Saturday, 14 October 2017

Hopping Gives Me a Sense of Enormous Well-Being (Parkside)


Hopperational Details
Date & Venue
Saturday 14 October 2017 at Parkside
Result
Aveley 2 Soham Town Rangers 2
Competition
Isthmian League Division One North (Step 4)
Hopstats
Ground 622.  A planned trip to Spennymoor was thwarted by oversleeping and A1 closures, so this fixture caught my eye from the nearer alternatives.  I’ve seen Aveley at home once before, but this is a smart new ground with an artificial surface.
Context
Aveley have a new management team and two new signings this week, and a real “buzz” on Twitter to get my attention.  Soham also have two new signings.  So, I put on my trousers, had a cup of tea, and thought about leaving the house. Parkside.
In One Sentence
Entertaining for the passing neutral, frustrating for Aveley’s new gaffer who’d told his players to see the game out by the corner flag.
So What?
Aveley and Soham are 18th and 16th respectively.
Match Report
Aveley took the lead with a very good finish by Jordan Watson, tucking the ball away across the keeper into the far left corner.

About to be 1-0 after 13 minutes
The same player was involved into the build-up for the second.  Receiving the ball with his back to goal, he sent the ball to the left flank and the cross was perfect for Adam Bolle to stick out a leg and score with a first touch.  It was all pretty comfortable for Aveley who went into half-time with a two-goal lead.

Rubbish photo feat. the scorer's foot and ball hidden behind keeper. 2-0
Soham looked more dangerous in the second half and it was no real surprise when they scored to get back in the game.  A long throw caused some chaos, the ball dropped to the floor and it was buried in the roof of the net by debutant Lee Chaffey.  Game on, better for the passing neutral.

Aveley responded and there was a very entertaining end-to-end spell.  There was plenty of neat interplay and approach from the home side.  Any triangle-lovers would have been purring, but they never created the golden chance to make Soham’s keeper work hard.  With the third goal proving elusive, the home bench instructed the team to take a stoppage time free-kick to the corner flag.  They did, but ended up giving the ball back to Soham for one more attack.  The new bosses were not best pleased as a last-ditch equaliser was scored by the other Soham debutant, Craig Gillies. Even so, the chat amongst the home fans heading for the exit was that they’d seen a more promising performance and there will be better days ahead.

Aveley (2) 2 (Watson 13, Bolle 21)
Soham Town Rangers (0) 2 (Chaffey 60, Gillies 90+)
Ground Pix
This place is smart, and well-set for earning income on non-matchdays.  Grays are tenant groundsharers here too, but with a crowd today of just over 260, Aveley won’t want to stay around at Step 4 for long.  On social media this week, the arrival of new manager James Webster from the level above was being seen as something of a statement of intent.





Match Pix
Aveley in white-and-blue.










After Bins, Dogs, Raffles … Non-League Ceilings?
In search of a new angle for a photograph inside the very smart Aveley facilities.  OK, so I was trying to take a selfie but missed, alright?  Don't judge me... 



Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Green and grey today, and no change in the pecking order.  Full table was in the last post.  Will update from time to time.  After 121 games tracked, Red leads and Fire Cracker (as defined by Dulux) is last.

For new readers: 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.

What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  Spennymoor Town will be a priority sooner rather than later in order to restore "The 160".


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Trial of the Winslow Boys


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 7 October (Non League Day) 2017 at Winslow Sports Club
Result
Winslow United 2 Bedford 1
Competition
Spartan South Midlands League Division One (Step 6)
Hopstats
Ground 621. I have to be local(ish) today because of an evening reunion event from my early days of teaching at Fearnhill School in Letchworth.  (Hello to any former pupils stumbling across this, and yes I am still going …)
Context
5th against 13th in a 20-team division, but that hides the fact that the reverse fixture already happened in late September and Winslow delivered an 8-0 thumping to today’s visitors.  There have never been fewer than four goals in a game so far this season, so I am packing a pencil sharpener.  Will it be revenge or damage limitation?
In one sentence
An attritional battle became interesting for the last 20 minutes as Bedford threatened to snatch a draw.
So what?
Winslow United rise to 3rd and Bedford drop a place to 14th.
Match Report
I made very few notes for the first half-hour, somewhat distracted and delighted by adjacent croquet and overhead red kites.  Meanwhile, defences were on top as a midfield battle unfolded.  Neither keeper really had that much to do other than routine catches and clearances.  Both teams struggled to control the bouncing ball and there was a lot of safety-first.  Probably with expectations of another win after the reverse result, Winslow had a bit more of the play and the pressure, but didn’t create much until the relief of an opening goal after 35 minutes.  Sean Coles rounded the keeper Jack Mudge to break the deadlock.

The second goal, however, was a peach.  A run down the left flank, a flick and a volley by Mitchell Collins.  Right on the whistle for the end of the first half too, a great time to score and cause the stereotypical ripping up of interval team talks.

In the second half, Winslow missed a lobbed chance when one-on-one, and were to do so again later.  The game was interrupted by foul after foul and the level of dissent and gamesmanship steadily increased, as did the yellow card count.  Then with about 20 mins to go, a good turn and shot by substitute Aaron Jarvis pulled one back for Bedford.  Winslow responded by forcing a good save from Mudge, and then opposite number Aaron White did the same before Bedford hit the woodwork with the rebound.  So close, and if only…

In the end, Winslow were able to hold on to the points, but they’d been made to work hard by the visitors.  In truth there was not a lot between the sides today.
Ground Pix
  


No longer rare in these parts. The distinctive V-shaped forked tail of the Red Kite, coming soon to a bird table near you.



Match Pix
  







Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League
Croquet, ladies and gentlemen.  Maybe this is the future, I haven’t played since reaching the quarter-finals of the Cambridge University Open Pairs Championship in 1979.  Honest.  The main rule then was that the matches had to finish by mutual agreement at 5.55pm in time for the bar to open at six.  

Croquet to the left adjacent to the football match in progress. Risk assessments, anyone?
Croquet is a brilliant game, trust me.  We need more of it.

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats


A full table was printed in the previous blogpost.  Today, in the 120th tracked game, Green beats Pink to stay 5th, with the latter dropping one place to 10th, below Radioactive Bile.

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
9.0
4.0
1.0
4.0
9.0
3.0
19.0
2.111
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
40.5
20.0
8.0
12.5
66.5
11.0
56.5
1.395
Green
62.0
30.0
7.0
25.0
108.0
16.0
69.0
1.113
Orange
24.5
9.0
4.0
11.5
38.5
5.0
17.5
0.714
Purple
11.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
25.0
2.0
2.0
0.182
Yellow
25.0
7.0
6.0
12.0
48.0
5.0
4.0
0.160
Pink
14.0
4.0
4.0
6.0
29.0
1.0
-8.0
-0.571
Radioactive Bile
12.0
5.0
0.0
7.0
26.0
1.0
-6.0
-0.500
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!  A trip to Spennymoor Town to re-complete The 160 (Everywhere Down to Step 2) is high on my priority list, but there is still plenty of Cup, Vase and Trophy football to be played at unvisited grounds.