Saturday 25th July 2009

Tempest United 3 Breightmet United 2
Goldline Trophy Group 1
At: Tempest Road, Lostock
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
No admission or programme
Attendance: 80 (headcount)
Weather: warm and sunny
Duration: first half: 46:51; second half: 48:16

Thursday 23rd July 2009

Kirk Langley 2 Bradley 3
Summer League
At: G. B. Barrington Playing Field
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
No admission or programme
Attendance: 26 (headcount)
Weather: sunny spells, mild
Duration: first half: 40:12; second half: 42:03

I was good to get back on the road for more Summer League midweek action after a gap of two weeks, especially when ‘Aggedor’ emailed to say that he and ‘Over The Top’ were also heading for my chosen destination of Kirk Langley who were entertaining Bradley the unbeaten league leaders.

Having had an aborted trip last month for the postponed Peter Young Cup Final, I knew my way to the village. I arrived at the ground entrance around 6-55 pm to be fourth car in a queue waiting to enter the ground – the driver of the second car was stood talking to the driver of the lead car in front of what turned out to be a locked gate. Soon a man with a key joined the back off the queue and prompted walked up to open the gate. So in we went.

The G. B. Barrington Playing Field was located close the A52, Derby-Ashbourne road. Turn into the B5020 – Moor Lane and signed to Mickleover – then first right into The Cunnery after 100 yards then first right again into a drive that leads to the aforementioned gate. Through the entrance was a large cricket field, with the church on the right, a pavilion in the far left corner and the football pitch (orientated east-west) occupying the far side of the field, running lengthways away from the pavilion and on the other side of the cricket square. The said pavilion was opened in 1986 and inside the building, Peter Young, after whom one of the Summer League cup competitions is named, was remembered.

Soon after I parked up then Aggedor and OTT arrived as promised. There was no need for out fold-up chairs tonight as there was the choice of four park-style benches to choose from adjacent to the hedge.

Kirk Langley (32 points from 20 games) went into the game in a mid-table on the back of Monday’s 4-1 win at lowly Mayfield. Visitors and league leaders Bradley (56 points from 20 games and still unbeaten in the league), also won on Monday and last night fought for a 4-3 victory over Coach Rangers to reach the final of the Wayne Tarbard Memorial Trophy. Bradley opted to leave Jez Oborn and Richard Gage on the bench for this one.

Referee Ian Fraser got the game underway with Kirk Langley (wearing red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and black socks) kicking-off and defending the pavilion end in the first half.

On an undulating pitch, there were very few opportunities during the opening quarter hour. Mark Sellers hit a 25-yard free-kick against the Kirk Langley wall while a half-chance fell to the homsters’ Rob Rooney.

Surely not a 0-0 in a league that rarely has games that finish goalless There will be goals suggested OTT and he was right.

In the 16th minute, James Marriott pushed Bradley’s Wayne Archer inside the area giving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Archer stepped up and converted the resulting penalty to put Bradley ahead. Kirk Langley were certainly frustrated to concede having started well.

There was almost a second goal three minutes later. Richard Coates successfully chased a ball over the top, beat the last defender and rounded the keeper, only to fire wide from a narrow angle.

Kirk Langley got forward and both Pete Stanton and Rooney fired straight at keeper Ollie Maudling. A long throw from the left by Jay Tremlow was propelled into the home area where Stuart Coates rose to head over the bar.

The home side demanded a penalty just before the break. Marriott’s 25-yard free-kick took a deflection off the four-man wall and flew towards the far left-hand post. The ball fell to Stanton who hit an acrobatic volley which hit a Bradley defender standing a yard or so away. “Handball,” was the cry but the well-positioned referee waived away the appeals.

Mrs ‘i-w-f’ gets frustrated sometimes with what I describe for some reason as ‘funny logic’. Rain clouds were gathering so I through that if I retrieved my cagoule from the car and had it with me during the second half then the rain would hold off. So while the players took a short break, I headed for my car to retrieve my car and took a long walk round the pitch and back to the bench. It stayed dry until minutes after the full-time whistle!

