Author Archives: nonleaguephotos

Game 8: Pagham 1.0 Horsham YMCA (Southern Combination Premier)

Game 8: Pagham 1.0 Horsham YMCA (Southern Combination Premier) 27.10.18

My second attempt to watch Pagham and thankfully arrived safely this time. Pagham were unbeaten in the league and in 4th place before the game but faced a difficult test against second placed Horsham YMCA. After the mild weather on Thursday night the weather felt more autumnal and I was grateful for a warm coat even though I managed to leave my hat in the car. The clubhouse was busy and we had some food and drink while reading the programme near the wood fireplace.

The opening ten minutes saw both teams testing the opposition’s defence as well as one of the assistants as Pagham were caught offside three times. Horsham had a couple of shots on target after that but had a lucky escape halfway through the half. A good Pagham move saw the ball crossed into the centre where one of their strikers was unmarked. He attempted a shot but only managed to hit the ball against his leg and straight to a defender to clear. Horsham took the ball to the other end and saw a header fly across the goal and wide from a freekick. The stalemate continued as Pagham shot wide when through and just the keeper to beat.

There was a bit of niggle with bad language directed to the officials and towards the end of the half it looked like a Pagham player had been knocked to the ground by a punch. None of the officials saw anything wrong despite the protests of the home team. No action was taken a couple of minutes later when two players squared up after a Horsham player went down after a tackle.

The second half continued in the same vein, both teams creating chances but no goals. Horsham started to dominate and only a superb save from the home keeper, deflecting a shot on to the post, kept the scoreline level. Pagham were playing well on the counter-attack and it looked like they had broken the deadlock when a high ball into the box was directed over the visiting keeper with a looping header. The celebrations were cut short as the assistant on the farside determined the scorer was offside.

Horsham were caught out moments later, the ball broke to a Pagham player who took the ball into the area, around the keeper and hit it into the empty net. The whole team sprinted to the sidelines to celebrate the goal. Horsham continued to look for a goal and one of their subs was putting some good crosses into the area. One saw a shot hit a defender for a corner and another one skimmed off a defender and was saved. Pagham thought that they had scored again from a late corner. The visiting keeper dropped the ball when challenged and the referee blew for a foul as Pagham poked the ball home. Although the game finished with just the one goal it was enough to stretch Pagham’s unbeaten league run to seven wins and five draws.

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Game 7: Chelsea 3.1 Bate Borisov (Europa League)

Game 7: Chelsea 3.1 Bate Borisov (Europa League) 25.10.18

My first visit to Stamford Bridge and also the first time I’ve seen a UEFA club match. Tickets for the game were £20 and as I arrived at the ground the ‘Sold Out’ signs were up. I had a ticket for the East Stand and found myself near the top of the stand, level with the commentary booths and thankfully not behind the pillars further along the row I was in. The ground filled up quickly near to kickoff and at one end a banner dedicated to Matthew Harding, the former Chelsea vice-chairman, was unveiled.

Chelsea’s team had eight changes from the side that drew against Manchester United at the weekend. Some of the changes were tactical to rest players with Eden Hazard missing through injury. The only player I recognised in the Bate lineup was former Arsenal player Alexander Hleb who is still playing at 37. Bate had brought a few hundred supporters from Belarus and were hoping for an improvement from their last visit to London, a 6.0 defeat to Arsenal. We didn’t have to wait long for the first goal as Chelsea pressed forward in the second minute. Zappacosta crossed the ball into the area from the right and it fell nicely for Loftus-Cheek to sweep a shot past the keeper. Six minutes later and Loftus-Cheek scored again, this time from a corner. Willian crossed the ball and Loftus-Cheek managed to shrug off a defender and knock the ball in.

Chelsea should have scored from another Willian corner as the ball skimmed off Cahill’s head. Christensen got a foot to the ball but couldn’t get any power or direction on it and may have prevented the ball going in. Bate were under a lot of pressure and didn’t create many opportunities as Chelsea closed them down, won the ball and then counter-attacked. Loftus-Cheek had a chance to get his hat-trick towards the end of the half but headed the ball well wide from a good position. It was a real treat to watch Willian taking on and beating defenders.

