Holker Old Boys 8 Rochdale Town 0

Saturday 30th October 2010
Holker Old Boys 8 Rochdale Town 0
Vodkat League Division 1
At: Rakesmoor Lane
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £3; Programme: £1
Attendance: 45
Weather: sunny and showers
Duration: first-half: 48:12; second-half: 47:34

Holker Old Boys: 1. Ben Morsby, 2. James Bonner, 3. Gareth Smith, 17. Andrew Squirrell, 5. Graham Capstick, 6. Phil Coombe, 7. Guy Heffernan (capt), 8. Kev Watkins, 9. Tod Bamber, 10. Mike Kewley, 11. Bradley Hubbold. Subs: 12. Steve Kewley (for Bamber, 52), 14. Steve Forbes (for Mike Kewley, 61), 15. Mark Daly (for Watkins, 61).

Rochdale Town: 1. Mark Canning, 2. Michael Shepherd, 3. James Marsland, 4. Craig Doyle, 5. Steve McCann, 6. Steve Lester, 7. Matthew Wilkinson, 8. Kristian Evans, 9. Dominic Hession, 10. Matty Russell (capt), 11. Graham Jebb. Subs: 12. Tom Ward (for Evans, 57), 14. Simon Smith (for Wilkinson, 61), 15. Steven Howard (for Hession, 61), 16. John Chapman (not used).

Referee: Michael Crusham (Wigan).
Assistants: Kevin Hall (Burney) David Cowperthwaite (–).

1-0 Andrew Squirrell (9)
2-0 Mike Kewley (28)
3-0 Guy Heffernan (39)
4-0 Mike Kewley (45+3)
5-0 Tod Bamber (46)
6-0 Mike Kewley (50 pen)
7-0 Steve Kewley (56)
8-0 Steve Forbes (86)

Holker: none
Rochdale: Steve Lester (YC, 29), Craig Doyle (50)

Totton & Eling 3 Fareham Town 2

Saturday 23rd October 2010
Totton & Eling 3 Fareham Town 2
Sydenhams Football League (Wessex)
At: Little Testwood Farm, Salisbury Road, Totton
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £2 including programme
Attendance: 80 (headcount)
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 47:10; second-half: 47:22

Totton & Eling (red/black/red): 1. Sam Webb, 2. D. Wakefield, 3. Danny Steer (capt), 4. Kieran Earl, 5. Steve Marwood, 6. Mark Lloyd, 7. Adam Lowther, 8. Tom Hardiman, 9. Chris Marwood, 10. Kevin Reacord, 11. Steve Jenkin. Subs: 12. Adam Wiltshire (for Hardiman, 59), 14. Nick Jenkin (for Reacord, 85), 15. J. Tessem (for Wakefield, 82).

Fareham Town (white/white/black): 1. Luke Douglas, 2. Ollie Warren, 3. Ben Buckland, 4. Matt Jones, 5. Lee Wood, 6. Dan Hayes, 7. Wayne Boud, 8. Natahn Kirby, 9. Graham Lindsey (capt), 10. Bryn McKie, 11. Jimmy Cuthbert. Subs: 12. T. Woodward (for Cuthbert, 57), 14. Dan Byrne (for Warren, 63), 15. J. Steyens, 16. Mark Cotton.

Referee: Wayne Thomas.
Assistants: Ken Warrington and Steve Greenhalgh.

0-1 Bryn McKie (10)
1-1 Chris Marwood (45)
2-1 Tom Hardiman (53)
3-1 Chris Marwood (60)
3-2 Bryn McKie (69)

Totton & Eling: Chris Marwood (66), D. Wakefield (YC, 75), Danny Steer (YC, 90+2)
Fareham: Wayne Boud (YC, 17), Dan Hayes (YC, 37), Ollie Warren (YC, 42)

Oxhey Jets 1 Haringey Borough 3

Saturday 16th October 2010
Oxhey Jets 1 Haringey Borough 3
Molten Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division
At: Boundary Stadium
Kick-off: 3-00pm
Admission: £6 including 44 page programme
Attendance: 67
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 46:32; second-half: 48:21

It was time today to let ‘the train take the strain’ and tick off a county sufficiently far from home that the cost of the rail fare was on a par with the cost of petrol. An enticingly-priced day return with London Midland to Watford Junction encouraged me to leave the car at home to embark on another trip south using only public transport and foot power. The Molten Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division between Oxhey Jets and Haringey Borough fitted perfectly with the plan.

