Barrow Triumph in FA Trophy Final

05/09/2010

On Saturday Wembley was cente-stage as the FA Trophy Final took place between Barrow and Stevenage. The FA Trophy is the equivalent to the FA Cup but is the premier competition in non-league football. I managed to get a ticket and I was able to witness one of the most incident packed games I had ever seen. It had passionate fans singing their hearts out for their respective teams. It had 2 straight red cards, a nasty injury to Charlie Griffin that saw him carried off on a stretcher, extra-time and not forgetting 3 superb goals. Although Wembley was just about a quarter full, the atmosphere was amazing and credit must be given to the supporters, especially to the Barrow fans who made the long journey down to London and no doubt the long journey was worth it to see their team lift the trophy. Even before the game, the fans were going to make the most of the day as they marched to support their team. I was sitting amongst the Stevenage fans and they didn’t stop singing throughout. The result will damper their spirits somewhat, but from the chants, they are really excited about next season and playing in the Football League. 

Barrow’s route to the final

1st Round: Kettering 0-1 Barrow
2nd Round: Maidenhead 0-1 Barrow
3rd Round: Barrow 1-1 Gateshead
3rd Round Replay: Gateshead 2-3 Barrow
4th Round: Barrow 2-1 York City
Semi- Final 1st Leg: Salisbury 0-1 Barrow
Semi Final 2nd Leg: Barrow 2-1 Salisbury 

Stevenage’s Route to the Final

1st Round: Stevenage 2-0 Ebbsfleet Utd
2nd Round: Stevenage 6-0 Vauxhall Motors
3rd Round: Stevenage 4-1 Dover Athletic
4th Round: Stevenage 2-1 Workington
Semi Final 1st Leg: Kidderminster 1-5 Stevenage
Semi Final 2nd Leg: Stevenage 0-0 Kidderminster 

Barrow 2-1 Stevenage Borough (AET)

Attendance: 21,223

 Barrow defied the odds as they beat Stevenage in the FA Carlsberg Trophy at Wembley. In an incident packed game it was Jason Walker who scored a brilliant winner in extra time as Barrow lifted the trophy for the first time in 20 years. 

Barrow (Yellow) in action against Stevenage (white)

 

 Barrow started the game brightly with Jason Walker having a shot blocked within the first couple of minutes. However against the run of play, Stevenage were in front on 10 minutes. A long kick by keeper Chris Day found its way to Andy Drury on the right. He cut onside onto his left foot and bent the ball into the top left of the net, giving Stuart Tomlinson no chance in the Barrow goal. 

 Barrow responded well and their chances of snatching a goal were increased on 28 minutes as Stevenage were reduced to 10 men. David Bridges’ two-footed lunge on Barrow’s Andy Bond gave referee Lee Probert no other choice but to send the player off. 

 Despite the one man advantage, Barrow still couldn’t find the breakthrough and it was Stevenage who could have gone in front. Yemi Odubade flew past Barrow captain Paul Jones but his cross come shot flew just wide of Tomlinson’s right post. However just before half-time Stevenage had another glorious chance to pull further ahead. Adam Drury’s cross was only cleared by the Barrow defence to the feet of Chris Beardsley who shot just over and Stevenage went into the break only 1-0 up. 

Simon Spender on the ball for Barrow

 

 In the second half, Barrow began to assert themselves on the game and woke up the travelling fans. However they continued to waste chances. Firstly Jason Walker played a neat one-two with Gregg Blundell but fluffed his shot. Then Andy Bond saw his right foot shot sail harmlessly wide. Stevenage responded and a ball from Michael Bostwick found Obudabe but again he shot well wide. 

 A few minutes later and the speedy Odubade was again the centre of attention. He looked have been fouled in the penalty area after being played in by Adam Drury, but Lee Probert waved away the protests. The game started to liven up after that as Bond went close for Barrow and Jon Ashton saw his header hit the side netting for Stevenage. 

 However that miss was to prove crucial as moments later, Barrow were back level. A Cross by Paul Rutherford was met by the head of substitute Lee McEvilly and he made no mistake as the ball sailed past Chris Day in the Stevenage goal. 

