Thursday, 6 October 2011

Not a Giant Step 4 Mankind

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 4 October 2011 at Berkeley Fields
North Greenford United 0 SloughTown 0
Southern League Division One Central (step 4)
This ground is a few minutes from #2 son’s new pied-a-terre in West London, and he graced us with his presence to take his personal lifetime hopping count to 25, and mine to 425.  He has not yet started a spreadsheet, but he is well ahead of me at the equivalent age.
This match in one sentence
North Greenford would probably have settled for this if offered before the start.
So what?
North Greenford stay bottom of the table on goal difference because Barton Rovers were picking up a simultaneous home point of their own.  Slough stay third.
The drama unfolds

Here is my traditional scene-setter clip from the early minutes.  North Greenford are in blue.

The game settled into a pattern for the first twenty minutes or so, with Slough having most of the attacking territorial advantage and North Greenford looking potentially dangerous on the counter, or from set pieces, like this one.

The home side’s Charlie Hill had the most spectacular effort with a shot that whistled past from 20 metres or so, and his team-mates seemed to find more confidence as the half progressed.  The game became territorially even, and both sides threatened equally well or equally poorly depending on your point of view.  The goalkeepers had plenty of catching and kicking to do, with the occasional block, but neither side really looked like taking a grip on the game.  Supporters were drifting towards the clubhouse a good five minutes before the half-time whistle.  Aaron McLeish (NGU) and Danny Burnell (Slough) had been the biggest individual threats up front for their respective sides.  Jamie Diston (NGU) and Nathan Bowden-Haase (Slough) looked solid at the back.  0-0 at half-time

Within two minutes of the restart McLeish rattled the woodwork.  Then, in a comedy moment, the home ‘keeper fluffed a clearance allowing a cheeky Slough shot from the midfield which went just over.  We assumed both teams were acting on the words of wisdom dished out at half-time.

Bowden-Haase had this chance from a set piece just before the hour mark.

The game continued to be even, and the first thoughts of a nil-nil were aired.  McLeish had a glancing header just wide, and Slough’s Adam Martin skied a shot when he should at least have made the goalie work for his clean sheet.

The final clip has a disallowed Slough goal but an even better moment of terrace wit in the first few seconds.

After 88 minutes, the home side nearly nicked a win from a moment of confusion in the Slough six-yard box, but a shot was blocked.  Then in stoppage time, the otherwise faultless Diston chose not to put the ball into orbit and allowed a Slough shot to clip the post.  I’ve seen more entertaining goalless draws than this, but it would have been harsh for either side to leave without a point.  The clubs' own websites (at the time of writing) are describing the result as encouraging (home) and frustrating (away), and Slough's ambition for promotion is confirmed by the size and expectation of their travelling support.  It will usually be a good night for your club's bar-and-burger takings when they are the visitors!  There are better highlights than mine on the Slough site, by the way.  Final score 0-0
North Greenford’s centre-back Jamie Diston, who must have arrived expecting a busy evening and, other than the blemish in the closing moments, did more than most to get that point for his side.  Honourable mention for Aaron McLeish and Danny Burnell on opposing sides up front.
A snippet from the programme
In a classic opening paragraph, the visitors are welcomed and wished a pleasant evening and a safe journey home.  Hmmm, that did not extend from the boardroom to all parts of the hardstanding, but never mind.  Some of the banter was quite entertaining.  The officials are welcomed too – yeah, right.  For the record, from where I was standing (2m away max) the second half yellow card for “simulation” for the Slough sub Ben Abbey was spot on.
What I learned today
The location of Hanwell Town’s ground – still to be visited and just down the road.  Will that one become #26 for @yappattack ?
What Next?
All being well something random, or at least random-ish, on Saturday J

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