SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE
NEWSLETTER NO 16
SAT 2nd DECEMBER
Many congratulations to our 3 FA Vase winners – Leighton Town, Tring Ath and Biggleswade FC and the best of luck in the next round.
F.A. VASE – THIRD ROUND
Leighton Town made the long journey to Norfolk to take on Gorleston and emerged as 4-2 winners in this 3 round match. Both teams looked eager to attack and the game was certainly being played at a high tempo in the early stages. Town looked the better of the two teams in the first half but despite lots of possesion could not find the final killer ball. They eventually took the lead in the 42nd minute when Tom Silford unleashed a left footed shot that ripped high into the net. Two minutes later Silford laid the ball square to Lewis McBride who drove a low shot into the bottom corner of the net to double Town’s lead. Gorleston made some tactical changes at half time pushing their captain, Ingram into midfield from left back and he was a major influence for the hosts who started the half in determined fashion. In the 59th minute the hosts pulled a goal back when Watts fired the ball in from the left and it carried over Tom Wyant and into the far side of the net, was it a cross or was it a shot ?, the scorer said it was a shot, who can argue !!. Within 4 minutes Gorleston had levelled the tie when Lambert drove a low shot across the goal and into the far corner. Gorleston were now looking the livelier of the two sides and Town needed to up their game again. In the 71st minute they won a corner on the left which went right across the goal before striking a home defender and dropping nicely for Tom Silford who knocked it into the net to restore Town’s lead. After working so hard to get back in the game Gorleston must have been disappointed to find themselves behind again. Both sides continued to attack and in the 81st minute Town created 3 consecutive chances but 2 shots were blocked by defenders before a third was saved by the keeper. In the 84th minute town increased their lead after the home keeper made a good block the ball went out as far as Lewis McBride who superbly curled the ball home from about 25yards to restore Town’s 2 goal advantage. Town introduced 3 subs toward the end of the game but the hosts who had battled throughout were unable to score again and Town progressed through to Round 4. This was an exciting and well contested game which was well refereed and over the 90 minutes Town were good value for their win. The game between Welwyn Garden City vs Biggleswade FC turned into a very long afternoon, what with extra time, and stoppages, but in the end the better side won, but it wasn’t always that way during the game. The hosts were quickest out of the blocks, and the Greens rearguard initially looked rather uncomfortable, with the keeper looking a little hesitant. The first goal arrived after only 9 minutes when a Welwyn attack wasn’t properly cleared, and fell invitingly to the onrushing captain Danny Payne, who from 20 yards out, hit a lovely shot, which entered the net, via a deflection. It was all Welwyn for the first 35 / 40 minutes or so, and if it wasn’t for Daniel Green in goal saving 2 one-on ones it probably would’ve been game over. His initial hesitancy had gone, and in my books he kept his side very much in the game. As the half was nearing completion Alex Marsh shot through a crowd of players – probably with Charlie May unsighted – to claim an unexpected equaliser after 45 plus 5 minutes. If the first half belonged to Welwyn, the second half definitely belonged to Biggleswade, who were camped inside the Citizens half for most of the game. Try as they might to get in front Welwyn’s rearguard held firm, so onto extra time. Biggleswade still held the edge but it wasn’t until the 111th minute that they got the deserved breakthrough. It took a penalty – no arguments from me – for Nathan George to comfortably shoot home. Welwyn pushed for the equaliser whilst Biggleswade were just happy to keep the ball by the opposition corner flag which is so frustrating, but in the modern age, so common to see. So after another 5 minutes of extra extra time it was finally all over. I don’t like to be negative but the experienced referee let too much physical challenges go by in the first half, and one WGC player could’ve / should’ve walked within the first few minutes. Fortunately it all quietened down in the second half, although surprisingly there were more bookings! Finally a more than healthy crowd of 232 watched the game, which as a neutral commented was a very good advert for our league. Tring Athletic’s