Game 10: Cove 1.11 Worcester Park (Combined Counties Div 1)

Game 10: Cove 1.11 Worcester Park (Combined Counties Div 1) 11.11.17

At noon I was questioning whether to make the journey to Farnborough as it had been raining all morning. In the end I decided to get the train and hope the weather would improve. By the time I got to Farnborough station the rain had stopped and I walked round to the ground in the dry. There was no-one at the turnstiles when I arrived so I went into the clubhouse and picked up a free programme from the bar. It turned out that admission was collected during the game so after a quick drink I wandered out to the pitch.

The teams came out slightly late and following a one minute silence, the game kicked off at 3.05pm. Worcester Park were top of the league before the game and looked comfortable on the ball, dominating play and attacking quickly on the break. It took them 20 minutes to get the first goal, a shot past the keeper from inside the area from a tight angle. Six minutes later and they added a second from a quickly taken short corner. The ball was worked to the edge of the area and a low shot through a group of players eluded the keeper. Another six minutes and the visitors scored again from a breakaway. The Cove keeper parried the ball from a shot but only to a Worcester Park player who had an easy task to roll the ball into the net.

The second half didn’t kick off until 4.09 but it didn’t take long for the goals to start flowing again. Cove took the ball down the left and found a player in the centre in space. He was closed down by the defence but managed to get a shot away which deflected over the keeper’s head and in. Worcester Park soon took control again and the goals kept on coming. The scoring went as follows:

48 mins – 1.4 Shot in off post, Cove slightly aggrieved as it looked like their covering defender was impeded.
56 mins – 1.5 Unmarked player in centre of area picks a spot and shoots past the keeper
59 mins – 1.6 Ball crossed into the area, missed by everyone until player runs in at backlist to steer it in
75 mins – 1.7 Low shot from the edge of the area
83 mins – 1.8 Dribble into the area then player takes ball around keeper and scores

At this point I was hoping that I would see 9 goals for the first time in a men’s senior match. My hopes were answered when a Worcester Park player was brought down in the area and the referee awarded a penalty.

87 mins – 1.9 Penalty struck past keeper
88 mins – 1.10 Another dribble into the area, another goal

At this point the referee showed a second yellow and red to a Cove player who had been booked for dissent in the first half. It wasn’t clear what the card was for but there was still time for Worcester Park to have a goal disallowed for offside before adding a final goal to the scoreline in injury time.

90 mins – 1.11 Freekick just outside the area played into the centre of the box and a header beat the Cove keeper

So a record scoreline and 11 goals on the 11th day of the 11th month. I didn’t stick around after the game as I had to dash back to the station to make my train home. I felt sorry for the friendly people at Cove whose team deserved some credit for trying to take the game to Worcester Park even when they were losing heavily.

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Game 9: Bristol Telephones 0.3 Wincanton Town (Western 1)

Game 9: Bristol Telephones 0.3 Wincanton Town (Western 1) 04.11.2017

The first 2pm kickoff of the season and a long awaited visit to Stockwood Lane to see the latest promoted team in Western 1, Bristol Telephones. Alan and I drove past a number of Western League grounds to get there, also spotting Somerset League team Cutters Friday who play on a neighbouring pitch. After parking near the turnstiles we wandered up to the clubhouse to enjoy a warm pasty and a drink.

We were fortunate that it was sunny for most of the match with just a small drop of rain in the first half. For the first quarter of an hour Telephones dominated possession and it was largely one way traffic towards the Wincanton goal. There was a brief halt in proceedings as the referee pulled up with a muscle strain and couldn’t continue. One of the assistants had to take over in the middle so it was agreed that a Wincanton sub would run the line for the rest of the first half, replaced by a Telephones official for the second half.

Shortly after the restart, Telephones conceded a penalty when a Wincanton player was brought down on the edge of the area. The keeper guessed the right way and managed to push the low shot away. He wasn’t so lucky two minutes later as Wincanton took the ball down the side of the area, cut the ball back and a close range shot found the back of the net. Wincanton had a couple of good chances to extend their lead. The first chance saw a player seeing the Telephones keeper off his line and attempting a chip, only to see the ball go wide. The second chance saw an initial shot saved and the follow up shot towards an empty net blocked.

