Sunday, 18 March 2012

Hopping Mad in the Central Midlands

Clifton set the ball rolling
Hoporganiser Rob Hornby tries to explain to Norwegian TV
Tramspotter bonus at Basford
Champions League style entrance at Dronfield Town
There's a goalkeeper at the end of every rainbow
Token arty shot - water drops on a fence #23

Glapwell and the inky blackness beyond it
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 17 March 2012 in the Central Midlands
See below for individual match details
The Central Midlands League North (games 3,4) & South (games 1,2) Divisions (Step 7)
Grounds 452-455 – my first “quadruple” and my first “organised” hop.  The Basford United game was my 50th new venue this season.  Thanks to the league management and for hop organiser Rob Hornby.  I couldn’t get to the fifth game, which was the night before.  There were crowds of about 250 for each match.

Clfton v Real United

The drama unfolds from 10.10am

The Norman Archer Memorial Ground
In one sentence: A straightforward win in the end for Clifton, the better side on the day.

The first good chance of the game drew a sharp save from Real’s Dan Argyle, from Clifton’s number 9 Chris Atkins.  My scene-setter clip shows the keeper in action again, as Clifton started to dominate proceedings as the half went on.  Atkins’ strike partner Michael Evans was also a threat to Real with his strength and physical presence.  Clifton are in all-white.

However, despite looking the more likely, Clifton failed to make Argyle work harder, and there were no goals before the interval.  0-0 at half-time

An unmarked Atkins headed his side into the lead after 52 minutes with a looping header.  1-0  Eight minutes later the game was sealed with a textbook curling shot from Clifton captain Craig Anderson.  He had the good grace to look just as surprised as Argyle before celebrating!  There were some protests of offside but it was a great, great finish.  2-0  Ben Richardson added a third with the last competitive kick of the game.  Final score Clifton 3 Real United 0

So what? Clifton are 6th and Real United are 13th in their division.

Basford United v Notts Police 

The drama unfolds from 1.00pm

The Mill, Greenwich Avenue
In one sentence: The table-toppers were made to work hard by the Police side but late goals made the scoreline look comfortable.

Basford’s Jarrod Westcarr pinged the post in the first minute and the hoppers anticipated a goalfest in keeping with form and league position.  However, the Police had not read this script and took the lead in the 10th minute through Bernard Alves.  0-1

Here is the scene setter clip – Basford in yellow, Police in black-and-white.

Police goalkeeper James Elliott was getting busier by the minute and around the half-hour made three quick saves in succession to protect the lead.  A low save to his left prevented a ricochet own-goal.  Carl Westcarr and Aaron Hooton linked in the area but the latter’s shot was a nice height for the save.  A 20-yarder was pushed away.  However, it was only a matter of time before this happened, and the scores were level at the changeround.  The scorer was Martin Holt, it was unlucky for Elliott and oooh look! A tram!  1-1 at half-time

Basford only took ten minutes into the second half to take the lead.  Hooton’s first attempt was once again pushed on to the post by Elliott but the rebound fell kindly.  2-1  The keeper had no chance with Hooton’s second, though, as he controlled a dropping ball through the centre really well before taking a few steps and smacking it in.  3-1  A fourth goal came in the dying moments, an easy header for Courtney Hastings after Elliott missed a corner.  Final score Basford United 4 Nottinghamshire Police 1

So what? Basford top the table and the Police are bottom but one with only the freefalling Kimberley Town below them.

Dronfield Town v Thoresby CW

The drama unfolds from 4.30pm

Stonelow Playing Fields
In one sentence: The home side emerged winners in a competitive game played in rapidly changeable weather conditions.

Here’s the scene-setter clip.

Dronfield started the stronger and nearly took the lead after 13 minutes.  A set-piece had led to defensive disorder and Thoresby were relieved when the final rebound trickled wide.  However, a minute later, Dronfield’s striker John Doran moved on to a long ball through the centre, neatly stayed on his feet after a lunging challenge from the last defender, and finished the one-on-one.  1-0

Thoresby could have equalised after 20 minutes but a fierce shot from the left rattled the bar.  My new smartphone was displaying “Dronfield – rain” and on the basis that it is smarter than me I moved round to the covered stand.  Not a moment too soon – see the clip!  1-0 at half-time

Dronfield extended there lead after 48 minutes.  Good play by Doran and strike partner Nick Horsfield set up Andy Gange who looked “well happy” with his left-foot curling shot.  2-0

The low, intensely bright sun was a factor in Thoresby getting one back on the hour.  These clips have the goal and the rainbow!  The scorer is Danny House.  2-1

Doran hit the bar but soon afterwards provided the cross for Gange to head his second and restore the two-goal margin after 65 minutes.  3-1  Thoresby’s Gavin King soon had two chances to make it interesting again – for the first his control was good but the shot trickled wide, and the second drew a good save from Nick Siddons.  Sub Craig Stoddart then shot over which meant that it really was adding insult to injury when Doran scored again with a minute to go.  Final score Dronfield T 4 Thoresby CW 1

So what?  Dronfield stay third and in theory have enough games in hand to catch the leaders.  Thoresby drop one place to sixth and have even more games in hand, also enough in theory to catch them all.

Glapwell v Parkhouse

The drama unfolds from 7.30pm

Hall Corner
In one sentence: Glapwell improved in the second half but couldn’t find a goal from anywhere so in the end this was a straightforward Parkhouse win.

Here’s a first-half scene-setter with Glapwell in white & black.

The Glapwell printer ran out of ink before I could acquire a teamsheet but this is a club with personality that seems to be falling on hard times.  It has a gorilla playing the drums, and a lifesize knitted man in club kit, in the corner of the clubhouse.  Its floodlights are a testament to recent forays at higher levels and it was therefore chosen for the evening hop.  Their website has helped me with the player names below, so all is well.

Parkhouse were far and away the better side in the first half and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 23 minutes.  A great ball in from the left by Ant Lynam created a shooting opportunity – the first was blocked but the rebound was tucked away by Lee Clay and that was all the goal action for the first half.  0-1 at half-time

Glapwell started with more urgency pressing down the slope and for the next twenty minutes either side could have scored next.  The Glapwell number 8 was denied a shooting chance by a last-ditch intervention by the Parkhouse number 4 after a “dodgy keeper” clearance, and that was one of the clearer chances.  Glapwell looked pretty enough in approach but lacked a cutting edge.

Here’s my second half clip.

The sucker-punch of a second goal was a shot from a narrow angle on the right by Michael Wain with 15 to go.  They had one more disallowed and there was just time for home sub Adam Jones to send a direct freekick just over the bar.  Final score Glapwell 0 Parkhouse 2

So what?  Glapwell are bottom but one (above a side who have lost all 22 games) and Parkhouse are seventh and headed for mid-table.
What Next?
No idea! Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for any information.

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