Saturday, 20 January 2018

East Meets West in the Southern League


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 20 January 2018 at Ladysmead
Result
Tiverton Town 2 St Ives Town 3
Competition
Southern League Premier Division (Step 3)
Hopstats
Ground 632, which completes this division and leaves me with three Northern grounds to complete everywhere-in-England-down-to-Step-3 aka The 232.  Not random today – this was the only unvisited Step 3 ground with an unapocalyptic weather forecast and the club helpfully tweeted the positive result of an early pitch inspection by the match referee.
Context
5th against 21st in the division so “on paper” a home banker.  Insert joke about playing on grass here.  That being said, Tiverton have had a rotten January with their only points being from a thumping of bottom side Gosport Borough.
In one sentence
St Ives made Tiverton pay a heavy price for a wasteful first half and won it from two down with a last-minute worldie from a sub.
So what?
Still 5th against 21st.  However, Slough Town in 6th have a ridiculous number of games in hand and this result is a blow to play-off hopes.  St Ives are also still plenty of points short of 20th place but there are two clubs in a very poor position below them this season so they should be safe.
Match Report
I was actually pleasantly surprised to read that the game had been given the green light by the match referee at 8.30am.  I drove through plenty of rain on the way to Devon and I was slightly concerned when I saw how much the pitch cut up during the warm-ups.  Thankfully, everyone seemed happy enough to get the game done and dusted and as a long-distance visitor I am grateful for that.  It was great entertainment for the passing neutral, but I suspect that the locals will have stereotypically consumed their own body weights in consolation cider and/or cream teas whilst I drove home.  That’s what I would be doing in their position.  I envisage head-scratching too.

The match started in bright sunshine as both sides traded early chances, getting both keepers grubby.  Tiverton appealed strongly for a penalty after a direct freekick after 15 minutes.  Their claim was the defender in the wall had moved an arm or shoulder towards the ball.  The home side had gradually gained the ascendancy but there was a bit of defensive generosity about the opening goal.  Levi Landricombe found himself in a lot of space in the box with no offside flag as the ball arrived from midfield and it was a fairly easy finish.

There were two other really good Tiverton chances before half-time.  One needed a goal-line clearance from Daniel Moyes and the other a good save by Tim Trebes from a shot by Jared Lewington.  The 1-0 interval scoreline was fair enough and in no way flattering to Tiverton.

Their second goal came very early after the restart.  From a corner, Jamie Price headed against the upright and maybe it was slightly fortunate that it rebounded straight back off him and in.  How deliberate, I couldn’t say.  If I’m honest, I expected St Ives’ heads to drop as the pitch became increasingly heavy and difficult, but I know nothing.

The pitch played a role in the visitors’ first goal.  A through ball dropped in the area with all the finesse of a British Mars Lander, made a crater and got stuck under an attacker’s feet just before the said attacker was then felled by an incoming defender.  Danny Watson buried the spot kick to keep the game interesting for neutrals.


Tiverton tried to restore the two-goal margin and Landricombe (Levi, that is, as there is also a Michael) nearly had his second when he turned his defender in the mud and fired just over.  So close, and ultimately so expensive.  Just a couple of minutes later, two St Ives attackers had the freedom of Tiverton on the right and Oliver Snaith scored the equaliser.  The last 15 minutes was therefore set up to become VERY interesting.

With just under ten minutes to go, Trebes had to take a booking for a cheeky pull on an attacker – again the pitch contributed to this by making the keeper fluff the clearance outside the box.  Then the rain started, more or less horizontally.  The finale was superb if you are from the East of England.  Tiverton had three subs all named Rogers, but it was St Ives’ sub of the same name, Declan, who scored a stunning left-foot shot from distance into the corner, with the scoreboard showing 89 minutes gone.  An absolute cracker, a points-stealer, a what-might-have-beener.  I’m just glad I was there to see it, and that the match took place at all.  On a trivial note, I wonder whether there has ever been another game where four of the ten subs had the same surname?

Ground Pix
Good clubhouse, seating all down the opposite side, and both ends covered.  Easy to park but read the website directions first because the actual entrance is not easily spotted from the main road.






Match Pix
Tiverton in yellow.








Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Orange loses to blue, but no clean sheets (or clean kit).  No change to the existing rank order, now based on the last 132 games that I’ve seen.  Sooner or later this will become statistically significant and it has been quite a while now since a change in the pecking order.


Results so far:
Based on conventional 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, but also -1pt for a goal conceded (GC) and +5pts for a clean sheet (CS).  Colours ranked on a points per game (PPG) basis. For new readers the odd .5 was caused by a shocking half-and-half shirt and the .1 was due to a substitute goalkeeper in a different colour.  The Fire Cracker colour was confirmed with the help of the social media team at Dulux UK, and it deserves to be last, trust me.  All of this arises from a comment attributed to Petr Cech that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box.


