A couple of weeks back, BTFM paid tribute to the anger-management skills of one-time Barnet hero Hakan Hayrettin. And only made slight reference to his weight gain. This time, in another nod to my erstwhile friends at the bottom of the A1, and in anticipation of this weekend's crunch game at Grimsby, I offer up this.
For those unaware, Dino Maamria is a twat is now First Team coach at Stevenage, having been a player there once upon a while. Since the demise of Enfield, Stevenage is as good a local rivalry as Barnet have. Dino wasn't the most popular, and in tandem with boss Graham Westley, it is possible Underhill may implode next season when the two teams meet again. If Barnet manage to keep hold of their league status, of course.
I may have mentioned before that I don't have much love for trips to Glapwell. But I naively thought that a play-off game might produce something I haven't seen at Hall Corner all season; a good game of football.
Quite how Glapwell can play a 3-4-3 formation and not be good to watch amazes me. Maybe it has something to do with their love of hoofing it up to Neil Grayson and his two mates, who inevitably don't control it well enough to bring others in to the game. And when they do, there's no width anyway. Awful, awful team to watch.
There was a "bumper" crowd of 250+ plus there last night. Judging by the reactions when Glapwell scored with 15 minutes or so to go, about 2/3 of them had travelled from Staffordshire. Quite how Glapwell can expect to survive at the next level on such apathetic locals is beyond me.
Another thing that is beyond me is how they, and Sheffield. And Stocksbridge, now I come to think of it, can all pass the ground gradings with three sided grounds. That the grading regulations can be flexible, depending upon your affiliations is not news. That such hypocrisy can continue to be allowed to flourish unchallenged though, that's what saddens me most.
Anyway, no photos because there was nothing to shoot. And a Chasetown Glapwell final which leaves my heart cold. In the North it's Lancaster Colwyn Bay, which is a bit more enticing. And in the Prem it's Bradford Boston, which promises to be a cracker.
I might go to Grimsby to watch Barnet throw away their league status in a display of utter ineptitude though.
Retford United have been hit with a bombshell after manager Peter Duffield announced he is leaving the club at the end of this season amid claims that players have not been paid.
The news of Duffield's departure is bound to come as a huge blow to supporters with the Badgers involved in the UniBond League Challenge Cup final against Boston United at Ashby Avenue toight (7.45pm).
The high flying Cannon Park side are also still in with a chance of reaching the UniBond Premier Division play-offs if rivals Kendal are not able to secure three points from their clash with Whitby Town on Wednesday evening.
Speaking exclusively to the Retford Times, an emotional Duffield said the players will not be surprised by his decision as he spoke to them two weeks ago about his wish to leave.
Duffield claims neither himself or the players have received their wages from last month and that a long list of broken promises by the club have led to him finally making this decision.
"We are about a month behind with our wages and the club owes money from a period in December," said Duffiled.
"But it's the players I feel sorry for. Some of them have had to be loaned money by myself and Mick Godber just so that they can make it to away matches.
"It has been a long time since I have had a peaceful night's sleep because of all this and my family have also suffered because of it.
"I don't know the reasons for all the problems at Retford, all I know is we have not been played for quite a while.
"I know the club is trying to raise money and I genuinely feel for Retford, but it is time to move on."
Chairman Bill Wyles said: "We have a problem in that our main sponsor has only paid about a quarter of the money he agreed to pay in the deal and that has left a massive hole.
"I can understand Peter's frustrations and we have nothing but praise for his efforts during his time with Retford.
"On a personal level, I have always got on well with Peter and I shall be sorry to see him go."
Readers of this blog do not necessarily expect professionalism. And I appreciate them for that. However, even I am sometimes amazed by how lethargic my attitude can be.
On Saturday, The First Man travelled to Leicestershire, to watch an ECML table-topping clash between Bardon Hill Sports, with points in the bag, and Dunkirk, with games in hand. As with last week's title decider, the end result was far more one-sided than anyone could have predicted. Only this time, it served to make the run-in all the more tight. That this was Bardon Hill's last game, and they now have to watch on as the others close in, will only compound their misery.
One unexpected highlight of the day was bumping in to an old friend in The Bodging (aka Pete) who may yet take the plunge in to the world of non league blogging. If he does, be afraid. Be very afraid.