We had to wait until the second half for Loftus-Cheek to get his hat-trick. Pedro took on the Bate defence but couldn’t get past a defender in the area. The ball bounced off the defender and fell nicely for Loftus-Cheek to side foot a shot across the goal. The keeper got his hands to it but couldn’t deflect it wide and the ball continued into the goal. The pace of the game slowed down as Chelsea were content to keep possession. It was good to see another academy product, Hudson-Odoi, come on to replace Pedro and he looked like an exciting prospect. Zappacosta had a shot on goal that the keeper managed to clear before his best save of the night, a reaction save at close range to deny Giroud a goal.

Bate’s travelling fans were delighted with ten minutes to go as their side pulled back a goal. A freekick was whipped into the back post where Rios beat the offside trap with a well timed run and couldn’t miss from a foot out. There was still time for Loftus Cheek to attempt to get his fourth goal of the game but having beaten the defender in the area he couldn’t flick the ball over the onrushing keeper.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson Palmieri, Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Kovacic (Kante 78), Willian (Moses 57), Giroud, Pedro (Hudson-Odoi 60)
Unused Subs: Caballero, Rudiger, Barkley, Morata

Bate: Scherbitski, Rios, Filipovic, Filipenko, Volodjko, Baha (Yablonskiy 76), Dragun, Hleb (Ivanic 59), Skavysh, Signevich (Tuominem 71), Stasevich
Unused Subs: Chichka, Berezkin, Volkov, Moukam

Game 6: Lye Town 3.3 Shepshed Dynamo (Midland Premier)

Game 6: Lye Town 3.3 Shepshed Dynamo (Midland Premier) 29.09.18

An unplanned game that I decided to attend a couple of hours before kickoff when I found myself with some spare time on a sunny day in Birmingham. The Sports Ground is a short walk from the train station and is shared with the local cricket club. I purchased a programme and sat down under a high barn roof style flat terrace to read it before the game. There was one stand along the far touchline and plenty of shade from the trees growing on a bank above them.

Lye opened the scoring after 18 minutes from a corner. The ball was crossed to the back post and a header back across goal found the net. The lead didn’t last long as Shepshed equalised from a comical own goal a minute later. The home keeper should have cleared a backpass but missed the ball and could only watch as the pace of the ball took it over the line. Lye managed to retake the lead three minutes later when a low pass into the box was finished well. Both teams had some chances to score before the end of the half and Lye were only denied by a couple of good saves from the visitor’s keeper.

The second half saw a turnaround in fortunes for the teams. Shepshed saw a couple of chances cleared in the area while Lye were only denied by the Dynamo keeper’s feet that deflected a shot wide. We then saw the second unusual goal of the afternoon. From the resulting corner the Lye player noticed that the visiting keeper was out of position so hit a curving shot direct from the corner and in before the defence could react. Shepshed made some substitutions and gradually took control of the game.

After 65 minutes they pulled a goal back when the ball wasn’t cleared. It was played into the area to a yellow shirt and smashed high into the net. The pressure continued and after missing a couple more chances Shepshed equalised. The ball was crossed in from the left side of the area and while the first shot was blocked, the second flew into the net to the joy of the spectators behind the goal. Moments later Shepshed should have won the game with a free header from six yards that somehow went wide. The game became end to end with several good chances but neither team managed to get a winner. An exciting finish to an unplanned tick.

Game 5: West Ham United 8.0 Macclesfield Town (League Cup)

Game 5: West Ham United 8.0 Macclesfield Town (League Cup) 26.09.18

I decided to attend this game as West Ham were offering discounted tickets for the visit of 92nd placed Macclesfield Town in the League Cup. Tickets were available for £15 in the lower tier and I managed to find an end of aisle seat alongside the seats in the next tier of prices. It was unusual to walk through a busy shopping centre to get to the ground but it made finding some food easy before the match. I found my seat and settled down to read a comprehensive programme. The lower tiers were fairly well occupied but there were plenty of gaps in the top tier. Macclesfield brought a few hundred supporters who had a difficult journey withe delays on the West Coast mainline.