 Barrow continued to push forward but were again unable to make the most of their chances as captain Paul Jones headed wide. With the game heading towards extra-time, Barrow could have snatched a winner but Carlos Logan’s left foot shot was saved by sub keeper Ashley Bayes. There was enough time for Barrow’s Robin Holbert to be shown a straight red for an elbow on Charlie Griffin who had to be carried off on a stretcher but the 90 minutes ended with both teams level at 1-1. 

Barrow Players feeling the pain of extra time

 

 Extra time began with Barrow having 10 players and Stevenage having 9 players on the pitch, and the extra space allowed both teams to create chances. Stevenage had the first opportunity to score but Yemi Obudabe’s right foot shot hit the side netting. Barrow responded when a neat flick from a free-kick by Jason Walker was deflected wide. 

 But Jason Walker was to be the hero as he scored the winner for Barrow in the second half of extra time. Man of the match Paul Rutherford’s pass found Walker and he let the ball roll across his body before unleashing an unstoppable right foot shot past Bayes, sending the travelling Barrow fans into raptures. Stevenage tried to respond but Barrow held on to clinch a famous win against the League Champions by a 2-1 score line. 

 

 Teams 

Barrow: Tomlinson, Spender, Edwards, Jones, Bolland, Wiles (Logan 64), Hulbert, Bond, Walker, Blundell (McEvilly 74), Rutherford (Boyd 110).
Subs not used: Deasy, Pearson. 

 Stevenage: Day (Bayes 90), Laird, Ashton, Odubade, Byrom (Wilson 59), Roberts, Bridges, Beardsley (Griffin 66), Drury, Bostwick, Henry.
Subs not used: Long, Vincenti. 

 Man of the Match: Paul Rutherford (Barrow)
Paul Rutherford ran his heart out for Barrow today. He must have covered every blade of the Wembley turf and was instrumental in both Barrow goals that clinched them the FA Trophy. 

 Match Verdict
Barrow fans will be enthusiastic with this result today. They went into the game as the underdogs and came away as the FA Trophy winners which in truth they just about deserved. Stevenage will be disappointed they weren’t able to achieve the double, but will no doubt be looking forward to playing league football next season. 

 

 


Around the Blue Square

05/03/2010

Last weekend saw the curtain come down on another thrilling season in the Blue Square Premier. And after visiting 9 grounds, watching 9 games and talking to various different people, my travels around the Blue Square came to an end.

 What a ride it has been. I have come from not knowing about the Blue Square Premier, to an avid fan. I have seen some fantastic games being played, most notably Luton’s 6-1 demolition of Ebbsfleet United. I have also met the most passionate fans like Dave and Ann, who follow Histon home and away and follow their team no matter what. It just shows you, you don’t have to support a big team to absolutely love watching the beautiful game.

 My Journey began at Priory Lane, the home of Eastbourne Borough. Here I met some fantastic people, working as volunteers, helping to prepare the ground for match day. I even saw at one point, the chairman Len Smith, drill in hand, helping with the last minute repairs. I have no higher praise than for these volunteers, who give up their time in order to help run the football club. I would like to thank Colin Hutchinson and Lee Peskett for showing me around such a fantastic club and I am glad they can look forward to another season in the top division.

 My next stop was Histon and the Glassworld stadium. Histon are only a village side and their rise up from the bottom leagues to the Blue Square Premier has been remarkable. Although I witnessed probably the dullest game of all my travels, I was able to speak to Histon captain, Matthew Langston, who has probably scored the most special goal in Histon’s history as they beat Leeds United in the FA Cup. This was also a great experience and I have to mention Graham Eales,  who works tirelessly and is well respected around the club for giving the chance to show my around the club.

At Crawley Town

 Crawley was my next destination as they played host to Cambridge United. Although Crawley boss Steve Evans has put together a strong team and were unlucky not to be challenging for promotion, I felt that the crowd did not do enough to get behind the team. I was standing in the away end and the Cambridge fans were making more noise and their team were losing!

 The next stage of my journey, took me to Chester. I was meant to go and watch the derby game between Chester City and Wrexham, but as a result of the police not being paid, the game was postponed. Consequently, this event along with the Chester City players refusing to get on the team coach on their way to play Forest Green Rovers, saw them expelled from the Blue Square Premier. To see yet another team erased from the game is sad and this has to be echoed by all football fans. But I honestly do hope Chester can rise again and make their way back to the top pyramid of non-league football and maybe even further.

