Saturday, 13 January 2018

Sittingbourne Comfortably, Hastings Stung


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 13 January at Woodstock Park
Result
Sittingbourne 2 Hastings United 0
Competition
Isthmian League Division One South (Step 4)
Hopstats
Ground 631 on the lifetime list, here randomishly because of Jay Rodriguez scoring for WBA against Arsenal on New Year’s Eve, and the postponement of Sittingbourne v Ramsgate on New Year’s Day.  All is explained in an earlier blogpost.
Context
12th plays 9th in the league.  Sittingbourne halted a losing streak in midweek with a big victory over Guernsey.  Hastings have won two from the last three but the last time out was a big defeat at home to Greenwich Borough.
In one sentence
It would have been nil-nil except for the two very early goals, which is not as crazy as it sounds.
So what?
Sittingbourne overtake Hastings and the teams are now 10th and 12th respectively.
Match Report
Firstly, Sittingbourne’s home-made soup is excellent.  They also seem to have a home-made club song too.  Like all home-made club songs, it is rubbish but fair play for having one.  It must be the main reason that Hastings found themselves two goals down in six minutes.

There was a charitable element about the first.  Hastings lost the ball on their left flank playing out from defence, and a square ball gave Kane Rowland a clear chance which he took well.  Sittingbourne went through the middle again three minutes later and the same player poached his second of the day.  And that was it really for this fairly unusual game.

Hastings steadied their ship and the rest of the first half was pretty uneventful.

In the second half, Hastings deserved a goal for their territorial domination and undoubted effort.  There was just a few minutes where you wondered whether a second goal would follow if they could only get their first.  Sittingbourne played on the break and might have done better – the away keeper Charlie Horlock needed to head the ball away as a sweeper several times but didn’t have much else to do.  Finally, in the last minute of normal time, the referee pointed to the penalty spot with five minutes of stoppage time to come.  However, there was to be no further excitement as Harry Brooks palmed Davide Rodari’s shot away to safety.

Sittingbourne 2 (Rowland 3, 6)
Hastings United 0

Ground Pix
Ground in transition – Sittingbourne have been here since Woodstock Sports folded.  Hoppers strongly advised to consult the helpful information on the club website otherwise your SatNav takes you on a tour of rural single-track roads before parking you up at a science laboratory.

Warning: that rearranged Ramsgate date may be incorrect ... !








Match Pix
Sittingbourne in Red, Hastings in … errrrm … Highlighter.







Something you don’t get in the Premier League
Trees, especially knobbly ones with interesting bark textures.




Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Green beats Grey and has a clean sheet so very little now between these two.

Results so far:
Based on conventional 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, but also -1pt for a goal conceded (GC) and +5pts for a clean sheet (CS).  Colours ranked on a points per game (PPG) basis. For new readers the odd .5 was caused by a shocking half-and-half shirt and the .1 was due to a substitute goalkeeper in a different colour.  The Fire Cracker colour was confirmed with the help of the social media team at Dulux UK, and it deserves to be last, trust me.  All of this arises from a comment attributed to Petr Cech that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box.


P
W
D
L
GC
CS
Pts
PPG
Red
10.0
5.0
1.0
4.0
11.0
3.0
20.0
2.000
Maroon
4.0
2.0
1.0
1.0
6.0
1.0
6.0
1.500
Blue
30.1
12.0
6.0
12.1
47.0
10.0
45.0
1.495
Grey
43.5
20.0
9.0
14.5
72.5
11.0
51.5
1.184
Green
71.0
35.0
9.0
27.0
121.0
18.0
83.0
1.169
Orange
28.5
9.0
6.0
13.5
46.5
5.0
11.5
0.404
Purple
11.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
25.0
2.0
2.0
0.182
Radioactive Bile
13.0
6.0
0.0
7.0
26.0
2.0
2.0
0.154
Yellow
28.0
8.0
6.0
14.0
58.0
5.0
-3.0
-0.107
Pink
15.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
30.0
1.0
-8.0
-0.533
Black
5.0
1.0
3.0
1.0
14.0
0.0
-8.0
-1.600
White
1.9
0.0
0.0
1.9
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-2.105
Fire Cracker
1.0
0.0
0.0
1.0
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-4.000


What Next?
Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!


