Sunday, 12 December 2010

Lucan Found at Olympic Venue

Hopperational details
Saturday 11 December 2010 at Dales Lane, Rushall Olympic 2 Carlton Town 1 in the Northern Premier League Division One South (step 4).  I am here for two reasons.  Firstly, I paid a visit to my brother Martyn aka @BlurredBirding in the morning.  He lives on the edge of Walsall and will be in a neck-brace for six weeks after a successful operation on his collection of discs.  The Bon Jovi ones have been left alone, and I left him searching from his window for waxwings in nearby trees.  That is dedication.  Secondly, the @RushallOlympic official twitter feed gave a clear and timely announcement that the game was on.
This match in one sentence
A very good win for the home side from a bruising but exciting encounter, coming back from one down on a tricky surface.
So what?
Carlton stay second and Rushall climb to 7th.  Rushall haven’t drawn many and are in good form at the moment.  In fact they have not lost in the league to anyone except leaders Barwell (twice) since mid-September.  Carlton will be hoping that this is a “blip” – this was only their second defeat in the league this season.
Who caught the eye on the pitch?
Curtis Shaw scores from the spot to give Carlton the lead
Alex Melbourne equalises soon after with a screamer for Rushall
The key moment was the equalising direct free-kick from Rushall’s Alex Melbourne in the 8th minute, his third goal in as many games.  It was indeed a beauty, right into the corner.  Carlton had taken the lead through Curtis Shaw from the penalty spot after only five minutes, and the game might well have taken a different course if they had held on to that lead for longer.  As it is, Rushall made better use of the width of the pitch and their attempts at a passing game worked better on the day.  There were several times that clever flicks and layoffs from the target men brought wingers and full-backs into play.

At this point, I really thought someone was going to get hurt or we were going to have a game ruined by a red card.  Tackles were flying in, and the referee seemed to be making generous allowances for the surface.  However, later on he also let some obvious dissent go unpunished.  If you are on this ref’s Christmas card list, it won’t be yellow, that’s for sure.

The winning goal was from #2 Lucan Spittle, who attacked a Melbourne free-kick at the near post and showed the unfettered joy of a man who doesn’t score many as he danced back upfield.  Was it an own goal? Did he mean it?  Well, as someone who played #2 occasionally and never got anywhere near the six-yard box, I’ll keep quiet.  The official club tweeter (nice to meet you, Steve) was close enough and assured me it’s Lucan’s.

Carlton keeper Neil West keeps it at 2-1 just before half-time
The conventional stats would probably make Alex Melbourne the man-of-the-match for the goal & assist combo, but I’ll also pick out the pair up front.  Chris Morris and Danny Lennon worked tirelessly and mostly unselfishly up front and gave the Carlton defence a tough time with movement and pace, and some nice triangles.
This match had the same effect on my pulse rate as …
… an exhibition of Suzi Quatro’s trousers in the Walsall Leather Museum (and if they don’t have one then they should in my opinion).
A snippet from the programme
This is not so much a programme as an encyclopedia of Midlands non-league football.  Two transfer snippets are of local interest.
The club have moved to sign talented young midfielder Richard Blythe … from Barwell.  The 19yo … was an integral part of Aston Villa’s academy and reserve sides, and played in the 2010 FA Youth Cup Final.  Pics Manager Neil Kitching says, “Richard fits the mould perfectly in terms of the stature of player we are looking to attract – he is young, talented and ambitious.”  This follows the news of Stuart McNaught’s surprising departure to neighbours and league rivals Sutton Coldfield Town.  “Neil Kitching said he was “amazed” by McNaught’s decision to leave.”
What I learned today
I see that Rushall have a John Littler on their playing staff.  If John is a local lad (and the programme suggests that he is), please could someone ask him whether he has ancestors called Joseph, Ann or Maria or any connections to the Gentleshaw area.  If so, then we might be distantly related!
Modus Hopper Random Talking Point
Olympic were one of five clubs who entered a league competition, to try to secure a much-needed ground improvement grant.  Their video, capturing the essence of non-league football, is here:

The voting process, though not on a FIFA level of alleged corruption, did not favour Rushall and they didn’t win, but the video deserves another outing if only for the “pothole” moment.  Timing is everything in comedy.
What Next?
Hard to plan in advance at this time of year but I hope to hop somewhere on Tuesday evening, and I might be able to restore the randomness that has been missing for a week or two.

UPDATE - the provisional plan is Gornal Athletic v Runcorn in the FA Vase for Tuesday evening.  This is because Graham Taylor said "No doubt about it!" twice during the second half of 5 Live's Spurs v Chelsea commentary.

1 comment:

  1. Did they have the Two new stands either side of the dugouts, or have these only been added since gaining promotion to the Premier Division.?