Friday, 23 March 2012

Kentish Town vs Wodson Park (10/03/12)

Match 149

Ground #: 115

Ground: Barnet Copthall Stadium

Competition: Spartan South Midland League Division 1 (Level 10)

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £5

Programme: With Admission

Attendance: 26

Kentish Town 0

Wodson Park 4

Burke 6’, Green (pen) 29’, (pen) 61’, Waldren 90’


Shangri-La, definition: “any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.”

Four previous times I had set up a trip to the endangered Copthall Stadium to see Kentish Town and four times I had been denied by a number of reasons. I had even turned up the previous Wednesday to find the Copthall Stadium in complete darkness and the game called off hours ago. Lucky attempt #5 came on a bright Saturday as I finally saw a game at the Copthall.


Kentish Town is an area of north west London in the London Borough of Camden. The most widely accepted explanation of the name of Kentish Town is that it derived from 'Ken-ditch' meaning the 'bed of a waterway'. Kentish Town was originally a settlement along the River Fleet which flowed through the area and by 1456 Kentish Town was recognised as a thriving hamlet. The early 19th century brought modernisation, causing much of the area's rural charm such as the River Fleet and the 18th century buildings to vanish, although pockets still remain. Between the availability of public transport to it from London, and its urbanisation, it was a popular resort. Five tube or railway stations still remain in the area today and others such as South Kentish Town tube station have been closed. Kentish Town was to see further modernisation in the post-World War II period. However, the residential parts of Kentish Town, dating back to the mid-19th century have survived and are much admired architecturally. In more recent years the area has become noted as leading the trend for the resurgence of back-to-basics, real ale pubs like the CAMRA award-winning Southampton Arms, the Pineapple, and Tapping the Admiral. Kentish Town is also home to The Forum (formerly known as the Town and Country club), for many years well into the 1950s one of Kentish Town's most popular and comfortable cinemas, and now a popular live music venue. Go check out The Kentishtowner for more info on what is coming up in the area.


Despite all that, Kentish Town FC are currently playing around 7 miles away in Barnet at the Copthall Stadium, currently being shared with Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers (can you guess what type of ground it is!?) The club were originally founded in 1994 as a youth football club by parents who were concerned at the lack of football in the area for these players. They started the 1995 season in the Camden & Islington Youth Midweek League and plodded along there until they joined the senior football ranks (presumably when these youth players grew too old to continue at that level) in 2003, joining the Spartan South Midland League 2nd Division. They were promoted that season too, despite only finishing 10th out of 16 and progressed along nicely in the 1st Division until 2007/08 when they won that and promotion up to the SSML Premier. They were in this top flight until last season when they finished rock bottom and were back in the 1st Division. They have always been a nomadic club since their inception too as have played at 5 different grounds since 2003, playing at the Barnet Copthall since 2007. This season has been a struggle however as they have never really got going and now find themselves in another relegation battle being down in 20th place, but 11 points above seemingly doomed Sun Postal Sports.


Their time at the Copthall is now seemingly doomed too (and a major reason why I was in a rush to finally see a game here) as evil rugby club Saracens have had their bid to redevelop the ground for a capacity of 10,000 accepted by Barnet Borough Council and so work will probably start on the ground extremely soon once approval has come from the Secretary of State. The “Copthall Revival” website has some nice spin on what Saracens hope to achieve with the ground as well as pictures on what they hope it looks like. Looks good, just a shame it will be hosting such a dire sport. The future for Kentish Town FC is clear from the Revival site, none. Not one mention on the website about their future and best clarified with the sentence, “The stadium, currently home to Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, is proposed to become an international level athletics venue as well as being an outstanding community sports hub and Premiership rugby ground.” KT have apparently bought some land elsewhere with a youth team that they can hopefully work on and call it their home, whether or not this is true and even if it is, they have the funds to develop this land and continue to play at this level remains to be seen. The Copthall in its current state is a tired looking ground, one massive main stand dominates the place (and the only area where you are actually allowed to sit for KTFC games) while there are randomly placed temporary seating stands dotted around the ground which would provide varying levels of viewing quality. The main stand itself actually provides a good view of the game, considering there is an 8 track running ring around the pitch which normally destroys any sort of viewing of football at athletics grounds.


