Sunday, 31 August 2014

Why I'm Seeing A Goalless Draw at Redhill


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 30 August 2014 at Kiln Brow
Result
Redhill 0 Horsham YMCA 0
Competition
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Hopping
Ground 543 on the lifetime list, more pragmatic than random today as I felt like a change from driving round the M25. Thus, the Yappmobile has been abandoned at the station and I am letting the train take the strain today.
Pre-match preparation
Redhill are in the lower reaches of the Step 4 Isthmian League D1 South although their games have all had close scorelines.  They were promoted the season before from the Sussex league, and had a reprieve from relegation last season.  Horsham YMCA are in Step 5, mid-table in the Sussex County Premier, and they are here after coming from behind twice to beat Alton Town 3-2 in the previous round.  Redhill are entering the competition at this stage.  Other than this, most of the prep has been about studying train timetables and fare structures!
This match in one sentence
To be brutally honest, forgettable apart from the last-seconds controversy of a disallowed Redhill goal.
So what?
A replay on Wednesday evening which will decide who hosts Carshalton Athletic in the next round.
The drama unfolds
Horsham YMCA started better and Jordon Anderson was in the right place to make a goal-line clearance.  Redhill’s debutant goalkeeper Michael Hunter was on the ground out of position having made a good block already, and between them the kept the visitors out.  Dave Brown, prominent in early attacks, also screwed a shot wide from a good position as Redhill struggled to get into the game.  My clip is from midway through the first half as the home side finally turn up and it has Anderson’s header at the other end well saved by Simon Lockwood.  Redhill are in red-and-white.


Then Horsham YMCA got lucky.  Some defensive dithering alongside Tyrone Pink making a nuisance of himself led to the ball being set up nicely for Tre Mitford.  Flight BA123 from Gatwick to Tenerife was in more danger than the back of the net.  Just before half-time, Pink, having drawn the keeper, set up Chris O’Flaherty and he also missed by a mile.  0-0 at halftime

The second half was even, but nothing much of particular note.  Both keepers had to do some work, but much of it routine.  Redhill sub Fiachra McArdle came on for his debut and immediately added some guile to the attack playing more from attacking midfield rather than as a target man right up front.  Even as I wrote that note (82mins) we then had groans at the other end as YMCA missed a decent chance.  Redhill fluffed a break after 88mins and then we had the only real moment of drama.  A Redhill cross from the left was cleared vertically and spinning high into the air, and it dropped into the six-yard box with snow on it.  Lockwood appeared to fumble it and it bounced in off Redhill sub Gavin Gordon – but the ref called a foul on Lockwood (I think) and so the teams have to do it all again.  Final score 0-0
Ground Pix





Match Pix









Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League
Nationwide attention to your rubbish bins.


Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
A clean sheet each for yellow and purple.  Here, as promised, is an update.  Purple goes top after today’s result. 

The story so far:
3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, -1pt for a goal conceded and +5pts for a clean sheet


P
W
D
L
GA
(-1 each)
CS
(5 each)
Pts
Pts per Game
Purple
4
2
1
1
8
2
9
2.25
Grey
16
7
3
6
23
5
26
1.63
Green
15
8
1
6
21
4
24
1.60
Red
4
2
0
2
5
1
6
1.50
Orange
4
2
1
1
6
1
6
1.50
Yellow
8
2
3
3
11
2
8
1.00
Blue
8
3
2
3
14
2
7
0.88
Radioactive Bile
6
2
0
4
12
0
-6
-1.00
Maroon
2
1
0
1
5
0
-2
-1.00
Pink
7
1
3
3
16
0
-10
-1.43
Soapbox Section
Back to school on Monday, and lots about the purpose of education in the media again this last week.  A damning report on the failure of the “system” to improve so-called “social mobility” appeared, from a commission led by Alan Milburn.  The report and its findings have been quickly criticised as “lazy stereotyping” by the organisation representing the headteachers of leading independent schools.  Here is the BBC’s initial coverage:


If I ever do get round to writing down a proper autobiography (though who on earth would want to read it is another matter entirely) I will have to think a lot about this stuff to make sense of what has happened to me.  When I look at my family tree, pieced together over several years, I see lots of large families with very little chance to do anything other than work hard in the factories of the Black Country, and, in the case of the women, spend their whole lives raising children and grandchildren.  It was educational success, measured in those days only by being able to remember stuff for exams, that gave me some choice and control in life that my ancestors never had.  My current GCSE classes are probably already fed up of me referring to this (but I am not going to stop anytime soon).  There is no doubt that getting to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge shaped my life.

