Monday, 22 October 2018

MOURINHO, GLADSTONE, BELUGA AND WELSH CUP ROUND ONE

HAWARDEN RANGERS 2 LLANFAIR UTD 3
JD SPORTS FAW WELSH CUP ROUND ONE @ GLADSTONE FIELDS
20 OCTOBER 2018 --- 2.30PM
HAWARDEN [YELLOW] HEAD AWAY AS LLANFAIR TRY TO GET A BOOT ON IT
A superb lob from Josh Astley sent Llanfair through to round two of the Welsh Cup after they were so nearly overpowered by Hawarden who fought back from two goals down to level in a storming opening fifteen minutes of the second half.
A return to Wales then, just, with todays destination being just seven miles west of Chester, the first since last seasons Europa play off game at Cefn Druids.  All started well with arrival by bus on time at base station only to be greeted with the 0920 departure late and becoming even later.  When the beautiful four carriage East Midlands Train departed it was thirty minutes down and a large proportion of us found space standing or even doing a 'Corbyn' and sitting on the floor.
With connections missed the journey today would hopefully pick up an advised connection at 1104 at Stockport, thanks EMT despatch staff for this plan, arriving now 35 minutes down a sharp dash to platform 2 saw the train arrive in as I gathered myself.
Thankfully seat and on time service allowed a comfortable connection in Crewe and when arrival was made at a quarter past mid-day in Chester a short hop outside the station saw the number 4 aquamarine special displaying 'Yr Wyddgrug' and as I'm sure you all know this was the bus to Mold that was required.
GLADSTONE LIBRARY
Onwards through Broughton shopping precinct which is adjacent to the massive Airbus factory and now Huws Gray ground of Airbus UK FC we were soon departing in Hawarden, pronounced Harden see its not even a difficult looking name but its announced differently.  Indeed I thought I had secured todays visitors Llanfair United, from Llanfair Caereinion near Welshpool, as clanfair sounding but it appears its more like clanvire or even clanveer.  I may need some help when I cover Rhydymwyn FC no English vowels but a few Welsh ones I think I will probably just write it down on a slip of paper and show it to the bus driver!
Hawarden seems very much to be one of those boutique shop border towns with little in the way of practical shops but of course is famous for its history.  With Hawarden castle the home in late life of Gladstone the four times British Prime Minister his wife's family residence.  As aside to his grandson leaving the recreation grounds to the community where todays match will take place it is now famous for the Gladstone Library, formerly St Deiniols, which contains 250,000 books and alongside a bistro also offers accommodation in the grade 2 listed building.  However the most interesting story takes place with Gladstone himself when 85 years old and four years before his death he gave 32,000 of his own books to the library something that he did with the help of his daughter and his valet wheeling them the 3/4 of a mile from the castle.
GLADSTONE FIELDS ONE FOR THE TREE HUGGERS
With an hour to kick off I by chance on the wonderful mapping system found a chippy in neighbouring Ewloe, have a go at pronouncing that one, with a quick stride past the ground I managed to secure some chips for the walk back and finally arrived at todays destination just short of 2pm.
To all intents and purposes the set up is part of a recreation ground with a pitch at the far end fully railed off with hard standing all the way around, two dug outs provided the only furniture although there was a nice backdrop of varying coloured leaves still attached to the collection of trees.
Teams were secured thanks to the referee Scott Campbell inside the changing rooms area that from the outside you wondered what the facilities would be like but once inside were smart and clean and tidy and seemed to have received a recent make over, a clock tower adorned the roof but was probably in need of a new battery with the time not elapsing at all.  Sadly there was no paperwork or admission which of course would be a problem in a public recreation ground but there was a friendly nature to the clubs.