With KTFC’s days here numbered, there aren’t too many more opportunities this season to see them here, and who knows where they will start 2012/13 at. This game, they welcomed midtable side Wodson Park, who I actually knew nothing about until this game. Based in Ware, Hertfordshire, they share with Ware FC (poet and I know it, etc) who’s ground is named Wodson Park. With their website not being updated since February 2011, it is hard to say much about them. What I do know is they were founded in 1997 and first played at the Wodson Park Recreation Centre until 2009 when their share at Ware (I’ll stop it now) began. By then, Wodson Park had entered the SSML at Division 2 and won promotion up to where they are now in 2010. A reasonable sized club at this level with a current average attendance of 44 this season, however Kentish Town are not the best supported club sadly (average attendance of 24, very doubtful 26 were here for this game) and the sparse attendance was confirmed to me when the home committee asked the away fans if they were the only lot, “yes it’s just us” they replied. There were 2 of them.


While the game kicked off in really bright sunshine, Wodson Park were keen to slowly control the play at their own pace until they saw the Kentish Town defence were in kamikaze mode and promptly took the lead with only 6 minutes played. A counter attack saw Wodson Park break down the right which Kentish desperately argued was offside, debatable, a cross to the back post found Danny Burke all alone who had the easy task of beating home goalie Elias Farah. KT’s defence was really a shambles at times as Wodson Park threatened on several occasions to steal the ball from the back four to create an easy chance for themselves. They had just got away with it and looked slightly back in the game when they fell 0-2 down. A controversial corner was awarded (it wasn’t a corner) and before it came in, I thought to myself, would be spicy if Wodson scored from this. They did. Ball came in and it hit a home defender on the arm. You know what’s coming. Up stepped Robbie Green to crash his penalty home. The rest of the half saw KT doing well from the occasional counter attack they produced, which gave me hope for the 2nd half as they could possibly come back into the match.


In fact, Wodson Park stepped it up a gear for the 2nd half and Farah had to make an excellent save to keep out a volley from the 6 yard box after some excellent build up play. Kentish Town had a player called “Mikey” (he wasn’t listed in the programme and their site isn’t updated) who had been the most vocal and frankly, the most talented KT player on the pitch. He did seem to have an extremely hot head though as he had already dived into tackles before he gave away the 2nd penalty and the last chance KTFC had. As Wodson broke into the area, he launched himself and completely took out the Wodson left back who had bombed up the pitch. Cannot think I had ever seen a more blatant penalty. Robbie Green stepped up again and stuck it to his right for goal #3. Amazingly “Mikey” hadn’t been booked for that challenge and so launched himself into two other tackles that Wodson players did well not to react to. He tried it again late on but injured himself in the process as the game unsurprisingly calmed down after his substitution. Unsure how he survived a red card, but can’t fault the effort! Wodson had time to rub it in for 4-0 as Ali Waldren finished an excellent counter attack as he slipped the ball under the keeper from the left hand side of the box and it rolled in.


I really really wish Kentish Town were in a better shape than they actually are. The committee is one of the nicest I have spoken to and they even did bacon bagels at the game. Yet, it appears they will be homeless next season and with dwindling crowds and poor results, will they drop back out of this league to county (and complete obscurity) level? I really hope not. Considering Wodson Park don’t play at their own ground, I seriously doubt I will ever seen them in action again, but those short 90 minutes I saw a good counter attacking side that was better than their midtable position suggests. While it took 5 attempts, I finally reached Shangri-La. Until the next ground that I have multiple postponements at comes along.

Photos from Kentish Town vs Wodson Park


Match Ratings:

- Match: 5/10 (typical SSML game)

- Value for money: 6.5/10 (the norm at Level 10)

- Ground: 6/10 (tired looking, but I liked it)

- Atmosphere: 2/10 (c.26 people, that’s all you need to know)

- Food: 8/10 (there should be more bagels sold at football grounds)

- Programme: 4/10 (a bizarre programme with monkeys and sliding down banisters jokes)

- Referee: D Simpson – 5/10 (average)

KT vs WP prog

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Kentish Town PvsP Bedford FC (07/03/12)

After 3 previous failed attempt to see Kentish Town play at the Barnet Copthall Stadium before those rugby wankers took it away, I was confident about seeing this midweek Spartan South Midlands League clash between the home side and Bedford FC.