The beginning of the journey wasn’t without its problems and I needed luck to get me onto the 10.21 Stafford to London Euston train via Northampton. A necessary detour to the post office didn’t help, nor did bumping into to someone from church who was buying his daily newspaper there. All seemed lost until a number 3 bus stopped at The Oval bus stop. (fare/change???) So, instead of being late, I was now early and even the crossing by The Grapes was showing the green man without me waiting. Luck was now with me. Fast forward two-and-a-bit hours to 12.33 and arrival on time at Watford Junction.

With an hour to spare before I needed to make my way to Carpenters Park station, and the car safely at home, I was able to do something a lot of football travellers do but I can’t, seek out some real ale at a local pub. I did enjoy a half of Woodforde’s Wherry Bitter at The Moon on the Water on Watford High Street which, according to a sign promoting the town’s ‘CafĂ© Quarter’, is one of the longest high streets in the country and once formed the main road from London to Birmingham.

Carpenters Park, three stops from Watford Junction and two stops from Watford High Street where I boarded the train, is closest to Oxhey Jets. The walk south from station through the suburbia of South Oxhey to ground took around 15 minutes via Station Approach, left down Prestwick Road, a short cut on Ormskirk Road, left along Little Oxhey Way, across the main road by the parade of shops and right into Altham Way, where the ‘Oxhey Jets FC’ pointed the way.

Looking at the Premier Division table before kick-off, Oxhey occupied 17th position in the 23 team division with 13 points from 12 games. A bit further up the table in 13th position were Haringey with 17 points from 11 games.

With rain-threatening clouds gathering, I opted for a seat undercover in the stand. Visitors Haringey decided to attack the ‘houses’ end in the first half – after the referee had spent what seemed like an age giving instructions to the two captains. And, that wasn’t the only delay as Oxhey keeper Sam Styles had to change from grey to a green top to avoid clashing with the grey top worn by his opposite number.

Eventually, the visitors (wearing yellow shirts, green shorts and yellow socks) got the game underway and, to be honest, the first decent chance led to a goal… in the 26th minute. From near the left corner of the area, Jamie Brandon hit a well-struck left-foot volley which the leaping Styles could only fingertip into the top-right corner.

Early in the game Haringey’s keeper Nick Christofi picked up an injury which he clearly aggravated in the 41st minute and was forced to limp off. On came Jamaine Edwards and Nick Nicou took over the captain’s armband.

At half-time, I spotted the ‘Oxhey Jets FCMoaners Mount Stand with a bench in memory of ‘John Sinnott from his friends’. Nice touch.

Back to the action and the second half got underway in sunshine with hardly a cloud in the sky, and the visitors were unlucky not to extend their lead. Harry Honesty got down the right and pulled the ball back to Constantinos Georgiou who in turn set up David Boal to fire a low 30-yard shot that hit the outside of the right-hand post.

Oxhey (in blue shirts and shorts with white socks) got back on level terms in the 65th minute. Nathan Roberts crossed deep from the right to the far post where Tim O’Mara sent a right-foot volley into the far corner of the net.

With Haringey threatening to regain the lead, Styles produced several fine saves including one to turn round a header from Micou. However, the keeper couldn’t prevent the visitors finding the net in the 87th minute. From a move down the left, Brandon crossed low to the far post where Daniel Alley sidefooted home.

Haringey added a third goal in stoppage time. Fabiano Durimel exploited gaps at the back to fire home a close range.

“Wasn’t brilliant was it?,” said one local to me. I think the Oxhey manager agreed as he held an inquest on the pitch that was still continuing a good ten minutes after the final whistle.

Oxhey Jets (blue/blue/white): 1. Sam Styles, 2. Ian Bywater, 3. Lee Grace, 4. Steve Brown, 5. Chris Harding, 6. Chris Ingham (capt), 7. Luke Reid, 8. Nathan Roberts, 9. Dean Seabrooke, 10. Tim O’Mara, 11. Lewis Putman. Subs: 12. Colin Jenkins (not used), 14. Ant Shepherd (not used), 15. Lewis Cook (for Putman, 86), 16. Lee Armitt (for Seabrooke, 62).

