SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE NEWSLETTER NO 17
SAT 9th DECEMBER
The first really really really freezing conditions of the season with only 14 SSMFL fixtures, along with a couple of County Cups, completed. Well done to all those who did manage to get their game on – almost certainly it’s the groundsmen who deserve all the plaudits.
Only three Premier Division matches managed to beat the freezing conditions but there was still plenty of action and talking points. Our mad Scot Bill Hamilton witnessed a good old fashioned end-to-end tussle. Hadley and Biggleswade United shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw, with the highlights caught on three separate video cameras at the highly impressive Hadley Sports Ground in Arkley. United now have a substantial following on Facebook and Twitter and followers from all over the country can even watch live streaming of their home games while the coaching staff and players are often to be seen being interviewed at the end of away fixtures like this one. It all happens because the club has given opportunities to students from UCFB Wembley, the only university in the world offering degrees in the football industry. They’ve provided the club with young talent keen to make a name for themselves by maintaining the club’s social media channels on match days and putting together financial projections for the tightly-run budget. Highly innovative and most impressive. Kerkstun Macpherson shot Hadley ahead after 18 minutes and for a long spell the home side looked to be taking control of the match before they were hit by two goals in the space of three minutes by the visitors, the first from Abraham Eze followed by a fine solo effort from Nick Elliot. The second half was a tightly fought affair. Hadley drew level when goalkeeper Rees Voller was sent off for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. Dan Boughton took over in goal but was unable to save the resultant penalty by Zane Gangadeen. A game to warm the cockles of the spectators’ hearts on a bitterly cold afternoon. Not that Biggleswade United are the only innovators. At Hadley, they’ve come up with a great idea to make a few bob at half time. Forget scratch cards or raffle tickets. Instead we have the throw the tennis ball competition in which spectators pay £1 a time to hurl a ball on to the pitch from the terraces. The one that lands nearest the centre spot walks off with half the takings. In this case, a young man with a particularly powerful arm, Steve Wheldon, was only 4 centimetres off the spot. Maybe, they should book him on the first plane to Australia! The idea came from a trip two Hadley fans, Tom and Chris, made to the Faroe Islands. Attending a top league tame there, they were treated to this exciting half time enterprise whilst sucking their Jaffas. So if you’re looking for a rather different type of challenge, maybe a trip to Hadley is on the cards! Hoddesdon Town missed out on the chance to move within a point of third place after they lost 1-0 at Edgware Town. Tommy Walsh scored the only goal of the game, converting from a 15th minute free kick. In the days other game, Holmer Green left it late before securing a 1-1 draw at Colney Heath. Spencer Clarke-Mardell reacted quickest from a 52nd minute corner to put the hosts ahead but with just two minutes to play, James Britnell headed home a Gary Lines corner to earn Green a point.
In a mid table fixture that beat the weather, Bedford entertained Baldock Town at McMullen Park and in a close game Town just edged out Bedford by 2-1. Baldock dominated the first half but poor finishing meant that Bedford were very much in the game, although they rarely troubled Jack Farmer in the Baldock goal. But the wayward finishing of Baldock had to end and it did on 32 minutes when Dean Gilbert scored following a corner kick. Just before half time, Bedford defender Benat Pena needlessly fouled Harrison Holland for a penalty. Holland picked himself up to put away the penalty past keeper Jack Mudge on 43 minutes. Half time came with Bedford relieved that they were only two goals down. The second half was a different affair as Bedford stormed back and scored in the first minute of the half catching Baldock cold when Cameron Hyde chipped the ball over Farmer and into the net on 46 minutes. Bedford could and perhaps should have equalised when substitute Tyrone Kelly shot against Farmers legs when he had the whole goal to aim at. It was now end to end stuff and home keeper Mudge did well to save from Callum Donnelly. Bedford had another great chance on 75 minutes but Farmer saved from Jack Downes. Baldock continued to press the home goal but also continued their poor finishing thus keeping Bedford in the game until the final whistle. Just two more chances, one at either end, before the close. Firstly Mason Smith shot narrowly wide for Bedford and in the dying minutes Mudge produced a great save to deny Holland. It was a good game to watch, the second half in particular, which warmed the hearts of the watching crowd on a bitterly cold day. Bedford were disappointed not to have drawn the match and in the end, Baldock were relieved that they held on and escaped with the three points. Mike Taylor was back at the Boro’ to enjoy a really chilly afternoon at Enfield Borough, who awaited the visitors from St Neots. The pitch was in fine condition and very well looked after by the dedicated ground staff. Perhaps inspiration for the visitors, who’s play and endeavour in the first half matched that of the home club, it certainly made St Neots lowly position seem misplaced. Honours even at half time, but it would seem that the half time tea had greater effect on the Boro’ than their opponents. Two crosses into the visitors 6-yard box and St Neots found themselves to goals down early in the second half. Try as they may, St Neots failed to make inroads, as the Enfield Borough defenders remained resolute. Enfield did manage a third goal late on, which arguably was a little bit tough on the visitors. The game well controlled by the referee, who only had to issue one caution and that was late on (but quite justified). Pleasing to report that not one audible expletive from either club….well done. Elsewhere, Brimsdown beat Harefield 3 2…. Hatfield had a close win 3 2 over bottom side Hillingdon Borough,,….and London Lions beat struggling / inconsistent Rayners Lane 3 nil…
BEDS SENIOR TROPHY – QUARTER FINAL
The only side to beat the wintry conditions in this competition was Langford who beat Caldecote 6 1, so hopefully that result will do their confidence some good. Referee Chris Turner writes – Another week and another fine example of great sportsmanship, this time in particular by Langford who continued playing in such a sporting manner respecting their opponents and the match officials throughout the 90 minutes despite the score line, and I cannot commend them highly enough. My two colleagues should also both be commended for a magnificent example of assistant refereeing which greatly contributed to the respect shown by both clubs enabling me to fully enjoy this match confident in the knowledge that both clubs and officials were here to play positive skilful football in a sporting spirit. Please would you be kind enough to communicate to all the clubs, that I look forward to each match this season in the hope that All of the clubs in the league at which I referee reflect the improvement that I have seen over the past two seasons on the league as it can only encourage more referees to join the league and more importantly with the skill, sportsmanship and less foul language now clearly on display , will hopefully increase spectator attendance and funds for the clubs.