Even after some afternoon rain in the capital, I was still confident that this game would go ahead and the afternoon even brought bright sunshine. So much so, that after around midday I didn’t even bother checking Football Mitoo and waltzed up to Mill Hill East tube station (an arse to get to) for the 7:45 KO. Upon arrival, it did become clear that the Copthall wouldn’t be staging any sport that evening as it was in total darkness at 7:30. Checked Mitoo on my phone to see the game had been called off hours earlier. Tit.


You live and learn. I would be back to the Copthall to see a game. Attempt number 5 was on the way. Have some dark pictures of the stadium and see if you can make it out.




Sunday, 18 March 2012

Aldershot Town vs Morecambe (03/03/12)

Match 148

Ground #: 114

Ground: Recreation Ground

Competition: English League 2 

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £17

Programme: £3

Attendance: 2,381

Aldershot Town 1

Madjo 26’, Brown s/off 90’

Morecambe 0


It had been a long time since I saw my Morecambe boys in action in the flesh. Playing in a predominantly Northern League means that it’s not that often The Shrimps come down to a game I can get to easily. Sadly I can’t make the away games at Barnet or Gillingham coming up, so it was off to Aldershot to join the hardy bunch of Morecambe fans coming down and I even took a work colleague along to see some “total football” too.


Aldershot is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about 60 km southwest of London. Aldershot today is known as “the home of the British Army” and this led to rapid growth from a small village to a Victorian town. The name may have derived from the name of "Alder" trees found in the area (Alder-holt meaning copse of Alder trees), indicating that it was a wet, boggy place. Aldershot, Alreshete, dates back to an Anglo-Saxon settlement and was included in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1854, at the time of the Crimean War, the heath land around Aldershot was established as an army base with Aldershot at its centre. This led to a rapid expansion of Aldershot's population going from 875 in 1851, to in excess of 16,000 by 1861 (including about 9,000 from the military). The town continued to grow, reaching a peak in the 1950s before declining back to its current state today. I’ll leave chatting about Aldershot with a Rudyard Kipling poem that mentions the town in it. Here is a wee bit of “Gunga Din”

“You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.”


25th March 1992 is a dark day for Shots fans as that is when the original Aldershot FC finally lost the battle against their debts and were liquidated and removed from the league after a 2-0 away defeat at Cardiff City. The original club had been founded in 1926 and after being elected into the league in 1932, played all of their days in the basements never finishing higher than 8th in Division 3. The new club of Aldershot Town were formed that year and started in 1992/93 in the Isthmian League 3rd Division, with a new badge having a phoenix rising up on it. A double promotion quickly happened to take them to the Isthmian 1st Division which they finally won in 1998 with a home win over Berkhamsted Town with a crowd of 4,289. 2001/02 saw them win the Isthmian Premier under the guidance of Terry Brown and in their first season in the Conference Premier they reached the Play-Off Final, only to lose on penalties to Shrewsbury Town. They then slightly stagnated in the Conference before coming under the leadership of Gary Waddock in May 2007. His first season in charge saw them smash the Conference to pieces by winning the league with 101 points and a place “back” in the Football League for Aldershot. Since then they have been floating around upper mid-table to the lower end of the division and even made the play-offs in 2009/10, but lost on agg to Rotherham United.


Waddock and even his replacement Kevin Dillion have long gone as former nomad striker Dean Holdsworth is now the Aldershot Town boss. After a slow start to the season where a relegation battle looked on, they have picked up ok and were coming into this game in 13th, going for their Football League record of consecutive wins (6). Morecambe, *sigh*, had sunk like a stone since I saw them storm Dag & Red’s Victoria Road in September which sent them a few points clear at the top of the league. An awful autumn saw automatic promotion dreams go and now it really is touch and go if Morecambe will even sneak a play-off position this season. Since stopping the rot and the threat of relegation, an inconsistency has now emerged as best summed up in the two games leading up to this, beating promotion challengers Southend before losing to non-league bound Dag & Red. Consolidation and trying to crack a good run before the start of next season is most likely the best option for the Shrimps now and so I hoped they performed for the final time I would see them this season.


