Thursday, 30 July 2009

Plymouth Argyle vs Heart of Midlothian (29/07/09)

Match 51

Ground #: 25

Ground: Home Park

Competition: Pre-season Friendly

Kick Off: 7:45pm

Cost: £5 (concession)

Programme: £2

Attendance: 4,177

Plymouth Argyle 0

Hearts 0


After a mauling in Southampton on Saturday, we headed to Plymouth slightly anxious that we played a team, on paper at least, that were better than the Saints and so another mauling could be on the cards. Yet, as ever with football, hope not expectation kicking in and we looked forward to seeing the first ever meeting between these two clubs. Plymouth is a major city on the South coast of Devon where the rivers Plym and Tamar meet. It is a major port and also home to a large amount of naval forces, which is one of the reasons for its heavy bombing during the Second World War. Today it is the 15th most populated city in the UK and home to the largest naval base in Western Europe, the HMNB Devonport. The city’s major football team, Plymouth Argyle play currently in the Coca-Cola Championship although have slowly edged towards relegation in recent seasons with a 21st place finish last season which could suggest Paul Sturrock is set for another season of struggle. New signings have been made such as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Réda Johnson amongst others which the Argyle fans hoped to see in their only home pre-season game.


Home Park is a classic ground being made up of 3/4 bowl and the classic Grandstand that has seen improvements made to it in recent times. In 2002, the Devonport, Lyndhurst and Barn Park stands were all improved and made into a bowl much like many of the new grounds today. However the classic element is still there with the Grandstand still standing, although the terracing has had to be removed for being in the Championship and so now, temporary seating has been installed for safety. The Grandstand looks quite similar to Carlisle’s Paddock with different size stands cobbled together, although with Carlisle languishing in League 1 – temp seating isn’t needed there yet. The away fans were sectioned in a corner of the Barn Park Stand and with it being a Wednesday night kick-off, I didn’t expect many Hearts fans to have made the journey, especially after Saturday’s nightmare. We parked up right outside the ground as it has a fairly large car park which is well secured and free which is always a bonus and took a few pics, had a look inside the club shop and then made our way in.


As the game kicked off, it was clear that not many Plymouth fans were out and having all 3 stands open may not have helped them so a lack of atmosphere was present. There was also a small, but hardy bunch of Hearts fans who had made it and were outsinging the Argyle fans quite easily, despite being 400 times more of them. Plymouth made the better start with crosses being whipped in that Hearts struggled to deal with, much like the start of the game at Southampton and Jamie MacDonald needed to be a full stretch to reach a dangerous cross. After a nervy opening 5 minutes, Hearts did start to come back into the game a lot more when the midfield stopped running around like headless chickens and actually got into the game with Michael Stewart quickly closing down attacks. Plymouth still created chances and had their best chance after a succession of corners when Wright-Phillips got an acrobatic volley in which was well saved by Jamie MacDonald. Hearts’ best chance came at the end of the half when we won a free kick on the edge of the area which Larry Kingston lined up for hit…… and flew miles over the bar. The half-time whistle blew at 0-0.


The second half kicked off with the sun still shining and Hearts actually getting right into the game by absorbing everything Plymouth threw at us then hitting them on the break. With a large number of subs being made the play began to get scrappy with both sides now struggling to create any clear cut opportunity with Argyle resorting to taking long shots at Marian Kello which he was dealing with comfortably. Hearts best chance of the match fell to trialist Zezinando who sped away from the Plymouth defence after a great through ball from Jonsson and his shot seemed to go past Romain Larrieu in the Plymouth goal only for David McNamee to get a last ditch block in. Plymouth also made one final chance of note towards the end when Craig Noone got the ball in and Rory Fallon saw his header go over. 0-0 the final score. It wasn’t a defeat!


So although Hearts played 180 minutes in England without scoring there is a platform to build on with the improvement in performance at Home Park. Some new players and hopefully a few more arrivals before the opening game to see how we’ll do this season in the SPL. At the end of the game came an added surprise however as while the Hearts players acknowledged the fans this time, manager Csaba Laszlo came over and thanked the 97 Hearts fans who had made the journey and signed autographs and had pictures taken. Below are the pictures of Csaba over by us and the programme he signed for me. Plymouth fans while generally quiet were cheerful and wished us all well for the journey back – good luck to them this season. A return visit to Home Park for a league game is on the cards one day.



