Friday, 23 December 2016

Leicester Nirvana 2 v Oadby Town 3 - UCL Prem

"We don't need no education"
Friday 23rd December 2016
United Counties League - Premier Division
at Hamilton Park, Sandhills Avenue, Leicester
Leicester Nirvana (0) 2
Jordan Nelson 52, 82
Oadby Town (1) 3
Harry Allcock 22, 70
Carlton Beardmore 49
Admission £5 Programme £1 Attendance 183
Leicester Nirvana:
Aaron Harris, Melanius Mullarkey, Mandeep Bains, Elliott Phillips, Chris Hollist (C), Jahdan Harper, Nkosi Mzungwama, Will Gonga, Jordan Nelson, James Bessey-Saldanha, Jurelle Phillips
Subs - Connor Brown-Wingfield, Shaquille Nassor, Gurdeer Mudhar, Celson Patricinio, Karol Ziniewicz (GK)
Oadby Town:
Alpha Kallon, Kieron Hefford, Lewis McLean, Callum Steer (C), Joel Wolfe, Lynus King, Joe French, Tom Gamble, Harry Allcock, Callum Armsden, Carlton Beardmore
Subs - Mason Lopas, Aniyah King
An ideal, or idyllic state or place.
A transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth.
It represents the final goal of Buddhism.
Alas, Nirvana the football team, they were denied a final goal tonight, by a string of decent saves in the closing stages of the game by Oadby's Alpha Kallon, that helped the visitors claim all three points.
Leicester Nirvana:
Leicester Nirvana were formed in 1982, having originally been of the Red Star youth group, which is still represented on their club badge.
Thurnby Nirvana came into existence in 2008, when Thurnby Rangers and Leicester Nirvana merged, but at the outset of the 2015/16 season they reverted to the original name of Leicester Nirvana FC, although the junior and youth teams that come under the clubs wing had retained that name beyond the merger and played their games at Hamilton Park, which following a series of changes and a programme of redevelopment, got the green light (just yesterday, by all accounts), to stage first team football in the United Counties League, Premier Division.
Most recently Nirvana had been ground sharing at Gleneagles Avenue, the home of Highfield Rangers Football Club.
In 1989, the prototype Leicester Nirvana, moved on from the Mutual League to Division 1 of the Central Midlands League, but they resigned mid season during their second year in that competition and in 1994 made the decision to solely become a junior and youth devlelopment club.
Once the merger had taken place 2008 the amalgamated club took over Thurnby Rangers place in the Premier Division of the Leicestershire Senior League.
At the end of the 2009–10 term, they went up to the East Midlands Counties League, winning the title in their fourth year at that level, when they were promoted to the United Counties League.
Though Hamilton Park has remained the home of the club's youngsters, tonight marked the occasion of Leicester Nirvana's first ever senior home league match at this ground.
Which is why so many sad anoraks (and people like me) traveled from far and wide, who were stoic enough to risk braving the imminent arrival of 'Hurricane Barbara' (a storm that didn't live up to it's 'yellow weather warning' forecast expectations, as it happens) to be here.
Oadby Town:
Oadby Town, AKA The Poachers, play at Wigston Road, which is less than six miles away from Hamilton Park
Tonight's visitors were formed in  1937 (or 1939, there are two conflicting versions of events) as Oadby Imperial FC.
In 1943 Imperial merged with a local junior side and became Oadby United, but reverted to Imperial again in 1949, before settling on Oadby Town in 1951, much to the relief of their uber fan Clarence Dunnicliffe, who was running out of room on his forearm to fit any more of his ever growing collection of club crest tattoos on.
If you ask him nicely enough, Clarence will show you his impressive collection of ink, though he doesn't attend midweek games in the middle of winter any more, now that he is getting on a bit
Most of Oadby Town's early existence under their various names was spent in the Leicestershire Senior League, in fact they competed at that same level, winning a vast array of titles and local cup tournaments, until 1999, when they were promoted to the Midland Football Alliance, where they won the league championship at the first attempt.