The game kicked off to a good atmosphere due to the Aldershot fans behind the goal continuing their simple “ALDERSHOT, ALDERSHOT” chant to the Piranhas “Tom Hark”. While that was good for a few minutes to try and get the game going at a good tempo, 20 minutes later and they haven’t even changed the chant was quite repetitive. To be fair, on the pitch there was nothing to get excited about as Aldershot were still feeling their feet and the Morecambe with no confidence seemed to have turned up as they were on the back foot straight away. The away side did have the first chance of the game though as a corner found Stewart Drummond all the way at the back post but he missed an easy chance as he skied it over. Players from a higher league would have buried that and that’s the difference. While Morecambe had a lot of the ball, they could do not much with it as Aldershot started to boss the game and pepper Barry Roche’s goal with shots. Danny Hylton was the first to fire one over before he then hit a shot wide as Morecambe were being pushed back. The opening goal on 25 minutes was an awful one for the Shrimps to concede. A pointless free kick was given away around the half way line which was taken quickly. A simple pass to the right wing was crossed in from Aaron Morris and Guy Madjo powered a header past Roche and in. Nothing classy, just simple. Morecambe should have equalised 5 minutes later when another corner came in and caused problems. Drummond was found short on the edge of the area but his shot was cleared off the line (with a suspicion of hand ball?) and cleared to safety. The rest of the half was a non-event as both sides struggled to dominate.


2nd half saw Aldershot again have the better of the play but their lack of a 2nd goal was mainly due to the limited talent in their squad which made it even more frustrating that Morecambe couldn’t find a way through. They can play a lot better than this, I know, I’ve seen it but at least my journey was only 50 minutes to get here rather than 6 hours. Peter Vincenti had the first real chance of the 2nd half when his long range effort made Roche work to keep it out, but the 2nd half never really got going and 1-0 looked like the way it would finish for some time. Morecambe frustratingly played long balls up for the last 15 minutes which were constantly cleared by a towering Aldershot defence. Izak Reid had our best chance but he scuffed at it and has failed to live up to the promise he showed at Macclesfield all season. Late on, Aldershot were rightfully down to 10 when Troy Brown was sent off for a poor two footed challenge which the home fans had the audacity to question. They were never troubled though and took the 3 points with relative ease.


A really disappointing result from Morecambe’s point of view. Aldershot aren’t that good but looked to easily have enough to hold the Shrimps off for this game. Since this game the frustrating inconsistency has continued with a win over Cheltenham before an awful loss to Hereford. Not many games now left to go for Morecambe to sneak a play-off spot and it looks like it will be the game away to Oxford United will be the key. The Shots had actually lost their way since this win by losing two, but picked up a win over Bradford to keep them level on points with Morecambe and in the play-off sniff. The Recreation Ground is a decent venue and as you can see from the pictures, I had a lovely day to come and watch here. Who knows what far flung outpost I will see the Morecambe boys rock up to next, but here’s hoping we can sneak a play-off place at the end of the season.

Photos from Aldershot Town vs Morecambe


Match Ratings:

- Match: 4/10 (poor game)

- Value for money: 4/10 (overpriced)

- Ground: 7/10 (good classic ground)

- Atmosphere: 7/10 (excellent for FL)

- Food: 7/10 (fairly decent from memory)

- Programme: 4/10 (one of the poorest FL progs I’ve come across)

- Referee: Keith Stroud – 4/10 (massively overfussy)

AT vs Mor prog

AT vs Mor stub

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Road to Wembley 2011/12 (Quarter Final)

With the arches of Wembley getting closer for the 8 clubs remaining and a new winner this season guaranteed after holders Whitley Bay had been knocked out in the Round before, it was the Quarter Final stage. Now following the Cambridgeshire based side of St Ives Town the competition was getting to its most interesting stage and in St Ives way for this round were some miners.