Photos from Plymouth vs Hearts


Match Ratings:

- Match: 4.5/10 (never really got going)

- Value for money: 6/10 (fairly decent price for a PSF)

- Ground: 7.5/10 (decent, classic ground that can be accessed with ease)

- Atmosphere: 2/10 (bad show from Plymouth fans if 97 can outsing nearly 4100)

- Food: 5/10 (fairly decent, albeit pricy, burger and mineral water)

- Programme: 6/10 (fairly decent effort, 22 pages is slightly short though)

- Referee: Keith Stroud – 7/10 (no complaints really)

PA vs Hearts programme

PA vs Hearts ticket

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Southampton vs Heart of Midlothian (25/07/09)

Match 50

Ground #: 14 (2nd visit)

Ground: St Mary’s Stadium

Competition: Pre-season Friendly

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £5 (concession)

Programme: £2 (joint issue with Ajax game)

Attendance: 5,158

Southampton 3

Lallana 13’, Rasiak 64’, 78’

Hearts 0


When Hearts announced that their pre-season tour would take them to Germany before playing two Premiership teams in Bolton and Sunderland at home, it was no surprise as the Jambos had travelled over there in the past 3 seasons. However, when a rumour appeared that we would play Plymouth down in South Devon I got a little bit excited. That excitement rose when it was officially announced that Hearts would travel down to the South Coast to play two friendlies against Southampton and Plymouth Argyle. The first game on a Saturday afternoon would be a trip to the Hampshire city of Southampton. A coastal port which is one of the largest commercial ports in Europe also houses The Mayflower theatre and the Hall of Aviation. We made the trip on the train from Tiverton Parkway to Southampton Central to see not many Hearts fans around whilst walking to the Stadium but as we arrived it was clear a decent number had turned out for the extremely long trip from Edinburgh.

I had first visited St Mary’s Stadium last season whilst visiting a friend who lives there. That day, they played out a dire 0-0 draw with Barnsley with both teams unimpressing and then became my tips to both go down. In the end, financial troubles caught up with Southampton and they finished 23rd in the Championship and were ultimately relegated. More troubles were to come to them however as administration beckoned and will start this season on –10 points in League 1, but at least they still have a club to support after new Swiss owner Markus Liebherr came in to save them from liquidation. They play their home games at St Mary’s Stadium which was built in 2001 after their move from their old ground, The Dell. St Mary’s, despite being one of these new “modern bowl” grounds, is fairly popular with fans as it is clear money has been spent on this rather than building a new stadium on the cheap. UEFA also seem to think so as the ground holds a UEFA 4 * award which not many in this country do. The ground is a bowl, connected all the way round with the two stands behind the goal called the Chapel Stand and behind the other where the vocal fans sit called the Northam Stand. The two larger stands that run down the sides were the only two open today for Saints fans which is the main Itchen Stand and opposite it is the Kingsland Stand.


I looked forward to seeing a fairly new Hearts side which can only be described as a “work in progress” with many players leaving over summer and five new guys coming in. Ian Black (Inverness CT), Suso Santana (CD Tenerife), Dawid Kucharski (Lech Poznan), Ismael Bouzid (Ankaragücü) and David Witteveen (Red Bull Salzburg) joined the JT’s. So far, Hearts pre-season results at least hadn’t been that impressive with only one win in four, that against German lower league team SC Goslar, while defeats had been suffered to Slack Wroclaw, St Pauli and Alemannia Aachen. It would be interesting to see how Hearts played in these two South Coast games as the opening game of the season against Dundee Utd on August 17th would be fast approaching. It was also good to see a large travelling support for Hearts, we had been given a small corner in the Northam Stand which was pretty much full as the photo below shows. (Not my photo – from Hearts FC)

The game kicked off with Southampton battering Hearts to be frank, we struggled to get out of our own half and the Saints were playing with no fear as new boss Alan Pardew looked on. Meanwhile, the banter between the vocal Saints fans nearest us and the Hearts fans were in full flow and credit to the Southampton fan who made the effort to buy a Hibs top and sit as near as he could to us. He got dogs abuse but took it well. The Southampton pressure paid off after 13 minutes when Adam Lallana received the ball just outside the edge of the area, the Hearts back 4 did nothing to close him down and he shot low into Balogh’s right corner to make it 1-0. Hearts then proceeded to do little else in the 1st half with David Witteveen up front on his own being provided with no service or support. Southampton were then given a free kick right on the edge of the area after Bouzid had brought a Saints defender down. The free kick though was well saved by Balogh. Half time, we were 0-1 down in quite frankly a terrible half of football and the 300 or so Hearts fans hoped that would be improved rapidly.


