Saturday, 18 November 2017

Best Decision I Never Made


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 18 November 2017 at Giant Axe
Result
Lancaster City 4 Coalville Town 2
Competition
Northern Premier League (Step 3)
Hopstats
626 on the lifetime list and I am here because of the result of this Twitter poll.  Thanks to everyone who took part. Lancaster scored 51% of the vote to choose from the three unvisited Step 3 grounds on my shortlist for today.
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Context
13th plays 15th in the division, so mid-table respectability for both sides.  Lancaster are unbeaten at home.
In one sentence
Lancaster chose the classic good-time-to-take-the-lead, in the 45th minute, and they pulled away in the second half before a late second for Coalville.
So what?
Lancaster go up to 10th, Coalville drop a place to 16th.  The unbeaten home record is intact.
Match Report
Kevin Phillips of WBA is without doubt the classiest warmer-upperer I have ever seen, but I watched the Coalville pre-match first-time-shooting drill with some concern.  It took 30 shots (honestly) before someone hit the target.  To be fair, only one shot left the stadium.

When the game started, the first item of note was a prompted minute of applause in memory of club legend Neil Marshall, who died a year ago from cancer having played nearly 500 times.  Lancaster almost scored as the minute ended but a timely tackle from Lee Torr saved the day.

Another good clearance, this time by Kyle Dixon, was necessary as the home side started positively, and it was something of a surprise when Nat Watson received the ball on the right, cut inside and had a lot of space to score for Coalville with a powerful left-foot shot.

Lancaster were unfazed and visiting keeper Matt Coton saved well from Hannu Tam.  The pressure built. After a set piece, defender Steve Williams stayed up in the box and his aerial presence led indirectly to an equaliser.  A first chance was cleared but the ball fell kindly for Craig Carney who scored with the outside of his right foot.

Coalville came back with a training ground corner routine, the ball coming back to a player holding deep.  However, Lancaster took the lead just before the interval.  A good save by Coton delayed the goal, but a resulting knockdown gave Carney a chance to volley his second.

At half-time, someone won the raffle prize, which was tickets for a boat trip to the Isle of Man.  Whether they were return tickets was not made clear, so good luck to the winner.

The second half started in the same competitive fashion.  The “If only…” moment arrived on the hour.  Daniel Creaney’s header went across the keeper but went just wide, and the striker’s reaction confirmed that it had been a good chance.  Coalville then worked another training ground routine from a quickly taken freekick.  It must have been very frustrating for them when Lancaster scored their third on the break.  Ryan Winder timed his run from midfield to shoot unchallenged from a central position after a move down the right.

The fourth came from a similar build-up and was a tap-in for substitute Charlie Bailey.  Finally, Coalville’s second was awarded by the assistant, who was in a decent position to confirm that a looping defensive header had crossed the line before being cleared.

Good entertainment for the passing neutral.

Ground Pix
I rarely have a bad day when I cross the gravy-on-chips line heading North.  Everything about today was above average.  The welcome at the turnstiles, the food, the programme, the location and the ground itself.  It ticks a lot of boxes for the traditionalists.  It is less than five minutes’ walk from the station and multiple types of train are clearly visible during the game – West Coast main line, the DMUs of the Morecambe branch, and the occasional freight train.  I can see why Twitter sent me here – the hive mind knows.  All it needs now is a migrating bunch of spotted flycatchers or something and some people would never leave. 












Match Pix
Lancaster City are known as the Dolly Blues.









Pre-Match Entertainment
A walk round Lancaster in the sunshine.  A particular highlight was a statue of Queen Victoria, mounted above frescoes of all the great scientists, engineers, leaders, writers and thinkers of the day.  Today she presided over a Christmas market.  For what it’s worth, I think Tony Pulis could have a new career as a Gladstone impersonator very soon if he loses the baseball cap.






Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Green beats Orange, as we have come to expect over the last 125 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
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
41.5
20.0
9.0
12.5
68.5
11.0
55.5
1.337
Green
67.0
34.0
8.0
25.0
114.0
17.0
81.0
1.209
Orange
26.5
9.0
4.0
13.5
44.5
5.0
11.5
0.434
Purple
11.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
25.0
2.0
2.0
0.182
Yellow
27.0
7.0
6.0
14.0
57.0
5.0
-5.0
-0.185
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?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  There will be a rugby union diversion in midweek as I take in Cambridge University’s traditional warm-up match against the Steele-Bodger XV before the Twickenham showdown with Oxford in early December.