0-1 PAUL GRIFFITHS GIVE LLANFAIR THE LEAD
This first round clash would feature the home side plying their trade in the Welsh National League [Wrexham area] I have never quite worked that one out and with a selection of all aged sides they have a smart looking badge with a castellated entrance to Gladstone's former residence incorporated.
With past player and former village member Michael Owen amongst their list of famous former people you could also include ex players such as Barry Horne and Ian Rush.
Llanfair are rolling the ball about in The Mid Wales League which has now lost the famous moniker The Spar Mid Wales League which always had a nice ring to it.
A gathering of around forty people and a small selection of four legged friends were readily awaiting the kick off on what looked a bobbly pitch which appeared to affect both sides ability to produce much free flowing stuff during the ninety minutes.
It all started badly for the home side when a kicking error by home keeper Connor Wilson fell to Paul Griffiths who took the ball on to slot home for the lead after four minutes.  On the quarter of an hour mark Rangers had a great chance when Craig Stewart skipped past visiting keeper Mark Richards only to be pulled down by the keepers hand.  The referee proved to be a benefactor with the attacker well away it looked a certain red card but it was only a yellow produced and from the resultant kick Dom Auty was cruelly denied by the keepers save low to his right.
Mid way through the half Llanfair doubled their lead Alun Hughes fed Ryan McVeagh who confidently fired home to give the home side an upward struggle.
LLANFAIR MANAGER RHYS STEPHENS SEEMED TO BE ENJOYING THE AFTERNOON
I didn't look good for a comeback but I had predicted the same at Hucknall last week in the Vase with the home side down to ten men with their keeper dismissed and 2-1 down but the comeback surely not again?
1-2 TOM BRIDGES STARTS THE COMEBACK FOR HAWARDEN
By 58 minutes I had begun to realised I knew nothing about football with the scores level at 2 apiece, nine minutes after the re start Tom Bridges was found on the inside left he charged on and fired past the out-coming Llanfair keeper.  Just four minutes further on the home side were awarded a second penalty for a ball that bounced up and hit the Llanfair players hand this time Nick Henderson took the spot kick and made no mistake scores level and game on.
NICK HENDERSON MAKES IT 2-2 FROM THE PENALTY SPOT
What had been a disappointing first half was now turning into a right old battle and just as the hope of this going on for a little while longer and with the balance just favouring Hawarden the visitors found Astley on the right hand side and as he approached the angle of the penalty box he pulled out the most exquisite lob that sailed over the keeper and into the back of the home goal with seventeen minutes remaining.  In the closing stages Craig Stewart saw his effort cleared off the line as Hawarden sought ought an equaliser that ultimately would not come.
At the final whistle the Airbus Beluga, something I had failed to see on many visits to North Wales, flew over in a celebratory flight for a Llanfair victory and they now enter round two with a fresh confidence of further progression.
AT LAST THE BELUGA
Journey back to Chester on the return '4' was uneventful as was Chester to Crewe and Crewe to Stockport.  With a large crowd of people dressed in red and cameras flashing I followed behind three gentleman one small in stature with grey hair only for it to dawn on me Mr Mourinho was within touching distance and after a quick dash round the front it was lovely to see him have time for a picture with some young un's waiting at the station.
East Midlands Trains completed the day as they started it all standing and late the joys of public transport to be continued.....you know.  Arrival back at base was just after 8pm from an eventful day.