Until then tho, know this. Dunkirk are more than any good. Having watched them despatch the previously admired Gedling Town without breaking too much of a sweat earlier in the week, I was keen to see what the table toppers would offer. As it turned out, very little. Bardon Hill played as if they knew their time was up, whilst Dunkirk harried and hassled all over the pitch. Even an early enforced substitution could not dampen their efforts. Indeed, as the resultant substitute ended up with two goals, it arguably made them stronger.
Dunkirk have pace all over the pitch, whilst Bardon Hill looked as cumbersome as their portly number 5. Time and time again balls came over the top, and the home defence could not cope. When Dunkirk bored of this game, they ran at a ramshackle defence who had no answer. For Dunkirk's fourth (possibly) they even rolled out a red carpet, pulled up a few deck chairs, and simply waved the impressive number 4 through, from his own half.
There's a proper match report, written by someone who deserves your audience more than me, here
If Bardon Hill were the best the league had to offer all year, one can only marvel at the quality of the rest of the league.
There are photos, and they will be uploaded soon enough. But I am writing this at work, and they are at home.
The First Man is cursed delighted to have made the acquaintance of the Roly Poly's stuntman during the course of this season. And this blog notes with interest that during all the off, and on, field troubles that have beset Worksop Town this season, that blog's support of the Tigers' youth programme has been unfaltering. With this in mind, I hope and trust that he will be learning from the actions of these fans in Poland.
For my sins, this was my first visit to Forest Town, despite it being a ten minute drive from my house. And I was charmed, I have to say.
The Nottinghamshire Senior Cup is not a competition that enlivens my soul much. Least, not until last minute winners in the Final anyway. But at the business end of the competition, the underdogs do try a little bit more, and the "names" are less inclined to coast it. And so it was last night.
After several years of progression on and off the pitch, Eastwood Town have finally stalled this season. There was a time when they were looking at yet another promotion, but like their namesakes in North Notts (and holders of this prestigious trophy, lest we forget) The Badgers have found the latest new level tougher than those that preceded them. They're not out of the race, but it hasn't been the table-topping panorama they've been used to in recent years.
Forest Town meanwhile continue to plod along in the Central Midlands, without unduly worrying either end of the table. That's a gap of 5(?) leagues between the two. A dead cert, surely?
Well, no, in a word. Without descending in to tired footballing cliches too readily, the opportunity to match their wits against more illustrious names emboldened the home side, and coupled with a resolutely defence line-up, their big-spending visitors could not break them down.
It was a game of few chances, but those that came fell mostly to Eastwood, as you might expect. But balls were blazed high, wide and handsome on these occasions, and with every miss Forest Town must have felt their luck was in. Had the lone striker been more mobile, they may well have caused the great hulking back line of Eastwood more problems (seriously, huge guys. Potty mouthed too) As it was Forest were reliant upon the guile of Craig Jackson in the centre to pull the strings. And pull them he did. If he plays like this every week, then he is surely better than his current surroundings (no offence intended)
Midway through the second half, Forest Town introduced a sprightly young thing known as "TJ". It was perhaps telling of their luck as the night wore on that their best chances fell to the young lad, who was clearly scared shitless at the thought of doing something memorable. And yet he came so near. With fifteen minutes to go he latched on to a long ball, lobbed the advancing keeper and.... hit the post. Agonisingly close. And nothing Forest Town would not have deserved, for their doggedness if nothing else.
All too often sides at this level play direct football, and hope to latch on to scraps from free kicks and throw ins. Forest Town passed the ball confidently and with a precision that belied their status. All they needed was a a bit of movement up front.
With extra time looming, Eastwood continued to press, no doubt fearing the rollicking they would be getting for failing to put their plucky opponents to the sword. A corner on the right wasn't cleared properly and somehow the ball ended up in the net via means that completely escape my memory. Sorry. You read all that, and then I let you down. I suspect that a more fulsome overview will be on the Eastwood Town official site at some point, who knows?
So Eastwood Town progress to the final, where they face Retford United in a repeat of last year's Badger-tastic escapade. It's on Monday May 10th, fixture fans. At Notts County's place. Can't miss it. Big black thing, down by the river.