Staveley Miners Welfare are having a bit of a good run at the moment after winning promotion from the Northern Counties East League 1st Division last season and are currently 3rd in the Premier Division, chasing down current leaders Bridlington Town. The side from near Chesterfield have also had an excellent Vase season, entering in the 2nd Round and dispatching of Ashville, Squires Gate, Willand Rovers before dumping Oadby Town out in the previous round to get here. Not knowing much about the club it was a tough one to call against St Ives Town. IF you want to read about SMW’s win over Oadby, then top blogger Rob Waite (from The 66 POW) was at the game and you can read his stuff here.


The St Ives Town match report gives a good quick report about the match,

In a game which saw the scoreline flatter the opponents the Saints lost out on the chance of a Fa Vase Semi Final Match.
The Saints had many chances in the first half but failed to reach the back of the net. And on 36 minutes the Saints went 1-0 down after Ryan Damms put away a close range shot.
HT 1-0.
The Second Half saw both teams come out determined to make the result theirs. Shots and saves from both sides continued until on 70 minutes Staveley doubled their lead. This didn't stop the Saints trying and they put all their effort into getting a draw. Sadly this didn't happen and just 5 minutes from time Staveley scored their third and final goal.
FT 3-0.”

So in the end it was the Miners who are now only 2 games away from Wembley and standing in their way now are Northern League side Dunston UTS for a two legged showdown.

ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2011/2012:

1ST QUALIFYING ROUND: Croydon FC 1-2 Beckenham Town (Croydon Sports Arena, Att: 51)

2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Beckenham Town 5-1 Fisher FC (Eden Park Avenue, Att: 58)

1ST ROUND: Three Bridges 3-0 Beckenham Town [After Extra Time] (Jubilee Field, Att: 68)

2ND ROUND: Rye United 1-2 Three Bridges (The Salts, Att: 105)

3RD ROUND: Southend Manor 0-0 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Southchurch Park, Att: 64)

3RD ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 4-1 Southend Manor (Jubilee Field, Att: 66)

4TH ROUND: Gresley 1-1 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Moat Ground, Att: 524)

4TH ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 2-2 Gresley FC [Gresley win 7-6 on penalties] (Jubilee Field, Att: 308)

5TH ROUND: St Ives Town 4-0 Gresley FC (Westwood Road, Att: 541)

QUARTER FINAL: Staveley Miners Welfare 3-0 St Ives Town (Inkersall Road, Att: 575)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Livingston vs Raith Rovers (18/02/12)

Match 147

Ground #: 113

Ground: Almondvale Stadium

Competition: Scottish Division 1

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £17

Programme: £2

Attendance: 1,929

Livingston 4

Kyle Jacobs 17’, McNulty 48’, 60’, (pen) 70’

Raith Rovers 0

Davidson s/off 69’


Back in summer of 2011, when Livingston announced they were to leave their current home at Almondvale Stadium at the end of the season, this prompted a rush from the collective of group of hoppers (what is the collective noun?) to try and get to here before the ground was to be apparently sold to Tesco. Since then, the news or updates seem to have gone quiet, but I had pencilled in to go up at this time since the summer, so it was off up north, way north to see if the Livi Lions could roar.


Livingston is a town in West Lothian and is the fourth post-WWII new town to be built in Scotland, designated in 1962. It is situated between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and is bordered by the towns of Broxburn to the northeast and Bathgate to the northwest. Livingston is the biggest town in West Lothian and was built around a collection of small villages such as, Livingston Village, Bellsquarry and Livingston Station (now part of Deans). The area around Livingston was previously an important Shale Oil area the world's first oil boom occurred, in West Lothian. This was based on oil extracted from shale, and by 1870 over 3 million tons of shale were being mined each year in the area around Livingston. Output declined with the discovery of liquid oil reserves around the world in the early 1900s, but shale mining only finally ceased in 1962.


To describe Livingston as the MK Dons of Scotland would be harsh but the similarities are there. Founded in 1943 as Ferranti Amateurs they were a works team of the Ferranti engineering company and played in the Edinburgh FA's Amateur Second Division. In 1948 the club became known as Ferranti Thistle and competed in the Edinburgh and District Welfare Association before moving to senior football in 1953, by joining the East of Scotland League. Their big break came in 1974 with the demise of Third Lanark and the opening of a new position in the Scottish Football League. They won the vote against Inverness Thistle to get membership into the SFL, but had to drop the Ferranti from their name and move away from the classic City Park ground in Edinburgh. Moving into the Meadowbank Stadium they won promotion to the 1st Division in 1983 but were relegated back in 1985. They always seemed to struggle though and when facing financial difficulties in 1995, they moved out of Edinburgh to nearby Livingston and took another name change.