The second half kicked off with 4 Hearts subs, as is always the case in pre-season with endless subs. It was also an improved start as Hearts actually managed a meaningful attack on the Southampton goal with Ruben Palazuelos and Suso Santana impressing. The pressure should have paid off when Michael Stewart played a one-two with Palazuelos but was then elbowed off the ball by a Saints defender before he could recieve the ball. What should have been a penalty was ignored by referee Steve Tanner who quite frankly was atrocious today and must have missed the blood pouring down Stewart’s face. Both teams then continued to make substitutions in the 2nd half with Hearts bringing on more reserves and also Andrew Driver who made his first appearance since playing for England in the U-21 Euro Championships over the summer. Southampton then won a free kick after Lallana dived on the edge of the area that Tanner was happy to give. From this free kick Grzegorz Rasiak was left unmarked who headed past the helpless Balogh for number 2. The game then looked to be heading for an uneventful last 15 minutes when a superb attempt at slapstick comedy allowed Saints for their 3rd. Firstly Balogh threw the ball over the left wing which was far too in front of Jose Goncalves at left back and well behind Driver on the left wing. Lallana stole the ball, skipped past Goncalves’ laughable attempt at a block and found Rasiak again who had another free header for number 3. Game well and truly over, thankfully.


In the end, it seems Southampton wanted this more than Hearts who bimbled around with no real structure or urgency. What I didn’t know during the game is that Southampton start their season a week ahead of us on the 8th August and so should now be nearly ready for the start when they host Millwall on that day. Hearts on the otherhand need to improve, and fast, with 3 more pre-season games coming up before our opener against Dundee Utd. Another striker is desperately needed and this looks to be rectified with the announcement that two Portuguese trialists have come to train with us. Hopefully an improvement will be seen at Plymouth, and also a thank-you for coming down, as at full time the players went straight off the pitch without thanking the 300 or so Jambos who made the trip which peed us all off. A “work in progress”. It sure is. Good luck to Southampton this season.

Photos from Southampton vs Hearts


Match Ratings:

- Match: 3/10 (not the best game or performance)

- Value for money: 6/10 (fairly decent price for a PSF)

- Ground: 9/10 (probably the best of the new type stadiums bar The COMS)

- Atmosphere: 7/10 (good banter between Saints and Jambos - “who’s the poofter in the skirt” is a great chant)

- Food: N/A – Had a Nando’s before the game - recommended

- Programme: 7/10 (joint issue with Ajax game and fairly detailed)

- Referee: Steve Tanner – 2/10 (quite exceptionally bad)

Saints vs Hearts ticket

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Southwest Challenge Cup Results Final Weekend

errea SW 09 1

The Semi-Final line up was complete. Luton Town, Exeter City, Rushden and Diamonds and Grimsby Town. The Semi-Final results were:

Luton Town 3-2 Exeter City

Grimsby Town 4-1 Rushden and Diamonds

So the final was between Luton and Grimsby! Well no. Grimsby pulled out of the final nearly soon after qualifying for it after raising concerns about the behaviour of the Luton Town fans towards ex manager Mike Newell. It was a rubbish reason frankly and we all know Grimsby only pulled out because they did not want to play 5 games in 5 days. A poor piece of planning from the Grimsby Town board. So the final looked in doubt as all other teams had gone home until Belgian side RRFC Montegnée stepped in and took over the place from Grimsby.

FINAL: Luton Town 3-1 RRFC Montegnée

So Luton Town are the 2009 SW Challenge Cup winners, well done to them! It was a shame that the tournament ended the way it did, but the organisers could not do a lot about the weather and Grimsby Town’s pathetic behaviour when pulling out of the tournament. It was good to see different sides down here in North Devon and I hope a 2010 tournament is being organised in the future.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Yeovil Town vs Grimsby Town (17/07/09)

Match 49

Ground #: 24

Ground: Vicarage Field (normally used by Torrington FC)

Competition: Errea Southwest Challenge Cup 2009 Group Stage

Kick Off: 7pm

Cost: £5 (day ticket – allowed entry to all 4 matches being played that day)

Programme: £1 (tournament programme)

Attendance: 239

Yeovil Town 2

Tomlin 62’, Williams 75’

Grimsby Town 3

Conlon (pen) 30’, North 42’, Arnold 77’


Its not everyday that two Football League teams come and play football in your local village. A village that hardly anybody has heard of and where not a lot happens. Therefore, when the SW Challenge Cup games were announced that a game would be played in Great Torrington, I was attending regardless of who would be playing. In the end it was Yeovil Town and Grimsby Town in their Group B decider after both of them had dispatched Belgian side RRFC Montegnée. (Yeovil won 5-0, Grimsby won 1-0). Whoever won this game would go through to the Semi-Finals (more on those later) and have a decent crack at the trophy. Yet, due to a downpour which was torrential, this game nearly never took place. The pitch on the morning of the game was flooded and would have instantly failed a ground inspection if this was a league game but the good drainage system at Vicarage Field and some sun (yes, really!), the pitch dried and drained off the surface water to make the game go ahead. Wahey!