The second half saw two more Wincanton goals come from good passing and movement. Their second goal came seven minutes into the half when the ball was worked across the area to the far right for an oncoming player to thrash a shot past the keeper. The third came just before full time, a good run down the left wing saw the ball crossed into the middle. Two defenders had a chance to clear it but couldn’t stop the ball running to the back post where it was blasted past their keeper.

Game 8: Glastonbury 0.1 Ashton & Backwell United Reserves (Somerset League Cup)

Game 8: Glastonbury 0.1 Ashton & Backwell United Reserves (Somerset League Cup) 14.10.17

With a gig in Bristol in the evening, I decided to spend the afternoon in Glastonbury and take in a Somerset League Cup game. Both of the teams play in Division 1 West of the Somerset League, Glastonbury 11 points and six places above their opposition. The ground was a former Western League venue and old programmes were available at at the turnstile. Only one side is accessible to spectators with a covered area with picnic benches by the clubhouse and a covered terrace area next to it. Looking over to the right there was a clear view of Glastonbury Tor.

The first half saw Glastonbury dominate the play but neither team were able to score. Ashton & Backwell came close, winning the ball from a defensive error at the edge of the area and lobbing the onrushing keeper only to see the ball bounce off the crossbar and away. Moments later Glastonbury had their best chance of the half when two attempts at goal from close range were blocked.

Ashton & Backwell improved in the second half but wasted several chances in good positions by not taking the time available to line up on target shots. The referee seemed too lenient with the players and several challenges that you’d normally expect to see a booking just led to a talking to. The Glastonbury keeper had a habit of rolling the ball out to a team mate rather than kicking. This lead to the only goal of the game when an Ashton player got a quick challenge in and won the ball. His shot was saved but a team mate was able to steer the rebound home past a lunging foot of a defender. Glastonbury picked up their game and had a couple of chances late on but couldn’t force extra time with an equaliser.

Game 7: Alton 4.1 AFC Stoneham (Wessex 1)

Game 7: Alton 4.1 AFC Stoneham (Wessex 1) 07.10.17

Decided to spend this year’s Non-League Day at Alton’s new ground to recomplete the Wessex League. In 2016 Alton Town merged with Alton United Youth FC to form Alton FC who play on the 4G pitch at the Ansty Park enclosure. This replaced the old Bass ground where I saw Alton Town play in 2004.

Stoneham took the lead after three minutes from a corner. The keeper parried the ball away only for it to come back into the six yard box where it was headed in from close range. Alton got an equaliser in the eleventh minute when a player beat his man and shot past the keeper. The turning point of the game came just before half time. Alton had a corner and as the ball came into the area there was a clash between two players. The Stoneham defender claimed he had been elbowed but his reaction in kicking out at his opponent saw him sent off. He continued to argue with the referee as he left the pitch, then slammed a gate to the amusement of the crowd. An Alton player was booked for the initial challenge.

Alton took the lead shortly after the restart. The ball was crossed into the middle and the Stoneham keeper did well to get a hand to it and clear the ball, only to see the ball rebound off a team mate and into the back of the net. Alton made the most of the extra man and hit the bar from a shot and forced the Stoneham keeper into several good saves. They scored a third late on from a free kick that was flicked across the six yard box and knocked in. There was still time for a fourth goal just before the end when Stoneham cleared the ball from a corner to the halfway line. An Alton defender launched a high ball that found a team mate on the right side who flicked it past his marker and smashed a shot past the keeper before he had time to react.

Game 6: Everton 3.0 Sunderland (League Cup)

Game 6: Everton 3.0 Sunderland (League Cup) 20.09.17

Found myself at Goodison Park for a rare league ground tick after a heads-up from Paul that he was attending the game while I was in Liverpool for the week. We got the bus out to the ground and walked around the surrounding terraced streets before taking our wooden seats in the main stand.

Both teams had made several changes from their last league game with Everton including Kenny making his debut and forgotten man Niasse on the bench. Sunderland had several ex-Everton players in their line up including Rodman and Vaughan who got a good reception from the crowd. They had an early chance when Vaughan got free only to put his shot wide. Everton started to dominate the game and took the lead in the 38th minute when Calvert-Lewin hit a great shot past Steele from inside the area.

