAKES A BREAK
 It was 3-0 shortly after when Ben Moore converted from the penalty spot.  Selston continued to dominate now and Doncaster was in the right place at the right time as he gathered another effort that flew back into his arms off the post before he pulled off a superb save from a Perry Marriott header.  But the home side were not to be denied and made it 4-0 when Sean Gregory launched a 25 yard effort that flew in off the left hand post.
ITS MINE OR IS IT?
A contented afternoon for Selston with a comfortable victory against a Blidworth side who showed some encouraging signs for the second half of their season to come.
Return connection was secured with all on time and base was arrived at just short of 5pm.  The local nature of this blog is not a feature normally, apart from midweek games, but as always it was a pleasure non more so than to visit Selston who I wish well with their much desired ground developments and promotion.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

BROCTON STORM BACK AS HEANOR SEE RED

BROCTON 3 V HEANOR TOWN 2
MIDLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE PREMIER @ SILKMORE LANE
21 JANUARY 2017 --- 3PM

HERE COME BROCTON FC AND HEANOR TOWN
A remarkable comeback from bottom side Brocton who were 2 down inside ten minutes saw visitors Heanor receive 3 dismissals in a game that had it all.  When the Derbyshire side were 2 up inside 10 minutes it was looking bad for Brocton who were all at sea and damage limitation was the order of the day however referee Simon Kavanagh played an important part as he dismissed 2 Heanor players and their assistant manager in a stormy affair.
SHOWING TODAY SCAMPI AND CHIPS
Todays visit to Brocton had been on the cards for a little while and with it the completion of the 3 non league sides in Stafford, amazingly today both Rangers and Town were also at home this could not help Town or Brocton I guess with nearly 800 at Rangers.  Standard travel news on the way down seats all round a major change from the recent moans with changes at Derby and Tamworth.  The only thing of notice today on both changes was the further south the blog went the colder it was getting.  There was time today to have a quick look around Stafford something I wont cover again because it was only at the end of last season for a Stafford Rangers game that this exercise was fulfilled.  However there was time to walk to The Picture House a Wethespoons public house and of course converted former cinema which still has its pay booth as you enter the establishment we managed a scampi or 2 and obligatory Lemonade.
APPROACH TO THE BADGERS OF BROCTON FC
The aquamarine special to Rickerscote soon had us on Silkmore Lane and in discussion with an elderly Gentleman who was well averse with our home town we made the way along the smart driveway to the ground entrance and the key word here is smart because that's the order of the day at Brocton FC.  We have said it many times you need as a club a friendly welcome at the gate and that's what we received here the 2 gatemen offered a kindly greeting and we set off on a tour to take some pictures straight away getting into conversation with a club official walking the pitch picking up any twigs from the playing surface.  Once again though from our immediate surroundings smart and immaculate were so much the chosen words.  For this ground is one of the smartest I have come across there may not be large stands and lots of furniture but the officials here clearly care for it and look after the club.
THE ADJACENT STANDS AT SILKMORE
A quick ground descriptor entering between the two stands to the left is a covered terrace and too the right a covered seated stand the whole walkway around the perimeter is concreted with smart railings and advertising boards in place.  To the rear at relevant points large and smart deflector nets all in one piece and again looked after the dug outs are on the far side and behind them more dug outs for the pitch that runs onto the side of the main playing surface.  Behind the goal to the left is more net catching equipment and in the far corner the changing rooms hospitality and to the far end a brand new club house that has just been put in place and awaits finishing internally in the next few weeks.
As ever we sampled a few items during the afternoon from the refreshment area and Marion on duty here today was very pleasant and once again welcoming and guess what, the area was once again smart, clean and tidy.
MORE SMARTNESS WITH NEW CLUB HOUSE IN GREY
Todays ground pictures were taken and with apologies here the weather was very dark for action pictures with the floodlights on before kick off today.  With a little time before the start we got into conversation with Alan from Ruabon in North Wales and as ever it was a pleasure to swap stories and we also learned a lot about the Welsh National League [Wrexham] area clubs from our chat, thank you.
