Sunday, 15 January 2012

8-1 With My Surroundings in Kempston

Yaxley's Sam Bettinson (9) was always a physical presence for the visitors

For the record, Lee Jordan caught it, and the snow on it.

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 14 January at Hillgrounds
AFC Kempston Rovers 1 Yaxley 1
United Counties Premier League (step 5)
This is venue #447 on the lifetime list.  The adjacent pitch is used by AFC Kempston Town of the Step 7 Bedfordshire Senior League and appears at #303 from May 2010.  They are now known as AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College after a new strategic partnership was formed for this season.  You can also pick up my previous encounters with both teams from the tag cloud on the right.
This match in one sentence
A set-piece earned Rovers a point although Yaxley carried the greater threat in open play in an apparent reversal of league table form.
So what?
AFC Kempston Rovers (whom I last saw winning the Hinchingbrooke Cup at the end of last season) are having a solid season after promotion from step 6 and drop one place to 8th after this result.  Yaxley are in a relegation fight and could go bottom in Desborough Town win their games in hand.
Something random
Mobile phone mast failing to hide in Scooby-Doo trees No.37

The drama unfolds
The players took a while to adapt to the conditions – whether it was the low temperature affecting the bounce, or just the surface, I couldn’t say – but the first few minutes were disjointed save for a Yaxley header which clipped the post.  Let’s give the home keeper Aaron Bodger the benefit of the doubt for good judgement.

My scene-setter clip is from the quarter-hour point.  It is one of those that goes on a bit too long with nothing happening, but I was scared to stop filming because it looked as if something might happen soon.  This is why I did not pursue a career in sales and marketing.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and so are Yaxley.

Yaxley were looking more likely to score and good work by Luke Hipwell, wearing 7 but playing up front to confuse me, set up a chance that needed a superb saving tackle by Sam Macrae.  I have a pic of the pass but not the tackle, so you have to take my word for it.

Kempston gradually got into the game and started to impose their league table position, so I wandered down to the other end.  Just in time to watch from a distance as Yaxley took the lead after 38 minutes.  Hipwell beat his man in the area and fashioned a shooting chance, and it looked like Bodger had no chance. There is nothing else of note to report before the interval.  0-1 at half-time

I tweeted the half-time score, as is my wont, and must apologise for tweeting Kempston Rovers 8 Yaxley 1 to the footballing world.  It was cold, I didn’t put my specs on, and my phone display is on its last pixelated legs.  I am very sorry, I am very embarrassed, and I will accept the three points on my provisional tweeting licence.  On the other hand, I am quietly pleased that so many people noticed!  I promise to tell the whole truth to Lord Leveson, as he is sure to ring up next week.

To the second half, in the presence of the Eurocopter EC-135 G-CHSU overhead (I like to keep passing planespotters interested).

Bedfordshire Police search for the idiot who caused riots by tweeting a wrong 8-1 half-time scoreline
Kempston Rovers started well and Yaxley keeper Lee Jordan blocked a shot well after good work by Jordan Jarrell marauding from fullback down the right.  This set piece came soon after, to level the scores after 53 minutes.  The scorer is Phil Draycott.

After that, both sides traded chances for ten minutes or so.  Hipwell created another chance and this time it was the other Rovers fullback Sam Brown with the last-ditch saver tackle.  Bodger was a bit fortunate when a clearance was charged down but fell nicely back to him.  At the other end, Rovers missed a clear header from a corner.  My final short clips are from the latter stages of the game.  Yaxley finished the stronger of the two sides and they show the pressure they created from crosses, but Bodger has the last word.  Draycott hits another freekick over the bar for the hosts.

The match nearly ended in controversy.  The burly Andrew Phillips came off the Kempston bench as an impact player in more ways than one.  He won the ball, to howls of protest, on the left and sent the ball across, too deep but Jarrell was up there again.  His pass gave a shooting chance to Danny Watson, but it went high and wide.  Final score 1-1
Luke Hipwell of Yaxley got on the scoresheet and was involved in most of the creative work for the visitors, so he gets the nod today.
A snippet from the programme
The club has included as a centre-spread the copy of the FA press release about the proposals to review step 5/6 in the national hierarchy.  Like any consultation run by “authority” it seems to have bred misinformation and conspiracy theories, but here are some of the bullet points, summarised.  It is said that a majority of the fourteen leagues are in favour of change, with a key aim being to equalise travel (so some teams will have more, some less).

Every effort should be made to establish twelve step 5 divisions of 22 clubs (to feed to and from the six step 4 divisions)
Clubs must achieve the necessary ground grading by 31 March 2013
The first season will be 2013/4 and there will be one or two transitional seasons where divisions might have up to 25 teams before adjustments can be made to relegation arrangements

The next step will be a series of regional meetings.  Whatever happens, some groundhoppers may have to amend their programme storage systems or spreadsheet league codes …
What I learned today
Rovers are known as The Walnut Boys.
What Next?
A little jaunt to Milton Keynes for the biggest game of the English Ice Hockey Premier League season so far – MK Lightning v Guildford Flames.  Post to follow.  Hoping the weather will be good for FA Vase Round 4 next Saturday.

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