Haringey Borough (yellow/green/yellow): 1. Nick Christofi (capt), 2. Rakim Richards, 3. Demetri Stratis, 4. Andrea Loizou, 5. Nick Nicou, 6. Constantinos Georgiou, 7. Miguel Martins, 8. David Boal, 9. Harry Honesty, 10. Daniel Alley, 11. Jamie Brandon. Subs: 12. Tolu Popoola, 13gk. Jamaine Edwards (for Christofi, 42), 14. Fabiano Durimel (for Martins, 81), 15. Daniel Couldridge (for Richards, 61), 17. Paul McGiven.

Referee: B. Zbirka.
Assistant Referees: D. Elkins and G. Garnham.

0-1 Jamie Brandon (26)
1-1 Tim O’Mara (65)
1-2 Daniel Alley (87)
1-3 Fabiano Durimel (90+2)

New Bradwell St Peter 7 Sport London e Benfica 2

Saturday 9th October 2010
New Bradwell St Peter 7 Sport London e Benfica 2
Molten Spartan South Midlands Football League Division 1
At: Bradwell Road Recreation Ground
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: donation; Programme: £1 (24 pages)
Attendance: 42
Weather: sunny spells
Duration: first-half: 45:58; second-half: 47:29

How would a team respond after losing their previous game 18-1? There was only one was to find out – head to New Bradwell St Peters where the seemingly luckless Sport London e Benfica were the visitors. I’d picked out this fixture earlier in the week. Honestly. Diana and Sarah needed no second invitation for shopping trip to Milton Keynes – their first there for exactly a year – and New Bradwell’s home game fitted in perfectly, being played a couple of miles north of the retail heart. News of Sport London’s defeat just made me more determined to get us to the city.

New Bradwell St Peter FC, affectionally known as ‘the Peters’, is a long established club founded in 1902. The name ‘New Bradwell St Peters’ was, according to the club history, adopted in 1946/47 when Stantonbury St Peters FC merged with New Bradwell St James FC.

Driving to the ground along Bradwell Road, I noticed that most of the houses pre-dated the mass construction of the city of Milton Keynes and, indeed, New Bradwell was once a village in its own right. Close to the ground is a railway bridge crossing the now disused Wolverton to Newport Pagnall railway line with the former Bradwell station down below. The impressive and prominent windmill, next to the ground, gave the area a rural feel. According to the information board, it was erected around 1805 by a Samuel Holman at a cost of more than £500, which was not cheap by the standards of that time. Over the next 70 years, the mill, a ‘tower mill’ with a rotating cap, had a several owners until it became uneconomical to run by 1876.

The Bradwell Road Recreation Ground, where the Peters play their home games, is a large playing field that caters for both football and cricket. There is a clubhouse and a concrete walkway leads alongside the cricket pitch to the changing rooms block, with hard-standing in front next to the pitch and a few individual chairs. The changing rooms were opened in November 2009 by Mark Lancaster MP with league and county representatives in attendance. Opposite on the far touchline is a covered terrace, flanked by the dugouts, with a couple of metal benches at the front. The football pitch was railed off with plenty of pitch perimeter hand-standing, except for the roped off corner which overlaps with the cricket outfield. Interestingly, there were four floodlight pylons on the far side but only two on the nearside, so as not to interfere with.

Before kick-off, I had a look at the windmill and, after picking up a tea from the tea bar in the clubhouse, got talking to an official who turned out to be Hon. Secretary Ian Rollins. He gave some background information about the club and about the centenary celebrations in 2002 which they erected a marquee and enjoyed a hog roast. The late John Booden, who was a much-loved and valued man at the club for many years, penned a history to coincide with the milestone. Programmes were to be brought round by the chairman, John Haynes, before kick-off and duly were, sold for £1 each.

New Bradwell went into the game in 15th position with an even 14 points from 14 games. They played their first seven league games away from home and picked up just three points – a 4-2 win at Sport London e Benfica. It was not an ideal start for new player-manager Gary Flinn but since then they have moved up the table picking up points from predominantly home games.

