Sunday, 31 October 2021

Sedge Have the Cutting Edge


Hopperational Details

Date & Venue

Saturday 30 October 2021 at The Clayborn Ground, Cleckheaton


Liversedge 4 Scarborough Athletic 0


FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round


Ground 733 on the lifetime list, and I am here because of a pragmatic travel decision today. Only five grounds on my priority list were hosting a game. Two were in areas with a Met Office yellow warning, and this was the nearest of the other three, and the only one I could reach once I had waited to see whether there would be a pitch inspection.


Liversedge are topping their division at Step 4 in one of the Northern Premier League’s lower divisions, whereas Scarborough Athletic are in Step 3 in the Northern Premier League itself. They occupy a mid-table position. Liversedge needed a 10-9 penalty shootout win to see off Clitheroe in the last round, and Scarborough enter the competition at this point. They are managed by Jonathan Greening, whom I saw play many times with distinction for West Brom back in the day.

In One Sentence

Scarborough missed their chances, and though Liversedge missed some too in the first half, in the end they inflicted a heavy defeat on the visitors.

So What?

You know the drill. Knockout football. Liversedge in the draw for the next round, Scarborough concentrating on the league.

Pre-match Entertainment

Nothing to report this week. Given the weather forecasts, I waited until the last minute before travelling. I would have liked to have visited the nearby Jo Cox memorial wood had there been time.

Match Report

There were several hopperatic types with cameras around the ground before kickoff, and I was pleased to cross paths with George of the @ManchopperBlog for the first time. For the passing neutral, this was a good game. Entertaining, end-to-end stuff, and it may be surprising that the visitors were not really out of it until the third goal went in. Having said that, it ended up being a bit too easy for Liversedge, and the visiting fans were making some loudly uncomplimentary views evident towards the end. The young children of Cleckheaton may have learned some new words in the process, shall we say.

The teams changed ends after the coin toss. This might have been a stroke of genius on someone’s part because later on the low sun proved tricky for Scarborough’s keeper and defenders. Liversedge had the lead after 11 minutes. A free-kick was only partially cleared and Jack Stockdill’s shot sneaked in off the post. It really ought to have been two shortly afterwards but veteran keeper Michael Ingham was alert and came out to smother a heavy first touch by Nicky Walker. Scarborough clawed their way back into the game. Neat interchanges down the flanks looked good but caused no real defensive damage for the most part. Liversedge were defensively pragmatic and brave where necessary. The visitors had the ball in the net after space was found down the left by Colville but there was an offside flag. Then Liversedge keeper Jon Stewart needed to make a double save from Michael Coulson and Ryan Watson in rapid succession. When Nicky Walker hit the post after 36 minutes you started to wonder whether Liversedge would eventually be left to rue what might have been, especially as they missed two more chances before the break. Admittedly the final one for Paul Walker was from a very tight angle.

The start to the second half was clearly going to be an important phase of the game. Coulson was booked for simulation in the penalty area and the Scarborough players were incensed. They surrounded the referee and there was a good deal of accusatory finger-pointing. I was probably the nearest spectator to the incident. Regular readers will know that’s unusual this season. For what it’s worth, I think the referee was right that it was not a penalty. The defender had not committed to any challenge and was stationary with both feet planted on the floor when Coulson ran into him. It was a simple collision rather than a deliberate foul and that is absolutely clear. I can’t really say whether the collision was then followed by a dive.


Liversedge’s second goal, with 54 minutes on the clock, therefore added to the tension. There was an element of fortune for Paul Walker as a clearance rebounded off him to give Ingham no chance. The game continued to be open, and Scarborough were still looking to score, and Stewart had to make another double block to protect the lead. Liversedge were also getting chances on the break and it seemed likely that there were more goals to come.

When it did, it opened up the anti-management shouts from the visiting supporters. Scarborough were sliced open on a break down the right and then across to the centre where Ben Atkinson had all the time and space in the world to control and shoot to make it 3-0. The shouts intensified with about ten minutes left when Nicky Walker smashed in a tremendous shot from distance which did that wonderfully satisfying thing of hitting the post before going across the empty goal to the opposite corner. There was some more pushing and shoving in the closing moments leading to a yellow card for each side before the final whistle. You can’t really argue with a 4-0 scoreline but it felt like it should have been a 6-3. Mr Greening has a job on his hands. I suspect that his Liversedge counterpart Jonathan Rimmington will be somewhat chuffed that his side did such a demolition job on their higher-ranked opponents.


Match Pix

Liversedge in the blue-and-white.

Ground Pix

The ground is reached down a narrow lane (Quaker Lane) between houses that initially feels like your SatNav has landed you in trouble. The parking was well-organised by friendly stewards. The stadium has excellent views into the distance and a nice range of heights for watching the match, both covered and uncovered. It’s got a bit of character and quirkiness about it, and is all the better for it. A pre-match rainbow was a visual bonus.

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats Update

Usually accompanied by a pre-match prediction on Twitter just before kickoff. Working towards being able to compute a respectable statistical significance test by the end of the season. The full keeper top performance table from my last 234 matches is here, on this separate page.


Today, Grey met Blue in a top-of-the-table clash and scored a win and a clean sheet. The overall colour league table positions remain unchanged.

Pre-match Prediction based on Keeper Top Colour:


Home Win

Was the prediction correct?


% of correct predictions so far

49% (44 from 89)

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. The odd decimal places were caused either by undeniable half-and-half tops or lower league sub keepers 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 (and supported by anonymous scientists of some description) that orange is the best colour for a goalkeeper because it changes the behaviour of other players around the box. It is supposedly because of an innate primeval human reaction to the colour and the colour “spreads” more in the vision of a striker at the key moment of decision. Genius or garbage? The evidence is gathering here, and is leaning towards the latter.

What Next?

Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter! Provisional plan is to re-complete “everywhere in the top seven tiers” by going to Wimborne Town’s new ground next Saturday, but all will be dependent on weather (and CV19, of course). That will leave me fifteen Step 4 grounds to complete the eighth tier, one of which is Guernsey and will need a bit of planning.

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