I do not hanker after a golden era of education from the 70s, 80s or 90s.  Trust me, there wasn’t one, except for a few.  I joined the profession to help change it.  The nearest we got since then was a brave Conservative decision to give school funding control to heads and governors (in the late 80s) followed by the Labour changes which (at that time) reined in some of the excesses of market forces. But that will be for another soapbox section entirely, when important matters of goalkeeper top colour impact have been settled.

Meanwhile, the excellent NewsBiscuit parody site has given us a reversal of the Milburn findings!

What Next?
I am at a wedding next Saturday and so will miss the formalities of Non-League Day this time round.  Looking further ahead I will be taking in all four games of the North Berkshire League Hop on 20 September.



Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Hard Lesson for Harborough Town


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 19 August 2014 at Bowdens Park
Result
Harborough Town 1 Blaby & Whetstone Athletic 6
Competition
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Hopping
Ground 542 on the lifetime list.  Essentially, I am here because Greg Nwokolo of Persebaya Surabaya hit the post with an injury time free kick in an Indonesian Super League match against Persela Lamongan earlier today.  This meant that the margin of victory was three goals (3-0) rather than four which would have sent me to Abingdon United v Holyport, two (Tadley Calleva v Ascot United) or one (Thatcham Town v Slimbridge).  You can see how the story developed (and the bemusement of some of my followers) on the @GrahamYapp Twitter timeline.  For the record, the game concerned was played at the Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium and all three goals were scored by Emmanuel “Pacho” Kenmogne.  It’s random-ish.


Stadium Gelora Bung Tomo, Surabaya
Kenmogne (right) celebrates sending an English groundhopper to Harborough
Someone has kindly loaded the evidence on to YouTube for us!


Pre-match preparation
Harborough needed two very late goals last Saturday to earn a replay from a 2-2 draw.  They have had two defeats in their league, the Step 5 United Counties Premier.  By contrast, the visitors have two wins in the Step 6 East Midlands Counties League.  I’ve seen both clubs once before in 2012 – I saw Harborough win on their way out of Step 6 at the end of 2011-12, and B&W lose valiantly at home to a higher ranked side to end a decent Cup run in 2012-13.  You can pick the links for these games from the tag cloud to the right.
This match in one sentence
Harborough never really recovered from an incredible opening onslaught which, along with their own defensive incompetence, had Blaby & Whetstone three up inside ten minutes.
So what?
Blaby & Whetstone Athletic will host Step 4 opponents in the form of Stratford Town in the next round.   Plus, I have personally seen 27 goals in 4 FA Cup ties so far this season, including three “giant-killings”.  There are combinations of games that could beat that total – anyone out there?
The drama unfolds
My very early clip is probably the only two minute interval without a goal in it!  Harborough are in yellow.



The drama unfolded quicker than anything I have ever seen.  Aaron Preston was left totally unmarked to place a glancing header into the corner and give the visitors the lead.  Then, defensive hesitancy allowed him to nip in and intercept the ball for his second.  Even before I had finished my scribbled notes, Lee Barrett headed home from a corner.  Shouts of “Embarrassing!” from all directions and “Keep Your Heads Up!” from a few.  0-1 after 5 minutes, 0-2 after 7 minutes, 0-3 after 9 minutes

Blaby & Whetstone could have been five up by the half-hour.  Their number 9 missed the target in a one-on-one situation and Preston flicked over an open goal to miss the first chance of completing the hat-trick.  Harborough finally raised hopes that the match might be competitive when they found the net just before half-time and went in to the break with only a two-goal deficit.  This at least kept the passing neutrals vaguely interested.  1-3 after 40 minutes and at half-time

The teams traded second-half chances in an increasingly tetchy game.  The ref needed a touchline conference with his assistants after a bit of a melee near the dugouts.  No red cards, but plenty of shouting, pointing and posturing.  Yawn.  The key moment, however, was a goal by a Harborough sub that was (correctly) disallowed – if only that had counted then we might have had a different story, because just after that they manufactured a great chance, and the rebound from the keeper’s save only just eluded the same sub.  Margins, eh?  The second clip has Harborough trying to close the gap.



