Wednesday, 16 February 2011

We're Going to Wem-ber-lee, Que Sera Sera

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 15 February 2011 at Vale Farm
Wembley 0 Chertsey Town 1
Combined Counties Premier League (Step 5)
Wembley currently groundshare with Hendon of the step 3 Isthmian Premier League
This match in one sentence
In a great advert for step 5 football, end-to-end attacking from both teams, with title-chasing Chertsey resorting to corner-flag shenanigans in the last few minutes to hold on for a win.
So what?
Chertsey Town go top of the league by a point, but Guildford City have three games in hand in second place.  Wembley are 17th due as much as anything to a poor away record; they have not yet won on the road in the league this season.
The drama unfolds
Wembley pressed forward from the start, with pace and presence up front from Kobi Osei and Paul Shelton.  The first two clips capture the general atmosphere and an early half-chance repelled by Craig Bradshaw in the Chertsey goal.

Shelton and his opposite number 10 Dean Papali both went close, and both keepers were getting muddy.  This clip captures a sharp save by Wembley's Chuks Aminwe.

 However, the best chances of the half arguably fell to Wembley’s Cedric Christophe.  An initially fortunate rebound off his knee allowed him to race clear one-on-one, but Bradshaw made an excellent save.  A few minutes later he saved superbly again from Christophe who had another clear shooting opportunity.  He knew these were golden chances.  "Schmeichel!!", said the Chertsey bench.

Chertsey came close a couple of times before half-time, with Tom O'Regan finding his feet on the wing, and at that point you wondered whether Wembley had missed their chance for an upset.  0-0 at half-time, but it really could have been anything from 2-0 to 0-2.  Great stuff.

The turning point came around 70 minutes.  Chertsey’s Marcus Moody showed good strength in the area and set the ball up for the besnooded Phil Page to finish neatly with a low shot.  I am ignoring the squiggly red line in edit mode under that word I just invented, as I think football writers may need it in the future.  0-1.
The one on the left is definitely besnooded.  I expect this to be in the next edition of the OED.
Credit to Wembley – they stormed straight back forward and a minute later a great shooting chance fell to the luckless Christophe.  He skied it, and was taken off soon after.  Chertsey took the ball into the corners for the last few minutes to secure their win, which I suppose shows a kind of respect which belies the league positions.  This was brilliant entertainment for the passing neutral – well done to both teams and indeed the ref Mr A Gray (no, not him).  Final score 0-1.
Alternative activity of equal excitement for tourists in Wembley
Quite a lot of the other big-occasion football in the Wembley area ends up being an anti-climax, but as a comparable spectator event from my list I’ll pick out Stevenage’s 3-2 last-minute 2006-7 FA Trophy win over Kidderminster Harriers in the first competitive match in the refurbished national stadium.
A snippet from the programme
Lots of reading material in this excellent programme, but my snippet of choice has to be from Brian Buck’s Traveller’s Tales.  His 93rd game of the season, at his lifetime match number 9,843 and his 2,968th “new ground” was Leyton Orient 5 Dagenham & Redbridge 2 in the Football League Alliance Youth Cup Group 5.

“When it comes to training grounds Leyton Orient are nomadic to say the least and if you include Brisbane Road this was the ninth different venue I’ve seen them play youth matches at.”

Mr Buck, I salute you.  Hope you get to the 10000/3000 milestones this season.
What I learned today
Ne'er cast a clout 'til May is out.  I had to go back to the car at half-time for my trademark woolly hat.
Something random
This ground has to be fit for step 3 football too, and one of the differences is the need for hard boundaries around the pitch, as opposed to a rail and hard-standing.  I am going to take a guess that the clubs were given or purchased a load of advertising boards from a big event like the London Marathon which have been cobbled together in places to do the job.  Vale Farm will not win any architectural awards like its expensive neighbour anytime soon, but fair play to the groundstaff who got this game on.  The pitch was not at all bad (as opposed to some of the areas immediately adjacent, which were a mudbath).  Hendon have a home game on Wednesday evening.  I hope their fans get a game as entertaining as this one.
What Next?
Can't promise, but thinking about a little hop to Essex on Wednesday evening.


  1. Have been sent a link to your site today - my formative years were spent watching Wembley up to the point parents would let me go to Top flight games with mates.

    Some very poor football was watched, but a lot of good times were had - far better than hanging round Vale Farm sports centre on a saturday afternoon; even if there was a greater chance of meeting girls in the swimming pool.

    Some happy memories flooding back.


  2. Thanks for the comment, Chris. It was a great game, I have to say, may even turn out to be game of the season as far as excitement for the neutral is concerned. Non-league footy is the nation's undiscovered treasure, I reckon.