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 STAN 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]

Sunday, 15 January 2017

NARROW WIN FOR NOTTM FOREST

NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2 V LEEDS UNITED 1
UNDER 23 DEV LEAGUE @ THE IMPACT ARENA
13 JANUARY 2017 --- 7PM
ATTEMPTED ARTISTIC SCENE AT THE IMPACT ARENA

Leeds United looked to force a comeback in this game similar to Sunderland's last night at Derby but Forest just about had enough to hold them out by the time the 90 minutes was over.
Once again the tale of a bitterly cold night this was probably the coldest of the season so far for watching football in and I did give this serious consideration but it was a good chance to get along to Alfreton a ground of course covered many times before so here is just a small insight into the night.
A simple bus journey to The Impact and a quick catch up with a few mates at the ground and as per last night a crowd of around 150 saw Forest lead 2-0 nil at half time.  Forrest had took the lead as early as 15 seconds one of the quickest the blog as seen never mind this season when Jorge Grant put in Lewis Walters who finished well.  The second was a quality finish with power from Gerry McDonagh who fires home from 14 yards.
The second half started encouragingly for Leeds with a goal back on 57 minutes with another good strike this time from 25 yards from Tom Pearce but even with a continued amount of pressure and a late free kick in time added on Forest saw time out for the win.
Three games in 3 days and the increasing risk of hyperthermia had brought home the full extent of winter football!

SECOND HALF COMEBACK FOR SUNDERLAND

DERBY COUNTY 2 V SUNDELAND 2
PREMIER LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL CUP U23 @ THE I PRO STADIUM
13 JAN 2017 --- 7PM
IPRO HOME OF THE RAMS
Sunderland staged a remarkable comeback after being outplayed by Derby in the first 45 minutes on a once again bitterly cold evening in the interestingly named cup.
Once again a quick coverage of this mid week game but a trip to Derby's IPRO has to be a good option a superb ground with an excellent playing surface welcomed me after a one of bus journey to the city followed by a quick change for a bus that served Pride Park and Ride.
 
On this cold evening a ticket was collected from the ticket office before Derby issued a free team sheet very creditable some other clubs should take note.  Underneath the stand on the concourse a warm drink was engaged and luxury of luxury the roof heaters were turned on create a nice welcome.
To the game and the first half was all Derby with Mason Bennett a constant threat down the left hand side and by the time we reached half time Derby were correctly two nil up however they were late in the first half goal.  On 42 minutes a superb 25 yard free kick from Calum MacDonald found the top right hand corner before Bennett weaved his way into the box crashed in a cross that flew into his own goal by Josh Robson.
Early into the second half it was clear Sunderland were going to make a game of this and on 64 minutes it was game on when Andrew Nelson forced his way through to score.  Rams keeper Kelle Roos was denying the Black Cats but he let one slip through his grasp with just 3 minutes remaining when own goal man Robson's cross ended up falling to the back post were Derby defender Cameron Creswell fired the ball into his own goal.
A good comeback completed by the visitors and its enough to see them into the next round of this competition.
THE FINAL SCORE A GAME OF TWO HALVES

HUCKNALL AND EASTWOOD HONOURS EVEN

EASTWOOD COMMUNITY FC 1 V HUCKNALL TOWN 1
CMFL SOUTH AT CORONATION PARK
11 JAN 2017 --- 7.45PM
THE SCENE IS SET FOR EASTWOOD COMM V HUCKNALL TOWN
After a quiet but hard working first half the second half was to produce more in the way of entertainment and a goal apiece that keeps both sides title hopes on track.
On an increasingly cold evening there were no worries here with the new 3g pitch installed tonight is just a short coverage of the evening as the blog covered the pitch and previous games at Coronation Park.
A short bus trip to Alfreton before a change for DH Lawrence country over the border in Nottinghamshire saw pre match meal taken with Hill Top Fish Bar for a more than top of the table take away which would have been added with me being able to keep the fish cake on the tray before I had the chance to sample it the blighter had slid off onto the floor.
The first half had been a poor affair in the action stakes but it had been a tough and testing battle full of endeavour many of the hoppers who swelled the crowd of around 200 agreed and thankfully the second half opened up quite a bit.  On 71 minutes Hucknall swept into the lead when Matt Brian smashed home the ball after home keeper Jack Walker had twice pulled off saves in the build up.  Then to restore parity on 77 minutes Eastwood deservedly levelled when Gregg Conn drove in.
Overall a fair result on a cold evening that really settles nothing for these neighbours in the battle at the top of The CMFL South.
LOOKED GOOD BUT I MISSED THE FISH CAKE SLIDING OFF

