Friday, 30 November 2012

Road to Wembley 2012/13 (2nd Round)

Being a weekend right before an exam, there was no chance I was even considering going to the 2nd Round tie between Colliers Wood Utd and Old Woodstock Town in the next step on the road for this season…

102112104228(New Road – home of Old Woodstock Town)

…that was until the FA got involved and kicked the side that reached the 4th Round last year, out of the competition for problems with their New Road ground not being up to scratch. A statement from Colliers Wood’s website said:

Colliers Wood United have been handed a third round place due to the expulsion of Hellenic League division one west outfit, Old Woodstock Town FC. We understand this is in connection with the ground playing arrangements that Town lodged with the FA when entering the competition. Our club committee are actively looking to bring forward a league match to Saturday 17th November. We hope to have more on this later today. Wood will also receive the £1,200 prize money allocated to the 2nd round winners.”

Despite OWT trying to play Vase games at their old groundshare at Southern League side North Leigh, the FA were having none of it. It’s a shame, but OWT know that their current ground cannot host the level of football that the club are trying to bring to the town and so have set up a site called, The Challenge, to try and get the facilities at New Road upgraded.


So Colliers Wood had an easy passage into Round 3, their next opponents are Hellenic League side Ascot United in what looks an interesting game. Sadly as CWU have another home tie I won’t be going (instead I’m getting my Morecambe hat on that day) but I’m ready for my next dip into the Vase.

ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2012/2013:

1ST QUALIFYING ROUND: Colliers Wood United 3-1 Badshot Lea (Wibbandune Sports Ground, Att: 37)

2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Camberley Town 1-4 Colliers Wood United (Krooner Park, Att: 36)

1ST ROUND: Lingfield 1-2 Colliers Wood United (Godstone Road, Att: 50)

2ND ROUND: Colliers Wood United W/O – W/O Old Woodstock Town (N/A, Att: N/A)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Wealdstone vs Corby Town (10/11/12)

Match 174

Ground #: 135

Ground: St Georges Stadium 

Competition: FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round 

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £5 (concession)

Programme: £2

Attendance: 405

Wealdstone 1

Dyer 75’

Corby Town 1

Ives 59’, Moreman s/off 20’, Ives m/pen 44’


November is normally a tough time for CIMA students as exams are approaching and they (like myself) start panicking about how they still cannot compare value analysis to functional analysis properly yet. Just before I took residence in a library for two weeks to rectify that deficiency there was just about enough time to get in one more football match.


Wealdstone is a district in Harrow in north-west London. During the Saxon times there was an area of thick woodland which covered the northern region of Middlesex. This was called "The Great Weald" and was unpopulated until the 6th century when it was used for farming. The eponymous Weald Stone is a sarsen stone, formerly marking the boundary between the parish of Harrow and Harrow Weald. Apart from Harrow & Wealdstone tube station (terminus of the best , the area doesn’t have much to discuss upon as it is mainly a residential area.


Wealdstone FC were formed in 1899/1900 but didn’t last that long (only 7 years) as there was a lack of interest among players and fans. While it again reformed 1908/09, WW1 sadly claimed the lives of a number of its members. During the 20s, while they had a large amount of supporters off the field, on the field they achieved little success. This was finally rectified in 1952 when they became champions of the Athenian League before following this up with three Middlesex Senior Cup titles before a 1966 FA Amateur Cup win at Wembley over Hendon. Becoming Semi-pro happened in 1971 and they began to romp the Southern League, first winning Division 1 in 1974 before the Southern Premier in 1982. With an experienced and talented squad, which contained future Wimbledon and Wales midfielder Vinnie Jones, the club started the process of application for election into the Football League. However, as their Lower Mead ground was not up to the requirements at the time, Bath City were subsequently selected as Runners Up and Wealdstone lost out narrowly in the vote.

wealdstone-wfc1(Stone’s old Lower Mead ground – not my pic)