As it was, Blaby & Whetstone enjoyed the party.  The fourth was an own goal when the ball hit a defender after an attacker couldn’t quite reach a cross.  1-4 after 68 minutes

Preston missed another chance, rolling the ball just wide to the left after a strong run through the middle.  He finally got his third night shortly after.  1-5 after 76 minutes

The final goal came from Levi Porter who was released at the halfway line by a good through ball and he ran half the length of the pitch and rounded the keeper on the right to score in an empty net.  1-6 after 85 minutes

Harborough’s night was summed up as they hit the bar with a header with just a few minutes left.  Ultimately it was those catastrophic first few minutes that defined their destiny – out of the FA Cup this season.  Final score 1-6
Ground Pix
It has to be said that Bowdens Park is a magnificent facility and must also be added to any hoppers' lists of "Grounds Where Farm Animals are Visible During the Game".



Match Pix

Kick-off!  Lighting conditions not great for any more stills after that.
Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League
Free car parking and the ability to be away from the ground within two minutes of the end of the game…
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
A thrashing for the grey of Harborough and a win for the green of Blaby & Whetstone.  Updated table to follow at the end of the month.
Soapbox Section
Best wishes to everyone (including me and other staff!) waiting on GCSE results tomorrow.
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  Family function on Saturday to celebrate several Yapp milestones but every chance of a Bank Holiday Monday double hop somewhere.



Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Game of Gust-a-Minute at Holyport



Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 17 August at Summerleaze
Result
Holyport 2 Abingdon United 2
Competition
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Hopping
Ground 541, the third FA Cup tie of the weekend, chosen as the shortest journey distance-wise if not time-wise due to the dreaded M25 western section.
Pre-match preparation
Both clubs play at Step 5 in the Hellenic League, and neither have a win.  Holyport’s league campaign has started with two defeats and Abingdon have one sole point from a draw and a defeat.  But (all together now…) THIS COUNTS FOR NOTHING IN THE CUP.
This match in one sentence
Abingdon were ahead but eventually had to settle for a replay, as the rain stayed away but the wind gets the assist for Holyport’s crazy equaliser
So what?
The aforementioned replay is on Tuesday evening.  The winners will have a home tie against Egham Town.
The drama unfolds
Sam Jones tapped in after a well-worked move down the left to give the home side the lead midway through the first half.  1-0 after 23 minutes

Suddenly the wind seemed to pick up and playing conditions became trickier.  It was blowing sideways across the pitch towards the dugouts.  I was on my customary lap of the perimeter and at the other end when Anaclet Odihambo equalised for United just a few minutes later.  1-1 after 29 minutes

I took my first clip and the effect of the wind on a cross led to a fumble by the home keeper that needed a last-ditch clearance.  Holyport are in claret and green.


Abingdon adjusted to the conditions better at first and substitute Graham Edney was unlucky when he hit the bar.  1-1 at half-time

The visitors took the lead with Odihambo’s second goal, a really cool finish when the defensive line was broken.  1-2 after 52 minutes

Steve Davis almost scored unintentionally for Abingdon when the wind turned his cross into a shot, but it played an even bigger part in the equaliser.  Thomas Kaill sent a freekick well wide of the goal, quite deliberately I would suggest, and the vicious curve deceived the keeper for the kind of equaliser I last saw in the Faroe Islands!  2-2 after 77 minutes

My second clip shows Davis trying to repeat his set piece feat from a little closer – he hits the angle of post and bar and maybe it was fair enough that this game ended all square.  Final score 2-2



Ground Pix
This is a lovely location for a fine afternoon – if you visit, make sure you have a look at the map because this ground is tucked away at the end of a track, through a cricket club, if you follow the satnav route.  It is worth it.


To be fair, this was straightened very soon afterwards by a level-headed club official!
Pic showing location of Scooby Tree (see below)



Match Pix

Management expressing "I Don't Believe It" through the medium of dance

Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League

1. Teams emerging from the woods to take the field ...
2. Scooby Trees (I love this tree)
3. Red Kites overhead
4. Convolvulus
Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Honours even between the grey of Holyport and the blue of Abingdon United.  Updated points table to follow next week.
Soapbox Section
Not today.  I am soapboxed out.  I will just say that this is fast becoming my favourite weekend of the whole football season.
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  Maybe a midweek replay or two, but nothing next Saturday due to a family function.