Saturday, 7 January 2017

BLABY & WHETSTONE SWEEP ASIDE RADCLIFFE

BLABY AND WHETSTONE ATHLETIC 5 V RADCLIFFE OLYMPIC 1
EAST MIDLANDS COUNTIES LEAGUE @ WARWICK RD
7 JANUARY 2017 --- 3PM
MAIN STAND AT WARWICK RD
A storming first half from Blaby and Whetstone Athletic [BAW] saw them go in at the break 4-1 to the good and third placed Radcliffe Olympic must have been shell shocked and although they limited the damage to one goal in the second half it was all over by then.  The Leicestershire side did their credentials no harm at all although had it not been for 3 superb saves from the home custodian Tom Hollyoak the score may have been closer.
To the planning stage for todays game and with trips to West Wales and Buckinghamshire all put on hold with an annoying forecast of fog it was too much of a risk and I went back to my original plans of an EMCL game, as many of you know this league does not normally rate in my top 2,500 of favourite leagues but there were a wide selection of games in the South Leicestershire area today and this one stood out with a new visit on offer and a top of table affair, well nearly.
Sadly as seems to be the case with this league a majority of the clubs are poor in advertising their games with a lack of social media and or website promoting their games I know its about having the volunteers but BAW were consistent to this example and its a shame because they have a good product and you certainly have to tell people about it, today there were I guess around mid 20's who paid admission.
FIRST CALL BLABY
Departure from base station found us gaining a seat, again, on the 1101 train and with arrival on time in Leicester we were soon on board an aquamarine special to arrive in Blaby for around 1215.  I had opted to take a look around the centre first and then amble out with the massive amount of time built in here to Whetstone the other part of todays twin location team.  Blaby is a functional town with a nice selection of shops todays luncheon stop was from 'The Chippy', I did consider asking if they did chips but thought better of it.  Small sample of produce supplied and I might add some cracking chips here and we were soon off on the 1 mile or so walk into Whetstone.  On the way we passed another imaginatively named shop with good alliteration 'Blaby Booze' I wonder what they supply?
AND TO FINISH OFF THE NAME WHETSTONE
Whetstone generally appeared a sleepy village with a few shops and a smart main street but I'm not sure when it opened.  Having once again built in too much time for what attractions there were around here I had a quick journey past Warwick Rd to take a look at the new housing estates going up I believe on the site of the former GEC factory.
As ever Leicester is a fantastic sporting town, on our journey out we passed The City, Tigers and Grace Rd the home of Leicestershire County Cricket Club but the area we were now in has a further selection of clubs from Vipers RUFC, Saffron Dynamos, Leicestershire and Rutland FA HQ at Holmes Park and Leicester Lions RUFC.  It amazes me how much sport there is in and around Leicester it must be more than many other cities.
STAND WITH A VIEW
Finally no more time could be eaten up and it was up the impressively named Warwick Rd although the road itself is a disappointing narrow affair with the club on the right hand side.  Upon arrival you can see there are a selection of grounds around the main pitch and the signs show Blaby and Whetstones Boys Club etc but nothing anywhere to signify todays hosts.  The entrance to the clubhouse saw a left turn take you to the changing rooms, there was no access to the function room and bar today due to a party and so I opted for a quick circuit of the pitch for the obligatory pictures.  To the left its hard standing behind our entrance goal and on the first touchline is a smart little corporate blue and white bench seated stand before just after the dug out and no spectator access below making this a 3 1/2 sided ground.