That failed application started the sad decline of the club as they were promptly relegated from the Conference in 1987 before Chairman at the time, Alan Clifton sold their ground to Tesco, which in the end saw the Stone’s receive not that much money from the deal. This led to years of homelessness as they first shared at Watford where they were charged a massive rent before sharing at Yeading, Edgware Town and finally Northwood. During this time, with a severe lack of funds, Wealdstone asked to move from the Southern League to the Isthmian and were allowed, as long as they dropped to the Isthmian 3rd Division. Working their way up from there, the Stones were back in the Isthmian Premier in 2004 where they still play today. They are slowly starting to reel in success again too which is good as this club easily has the resources to cope with Blue Square South football. A barnstorming run in the FA Trophy last season when they amazingly reached the semi-finals (seeing off Tooting & Mitcham Utd, Margate, Banbury Utd, Uxbridge, Barrow, Dartford and Cambridge Utd) when Newport County beat them over the 2 legged semis. Coming into this game in 3rd and well in with a good crack at automatic promotion, it seems the Stones are on the way back up.


While for some time, Wealdstone had started to build a new ground at Canons Park, project funding had dried up and building work had completely stopped by 2004. It was in 2008 that the Stones finally cut ties with the project as they had acquired a majority shareholding in Ruislip Manor Sports and Social Club who owned the lease to the Grosvenor Vale stadium, used at that time by Ruislip Manor FC (who were dissolved last year after a season sharing at Amersham Town). The Stones have invested a lot of money and a substantial amount of time into the ground to bring it up to a reasonable level. The ground itself is a mix of storage units, stands and terraces which for me, doesn’t give it a solid feel. There is space however (probably too much) for Wealdstone to stick some new stuff in should they require which will bring the ground up to a better standard.


Trying to stop the Stones from repeating their FA Trophy run from last season were Blue Square North side Corby Town. Famous for being a Scottish get-away place, the Steelmen were coming back into form for this game after a difficult start to the season. Caretaker boss Chris Plummer must be in with a good shout to get the job on a permanent basis and the small band of Corby fans that had made the trip down from Northamptonshire hoping to avoid seeing a cup shock against a side that had won 8 out of their last 9 games.


After a tight 10 minutes, the Stones had the first chance of the game when some great work by Alex Dyer who whipped a cross in found Wes Parker. His header was going in at the bottom corner but Corby keeper Paul Walker made an excellent save to keep the scores level. Walker was a busy man as Wealdstone had a wee spell putting the “Corb” under pressure. He kept out a low drive from Peter Dean before Corby, looking splendid in a pink kit, came back into the game. Captain and top scorer Josh Moreman fired a shot over the bar on 18 minutes before a moment of madness saw him sent off just two minutes later. When he felt he was fouled outside the area, referee Michael Blackledge just played on. Moreman took offense to this and shouted “YOU CUNT REF"!” at the top of his voice for the ground to hear. Blackledge clearly didn’t like being called a cunt and promptly sent him off meaning Corby were playing this game for 70 minutes with 10 men. Despite having a man advantage, Wealdstone didn’t really put the away side under pressure for the rest of half and coming up towards half time it was actually the 10 men who were playing the better football and looking more of a threat. Greg Kaziboni managed to get away down the left and forced a good save from Rikki Banks. Corby had an even better chance right on HT. Sam Ives managed to twist his way into the penalty area before he went down fairly easily under a challenge from Parker. It was a soft penalty so maybe justice was done when Ives decided to smash it as hard as he could and saw the penalty cannon off the crossbar.


The start of the second half was fairly bitty as both sides tried to dominate play without much success. Corby had Kaziboni shot saved well by Banks while Wealdstone had chances from Parker and Pett miss the target. On the hour mark, Corby took the lead just as they were beginning to look the better team. From a free kick, Paul Malone had a header brilliantly saved by Banks and while Wealdstone couldn’t clear the ball, Banks bailed them out again saving from Stefan Galinski but Ives smashed home a rebound and sent the 6 Corby fans behind the goal wild. After that it was all one way traffic, all for Wealdstone as they dominated all over the pitch trying to find an equalizer. Firstly Sean Cronin hit an exquisite volley on the turn which Walker saved superbly well at full stretch to his left. Before on 73 minutes, they finally got the equalizer. When Pett received the ball on the right hand side there was not much on so he fed Dyer who began his run into the box. He skipped past two challenges before firing a shot into the bottom corner, a great goal, out of place in this match. Wealdstone could smell blood, they had a goal disallowed on 80 minutes when Richard Jolly finished from close range but he was offside. He also fired a shot just wide a minute later and with Walker well beaten, it rolled agonisingly past the post. While the last 5 minutes were quite frantic, neither side created a real quality chance of note and so they had to go again in a replay later that week.

