Saturday, 5 May 2012

Arnold Town 3 v Winterton Rangers 2, Baris NCEL Premier Division, 1pm kick off, & Calverton Miners Welfare 2 v South Normanton 3, CMFL South

Saturday 5th May,
1pm kick off, at Eagle Valley
Baris Northern Counties East League, Premier Division,
Arnold Town (2) 3
Ryan Whitehurst 14, 46, Martin Carruthers 35
Winterton Rangers (0) 2
Jack Cross 48, Liam Wilkin 52
Admission £5, Programme £1.20, Attendance 105
Left click to enlarge team sheet picture

An early kick off at Eagle Valley, where at one stage a Buzzard circled over the field adjacent to the ground, maybe they should change the name now. The Buzzard Bowl has got quite a nice ring to it.
It always seems to be cold at Arnold Town's ground and today was no exception.
But that was soon forgotten about, because of the banter we were having with the good humoured company we were amongst, whilst Arnold and Winterton combined forces to provide a thoroughly entertaining game.
Both sides will finish the season in the top 9 of the NCEL Premier Division, with Winterton having to wait to see what the outcome of Monday morning's Staveley MW v Nostell MW game is, before finding out if they're going to come 5th or 6th in the table.
Myself and the Cookie Monster, joined forces with the affable Malcolm Storer, famous for his excellent 'On The Road' blog, for both of today's games, which meant that once I'd managed to get hold of a team sheet, I wouldn't have to write any notes down at all, because I could just crib off Malc later and then just pad things out from recollection and chuck a few photograph's in to fill some space.
I'm a crafty old Hector!
Arnold's pitch has got a strip right across the middle of it, that resembles the Okefenokee swamp. You don't so much get an opportunity to hold the midfield here, the midfield holds you instead.
I'm led to believe that they are still seeking recompense from the cowboys who laid the drainage and turf when they originally moved into Eagle Valley.
I hope they get a full refund and some compensation on top too, because, to be frank, a team of moonlighting tarmac Gypsies would have made a better job of it.
The sticky mess in the centre of the pitch was Dan Smith of Winterton's undoing on 14 minutes, when he literally got bogged down and stumbled, losing the ball to Ryan Whitehurst in the process, who ran on unchallenged towards the visitors goal and slotted the ball past Jake Turner.
Somebody help me, I'm sinking!