Bradley (wearing grey shirts, black shorts and black socks), now defending the pavilion end, got the action back underway and, just like the start of the first half, chances were again scarce. Some ten minutes into the second half, Stanton hit a speculative 30-yard shot which almost caught out Maudling by dipping just over the bar.

Bradley needed a second goal and threw on Jez Osborn in place of Richard Coates, but instead received a big shock in the 56th minute. Kirk Langley went even closer with a header from Marriott that was cleared off the line and over the bar. Rooney swung in the corner from the right which took a touch off Paul Haynes and ended up in the back of the Bradley net. Game on!

Bradley have been unbeaten in the league for over 12 months since suffering a 2-1 defeat at Kirk Langley on Thursday 3rd July. But their run of (what I calculate to be) 32 league games without defeat looked like shuddering to a halt as the home side scored a second goal just 153 seconds after the first one. Striker Liam Smith latched onto a perfect throughball and coolly flicked a low shot past the helpless Maudling.

Bradley needed to press forward and appealed for another penalty, this time unsuccessfully, when Jay Tremlow’s long throw struck a defender inside the area. Oborn fired over from a narrow angle.

Another close effort from the home side when Haynes sent a well-struck shot flashing past the left-hand post, prompted another Bradley change with Richard ‘Gadget’ Gage replacing Stuart Coates. Were the leaders about to suffer their first league defeat of the season?

What an inspired move the substitution turned out to be as Bradley equalised in the 64th minute and within 45 seconds of Gage’s arrival. Oborn, on the right, squared a pass to the unmarked Gage in front of goal who made no mistake with a low close-range shot. This league doesn’t do boring and below-par Bradley were back in with a fighting chance of preserving their unbeaten league record.

Buoyed by the equaliser, the visitors pressed forward in search of another goal. Jay Tremlow played a diagonal ball forward into the area from the left which was flicked over the bar at close range by Karl Grocott. Grocott got forward again to fire wide of the target.

In the 71st minute, Bradley thought they had regained the lead. Jay Tremlow’s low left-wing cross was put in by Oborn, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.

Kirk Langley weren’t out of it and Marriott rose to head over a long-throw propelled from the left by Pete Ascott.

There was one final twist when Bradley were awarded another penalty in the 76th minute – four minutes from the end of a 40-minutes each-way game. Archer went down inside the area and got up to coolly slot home what proved to be the winner past Rowland.

With time running out for an equaliser, Kirk Langley’s second goalscorer Smith was yellow carded for a hefty challenge while Clem Mellor suffered the same fate for timewasting. The game finished with the ball inside the Kirk Langley half. Oborn fed the overlapping Jay Twemlow who forced a save out of Rowland.

Great relief for Bradley at full-time who had banished the demons of last July and another blow to the chasing sides hoping to wrestle the title from the men in grey.

During the game we wondered who ‘G. B. Barrington’ was and good old Wikipedia provides the answer. George Barrington (1857-1942) was a London-born cricketer who played for Derbyshire between 1880 and 1887, and died in Kirk Langley at the grand old age of 84. He must have been a much-loved resident to have the playing field named in his honour.

Saturday 18th July 2009

Colwyn Bay 1 Altrincham 5
Pre-Season Friendly
At: Llanelian Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £6; Programme: none
Attendance: 369
Weather: cloudy
Duration: first half: 45:50; second half: 46:03

Saturday 11th July 2009

Bradley 1 Coach Rangers 3
Summer League Cup Final
At: Mappleton Playing Field
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Attendance: 120 (headcount)
Weather: Cloudy, rain during second half
Duration: first half: 47:30; second half 48:02

I think I’ve mentioned this before. Prior to this year the month of June and early-July have always been a time of football hibernation for me. For the past few seasons, the second Saturday of July (or sometimes the midweek before) would normally mark the start of consecutive Saturdays of football that would continue until early- or mid-May. Often it would be to watch and report a Stafford Rangers friendly, though last season it was a trip to Hednesford to see The Pitmen entertain Walsall. This year has been different, however.

I’ve really caught the Summer League bug, so content not to watch an afternoon friendly, the only place I wanted to visit today was Mappleton Playing Field to watch the prestigious Summer League Cup Final between the two teams – Coach Rangers and Bradley – who contested last season’s final which Coach won 4-0.