DIVISION TWO CUP – 2nd ROUND
In front of 15 frozen spectators, Aston Clinton moved into the next Round with a 2-0 home win over The 61 FC. Goalscorers for the home side were Alex Little and Harry Brown
A reminder to all clubs, particularly those in Division Two , that the use of Substitute Boards in a match is a League requirement. The home side are responsible for providing the Boards, and they are normally placed on the half way line, so that they can be used by both sides as required.
Before their game with Pitstone & Ivinghoe, Park View were presented with the APBS sponsored Team of the Month by Board member Norman Ingram. On a less than welcoming day, when only idiots go out in the cold to watch a game, played safe, and went to a 3g ( or 4 g ) pitch to watch a game between Park View against Pitstone & Ivinghoe. I don’t normally like pitches with a running track circling the pitch but had a very good view from the impressive main stand, and the view from the elevated opposite side wasn’t bad either. As there were nine goals in the game I don’t intend to itemise them all, but would make a special mention to FRANCIS WILLIAMS who notched 4 of his team’s 6 goals, plus Pitstone’s number 8 – sorry never got the line-ups, and nothing on full time at the time of composing this report – but he gave a masterful performance in midfield, as well as scoring the best goal of the game – a dipping 35 yarder. This was a game that graced Division Two ( and probably higher ) as both sides were intent on attacking, and no blame should be levied against either defence. Some of the goals would’ve been drooled over by the Match of the Day pundits, such was the quality of the goals. The scoring went as follows….Francis Williams, but wearing number 5 scored after 6 and 9 minutes, and initial thoughts were game over. However Pitstone had other ideas, and No 8 volleyed home after 10 minutes to reduce the deficit, and it was all square when No 7 shot home after 19 minutes from a cut back. In the 45 minute Williams put his side back in front. Back came Pitstone with a well worked goal to equalize after 61 minutes when the 9 slotted home. However 2 minutes later Williams notched his fourth of the game. In the closing stages KOFI APPIAH netted with fine strikes after 77 and 85 minutes. In short you can understand why Park View are top as they are so potent up front, but Pitstone certainly gave them a good game, and its hard to believe why they are so low in the table. Both teams played the game in a very sporting manner.
There was another idiot out and about in the Berkhamsted area where the Editor watched Berkhamsted Raiders claim their 4th victory of the season as they beat visiting Mursley Utd 3-1. This was another very watchable and enjoyable game, despite the brass monkeys weather, with end to end football to keep the large band of groundhoppers happy. Both sides had numerous chances to score – no exaggeration to say that it could easily have been 12-11 at the end!. Berko took the lead midway through the first half after Joel Danso converted a penalty but Adam Bone showed good strength to hold off a defender and slot home to bring the scores level in the 39th minute. The best strike of the day came in the second half, unfortunately it was from the boot of a Mursley man past his own keeper to put the home side back in front. Mursley’s hopes of a comeback were dealt a body blow when Ellis Spence received a red card for verbals towards the referee. Mursley continued to throw men forward as they pressed for the equaliser, and Drew McFarland took advantage of one such gap to burst through the middle to put the match beyond the visitors. Apart from the red card incident , the match was played in a good spirit by both sides, and well refereed by Newton Gordon. The only other match to beat the weather in this Division saw Loughton Manor return from Tring Town with a 4-1 victory, thanks to two goals from George Sofroni and one apiece from Jamie Palmer and James Davey.
Original Club New Club
Dean Roper- Berkhamsted Raiders- Amersham
David Etheridge- Colney Heath- Codicote
Rowan Bullivant- Winslow- Buckingham Athletic
Stephen O’Hara- London Colney- Hadley
Jack Blair- Harpenden- Berkhamsted
Sami Mahrouche- WGC- Hatfield
Sean Fryer- Colney Heath- Hadley
Brandon Carney- WGC- AFC Dunstable
Chris Blunden- Berkhamsted- Oxhey Jets
Jordan Goode-Keeley- Harefield- Broadfields
Laurence Rispoli- AFC Southgate- Cockfosters
Nathaniel Higgins- Tring Corinthians- Leighton Town
Bradley Kirkwood- Leighton Town- Winslow United
Simon Dent- Hertford Town- Wodson Park
NOVEMBER APBS TEAM OF THE MONTH
Premier Division: Harpenden Town
Division One: Broadfields Utd
DivisionTwo: Amersham Town
Congratulations to all 3 winners.
MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
A reminder to all clubs that it is a League Directive that the laminated A3 MYL posters must be displayed in all 3 changing rooms and in the clubhouse or refreshment area. Non compliance with this Directive may well result in a charge being levied against your club.
Grateful thanks to Chris Mitchell, Bob Flight, Dave Henman ,Mike Taylor, Wild Bill Hamilton & Chris Turner for their reports. It’s very good to see some of our match officials putting pen to paper and submitting reports, particularly when it’s clear they are reporting on an enjoyable game.
All news, views items of interest, tittle tattle etc are welcome, particularly from our refereeing fraternity.
Enjoy your football and remember MIND YOUR LANGUAGE