home 1-0 win against close neighbours and rivals Berkhamsted was an enthralling cup tie at The Grass Roots Stadium. The game attracted an official crowd of 285 who contributed greatly to a compelling derby game with both sets of supporters making plenty of noise to make it a cracking atmosphere. To say the result was a surprise was probably an understatement, with the visitors sitting on top of the table having not lost a league match for 17 games, whilst Tring sat second from bottom. The scene was set with a penalty shoot out from youngsters from Tring Tornadoes. Tring started on the front foot with teenager Max Hercules forcing a great save from Carl Tasker after only 2 minutes following a move instigated by Max and also involving Chris Vardy and Elliott Goward. Encouraged by this early opportunity the crucial breakthrough came just 6 minutes later when Chris Vardy stole in front of the big defenders to head the ball emphatically past keeper Carl Tasker. Further half chances fell to both sides. A super cross field pass from Luke Dunstan, who had another influential game, picked out Elliott Goward who cleverly rounded the defender but could only find the side netting from a tight angle. Former Athletic man Chris Blunden was twice foiled by late interventions from Chris Mason and Sam Joliffe and later fired a shot from some distance way over the bar after a fine piece of play by Berko. The visitors main threat came from set pieces struck by Adam Mead but by and large Tring dealt with this threat well but Jack Hopwood had to punch one effort away and failed to catch another although a foul was given for the latter. Tring were better side during the first half and deservedly went in at the interval with a one goal advantage and very nearly doubled the lead within 22 seconds of the restart when Chris Vardy met Goward’s cross only to see his effort just go agonisingly wide of the far post. As expected it was the visitors who picked up the pace with Josh Chamberlain forcing a fine save from Jack Hopwood (it has to be said his first major one of the game) who then cut out Alex Campana’s follow up cross. Campana then struck a fierce long range shot that flew well wide of the target. There was some apprehension when Adam Mead stepped up to take a free kick given on the edge of our area but Jack Hopwood was equal to the task tipping the well struck set piece over the bar. There was then an unfortunate halt to proceedings when the floodlights failed which delayed the match by about 48 minutes.
Play resumed with the visitors winning three corners on the trot and showing a determination to get back into the tie. They dominated possession but failed to break open the well organised and stubborn Tring defence.. Berko centre back and captain Jon Munday headed over a couple of corners but clear chances were thin on the ground for the visitors and they began to leave gaps at the back as they pushed forward in search of the equaliser. With time almost up the visitors had one last opportunity from a free kick which hit the post and following a melee in the area the ball was smashed over the bar from a promising position. There were calls for a handball and penalty from Berko who claimed that when the ball rebounded off the post it struck Tommy Twelves on the arm. This was later denied (as you would expect!) and the officials obviously agreed with him as they waved away the appeals. Seconds later the final whistle went.
4th ROUND DRAW
Leighton Town v Norwich CBS (Eastern Counties Div One)
Tring Athletic v Hullbridge Sports (Essex Senior)
Thatcham (Hellenic Premier) v Biggleswade FC
With Berkhamsted and Welwyn Garden City in FA Vase action, Harpenden Town moved into second spot after they won 2-1 at Oxhey Jets. For Harpenden, it was a 12th win of the season but a defeat that leaves their hosts in the bottom third of the table. At the foot of the table, Crawley Green remain bottom despite drawing 1-1 at Hadley for whom Kerkstun Macpherson was on the scoresheet. Two of the bottom five met as the hosts Holmer Green won for just the 4th time this season as they overcame fellow strugglers St Margaretsbury 4-0 with Leo Blackman scoring twice. One of the division’s form sides, Leverstock Green, made it six straight league wins after their 3-0 home win against Edgware Town with Curtis Donaldson, Jonathon Lacey and Alex McCarthy on the scoresheet. Elsewhere, Hoddesdon Town won 4-2 at Cockfosters with Leigh Rose, Bradley Fraser with a brace and Emmanuel Melford-Rowe scoring the goals and Stotfold move out of the bottom two after winning 2-1 at London Tigers thanks to Dan Harper’s penalty.