Visitors Sport London e Benfica occupied 22nd and bottom position in the Division 1 table with just three points – a home win over Amersham Town – and conceding 79 goals in just14 games.

The Peters (wearing maroon shirts with sky blue sleeves, maroon shorts and socks) chose to attack up the slope in the first half towards the Bradwell Road end and created no serious chances until Danny Nicholls fired against the woodwork. Eventually, the Peters found the net in the 28th minute when central defender James Fletcher fired home after Adam Castagnetti’s free-kick into the area was flicked on. There were no more goals before the interval and it was clear that Sport London were not going to be a side to concede double figures again. One local was not impressed and hoped that ‘they get it sorted out for the second half’.

Because there are multiple entry points to the recreation ground, there was a no specific admission charge so I was more than happy to drop something into the ‘Attendance Donation’ box at the tea bar hatch.

Sort it out they did at half-time as the Peters dominated the early exchanges of the second half. An own goal scored by Chel Hayden made it 2-0 (52nd minute) and a superb low drive from leading scorer Stephane Kemoagna (66th minute) made it 3-0. The goals kept on coming. Castagnetti’s shot took a deflection off the again unfortunate Hayden on its way into the net (76th minute, goal officially given to Castagnetti), Nicholls fired home the fifth (80th minute) and Fletcher powered home a header (81st minute) to score his second and Peters’ sixth goal.

As full-time approached, I got chatting to a local fan called Alan, and we saw Sport London mount a late rally. The visitors were awarded a penalty for a foul on Michael Ludia and after Amir Kani-Zabihi saw his spot kick saved by Ben Donaldson, Martin Irungu smashed home the loose ball (88th minute). They pulled another goal back in stoppage time (90+2 minutes) through unmarked Rui Kaliton. That looked like being the end of the scoring but Castagnetti raced down the left, crossed low into the area where Nicholls fired home his side’s seventh goal (90+3 minutes).

New Bradwell St Peter (maroon with sky blue sleeves / maroon / maroon): 1. Ben Donaldson, 2. Mimir Patel, 3. Gary Ridgway, 4. Jack Leadbetter, 5. James Fletcher, 6. Matt Clinch, 7. Barry Bellhouse, 8. Mike Ward (capt), 9. Stephane Kemoagna, 10. Danny Nicholls, 11. Adam Castagnetti. Subs: 12. Duane Bashin (not used), 14. Gary Flynn (not used), 15. Chris Gunn (not used), 16. Ben Hill (for Ridgway, 81), 17. Greg Tite (not used).

Sport London e Benfica (white/white/red): 1. Sebastian Nddwbe, 2. Martin Irungu, 3. Darius McKenzie, 4. Peter Owen, 5. Chel Hayden, 6. Michael Ludia, 7. Amir Kani-Zabihi (capt), 8. Ismail Zakari, 9. Artur Stata, 10. Anton Frederick, 11. Abdul Abukar. Subs: 14. Milton Gomes (for Frederick, 54), 15. Nun Dos Santos (not used), 16. Rui Martins (not used), 17. Radoslaw Kaliton (for McKenzie, 71).

Referee: R. Morris.
Assistant Referees: R. Turner and T. Durnford.

1-0 James Fletcher (28)
2-0 Chel Hayden (52 og)
3-0 Stephane Kemoagna (66)
4-0 Adam Castagnetti (76)
5-0 Danny Nicholls (80)
6-0 James Fletcher (81)
6-1 Martin Irungu (88)
6-2 Rui Kaliton (90+2)
7-2 Danny Nicholls (90+3)

New Bradwell: none
Sporting: Michael Ludia (YC, 24), Peter Owen (YC, 36), Milton Gomez (YC, 84)

Runcorn Linnets 0 Ashton Athletic 2

Tuesday 5th October 2010
Runcorn Linnets 0 Ashton Athletic 2
Vodkat League Premier Division
At: Millbank Linnets Stadium
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £5; Programme: £1-50 (28 pages)
Attendance: 294
Weather: mild, dry
Duration: first-half: 46:12; second-half: 48:00

Today was one of those umming and arring about whether to head for a match this evening, especially as I’d declared, after the two trips to Devon last week, that I wouldn’t complain if the car didn’t leave Stafford between arriving home from Coventry last Saturday until leaving for Milton Keynes this coming Saturday. But at around 3 pm, after looking at the dates of Runcorn Linnets’s forthcoming midweek fixtures, temptation got the better of me and I made up my mind for a trip up the M6. My message to the club got a speedy reply from Press Officer Steve Pritchard and I was on my way at 5-45 pm.