Great Torrington is a small market town in North Devon, near the bigger places of Bideford and Barnstaple, whilst also a good distance away from the beach, it is a nice tourist place to stay if holidaying down here. Actually in the town is, err, not a lot. A major battle in the English Civil War took place here and is celebrated by the ‘Torrington 1646’ experience. Other attractions are Dartington Crystal, Rosemoor Gardens and the several roads to leave the town in search of more exciting things to do. The local team is Torrington FC who play at Vicarage Field, where this game was being held. The ground is railed all the way round, with just standing areas behind the goals, while a small stand runs down a section of one side of the pitch while the other has the clubhouse and a larger stand. Vicarage Field can apparently hold 2000 people. I doubt that, but it can hold a decent amount of people and the trees and houses nearby made it a more picturesque ground than at Appledore on Monday. Torrington FC play their football in the Premier Division of the North Devon League which is Level 12 of the football pyramid. Torrington dropped down to this level after attendances dropped whilst playing in the Western League. Considering it was unlikely I would watch that level of football it made a nice time to visit the ground and see a game here.


Once in the ground, me and my Dad who came with me tonight, had a look inside the clubhouse which was extremely nice and also featured a few Grimsby players having a drink (soft drink – no libel here) before the game. The pitch looked fine to play on, apart from one small corner where the water was drained to and the grass looked a little long so a passing game would have been more difficult tonight. Both teams lined up with mainly their 1st choice squad for this 80 minute match and kicked off in quite nice weather. No hint of any downpour that Devon had suffered over the past week. From the start it was clear the two contrasting styles of play that the teams would adopt. Yeovil would try and pass it through Grimsby despite the long grass holding the ball up, whereas Grimsby would play hoof ball down the wings in an attempt to bring their two fast wingers into play. Grimsby will be hoping for a better season this year after narrowly avoiding relegation to the Conference in 08/09, under Newell that looks unlikely to happen again but they won’t be pretty to watch.

Yeovil during the opening spells had the main possession but could not really do much with it, with striker Hamdi Razak not enjoying his best game, but getting a few pot shots away they were well saved by ex Hibs goalie (boooooooo!) Nick Colgan. Grimsby’s two wingers Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Adrian Forbes causing Yeovil’s full backs problems with their direct running. With a game of few chances early on and quite tight it would need something a bit unordinary to get a breakthrough and it was Grimsby who took the lead when Adrian Forbes went on a mazy run on the right wing and darted through the Yeovil defence before being brought down for a penalty. Up stepped Barry Conlon (the most immobile player I have ever seen) who cheekily chipped it down the middle to make it 1-0. Yeovil did have chances to equalise before half-time but Colgan was largely untroubled again.


The second half started with still no rain and looked to be as tight as the 1st half until Grimsby played a ball over the top which sub Danny North ran onto well offside and slotted the ball away. Yeovil expected, as did every fan in line with the player, an offside flag, it never came and so it was 2-0. Even a Grimsby fan stood next to us said “I’m bias and that was offside”. This seemed to wake Yeovil up a little who went a bit more direct in an attempt to get the game back. Yeovil got back into the game eventually as they pushed Grimsby further back and started playing more direct. This paid off on 62 minutes when a straight direct ball caught the Grimsby defence out and Sam Williams controlled and chested the ball to Gavin Tomlin who smashed past Nick Colgan to make it 2-1. Grimsby had chances to put the game beyond Yeovil, with Danny North scoring twice and getting caught offside twice – both deserved and he got booked for kicking the ball away after one of these chances too. The prat. Yeovil did grab their deserved equalizer when a great Gary Roberts cross was put in from the right and Sam Williams headed home at the back post to force penalties it seemed. However a late twist in the tale saw Grimsby trialist Nathan Arnold cut in and take a fairly tame shot towards the Yeovil goal. However, the ball hit a divot and bounced over goalie Richard Martin into the net. Grimsby had stolen a late winner and went marching on into the Semi-Finals.


A decent day out in Torrington then and another entertaining game in this competition. It was lucky that this game even made it through the weather as two out of the four games to be played on the Friday fell to the rain with the games in Bideford and Appledore cancelled. Yeovil won’t be too fussed at going out after this performance, their manager Terry Skiverton saying he would not have fancied playing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a home friendly against Derby County coming up.