There have been several local minor cup finals played on the Eagle Valley pitch recently which haven't helped with the state of the pitch, but I think the ploughing match last week and yesterday's horse of the year dressage event, was taking things a little bit too far.
Arnold's Joe Wood almost equalised for Winterton, when, for some curious reason, he lashed the ball just past the post and into the side netting of his own goal from 20 yards out.
It looked as if he had forgotten which way his team were playing ... good job he missed then!
Following a bit a of scramble on the edge of Winterton's goalmouth, the ball broke to Martin Carruthers, ten yards from goal to the right hand side of the box, he made no mistake and the home side were two ahead.
Winterton huffed and puffed a bit heading up to the half time break, but they were mainly restricted to long range efforts.
That said though, the visitors came pretty close to scoring once or twice.
16 seconds into the second half, while Winterton were still stood around contemplating their half time team talk, Ryan Whitehurst motored forward, straight from the restart and put the Eagles 3-0 up.
Maybe with such a formidable looking lead in the bag, Arnold thought they had already got the game sewn up and allowed a bit of complacency to creep in.
They had certainly taken their eye off the ball, 2 minutes later, when it fell to Rangers' Jack Cross, 18 yards from goal, who spanked the ball beyond the reach of Martin Kearney, to pull a goal back.
On 52 minutes, it was game on, when Liam Wilkin ceased on a defensive mix up to score another goal for the visitors.
Cue a 'not exactly pleased' outburst from Kearney at his back four, that could probably have been heard in the bar at Calverton's ground, a couple of miles up the road.
To avoid any further verbal assaults from their goalkeeper and captain, Arnold tried to stay up the far end of the pitch throughout the second half.
Winterton still had their moments during this finely balanced encounter, but it was the home side who created the best chances from then on in.
Liam Garner flicked a left wing throw on, into the box and Chris Freestone thumped a header against the crossbar.
A few minutes later, Ryan Whitehurst, chasing his hat trick, tried his luck from 25 yards out but shot over.
With fifteen minutes to go, Luke Smithson did well to put Whitehurst through on goal, but this time he kept the ball down and shot wide instead.
Before the end, Smithson went for goal himself from six yards out but Jake Turner saved well to keep him out.
At the final whistle, the visitors had played well, but Arnold, who were obviously more used to the sticky nature of their own pitch ,were deserved winners.
There then followed by a Wacky Races type chase, 'oop t' road to Calverton, where Professor Pat Pending got there just before us and grabbed the last programme, moments before we arrived, a couple of minutes before kick off.
The guy on the gate took the addresses of those who were sulking because they missed out on getting a programme, saying he'd print some more later and send them on.
But I wasn't too fussed either way.
If there is a programme available, I usually buy one wherever I go, unless I know from past experience, that a club I've visited before produce crap issues. But if I can't get hold of one, well ... I was only really interested in actually watching another game of football.
Besides, the piles of programmes I've accumulated over a lifetime of attending matches, has probably accounted for the murder of several rain forests by now, so at least I had a clear conscience about being eco-friendly for a change.
I must say though, before I move onto today's second game, Arnold's programme was a good read. It was a week out of date, but interesting none the less.
For the record, that intrusive spy in the sky internet resource called Google Maps, says it is just 1.6 miles between Arnold Town FC and Calverton Miners Welfare FC.
You'll be able to astound your friends the next time that comes up in a pub quiz now.
Strangely, the football ground in Calverton seemed 10 degrees warmer than Arnold Town's Oxton based home had, just a few minutes ago.
Saturday 5th May
3pm kick off, at Hollinwood Lane
Central Midlands League South
Calverton Miners Welfare (1) 2
Daniel Hough 43, 84
South Normanton (0) 3
Steve Chambers 50 pen, Luke Crosby 59 , Danny Briscoe 80
Admission £5, Programme sold out, Attendance 32+
From the outset, there was a tired end to season feel about the opening exchanges of this Central Midlands League South fixture.
If anything, Calverton had the better of the first half, which wasn't really in the script, because they're floundering in the bottom three of the table, while, on the back of today's win, South Normanton are second.
The visitors no longer use the Athletic post fix to their moniker.
There's a story behind the name change, that I'm sure a more knowledgeable person on the subject of the whys and wherefores of the foibles of CMFL South clubs than myself, like say Rob Hornby, could probably tell you if you ask him nicely.
And then you'll be even better endowed, the next time you partake in that aforementioned pub quiz.
BTW, Leeds Castle is in Kent, they always slip that question in.
In spite of a lot of effort and honest endeavour (my attempt at dressing it up a bit), it looked as if the two sides would be going in at half time for their isotonic sports drinks and fig biscuits, having failed to register any score.
But just before the break, Daniel Hough had other ideas, when he took possession of a cross from out on the left, beat a defender and 'dinked' the ball through the 'South Normo' keeper James Baker's legs, to put Calverton a goal ahead.
And didn't the visitors defence look thrilled about it ...
On fifty minutes, the Derbyshire side were awarded a penalty, when Steve Chambers fell to the floor in an undignified heap, with the Calverton keeper and centre half, as the three off them went up for a cross.
The referee ruled that Chambers had been held down as he attempted to jump.
By my reckoning the decision was a bit harsh.
Chambers then added 'injury to insult' by studding the Calverton number 6 in the chest, on the ref's blind side, while they were both still laid on the ground, before jumping up to join in with the argument that had broken out over the penalty award.
Steve Chambers then took the spot kick himself.
Ability wise, he looked to be the best player on the pitch, when he was on the ball.
Actually, he impressed me no end, combining a good touch with an obvious desire to compete and get involved.
But, his off the ball petulant, nasty indiscretion, had me willing him to miss, as he stepped up for the spot kick.
He didn't though.
And the game was all square at one apiece.
South Normanton had come into their own in the second half and it was only looked like a matter of time before they would score again.
On 59 minutes, Luke Crosby duly obliged and fired home from just inside the Calverton area, to put the visitors ahead.
And then Danny Briscoe netted a superb solo goal to to give South Normanton a two goal cushion.
It was a quality strike, worthy of winning any game.
But yet again, Daniel Hough refused to accept that an away win was on the cards and rammed home a second goal for Calverton with a little over five minutes still remaining, to set up a potential grandstand finale.
Alas, the rest of his team had read the script and a late equaliser wasn't forthcoming.
The visitors bossed the welfare club in the second half and were worthy winners in the end ... and without further ado we headed home to watch the FA Cup Final, a game that traditionally always used to be played at 3pm on the last Saturday of the season and *really* mattered to the nations entire football community, back in the day.
I'm afraid to say, the magic of the FA Cup has done a disappearing trick of late and my interest in the competition evaporates rapidly towards the later stages.
Ah, for those halcyon days sat glued in front of the TV all day, for Cup Final Multicoloured Swap Shop and It's A Knockout specials, and the like.
In between nipping in and out of the kitchen, I glanced at the screen a few times for long enough to notice that Chelsea had won the game, while Liverpool had made a real go of it late on.
So, the team that is owned by an unpopular American consortium (or at least it was the last time I took much notice), lost against the one that is being bankrolled by Soviet wealth.
Apparently, the game included a 'was it, wasn't it' over the goal line incident, that I missed completely, while I went to simmer my rice.
All I can say on that matter is, the referee's decision is final, even though he doesn't and can't possibly always see everything that goes on during a football match ... can he Steve Chambers!?