Both clubs were down in the wrong half of the table and bottom side Ashton Athletic took home the points with first-half goals from Ben Stanford and Andy Gillespie.

Runcorn Linnets (yellow and green hoops / green/ yellow): 1. Phil Priestley, 2. Lewis Savva, 3. Chris Fitzsimmons, 4. Matthew Jones, 5. Allan Fleming, 6. Matthew Rigby, 7. David Dempsey (capt), 8. Andy Barlow, 9. Jake Ellis, 10. Richard Ratcliffe, 11. John Parry. Subs: 12. Michael Winer (for Dempsey, ht), 14. Andy McCoy (for Barlow, 64), 15. Ross Bain (not used), 16. Philip Johnson (not used), 17. Paul McNally (for Fleming, 76).

Ashton Athletic (blue/blue/blue): 1. Gary Bradshaw, 2. Jordan Hulme, 3. Ian Dickinson, 4. Chris Banasko, 5. Ian Barker, 6. Luke Charnley, 7. Andy Gillespie, 8. Sean Pearson (capt), 9. Ben Stanford, 10. Chris Brookes, 11. Matthew Carlisle. Subs: 12. Jordan Stevenson (for Stanford, 80), 14. James Gardner (not used), 15. Dave Eatock (not used), 17. Paul Eatock (not used).

Referee: A. J. Scregg.
Assistants: P. Howard and J. Simpson.

0-1 Ben Stanford (11)
0-2 Andy Gillespie (39)

Runcorn: Andy Barlow (YC, 63)
Ashton: Luke Charnley (YC, 41)

Coventry Copsewood 2 Heath Town Rangers 1

Saturday 2nd October 2010
Coventry Copsewood 2 Heath Town Rangers 1
FA Carlsberg Vase First Round
At: Allard Way
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £3; Programme: £1 (24 pages)
Attendance: 21
Weather: Sunny spells
Duration: first-half: 46:02; second-half: 51:10

It was very pleasant to wake up to the relaxing tones of Iain Carter, John Murray and the rest of the 5Live commentary team down at the Ryder Cup and then watch the action on Sky Sports. Outside, the weather forecast had proved accurate as yesterday’s heavy rain had been replaced by far more palatable sunny spells.

With a long daytrip to Devon on Thursday for hospital visiting (to follow-up last Sunday’s equally long trip), I didn’t fancy travelling too far today. One fixture that leapt off the page was the FA Vase tie between imoSports Midland Combination Premier Division side Coventry Copsewood and Heath Town Rangers who play in the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division. Despite being within an hour’s drive of home, Copsewood’s Allard Way ground had remained one of two ‘Mid Comb Prem’ grounds I’d not previously visited, until today that is.

The respective league tables suggested nothing other than a routine and straightforward victory for the home side who went into the game in seventh position in the Combination table with 13 points from eight games. On the other hand, Heath Town Rangers propped up their divisional table with one win and three points from their opening 13 league games.

However, the league tables on their own didn’t provide the full picture. Copsewood picked up ten of their 13 points from their first four games which earned then the honour of ‘Premier Division Team of the Month for August’. Since then in September, they picked one league victory in four games and crashed out of the Telegraph Cup at Bedworth Ex-Service but they did beat Dudley Town in a replay to earn today’s tie. One supporter, to whom I was introduced by the Secretary David Wilson, told me that discipline had been a problem for Copsewood with no fewer than five red cards already this season.

I also got chatting to a Heath Town Rangers club official who told me that, despite losing all but one league game, the team were playing a lot better than results suggested. They were on a run of eight straight defeats since picking up their solitary league points with a 3-2 win at Stafford Town and got through to the FA Vase First Round courtesy of a bye in the previous round.