IMG_0048(Tell that to Josh Moreman!)

The replay appears to have been a much better game as Corby managed to nick a last minute winner and win 3-2. They play Blue Square South side Hayes & Yeading in the next round which looks an interesting tie. While this game wasn’t the best and I’m not that much of a fan of the ground, I’d still be happy to see Wealdstone rise back up the leagues again and I may see them on the road sometime in the future. For this game, fellow nutcases, Stu Hyde, Richie Bennett and Stu’s partner Tonia all attended with me. On the walk back to Ruislip tube station, all of them told me that they “couldn’t watch this shite every week”. I’d happily watch this every week – inside the mind of a nutcase right there.

Photos from Wealdstone vs Corby Town


Match Ratings:

- Match: 5/10 (lacked quality)

- Value for money: 7/10 (reasonable for my discount)

- Ground: 4/10 (not a fan)

- Atmosphere: 7/10 (home fans created a lot of noise)

- Food: 7/10 (good cheeseburger at a good price)

- Programme: 8.5/10 (outstanding effort – more of this please)

- Referee: Michael Blackledge – 5/10 (made some weird calls)

Weald vs CT prog

Weald vs CT stub

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wanderers vs Royal Engineers (07/11/12)

Match 173

Ground #: 134

Ground: The Oval

Competition: 1872 Challenge Cup Final Rematch

Kick Off: 7pm

Cost: £10

Programme: £2

Attendance: 2,257

Wanderers 1

Flash 66’

Royal Engineers 7

Hubbard 8’, Carter 18’, Griffiths 20’, Cottam 23’, 45’, Ellis 33’, Crame 86’


Every now and again there are games that are interesting or quirky enough to pencil them into my “planner” four months in advance. These could be interesting for a variety of reasons and this one ticked all the boxes. A game at a cricket ground that rarely hosts football? Check. A game featuring two teams I wouldn’t normally see? Check. A game that was also for charity? Check. I was on this.


This game was taking place at The Oval, in Kennington. In 1844 the Kennington Oval was actually a market garden, owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. After Surrey CC were established in 1845, The Duchy was willing to grant a lease of the land for the purpose of a cricket ground, and, on 10 March 1845, the club signed a lease with the Otter Trustees, who held the land from the Duchy of Cornwall, 'to convert it into a subscription cricket ground’. The first ever test match in England took place here in 1880 between England and Australia and other cricket history which I won’t go into. (This blog is not a big fan of it) The Oval, more importantly was home to the early days of football by hosting the very first FA Cup final (more on later) and the finals from 1874 to 1892 when the crowds had grown past The Oval’s safe capacity. (32,810 attended the 1892 final between West Brom and Aston Villa) The Oval also held the first ever international football match in 1870 when England were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw against Scotland.


That very first FA Cup final, held 150 years ago saw Wanderers vs Royal Engineers go head to head at The Oval in front of a crowd of around 3,000. While the RE were favourites as they were using a revolutionary tactic of “the passing game”, Wanderers silky dribbling skills won the day as an early goal from Morton Betts was enough. The Field newspaper described it as “the fastest and hardest match that has ever been seen at The Oval" and said that the Wanderers displayed "some of the best play, individually and collectively, that has ever been shown in an Association game". Wanderers dissolved around 1887, but were recently revived again in 2009 with the endorsement of the Alcock family. (C.W Alcock was one of the former Wanderers players and creator of the FA Cup competition idea) They now play with the purposes of raising funds for UNICEF and compete in the Surrey South Eastern Combination (currently at Junior Division 4 – Level 17 of the pyramid), playing their home games at Belair Park, in Southwark.

Morton_Betts(Morton Betts goes all Movember on us)

Royal Engineers managed to get over that cup final defeat with a win in 1875 over Old Etonians after a replay. They were one of the strongest amateur sides in existence and could often defeat the professional sides in challenge matches. They also had several players called up to the England and Scotland squads during this time to show the calibre of player that they could attract. The Army FA was then set up in 1888 and its teams were organised by battalion and then regiment. Several regiments and battalions have won the Army FA Cup within the Royal Engineers, including 28 Amphibious Engineer Regiment who won the trophy 9 times between 1990 and 2002.


