Monday, 22 August 2011

Causeway Without a Rebel

The Malvern Hills from the Ketch viewpoint

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Sunday 21 August 2011 at Langland Stadium
Malvern Town 0 Causeway United 0
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round.  Malvern Town are from the step 6 West Midlands Regional Premier League and Causeway United play in the step 5 Midland Alliance.
My third FA Cup tie of the weekend, and chosen because of its Midlands location.  The Langland Stadium is in a picturesque location at the foot of the Malvern Hills.

This match in one sentence
Causeway United dominated possession and created dozens of chances, but Malvern Town’s defence held firm.

So what?
A replay (at Boldmere St Michaels FC) will be required on Wednesday.

A random invention that would have the same impact on my personal happiness and well-being as watching this match
A zero-calorie steak pie - these consecutive days of football-watching are very challenging to my dietary discipline.

The drama unfolds
Causeway United imposed themselves on the game from the start.  Here is a scene-setter clip.

The second clip is a rare Malvern attack.  In general they struggled to hold the ball up front and the Causeway attacks were frequent.  However, they were struggling to find a killer pass or move on a hard, bouncy pitch.  The game settled into a pattern and it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors took the lead.

Causeway’s #11 Sam Beasley received a yellow card after 37 minutes.  This was a routine transaction until (I am guessing) he said something inappropriate as he walked away from the ref.  The ref called him back and had another word.  A couple of minutes later the sub numbers board went up and Beasley was pulled off by the bench.  To say he was not a happy man would be an understatement - the shirt came off, he walked off petulantly, kicked the touchline gate open and then even from the far side of the pitch we heard the slam of the dressing room door as he went straight down the tunnel.  Two other subs were despatched, presumably to soothe his fevered brow.

Just before the break, Causeway came as close to a goal as they were ever going to do today.  See the clip:

0-0 at half-time

The first few minutes of the second half were relatively even, and there was a big shout for a Malvern penalty just before the hour mark.  The referee judged that it was a case of ball to hand.  However, the game then settled into the same pattern.  There were repeated chances from corners or free kicks for Causeway, with occasional forays from Malvern, which of course made the visitors increasingly nervous at the back as the final whistle approached.

The remaining clips are all from the second half, and neutrals will understand why I had gravitated to behind the Malvern Town goalmouth as the most likely place to catch a goal.

Final score 0-0

Malvern Town’s goalkeeper Ian Hill.  Not only for his performance, but for a comedy moment when he castigated the ref who had called him “Tom”.  The ref, with only a moment’s pause, said, “Well, don’t change your name again.”  Refs with a sense of humour, what next?

A snippet from the programme
The programme (nice original cover, by the way) was up to date with the previous day’s local FA Cup results.  Manager Les Jones wrote:
“What a great opportunity for the lads to play against higher league opposition in the country’s premier cup competition … the stage is set for a classic FA Cup tie.  I’m sure the lads will rise to the occasion and give a real good account of themselves.  Not only do I need you to give the boys your usual great support, but could you please also perform an effective rain dance to soften the pitches!”
He then lists three “unavailable” members of the squad, rumoured among the spectators to be at the V festival (this affected Holbrook yesterday too).  I wonder how many semi-professional footballers missed an FA Cup tie yesterday!

What I learned today
I was able to combine the day with a little bit of family history research.  Oral family history has it that my great-grandfather once owned a small piece of land next to a bridge by the River Teme in Powick, Worcestershire, and in fact was in a minor land dispute with the authorities.  The details are very sketchy and would need a lot more painstaking research, but I went for a post-match walk to some possible spots - I don’t know whether I found the right bridge and the right place but I did find some plaques commemorating the Battle of Worcester from the end of the English Civil War.

What Next?
Not sure - watch the @GrahamYapp twitter feed for any developments.  There are several replays this week!

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