Monday, 15 October 2018

TEN MEN HUCKNALL IN CLASSIC VASE COMEBACK

HUCKNALL TOWN 3 BLACK COUNTRY RANGERS 2
FA VASE ROUND 1 @ WATNALL ROAD
13 OCTOBER 2018 --- 3PM
A football supporters ultimate game red card, a collection of yellows two penalties including the winner for ten men Hucknall in the second minute of stoppage time from the spot for Joe Ashurst which saw the home side come from 2-1 adrift to claim a place in round two plus a cheque for £825.
25 YARDER FROM SHANE NEWTON MAKES IT 2-2 AND GAME ON
At half time the headline was written with the higher step visitors Black Country Rangers [BCR] leading 2-1 the comments of Hucknall manager, Andy Graves pre-match, were looking to be coming true when he was quoted in the local press as saying "if they beat us they will be a good side to be honest the way we are playing". 
However the other quote in the article was looking good at one stage, when home keeper Adam Jablonski was dismissed just five minutes into the second half, Glaves had commented pre match that he hoped there was no controversy.  How this incident galvanised Hucknall as they stormed back to secure this exciting victory.
JABLONSKI OFF AND HUCKNALL DOWN TO TEN
Today would be a journey to and from Watnall Rd via car and avoid the stories of yore re public transport, thankfully I hear you say. 
So upon arrival at Watnall Rd a parking spot was found teas were purchased after admission was paid and programmes gained, unfortunately for £2 this is a poor effort and lacks much reading for its price it is heavily laden with adverts.
WATNALL ROAD IN ITS GLORY
During the week the good old days of ITV's World of Sport had been relived with Dickie Davies and that fantastic theme tune with by-plane pulling the banners advertising the programme, how good was that programme?  Well to compliment this a trip to the superb nostalgia of Watnall Rd is a must the grounds gradually falling into a 'ground of character' category as the club await their delayed and long awaited move over the road to new facilities.  It will be sad to see them leave their base as its certainly a superb ground that's witnessed Conference North football alongside that FA Vase run in 2005 that ultimately ended as runners up in the final at Villa Park.
CELEBRATIONS AS NEWTON OPENS THE SCORING
A ground descriptor can be found on my last visit here in April 2017 blog but needless to say there's an excellent function room, club shop, snack bar and toilet facilities and when you get pitch side a wide selection of excellent viewing places either standing and seated under cover or out in the open.
Todays visitors BCR from the West Midlands Regional Football League, a step higher than the hosts, like Hucknall, are unbeaten this season and have previously made round 2 of the Vase in 12/13 season.  A Dudley based club playing out of Gornall Athletics ground their previous homes have been at Castle View, Tividale and The Grove home of Halesowen.
PENALTY BUT MOMENTS AWAY AS BOOTS CLASH
The action got off to a flyer when Hucknall took a lead after just two minutes with a lovely cross goal shot from Shane Newton whose effort went in via the inside of the far post. 
BCR came back with a pace and equalised after Jablonski had saved from Liam Hughes the ninth minute saw the scores level when David Leake was adjudged to have fouled Shaun Smith as boots clashed mid air after the ball had gone away it wasn't a popular decision with the yellows.  Kieran Clarke converted well to announce game on.
CLARKE EQUALISES FOR BCR TO MAKE IT 1-1
The blustery wind was having a disruptive effect on the game which was a shame as both sides put in great endeavour to gain the next goal and it was five minutes before half time when Hucknall failed to clear a right wing corner and with the ball bobbling about in the box Smith drove home.
REF SAYS FOUL HUCKNALL SUPPORTERS CLEAR ITS ANOTHER DIVE
A steady first half little were we to know the delicacy of the second half we were about to witness.  The controversy that home manager Glaves hoped wouldn't happen had probably started with the BCR penalty but within five minutes of the re-start he would definitely be adding to the tally.
  Home keeper Jablonski was trying to retrieve the out of play ball 35 yards on his left touchline denied by the BCR player he had a little flick out with his leg to which the visiting player Clarke was spotted by the local sniper and collapsed in a heap.  Result red for the Hucknall keeper and yellow for the visiting player but the resultant reduction of players and also importantly goalkeeper many thought signalled the end of the home sides Vase challenge for this season, how wrong we were.
A QUIETER MOMENT
The game became fractious and everybody was excitable now non more so then when Alex Hammond was only cautioned for a deliberate pull back on a Hucknall player as he was racing through on goal 25 yards out.  A collection of yellows followed as they were beginning to feel aggrieved by some decision non more so than when the BCR policy seemed to adopt the 'professional' attitude of rolling about under any challenge and going down injured to delay time. 
Tactics that so often work but today seemed to backfire in a game they were looking fairly comfortable in Hucknall were now getting a collective head of steam up and when Newton got his second and the goal of the game a superb curling and dipping 25 yard effort to level the scores on 81 minutes it was game on.
JOE ASHURST CONVERTS IN STOPAGE TIME TO SECURE VICTORY FOR HUCKNALL
On the break BCR looked dangerous would we be going to extra time?  Who would be the fittest?  The board went up with five minutes of stoppage time and as we entered the second minute of them Brodie Williams brought down Sam Sims on the left hand side of the box and with nerves jangling all around Watnall Road the coolest man on the park with nerves of steel was Hucknall's Joe Ashurst who drove the penalty past Rich Kennedy in the visitors goal.  To scenes of wild joy in this partisan crowd of 181 Hucknall had produced one of the comebacks you will talk about for many a while ten men, 2-1 down, stoppage time penalty to win it and breathe!
MANAGERS CELEBRATORY DANCE PRACTICE PAYS OFF AS THREE OUT OF FOUR TIME IT JUST RIGHT
Grown Hucknall men were in bits at the end admitting how nervous they were before the penalty and in the remaining three minutes and its only the first round!  Good luck to them the crowd here were they additional player that helped the side over the line and how the players recognised this as they acknowledged the supporters when they came off.
On non-league day who needs Premiership and Football League games when you can pack all this in for a fiver.