Perhaps, after all, this tie would be a lot closer that I initially thought.

Like Wolverhampton Casuals, Coventry Copsewood have undergone several changes of name over the years. The club was originally formed in 1922 by employees of Peel Connor, and was known as the ‘Connor’. They played in the Coventry District League and became were renamed ‘Magnet FC’ following an amalgamation with Magnito Ltd. They continued playing under this name until 1934 when they changed again to ‘GEC (Cov) FC’, which stuck for longer, lasting until the 1970s when they became ‘GPT (Coventry) FC’. A further name change in 1999 resulted in ‘Marconi (Coventry) FC’, and then when Marconi sold off their land, the present name of ‘Coventry Copsewood FC’ was adopted.

Arriving just before 2 pm, It quickly became evident that the Allard Way complex caters for a lot more than football. Games of netball and bowls were well underway along with a Coventry Alliance fixture on one of several football pitches within the complex. The local model railway society was in full swing as well. At the heart was a large two story social club with a balcony and I spotted a commemorative stone inscribed with ‘The stone was laid by Mrs M. J. Railing, September 1938’. As for the ground itself, it is three sided because of cricket and boasts a stand containing around 83 seats as well as additional covered standing behind the goal at the northern end.

Heath Town Rangers (wearing red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts and red socks) got the underway attacking the northern end in the first half.

Copsewood created plenty of chances without seriously testing Rangers goalkeeper David Hudson. Then, in the 29th minute, the visitors took the lead against the run of play. Mark Habbershaw, a strong forward, muscled his way past a defender and slotted the ball home at close range into the bottom right corner. Before the interval, Hudson tipped a dipping 25-yard shot from Ross Wimbush onto the bar and over for a corner.

The home side, having made a double substitution at half-time, failed to make a breakthrough during the opening 19 or so minutes of the second half – Ryan Fivey glanced a header wide – before a substitution prompted a change of formation: “Curtis down the middle, Calvin left, Scott to the right,” as well as a request for more urgency.

The changes did the trick as Copsewood soon equalised in the 66th minute. Tim Partridge crossed into the area from the left and Tom Murphy volleyed home at close range.

Even though the home side were in the ascendency, Rangers would have regained the lead had it not been for a great bock by goalkeeper Scott Furlong to keep out Habbershaw’s shot.

Copsewood scored what proved to be the winner in the 85th minute. Partridge got to the right bye-line and pulled the ball back for Curtis Jackson to hammer home first-time at close range.

Heath Town finished with ten men as Steven Lewis picked up two yellow cards within 25 seconds deep into stoppage rime.

Coventry Copsewood (blue/blue/blue): 1. Scott Furlong (capt), 2. Richard Elliott, 3. Ryan Fivey, 4. Gary Mead, 5. Inderpaul Khela, 6. Tom Murphy, 7. Tim Partridge, 8. Daniel Long, 9. Petajon Gordon, 10. Calvin Thompson, 11. Ross Wimbush. Subs: 12. Ross Perkins (for Gordon, ht), 14. Curtis Jackson (for Fivey, 64), 15. Joe Holcroft (not used), 16. Scott Easterhoa (for Long, ht).

Heath Town Rangers: 1. David Hudson, 2. Nathan Cain, 3. Ryan Jones, 4. Darren Williams (capt), 5. Leon Miles, 6. Raymond Facey, 7. Ashley Dicken, 8. Steven Lewis, 9. James McKerdy, 10. Mark Habbershaw, 11. Phillip McKerdy. Subs: 12. Aston McInnis (for Dicken, 78), 14. Curtis Simpson (for Jones, 88), 15. Daniel Watson (for Phillip McKerdy, 75), 16. Andrew Hopson (not used), 17. Michael Forrester (not used). Mgr: Mark Hopson.

Referee: D. Bullen (Leicester).
Assistants: M. Barker (Shepshed) and G. Bourne (Syston).

0-1 Mark Habbershaw (28)
1-1 Tom Murphy (66)
2-1 Curtis Jackson (85)

Copsewood: none
Heath Town: James McKerdy (YC, 73)Steven Lewis (YC, 90+6), Steven Lewis (YC/RC, 90+6)