Irchester United 6 Thrapston Town 2

Friday 4th November 2011
Irchester United 6 Thrapston Town 2
ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division
At: Alfred Street
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £5; Programme: £1 (12 pages)
Weather: mild, dry
Attendance: 105
Duration: first-half: 46:04; second-half: 48:32

“We’ve got groundhoppers galore tonight,” was one comment I heard coming from the direction of the paybox on Irchester’s first Friday night home game of the season. What the crowd of around 100 saw was a goalfeast with Irchester retuning to winning ways with an emphatic victory over Thrapston Town that included a hat-trick from captain Dan Rogers.

I can’t say I enjoyed the drive, particularly the stretch in heavy rain between Rugeley and Coventry along the A51, A38, M42 and M6. However, a quick stop near Rothwell at the McDonalds on the eastbound A14 dubbed my ‘lucky McDonalds’ – recommend the spicy vegetable wrap – as I normally seem to see a decent after stopping there. Tonight was no exception!

Tonight’s game was switched to Friday night following the success of the FA Cup meeting between the sides back in August at Thrapston which attracted a crowd of 198. The return league game just before Christmas will also be played on a Friday evening as well.

The 2011/12 season is Irchester’s second in the Premier Division after they gained promotion as Division 1 champions in 2010. Alfred Street, a three-sided ground shared with cricket, boasts new two seated stands behind the goal nearest the entrance with an older area of covered standing near to the clubhouse. It wasn’t possible to walk around the entire pitch with the touchline next to the cricket square and half of the far end out of bounds.

A quick glance down the ‘1st team fixtures’ chart in the programme shows that 2011/12 has so far been a season of two halves for Irchester. They lost their opening ten league and cup games, then have lost just two of their next games prior to this evening’s visit of Thrapston. In the table Irchester (14 points from 14 games) were in 14th position in the 21-team division, three places and three points better off than Thrapston (11 points from 11 games) who did have three games in hand.

There was little sign of what was to follow during a ‘cat and mouse’ opening 10 or so minutes after Irchester (in all blue) got the game underway attacking the far (north) end in the first half. Having survived a scare, Irchester got forward to take the lead in the 16th minute. A long ball forward was headed clear to the lurking Jake Gillingwater who drilled a low shot into the bottom left corner with a sweet strike.

Another defensive clearance led to the second goal 11 minutes later. Joe Hopeswell’s free-kick delivered forward into the area from the right was headed out and emphatically smashed into the back of the net by Daryl Lawman.

Thrapston briefly got back into the game with a goal just after the half-hour mark. A mistake by Hugo Fernandes presented a chance for Cavell Jarvis on the left who drove towards goals and the ball ended up in the net off Ryan Neville attempting a goalline clearance.

But, the next goal was never far away and it did indeed come in the 33rd minute to quickly restore Irchester’s two-goal lead. Daryl Lawman’s low cross from the left was swept home at the far post by Dan Rogers off the hands of the diving keeper Chris Jones.

Irchester went in 4-1 up at the interval thanks to a spectacular four goal scored by Stuart Reid in the 43rd minute. Craig Lawman found Reid on the right who latched on to the pass to the cry of “linesman”. The offside flag stayed down and the striker honed in on goal to smash a right-foot shot from an acute angle into the far side of the net. I don’t think the visitors were impressed.

Amongst the groundhoppers at the game were Paul Kingston and ‘media celebrity’ Brian Buck watching his second game of the day and fast approaching his 10,250th lifetime game in total. Both along with their two mates provided good company during the second half.

The question on some lips was: ‘would the goalfest continue after the break?’

Irchester almost scored again seven minutes after the restart. Following a cleared right-wing corner, Daryl Lawman chipped the ball back into the area when unchallenged Chris Gell headed over.

However, home fans didn’t have to wait for another goal which came in the 61st minute. Craig Lawman and Reid combined on the edge of the area before the latter fed Rogers who walked the ball into an empty net. Where was the Thrapston keeper and quite frankly Irchester didn’t care as they were now 5-1 up.

Soon, 5-1 amazingly became 6-1 two minutes later. Daryl Lawman delivered a perfect left-wing corner for Rogers to power home a close-range header to complete his hat-trick.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring. The visitors got on the scoresheet again in the 77th minute. Jarvis crossed from the left for substitute Mike Houghton to fire home at close range.

With Irchester not letting up, I did wonder when I’d last seen a game finish 7-2, assuming the home side would score a seventh goal. They almost did in the closing stages as Gillingwater. sent a first-time shot over the bar and Reid couldn’t direct a shot on target from Rogers’ pass

Irchester United (blue with a navy blue chest hoop / blue / blue): 1. Hugo Fernandes, 2. Ben Reece, 3. Joe Hopewell, 4. John Bowden, 5. Chris Gell, 6. Ryan Neville, 7. Dan Rogers, 8. Jake Gillingwater, 9. Stuart Reid, 10. Craig Lawman, 11. Daryl Lawman. Subs: 12. John Tite (for Daryl Lawman, 75), 14. Phil Lawrence (not used), 15. Mark Dudley (for Reece, 86), 16. Liam Bright (for Bowden, 70), 17gk. Andy Flatles (not used).

Thrapston Town (white/white/white): 1. Chris Jones, 2. Matt Harris, 3. Adam Randall, 4. Stuart Goosey, 5. Lee Gotch, 6. Michael Cirelli, 7. Dave Townsend, 8. Callum Ridgway, 9. Deven Ellwood, 10. Charlie Fowler, 11. Cavell Jarvis. Subs: 12. Dan Grainger (for Harris, ht), 14. Connor Durkin (not used), 15. Joe Chubb (not used), 16. Mike Houghton (for Ellwood, 69) 17gk. Dan Waters (not used).

Referee: P. Hodgson.
Assistants: K. Emanuel and C. Rath.

1-0 Jake Gillingwater (17)
2-0 Daryl Lawman (27)
2-1 Cavell Jarvis (31)
3-1 Dan Rogers (33)
4-1 Stuart Reid (43)
5-1 Dan Rogers (61)
6-1 Dan Rogers (63)
6-2 Mike Houghton (77)

Irchester: Ryan Neville (YC, 80)
Thrapston: none