The excellent booklet ‘Fifty Years of Summer Football’ tells that the Summer League Cup has been going since 1935 when Sir Ian Walker of Osmaston Manor presented a trophy to the league. Roston were the first winners, defeating Church Broughton 3-2 in the final at Osmaston Polo Ground. In more recent times, Bradley have lifted the League Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2006 while in addition to last year, Coach, under the previous name of Swan, also won it in 2004.

Having not spotted the left turn on the way up the hill out of Ashbourne on the Buxton road, I went a bit round the houses to get to Mappleton though still arrived in plenty of time. In fact I was the first car into the ground at 6-28 pm with just an official there completing preparations for one of Summer League’s great occasions. No sooner had I parked up, another car arrived – a red Kia – and the place quickly filled up with cars, players, spectators in the hour leading up to kick-off – and became a complete contrast to the quiet rural scene that had greeted me. Several familiar faces arrived having all travelled from games elsewhere.

The Mappleton Playing Field, home ground of finalists Bradley and also Coach & Horses, had a pitch (orientated east-west) in the middle of a larger expanse of grass, though not as big as the Osmaston Polo Ground. A gate led into the ground from the road and the pitch ran widthways to the left. For the final, it was roped off down each touchline. Over on the far side were a clubhouse, separate changing rooms and a marquee erected for tomorrow’s Mappleton village fete.

Rob Hornby was programme compiler for this one and he produced a decent 12-pager which I obtained from League Secretary John Brailford. Thanks also for the tea, Rob!

For this one I was well prepared with my fold-up chair which I ‘erected’ on half-way, behind the rope, next to those of Aggador and Over the Top. Coach also erected their red three-seater ‘stand’ complete with a roof as they had at Holly Bush last month. But my chair saw little use as I had to stand up to avoid having my view partly obscured by the fans stood next to me. That didn’t matter as I’ve stood at every Summer League game I’d attended (apart from using a park bench at Doveridge last year). Anyway the rope looked like getting in the way of my photos.

Bradley went into the game on top of the table and unbeaten in the league with 50 points from 18 games. Four places below with three games in hand were fifth-placed Coach Rangers on 34 points from 15 games and just one league defeat.

After a cup of tea from the marquee, served in a proper cup by Mrs Duckmanton, match time soon arrived and Coach Rangers (wearing yellow shirts, black shorts and black socks) got the game underway attacking the road end of the ground.

Both sides won an early corner and also created several chances each during the opening quarter hour.

Coach skipper Callum Woolley sent a low left-foot shot wide of the right-hand post from the edge of the area. Bradley (wearing grey shirts, black shorts and black socks) won a throw on the left which was quickly taken and propelled towards goal. The ball was picked up by Jez Oborn who fired straight at keeper Sean ‘Horny’ Jones as Dan Frith challenged.

The first lot of drizzle had started when Dan Frith got forward to send a well-struck shot straight at Lee Jones, the Bradley keeper. Karl Grocott got into a good position inside the area on the left and fired past Sean Jones, only to see the ball narrowly miss the opposite right-hand corner of the net.

It was certainly a high-quality encounter and the chances continued. Lee Jones got down well at the base of the near left-hand post to hold Mike Tremlow’s shot before disaster almost struck for Bradley. Mark Sellers’ headed back pass fell short of Lee Jones allowing Woolley to nip in and fire wide of an unguarded goal.

Just before the half-hour mark, Lee Jones did well to prevent Coach from taking the lead. From Adrian Roberts’ corner, he turned round a far post goal bound header from Martin Taylor that was heading for the top-left corner.

Richard Gage got into a good position inside the area after latching on to Jez Oborn’s deep cross and sent a first-time shot over the bar.

Coach won a free-kick near the left corner of the area which Roberts hit against the wall and Lee Jones was well positioned to get behind Simon Wint’s curling right footer.

Bradley took the lead in 39th minute. Mark Sellers hit a low 15-yard drive that flew out of reach of the diving Sean Jones into the bottom-right corner of the net.

