Sunday, 30 December 2018

Bay Watch with History and Hospitality at Prescot Cables



Hopperational Details
Date & Venue
Saturday 29 December 2018 at Volair Park aka Valerie Park
Result
Prescot Cables 1 Colwyn Bay 2
Competition
Northern Premier League Division One West (Step 4)
Hopstats
Ground 671 on the lifetime list.  I am here because Prescot got 50% of the vote in a 30-minute Twitter poll on Saturday morning (turnout 14) beating Ramsgate and Slimbridge (22% each) with Sevenoaks losing their deposit.  Several other hoppers have spoken to me in hushed reverential terms about this ground, and I can see why.
Context
4th plays 10th with both teams enjoying big wins last time out on Boxing Day.
In one sentence
The more attractive side lost to the more effective side.
So what?
The teams remain 4th and 10th respectively, at least until New Year’s Day.
Match Report
Two well-drilled sides largely cancelled each other out for half an hour.  Prescot played mostly one- and two-touch football based on the ground in triangles, whereas Colwyn Bay as the away side worked the flanks and channels.  Neither goalkeeper, however, had to do more than routine catches and interceptions.  The first real chance fell to Colwyn Bay’s Lassana Mendes.  A neat dragback in the area created some space but his shot cleared the angle of post and bar.  The visitors continued to look dangerous and it took a risky slide tackle in the area to deny Danny Andrews a shooting chance, and one well-timed tackle by Cables’ number 8.  Thus the first half ended goalless.

Colwyn Bay wasted a direct free kick before Prescot took the lead after 56 minutes.  Jack Lenehan moved intelligently to receive a flick-on from a throw in and he curled a super shot into the top left corner.  The lead lasted only six minutes, however.  Mendes won a race for the ball down the right flank before hitting a dipping shot over the keeper into the far left corner.  I was at the other end and first impression was of a fluke, but when you look at the clip on Bay’s Twitter feed it seems clearer that he must have intended it.

Colwyn Bay then took control of the scoreline with a goal fashioned through the middle.  Ashley Woods had time to take a touch from Mendes’ pass and score the winner.  There was still plenty of life and spirit in Prescot but their task became harder after a straight red for Aaron Turner – it appeared to be for some kind of retaliation after a foul.  The idea that it was not the home team’s day was confirmed when a deflection pinged off the post and rebounded gently into the arms of the Bay keeper Andy Coughlin.  So close, but it then took a great save from his opposite number at the other end to deny Woods a second goal.

Overall, a superb day for this passing neutral with the result in doubt to the end, and I just hope that the M6 roadworks finish soon as I make several more northern road trips in the new year.

Pix
What a fabulous place.  Very few grounds have a “Wow!” factor these days, but this one does.  I arrived early and walked a circuit with the camera.  This behaviour, together with a lack of club colours, a battered old rucksack and general aura clearly identified me as a hopper.  I am grateful to chairman Mr Doug Lace who invited me into the boardroom to look at some of the club memorabilia and shared some of his passion for the game, this club and its history.  There were shirts from notable former players such as Karl Connolly (QPR) and Carl Baker (Coventry).  Tony Hateley Sr and Frank Soo, the first player of a background other than English (he was Chinese) to play for England, also played here.  It was a magnificent welcome and I’m sorry that I didn’t bring any luck with me from Hertfordshire.  On the pics, Prescot Cables are in amber and black, which I now understand to have been the colours used for the insulation in the first generation of British electrical cables.  However, the club (founded 1884) pre-dates the British Insulated Cables company (1890) that became the town’s biggest employer.














From 1894-5: precursor to the modern programme










Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
New this season – a pre-match prediction based only on keeper top colours as a preliminary test of the data.  Proper statistical significance test to follow in due course.

Today, no clean sheets but Pink loses to Green (as expected).  No change in the league table positions, now based on the last 172 games I’ve seen.


Pre-match Prediction based on Keeper Top Colour:
Prediction:
Away Win
Was the prediction correct?
Yes
% of correct predictions so far
67% (18 from 27)

Based on conventional 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, but also -1pt for a goal conceded (GC) and +5pts for a clean sheet (CS).  Colours ranked on a points per game (PPG) basis. For new readers the odd .5 was caused by a shocking half-and-half shirt and the .1 was due to a substitute goalkeeper in a different colour.  The Fire Cracker colour was confirmed with the help of the social media team at Dulux UK.  All of this arises from a comment attributed to Petr Cech that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box.


P
W
D
L
GC
CS
Pts
PPG
Red
10.0
5.0
1.0
4.0
11.0
3.0
20.0
2.000
Blue
42.1
19.0
7.0
16.1
60.0
14.0
74.0
1.758
Grey
49.5
23.0
11.0
15.5
80.5
14.0
69.5
1.404
Green
89.0
46.0
11.0
32.0
149.0
22.0
110.0
1.236
Fire Cracker
3.0
1.0
0.0
2.0
6.0
1.0
2.0
0.667
Maroon
5.0
2.0
1.0
2.0
9.0
1.0
3.0
0.600
Purple
20.0
8.0
4.0
8.0
42.0
5.0
11.0
0.550
Orange
44.5
14.0
8.0
22.5
82.5
7.0
2.5
0.056
Radioactive Bile
21.0
9.0
0.0
12.0
45.0
3.0
-3.0
-0.143
Yellow
34.0
9.0
7.0
18.0
73.0
5.0
-14.0
-0.412
Pink
18.0
5.0
5.0
8.0
37.0
1.0
-12.0
-0.667
Black
6.0
2.0
3.0
1.0
15.0
0.0
-6.0
-1.000
White
1.9
0.0
0.0
1.9
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-2.105
What Next?
Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter!  34 grounds left to complete Step 4 (I’ve had to add Lancing back in as Horsham’s current landlords pending a new build) and the next chance to tick one off is on New Year’s Day.