DOUBLE SIDED STAND
The tour can continue behind the bottom goal with hard standing all the way around until in the top half of the opposite touchline a small double sided stand that serves the main pitch and adjacent one.  Coming back to the top goal and main club house changing rooms area to the right hand side or upon entry to the ground your immediate right their is a snack bar that to be honest is probably also a member of the secret society and with no signs it was only by asking I found it and dropped a few pennies in the coffers mind you the Twix was 4 months out of date.
PRE MATCH PREP FROM BLABY AND WHETSTONE ATHLETIC FC
With no more delay to the game in the opening exchanges Hollyoak pulled off a superb save from his own defender Jake Waine whose defensive header was going in until the number one palmed it away.  Blaby got into their stride when James Ireland saw Tom Dudley deny him but it wasn't long before the home side took the lead and it was Dudley in the action again this time he upended Daniel Henfrey in the box and Tom Hill slotted home the spot kick.
HERE COME THE TEAMS
Radcliffe came back and it was Hollyoak again with a save to deny Sam Adams before amazingly Blaby went 2 up when on the right hand side Jack lane coming off the touchline curled a superb 25 yard effort in to the top left hand corner.  It was all BAW now when Hill had his shot parried and then Aaron Preston saw his effort denied too.
Radcliffe pulled a goal back when Ryan Perkins guided in a free kick off the right for Adams to power home the header before this Hollyoak had again saved well at full stretch from Ryan Smiths header.
OVERVIEW OF THE ACTION
A lovely move 8 minutes before half time made it 3-1 Ireland on the edge of the box fed the ball through to the on running Lane who laid the ball back to Lee Barratt [FA site shows Tom Hill] who fired the ball home.  On the stroke of half time Barratt fed Preston who slotted past the out coming keeper to make it 4-1 at the break.
Often it game over for the second half but within 2 minutes of the re start any hope the Nottinghamshire side had of a comeback disappeared when BAW made it 5-1 thanks to a glorious strike from Ireland who strike home sweetly from 25 yards out into the top left hand corner of the visitors goal.
RADCLIFFE OLYMPIC ON THE ATTACK
That really was game over Blaby took their foot of the pedal and it was one of those halves, Radcliffe did create a chance when the pace of Ryan Perkins saw him put a shot away that Hollyoak could only half stop and as the ball rolled goal bound it was left to Waine to clear from the goal line.
The second half had become increasingly a going through the motions affair and in the end it was with acceptance that referee Lauren Holt blew for time.  A word for all three officials here today excellent games all round with the experienced Martin Dexter taking a junior assistants role their was always a watchful eye on proceedings, well done to you all.
REFEREE HOLT CHECKS HER WATCH
Nice short walk to the bus stop for the 84 back into Leicester which waited for time on at least 2 occasions on the way back but it was all very civil and with a comfortable connection at the station the blog arrived back at base around 7.30pm.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