I spend more time than is otherwise healthy reading stuff what other folks write, and when I have finished cutting myself in a fit of self-loathing, I bookmark my favourites on delicious. You can subscribe to that ever-expanding list if you want. Then you'll get a slim idea of how I spend my day spunk away time at someone else's expense.
An awful game, played by two thoroughly disinterested teams, one of whom I expected to at least give the impression of giving a rats' ass.
The company was pleasant (at least in regard of the companion who doesn't write a blog) but the game passed by as little more than a statistic in the 2009-2010 Unibond history. In years to come, I may regale my grandchildren with tales of Tranmere 4 Southampton 3 in the FA Cup. Or Retford 5 Fleetwod 0 in the Trophy. Maybe even Halifax 4 Lancaster 0 if I need them to go far away from me. But no matter how bad they might have been, I will never inflict Worksop 1 Hucknall 1 on them. I've already forgotten it anyway.
The last time I watched a team play Halifax Town, I saw Barnet claim the Conference title. Five years ago. Since then Barnet have arguably punched above their weight in the Football League, whilst Halifax have imploded, died, been re-born and failed to reappear on most people's footballing radar.
Yesterday, those folks who spend too long looking at league statistics, and not enough time speaking to people of the opposite sex (women, in the main, let's be honest) would have most definitely noticed FC Halifax Town.
For one thing, there were in excess of three thousand people at The Shay. A number that surpassed all bar four in the Second Division, and which was on a par with five games in the First Division. Not bad for a team playing in the Unibond Division One North, four rungs below the Football League.
And for another, The Shaymen absolutely annihilated their table-topping opposition. All season long it has been a battle between these two, and yesterday it seemed Halifax dealt their opposition a fatal blow.
The last time I saw Lancaster City play, they were also top of the table, they also played awfully, and they also lost. Is it me?
Halifax played expansive, flowing football, anchored by a coleuses at number 5, and spearheaded by a titan at number 9. Between them, they squashed Lancaster at every turn. City had no idea what was happening to them, and their management no idea how to counter it.
One down within five minutes, Lancaster's plan of taking a point was scuppered before they had even settled down. The vocal fan base cheered every pass, backed every tackle. No one was going to ruin this day for them. Least of all some pesky upstarts from Lancashire.
Were I am Lancaster fan, I would absolutely furious with the management of my team. In this spectators opinion, it was their intransigence that cost City any chance they may have had. One short man up front was not going to win any header against the aforementioned coleuses. The wide men backing him up were largely anonymous, save for a pair of fancy-dan boots. And the absence of any midfielders pushing through meant Town could repel at leisure.
Lazy blogging at it's very worst
At the other end, the absence of attacking thoughts from the backline should have lead to a resiliant defence. But that would be to bet without Halifax's number 9, a man by the not inconsiderable name of James Dean. Single-handedly, he bullied, bruised and baffled the Lancaster backline until he was pulled off as a mercy call by the Halifax bench. Everything that Emile Hesky doesn't do as targetman, Dean did. He won, he held, he involved. Oh, and he scored. I don't have the words, simply.
But nothing was changed until half time, by which point City were two down, and pretty much dead in the water. 4-1-4-1 became 4-4-2, and nothing really changed. Yes they threatened the home goal a little more, even daring to have a goalmouth scramble before conceding the third. But in truth Lancaster were more off the pace than this little fella
Halifax fans have been talking their team up all season long, but it has often been dismissed as nothing more than hyperbole and bravado. Yesterday, Halifax Town were as good as, if not better, then their fans' words.
By the way, apologies for the paucity of pictures. I was reliant on my phone, and not really suitably placed. Unless, of course, you had an accordion, eh Plinny?
Referee Charles Haynes was taken into custody Sunday at his home where police say fled after the assault and booked on suspicion of felony battery and battery of a sports official.
A 31-year-old Canyon Lake man who investigators say attacked a soccer referee during an Easter Day game in Temecula has been arrested, said Sgt. Michael Canizales in a news release.
Haynes posted bail and is due back in court next month.