Before the interval Coach created a couple of chances to level things up. Dan Frith, on the left inside the area, sent a well-struck shot flashing across the face of the Bradley goal. Mark Maznenko won the ball inside the Bradley half and it flew towards goal where Lee Jones gathered up.

With the sky getting darker, I sensed a hefty rain shower was imminent and so, at the interval, took the chair back to the car in exchange for my raincoat. After sampling the view behind the roadside goal, I reclaimed my position on halfway alongside the other travellers.

Coach got back on level terms in the 49th minute. Dec Bacon on the left inside the area hooked the ball home past Lee Jones from 10 yards out.

Bradley responded. Stuart Coates sent a 25-yard left footer over the bar and Gage also fired over from well outside the area.

The drizzle returned though unlike the brief first-half shower, it became a bit persistent.

Coach took a 64th-minute lead when Woolley forced the ball home at close range during a scramble inside the Bradley area. They went close again with a well-struck shot across the face of goal and wide of the far right post by Dan Frith.

Coach’s bid to retain the League Cup took another turn for the better as they opened up a two-goal lead with a third scored in the 69th minute. James Carter crossed from the left into the area, Dan Frith’s initial shot was blocked and ‘Dobbo’ Roberts fired home the loose ball.

It was now raining heavily and many of the spectators hurried into the marquee to keep themselves dry. Coach’s roofed three seater was no match for the downpour either.

With 19 minutes left, there was still time for Bradley to at least force extra time, especially when Mark Sellers fired low against the outside of the post. The league leaders weren’t done and looking to narrow their deficit. Bradley won a corner on the left which was played deep and Jay Twemlow rose at the far post to head wide.

In between those two Bradley chances, Dan Frith again got forward down the left and fired into the side netting.

Bradley kept up the attack. Jay Tremlow’s long throw fell to Woolley who forced a diving save out of Sean Jones at the expense of a corner.

Of course without a trusty see-through bag and a couple of pens rendered temporarily inoperable with the rain, my notebook was getting wetter and wetter with every attempt on goal, corner and substitution. Mr Fowler even got his yellow card out late on to punish a hefty challenge by Craig Frith.

With every substitution, it was a trip for OTT to the respective ‘benches’ to obtain the name of the fresh pair of legs. For the last ten minutes, Coach brought on ‘16’ and this time it my turn to find out that Peter Shemelt was the player coming on.

And then there was a missed penalty to note down… In the 84th-minute, Coach wasted a great opportunity to put the outcome beyond doubt. Substitute Clem Mellor brought down Craig Frith inside the area but Woolley hit the resulting penalty so far over the bar and also a nearby tree that a new ball was required! The worst penalty ever taken?

With full time approaching (thankfully I suppose because even though the football was superb, the rain was still falling so heavily), Maznenko won the ball in a tackle with Simon Oborn and Lee Jones saved the resulting goalbound shot. Jones, the Bradley keeper, produced a fine save in stoppage time to tip over a rising drive from Carter.

After the final whistle, the presentation party and guest of honour Sheila Woolliscroft assembled in the dry at the entrance to the marquee while the teams and several spectators waited in the rain. The winning skipper Callum Woolley stepped forward out of the rain to gratefully receive the League Cup.

Before setting off, Coach got together for a winning team celebratory photo and I got chatting to John Scott, the assistant manager. Thanks ‘Scottie’ for the pictures you emailed including the one outside the Coach and Horses.

Can Coach complete a hat-trick of wins this time next year? Their next aim is to try and wrestle the league title from Bradley by making good use of their games in hand.

Bradley (grey/black/black): 1. Lee Jones, 3. Jay Tremlow, 4. Steve Coates, 5. Simon Oborn, 6. Mike Tremlow, 8. Jez Oborn, 9. Mark Sellers (capt), 10. Stuart Coates, 15. Richard Gage, 16. Karl Grocott. Subs: 14. Clem Mellor (for Steve Coates, 71), 11. Richard Coates (for Stuart Coates, 74), x. Nick Stubbs (not used).