STAFFORD FALL TO LEWIS DOUBLE

STAFFORD TOWN 0 V UTTOXETER TOWN 2
MIDLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE 1 AT EVANS PARK
2 JANUARY 2017 --- 3PM
ACTION FROM EVANS PARK
A second half double from Luke Lewis was just what Uttoxeter ordered for this Staffordshire derby although the two late red cards they also received to finish with 9 men would certainly not have been on the wanted list for the New Year.
The weather was starting to show its presence after a quiet winter so far and with an overnight frost 3g games were in the spotlight and with Stafford Town having this as a new addition to the club the blog had in sight a visit to Evans Park at some stage.  Today started with the usual search around local clubs with much of the transport system locally still in Bank Holiday Sunday mode but it once again has to be said many clubs were appalling at checking their pitches never mind informing potential supporters of what may be happening.  There ended up with 3 sides calling off late, two of which were in the last hour after local refs passed pitches playable before the match official then called the game off with no worsening of conditions in the following two hours.  Thankfully before we got to this frustrating part of the day the decision had been made to play the 3g card and take up the trip to Staffordshire.
SPORTING VISION
It was luxury today with a seat on all three trains to our venue town and with the first change in Derby we sped along to Tamworth for the electric service to Stafford.
Taking the option of a later travel today we arrived at around 1.45pm and with Stafford having been visited last season when todays home sides senior club Stafford Rangers was visited it was straight off to the ground via the big 'T's' for a chilled sandwich and then a short 10 minute walk brought us to the approach road to Evans Park.
THE IMPRESSIVE MAIN STAND AT EVANS PARK
A major sporting site surrounds the football ground with cricket, hockey, rugby, bowls amongst the sports on offer.  The curving entrance road eventually opened up Stafford Town's home with the neat set up and its car park welcoming the smart Uttoxeter mini bus we knew we were in the correct place.
Stafford Town were formed 40 years ago by the current Chairman Gordon Evans and after a variety of grounds, including the nearby Rowley Park, the club based itself in its current home in 2010 which was opened by Micky Adams the then Port Vale manager and last year installed its £650,000 state of the art 3g pitch.  Before the game I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Chairman who explained his excitement at what the club had achieved in partnership with many bodies including Stafford Borough Council to reach their current off the pitch status.  The club operate around 30 teams encompassing a variety of ages and groups and are able now to move some of their teams onto Evans Park.  A proud achievement for the club who have named the ground in the Chairman's honour and his enthusiasm is their for all too see.
UTTOXETER JUMPING FOR JOY BEFORE THE GAME STARTS
A quick ground descriptor sees 3/4 of the ground like many new build 3g stadia with the obligatory green 3 foot fences around the pitch and behind the spectator higher ground protection fences, its tarmac that's the order of the day all around for spectators.  The main stand is the impressive furniture here with a modern high roofed affair including a deep rowed set of seats and to either side flat level covered terracing.  The only down side is the 15 foot high poles that hold up loose netting that stop the ball flying into the stand although this makes viewing from here a non starter for me for the afternoon.  The technical areas are marked on the pitch side but the dugout are sections within the stand 10 feet or so behind the managers.  The changing rooms are housed under the stand as are the toilets and a clubhouse where access can be gained to the snack bar which also opens up at the opposite end to the terrace.  A clean and tidy food outlet was on show today as was the whole set up I know many of you will say its new it should be but as we all know their are many new grounds were no care is taken and litter is all around you well not here they are clearly proud of their smart stadium.
Having gone for a warm in the clubhouse for a drink and snack outside the temperatures were starting to drop on a bright sunny afternoon.
TODAYS OFFICIALS LED OUT BY REFEREE JACOBS
The game then and with Stafford 3rd bottom and Uttoxeter not to much further up the table I close derby was expected and so it turned out when at half time it was scoreless.  The first 45 minutes had seen the visitors in the ascendancy and their neat football on the perfect paying surface should really have seen then in the lead but chances were at a premium with the home side struggling to string much of note together.
UTTOXETER CAPTAIN CALLUM LOVATT
After a warming Bovril at half time we were soon underway again and thankfully the second half provided more of note the deadlock was broken though just 3 minutes into the second half when Lewis nudged the ball home following a superb long ball from Doug Price.
ITS THERE SOMEWHERE
Chances were at a premium still but Uttoxeter looked to put the game to rest 15 minutes later when sub Alex Langridge forced home keeper Tom Degg into a parrying save ball fell out to Lewis whose initial shot was cleared off the line only for his second effort to crash back into the goal.
The game proceeded to develop into a rather tetchy affair and with a few bookings already made for either side the inevitable happened when referee Jacobs produced a second yellow for Liam Sowter on 75 minutes and then with 2 minutes of normal time remaining a challenge from the impressive Josh Bowden saw Uttoxeter amazingly reduced to 9 players for what was his second yellow.  In between this the visitors nearly went further ahead when Lewis went in one on one with Degg who managed to push his effort away.
A spicy end which could have given Stafford hope but although they tried hard to build up a head of steam it never happened for the home side with the visitors holding on.
AN INCREASINGLY COLD AFTERNOON
At the final whistle Uttoxeter were jubilant with 3 points but weirdly questioning the referee on the pitch as they finished without a full compliment of players.
The end of the game signalled an hour to get back to the station so with about 40 minutes or so to spare a quick visit to the fast food outlet on The Hough a retail park which is on the opposite turn on the junction that leads to the ground was made before an increasingly cold night saw the pavements offering a slide back to the train station.
Connections at Tamworth and Derby were all made well with only the first train resulting in standing so I lovely day of travelling with seats gained most of the day which as become an unusual achievement.
Base station was arrived just short of 7.30pm and the longest part of the day was a 50 minute wait for the bus out to the sticks!  An enjoyable day and visit to a smart little club who I hope will find themselves pulling away from the relegation zone soon as for Uttoxeter they played some lovely football on the 'carpet' and may like to roll it up and take it back to Oldfields.
FOR THOSE CONCERNED THERE WAS WARM FOOD