In incident was reported about 6:10 p.m. at Patricia H. Birdsall Sports Park at the intersection of Deer Hollow Way and Pechanga Parkway. Investigators said Haynes had been “red-carded” during a game between two teams and ejected from the contest, Canizales said. The ongoing dispute between both teams resulted in the sports official, Gaston Manrique, 50, ending the game with 20 minutes left in regulation, Canizales said.
Manrique was tackled by Haynes on the game field while he was recording the final score and the official injured his back as a result of the attack, Canizales said. Manrique was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for an examination for possible spinal injuries.
Haynes fled the scene prior to the deputies’ arrival, but was located at his residence in Canyon Lake, where Canyon Lake Police responded and detained him for questioning, Canizales said. Temecula Police later took Haynes into custody and arrested him.
I apologise for the Americanisms in the title. If it helps any, I do feel a bit dirty now.
Richard Zeh, from Connecticut, has wound up in hot water after responding to a Craigslist Ad from an alleged soccer mom seeking group sex. The personal trainer knocked on the door of the address he believed was listed in the ad to be greeted by an 18-year-old woman who told him that he must be mistaken, and nobody was looking for group sex at that address. She then apparently pointed out the correct address across the street.
Zeh wasn’t the only one to answer the apparently fake ad as about a dozen other potential suitors answered the ad, from teens to an “80-year-old man who looked like Santa Claus.” It seems Zeh was the only one who could not take no for an answer. The personal trainer tried the alternative address but was again rebuffed, so returned to the original house, where he apparently attempted to convince the people in the house that, although they had not advertised for group sex, they did actually want it. And with him.
He ended up allegedly entering the house without permission and allegedly groping the young woman. Which is what ultimately brought him to the attention of the police.
I don't like people having a pop at officials. Not from any puritanical standpoint. Just, well, they ref at non league level cos they're a bit poo. Much like the players. And with that in mind they are going to get some decisions wrong.
That said, it also possible that they get the odd decision wrong solely to wind up the obligatory angry mad bloke who appears to frequent pretty much every non league game you go to.
Exhibit A (unless poor football on a poor pitch in poor conditions is your thing, fast forward to about the 5 minute mark) Including rubbish fighting, rubbish defending and rubbish decisions from the men in black)
A 100ft-deep mine shaft has opened up on a football pitch in the Black Country, closing the site until further notice, according to a report in the Express and Star.
A 6ft-wide hole has appeared on Wednesbury’s Norman Deeley playing fields, built on former limestone workings.
An emergency fence has been erected around the hole, and the gates to the playing fields have been closed.
Barry Martin, chairman of Bilston Road tenants and residents association, said: “It was noticed late last week – a chap came to my door and said there was a dip in the grass.”
The pitches are owned by Sandwell Council but Mr Martin is a keyholder to the gates.
He added: “I have closed the field and put a lock on the gate to stop the kids getting in.
“There is a history of mine shafts, and it happened a few years ago back in the 1980s.“They reckon that there are about eight plotted around the field. I think it has got to be investigated. We have shut them because someone might get hurt.”
Wednesbury North councillor Mavis Hughes said the coal authority were alerted to the hole on Thursday and were at the scene from 11pm to 4am on Saturday making the area safe
.She added: “It’s awful to think what could have happened if it hadn’t been found.”
The former Bilston Road pitches in Wednesbury were named after Norman Deeley last year following months of campaigning by residents and councillors.
The England International winger honed his skills on the pitch as a child and starred for Wolves during the club’s glory days of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He died in September 2007 aged 73.
This is not the first time a mine shaft has opened up in the town. In 1994 a man almost plunged to his death when a 300ft-deep hole opened up in his garden, yards from where he was standing.
The hole, which was 15ft in diameter, swallowed up two 10ft conifer trees in the garden of the Hydes Road property.
Those of you who tally such things may have noted that the last few games have left me gasping for my blogging breath, such has been the paucity of quality and desire shown by some of the season-end fixtures. Thankfully, this game broke the pattern.
A clash between neighbours (about 12 miles depending in your route), AND a potential title decider (both teams tied on points at the top of the Unibond Premier table). It promised much. And whilst the atmosphere was noticeable only for it's absence in such a game, the two sides put on a show that ably demonstrated how they have risen to the top of the table.