In the second half Calvert-Lewin scored again and was unfortunate not to get a hat-trick when his diving header came back off the post. He was replaced by Niasse for the last half hour having looked very impressive. Sunderland had a couple of chances with Vaughan heading just wide with the best of them. The final goal of the game came with seven minutes to go, Niasse controlling the ball well before lashing it in past Steele to the delight of the home crowd.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Kenny, Keane, Williams, Holgate, Klaassen, Besic, Davies, Vlasic (Lennon 82), Calvert-Lewin (Niasse 66), Sandro (Lookman 73). Subs not used: Robles, Martina, Gueye, Sigurdsson

Sunderland: Steele, Love, Kone, Jones, Matthews, Gibson, Ndong, Honeyman (Williams 63), Rodwell (McManaman 55), Gooch, Vaughan (Robson 86). Subs not used: Ruiter, Oviedo, Cattermole, Asoro

Att: 23,953

Game 5: Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2.0 Corinthian-Casuals (FA Cup)

Game 5: Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2.0 Corinthian-Casuals (FA Cup) 02.09.17

Having missed Pagham’s FA Cup game against Sittingbourne due to an accident, I was keen to get to an FA Cup game with Alan today. Knowing that I like a new ground, he suggested a trip to Ashford Town (Middlesex)’s ground near to Heathrow Airport. On the drive up we heard from a frustrated Paul that his planned game at Falmouth Town had been called off at 1.30 as the visitors couldn’t get a team together.

We arrived at the ground to find that programmes weren’t available in traditional paper format but could be downloaded online. There were team sheets available for those who need some paper in their hand! It was a very warm afternoon and we watched the game from the near touchline where you could see planes departing from Heathrow.

The first half started evenly and both teams created a few chances. Ashford Town scored in the 24th minute, the move starting in their own half with a powerful header forward. Corinthian-Casuals appealed for a foul but the referee allowed play to go on. The ball ended up on the edge of the area and a great shot flew into the top right corner of the goal. Alan was happy – he had purchased a golden goal ticket for the 24th minute and got to take a bottle of wine home after the game.

A few minutes later and Ashford Town added a second. The ball was crossed in from the left touchline. The ball floated towards the far post so the keeper tried to push it away from the goal. He tipped it backwards but not out of play. An Ashford player was quick to cross it into the centre and a team mate placed his shot into the unguarded part of the goal. Corinthian-Casuals had two good chances to score before half time, the first one saw the ball fly across goal when a touch would have diverted it in while the second saw a free header placed high over the bar.

The second half saw Corinthian-Casuals dominate play but they weren’t able to score. They thought they had won a penalty in the 50th minute when a player went over the keeper’s diving arm in the area but the referee blew for offside. Ashford Town (Middlesex) were still dangerous on the break. They were awarded a penalty in the final minutes when one of their players was pushed over in the area as he tried to dribble past a defender. The ball was hit hard down the middle and though the keeper dived to his left, he was able to keep the ball out using his legs. One of the Corinthian-Casuals subs was booked and then warned by the referee in injury time after another foul. He ignored the advice and was sent off after earning a second yellow card for another foul.

Game 4: South Wonston Swifts 2.1 Headley United (Hampshire Division 1)

Game 4: South Wonston Swifts 2.1 Headley United (Hampshire Division 1) 12.08.17

With no rain forecast, I decided to head over to South Wonston for an opening day fixture in the Hampshire League’s 1st division. The Recreation Ground has a modern changing room block and a roped off pitch with several park benches facing the pitch. I was lucky to get the last parking space as there are also tennis, skateboarding and exercise facilities that were all in use when I arrived.

The first half saw plenty of endeavour but few attempts on goal. South Wonston took the lead after half an hour from a penalty, awarded when one of their players was brought down in the area. After a couple of minutes waiting, the penalty taker put his shot one way while the keeper dived in the opposite direction.

The second half didn’t begin well for the player who gave away the penalty as he received a second yellow card for handling the ball. South Wonston added a second goal shortly afterwards, a through ball found their striker in space and he ran forward and lobbed the keeper. Headley had a couple of chances to pull a goal back before winning a penalty with five minutes to go. The initial penalty was saved but a Headley player was the first one to follow in and hit the ball past the keeper. They felt that they should have had another penalty for a handball moments later but the referee didn’t agree.