This game was set up to make money for several charities as well as highlight the 150th anniversary of the first final at this very venue. The charities included The Royal British Legion and The Haig Housing Trust which the money was going to. The Oval does look a spectacular venue, especially at night with the pavilion opposite the large OCS Stand which would provide some excellent views of the action. (Just a shame its cricket) With two small stands around the edge of the curve, this to its full capacity (23,500) would be a great site. Maybe a rematch for the very first international so Scotland can win in England again? (*wink*) (NOTE: I am fully aware of the game in 2013 and I am fully aware Scotland will get pummelled)


After a rendition of Abide With Me (its a cup final!) the game kicked off and showed straight away the difference in class between the two sides. The Engineers are trained by the machines of the Army PT instructors and can potentially call upon every Engineer out there. (Around 3000) The Wanderers all have full time jobs or at college and so must fit their “training” in around this. It was no surprise then that the Engineers battered the Wanderers in one of the most one sided halves of football I’ve ever seen. Despite playing in a similar style to the classic strips that were used back in 1872, Wanderers were beaten 6 times and could have been many more but wasted chances and saw others saved by Adam Wood. Jay Hubbard opening the scoring on 8 minutes, but the real damage was done with a 3 goal blast in 5 minutes to make it 4-0 after this. Andy Cottam’s 2nd goal of the game, right on HT made it 6-0 and with the game well and truly won, the 2nd half could only be a procession.


Engineers took a couple of players off at HT, probably to make the game a little more even and credit to Wanderers, they began to push forward a little bit more. Managed by FA Cup legend Bobby Gould, the Wanderers showed far more of what they were about and began to put Luke Cairney under pressure in the Engineers net. Backed on by most of the 2,000 crowd now, Wanderers did appear to have scored their goal when Tom Nicholson finished off a great move but it was ruled out for offside. There was to be no stopping them though (just a shame it had started 45 minutes too late) and when Ross Sibbit got a cross in from the right, Daniel Flash brilliantly powered a header onto the underside of the bar and in. That goal got the biggest cheer of the night as the potentially the greatest comeback ever in the history of football was on. In the end, the Engineers actually dominated the last 5 minutes and Mick Crame finished off the scoring when he lobbed the ball over Wood after being put through one on one.


In the end it was easy for the Engineers and they gained some form of revenge for 150 years ago in this re-match. Wanderers want to move on up through the leagues and enter the FA Cup again. They have a long long way to go, but have only been in existence (again) for three years. So good luck to them, lets see where they can go. This game was a reasonable evening out and the match ended with the oldest remaining FA Cup trophy in existence being paraded by the Engineers after West Ham chairman David Gold had kindly lent it for the evening. Dunno when The Oval will host football again, but it offers more excitement that the game that is normally played there!

Photos from Wanderers vs Royal Engineers


Match Ratings:

- Match: 4/10 (fairly one sided)

- Value for money: 6/10 (decent enough and for charity)

- Ground: 8/10 (great ground steeped in history)

- Atmosphere: 5/10 (not much until 2nd half)

- Food: N/A – ran out of hot stuff when I arrived

- Programme: 8/10 (excellent effort for only £2)

- Referee: Alfred Stair (possibly) – 7/10 (not a lot to do)

Wan vs RE prog

Wan vs RE stub

Monday, 12 November 2012

Bishop’s Stortford vs Hastings United (03/11/12)

Match 172

Ground #: 133

Ground: Woodside Park 

Competition: FA Cup 1st Round

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £6 (student concession)

Programme: £2

Attendance: 1,212

Bishop’s Stortford 1

Johnson 7’

Hastings United 2

Ray 70’, Attwood 87’


Football nutters always pencil in certain times of the season for games that are most important to them. For example, games against your biggest rivals are normally top of the league. (I must be the only Morecambe fan though that looks for Wycombe away however…) Another one of these games is the FA Cup 1st Round. Some part-timers who have managed to claw their way past teams such as Dereham Town and South Park have a chance to have a crack at some Football League sides. Games I like in this round are when two non-league teams are pitted against each other and there is a chance of a mini cup shock too. And there was one of these games nearby…