Monday, 8 October 2018

NO JOKE AS DAWSON KEEPS BLIDWORTH WINNING STREAK GOING

BLIDWORTH WELFARE 1 LINBY COLLIERY WELFARE 0
CMFL SOUTH @ THE WELFARE
6 OCTOBER 2018 --- 3PM
THE WELFARE GROUND BLIDWORTH
A header from Jason Dawson after 52 minutes proved to be the winner and extended the winning run to seven for Blidworth and sent the home sides confidence high ahead of their first round proper FA Vase jaunt to Aylestone Park next Saturday.
Following the lovely return to the wet stuff which in the football season normally occurs on a Friday night or Saturday as we all know, there was an obsessional watch of the weather forecast with 4g games at the ready.  Travelling far afield was again put out with Northern rail strikes, Derby station coming to its last weekend of engineering upgrades and East Midland Trains warning people not to travel on the Liverpool services due to the 'giants' weekend. 
However all of this served a purpose with, finally, the resolve to take in a game at Blidworth a village visited and travelled through on many occasions but never having seen 90 minutes of the beautiful game.  The ground as many people mentioned during the afternoon is hidden away slightly from the road but of course with those modern day maps you can easily locate this hidden gem.
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD UNIQUE ENTRANCE TO PITCH SIDE
Connecting services at Alfreton and Mansfield, a place I have been to recently too much for my own good, saw me travel through Rainworth and to the far end of Blidworth departing at the Parish Church were todays history/myth starts.  Of course the village and areas modern day history is very much linked into the coal mining industry as are so many of the local sports clubs but in days gone by the socially aware Robin Hood roamed these wooded areas robbing the rich to give to the poor.  Within the graveyard of St Mary's is the gravestone, marked by a former stone apex from the church, of Will Scarlet one of Robins merry men and the Blidworth connection doesn't stop there with Maid Marian also reputed to have been born in the villages boundaries.
THE ROCKING CRADLE IN THE CENTRE OF BLIDWORTH
Time to leave the church and wander past the impressive war memorial back to the centre of modern day Blidworth were another interesting story lies outside the modern day Tesco Express.  The rocking cradle designed by local craftsman Morris Reddington marks the continuation of tradition that ties in with the baptism of the baby boy born nearest Christmas day which takes place in February and the infant is rocked in a wooden cradle during the service, Blidworth is the last remaining area to keep this observation in place.
The mornings rain had just about abated now and on the short climb through the village shops that mainly sit on one side of the main Road through the village we soon reached the northern edge and the new Blidworth Welfare which was smart and with some interesting historical pictures of the village and pit on display is worth a look.  As with former colliery sports grounds football, cricket and bowls were prominent, although it wasn't clear if the latter survives.  The entrance to the ground is accessed by the side of the brass band rooms and to the left takes you around the boundary of the cricket club to a smart set of changing rooms to the right and hospitality and snack bar window to the left.
FIRST HALF BLIDWORTH ATTACK AS CAMERMAN SHIELDS FROM THE RAIN
With admission gained and a 50p programme that did all it needed to do alongside some handy round ups of local leagues there was time to catch up with a few people including secretary Scott and the small band of helpers offered a pleasant welcome.
The birds eye view at the entrance point sees you surveying all before you down the steps to pitch side and straight on leads you past the half way line and a covered terrace with bench seating at the rear that runs the bottom half of the pitch.  The far end has hard standing as does the touchline to the other side apart from the bottom end which appears to have either never had hard standing or crumbled away.  The dugouts are also on this side and although the half of terracing towards the main entrance has its concrete disappearing its more than a pleasure to have a four sided ground again.  So we return to the entrance goal and the star of the show a five row seated stand in 4 sections seating originally 150 now down to I reckon 149, statto[!] after a seat as fallen by the wayside.
ALL WATCHING AS LINBY LOOK TO CONTROL PLAY
Being one of the grounds I had not visited and expected not to be too interesting many people urged me to go saying it would be an enjoyable experience and yes you were right I did find the visit more than encouraging.  The team of volunteers here also thanks to the secretary display the teams on a wipe board and with pre match photos taken there was time for a soup from, once again, the pleasant lady in the catering facility.
Blidworth, formerly Oak House Old Boys, would be without top scorer Aiden Harris who has a remarkable 14 goals in all competitions, sadly today out injured and with the clubs first choice keeper out for the last few weeks with broken knuckles 16 year old Adam Gell would perform admirably between the sticks with credit to him and the club for taking their opportunity.  For Linby its all been about games away from their Church Lane home while pitch improvements and movement plus clubhouse upgrades are made, thankfully their first home game is next Saturday when Swanwick Pentrich Road are the visitors.
REFEREE JONES HAS A QUIET WORD
The closest of local derbies then would see an inconsistent visitors take on Blidworth who were looking to continues their recent wining form.
The first half was an industrious affair with little in the way of chances and sadly by the time we approached the twentieth minute the sharp rain had started and the afternoon turned even colder.  As the half wore on the home side created the better chances with Josh Asuman hitting the bar and then just before the break visiting keeper pulled off a sharp save from Ben Smith from the same players deflected 25 yard effort.
BLIDWORTH SET OFF ON A SECOND HALF ATTACK
Another warming soup was trialled at half time as the rain lashed down and continued until the last quarter of an hour when finally it relented, thankfully.  This didn't stop Blidworth taking their chance and with it the three points it was Callum Pursglove who supplied the corner from the right for Dawson to rise to head home.
DERBYSHIRE REF HARRY JONES A GOOD AFTERNOON IN CONTROL
The effort was there from both sides but a classic it was not in the closing stages Joshua Henry saw his 20 yard effort come back off the bar after visiting number one had saved in the build up.
A vital three points for Blidworth as they march towards the top of the table and a confidence booster ahead of next weeks FA Vase first round in Leicester where they can take a lot of self belief having done so well recently in FA competitions.
A fairly comfortable get away by the same reverse route allowed probably the worse public transport journey of the season, so far, from Mansfield to Alfreton with a whole array of disruptive fellow passengers.
A Good local afternoon it had taken me a while to visit The Welfare Ground but it was a welcome trip on a miserable weather afternoon and hopefully one I will make again soon and would recommend.