Saturday, 29 December 2018

Biggleswade United Flying Again



Hopperational Details
Date & Venue
Friday 28 December 2018 at Hutchinson Hollow
Result
Potton United 1 Biggleswade United 2
Competition
Spartan South Midlands Premier League (Step 5)
Hopstats
Ground 670 on the lifetime list and I am here because it is Friday night in the school holidays and I am up to date with everything!
Context
The B1040 Derby.  5th v 4th in the league although Biggleswade United have played more games.  Both drew 2-2 last time out, the visitors against league leaders Biggleswade FC in El Wadico.  Yes, really.  Potton are at this level having been moved across following promotion from the real UCL (the United Counties League) at the end of last season.  Meanwhile, can anyone name a town smaller than Biggleswade that has three teams at Step 5 and above?  Biggleswade Town are in Step 3.  (GY note: corrected from first publication.)
In one sentence
Too close for comfort for Bigglewade United.
So what?
It remains 5th and 4th respectively but Biggleswade United are closing down Hadley in 3rd place.
Match Report
I watched the game from the main stand in the company of Eddie McGeown of www.footballhopper.com and we traded a few tales from our shared worlds of schools and hopping.  There were quite a few hoppers in attendance.  On the pitch the visitors took the lead in the 13th minute when Tony Williams smashed in a loose ball in the area.  The match settled into an end-to-end contest with remarkably little moaning and whinging from the players – very refreshing after some of the antics I have seen of late.  This is not to say that it was a match without passion or cards.  Potton’s Jordan Wright was the most memorable caution on the half-hour – there was only one thing going to happen as he steamed towards the opposition’s flying winger.  It was a textbook clattering.  Both teams played direct attacking football and tried to use the width of the pitch.  Sadly it was usually that proverbial final ball that was lacking and the one-goal margin was preserved until the interval.

The first chance of the second half fell to Potton.  A strong direct run and shot by Danny Webb needed a good block and then the same again from a rebound.  However, Biggleswade United got their second shortly afterwards.  Kane Farrell gets some kind of assist – his first-time shot was heading wide enough to hit a team-mate and rebound into the danger area.  He had another chance to cross the ball and eventually the ball was bundled over the line by Sam Holmes.

Potton were not finished off by any means and forced several corners in quick succession.  Just after the hour, Webb scored from another one with an unchallenged header.  Great for the neutral – game on.  I was among several who thought for a moment Cody Spavins had scored a third for Biggleswade with a looping header.  Then the lack of celebration confirmed that it had gone just over.   That man Webb turned up at the other end, arriving from the acres of space that Biggleswade United had donated to ping a shot across the keeper and off the far post.  The rebound fell kindly for the visitors.  Potton got the ball flying across the area a few more times before the final whistle confirmed the away win.
Pix
Potton in blue.  Friendly club, excellent clubhouse and refreshments, good playing surface.













Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
New this season – a pre-match prediction based only on keeper top colours as a preliminary test of the data.  Proper statistical significance test to follow in due course.

Today, as predicted, Orange loses to Green, but neither has a clean sheet.  No change (yet again) in league table positions.


Pre-match Prediction based on Keeper Top Colour:
Prediction:
Away Win
Was the prediction correct?
Yes
% of correct predictions so far
65% (17 from 26)

Based on conventional 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw, but also -1pt for a goal conceded (GC) and +5pts for a clean sheet (CS).  Colours ranked on a points per game (PPG) basis. For new readers the odd .5 was caused by a shocking half-and-half shirt and the .1 was due to a substitute goalkeeper in a different colour.  The Fire Cracker colour was confirmed with the help of the social media team at Dulux UK.  All of this arises from a comment attributed to Petr Cech that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box.  Table based on last 171 matches seen.


P
W
D
L
GC
CS
Pts
PPG
Red
10.0
5.0
1.0
4.0
11.0
3.0
20.0
2.000
Blue
42.1
19.0
7.0
16.1
60.0
14.0
74.0
1.758
Grey
49.5
23.0
11.0
15.5
80.5
14.0
69.5
1.404
Green
88.0
45.0
11.0
32.0
148.0
22.0
108.0
1.227
Fire Cracker
3.0
1.0
0.0
2.0
6.0
1.0
2.0
0.667
Maroon
5.0
2.0
1.0
2.0
9.0
1.0
3.0
0.600
Purple
20.0
8.0
4.0
8.0
42.0
5.0
11.0
0.550
Orange
44.5
14.0
8.0
22.5
82.5
7.0
2.5
0.056
Radioactive Bile
21.0
9.0
0.0
12.0
45.0
3.0
-3.0
-0.143
Yellow
34.0
9.0
7.0
18.0
73.0
5.0
-14.0
-0.412
Pink
17.0
5.0
5.0
7.0
35.0
1.0
-10.0
-0.588
Black
6.0
2.0
3.0
1.0
15.0
0.0
-6.0
-1.000
White
1.9
0.0
0.0
1.9
4.0
0.0
-4.0
-2.105
What Next?
Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter!  Hopefully a Step 4 ground on Saturday (tomorrow as I write this).  Shortlist of four but choice will depend on weather, travel prospects and so on.  Maybe something last-minute of a random or randomish nature.