Coach Rangers (yellow/black/black): 13. Sean Jones, 2. Adrian Roberts, 4. Martin Taylor, 5. Mark Maznenko, 6. James Carter, 8. Callum Woolley (capt), 9. Dec Bacon, 10. Simon Wint, 11. Dan Frith, 15. Ian McConichie, 17. Craig Frith. Subs: 7. Darren Handley (for Wint, 65), 14. Paul Godfrey (for Bacon, 77), 16. Peter Shemilt (for Handley, 81).

Referee: Harry Fowler (Church Broughton).
Assistants: Will Maskery (red flag) and Jim Conway (yellow flag).

(Thank you to John 'Scottie' Scott for the last photo)

Thursday 9th July 2009

Brassington 9 Wheel Inn 0
Summer League
At: Onslow Farm Ground
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Attendance: 35 (headcount)
Weather: sunny, breezy
Duration: first half: 38:53, second half: 35:16

I’d previously considered Brassington to be further north and deeper into the Peak District, even after studying the map. So, with bags of time to make the journey, I surprised to find the village was barely five miles north-west of Ashbourne, just off the B5035 road to Wirksworth.

The ground, a mile to the south of the village near Carsington Water, was easy to miss for a first-time visitor and I drove past it before I realised what I’d actually driven past – even though Aggedor had described the location while chatting at Monday’s game at Alton.

After turning round on the outskirts of the village, I doubled back and parked up on the road outside the ground. Being 40 minutes before kick-off, there just the groundsman marking out the pitch who confirmed I’d got the correct place. Of course, I should have noticed the 2009 Brassington FC fixture list attached to the gate! He suggested parking inside the ground, which I did, next to another early arrival. Soon a black mini arrived quickly followed other cars as well and the place quickly became a hive of summer football activity.

To find the ground travelling from Ashbourne in the direction of Wirksworth, turn left into the lane signed ‘Brassington Only, No HGVs’ (or words to that effect) about 400 yards after passing the Knockerdown Inn. The ground was on the right after 400 yards and an open gate led into the car park.

Cars parked near the entrance next to the changing rooms and the pitch (orientated west-east) ran lengthways on the other side of a wire fence. The sloping pitch was unroped with one bench found on each side; on the left-hand side set into the hedge were individual home and away dugouts (though they weren’t used as such).

Before kick-off there was plenty of time to walk to the far end, around the back of the goal and down the other side. When I got back to in front of the changing rooms, some of the Brassington players through I was somebody ‘official’. “No,” I said and explained I was at the game as part of my bid to visit all the Summer League grounds.

Brassington went into the game occupying seventh position in the table with 29 points from 18 league games. On Monday in the presence of modelhobbies and yorkieexile, they won their home Wayne Tarbard Memorial Trophy tie 3-2 against with a very late winner.

Opponents Wheel Inn (6 points from 17 league games with a goal difference of -79) have found it difficult to field a strong side this season and in their previous three games had lost 12-0, 15-1 and 16-0. However, manager/secretary/lineswoman Sue Bull was more optimistic for this game as she was able to name a full side thanks to a few new players.

Both Mrs Bull and Brassington manager Keith Allsop were most obliging in providing the names of their starting line-up and substitutes.

Wheel Inn (wearing green shirts and shorts with red trim, either red or green socks) got the game underway attacking down the slope towards the near end. Like most of the spectators, I opted to watch the first half on the left-hand side close to the dugouts.

The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges before, in the 4th minute, Brassington created the first of what I recorded as 38 goalscoring opportunities during the game. Shane Torr got into a good position on the edge of the area before firing across the face of goal and wide of the left-hand post.

Wheel were awarded a free-kick 28 yards out (pictured above) which Mark Ridley got on target and home keeper Mick Phillips comfortably gathered up.

With his side creating a few early chances without troubling Wheel keeper Anthony Barton, Brassington manager Allsop urged his side to get shots on target. They responded to the boss’ call and Craig Wheeldon saw a good effort blocked by the legs of Barton who held on to a Wheeldon’s follow-up shot from the rebound.

Barton again did well on the quarter hour to dive to his right to keep out a low drive from Torr and hold on to the ball under pressure from two pouncing attackers.