West Ham played a good mix of experienced fringe players and young players from their academy. Macclesfield had a really good chance to score early on but Adrian pulled off a blinding close range save. Rice came on as an early substitute following an injury to Sanchez and showed why he is rated highly with a good all-round performance. West Ham finally broke down the Macclesfield resistance on 29 minutes and scored three goals before the end of the half:

29 mins – Antonio heads in from a nicely floated cross from Rice.
32 mins – Snodgrass gets a tap in as Macclesfield failed to clear the ball from the goal line
39 mins – Perez hits in a shot from a Cresswell cross

The second half saw five more goals:

51 mins – Fredericks scores the goal of the game, dribbling past two players before smashing the ball in from the edge of the area
54 mins – Ogbonna was unmarked at a corner and rose up to head the ball in
67 mins – the lively Diangana combined with Perez to receive a 1-2 in the area before shooting in
82 mins – Diangana scored his second, passing the ball low into the net past the keeper.

I was impressed with Diangana who looked dangerous when he got the ball on the wing, using his pace to beat defenders and create or score goals. For the last twenty minutes West Ham took it easy and kept possession in the midfield. There was a passage of play where Macclesfield kept possession for a minute or more, every pass being met with an ‘olé’ by their supporters. They had one good chance in the second half but the ball was hit high into the stand with just the keeper to beat. An enjoyable visit to the former Olympic Stadium, the bubble machines along the sideline and the stewards with multi-coloured boots on the touchline.

Teams

West Ham United: Adrián, Cresswell, Snodgrass, Obiang (Coventry 45), Sánchez (Rice 9), Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks, Pérez, Antonio (Powell 61), Diangana

Subs: Fabianski, Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Masuaka

Macclesfield Town: O’Hara, Fitzpatrick, Lowe (Welch-Hayes 68), Kelleher, Grimes, Marsh, Smith (Blissett 58), Napa (Arthur 58), Maycock, Pearson, Whitaker

Subs: Simpson, Hodgkiss, Wilson, Vincenti.
Attendance: 24833

Game 4: Royal Wootton Bassett Town 0.4 Bashley (FA Vase)

Game 4: Royal Wootton Bassett Town 0.4 Bashley (FA Vase) 15.09.18

This was the nearest FA Vase tie at a new ground and an opportunity to add another Wiltshire ground to my list – for some reason I thought I’d been here in the past so never ticked the old ground. Alan joined me for this Hellenic v Wessex fixture and after a short drive we popped into the excellent clubhouse for lunch.

The game started with a few chances at each end. Bashley looked more composed on the ball and it wasn’t a surprise when they took the lead. A free kick was floated into the area and a Bashley head clipped the ball over the keeper and in under the bar. It took ten minutes to double the lead, a shot deflected off the keeper and nicely into the path of a Bashley player who couldn’t miss an open goal from short range. Just before halftime the tie was effectively over when a curving shot went across the goal from the right and in off the post.

Both teams and assistants were ready to start the second half on time but there was no sign of the referee for several minutes. Royal Wootton Bassett Town had a couple of half chances, the best of which was a cross that was headed wide. At the other end their keeper had to be out quickly to make a low save as a Bashley striker beat the offside trap. The ball rolled out to the edge of the area and a follow up Bashley shot was cleared by a defender. Bashley broke through again and the same striker took the ball around the keeper at the edge of the area only for the keeper to bring him down. Despite complaints from the visitors, the referee correctly gave a free kick and booked the keeper. From the free kick Bashley looked like they would cross the ball into the area but it was cut back to the edge of the area. It was a clever free kick as at the ball went to an oncoming team mate who placed a hard low shot into the back of the net with the home keeper unsighted.

Game 3: England 1.2 Spain (UEFA Nations Cup)

Game 3: England 1.2 Spain (UEFA Nations Cup) 08.09.18

After watching the Barnet game I caught the tube down to Wembley with a stop off at Morrisons to pick up some supplies for tea. Arriving just as the turnstiles opened I went in to the ground and found my seat. The atmosphere built up towards kick off and as the teams came out there were thousands of England flags waving in the air. Harry Kane was presented with the Golden Boot for his World Cup exploits and the crowd got behind the team as the game started. It didn’t take too long for the first goal, Shaw breaking down the left wing and pushing the ball forward into space. I thought that Spain would close it down as it looked like he had overhit the ball but their defence didn’t see the danger. Shaw played a great ball low into the area that curved beautifully into the run of Marcus Rashford and he finished low past De Gea.