 Luton Town provided me with the best atmosphere I have experienced at a Blue Square Premier game. Luton actually lost the game 2-1 against AFC Wimbledon, but the 7,000 plus crowd made the game entertaining. I was definitely impressed with such a huge crowd which would probably beat most attendances in the two bottom tiers of league football and even though they were tipped to win the Blue Square Premier this season, they finished 2nd, and I am strongly tipping them for an instant return to the league as they compete in the play-offs.

Ebbsfleet vs Barrow

 Onto Stonebridge Road, the home of Ebbsfleet United, where unfortunately for the home side, I saw them on the receiving end of two heavy defeats. The first one being a 4-1 defeat by Barrow, meanwhile the second game a 6-1 defeat by Luton Town, was the best game I have witnessed not only in the Blue Square Premier, but throughout my time following football. Luton were 1-0 down at half time and not playing very well. The funny thing was at half time, the Luton Town fans were all disappointed but I heard one of them say ‘wouldn’t it be funny if we battered them second half.’ The team must of heard him as they not only scored 6 goals, they completely outclassed the opposition.

 I then made the trip to AFC Wimbledon and even had the privilege of taking my girlfriend for her first experience of non- league football. She absolutely loved it and I think I have passed the bug onto her. Although I don’t think she was impressed with the language of the home fans, but that’s all part of football.

Action from Newport County vs Maidenhead United

 The Blue Square South was my next destination and a trip to champions Newport County. This was to be my first experience of watching Newport and after they played Maidenhead United off the park with some neat football, they thoroughly deserve to be in the Blue Square Premier next season and I wish them the best of luck.

 My last trip of the season was a Thursday night trip to Hayes & Yeading, which in truth left much to be desired. I did however for the first time, witness a female referee, officiating a game. However after dreadful performance, it will be a long time until female officials start refereeing league games.

Final Thoughts

 The Blue Square Premier has taught me that football is not only about money and winning, it’s about enjoying the game. I have seen the passion and commitment shown by not only the players, but by the fans and everyone involved with every club and it has really impressed me. The standard of football is not as good as some I have seen in the league, but you can’t beat the atmosphere at some of the grounds and being amongst proper football fans.


Blue Square Premier Season Review

04/24/2010

Well that’s it. Today (24th April) saw the last round of games in yet another exciting season in the Blue Square Premier. Although the top part of the table was already decided, there was still much to play for down at the bottom, with 5 teams all battling to survive.

Here’s what happened:

 Stevenage finished the season off in style as they beat York City 1-0 and lifted the Blue Square Premier trophy they won last weekend at Kidderminster.

 The other promotion place will be decided between Luton Town, Oxford United, Rushden & Diamonds and York City in the play-offs.

The play-offs will start next Thursday with Luton Town playing York City and Rushden & Diamonds playing Oxford United, with the winners earning the chance to play at Wembley.

 With Grays Athletic already being relegated several weeks ago, the remaining two relegation places were up for grabs between Ebbsfleet, Gateshead, Forest Green, Eastbourne and Histon.

 However Ebbsfleet and Forest Green were the unlucky ones this time and joined Grays in being relegated. Despite winning 4-3 away at Tamworth, that wasn’t enough for Ebbsfleet, who finished just above Grays with 44 points. Forest Green lost 2-1 at Grays Athletic and went down on goal difference by 3 goals, finishing with 45 points.

 In the other games down at the bottom, Gateshead beat AFC Wimbledon 1-0 and will look forward to their second season in the Blue Square Premier, staying up with a better goal difference than Forest Green. Eastbourne beat play-off bound Oxford 1-0 and Histon drew 2-2 at home to Barrow.

 Last day Results

 Altrincham 0-2 Cambridge Utd

Eastbourne 1-0 Oxford Utd

Gateshead 1-0 AFC Wimbledon

Grays Athletic 2-1 Forest Green

Hayes & Yeading 0-1 Wrexham

Histon 2-2 Barrow

Mansfield 3-3 Kidderminster

Rushden & Diamonds 1-1 Luton

Salisbury 2-0 Kettering

Stevenage 1-0 York City

Tamworth 3-4 Ebbsfleet United


Hayes & Yeading 2-2 Kidderminster Harriers

04/16/2010

Thursday night and I found myself at Church Road, the home of Hayes & Yeading as they played host to Kidderminster Harriers. A very low turnout of just over 300 witnessed a game that was full of incident from the first whistle to the last. For the first time I witnessed a female referee officiating the game and personally she contributed to this game being such a turn off for the loyal spectators from both sides. It was unfair though to hear several sections of the crowd shouting some obscene abuse at her. At one point I heard one fan shout ‘head back to the kitchen’ and that was particularly out of order and left me thinking ‘I bet you couldn’t do a better job than she is at the moment.’