Ground Hopper chic
It is fair to say that neither Guiseley or BPA are afraid of opening their wallets. Avenue believe, rightly or wrongly, that they should be playing in bigger ponds than the Unibond, and after an ill-fated spell under Lee Sinnott (which should have worked in my opinion) they are now flourishing under John Deacy. Backed solidly by the wallet , and ego of Bob Blackburn, they have assembled a group of giants in their bid to play Conference football. (incidentally, if any readers are unaware, this tale of last summer's exploits is a joy)
Guiseley on the other hand have stealthily assembled their squad over the last couple of years, and it shows. Whereas BPA play like an assortment of (relatively) talented individuals, Guiseley are defintely a team.
1300 people packed themselves in to Nethermoor Park to watch this game. And yet for much of it you could hear a pin drop. For such an important game, I don't think it was niave to expect some sort of atmosphere. But no, chanting was almost non existent, exubberant celebrations ont he terraces were kept in check. And most off-putting of all, there wasn't a single flag to be seen. I've never really got the whole flag thing myself. But others do, and it tends to be seen as the first sign of fanatical support amongst a certain section of support. That neither side showed any signs of this passion surprised me.
As you know, this isn't the place for incisive match analysis. I don't know enough, and I get bored writing my thoughts down. As proof of how little I know, the Guiseley player I had pegged as MOTM was pulled off after an hour, and the most dangerous BPA came off soon afterwards. Ergo, I know nothing, and we are all wasting our time on this site.
Bradford are a big side, with some more than competant players, but as I may have mentioned the overall ethic isn't as unified as Guiseley's. Both sides displayed enough to say that it will have to be a very good side that stops them both going up. Having seen most of the oppostion, I haven't seen anyone better. That said, Boston are rejuvinated, and Retford are much, much better away from home (and their current fifth means that all playoff games would be away) That leaves North Ferriby, who I only saw first game of the season, and wasn't overly impressed with. Table says they're any good, and we've established I know shit all.
The return match is tomorrow night at BPA's place. It promises to be a humdinger. If you can tear yourself away from Clive Tyldesley fawning all over Wayne Rooney, it'd be well worth the trip. Me? I can't get out of work early enough. Actually gutted.
Don't forget, there's more photos, including the best combover I've seen for some time, on the Facebook fan pages....
A FOOTBALL fan started a mass brawl at a Weymouth match after running on to the pitch to confront an opposition player.
The pitch invader, who is believed to be a relative of one of the Weymouth players, jumped over the hoardings and on to the field at the final whistle at the Wessex Stadium on Saturday.
Punches were thrown in the fracas after the Terras lost 2-1 to relegation rivals Weston-super-Mare, conceding two goals in the 88th and 91st minute.
Stewards, players and club officials intervened in the melee to try and restore order. Weston-super-Mare striker Jermaine Clarke – who scored both goals to sink the Terras – was shown a post-match red card for his part in the fracas.
Weymouth caretaker player-manager Andy Harris, who was on the touchline, told how the trouble broke out. He said: “There had been a little bit of verbal beforehand. But the fan took it upon himself to clamber over the wall and get on the pitch, which was completely out of order. There is always a bit of banter between supporters and players but to cross that white line is shocking really.”
Eye-witnesses told how ‘all hell broke loose’ after the man jumped on to the pitch. One supporter, who did not wish to be named, said: “The fan leaped over the wall and started having a go at the Weston-super-Mare player. Both teams got involved and all hell broke loose.”
Another supporter said: “I saw someone jump on to the pitch and then being dragged off.”
Supporter Idris Martin, who saw the aftermath of the trouble, added: “I just saw a mass brawl at the end of the game. The stewards had to try and separate everybody.”
Weymouth FC have said they will be imposing a lifetime ban on the man who ran onto the pitch.
Club spokesman Gary Calder said: “We don’t see people who go on to the pitch and punch the opposition as supporters and we will be taking action against that person.”
Mr Calder added: “We have been told it was his first time at the Wessex Stadium and, unfortunately, it will also be his last. We have to be seen as doing the right thing and I do not think any supporter at the football club wants to see incidents like this happen. It was allegedly the father of one of the players.”