REFEREE KAVANAGH SOON TO BE BUSY
So too the game and I have to say football is a game of opinions and of course the only persons that matters in proceedings on the pitch is the referee and today Mr Simon Kavanagh ably assisted by his senior assistant referee on the dug out side were to play a starring role in proceedings.  The blog always likes to feature the match officials and often gives a too balanced view although over recent weeks this has become harder.  Once again today at a Midland Football League game there was a referees assessor in attendance and my thoughts are well documented that referees officiate to the fullest when the spy is in the stand.  So excuses made here goes.
Heanor found themselves 2 up in 10 minutes and with the home side looking all out of sorts it was difficult to see anything other than a comfortable away win it was Jay Cooper who drove in after 3 minutes and then 7 minutes later the lead was doubled thanks to Alex Brown and Kieran Debrouwer whose persistence created the chance.  On the half hour mark Brocton earned a lifeline as Heanor seemed to take the foot of the gas when Sam Bell curled one home from the edge of the box.
KEENAN LAYTON RECEIVES TREATMENT FOR HEANOR TOWN
The game had seen a few tetchy moments creeping into it and when Keenan Layton for Heanor went down after an aerial challenge he needed lengthy treatment and extensive bandage however the game changing moment came on 35 minutes and we could probably spend a while discussing it.
ITS RED
The visitors Nick Hall committed to a robust challenge that appeared to win the ball cleanly from my angle, although those in who had a different view disagreed, but was powerful enough to take Dave Ablewhite off his feet.  Ron Harris, Norman Hunter days a fair challenge ball won but in todays game feet off the floor, even though the ball was won, it was a tackle in lets be fair a game that you increasingly cannot tackle, but it was very robust.  Brocton player down pushing and shoving a plenty referee Kavanagh consulted his senior assistant who come on for a word, now he had already signalled and been on early for some dissent and to be fair this guy during this match he probably had more active game time on the pitch than some of the players.
MR KAVANAGH POINTS THE WAY TO THE TEA BAR
Discussion over red card for Hall and incredulity on the Heanor bench when a few moments later a visiting defender appeared to be caught in his own box the visiting manager Clarence shouted at the assistant referee asking why he had not seen this.  Cue our friend to flag again and gain some more 'active' game time having guided Mr Kavanagh to the Heanor bench Clarence was advised he was being sent off to watch from the other side of the railings, with the Heanor boss asking what had he had said wrong the referee was in no mood to answer and when a home side official approached to say they had heard nothing wrong the first discussions of abandonment by the referee were muted.  After a short hiatus the Heanor boss complied with the request and off we went again.
OOH ITS MR KAVANAGH AGAIN AS HE OFFERS WARM NEW YEARS GREETINGS TO MR CLARENCE
Before we could go into half time a rattled Heanor were grateful to McCormack who pulled off a great save from Matt Holland before from the resultant corner Matt Dockerty saw his cleared off the line.
Time to revisit Marion in the snack bar get some warmth back in the fingers and calm down!
Barnton were out for the second half all guns blazing as they looked to bring the great escape into reality and the leveller came with a superb header from Nick Wellecome who rose to power home a header from a right hand sided corner.  The comeback was complete on 62 minutes when Dave Berks sent in a cross off the left that evaded everybody and flew into the far top corner to set off joyous scenes of celebrations for the green and whites.
With 17 minutes remaining the afternoon went from bad to worse for Heanor when they were reduced to 9 players and Mr Kavanagh had the chance to flash another red sadly no involvement for out dug out assistant referee on this one, though he probably clocked up enough marks from the assessor in the first half.  Brocton player pulled down by visiting keeper McCormack 25 yards out with one defender behind him and another about to come round yellow only, nope out came the red circle again.  The Staffordshire side had kept their heads while all those around them were loosing theirs, cue Mike Bassett, and through sheer determination to keep playing and not get involved in any distractions picked up all three points in their battle to avoid the drop.
Quick dash away at the final whistle for the omnibus to town and after a brief re engagement with the shopping streets we were whisked away to Tamworth for a 2 minute change in Derby that saw us arrive back in base station just before 7.30.
Overall today for those worrying about my fish and chip intake they were not available near the ground which was a shame but the 'spoons was an experience.  Don't let the former put you off a visit to Silkmore Lane though for Brocton FC is a smart little club with an equally smart little ground with some very welcoming officials who should be rightly proud of their set up.