Bishop’s Stortford is historic market town and civil parish in the district of East Hertfordshire and is situated just west of the M11 motorway, on the county boundary with Essex. It is the closest large town to London Stansted Airport and part of the London commuter belt. Nothing of historical significance is known of the Bishop's Stortford area until it became a small Roman settlement on the Roman road of Stane Street between Braughing and Colchester. After the Roman Empire broke down, the small town was abandoned in the 5th century. A new Saxon settlement grew up on the site, known as Esterteferd, probably because a family called Estere owned or controlled the river around which the settlement was based. Over time, this became Stortford. In 1060, William, Bishop of London bought the Stortford manor and estate and the town has been known as Bishop's Stortford ever since. The Normans built a wooden castle in the town, but by the Tudor period it was in ruins (the mound still remains). Development of the town increased with the presence of a river and the roads and a weekly market was set up for farmers to sell their goods. Despite outbreaks of the plague in the 16th and 17th centuries, the town continued to grow with an approximate population of 1,200 by this point. By 1801, Bishop's Stortford had become a market town and a corn exchange had been established while the main industry was malting. In 1842 the railway came to Bishop's Stortford to connect the town to London and help start developing it into the commuter town it is today.


Bishop’s Stortford FC were formed in January 1874 and became founding members of the Hertfordshire FA in 1885. After playing in a series of local competitions, they joined the Stansted & District League, winning it both in 1911 and 1913. The highlight after WW1 for Stort were entering the FA Cup for the first time in 1924 and then entering the Spartan League in 1929. A club seemingly on an only upward curve, they continued to progress after WW2 where they won the Delphian League in 1951 and reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Amateur Cup in 1963 when they were defeated 1-0 by eventual winners Wimbledon at Plough Lane in front of 9,000. The Isthmian League was joined in 1971 before they finally won the FA Amateur Cup with a 4-1 win over Ilford at Wembley in 1974 – the very last season of the competition. While they did dip slightly towards the end of the 70s, they picked up again in the 80’s with a double after winning the Isthmian League 1st Division and FA Trophy in 1981 with a 1-0 win over Sutton United. They also made a name for themselves in the FA Cup with a great run in 1982/83 when they reached the 3rd Round and a tie vs Middlesbrough. After a 2-2 draw in Teesside, they lost the replay 2-1 with Boro scoring two late goals.


After a yo-yo period in the early 1990’s, they left their old Rhodes Avenue ground in 1997 but didn’t make their debut at Woodside Park until 1999 when they hosted Norwich City and then Tottenham to open the new ground. They were the beneficiaries (among many other clubs) to be placed in the new Conference South when that league was created in 2004 before being moved across to Blue Square North in 2011 after Rushden & Diamonds expulsion from the Conference. Stort were just unlucky that they were the 23rd most Southerly club that season and so had to play near-by teams such as Workington and Blyth Spartans. They have been joined by other “Northern” teams this season such as Oxford City and Brackley, so do have some neighbours joining them. Their current ground of Woodside Park is on the edge of the town quite close to Stansted Airport. A decent ground that has a large main stand on the entrance side with a smaller seated stand opposite it. Behind both goals are covered standing terraces that are both sadly a little shallow, but considering the crowds that the Stort get, the ground is more than enough for them.


Stortford always have a problem being in the Blue Square North with attracting players who want to travel hundreds of miles every two weekends to such outposts as Halifax and Droylsden. Going into this game, they were down in 19th position and looking like fighting the drop this season. This had all the makings of a cup shock then as Hastings United were in town from 1 step below in the Isthmian Premier League. Hastings had never reached the 2nd Round proper before and having dispatched of Chatham Town, Staines Town, Hitchin Town (after a replay) and Blackfield & Langley to reach this stage. Hastings were also down in the bottom half of their league also and after an 18th place finish last season, it looked like history was going to repeat itself with a struggle.