Friday 17th SW Challenge Cup Results:

Yeovil Town 2-3 Grimsby Town

Rushden and Diamonds 3-1 Barnstaple Town

Exeter City P-P Eastleigh

Luton Town P-P Wycombe Wanderers

Those results mean that Grimsby and Rushden qualified for the Semis with Exeter and Luton going through on goal difference as their games were called off. I’ll detail what happened in the Semi-Final and Final on Monday/Tuesday. My next game is a trip to the South Coast to watch the mighty Hearts play down here.

Photos from Yeovil Town vs Grimsby Town


Match Ratings:

- Match: 6.5/10 (decent entertainment for a PSF)

- Value for money: 5/10 (£5 for all 4 games isn’t bad, even though if you went to this, you would struggle to make another)

- Ground: 6/10 (for its level, its very nice – good clubhouse too)

- Atmosphere: 5/10 (Grimsby fans got a bit lively towards the end)

- Food: 6/10 (decent burger at £1.50 and a drink from the bar)

- Programme: 9/10 (the tournament programme is only £1 and is well detailed and good looking too)

- Referee: Ron Ganfield – 4/10 (saw the offside? Surely!?)

YT vs RRFC prog

YT vs GT ticket

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Southwest Challenge Cup Results 15/07/09

errea SW 09 1

Wednesday night (last night) saw the 2nd round of the Group Stage games of the SW Challenge Cup, it saw the holders Eastleigh, Grimsby Town, Luton Town and Rushden and Diamonds play their opening games. Below are the results:

Eastleigh 1-0 Ilfracombe Town

Luton Town 3-0 Bideford AFC

Blackpool 1-1 Rushden and Diamonds (R+D won 4-2 on penalties)

Grimsby Town 1-0 RRFC Montegnée

It means the final games to be played on Friday 17th all have something on them for the teams who are trying to qualify for the Semi-Finals:

Group A – Exeter City vs Eastleigh (winner goes through, simples)

Group B – Yeovil Town vs Grimsby Town (I’ll be at this game for the Group B decider, winner here goes through)

Group C – Wycombe Wanderers vs Luton Town (again, winner goes through)

Group D – Rushden and Diamonds vs Barnstaple Town (if Rushden win, they go through, if Barnstaple win – then Blackpool go through)

I’m looking forward to tomorrows game at Torrington to see who goes through in Group B – report coming Friday night/Saturday morn

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Yeovil Town vs RRFC Montegnée (13/07/09)

Match 48

Ground #: 23

Ground: Marshford (normally used by Appledore FC)

Competition: Errea Southwest Challenge Cup 2009 Group Stage

Kick Off: 6pm

Cost: £5 (day ticket – allowed entry to all 4 matches being played that day)

Programme: £1 (tournament programme)

Attendance: 85

Yeovil Town 5

Razak 32’, Mason (pen) 60’, Jones 65’, Downes 75’, 77’

RRFC Montegnée 0


I’ve begun to notice how short this summer break is for football. With the domestic season ending around the end of May and pre-season games kicking off the beginning of July, that leaves about a month of holiday for everyone involved. Luckily I had the Confederations Cup this summer to keep me occupied and my 2nd year University exams too. Now they were out the way and I had a summer of doing not a lot, I was glad that the Southwest Challenge Cup had arrived so my 09/10 season could get underway. I had blogged on the Southwest Challenge Cup here: (for those reading this on the archive). The rules of the Group Stage were 40 mins each way, with rolling subs and the points scored would be: Team winner = 3 points, Team loser who scored = 2 points and Team loser who were goal-less = 1 point. Any matches ending in a draw would be decided on penalties.

While some may not enjoy these pre-season games, I like the relaxed atmosphere and the working out you need to do to see who is that un-named trialist your club seem to have pulled in last minute. I decided upon the game at Appledore, right on the North Devon coast. Appledore is famous for a few things, the big shipbuilders which is still there today. Hawking’s ice cream, which is based in Appledore and is extremely nice and also famous for the Jackson’s coming to live there for 6 weeks last summer. The ground itself, is on the road into Appledore so its hard to miss. It does have parking there but tonight this was reserved for players and officials only so I had to park across the road on a field. Marshfield is a small, but adequate ground with it being railed off on all sides, but with cover down one side where the clubhouse is. Appledore, who normally play here, play in the South West Peninsula League Division 1 East (which is Level 11). They seem to finish in mid-table a lot so are most likely not going to leave that Level for a while.