The new Livi Lions roared up the leagues with this change as 3rd Division was won in 1996, 2nd Division won in 1999 and promotion to the Scottish Premier League was secured in 2001. More amazingly in their first season in the SPL, they deservedly took 3rd place and a spot in the UEFA Cup. In the UEFA Cup they dispatched FC Vaduz on away goals before crashing out to Strum Graz 8-6 on aggregate. After this they slumped in the league and narrowly avoided relegation but did give all Hearts fans an almighty laugh when they pumped Hibs in the League Cup final in 2004 with a 2-0 win. Financial problems came around again and they landed in administration in 2004 before finally being relegated in 2006. Then came the toxic Massone period when they came close to being liquidated completely until Massone finally sold the club. It was sort of too late though as they were forced to play from the 3rd Division and proceeded to gain promotion twice to return to the 1st Division for this season. The new board have made some bold decisions too as they surprisingly sacked manager Gary Bollan earlier in February and in the week running up to this game, announced that ex Hibees John Hughes and John Collins would be starting the Manager/Director of Football dream team.

_58487479_collins_hughes(The SPL is that’a way!)

While trying to get the good times back at Almondvale, there is the question mark of how long Livingston have at the ground that has only been around since 1995. Livi rent the ground from West Lothian Council who clearly can’t be bothered or have the money for it’s upkeep as it is already looking aged. Four stands of the same height, decked out in bright yellow seats with good enough leg room, Almondvale can be a great place to watch football with a bit of TLC. Instead the West Stand where I sat is quite full of litter and stickers telling me that this is season ticket holder’s seat from God knows when. It’s a shame but if Livi do move then Almondvale is set to become a supermarket. Get here while you can then. Coming here for this game was a team managed by an ex Hearts legend in John McGlynn and Raith Rovers. The Kirkcaldy side have struggled this season as the playing budget has been cut and so league position is a poor one with Raith being down in 8th, only 3 points off bottom side Ayr United. Livi on the other hand were in comfy midtable in 5th, although the 12 points behind leaders Ross County probably means my bet for Livi to go up this season wasn’t happening.


The opening spells of the game were interesting for me. This was my first time watching SFL football rather than the dizzy heights of the SPL. Livi boss John Hughes had said before hand that his side would keep the ball on the floor and pass it around and they did that although occasionally tried to pass too quickly and gave the ball away. Raith’s best chance early on came from a corner when ex Jambo Joe Hamill’s ball caused problems but Iain Davidson or Grant Murray couldn’t get there. Livingston took the lead though on 17 minutes to open the game up completely. Bobby Barr took the ball in midfield and played a 1-2 with Scougall to be put through on goal. His shot was saved by David McGurn but it came out to Kyle Jacobs on the edge of the area. His low shot took a massive deflection and gave McGurn no chance for the 1st goal of the Hughes era. Livingston now took the game to Raith as the Kirkcaldy side looked completely inept at dealing with the hordes of attacks. Kyle’s brother Keaghan had a shot over the bar before Jason’s Talbot’s cross found Marc McNulty in the area with loads of space… but he fired well over. Raith looked delighted to be only 1-0 down at HT!


Raith nearly perfected a smash and grab right at the start of the half as John Baird had a header that flew over before Livingston made it 2-0. Scougall pushed forward again and took some Raith defenders with him when he started approaching the box. This allowed McNulty some space on the edge of the area to fire past McGurn when the ball was played to him. That was it now for Raith as an attacking force as the rest of the game was played at their end. Keaghan Jacobs smashed a shot off the bar before Kyle Jacobs somehow managed to not poke the ball home from that and then McNulty and Barr combined to set Keaghan up again but McGurn saved well. Goal #3 on 60 minutes was fantastic. Raith managed to win a corner which didn’t even beat the first man. From this, Livi pushed forward with Keaghan Jacobs and Barr playing a good 1-2 with each other. Barr with space then fired across goal for McNulty for an easy tap in. A Raith corner to a Livi goal within about 15 seconds of each other. Brilliant. McNulty had time to complete his hat-trick as he skipped past Iain Davidson on the edge of the area to be clean through before Davidson took him out for a penalty and Davidson to receive a straight red. McNulty fired his penalty home before being subbed to a standing ovation as Livingston cruised home for the final 20 minutes. More goals were there if they wanted them, but Raith kept them at bay for only 4.