Hastings had brought a fair amount of fans up for this game as they had filled 3 coaches and a few more had made their own way here, so were right up for this with the proper “underdog” show of balloons when the teams came out and general making of the atmosphere. It’s a shame they didn’t start too well however as Stortford made the early running as Steve Cawley and Jesse Waller-Lassen both fired wide as warning shots. It didn’t take long for the home side to take the lead however, as some excellent build up play from Johnny Herd and Danny Green allowed Matt Johnson to fire a low shot from outside the area into the bottom corner as Hastings goalie Matt Armstrong-Ford didn’t even move. The shot did go through a defender’s legs which meant that A-F wouldn’t have seen it until late. Stortford continued to push forward and a Reece Prestedge corner caused mayhem as it went across the goal. Suddenly, Hastings woke up however as they created a chance on 22 minutes as Bradley Goldberg fired a shot that Stort goalie Luke Chambers beat away. Hastings were encouraged by this and spent the rest of the half on the attack at Stortford held back. On 33 minutes their 300 strong fans thought they had an equalizer as Danny Ellis was all alone in the box and his firm header was going in until Chambers amazingly pulled it away, however most thought the ball had crossed the line. Right on HT, crosses from Josh Jirbandey and Zak Attwood found no-one in the middle as this tie was certainly not settled yet.


Stortford woke up for a brief 5 minute spell at the start of the 2nd half as Sappleton glanced a header wide and Green fired over before Hastings took control again. They didn’t have it all their own way though as they were lucky to keep their 1 goal deficit after 65 minutes. Cawley was put through on goal and Hasting’s player/manager Sean Ray had to make a last ditch (and great) tackle to stop Cawley having an easy chance. Stortford wanted a red card and penalty but Japanese referee Hiroyuki Kimura correctly made the right call. Hastings looked like they wanted it more as the game went on and got that deserved equalizer on 70 minutes. A deep corner went all the way to the back post and after failing to get anywhere near clearing it, that man Ray smashed the ball into the roof of the net to send 300 Hastionians (?) wild. Both sides went for it now as Stortford probably didn’t want a midweek trip to Hastings and the away side felt they could take a famous scalp here. Chambers saved well again from Bradley Goldberg while at the other end, Stortford sub Blair Sturrock (yes, that one) crossed for Sappleton as his header was well saved by A-F. It was tense as any goal now would win it and the away side claimed that famous scalp with just 3 minutes remaining. A long ball upfield from Ray found Goldberg who fired a low shot from outside of the area. While it was saved from Chambers, he could only parry and Zak Attwood wanted it far more and fired the rebound past Chambers so Hastings could start the celebrations. Stortford were beaten then and it was no surprise they created not much else until the final whistle as Hastings had made history with their first trip into Round 2.

IMG_2514(Big Ray gets the equalizer)

Hastings “reward” for that win is another away tie at a Blue Square North club with a trip to Harrogate Town in early December. (I stress, “reward”) Their form since this game has been patchy though as a win at home to Enfield Town was followed up with a 4-0 pasting at fellow FA Cup 1st Round runners Metropolitan Police (who lost 2-1 to everyone’s favourites Crawley Town). With 5 games to play still (as I write this) in November, squad rotation is definitely on the agenda before that glamour trip to H Town. Stortford have only played cup games since this as they cruised past Berkhamstead in the Herts Senior Cup before dispatching of Blue Square South side AFC Hornchurch in the FA Trophy. Stortford are a decent club and were well organised for their big day so I had a great time here. It’s a shame they couldn’t win it, but Hastings deserve their trip into Round 2 and good luck to them.

Photos from Bishop’s Stortford vs Hastings United


Match Ratings:

- Match: 8/10 (good old fashioned cup tie)

- Value for money: 7/10 (good student price with my NUS card)

- Ground: 6.5/10 (good standard for this level)

- Atmosphere: 8/10 (made by the away fans admittedly)

- Food: 5/10 (ok burger but had no cheese left)

- Programme: 6/10 (reasonable)

- Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura – 7.5/10 (got on with, took no crap and got main stuff right)

BS vs HU prog

BS vs HU stub

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Uxbridge vs Hanwell Town (23/10/12)

Match 171

Ground #: 132

Ground: Honeycroft

Competition: Middlesex FA Senior Charity Cup 1st Round 

Kick Off: 7:45pm

Cost: £8

Programme: Free Teamsheet

Attendance: 46

Uxbridge 3

Tomkins 2’, Dennison 28’, Kabamba 35’

Hanwell Town 1

Duffy 53’


It had been a while (for various reasons, mainly revision) since I’d seen a game and with fellow non-league connoisseur S.Hyde asking to see a game of “proper shit football” (its an endearing term for this level) it was time to head out there. With not a lot of choice out there for the midweek we had selected, I noticed that super Hanwell Town were in action and after they had provided the best 90 minutes of football I’d seen so far this season, there was only one choice.