Monday, 16 January 2017

OYSTERS SEE OFF THE 'FISH'

FISHER FC 0 V WHITSTABLE TOWN 2
SOUTHERN COUNTIES EAST PREMIER @ ST PAULS STADIUM
14 JANUARY 2017 --- 3PM
ST PAULS HOME OF FISHER FC
Whitstable made it eight wins in a row with this comfortable victory at St Pauls the new home of Fisher FC who had gone on a three game unbeaten run looking to pull away from the foot of the table.  Two first half goals from Charlie Smith and Craig Thompson made the second half relatively easy watching for the happy band of visiting supporters.
After a batch of games in midweek and the threat of frost etc over the latter part of the week the research had been done for a 3g game and although on the day most games in the blogs normal area played this was one I was looking forward too a trip down saarrf, ok lets get the first north south reference out of the way early on!
The handy thing about base station is that its just around 2 hours on the train to the big city and when I arrived for the 10am train a little early I jumped aboard the 0940 which would get me into London for 1130.  Just before departure there was a very brief chat with former England international Chris Waddle who was going down to London to BT to cover a game from the studios.
188 TO CANADA WATER
Upon arrival into St Pancras a station I had not been to for around 10 years it was self evident it has become a shopping mall with the station moved further north.  With green Oyster Card in hand for all day bus travel, served by an excellent team at the travel shop, I opted to walk to nearby Russell Square to board the 188 Abellio bus service to North Greenwich which in around 45 minutes would take us to Canada Water.  A good opportunity to see the sights passing through The Strand, over Waterloo Bridge with the view up the Thames to Big Ben, The London Eye etc and then onwards for a crew change at Elephant and Castle where we now found ourselves south of the river and approaching Tower Bridge we kept south taking a right to head towards Bermondsey the original founding home of Fisher Athletic.
CANADA WATER
  Rounding Southwark Park and into Canada Water Bus Station for our departure there was a little time to pop along and take a look at the shopping centre before visiting Greenland Dock which is now a leisure activity area from its previous industrious past.  Time was pulling us fast towards the game and in a cut through Fisherman's Walk there was time to marvel at Quebec Quay apartments, 1 bedroom, on offer for £500,000 and the 3 bedroomed new terrace style houses available for £750,000, that's about 5 similar houses up north.  In fairness though there is a big feel of the original population now being moved out of this area of London and although the area has clearly undergone a regeneration its a shame to lose the generations who have called this home.  Much as the north south element comes into play in any visit even for northerners going south or visa versa we all have the same challenges though and are all trying our best this is what I always comeback from London with non more so than some of the friendly people I met today.
FORMER HOME OF FISHER ATHLETIC
Having emerged from the tight new town houses nestled into the area I was out onto Legado Mews offering a view of new builds and a large fenced off grass area the latter the home of the former Surrey Docks Stadium home of Fisher Athletic.  The new builds I'm told by Ian secretary at Fisher FC is the sight of the former offices and stand of the club while the grassed area is the former pitch. Quite remarkably Fisher FC have returned to their home just around 300 yards over the way on Salter Rd in the developed former Astroturf netted leisure facility that has now become the St Pauls Stadium, the site is now run by Millwall Community Trust although the club seem to have a good relationship and long may that continue for the hardworking band of supporters in this Supporters Trust led club.  The history of Fisher is well documented so I wont cover it here but needless to say after their departure to Dulwich Hamlet in 2004 for a ground share then the eventual demise of the Fisher Athletic in 2009 the club was reformed by the fans and they have now arrived at Fisher FC back in and representing Bermondsey and Rotherhithe on the banks of the Thames, which is just 300 yards away from the ground and offers some commanding views back towards London. 
BACK ALONG THE THAMES SPOT THE BUILDINGS
Rotherhithe has quite a few claims to fame the initial sailing of the Mayflower alongside the stars of recent years in Michael Caine, Mr Micklewhite himself, and of course Max Bygraves who will ever forget My Pink Toothbrush?
Onto the ground and Salter Road is a pretty standard fayre when you walk along it and then you spot the selection of floodlights and light bricked wall the most obvious missing item is a large sign stating Fisher FC and I guess that will be on its way there is no signage at all on the exterior but it is early days.  There are two blocks of turnstiles with just one open today and a pleasant greeting was obtained after paying for admission and programme I purchased the £25 draw ticket.