In the 2002–03 season Oadby Town reached the semi final FA Vase , before losing 3-1 (on aggregate) to Brigg Town, who went on to beat Sudbury Town 2-1 at Upton Park in the final
Having finished 22nd in the MFA in 2010-11, the Poachers were demoted to the East Midland Counties League and the following year they reached the fifth round of the FA Vase, where they were beaten 2-0 by virtue of a brace of goals from Staveley Miners Welfare's Joe Thornton.
Oadby Town made a sideways move to the United Counties League Division One for the 2012–13 season and finished fourth at the end of their first season in the step 6 competition, before going up as champions the following year.
I am very grateful to Martyn and Colin, of Winterton and Scotter respectively, for detouring through East Retford upon Idle to pick me up en route to the game and to the population of the East Midlands for staying off the roads tonight and affording us swift passage in and out of the outer regions of  the city of Leicester.
The demographic make up of the host club, both on and off the pitch, is representative of the cosmopolitanism make up of the locality, which in essence is something along the lines of what all football clubs who like to use the handle 'a community club' should be set up like.
Far too many teams who claim to be at the epicentre and hub of their locality are completely missing the point and are, in truth, pretty much the same as any number of run of the mill non league clubs, who employ managers from outside their immediate geographical radius, who come (and eventually go elsewhere) with their own entourage of journeymen players, who follow them from team to tea.
There is nothing wrong with that sort of thing of course and it is fairly commonplace, in a game that is full of favoritism and even nepotism, but it is what it is... and it isn't true to the meaning of what a genuine community club encompasses. Just saying.
The first twenty minutes or so were played out in the middle third of the pitch for the most part, with very little of much note happening infront of either goal as the teams weighed each other up.
Melanius Mullarkey, the home sides right back impressed as he tried getting Nirvana going down the right flank, floating a cross towards Jordan Nelson that Alpha Kallon plucked out of the air and then won a free kick when the Poachers defence decided that he wasn't going to dictate things out on the right and brought him down to earth, quite literally, with some close attention.
But Jurelle Phillips' free kick was headed clear by Jahdan Harper.
After the tentative opening spell a half decent game of football broke out, that ticked all of the boxes for the majority of those present.
Will Gonga took aim with a  speculative shot from almost forty yards out, but his shot cleared the wrong side of the right hand upright by a couple of feet.
Meanwhile, Tom Gamble, playing mainly on the left hand side of Oadby's midfield, was instrumental in digging the ball out of a crowded midfield and getting the visitors cogs in gear and it was he who created the opening goal, when he cut into the right hand side of the Leicester area and drilled a low cross on the slippery pitch, into the six yard box, that Aaron Harris struggled to deal with as he went down to make a save and inadvertently pushed the ball to Harry Allcock who probably won't ever score an easier goal for the remainder of his playing days.
A 'Poachers' goal you might say, if you were being a 'punny bugger'.
Gamble threaded a pass through Nirvana's back line to Allcock, whose first time shot was blocked by Chris Hollist.
(J) Phillips advanced towards the Oadby area and Joe French was alleged to have tripped him twenty yards from goal, although it looked like a harsh call from my vantage point and a gentlemen stood nearby wearing a Oadby Town hat obviously felt so to as he shouted: "Ref! It's a ground opening for them, not a charity match!"
But the free kick came to nothing.
Right on the stroke of half time Elliott Phillips nudged the ball forward for (J) Phillips to run on to, but his angled shot was turned away by Kallon.
HT: Nirvana 0 v Poachers 1
I made my way towards the well appointed club house, that stands on a raised concreted area, offering great panoramic views of the game, took one look at the lengthy queue for hot drinks and gave it a miss.
The great and the good of the ground hopping fraternity (and our motley crew) were out in force, speaking a jargon that I can barely decipher (WTF is a 'bracketed tick' for example) and arranging a car pool for the Annan Athletic v Berwick Rangers game tomorrow.
