Sunday, 20 March 2011

Three Reds, Three Pens, Three-Two

The arch of the other ground in Wembley

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 19 March 2011 at Vale Farm (Wembley FC)
Hendon 2 Margate 3
Isthmian Premier League (step 3)
This does not add to my lifetime total as I was here earlier this season to watch Wembley FC.  However, it was good to cross paths again with one of my first non-league Twitter friends, Margate supporter @JeremyJacobs.
This match in one sentence
Margate went in at half-time on their way to a comfortable win against ten men, until a crazy second half of red cards and penalties left them with nine men hanging on for the win.
So what?
Margate stay 14th and Hendon drop one place to 16th (4pts behind with two games in hand) but both clubs look safe to stay in step 3 next season.  Margate are looking for a new manager having parted company with Iain O’Connell this week.
The drama unfolds
Managerless Margate made a bright start and Craig Cloke scored with a header after 8 minutes.  0-1.  After 15 minutes, another defensive lapse allowed Tom Bradbrook to shrug off the last defender and finish neatly. 0-2.  It really did look game over at that point, especially when Hendon’s Danny Dyer was sent off with a straight red card on 23 minutes for a tackle that was deemed dangerous by the referee.  The rest of the first half was unremarkable and we anticipated a second-half doze in the sun.  The first clip captures the general ambience. 0-2 at half-time.

How wrong we were.  Hendon came out with purpose and soon got a goal back with a move that scythed through the middle of the Margate back four.  Belal Aite-Ouakrim was the scorer, after 52 minutes.  1-2.  They were soon level, six minutes later.   Margate full-back Tommy Osborne diverted a goalbound attempt with an obvious handball on the line, and was duly red-carded.  The second clip is of the resulting penalty, taken by Jamie Busby.

So, 2-2 and 10 v 10, all to play for after all with half-an-hour left.  Then Hendon keeper Berkley Laurencin came out of his area, missed the ball but forced James Pinnock wide. As the keeper raced back towards the byline, he brought down Pinnock who was about to roll the ball across the unguarded goalmouth towards onrushing team-mates.  Penalty? Definitely – but what colour of card? The third clip tells the story.

Now, 2-3 after that penalty from Wayne Wilson, and almost 2-4 as the ball was rolled beautifully from the wing by Bradbrook into wide open central spaces for Pinnock to hit it first time on the run, but Laurencin made a good diving save.  Another missed tackle, and a yellow for Pinnock, meant that Hendon’s Busby had the chance to equalise from the spot.  The clip shows what happened and caught a prophetic moment from another guest Margate supporter, Neil, with whom I was chatting.  Neil showed early signs of conversion to non-league fandom, which is excellent.

A great save from Jamie Turner in the Margate goal preserved the lead.  When James Rogers earned a second yellow (and therefore a red) to send Margate down to nine men, we were in for a frantic finish.  Busby hit the post with a long-range shot with Turner beaten, but Margate played a 7-1 formation, more or less, and held out for the win with Shaun Welford working his proverbial socks off as a target man. Final score 2-3.  Hendon will rue their sluggish start to the game, and Margate's new manager will have some work to do.
Alternative activity of equal excitement for tourists in Wembley
The goalscoring pattern is the same as the classic FA Cup final from 1978-9, where Arsenal were coasting at 2-0 at half-time, Manchester United got back to 2-2, but Arsenal got a late winner.
A snippet from the programme
Former Hendon midfielder, now playing for Chelmsford City, Takumi Ake, emotionally recalled seeing the devastating scenes of an earthquake and tsunami impact upon his home country for the first time as “like something out of a film”.  But he expressed his thanks for the recent contributions to his “Tako Fund” to raise cash for the British Red Cross’ relief efforts.  The diminutive wide man was upset by the tragedy at home, fearing for the safety of his relatives.  He said: “My family and friends are all fine, though at first I was a bit panicky until I spoke to them about four hours after I heard the news … When I saw it all I just couldn’t believe it – that’s actually happening in Japan. That’s something you see in a film and I was in shock.”
What I learned today
You can actually see the arch of Wembley national stadium from Vale Farm – I missed this at my evening midweek visit earlier this season.  See
for details of that game.
Something random
If you haven’t already done so, have a look at my analysis of quarter-final draws.  There’ll be a test later.
What Next?
Work commitments will prevent a Tuesday hop this week, sadly, so no definite plans as yet.  Look out on Twitter as I may give you a chance to choose somewhere for me!


  1. Graham, Guess who was with his father at a sunny Wembley Stadium in May, 1979 watching the FA Cup Final?

  2. What was a very one sided opening 20 minutes with an almost predictable outcome turned out to be one of the best games I’ve watched this season. Non league or not this certainly entertained my afternoon as much as any league game. A pleasure to have met yourself and I look forward to my next non league outing.

  3. Jeremy - wow, what a coincidence. I remember that final because it was the first for several years that I DIDN'T watch live on TV. I was away at university and the communal TV was broken!