Monday, 3 January 2011

Andover The Points

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
3 January 2011 at The Portway Stadium (12 noon KO)
Andover 0  Hungerford Town 3
Southern League Division 1 South & West (step 4)
Venue #362.  I am here because it is a noon kickoff, giving me the chance of a Hampshire Bank Holiday double hop.  As it happens, this is the third time I have seen Hungerford this season.  I blogged their draw at North Leigh, and saw their 6-1 win in the reverse of today’s fixture as part of an August Bank Holiday triple.
This match in one sentence
Andover's Manager was highly animated ...
... but the coach was unmoved.
A controlled and effective performance from the visiting side ensured home manager Alan Leader had multiple opportunities for touchline apoplexy and histrionics.
This match summed up in the style of: The Daily Express
Managers of lower league football teams are endangering your pensions by winding up their players to such an extent that the National Health Service cannot afford the subsequent workload.  A spokesperson for an eminent scientist at a university somewhere is also concerned that hot air emanating from dugouts is responsible for a major part of global warming and if you breathe in all that airborne testosterone your hair may fall out.  Hungerford’s comfortable 3-0 win is yet another sign that the coalition government is failing and it should not be so important for football teams to get into Europe.
So what?
Hungerford are 8th in the division but with some games in hand that keeps play-offs as a reasonable ambition.  Andover are bottom with a horribly negative goal difference and step 5 is beckoning.  They have only picked up one point at home all season, though to be fair they have played fewer home games after early-season problems with the playing surface meant that they did not play at home in the league until October.
The drama unfolds
Hungerford gradually asserted themselves after the early skirmishes and after 23 minutes Jemal Johnson laid off an inviting pass to an onrushing Chris Blackford from left midfield.  He finished the move with a crisp low shot.  0-1 at half-time.

Richard Bland scored early in the second half to put the result beyond doubt, and then showed great persistence to get a second from a rebound after his first shot had been well saved.  Andover tried hard to get a consolation goal, even sending their #5 up front for the last 20 minutes.  Hungerford were in no mood for gifting, and to be honest had a great claim for a penalty turned down.  I rather suspect the player in question will be told to go down rather than stay on his feet next time.  When the officials missed an obvious Hungerford corner a minute later, we were treated to a display of petulance in the other dugout.  Hungerford manager Bobby Wilkinson went for the broody pacing-up-and-down approach but to be honest I think he would have gone into orbit had they not been two up by then.
Alternative activity of equal excitement for tourists in Andover
Hide an Acme™ cartoon strength supermagnet in the woolly hat of the aforementioned Mr Leader and take him to the nearby Museum of the Iron Age.  Watch as he heads away a succession of incoming prehistoric cooking vessels whilst at the same time shouting at you that you are rubbish and/or in the wrong effing position.
A snippet from the programme
An edited excerpt from “Game On/Game Off”, an article about the effect of the winter weather on a non-league club.

“Initially (the secretary) has to decide whether a pitch inspection is required … and if he decides the answer is yes then he has to find a referee to carry out said inspection.  The match referee usually lives too far away to help and the inspection has to be carried out by a referee of the level of at least being an assistant in the Southern League.  There is nobody of that standard living in Andover although there are a couple who work in the town.  On one occasion last season it took eleven phone calls before finding an available official. (If) the pitch inspection results in “No Game” … then the secretary has to ring the league, all three match officials, the opposition (who are seldom pleased) and the manager (who is generally even less pleased!) and arrange for the decision to be relayed through the website and the local media… so give a thought to the poor secretary when the game is called off – again!”
What I learned today
Whoever put the marker for this club on Google maps has the directional sense of a drunken fruitbat.  In technical terms, it's really up a bit and to the left.
What Next?
A short drive across the county for a 3pm showdown at Alresford Town where Winchester City are the visitors.  Blog post will follow as soon as possible – an early night is called for as it is my first day in a new job tomorrow.  If my new boss is reading this, I’ve done all the preparation, honest!

No comments:

Post a Comment