Sadly the lead didn’t last long. A couple of minutes later Cavajal took the ball past Shaw who dived in with a challenge and played it into the area to Rodrigo. He took a touch to beat Maguire and get a cross to Niquez who beat two defenders to the ball and hit a first time shot low past Pickford. The Spanish frontline were making some great runs off the ball and Ramos was controlling the ball and sending some excellent accurate passes around the pitch. The second Spanish goal came when Trippier made a late challenge on Alonso near the touchline. There were a couple of Spanish players standing offside just before Alcantara hit the ball low into the area. Neither of them interfered with play but it seemed to lull the English defence into claiming offside while Rodrigo ran from an onside position to knock the ball in from close range. England came close to equalising from a short corner. Lingard played a cross into the area which Rashford headed towards goal only to see De Gea make a good save.

The second half was only minutes old when Luke Shaw played a header and immediately went down after inadvertently hitting the attackers elbow. After a long period of medical attention he was stretchered off the pitch. England seemed to be affected by the injury. They didn’t manage to gain control the midfield while the tempo of the game suited Spain. It wasn’t until late that they created any real chances of note. Rashford got in a great position but hit a shot too close to De Gea who managed to deflect the ball away to Kane. He took a shot first time but only found the side netting. Deep into injury time De Gea went up to collect a ball with Rashford beneath him. As the ball came down it hit Rashford on the head and came out of De Gea’s hands. Rashford acted instinctively and turned to hit the ball into the empty net but as England fans celebrated the official behind the goal indicated to the referee that there had been a foul and the goal was disallowed.

Teams:

England – Pickford, Gomez, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Lingard, Henderson (Dier 64), Ali, Shaw (Rose 53), Rashford (Welbeck 90), Kane.

Spain – De Gea, Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcos Alonso (Martinez 87), Thiago Alcantara (Roberto 80), Busquets, Niquez, Rodrigo, Aspas (Ascensio 68), Isco

Att:81,392

Game 2: Barnet 1.0 Maidenhead United (National League)

Game 2: Barnet 1.0 Maidenhead United (National League) 08.09.18

With a booked ticket for the evening England international against Spain, I had a look to see what non-league games were taking place nearby and chose a trip to Barnet’s new Hive stadium. Gary and Alan decided to head to the game too and we met up outside the clubshop before wandering round to the away ticket office. Being a modern stadium you had to go to the box office first to get a ticket, then scan in the ticket’s barcode to enter the turnstiles. While the regular admission was £20 I managed to get a £10 ticket by showing my England ticket. I had only found out about the special offer from the Barnet website when I downloaded the online programme that morning and it turned out a number of away fans going to Wembley later were unaware of this offer.

Before the game both teams were languishing in lower mid-table but Barnet were in good form having won their last four games under John Still. While some Maidenhead supporters spend the first half arguing with stewards about persistent standing, their team struggled to get going on the pitch. Barnet took the lead after four minutes when Maidenhead should have cleared the ball. Walker received the ball near the corner from a long throw. He beat one defender before a covering defender came in to tackle him. Instead of clearing the ball he managed to toe poke it against a team mate and Walker recovered the ball, cut into the area and angled his shot past the keeper. Barnet had several more chances to add to their lead but were either caught out by the offside flag or show well over. Their best chance came just before halftime when a player ran onto the ball in the area but pushed his shot wide from an unmarked position. Maidenhead didn’t offer much up front with a couple of long range efforts easily saved by the Barnet keeper.

Maidenhead picked up their game a bit in the second half as Barnet continued to squander good chances. There were a couple of decent Maidenhead crosses into the area but either no-one was there to convert them or the ball was hit straight at the keeper. Too often though the Magpies couldn’t beat the first man from good wide positions. The referee was inconsistent with his approach to cards – one over zealous Barnet tackle that deserved a yellow card only saw the miscreant spoken to by the referee who then booked a Maidenhead player for a similar offence. Towards the end Barnet won a penalty when a player was tripped on the edge of the box. It summed up their finishing when it was blasted high over the bar as the keeper dived the wrong way. Maidenhead pushed forward but couldn’t get an equaliser before the final whistle.