Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stop! Amersham Time

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 17 November 2012 at Spratleys Meadow (which, it must be said, is in a very scenic setting!)
Amersham Town 1 Rye United 0
FA Vase Round Two.  This is a giantkilling as the hosts play at Step 6 in the South Midlands Division 1 and the visitors are in the Step 5 Sussex League Division 1.
Number 493 on the lifetime list – the shortest journey to an unvisited ground on the FA Vase rankings today.  I decided not to risk a longer journey today as the overnight weather had been very wet in many parts of the country.
Pre-match preparation
Form book would point to an expected away win – Rye are third in their higher-ranked league and Amersham haven’t won a game since their victory over Flackwell Heath in Round One.  They beat Henley and Carterton in the earlier rounds.  Rye beat Horley Town.  They were quarter-finalists a couple of seasons ago.
This match in one sentence
A splendid victory for Amersham Town and although Rye will rue missed chances, Amersham could just as easily have scored more.
So what?
Amersham Town are in the hat for the next round, the last 64 teams in the competition.

UPDATE: At the time of this amendment (23/11/12), the FA website is now showing Rye United at home to South Park in the next round. Rye appealed to the FA and it would appear that the appeal has been upheld.  Tweets from other sources indicate that Amersham fielded an ineligible player.  This match-that-never-was is now unique in my lifetime list and I will have to consider whether this causes me a constitutional crisis.
The drama unfolds
No player names this time - there was no teamsheet on display, or if there was, I missed it. If anyone can help with IDs then I'll be happy to edit the post.  GY

The home side started well and I started my scene-setter clip after only 5 minutes.  Amersham are in black-and-white.  I was marginally surprised that Rye didn't object to the officials being in all black.  Skies were grey and the officials asked for the lights to be on from the start.  The first clip is rudely interrupted by the disintegration of the lino's flag, so I took another one soon after to reassure you that he was able to repair it and wave it at will.  Or anyone.  (This blog has been getting too serious, there will be more sentences like that.)  If you dislike football, enjoy the scenery.

After 15 minutes a goalline clearance was needed in the Amersham goalmouth as Rye seemed to settle into their pattern of play.  However, the only goal of the game (as it proved) came after 18 minutes.  Amersham's number 6 drifted into the box from the right and was in space to collect a ball dropping to him from the left - he took one touch and finished well a second before being clattered by the outcoming goalkeeper.  The ref "had a word" but nothing more.  1-0

If number 10 had been a bit quicker to get a shot away four minutes later, it would have been 2-0.  As it was, a superb saving tackle by Rye centre-back number 5 saved the day.  The rest of the half was pretty even, with the best chance falling to the visitors' number 11.  His header back across the goal beat the keeper but also fell wide of the far post.  1-0 at half-time

The Rye goalkeeper and the Amersham number 6 renewed acquaintance ten minutes into the second half.  The ref was well-placed to make a "no penalty" call as the former came out to dive at the latter's feet.  The officials were also spot-on (I was right in line) to disallow a Rye goal two minutes later.  At the moment of a flick-on from a free-kick there were several attackers offside.  The game continued to be even, with Rye committing more players forward and Amersham's number 8 on particular getting plenty of chances to lead breaks from midfield.  One such went to waste after 70 minutes as his attempted pass ended up looking like a badly pulled shot.  Or it could have been a shot that ended up looking like a pass.  I have no idea, I suspect you need to be UEFA grade B to be able to write about these things.  It missed.

As the game became end-to-end, Rye's substitute number 12 did well to use his full-back's run as a decoy before cutting inside and shooting.  The keeper did well to push the fierce shot up and over.  Rye missed a golden chance after 73 minutes.  A neat routine from a quickly-taken freekick caught Amersham asleep and number 8 missed the open net from six yards.

It became tense and officials had to consult after one touchline altercation before ... doing nothing much.  Then both keepers kept their sides in the game in successive attacks with decent saves.

These two clips are from later in the game as Rye try in vain to equalise.  There is some classic backs-to-the-wall defending to enjoy here.  Honorable mention for Amersham number 4 in this regard.

Rye's keeper was called on once more to save a deflection at the expense of a corner.  Amersham tried to keep the ball there.  When one such attempt failed, the ref played a good advantage, a long ball was flicked on and Rye's number 8 again found himself in a good shooting position.  He blazed it high and wide.  The final clips have Amersham holding on for a memorable win.  Final score 1-0


The programme

I think that should be Molten, actually ...
Something random
The only other "17 November" new ground on my hopping list is from pre-blogging days in 2009, when I watched Atherstone United win 3-2 away at Barton Rovers in the Southern League Division One Central.  I have never seen Amersham Town win before – I saw them twice in 2010-11, losing at Cockfosters and London Colney in the South Midlands League Division One.  Both matches can be picked up from the tag cloud on the right of the page.  Today is the first time that I have ever crossed paths with Rye United.  When I go to their ground I will try to get some pictures of impressively big red-and-black hats.
Hopping for Moorfields Update
108 goals in thirty matches, which is around the halfway point for the season, at an average of 3.6 goals per game.  This is right in line with my initial prediction that a penny-a-goal pledge would be worth between £2 and £3 at the end of the season.  Premier league stars earn this amount in about 30 seconds.  It’s never to late too make a pledge – contact me by DM on twitter or on email at headyapp (at) hotmail (dot) com if you’d like to get involved.  World class research at Moorfields Eye Hospital is not just for Londoners – there are benefits worldwide.  Thank you.
What Next?
Who knows? At this time of the year the weather makes forward planning rather tricky. Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter for further updates!

1 comment:

  1. Great write up. I know the officials were surprised that Amersham were in black and white. The conversation between the ref and the Amersham captain by the dressing rooms indicated that the officials were informed that Amersham play in white.