They are a likeable lot, definitely knowledgeable too... and though their isn't any kind of official dress code for this ever expanding troop of football enthusiasts, I'd wager that the takings at Jacamo have been fairly substantial of late.
The second half was only four minutes old when the visitors extended their lead, when Carlton Beardmore blind sided the Leicester defence through the right channel, raced towards the goal and struck the ball past Harris, who hadn't spotted the danger until late and was left grasping at fresh air as the ball zipped into the back of his net.
Leicester had to respond quickly to stop the game slipping away from them and  just moments after the restart Jordan Nelson pulled a goal back. His drilled shot was well saved by Kallon, but the ball cannoned off the Poachers keeper towards Gonga who rolled it forward to Nelson who wasn't going to be denied twice as he placed his firmly struck shot past the luckless Oadby keeper.
Game on!
The goal invigorated the home side, who were up to the challenge now, but a combination of Kallom, Joel Wolfe and Lynus King were just about holding the fort for the visitors.
Leicester had a great opportunity to draw level when Mullarkey made a powering thirty yard run forward but was fouled just outsside the Oadby box. (J) Phillips dipping free kick didn't dip enough and narrowly cleared the bar.
Mandeep Bains was making good use of the ball out on the left for the home side, but Oadby were defending well whenever he tried to find (J) Phillips and Nelson.
Lewis McClean, the visitors left back launched a long clearance for Allcock to chase after, but as the Oadby striker left two defenders in his wake Harris sprinted from his goal area and headed the ball away.
"He's not a bad centre half, but he's having a nightmare in goal!" commented a 'benevolent' visitor, completely untouched by the spirit of the occasion and probably oblivious that this was supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men.
Allcock, who had been making run after run all night, popped up on the left wing and sped forward before trying to catch Harris out with an awkward long distance low shot, that deflected wide off of a Leicester defender.
Callum Armsden's right wing corner was fumbled in the air by Harris, whose misery was complete when the ball slipped from his  hands into the path of Allcock who restored Oadby's two goal cushion from close range.
Stands from Gleneagles Avenue relocated to Sandhills Aenue
It looked now as if Leicester Nirvana's opening ceremony was going to have it's shine diminished somewhat, with Oadby looking like the side most likely to take all three points on offer now.
Gonga sprinted forward but his solo run was met by Kallon who raced out to smother the ball.
As the game went into it's final five minutes and the travelling football enthusiasts began jockeying for position near the exit, for the traditional quick getaway on the final whistle and surge towards the car park, to whence an ex-rated version of Wacky Races was about to break out on the nearby A46... but let's face it, nobody wants to drive past Thurmaston and Syston at anything less than 30 MPH for fear of having their wheels nicked... when all of a sudden, the game was far from over, when Nelson benefited from a complete misunderstanding between Kallon and Wolfe and scored his second of the night to set up a frantic finale.
This is what they want!
Kallon redeemed himself with three saves inside the final five minutes, plus the four extra ones that the referee, Lee Hartley had added on.
His stop from Nkosi Mzungwana's swerving free kick, was pivotal to the Poachers preserving their lead, but Nelson almost leveled things up right at the death, when he saw his thumping shot skim narrowly over the crossbar.
It would have been nice for the home side to have taken something out of this game, which they had been waiting to stage on home turf for almost thirty six years, but I suspect that nobody from Oadby would agree with that sentiment.
Football is results based industry and old romantics like me still have to learn, that the narrative surrounding games of association  football, never leads towards a happy ending for everyone involved.
FT: Leicester Nirvana 2 v Oadby Town 3
Both sides contributed to an entertaining game and will feel that they ought to have had something out of this compelling contest.
Leicester Nirvana FC pulled out all of the stops to make sure that the night went off efficiently without any sort of hitch whatsoever and should be proud of their efforts, which many people appreciated, recognised, commended and wholeheartedly applauded.