Monday, 1 October 2018

COLLINGHAM WIN BIG BUT ITS ALL ABOUT THE CHARACTERS

RENISHAW RANGERS 0 COLLINGHAM 6
CMFL NORTH @ STONE CLOSE
29 SEPTEMBER 2018 --- 3PM
RENISHAW RANGERS V COLLINGHAM
No clarity needed on this game Collingham won hands down by a margin that could have been much bigger but sometimes from a Renishaw point of view you have too look for the benefits a stable management team, hard working Chairman and secretary wife, plus a collection of a small band of supporters all doing little bits to try to help this club along its path.  So todays its time to look at the game yes but also blog about some of the characters at Stone Close including the superb story of Richard and Doreen.
RICHARD AND DOREEN OVER THE INTERNATIONAL AND COUNTY BOUNDARY THEY COME
The usual stuff first the train to Sheffield then an X5 bus to Kiveton Park due to the ongoing Northern Rail strike reducing the service to every two hours.  Departing at the western edge of the village for a change with two hours to spare a wander along to The Fat Fish to sample the delights saw me spotted by follow traveller Peno of the Spital and Italian parish, luckily the delicacy was just about finished and by the front of The Saxon pub a small historical walk followed.  Previous blogs last season on Kiveton Park will reveal the necessary discussions of colliery, largest pit head baths in Europe etc. 
All things discussed we arrived on the approach to the ground and home of Renishaw Rangers, the village of which is approximately 5 miles south west of here over the border in Derbyshire.  The interest in clubs playing outside their home spans Derry City from the north of Ireland playing in the Southern Irish league, Berwick Rangers in England playing in bonny Scotland and of course more interestingly TNS playing in Oswestry in England while competeing in The Welsh Premier League while ground sharing with the big boys are Fc Oswestry Town and St Martin plying their trade in the English pyramid by the NWCFL.  The ultimate occurs here with Kiveton Park vacating Stone Close, then Hard Lane, to move to play in Wales, that's Wales the adjoining village to Kiveton Park not the country!
Character number one then an hour before kick off Chairman Baxter is on the gate and with admission and new style, and fast improving, programme purchased there was a jaunt to the tea bar to catch up with his better half and secretary Sharon.  The amount of work and investment these two carry out running the step 7 team alongside men's Sunday teams and junior sides is enough to exhaust you just thinking about it.
AS YOU CAN SEE SENIOR GUARD DOG GEORGE WAS IN PARTICULARLY MENACING MOOD THIS AFTERNOON
By this stage Peno had gone for a bacon cob and mug of hot stuff so a wander to the officials room for the teams found Chesterfield official Gareth Carlile assisted today by the blues brother of the former CMFL League Secretary Mark Senior and Mick Webb who would both today officiate in dark sunglasses to avoid the low bright thing, although it may have been to avoid recognition, you decide!
REFEREE CARLILE ASSISTED BY THE BLUES BROTHERS
Characters are not always of the two legged variety and non league dogs would have been delighted today that in a small crowd three four legged supporters were in attendance however George [Baxter] was playing the role of attack dog barking at most things that moved and patrolling any gaps in the fence, there aren't any before you look, for free loaders.  Outside the snack bar was Maximus [Bates] manager Steve's and Mrs Bates family dog who was taking a more laid back approach to proceedings and then a bundle of French bulldog fun new pup Ronnie [Dixon] who was fellow manager Simon's pooch, he seemed more interested in wrapping up in the warm blanket that Megan was shielding him in however.
CLUB PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD AT GROUND LEVEL
During the afternoon a brief catch up with Richard Goddard who is the clubs new photographer for the season was undertaking duties not to be interrupted and you can connect to his pictures on the clubs twitter page.  During the game grounds man Paul was in attendance and a smart job he has made of the pitch and surroundings after a terrible summer for all observers of the green stuff, plus from a spectator point of view you can now wander all the way around the ground with the hard standing now exposed at the railway end too.