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Colemen Cut The Mustard


Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 11 November 2017 at Pack Meadow
Result
Coleshill Town 8 (Eight)
Blaby & Whetstone Athletic 1
Competition
FA Vase R2
Hopstats
Ground 625 on the lifetime list and I am here randomishly because @TheVan played along on Twitter and imagined pulling the Six of Hearts from an imaginary deck of cards.  See the previous post for the proof.  It’s random, or at least random-ish. Only he and/or his psychiatrist (if any) knows whether there is any deep significance to his choice, and we will never know.  All this happened because I had exactly 52 games on my list of unvisited grounds for today.  Thanks to @matthewcr too who followed with a reserve choice a few seconds later.
Context
Although Step 5 vs Step 6, both teams are going table-toppingly well in the Midland Football League Premier and the Eastern Counties Premier respectively.  B&W will need to catch up on games in hand because they’ve already played three times in this competition.  They’ve had home wins against Blidworth Welfare, Bottesford Town and Northampton ON Chenecks with a 13-1 aggregate.  Coleshill Town lost out in the Vase semi-finals over two legs to South Shields last season.  Should be a good contest.  (Postscript: what do I know?)
In one sentence
An astonishingly one-sided game featuring a double hat-trick after Coleshill had seen a first-half straight red card given to a defender with the scores still level.
So what?
As is the case with knockout competition, Coleshill now go into an imaginary hat and Blaby & Whetstone concentrate on the league.
Match Report
After an impeccable Armistice Day silence, Coleshill had the majority of possession in the first twenty minutes or so but there was no clue about what was to come later.  Their keeper Paul Hathaway needed to be alert in a sweeper role with a couple of headed clearances, and his opposite number Thomas Holyoak took a while to get accustomed to the bounce of the ball on the artificial surface.  The home side did in the end take the lead with a disputed direct free kick after 25 minutes.  Jordan Nadat was the scorer.

1-0
Blaby & Whetstone were level within a minute as they went straight up the middle from the restart and Rikki Bates smashed in an unstoppable shot.  As the craziness continued, a B&W defender almost headed an own goal but Holyoak backpedalled and just caught the ball in time, and with the very next attack Nadat played in Reece Leek who hit the post from close range.  Thus ended one of the maddest two minutes of football I’ve seen for a very long time.

After 31 minutes Nadat just failed to convert a cross and then the game changed bizarrely with the sending off of Coleshill defender Luke Edwards.  The incident was up the other end from me, but it seemed to be a straight red.  Within a minute, Nadat and Leek had linked neatly again to split the away defence. Nadat’s first shot was blocked but from an almost prone position he found the net to round off another mad two minutes.

When The Ten Men of Coleshill extended their lead soon after the break, it was clear that normal protocol had gone out of the window.  Nadat controlled the ball well before losing a defender and shooting for a hat-trick.  I wrote down “too easy” when it became 4-1 through Leek.  B&W had expected the game to be stopped for an assistant’s offside flag but I guess the referee deemed that a new phase of play had started.  Once a Joe Halsall header had gone in to make it 5-1 it looked like the visitors had crossed a motivational line in the wrong direction and we could be about to see an embarrassment.  Another hat-trick from Nadat completed the scoring (and to be fair Hathaway stopped another goal with a full-length save) as Coleshill went on the rampage.  It’s the first time I have witnessed a double hat-trick, and by now this was a real drubbing, all the more impressive for the execution with one man down.
Ground Pix
  




Match Pix
Coleshill in the white-and-blue.




Pre-Match Entertainment
I’ve been picking up the threads of my family tree again recently and Coleshill is the home town (or maybe village back then) of the ancestors I’ve tracked the furthest back in time.  My great-great-great-great grandmother Letitia Barnes, who was baptised here in 1785 and (honestly) was recorded in some Victorian censuses as Lettuce, left when she married one of the Brinklow Greens.  Green, Lettuce.  It’s just too good.  There were plenty of Greens in the area from a number of large families.  The next generation moved to work in the textiles factories of Coventry, and two generations later my great-grandmother Selina Green married a Coventry cycle enameller by the name of Allen Bolton.  Their daughter Lily married my grandad James Yapp from West Bromwich and no-one is really sure how they met.  Lily was a domestic servant in one of the big houses in Leamington and her brothers and sisters scattered across England and Wales.  The other Coleshill family featuring heavily on my tree in the 17th Century are the Bartons.  Hello to any distant Coleshill cousins reading this. Before kickoff I popped up to see the church where Leticia was baptised and several Bartons were baptised, married and buried.  Unfortunately an M6 delay meant that it was a very brief visit.




Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
No clean sheets today, but a win for green over yellow.  No change in the placings.

Results so far after 124 games:
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
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
41.5
20.0
9.0
12.5
68.5
11.0
55.5
1.337
Green
66.0
33.0
8.0
25.0
112.0
17.0
80.0
1.212
Orange
25.5
9.0
4.0
12.5
40.5
5.0
15.5
0.608
Purple
11.0
5.0
2.0
4.0
25.0
2.0
2.0
0.182
Yellow
27.0
7.0
6.0
14.0
57.0
5.0
-5.0
-0.185
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! No definite plans as yet but probably one of my step 3 priority grounds next weekend as I close in on “The 232”.