Shaun Hennessey, a former director of the club, was also at the ground when the trouble broke out.He said: “The consequences are pretty dire for the football club. =With the club having been through such a traumatic week, it was meant to be the start of the new Weymouth Football Club so it is such a shame that this has happened. It’s a complete disaster and the football club will probably be fined pretty heavily.”
Mr Calder said that the referee will send a report to the FA who will then ask the club for their observations and, until that process has gone through, the prospect of a fine is still unknown.
A Dorset Police spokesman said that officers were not involved in the policing of the match and they were not called to the scene. The spokesman said that no arrests had been made in connection with the incident.
Happy Easter!! I am given to understand that a bloke who may, or may not, have looked a bit like Australian cricketer Jason Gillespie, went through a bit off strife around this time in order that we may all be able the enjoy the dual pleasures of over-indulgence and a Gedling derby. Carlsberg don't do Easter, to the best of my knowledge. But if they did, I doubt they'd be able to improve on my template.
Following yesterdays snoozefest at Loughborough, this game at Mapperley Plains was a blessed relief. I would say this was down to the derby-ness of the game, but in truth, derby games at this level matter little to anyone. Players move too freely, and fans are generally too close to death passive to get their knickers in too much of a twist. I guess the stars were just aligned for once.
Miners have the footprint to play at a higher level than the ECML, but as this season comes to a close, and if you can read anything in to such things, it is Town who are set fair for bigger and better next time around. Having recently trounced their neighbours 3-0 at their place, this 2-0 victory puts them within 4 points of their better-supported brethren, and continues the rich vein of form Mick Galloway's installation as manager has brought about.
I have said earlier that I am incredibly impressed by Galloway's first stint at the helm. Yes, the results help, but his demeanour around the dugouts is one of continual encouragement of his troops, of praise, humour and belief in what he, and they, are trying to achieve (for an in-house assessment, see here) If you can find a bookies laying odds on the ECML for next season.... Although it'd be a brave man who looks past Gresley if we're honest.
If you lose your house, we've never met. Sorry.
Oh, it has occurred to me I can utilise Facebook as a host for all the photos I don't use in these award-waiting entries. So, if you fancy seeing some more shots, have a look here.
There was a phone call a few weeks ago that went along the lines of "Do you want a ticket for the FC United game at Marine?, "Aye, why not?", "I'll get it sorted"
As 3pm rolled around at the Arriva Stadium, Crosby, I was stood in the pissing rain in Loughborough. If you want a job doing properly, do it yourself.
The course of events that lead me to revisit one of the dullest football grounds in the Unibond do not need to concern you, dear reader. All that should is that whilst this ground continues to sail under the radar, the "flexibility" of ground grading regulation enforcement will continue to bewilder many.
Just around the corner from Dynamo's Watermead Road complex is Charnwood Forest, and I have to say that two hours spent strolling round those ancient woods is infinitely preferable to spending two hours watching two teams get wet.
At least the dog cared
I say two teams, but that gives undue praise to Cammel Lairds who frankly looked like a pub team in organisation and attitude. I say this with the upmost respect for all concerned, some of whom were surely doing their best. But when players don't show because wages are withheld til the end of the season, and the bench is made up with people who happen to be on a golfing weekend in the area, it hardly smacks of a well-run ship.
The Lairds' Homeless Ultra
The game itself was forgettable. The good folk of Loughborough are a fairly stoic bunch, and that, coupled with the weather meant that there was no chance of them getting remotely excited. Likewise, had Lairds done anything exciting, there was no one there who cared enough to cheer it.
So it was that a goal in each half settled the contest, and allowed those gathered to sneak off early watch Leicester lose, and later Tranmere win (no, really. It was on Sky and everything)
Well done Retford United Football Club. A fraught few weeks culminated with yesterday's visitation by a shadowy cartel calling themselves the Ground Grading Committee. Due in no small part to the endeavours of fans, the ground was passed.
Now, not only is the club eligible for promotion to the Conference North, should they succeed in the playoffs (I'm assuming automatic promotion is a stretch too far, sorry) but perhaps more importantly, they are free from the risk of being relegated.
This is a time of joy, not recriminations. Let's just hope lessons that patently were not learned last time are learned this. The fans and the playing staff deserve better.