The first team to come here were Yeovil Town who play in League 1 (Level 3), and are near enough the local area to have brought a decent travelling contingent to the game. They finished 17th in the league last season, however I feel a mighty struggle for them this season looks likely as League 1 has a lot of “big” teams in it this season. Under boss Terry Skiverton (who said hello to the fans, he looks about 10) a season of survival might be seen as successful. They had brought a load of trialists to the game, including two goalkeepers, as they currently have none on their books so it would be interesting to see how this squad would perform. Their opponents were the reason why I had chosen this game. RRFC Montegnée play in the Provisional County D1 in Belgium (the lowest national league – thanks to dottirofhod for that information). However, they are slightly different, as their mission states, they aim “to provide student athletes an opportunity to reach their optimal playing performance, while pursuing a professional degree.” Their team are made up of youngsters from worldwide who study while playing professional football at some level. Some of their new recruits this season have come from clubs like Villarreal, FC Hollywood, Academia FC and Toronto Lynx amongst others. It would be interesting to see these players here and a club/university hybrid and see how they perform.

When I arrived at Appledore wet would be an understatement. Peeing down and then a bit more would be how to describe the weather and the first time I took the picture above, it was blurry due to my camera lens getting wet. The hardy band of supporters (a decent turn out from Yeovil) took shelter under the only bit of cover at the ground to watch both sides train and warm up. The food on offer was either a chip van, a Hawking’s ice cream van (in this weather!?) or something from the clubhouse. However the entrance to it flooded early on, so I stayed away and played safe with chips before kick-off.


The game kicked off with it still peeing down, and actually getting heavier still as both sides tried to get the ball down and have a play. While the quality wasn’t great from either side, there were some good honest tackles coming in from both sides. Montegnée tried to force themselves into the game and at times early on got themselves into good positions only to waste the chance through lack of support or no final ball. It took them a while to get going Yeovil but when they finally did, the chances started to come. Firstly Gavin Tomlin was put through but the Montegnée goalie did well to block the shot with his legs, however the defence began to look more static and it was no surprise when a good passing move from Yeovil put on trial striker Hamdi Razak through on goal and slotted the ball under the goalie to give Yeovil the lead. The young Belgian side needed to stay strong here till half-time yet they began to fall apart as Yeovil began to batter them with Razak first missing a brilliant overhead kick which unluckily went past the post and he also missed another good chance just before half-time. Montegnée had survived to get in at 0-1, but only just.

The second half kicked off with no rain and with Yeovil having changed their squad entirely for the 2nd half and Montegnée tested new goalie Arran Lee-Barrett with two decent efforts at the start of the half. The rain didn’t hold off for long however as the heavens opened again soon into the 2nd half and Yeovil began to dominate as they looked to put this game beyond the Belgians. Firstly, the Provisional League side struggled to deal with some decent crosses being put in, however it was soon over as another through ball put through another striker on trial, Sam Williams (who featured at Brentford last season) who took the ball around the goalkeeper and was brought down for a penalty. Ryan Mason (who is on loan from Spurs) stepped up and easily scored to make it 2-0. Here Montegnée began to fall apart with a great passing move opened up the Belgian defence with ease and Nathan Jones (Yeovil’s Assistant Manager/Player) finished the move off by placing it around the keeper for 3. Another goal was scored soon after when a great curling shot from Dean Bowditch (also on trial) was well saved by the Montegnée goalie, however he spilled the shot in front of Aidan Downes and he couldn’t miss. The end of scoring was completed near the final whistle as another good cross was put in by Nathan Jones who found Aidan Downes again, who had got in between goalie and defender, and he volleyed home to make it 5-0. Game over.


While seeing 5 goals on the opening game is fairly good, it did seem a tad harsh on the Belgians who had matched Yeovil for most of the first half and had created a few chances of their own. They will look to do better tomorrow (Wednesday 15th) when they take on Grimsby Town at Barnstaple’s Field Mill. Yeovil will be pleased with the run out and look good to qualify for the semi-finals from this group when they take on Grimsby Town in the decider on Friday 17th at Torrington (a game I will be at). As for the weather…… Strange. Rain, sun, it was still fairly warm and even a rainbow (check my other photos) were all here at Appledore. A decent start to the Southwest Challenge Cup although only 85 was the official attendance (it looked much more) and I hope it continues on Friday. Its good to be back.