Saturday, 6 January 2018

Swifts Win is Hard to Swallow for Ar Tarn


Hopperational Details
Date & Venue
Saturday 6 January 2018 at Waterworks Field
Result
Desborough Town 2 Stourport Swifts 4 a.e.t.
Competition
FA Vase Round 4.  Desborough play in the United Counties Premier and Stourport in the Midland Football League Premier, both at Step 5.
Hopstats
Ground 630 on the lifetime list, a late choice for practical and travel reasons this time as the nearest FA Vase fixture on a day of many pitch inspections and postponements.
Context
We are down to the last 32 in the competition so it is a “big game” in Step 5 terms.  Both sides have been in the last 16 once before so a win would equal the club record.  Desborough have beaten Wellington, Pinxton and Eastwood Community to get here.  Stourport have seen off Paget Rangers in the final qualifying round, then Shirebrook Town, Kimberley Miners' Welfare and Walsall Wood.  Neither team is going particularly well in the league.  After all the recent rain, conditions will be tricky and the forecast is for a distinctly chilly spectator experience.  A quick check on social media suggests that several other seasoned hoppers will be in attendance so it will be a good day for lurking in other people's photographs.
In one sentence
Hard-fought and compelling with the result in doubt until the second period of extra-time, but in the end better finishing won the game for the visitors.
So what?
The draw for the Fifth Round is on Monday.
Match Report
Both sides got the ball into the six-yard box for a good old-fashioned scuffle in the early minutes.  The opening goal went to Stourport after seven minutes.  Dan Sweeney received the ball with his back to goal, turned his marker and shot across the goalkeeper.  Sweeney was to be the visitors’ main threat all afternoon.

Desborough fought back strongly.  The Swifts’ keeper was not kicking the ball so they put him under pressure with high balls and a direct style.  The equaliser came from an own goal from close range as a low driven cross was diverted over the line.  Still only 20 minutes gone.

Both teams had now settled and they both looked dangerous in their own way.  The surface was not easy for teams trying to play flowing football.  The bobbles and the risk of a slip meant a lot of safety-first or percentage tactics, quite understandable for the conditions and the occasion.  Sweeney switched flanks now and then and he was Stourport’s main outlet.  There were no more goals before the break.

Swifts took the lead again through Sweeney very shortly after the restart.  It was a peach of a goal.  As with the first, he received the ball with back to goal, turned the marker and chipped it over the keeper into the far corner.  It looked as if it was intentional rather than an intended cross, and one of the classier goals I have seen at Step 5 for a long time.

Home keeper Chris Jones then kept the tie alive for Desborough with a double close-range save from two separate shots.  The pattern of the first-half was then repeated with a second equaliser for Town after an hour or so.  Andy Hall put the ball in the net from close range after a switch of play from right to left.  Desborough were now the team on top, and if I didn’t earn my living teaching physics I’d say they had the momentum.  I was behind the goal being attacked by Swifts and I saw very little of the ball until the 83rd minute.  Jones made another good save as the tie headed towards extra time.

In extra time, Jones once again made an excellent stop from a free-kick before his side conceded a penalty.  I can’t really comment in more detail on the cause-and-effect but the spotkick was converted by Sam Beasley.  I didn’t know at the time that this meant that he had scored for both sides.


Of course, this meant that Desborough had to commit to attack and it was maybe a bit harsh that Jones had no chance when Nick Macpherson slotted in a fourth goal just after the final changeround.

Macpherson gets number four for Swifts, game over.
At that point the home side looked defeated for the first time.  Sweeney spent much of the final ten minutes in close proximity to the corner flag as Swifts managed the end of the game.  Stourport might need some cotton wool to protect their number seven if this run continues.

Commiserations to Ar Tarn, congratulations to Swifts.  It was a decent (if cold!) afternoon for this passing neutral and I was glad that the current Yappmobile has heated seats, duly turned to Nuclear Fusion setting on my return.  Good luck to both teams for the rest of the season.

Ground Pix
New clubhouse and changing facilities surrounded by some old-school charm and a lot of potential for future development.  Well worth a visit.
  








Match Pix
Desborough in blue.










Something You Don’t Get in the Premier Leauge


Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Green loses to Red and so there is no change in the league table, now based on 130 games.


Results so far:
Based on conventional 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, but also -1pt for a goal conceded (GC) and +5pts for a clean sheet (CS).  Colours ranked on a points per game (PPG) basis. For new readers the odd .5 was caused by a shocking half-and-half shirt and the .1 was due to a substitute goalkeeper in a different colour.  The Fire Cracker colour was confirmed with the help of the social media team at Dulux UK, and it deserves to be last, trust me.  All of this arises from a comment attributed to Petr Cech that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box.


P
W
D
L
GC
CS
Pts
PPG
Red
10.0
5.0
1.0
4.0
11.0
3.0
20.0
2.000
Maroon
4.0
2.0
1.0
1.0
6.0
1.0
6.0
1.500
Blue
30.1
12.0
6.0
12.1
47.0
10.0
45.0
1.495
Grey
42.5
20.0
9.0
13.5
70.5
11.0
53.5
1.259
Green
70.0
34.0
9.0
27.0
121.0
17.0
75.0
1.071
Orange
28.5
9.0
6.0
13.5
46.5
5.0
11.5
0.404
Purple
11.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
25.0
2.0
2.0
0.182
Radioactive Bile
13.0
6.0
0.0
7.0
26.0
2.0
2.0
0.154
Yellow
28.0
8.0
6.0
14.0
58.0
5.0
-3.0
-0.107
Pink
15.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
30.0
1.0
-8.0
-0.533
Black
5.0
1.0
3.0
1.0
14.0
0.0
-8.0
-1.600
White
1.9
0.0
0.0
1.9
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-2.105
Fire Cracker
1.0
0.0
0.0
1.0
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-4.000


What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!