All the pressure was now coming from Brassington though they were frequently caught offside in their bid to get on the scoresheet. Carl Allsop headed wide, Torr fired over and, in the 19th minute, Barton saved in a scramble resulting from good work by Mick Barclay. However, the keeper made a mess of his attempted clearance downfield and saw the ball rebound off Carl Allsop and into the net.

The lead was doubled two minutes later. Mick Barclay played in the ball into the path of Torr who fired home a low shot which slipped through the hands of the unfortunate Barton.

Brassington’s chances continued… Wheeldon headed over, Barton saved from Wheeldon, Barton parried another shot from Andy Barclay and skipper Mark Alcock fired across the face of goal as well as over the bar.

“They’ll go in if they are on target,” was the verdict on the sidelines though keeper Barton was in good form.

The home side almost scored a third goal in the 35th minute when Torr fired against the bar after Andy Barclay’s corner wasn’t cleared. The score remained 2-0 at half-time and two of the Wheel players shook hands with Barton to congratulate the young keeper on an excellent performance.

Three subs came on for the start of the second half – two for Wheel and one from Brassington – though I needed to note down the formations again to work out who had replaced who.

Brassington got their third goal in the third minute of the second half (which I will describe as the 43rd minute, assuming the duration of the first half was really 40 minutes). Andy Barclay’s pass from the left fell to Torr whose weakly-hit shot ended up in the bottom right corner.

Despite conceding that early second half goal, Wheel pressed forward with their new attacker looking lively. Ryan Clayton set up Matt Laing who fired at the well-positioned Phillips.

The home side were awarded a penalty in the 48th minute for handball by Neil Brown, which was converted by Torr to make the scoreline 4-0.

The advancing Barton deflected Mick Barclay’s shot out for a corner after the striker broke clear into the area. From the corner, Barton’s head got in the way of a shot from Wheeldon and a follow up effort from Mick Barclay was also blocked.

John Tulson was next to go close as his header was cleared off the line after the ball rebounded off the bar, and Mick Barclay fired home only to see his goal disallowed for handball in the build-up.

Brassington’s fifth goal, scored in the 58th minute, was well taken. Craig Allsop scored with a near-post glancing header from Andy Barclay’s corner.

On the hour, Barton excelled again when he did well to push away a rising goalbound shot from Mick Barclay with an outstretched left hand. However, he was beaten again in the 61st minute when Carl Allsop fired home at close range.

A spectacular strike in the 68th minute gave Brassington a seventh goal. Carl Allsop crossed to the far post from the right where Mick Barclay volleyed home.

Tulson had a goal disallowed for offside before Mick Barclay struck again in the 73rd minute. Again Carl Allsop crossed from the right and Barclay volleyed home his side’s eighth via the hand of Barton.

Carl Allsop missed a glorious chance to further increase the gaol tally. However, he completely miskicked in front of goal from a few yards out and Barton gathered up.

Andy Barclay rounded off the scoring in the 75th minute with a low shot from 15 yards, 30 seconds before the referee brought the evening’s entertainment to a halt.

Despite suffering another heavy defeat, I liked the way Wheel Inn never gave up and showed plenty of spirit from start to finish.

Before kick-off I obtained the line-ups from the respective managers and at the end Sue Bull came over, as promised, to confirm the numbers worn by her players.

On the way home, I stopped off at the fish and chip shop on Compton Street in Ashbourne (as recommend by Veteran), coincidently two doors away on the other side of the Police Station was … the Wheel Inn!

While driving through Ashbourne I noticed posters advertising the forthcoming Highland Gathering featuring what I thought were the ‘Red Hot Chilli Peppers’. I was puzzled as to why such a well-known rock band would be performing at such an event in a rural Derbyshire town. The group performing ‘have been rocking the world from New York to Beijing with musicianship of the highest order’ (so their website boasts) and called … the Red Hot Chilli Pipers!

1-0 Carl Allsop (19)
2-0 Shane Torr (21)
3-0 Shane Torr (43)
4-0 Shane Torr (48)
5-0 Craig Allsop (58)
6-0 Carl Allsop (61)
7-0 Mick Barclay (68)
8-0 Mick Barclay (73)
9-0 Andy Barclay (75)