Winslow Utd are up into third place after their 8-1 thrashing away at St.Neots Reserves Sean Coles put Winslow in front at St Neots Town reserves with a left-footed effort from 20 yards out following a corner. Matt Cruse then struck twice before Coles made it four with Winslow’s 54th goal of the season, surpassing their totals the previous two campaigns. Two own goals put Winslow six in front before Daniel Delderfield scored goal number seven right on the stroke of half-time. Coles scored his 26th goal of the season as he wrapped up a match hat-trick. In a mid table fixture, Buckingham Athletic entertained Ampthill Town on a damp afternoon at Stratford Fields and the home team ran out winners by 5 – 2. A frequent quote is that football is watched by one man and his dog, however for this game it was four dogs and a small but enthusiastic crowd. All the early pressure came from Athletic and it was no surprise when they scored on just 5 minutes through Ben Acquaye. Ampthill did not trouble Nick Bennion in the home goal until the 19th minute when he saved a shot from Brad Clarke. Two quick goals before half time sealed the game for Athletic as first Chris Stapleton struck home a 25th minute penalty and then he hit his second goal on 33 minutes when his shot hit a post and went in. Ampthill rallied with a couple of corners in quick succession and Bennion had to save at the second attempt from a shot by Sam Holmes. The half ended with Athletic in firm control. Ampthill started the second half better and Bennion made a good early save from Clarke and Athletic had to survive a couple of free kicks. But Ampthill were not to be denied and from another free kick, Jamie Cerminara rose to head the ball past Bennion on 54 minutes. Any thought of an Ampthill revival soon disappeared however when just minutes later Athletic scored their fourth goal on 57 minutes when Jack Menday headed home a corner kick by Ryan Marsden. Athletic went further ahead on 66 minutes when Ryan Kelsey netted from close range and could have scored again but substitute Juyin Oluwayemi missed the goal when it seemed easier to score. This miss proved costly as Ampthill hit their second goal a minute later when Cerminara headed the ball into the home net on 69 minutes. The final minutes of the game saw Ampthill try to reduce the arrears and Bennion had to produce a great save to deny Sam Holmes from scoring. However, Athletic held out for a great win which moves them above Ampthill in the table on goal difference. Our very own Mike Taylor was on the line for the battle of the B’s as Broadfields entertained Brimsdown. A dull dark day, an early kick-off precipitated by floodlight issues at Preston Park, but out came Broadfields guns blazing, visitors Brimsdown were soon pegged back in their own half. That the home club went into an early lead came as no surprise to the few hardy souls that came to watch the game, but they were somewhat bemused when then visitors capitalised on a long pass and swept in the equaliser. Broadfields, with promotion aspirations, were shaken and stirred into some sprightly wing play that ran their opponents ragged, two more goals before the half time tea and the Broadfields were looking home and dry. However Brimsdown are made of stronger stuff, turning the game around and taking over the middle of the park, this time the visitors wingmen getting their own back. Another Brimsdown goal and should end the game with ten men, as one of their player’s decided to use his head in a manner not allowed. Shame really, it wasn’t that kind of game. But Broadfields will have to play a lot better than this if they are to retain their promotion hope. ….Must’ve been a cracker between 2 more mid-table teams who have slipped recently – Buckingham beating Ampthill 5 -3. I’ll see how Ampthill fare on Tuesday, when they take on runaway leaders Southall. If they play to their full potential it should be quite a game…Harefield won 3-1 at FC Broxbourne with their scorers being Leonard Farhall, Paul Underwood and Tom Williams, with Chris Wells responding for the Borough…Rather surprisingly promotion chasers Risborough Rangers came up against a rejuvenated bottom club Hillingdon Borough with 7 new signings and could only drew 2 -2 and so drop to 4th in the table….Rayners Lane drew 1 – 1 with improving Codicote with Sekani McCalmon, and Jacob Cook scoring for their respective sides…The young St Neots team got thrashed 8 – 1 by Winslow on their own patch , a win which lifts Winslow up to 3rd, with games in hand….Now 2nd in the table Wodson Park beat Langford 3 nil with Matthew Ellis, Peter Sawyer and Louis Wylie finding the net. I know its an ongoing gripe of mine but why were only 15 in attendance?..
PABLO ARDILES: Update on Pablo’s appearances in SSMFL football. Pablo made 431 appearances for Hoddesdon Town, 70 appearances for Welwyn Garden City and at least 125 appearances for Wodson Park. Therefore he has racked up over 626 appearances in SSMFL football, and as Colin Sinden has pointed out he will celebrate 25 years of plying his trade in the SSMFL next year. An incredible achievement and much deserving of our congratulations. Rather puts to shame the number of modern players who seem to chop and change their clubs more frequently than their undercrackers!