THE STAND AND CHANGING ROOMS WITH THE SHARD IN THE BACKGROUND
To the right as we enter is a standard side shielded Atcost type stand with a selection of tip up seats moving round the whole area as with 3G facilities is tarmac and behind the goal it becomes slightly narrower before going onto the opposite side to our entrance it gets even narrower.  Complete circuits of the ground are denied by the modern dug out which are built back into what would have been a standing area.
DUG OUT SIDE BACKING ONTO THE THAMES
Making our way back to the initial turnstile and we find the business end with changing rooms, toilet block, snack bar area and a control room area which doubles up todays as announcers room something which was done very well today and good too see clubs operating one at step 5.
NO CAPTION NEEDED
Behind the other goal is a small again Atocst type terrace stand which during today housed the refreshment fuelled fans of both sides and during the game they constantly led the chanting and cheering on of their teams good effort today guys!  Into the far corner and its most hoppers, of which there were quite a few today, photo opportunity with the towering office blocks of Canary Wharf in view.  Mind you from the other end a slightly obscured view of The Shard is visible to add a different backdrop to St Pauls Stadium.
FLAG COMPETITION AS FISHER FC SHOW THERE ARTWORK OFF
So before we kicked off there was time to visit the snack bar which was being run by a lovely lady full of south London banter who today advised one chap enquiring about the beer [input accent] 'It's Saarrff London here babe get it drunk' adding a widening smile to her welcoming greeting, fantastic!
There was a quick chat with Ian the clubs secretary to obtain the teams and thank him for a prompt response to my previous evenings enquiry, always great when clubs get back to visitors questions thank you Fisher FC.  The club shop had a variety of merchandise smaller than I had expected but I guess they don't carry to much extra stock most is too order.
REFEREE WALLY JAMES WINNING IN THE FASHION STAKES
With the crowd starting to come in we arrived at 149 as todays attendance which looks a good average at the moment although bigger as been achieved and going forward if the club can avoid relegation they I'm sure are looking to get even closer to their community to encourage support.
Game time, at last I hear you say, the first action saw Whitstable in play and they should have taken the lead Charlie Smith saw his shot saved by the Fisher keepers legs and Connor Hood at the back post flashed his shot across the goal and wide.  For The Fish Luke Haidarovic tested the visiting keeper Dan Eason.
MATCH ACTION WITH THE FISHER DEFENCE WINNING THIS TIME
Just before Whitstable took the lead Fisher keeper Nic Taylor pulled off a good save from Craig Thomspon but he couldn't deny Smith who was put through and he confidently fire home into the bottom right hand corner after 25 minutes.
SPOT OF BOTHER
The game entered a feisty stage with a couple of bookings, mini confrontations one of which involved Fishers own players it was all keeping referee Wally James busy although he seemed more than happy to 'have a word' regularly.  Whitstable were looking for a second and Aaron Quain struck the cross bar and then in the 4th minute of stoppage time they did make it 2-0 a long ball found Thompson who powered onto the ball and superbly lobbed the ball over the out coming Taylor.
The second half developed into a little bit of a non event the neutrals were hoping for a Fisher goal to make it a potential comeback but they were trying hard but could not put any real flowing moves together which was a credit to the hardworking Whitstable team.
QUICK WORD GUVNOR
However special mention to Fisher keeper who again pulled off some excellent saves in the second half first from Thompson, it was then Smith who saw the number 1 push away his effort and minutes later he performed the same save again from Smith.
As we entered the first minute of time added on Taylor saved the best till last a fantastic full length save from a Harry Brown free kick 20 yards out.
The whistle finally blew just short of 5pm and Whitstable had secured the 3 points with a very well managed victory although Fisher struggled to put too much of note together it would be hoped that they have the ability in their squad to gain victories against those around them to pull away to safety.  At the end their was a good appreciation from the home players to the fans which is always good to see.
GO ON THEN JUST ONE MORE PICTURE OF CANARY WHARF
Departure back to Canada Water Bus Station was fairly comfortable and having boarded a 188 that was standing in its bay I was back in Russell Square in time to connect to a 'Boris Bus' service 10 which looped around Euston before departing me at St Pancras with time for a Big 'M'.  Homeward bound at 7pm and back at base station around 8.40pm.
A good day out and it was interesting to catch up with Fisher FC and I hope they can secure their status for next season while wishing them all the best for this supporter led club in their coming challenges, up The Fish.
[Hope to put on some unused pics on the Facebook page in the next few days]