Uxbridge is large town located in west London and is the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Hillingdon. The name is derived from "Wixan's Bridge” who were a 7th-century Saxon tribe from Lincolnshire who also began to settle in what became Middlesex. Anglo-Saxons began to settle and farm in the area of Uxbridge in the 5th century, clearing the dense woodland and remaining there for around 500 years. Archaeologists found Bronze Age remains (before 700 BC) and medieval remains during the construction of The Chimes shopping centre. The town appears in records from 1107 as "Woxbrigge", and became part of the Elthorne Hundred with other settlements in the area. The Parliamentary Army garrisoned the town upon the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642 and later established their headquarters there in June 1647. Charles I met with representatives of Parliament at the Crown Inn in Uxbridge in 1645, though negotiations for the end of hostilities were unsuccessful due in part to the king's stubborn attitude. By the early 19th century, Uxbridge had an unsavoury reputation as London’s flour was produced in the area. The jurist William Arabin said of its residents "They will steal the very teeth out of your mouth as you walk through the streets. I know it from experience." Today, it was part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century it expanded and increased in population into the significant retail and commercial centre it is today.


Uxbridge were first founded in 1871 and the team started playing friendly games, until they made their debut in the FA Cup in 1873. However the club folded a year later due to financial reasons, and were reformed 5 years later in 1879. The next 10 years of the club were successful, with the Heron brothers gaining full international caps for England while playing for the club and in 1886 Uxbridge FC amalgamated with Uxbridge Crescents. The amlagmation also saw the club wear red shirts for the first time, which are still the colours worn today, and the nickname "The Reds" first used. The club became founder members of the Southern League in 1894, finishing in mid-table in Division Two and reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup in the 1897–98 season, losing to Middlesbrough. After the First World War they joined the Athenian League however, in 1919–20 Uxbridge finished second from bottom and were relegated to the Great Western Combination League. The club returned back to the Athenian league 4 seasons later and staying in the Athenian league until the 1936–37 season when they failed to be re-elected after finishing bottom of the league twice. After some time in the Athenian League, London League and Corinthian League they went full circle and rejoined the Athenian League.


In 1976, Uxbridge made national news when they played England as part of their World Cup warm ups. Uxbridge lost 8-0. Part of the income from this game was spent in 1978 when they bought their current ground in West Drayton, Honeycroft and then spent £170,000 on new floodlights which were opened with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal in 1981. They finally reached the Isthmian League in 1982 after a 3rd place finish in the Athenian League and were there until 2004 when they transferred over to the Southern League where they still play today. Last season a 4th place finish in the Southern League 1st Div Central saw them reach the play-offs, however a 2-1 loss to Bedworth United saw their Southern League Premier dream ended for another season.


While my pictures are guff as this was an evening KO, Honeycroft is a reasonable non-league ground that fits in fine at this level. With 4 stands on each side of the pitch (albeit all very small so don’t fill the edge) and the ground surrounded by trees and a car park (and for this game, a cold October mist), this would be a fine place to watch football on a Saturday afternoon. It also has a well sized clubhouse and tea bar (which was closed) so it’s just a shame the ground is in the middle of nowhere – near(ish) West Drayton station. Which is nowhere near Uxbridge. In the league Uxbridge are plodding along fine in mid-table but do have a few games in hand on teams around them due to their various cup exploits. Their opponents for this local derby were the famous Hanwell Town (please read my visit here earlier in the season for more info) who since that storming game against Hertford Town, have proceeded to stay in midtable but well above the relegation zone currently occupied by Holmer Green and London Tigers.


My knowledge of the Middlesex FA Senior Charity Cup is pretty much zero. (And still is) But what I do know is that the current holders are Ashford Town (Middx) after a 4-2 win on penalties last season after the final had finished 4-4. Uxbridge had also played Hanwell in the first round last year too and had won that 3-0. When we arrived, the first thing was to check if TravellingFan’s hero Denis Zadcikis was playing… and he was. Result. It was a shame he and his side’s defence were nowhere to be seen after 2 minutes when Craig Tomkins had the freedom of the left wing to cut inside and fire a shot past Charlie Fanner. While this on first appearance looked like Uxbridge had come out of the blocks well, it was actually that Hanwell looked quite hopeless as their defence and midfield were cut to pieces time and time again. Fanner saved a Tomkins shot as Wayne Carter in the Uxbridge midfield was leading the game. Carter delivered a corner on 28 minutes which found Mark Dennison unmarked in the area for goal #2. This was looking like a long night for Hanwell. That night got longer just 7 minutes later when Shaun Lucien eased past Denis (?!?) and the Hanwell left back before firing in a cross that Nicke Kabamba couldn’t fail to miss. Uxbridge had other chances too as Hanwell came off at HT looking like a team that had just been taught a 45 minute lesson.