Park View returned to the top of the table following their 2-1 win away at Old Bradwell. Francis Mathews and Albert Ofori- Mensah were on the scoresheet for the visitors whilst Ross Butler replied for the home side. Apart from getting the 3 points, their return to the summit was helped by Totternhoe’s rather surprising 4-2 defeat away at Pitstone & Ivinghoe .Ryan Mellor hit a hat trick for Pitstone whilst Joe Smith was responsible for both of Totternhoe’s goals Amersham Town made it six wins out of six and moved up to third in the table with a hard earned 1-0 victory over The 61FC ( Luton ). Records show that the last time Amersham won six successive games was in 2002. Their current form reflects great credit on manager Mani Asare who has improved the squad both by good coaching and the recruitment of some promising players. It could all have been very different had The 61FC’s Ryan Smith converted a chance after only twenty seconds but, with the goal at his mercy, he bundled the ball wide. Amersham, however, moved the ball around well and produced several half chances. Germaine Agyemang delayed a shot when well !placed and The 61 keeper, Daniel Gould, was well positioned to field shots from Isaac Asare and Bertie Squires-Adams. On the half hour mark The 61FC worked their way back into the game. Bradley Currington received the ball from the right, dummied his defender but then hacked his shot over the bar. It was a costly miss as nine minutes later Amersham took the lead. After good inter-passing in midfield Agyemang slid the ball into the run of Tom Parry who clipped his shot past the advancing Gould and into the net. As the second half went on, The 61FC started to dominate as Amersham lost their composure and their shape. The home side were indebted to their defence who came to the rescue with some resolute defending as their forwards, so lively in the first half, seemed to decide that tracking back to help out was not in their job description! There was still time, however, for a header from a 61FC forward to graze the bar before the final whistle drew to a good and fairly contested match to a close . Mursley United travelled to MK Gallacticos on Saturday and were defeated 4-3 in a hard-fought game.Manager Anthony Lands introduced new signing John Mulholland and the former Aylesbury Utd and Winslow United player-manager slotted into the middle of the back four. The home side were quickest out of the blocks and scored after ten minutes through Josh Douglas-Smith, although there was a suspicion of offside as the striker ran on to a through ball and slotted past Sam Jay. Mursley looked to take a hold in the game and a terrific strike from Adam Bone crashed back off the bar with the keeper beaten. Gallacticos extended their lead on the half hour as Douglas-Smith had time to control the ball and curl an effort past Jay from eighteen yards. He went on to add his third on the dot of half-time as he got away from the Mursley defence again and calmly slotted home. Lands swapped himself for Lewis Delahaye at half-time and the visitors used their possession better. They scored with just over twenty minutes left as Peter McAnaspie ran onto a through ball and his firmly struck shot beat the home keeper before he could move. They added a second after a sustained bout of pressure as a Bone corner curled under the bar and into the net. The hosts hit back immediately as a flowing move ended with Dahire touching home at the near post. A frantic ten minutes ensued and, in injury time, a long deep cross from Simon Hodges cannoned back off the far post, hit the keeper and lodged in the net. Mursley had one final chance, but Bone’s free kick from twenty five yards flew tantalisingly over the bar. Aston Clinton returned from Loughton Manor with a 3-0 win, thanks to goals by Tom Burton, Vinny Greco and Lewis Workman, but the home side were undoubtedly not helped by the red card received by goal keeper Ricard Radford after just 25 minutes. The referee, Dean Carney, was so impressed with the attitude of Loughton following the sending off that he wrote the following : I have to note the Loughton Captain, Manager and Chairman were all superb to work with and conducted themselves very very well in a tough fixture for them! Having had to dismiss the goalkeeper after 25 minutes for a DOGSO, The captain was superb in controlling his players and having a calm discussion with me regarding the incident – a credit to his team. The Chairman had heard some sour words thrown in my direction(Of which I did not hear), in which he popped his head into the changing room at Half time to apologise on behalf of the club, he also backed my decision – again a credit to the club. The manager was also very calm and composed as he asked at half time for my take on the incident, I explained and he wasn’t convinced, he accepted it gracefully. In what must have been a frustrating afternoon for the team, I fully felt the club were a credit to the league. IF ONLY CARLSBERG MADE CAPTAINS, MANAGERS AND CHAIRMAN!
HERTS CENTENARY TROPHY :Both matches in the Trophy saw victories for SSMFL sides – Baldock thrashed Wormley Rovers 5 1, whilst London Lions progressed by disposing of Knebwoth by 3 goals to nil
SUBSTITUTE BOARDS :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.
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 and Mike Taylor for their reports. It’s good to see some of our match officials putting pen to paper and submitting reports – more please – 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
Bill Scholes- firstname.lastname@example.org