SIMON DIXON [L] AND STEVE BATES ABLY ASSISTED BY MARK GRAYLING
As we mount up the characters it was good to have a brief catch up during proceedings with physio Mark Grayling who joined last season and was looking resplendent in the new Renishaw tops and alongside the dugouts an entertaining chat with the Collingham official, Graham, compiling the match report about all things footy.
Characters in a crowd of around 20 people on the day but many contributing so much to this little club who lets be honest are no Manchester City and cannot profess even a modicum of their results over recent times but good people enjoying grassroots involvement and that brings me to Richard and his mum Doreen.
I first met the pair after taking their picture sat in the former dug outs for the game last season versus Appleby Frodingham just before the famous Headingley seats were added to the large typical former mining stand.  Richard has developed the Renishaw International Supporters Twitter page, for while he is away in Austria, which is well worth a read for its obscure pictures, humorous commentary and original giveaways including recently Renishaw Rangers liveried table top game style footballer.  An additional contributor to the impressive programme with his column interviewing people around the club has added another string to his bow.  I asked Richard who lives around 20 miles away south of Chesterfield why Renishaw?  He explained "Along with mum we liked to go to local football games and having visited a few we looked at Renishaw who last season were struggling at the foot of the table and thought I bet they could do with some support".  Having decided to take a look at the club Richard continues "upon arrival the Chairman greeted us and even got mum to a seat so she was comfortable".  Richard added that it was more than any other Chairman had done and they decided this would be a club to follow and through thin and thin they are now witnessing some steadier times as the 'work in progress' sign swings a little more convincingly.
Football I hear you ask, I know but I think so often we overlook supporters, volunteers, before we go on about managers and players who also it has to be said bring so much to the game at this level no glory hunters here just people trying to do their best at the grassroots of the beautiful game.
COSTA OPENS THE SCORING FOR COLLINGHAM
High flying Collingham had taken Renishaw for a stack of goals last season including an embarrassing late teens at their place and today would be an equally difficult task as their young side wold visit the developing youngsters at Stone Close.
It started badly well Sidnei Costa slotted the ball past Daniel Hartshorn after just five minutes, it was all Collingham but mid way through the half the home side did have a triple strike on goal in the same move.  Aiden McTighe, Luke Manlove and Daniel State saw their efforts to level the scores blocked and then finally saved.  As hopes were raised Collingham shattered them by immediately going up the other end and doubling their advantage thanks to Sean James.  So it continued with Chris Funnell had a couple of good efforts on the Renishaw goal which was leading a charmed life but was also being aided, as it was throughout the game, by the heroics of home keeper Hartshorn.
Within eight minutes of the re-start the third was added Liam Moore was adjudged to have fouled Costa in the box referee Carlile appeared not to be giving it but assistant Webb flagged and following a caution for the Renishaw player the offended against player notched his second of the game.
Hartshorn was back in action to deny Collingham saving from James and then Roy Bescoby before Ryan Rushen made it 4-0 when he lashed home a 25 yard effort.
THOSE FAMOUS HEADINGLEY SEATS AND WE CAN SEE YOU RICHARD AND DOREEN
In the closing stages Collingham took advantage of some tiring limbs from the home side by adding two further goals which saw Frasier Cooke bag a brace on 83 and 89 minutes.
A comfortable win for visiting Collingham but the work in progress has clearly started and is well down the road for a young Renishaw Rangers side under the more than capable management pairing of Simon Dixon and Steve Bates but like everything it takes a little time especially with the young uns.
Returning journey went very smoothly with train to Sheffield being complimented by and immediate connections to base station arriving back just over 1 1/2 hours after the final whistle.