P
W
D
L
GC
CS
Pts
PPG
Red
10.0
5.0
1.0
4.0
11.0
3.0
20.0
2.000
Maroon
4.0
2.0
1.0
1.0
6.0
1.0
6.0
1.500
Blue
31.1
13.0
6.0
12.1
49.0
10.0
46.0
1.479
Grey
43.5
20.0
9.0
14.5
72.5
11.0
51.5
1.184
Green
71.0
35.0
9.0
27.0
121.0
18.0
83.0
1.169
Orange
29.5
9.0
6.0
14.5
49.5
5.0
8.5
0.288
Purple
11.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
25.0
2.0
2.0
0.182
Radioactive Bile
13.0
6.0
0.0
7.0
26.0
2.0
2.0
0.154
Yellow
28.0
8.0
6.0
14.0
58.0
5.0
-3.0
-0.107
Pink
15.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
30.0
1.0
-8.0
-0.533
Black
5.0
1.0
3.0
1.0
14.0
0.0
-8.0
-1.600
White
1.9
0.0
0.0
1.9
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-2.105
Fire Cracker
1.0
0.0
0.0
1.0
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-4.000


What Next?
Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  The three northern priorities are Ashton United, Whitby Town and Athersley Recreation (Shaw Lane’s landlords).


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Sittingbourne Comfortably, Hastings Stung


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 13 January at Woodstock Park
Result
Sittingbourne 2 Hastings United 0
Competition
Isthmian League Division One South (Step 4)
Hopstats
Ground 631 on the lifetime list, here randomishly because of Jay Rodriguez scoring for WBA against Arsenal on New Year’s Eve, and the postponement of Sittingbourne v Ramsgate on New Year’s Day.  All is explained in an earlier blogpost.
Context
12th plays 9th in the league.  Sittingbourne halted a losing streak in midweek with a big victory over Guernsey.  Hastings have won two from the last three but the last time out was a big defeat at home to Greenwich Borough.
In one sentence
It would have been nil-nil except for the two very early goals, which is not as crazy as it sounds.
So what?
Sittingbourne overtake Hastings and the teams are now 10th and 12th respectively.
Match Report
Firstly, Sittingbourne’s home-made soup is excellent.  They also seem to have a home-made club song too.  Like all home-made club songs, it is rubbish but fair play for having one.  It must be the main reason that Hastings found themselves two goals down in six minutes.

There was a charitable element about the first.  Hastings lost the ball on their left flank playing out from defence, and a square ball gave Kane Rowland a clear chance which he took well.  Sittingbourne went through the middle again three minutes later and the same player poached his second of the day.  And that was it really for this fairly unusual game.

Hastings steadied their ship and the rest of the first half was pretty uneventful.

In the second half, Hastings deserved a goal for their territorial domination and undoubted effort.  There was just a few minutes where you wondered whether a second goal would follow if they could only get their first.  Sittingbourne played on the break and might have done better – the away keeper Charlie Horlock needed to head the ball away as a sweeper several times but didn’t have much else to do.  Finally, in the last minute of normal time, the referee pointed to the penalty spot with five minutes of stoppage time to come.  However, there was to be no further excitement as Harry Brooks palmed Davide Rodari’s shot away to safety.

Sittingbourne 2 (Rowland 3, 6)
Hastings United 0

Ground Pix
Ground in transition – Sittingbourne have been here since Woodstock Sports folded.  Hoppers strongly advised to consult the helpful information on the club website otherwise your SatNav takes you on a tour of rural single-track roads before parking you up at a science laboratory.

Warning: that rearranged Ramsgate date may be incorrect ... !








Match Pix
Sittingbourne in Red, Hastings in … errrrm … Highlighter.







Something you don’t get in the Premier League
Trees, especially knobbly ones with interesting bark textures.




Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Green beats Grey and has a clean sheet so very little now between these two.

Results so far:
Based on conventional 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, but also -1pt for a goal conceded (GC) and +5pts for a clean sheet (CS).  Colours ranked on a points per game (PPG) basis. For new readers the odd .5 was caused by a shocking half-and-half shirt and the .1 was due to a substitute goalkeeper in a different colour.  The Fire Cracker colour was confirmed with the help of the social media team at Dulux UK, and it deserves to be last, trust me.  All of this arises from a comment attributed to Petr Cech that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box.


P
W
D
L
GC
CS
Pts
PPG
Red
10.0
5.0
1.0
4.0
11.0
3.0
20.0
2.000
Maroon
4.0
2.0
1.0
1.0
6.0
1.0
6.0
1.500
Blue
30.1
12.0
6.0
12.1
47.0
10.0
45.0
1.495
Grey
43.5
20.0
9.0
14.5
72.5
11.0
51.5
1.184
Green
71.0
35.0
9.0
27.0
121.0
18.0
83.0
1.169
Orange
28.5
9.0
6.0
13.5
46.5
5.0
11.5
0.404
Purple
11.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
25.0
2.0
2.0
0.182
Radioactive Bile
13.0
6.0
0.0
7.0
26.0
2.0
2.0
0.154
Yellow
28.0
8.0
6.0
14.0
58.0
5.0
-3.0
-0.107
Pink
15.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
30.0
1.0
-8.0
-0.533
Black
5.0
1.0
3.0
1.0
14.0
0.0
-8.0
-1.600
White
1.9
0.0
0.0
1.9
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-2.105
Fire Cracker
1.0
0.0
0.0
1.0
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-4.000


What Next?
Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!