I am still unsure if it was due to injuries or the fact that Uxbridge wanted to take the piss, but they subbed their 3 best players at HT which was a shame as Carter had bossed the midfield in the first half. That might have riled Hanwell somewhat as they scored within 7 minutes of the 2nd half. A long punt down field took out a defence clearly on whisky and cigar mode and Conor Duffy took the ball around Gica Sulmatashvili to make it 3-1. Hanwell pushed forward as the 46 hardy soles watching this wondered if we were about to see a Lazarus like comeback. Hanwell scored another… but was ruled out for offside. And with that, it seemed that. A 20 minute spell of being on top and then they rolled back for the last 25 minutes let Uxbridge dominate. To be fair to the away side, they didn’t concede anymore, however this was largely down to Uxbridge trying to play like Brazil at times and from Fanner making an outstanding save late on from a Matt Woods shot. It finished 3-1 (a slight improvement on last year’s score from a Hanwell point of view) and Uxbridge were through to play Wealdstone in the 2nd Round.


This probably wasn’t the best game to pick for a first visit to Honeycroft, due to being a minor cup competition, played on a Tuesday evening, in the freezing cold. But the hardcore/mentalists who attended this saw a decent game and c.50 of Denis. Who can complain about that? Good luck to Uxbridge for their game against Wealdstone in February. As for Hanwell, I’ll be seeing you (and Denis) later.

Photos from Uxbridge vs Hanwell Town


Match Ratings:

- Match: 7/10 (good Tuesday evening)

- Value for money: 4/10 (tad overpriced for a minor cup game)

- Ground: 6/10 (reasonable enough)

- Atmosphere: 2/10 (none)

- Food: 3/10 (dreadful – cold pasty, although bovril gained a point)

- Programme: N/A – only a teamsheet available

- Referee: Chris Evans – 6/10 (tried to keep the game flowing)

Ux vs HT teamsheet

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Road to Wembley 2012/13 (1st Round)

While I had intended to head out to Surrey and watch Lingfield vs Colliers Wood, a personal appointment came up on the afternoon of the game and so I had to give it a miss.


While most people who travel to Lingfield to watch horse racing, the town’s football club play on the edge of the town at the Sports Pavilion. The Sussex County League side had already dispatched of Cray Valley PM and Dorking Wanderers and were doing fairly well in the league too. In contrast, Colliers Wood since I saw them easily win at Camberley had lost a couple before going on a decent run and seeing off Hanworth Villa, Windsor and Wembley FC to come into this game on decent form.

Lingfield-view(The Sports Pavilion – home of Lingfield)

The game looked a close one to call and it ended up that way as I missed a decent game watched by Steve Sidwell (his brother Lee, plays for Lingfield). Reading both match reports, Lingfield started off the better side but couldn’t create too many chances in this spell with only Harry Sintim’s shot going wide being anything of note. Lingfield did take the lead before HT though with Joe Robson firing home a rebound. The 2nd half seemed to be heading for a narrow Lingfield win before a frantic final 10 minutes turned the game on its head. Firstly Colliers Wood won a penalty which Nathan Turner dispatched before a last minute winner from Turner send Wood into the Vase 2nd Round.

Colliers Wood have a home game in the 2nd Round as they look to have a fairly winnable tie against Hellenic Division 1 side Old Woodstock Town. Famous last words though…

tat2(The reason for missing this game…)

ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2012/2013:

1ST QUALIFYING ROUND: Colliers Wood United 3-1 Badshot Lea (Wibbandune Sports Ground, Att: 37)

2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Camberley Town 1-4 Colliers Wood United (Krooner Park, Att: 36)

1ST ROUND: Lingfield 1-2 Colliers Wood United (Godstone Road, Att: 50)