Southwest Challenge Cup Results: (from 13th July)

Yeovil Town 5-0 RRFC Montegnée

Barnstaple Town 0-5 Blackpool FC

Ilfracombe Town 1-4 Exeter City

Bideford AFC 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers (Wycombe won 5-4 on pens)

Photos from Yeovil Town vs RRFC Montegnée


Match Ratings:

- Match: 5/10 (decent start to the season, nice early goal boost)

- Value for money: 5/10 (£5 for one game isn’t value for money, however the opportunity to go to the other day’s games is)

- Ground: 4/10 (fairly basic)

- Atmosphere: 4/10 (hard to create a good atmosphere here, but a decent turn out from the Glovers fans)

- Food: 5/10 (the chips I had were only 99p, but not that great. Nearly had the audacity to buy an ice cream in this weather)

- Programme: 9/10 (the tournament programme is only £1 and is well detailed and good looking too)

- Referee: Marvyn Amphlett – 7/10 (fair play to Marvyn for realising this was only a friendly and was very wet after a few flying tackles)

YT vs RRFC prog

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Southwest Challenge Cup

While pre-season games are not everybody’s cup of tea and pre-season tournaments are even less popular, when the Errea Southwest Challenge Cup was announced last year I had fancied trying to get to a couple of games. I managed zero. This season I won’t be making the same mistake as North Devon isn’t known for its football, so it is good to see something like this on my doorstep.

Last years tournament was contested by 8 teams; Crystal Palace, Yeovil Town, Torquay United, Kidderminster Harriers, Eastleigh, Chertsey Town, Bideford and Barnstaple Town. With the games being held over 3 grounds, Bideford’s Sports Ground, Barnstaple’s Field Mill and Appledore’s Marshford. Blue Square South team Eastleigh ended up winners after being Torquay United on penalties after a 2-2 draw. This season’s tournament looks a lot better with 12 teams entering (detailed below) and two other grounds added to host games, Ilfracombe’s Marlborough Park and Torrington’s Vicarage Field. I do plan to get to two games, both with reasons for going to them, rather than just a random day out. Here are the teams contesting:

errea SW 09 1

Group A: - Eastleigh (holders) – Conference South team, finished 3rd last season

- Exeter City – League 1, promoted last season after finishing 2nd

- Ilfracombe Town – Western Premier, finished 14th last season

Group B: – Grimsby Town – League 2, survived thanks to Luton Town’s unfair penalty last season (22nd)

- RRFC Montegnée – Belgian Provincial League, dark horses

- Yeovil Town – League 1, finished 17th last season

Group C: – Bideford AFC – Western Premier, finished 6th last season

- Luton Town – Blue Square Premier, relegated from League 2 last season

- Wycombe Wanderers – League 1, promoted last season after finishing 3rd

Group D: – Barnstaple Town – Western Premier, finished 18th last season

- Blackpool – Championship, Ian Holloway back to his part of the World

- Rushden and Diamonds – Blue Square Premier, finished 11th last season

The two games I will be going to are both in Group C (thats just how the draw worked out!), firstly on the 13th (tomorrow), I will be going to Appledore to watch RRFC Montegnée vs Yeovil Town. I wanted to see this Belgian team as soon as their entry was announced, I’ll detail about them in my blog report as its quite an opportunity to see a club run the way they are to come to this region. The 2nd game I am planning to go to is on the 17th which is Grimsby Town vs Yeovil Town. Not very exciting I know, however that is being played in the village I live in of Torrington, a small place of around 2000 people (if that) so to see two Football League teams play at the local ground will be quite surreal.

More details of the grounds and games after I’ve been, and I might even do a tournament report for all you lucky people. The games should be good way to kick off the season even though they are 40 mins each way in the Group Stage, with the 4 Group Winners meeting in the Semi-Finals. Good luck to the 12 teams taking part!

errea SW 09 2

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Silverstone (05/07/09)

Apart from football, I have two other sports that I really love. One is tennis and as I couldn’t get tickets for the Wimbledon final between Federer and Roddick, my other favourite sport (2nd behind football) would have to be viewed instead. That is motor racing, well Formula 1 in particular. I have been a fan of the series since around 1998, with Mika Hakkinen (my all time F1 hero) winning the World Championship with McLaren (my all time F1 favourite team). I now try and view every race of the season, even if that means getting up at 5am to view the Australian GP! Therefore when Renault announced that their World Series tickets were to be free for the British leg of the series at Silverstone, I jumped right on it and ordered tickets.