Saturday, 31 December 2016

HEANOR TAKE THEIR CHANCES IN THE SECOND HALF TO CLAIM THE 3 POINTS

HEANOR TOWN 4 V TIVIDALE 1
MIDLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE PREMIER AT THE TOWN GROUND
31 DECEMBER 2016 --- 3PM
TOWN GROUND FOR HEANOR V TIVIDALE
Heanor converted the second half chances that they had so worryingly missed in the first half especially when 5 minutes before the break Dominic Smith had given Tividale the lead with their only chance of the half.  By this stage The Lions could have been 7 goals to the good so was their dominance however a strong second half showing with goals from Nathan Benger, Alex Brown and a double from Keenan Layton rebalanced the 3points in favour of the home side.
Following last nights disappointing call off at Sheffield FC thankfully there was a selection of close by Midland League games and where better than Heanor Town good food, atmosphere and normally a steady old game.  I think I have described it before as like a comfy chair you just want to settle down with and that's just what we did after a change in Alfreton which was running slightly late todays public transport dropped us off around half past mid day in the town.
We made use of the bar at Heanor for a glass of fizzy and Santa was still on display needless to say at half time Tividale thought it was still Christmas and he had dropped them a one goal lead off for their present.
A wide selection of hoppers and enthusiasts were in attendance good to see them all and catch up with Flagman Dave, Chris, John, Malc, Alan and of course the regulars at Heanor Town.
HEANOR TOWN CLUBHOUSE
 It was nice to see a few familiar faces from our last viewing of Tividale last season at Chasetown where they put up a good fight in their battle to preserve Evostik football something they finally lost but on the day I remember a spirited effort.  Indeed Tivi only just lost 2-1 to Lye Town in their last fixture but as the players arrived they looked a very young squad and you have to hope they can get a god run together to see them move away from the bottom two.
MORE FOOD RESEARCH
The obligatory trip to the snack bar and as ever Kim was well in order for the catering which of course we enjoyed as ever its one of the highlights, its not often a day time game is done at Heanor so it was a nice change.  In fact the last day time game was probably 364 days ago against Shepshed last New Years Day.
FOOTBALL TO THE RIGHT CRICKET TO THE LEFT
No frost danger today although towards the bottom of the slope end it was looking a little heavy but that didn't put off Heanor who started off at a pace.  The first move of note after 11 minutes saw Brown strike a post with a header from a Jay Cooper cross off the left.  It then became a list to Santa of chances but sadly the man in red rejected all requests for a goal Chris Smith saw his effort saved by Luke Kriskinians, then Dominic Wilkinson header over when it looked easier to hit the net, before Brown saw his shot saved for a corner from which Nathan Benger saw his header cleared off the line.  Time for a breather? No next up was Benger who used his strength to approach the edge of the box and unleash a shot that once again saw Kriskinians fly to his left to push over the bar.  Just past the half hour mark Cooper put in another testing cross from the left that fell to Smith at the back post who got a slight touch to it but not enough to divert the ball into the goal.
SANTA AWARDS TIVIDALE A LATE CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Then Santa came out with his gift and awarded it to Tividale who saw Probert sweetly set up Smith who slotted the ball home to give the visitors a shock lead.  You have to take your chances and it was the West Midlands side who confirmed that statement as their players wheeled away in delight to celebrate.
The game could have gone either way now with Heanor totally deflated or with a response to enthuse their supportive crowd, thankfully after an early scare it was the latter.  The second half was just one minute old when Smith broke through and forced McCormack into a sharp save had this effort have gone in it could have secured 3 points for Tividale.
REFEREE LASKA CENTRAL TO HEANORS EQUALISER
The remainder of the half was about Heanor as once again they dominated but they had to be grateful for a strange goal on 57 minutes when the ball fell to the back post and as the keeper seemed to mishandle Benger tapped the ball goal bound it seemed to spin on the line strike the post and fall away from the goal.  Referee Laska though signalled for a goal it did not appear that the assistant had signalled the ball had crossed the line but a gaol was awarded.  Tividale appealed the ball had not crossed the line and from my position on the edge of the penalty box you had to agree with them indeed I didn't hear many of the staunch home fans claim this was a goal.
HEANOR KEEPER MCCORMACK REALISES HES FORGOTTEN SOMETHING

But Heanor were back in the match and they took the lead on 65 minutes when Brown crashed one in off the underside of he bar.  There was time for Benger to test the keeper from close in when it looked like he had scored the visiting number 1 grabbed the ball to safety.  It was 3-1 though shortly after Cooper set up Greg Marriott whose effort was again saved by the Tividale keeper but Layton was on hand to fire the loose ball home.  With 5 minutes remaining Layton got his second firing home at the back post there was even time for Brown to strike the bar in the closing stages.
This was undoubtedly the correct result Heanor with credit stuck to the task against a determined Tividale who had taken a shock lead and had given it their best but had those chances been taken we would have seen a large scoreline in favour of Heanor Town.
With a quick return and some handy departures base was arrived at 5.55pm an unusually early return for the blog on a Saturday.
STEVE HAMILTON AND HIS NEW CHRISTMAS HAT