A quote from John Hughes once said, “if you aren’t smiling then you can get your boots and piss off.” Livingston under Hughes will probably be an attractive team to watch once they stop nail down the slick passing as some better sides would have taken advantage of the loose balls early on. I don’t like Hughes as he’s a Hibee tosser but we’ll see how far he takes Livingston. Raith on the other hand were shocking much to the disgust of around c.300 Raith fans who made the trip. Since this game, Raith have won 2 on the bounce after a narrow defeat to Hamilton by seeing off Partick Thistle and Morton, while Livi have lost 3 on the trot since this easy win, including two defeats to Ayr, which takes some doing. Livi were a friendly club and will most likely be playing in this league next season, but who knows what the future holds for Almondvale?

Photos from Livingston vs Raith Rovers


Match Ratings:

- Match: 6.5/10 (good football at times)

- Value for money: 4/10 (don’t worry England, Scotland is overpriced too)

- Ground: 6/10 (bit of TLC needed)

- Atmosphere: 7/10 (fairly impressed)

- Food: 6/10 (pie and bovril classic)

- Programme: 6/10 (decent enough, but feel shortchanged for £2)

- Referee: Brian Colvin – 7/10 (had an easy game)

Livi vs RR prog

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Road to Wembley 2011/12 (5th Round)

Due to the snow arriving in February, (Have that global warming) I had to give the St Ives Town vs Gresley tie a miss as I was up watching some Irn Bru football the next weekend instead. After seeing Gresley squeeze past Three Bridges in the previous round, I thought they would be one of the favourites for the Vase and they were up against a side only in midtable in the United Counties League.


St Ives (not to be confused with the Cornish one) from the picture looks like one of these quaint places that old people go and visit one weekend before moving there to die. According to its TripAdvisor page, one thing to do there is to see the Ripping Yarns, only before finding out that is the Cornish St Ives. Oops. Sounds a hoot! Unsure what the locals would have thought with a mass load coming down from Derbyshire for this game and the attendance was a good 541. The result was a surprising one in my eyes too…


The opening line of the Gresley match report reads, “There are games when you have to hold your hands up and say your team was well beaten by the better side on the day and this was just one of those games.” That tells its own tale as St Ives romped home to a 4-0 win putting them into the Quarter-Finals. While Gresley had two men sent off, goals from Ellison, Washington (x2) and Fielding capped a brilliant day for the Cambs side. Gresley, can now concentrate on trying to win the Midland Alliance as they look to overhaul Westfields at the top.


St Ives reward was a QF tie against Chesterfield based side Staveley Miners Welfare up in the t’mills of Derbyshire. I won’t be able to make this game either so my next report will probably contain more miners, Thatcher and maybe some football too.

ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2011/2012:

1ST QUALIFYING ROUND: Croydon FC 1-2 Beckenham Town (Croydon Sports Arena, Att: 51)

2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Beckenham Town 5-1 Fisher FC (Eden Park Avenue, Att: 58)

1ST ROUND: Three Bridges 3-0 Beckenham Town [After Extra Time] (Jubilee Field, Att: 68)

2ND ROUND: Rye United 1-2 Three Bridges (The Salts, Att: 105)

3RD ROUND: Southend Manor 0-0 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Southchurch Park, Att: 64)

3RD ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 4-1 Southend Manor (Jubilee Field, Att: 66)

4TH ROUND: Gresley 1-1 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Moat Ground, Att: 524)

4TH ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 2-2 Gresley FC [Gresley win 7-6 on penalties] (Jubilee Field, Att: 308)

5TH ROUND: St Ives Town 4-0 Gresley FC (Westwood Road, Att: 541)