For those who don’t know Silverstone, let me explain. Silverstone circuit, in Nottinghamshire and Buckinghamshire, was built on the site of a former WW2 bomber base, RAF Silverstone. It hosted the very first Formula 1 World Championship race in 1950 which was won by Giuseppe Farina in an Alfa Romeo. He went on to become the very first winner of the F1 Drivers Championship with 3 wins that season out of 7. It had hosted the British GP regularly since 1950, however it has been announced that Donington Park would host the British GP from 2010. However with Donington not looking ready for then (major improvements are needed), Silverstone could host one last hurrah next year. Silverstone still hosts major events, such as the Le Mans Series and Moto GP (from 2010). It is also the home of British Motor Racing with even a stand built just for its members.


For the Renault World Series, many events are held across the weekend, however due to the fact we live 4 hour away from the track, me and my Dad made the journey for the Sunday only and arrived in fairly nice weather (a change for Silverstone) to view my first racing event. We first sat at Nuffield, one of the final corners of the track where the main event, Formula Renault 3.0 race was about to take place. Here is my view of the track:


I also got some decent shots on my digi camera of some of the cars coming round in the formation lap:


And also caught the cars coming round on Lap 3 on film, now on Youtube:

(Apologies for some shoddy filming!) The race was won by Charles Pic who was driving for Tech 1 Racing. Championship leader Marcos Martinez came 6th. After that race we headed towards the pit straight for a wee wonder about, before picking up something to eat. Sadly, my cheeseburger cost £4 and that was cheap! We headed up to Woodcote curve where you come onto the start/finish line, for the 2nd race – the Eurocup Mégane Trophy which was quite entertaining, with spins (not in our part of the track sadly) I caught the start on film too:

This race was won by Dimitri Enjalbert who was driving for Boutson Energy Racing. We walked around after that again, over the bridge to the attractions, demos and exhibitions that Renault had put on, such as classic cars like this F1 Car driven by Alain Prost:


The final place we stopped to watch was at the Chapel turn where here we sat Nigel Mansell drive around in a classic F1 car and also this season’s Renault F1 car do a demo run. We decided to sack off the final race, a touring car race, and head for the car park. I’ll be honest now, I had read and heard some people’s experiences in trying to leave Silverstone but I did not expect to be stuck in a field for 2 hours going nowhere. That said we did finally get out and made the long journey home. An enjoyable day out at my first motor racing experience and hopefully Renault will change the track for the 2010 World Series leg in the UK so I can see more.

Photos From Silverstone

Silverstone ticket

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Personal Season 09/10 Preview

Its far too early in pre-season (which for most teams hasn’t even started yet) to start making my yearly predictions (and see how laughably wrong they are). Therefore this post is to detail some upcoming events and changes to the blog.

Firstly, the pictures that have been taken during games will now be trusted to my new phone. As I am a phone geek and enjoy new phones, this season’s pictures will be taken by:


The LG Arena. Before I turn this post into a phone love fest, I’ll stop here. It will be interesting to see if there is any difference between the pictures the Arena takes and my old phone, LG Viewty.

Its first real test will be on the 5th July to my mystery non-football location. Which I’ll now reveal is….. SILVERSTONE! The home of British Motor Racing will host the UK leg of the Renault World Series on the 4-5th July and I’ll be going on the Sunday to view some motorsport action. I’m looking forward to writing the report about that day.

I’ve also got some early season fixtures planned, the box over on the left details the ones coming up soon, but here is a provisional list of games I hope (and I stress hope) to attend over the course of the season.

13th July - RRFC Montegnee vs Yeovil (Southwest Challenge Cup – played @ Appledore FC)

17th July - Yeovil vs Grimsby (Southwest Challenge Cup – played @ Torrington FC)

16th August – Barnstaple Town vs Tavistock (FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round)

29th September – Preston NE vs Reading (English Championship)

10th/17th October – Annan Athletic vs Montrose/Stranraer (Scottish 3rd Division)

5th December – Hamilton Academicals vs Hearts (Scottish Premier Division)

2nd January – Exeter City vs Carlisle United (English League 1)

23rd January – Queen of the South vs Dundee (Scottish Division 1)

20th February – Wigan vs Spurs (English Premiership)

10th April – Torquay United vs Rochdale (English League 2)

8th May – Morecambe vs Aldershot Town *last game at Christie Park* (English League 2)

These fixtures are provisional of course and I’ll know more games to see when the non-league fixtures start coming out over the coming weeks. While writing this it has also come to my attention that Plymouth Argyle are set to host a leading SPL club on the 29th July. That club is heavily rumoured to be Hearts. KA-CHING.

I hope to this season plan to write at least a post a week, even if it is utter dross. So I’ll be returning to more football snapshots and famous players articles whilst also trying to get some of my sporting articles published in other places.

With the 09/10 season officially about to start (it started yesterday to be fair), good luck to all teams this season (except Hibs) and enjoy the football.