Monday, 24 September 2018

SHERWOOD AND INGLES IN DRAW

SHERWOOD COLLIERY 1 INGLES 1
EAST MIDLANDS COUNTIES LEAGUE @DEBDALE
22 SEPTEMBER 2018 --- 3PM
SHERWOOD COLLIERY V INGLES
A goal seven minutes from time from Ingles Jack Green allowed this top of the table clash to end with a point apiece which was a fair reflection on a game that from a neutral point of view failed to spring to life and lacked some of the football seen so far this season in The East Midlands Counties League.  Once Sherwood had taken an early second half lead through an own goal from Josh Bowley they ought to have moved on to secure the result however in both sides defence they claimed a loss of numerous key players.
After a nostalgic week of drifting into watching old clips of World of Sport presented by Dickie Davies and if the current public transport timetables are not chaotic enough a look back at 1970's ones in my local area today was also to be a trip down memory lane with a revisit.  Following Thursday and Fridays heavy raining and yes, already, flooding the decision not to travel far left a few options still not decided on until travelling locally via a change at Alfreton and Mansfield the final choice was settled on for a top of the table clash in The EMCL with two promoted step 7 clubs from The CMFL and The Leicestershire Senior League.
AN IMPRESSIVE WELCOME SIGN ONLY VIEWABLE FROM THE TRAIN STATION
With a regular bus service to Mansfield Woodhouse the home of Sherwood Colliery I opted for the irregular train service on the Robin Hood Line to complete the journey.  For the purpose of a great view of Mansfield and its town centre from the impressive span of the viaduct that dwarfs over the town.  By the time my backside had touched the seat it was time to rise again, the journey is all of three minutes, and with the handily placed station adjacent to Debdale Park its a great way of arriving.
ITS ALL ABOUT THE TREES
It would be the first visit for three seasons and last time the chosen method of arrival was also the train but this time I had an hour to play with so a quick wander in the opposite direction towards the town.  This area of Nottinghamshire was awash with pits of course and Mansfield never mind Mansfield Woodhouse prospered through them.  The Woodhouse variety of the Mansfield has some wonderful old stone buildings mixed with social housing estates however the town centre is a sad indictment to the closure of the former colliery's and now has many boarded up shops with a feeling of the good days being gone, a sad commentary on the industrial conflicts of the 80's, that affected both Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire towns in the end the same, coming home to roost.  But wait the good times are coming back with the progressive and rising Sherwood Colliery Fc just on the edge of the town.
EWAN ROBSON ON THE BALL FOR SHERWOOD
Time to set off back towards the ground via Gicho's Chippy for a mid table fayre and with an hour to go to kick off arrival at this old style former colliery sports complex was achieved.  With cricket and football pitches plus an all weather mini pitch alongside a large function room and bar area much of what you require for a visit is here.
THIS SYNCRONISED FOOTY MIGHT TAKE OFF NICE EFFORT LADS
Having covered the set up three years ago there is time for a quick update the ground sits below the former pit tip which now is already an eclectic shade of colour on its tree strewn side and as the seasons develop for any aboriculturist must be worth a visit a few times to view the wonderful colours.  Up the incline to the main pitch the ground has now been neatly fenced off with green meshed fencing on two sides that were previously open.  To the immediate right a no go area with behind the goals the mini 3g pitch along the main touchline a covered terrace stand with a few bench seats in the rear, I believe a new stand is on the way to meet their ground requirements.  Hard standing has now been added behind the far goal with again a wooded area here and so to the far touchline which offers the mentioned pit tip which is also concreted but strangely out of bounds and the two dug outs.  In fairness there is not much here but what they have added they have added well and with a care and attention and the ground has developed to a level required since I first went their probably around seven years ago.  The added involvement of a Chairman who was a lottery winner has clearly aided the set up with its progress and to be applauded that a local person has got involved in his 'local' club too.
EARLY DISCUSSION ABOUT WHICH WAY TO THE BAR WITH REFEREE REES OFFERING A SHORT CUT
Having paid in and gained a programme there was time to catch up with todays match official Rob Rees and his team.  Ingles have progressed to this level from The Leicestershire Senior League and they too have had a wonderful start to their new level and come up against top of the table Sherwood today in the Leagues 'match of the day'.
The pitch was looking superb if a little long however this was probably due to the terrible rain of the last few days but it was a credit to the club and I'm sure will benefit them as the season goes on.  The first half was to be fair a disappointment for me with a lack of quality although there were chances for Ingles Lloyd Tapper tested the home keeper Joe McCormack and it was the same player put through by Brice White who struck a post later in the half.  For table topping Sherwood Shaun Smith forced Jordan Allen into an excellent save after a long goal kick from the home sides number one McCormack.  It was Smith again who had an excellent opportunity after the visiting keeper slipped too miss kick his clearance but the Sherwood front man missed the opportunity.  Then just four minutes before the break it was Smith again with a good effort that struck the bar and we went into the interval goal less.
ON THE WHISTLE DOWN AND ITS TEN PRESS UPS
The deadlock was broken eight minutes into the second half when a right wing Sherwood corner saw Bowley head into his own goal under an aerial challenge from Jordan Harris, shortly afterwards the home side saw a further effort cleared off the line but they were looking comfortable without being convincing.  With twenty minutes to go Eden Homer the home sides number 2 was lucky to only receive a yellow from referee Rees in an incident were he tried to release the ball from an Ingles player who was on the floor but had the ball trapped between his legs and the effort to clear it shall we say got a little over excited.
JACK GREEN [ON FLOOR] LEVELS FOR INGLES
With seven minutes remaining it all went wrong for the home side who had failed to tie up the result when a swooping header from Jack Green beat McCormack in the Sherwood goal to secure a point for the visitors in what was probably a fair result but would probably leave the home sides management team somewhat frustrated at not securing all three points.
Probably better to view these two on a day when they have a fuller squad of players available with Wayne Savage at Sherwood a manager who normally gets the best out of his side you wouldn't back against his team being far off the top spot come the business end of the season but I cant help but feel Newark Flowserve are the ones too watch, should be a good game between these two.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

