Sunday, 21 November 2021

Anchors on the Rise - a D8 with Destination

Hopperational Details

Date & Venue

Saturday 20 November 2021


Stockton Town 4 Tadcaster Albion 0


Northern Premier League (Division One) East (Step 4)


Ground 736 on my lifetime list and I am here because I rolled a 7 on a standard d8 octahedral die on Thursday evening. I am here by car (which was not the original plan) because of engineering works on the East Coast main line! Here’s the proof:


Stockton’s recent league record is WLWDD and they sit in eighth place. Tadcaster’s is an anagram, LWWDD, but they are fifteenth. They are a few points away from their respective dotted lines for playoffs or relegation.

In One Sentence

A comfortable second half following on from a clinical first half.

So What?

As it happens, no change in the league position for either team, but the points gaps to those dotted lines have lessened.

Pre-match Entertainment

After a long drive, I had time to pause briefly at the Infinity Bridge in the last of the late morning sunshine. It gets the name because the bridge’s two arches, together with their reflections, look like the infinity symbol from the next bridges along the river. The other picture is of the Tees Barrage.


Match Report

Tadcaster looked ambitious early on and there was an element of unexpected softness about Stockton’s first goal. A ball over the top into Route One gave Alfie Conway a shooting chance and although keeper Ally Hughes got a touch, the ball nestled in the corner of the net. Tadcaster continued to look neat in midfield but the second good chance also came to Stockton, with Nathan Steel shooting over the bar. We had reached the midpoint of the first half. 

The second goal was probably the hinge point of this game. Mikey Roberts was bundled over in the penalty area by Romario Vieira and he scored from the spot himself. 

Then, still only just after the half-hour mark, a neat lay off from Roberts to the onrushing Dan McWilliams gave the defender the opening to score the best-worked goal of the day. For once this season, the action had been right in front of me rather than at the other end. It would now have to be something exceptional to deny Stockton the points.

The second half would need an early response from Tadcaster to change the story, but Stockton could now play risk-free football. The visitors continued to look neat in midfield with some good running with the ball, but the defence stayed disciplined to shepherd them wide or to block when the time came. It looked fairly straightforward as these things go. The purple-clad Callum Roberts had nothing much to do except to boot a child’s football (accidentally to be fair) straight out of the ground.

The only time Tadcaster had the ball in the net, it was correctly disallowed for handball, and in any case by then Stockton had added their fourth, a classic far post header from a set piece, scored by Adam Nicholson. This passing neutral has to be content with an impressive demolition job done rather than a result in doubt until the end.

Match Pix

Stockton in yellow and blue.

Ground Pix

Artificial surface, part of a shared complex with the sixth form college. A substantial clubhouse is at the other end of the site. On arrival, turn left for the pitch, right for the bar.


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 237 matches is here, on this separate page.

Pre-match Prediction based on Keeper Top Colour:


Away Win

Was the prediction correct?


% of correct predictions so far

49% (45 from 92)

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! Thirteen grounds to go at Step 4, seven northish and six southish, most of them quite long trips (especially Guernsey!). It’s possible that the season for pitch inspections and postponements will arrive soon, so it may be a while before the next one. In such cases the declaration that the game is on rarely gives me time enough to travel.


No comments:

Post a Comment