CLOSE VASE GAME SEES SQUIRES GATE PROGRESS

WORSBROUGH BRIDGE ATHLETIC 0 SQUIRES GATE 2
FA VASE 2ND ROUND QUALIFYING @ PARK ROAD
16 SEPTEMBER 2018 --- 3PM [ACTUAL 3.45PM]
'Left winger in superb strike sends Barnsley side through', the headline was already written but the script didn't fall into place.  With a visit to the birthplace and still home, just a long goal kick from the clubs Park Road ground, of former NUM leader Arthur Scargill I had the ultimate headline for a Worsbrough victory.  However Squires Gate had not read the script and after a delayed start due to an incident on the M62 we kicked off 45 minutes late and as so often happens poor preparation, crammed on a coach, uncomfortable all made absolutely no difference as the visitors secured entry into the next round of the FA Vase.
WORSBROUGH BRIDGE ATH V SQUIRES GATE
For just a second visit to this interesting little ground shared with the local cricket club, so necessitating a Sunday kick off, the frustrations of the weekend continued.  Saturday's early kick off at Ashover, see previous blog, was to see a couple of hours of cricket at Morton only on to arrive there with four runs needed and game over!  Sunday with the usual local league featuring saw a potential abandonment in the second minute of stoppage time for a serious injury before having to make a hasty dash to the station for the 1255 train.
MOST FORMER PIT VILLAGES HAVE THEM BUT HERE THERE ARE TWO CHAPS TO GREET YOU TOO
As per ever train travel is not made simple, ticket machines not taking cash, one travel advisor and after ten minutes the three of us in the queue had not moved as the customer at the desk booked a ticket for a journey for what looked like every remaining day of the year.  Train boarded and excuses made we were thankfully allowed to pay on the train and upon arrival in Barnsley an ever faster dash allowed a departure on the '2' to Worsbrough Bridge.  It was at this stage that after a Twitter check revealed there was a picture of Squires Gate stuck on the motorway with traffic going nowhere declaring 'think we are going to be late'.
AN EXPECTANT CROWD
Never mind this allowed chip cob eating time, a catch up with Alan [casual hopper], another hopper from just outside Stockport, Ian Cox referee and Dave Morrell from the NCEFL.  Having resisted the temptation to have another chip cob a few pictures were taken and programme and raffle tucked away.  The programme after quite a few good ones you would have to say was not one of the more interesting ones although it was paperwork from the game.
CRICKET AND FOOTBALL MEET PLUS SOME IMPRESSIVE FLOODLIGHT POLES
So with the time passing by in a variety of interesting conversations here is a quick descriptor and its a hard ground to describe with so many quirky features.  Entering down a slope and steps to behind the Park Road goal to the left takes you to a two stepped terrace and small covered terrace with crush barriers that stops two thirds of the way along for the cricket grounds outfield.  Behind the terrace runs the river Dove with long fishing net at hand for any water bound balls.  Coming back to our entrance point and turning right a raised terrace behind the sports association club which was closed but last time I remember the large collection of colliery plates adorning the walls and onto the raised hard standing area and the typical colliery style stand seen at many grounds around this area.
AN ATTENTIVE CROWD ON THE RIVER SIDE
The old cricket pavilion was the biggest change since my last visit now a stone pavilion with changing facilities and catering, all with a lovely balcony offering a superb view of proceedings.  For those of a football league disposition today was just a fiver to get in with chip cob, butty in this neck of the woods, and tea £2.50 can you afford not to give non league a try?  Needless to say at that price I did sample another at half time.
A PACKED SQUIRES GATE BOX IN THE FINAL MINUTE WITH WORSBROUGH KEEPER UP FOR THE CORNER
The first half was played out in a sharp drizzling rain and the side from south of Blackpool who ply their trade one step above todays hosts in The NWCFL Premier Division were very much in the ascendency.  As early as the third minute Ryan Charnley had crashed a free kick off the woodwork before Dean Ing saw his header saved by Aidan Tyas in the home goal.  Tyas was on hand again to deny Joseph Mullen at the back post before the inevitable lead came the visitors way two minutes before the break Brett Dawson broke through and slotted past the on coming Tyas to send Squires Gate into a deserved half time lead.
SECOND HALF GREETINGS ARE EXCHANGED
It looked hard to see a way back for Worsbrough but force their way into the game they did with an overwhelming second half possession but time after time they came up against the brick wall of the hardworking visitors defence Fidel Mhlolo was prominent with a shot turned away for a corner and then an assist that Kieran Hirst had in the back of the net only for an offside flag to deny him an equaliser.  Hirst turned supplier in the closing stages with substitute Connor Rollinson inches away from a touch at the back post that would surely have sent the game into extra time.  There was time for the two sides too make closer acquaintances when a kerfuffle occurred all sorted out nicely with three yellow cards.
THE THREE WISE MEN SORT OUT WHO IS UP FOR A GREETING CARD
With the game going into the seventh minute of stoppage time Worsbrough got a corner with everybody up including keeper Tyas the ball of course broke to the visitors and Richard Seear who raced away to slot home into an unguarded goal.  Cue referee MacLeod's whistle straight from the re start and Squires Gate could celebrate a hard earned victory and progress to the next round, slightly weirdly the visiting manager seemed to go over the top by reminding the Worsbrough players and officials of his sides victory and there were a few more close greetings undertaken!
Return journey took in a local service bus service, the 2 again, to Sheffield and having departed by the rail station a train within a few minutes saw arrival at base station just before 7.30pm.  A long day but an enjoyable re visit to a nice little club and ground with a solid performance from Squires Gate seeing them move to the next stage of the FA Vase.