Woman referee Amy Fearn

Actually getting to the ground itself was challenging. From the outset, you wouldn’t have noticed the ground as it was hidden amongst a housing estate, so I had to look closely and the only thing that gave it away was a banner on a fence saying ‘Hayes and Yeading Utd.’ But getting home was a complete nightmare. First I was just sitting on the station platform wondering where my train was. Then found out that due to signalling problems trains were severely delayed. Luckily I managed to find a lady who was going to the same station as me, London Paddington and I shared a taxi costing £34! This was certainly a game to remember but for all the wrong reasons.

The Report

 Attendance: 318

 Hayes & Yeading twice let slip a lead as they drew 2-2 with Kidderminster Harriers in an incident packed game at Church Road. However the game will be remembered for the referee Amy Fearn, who sent off Hayes & Yeading’s two goal hero Scott Fitzgerald after a clash off the ball between Harriers’ Luke Prosser. Resulting in both receiving yellow cards and in the case of Fitzgerald, receiving a second bookable offence, when both players should have really been sent-off.

A packed crowd greeted the players

 Hayes & Yeading started the game brightly and applied the early pressure. They could of gone in front inside 2 minutes when a cross by Adam Green on the left missed everyone when any touch would have seen the ball fly into the net. Just a minute later and Hayes & Yeading had another good chance to go in front. A cross on the right by Danny Allen- Page was half cleared by Kidderminster and the ball fell to Adam Green but his shot was easily saved by Ross Atkins in the Harriers goal.

 The game was stopped for a short while, after 4th official Peter Georgiou received treatment for an injury but Hayes & Yeading continued to dominate the game and should have been in front just after the half hour mark. A corner on the right was taken by Adam Green and it was met by captain Tom Cadmore who’s header was cleared of the line by the Kidderminster defence.

 With 7 minutes added at the end of the first half, Hayes & Yeading finally got their reward for their dominance. Another corner was met by Tom Cadmore and although his header was cleared the ball fell to Scott Fitzgerald who made mistake to give Hayes & Yeading a one goal lead going into half time.

Hayes & Yeading (red and Black) and Kidderminster (blue) in action

 After the break, Kidderminster managed to come into the game and maybe should have had a penalty. Darryl Knights seemed to have been pulled back in the box but his appeal was turned away as referee Amy Fearn decided to award a free-kick the other way. However Kidderminster were level soon after. A cross by substitute Duane Courtney was met by Chris McPhee and although his first shot was saved by Clark Masters, he made no mistake on the rebound and slotted the ball home from two yards. Kidderminster began to dominate and could have been in front but Tom Cadmore’s last gasp challenge on Dean Bennett prevented the Harriers player being one on one with the Masters in the Hayes & Yeading goal.

 But Kidderminster didn’t make their dominance count and Hayes & Yeading went back in front. A throw-in on the left fell to Scott Fitzgerald on the edge of the box and he chested the ball down and his volley gave Ross Atkins no chance in the Harriers goal.

Referee Amy Fearn gives the Kidderminster players a talking to

 On 78 minutes though, an off the ball incident between Scott Fitzgerald and Luke Prosser saw both players receive a yellow card and in the case of Fitzgerald it was his second yellow and he was sent off.

 Kidderminster took advantage of this and within 3 minutes they were level. A corner by Darryl Knights found the head of defender Martin Riley and his header flew into the net.

 Kidderminster continued to press with the one-man advantage, looking for the winner but Hayes & Yeading held on for a deserved point.

 Teams:

Hayes & Yeading: Masters, Cadmore, Ruby, Harris, Green, Allen-Page, Cochrane (Watkins 90+3), Canham, Marwa, Fitzgerald, Wishart (Mulley 62).
Subs Not Used: Baker, Stolcers, Webb.

 Kidderminster Harriers: Atkins, Sharpe (Courtney 45), Riley, Prosser, Baker, Kerry (Matthews 77), Bennett (Byrne 71), Finnigan, McPhee, Knights, Smikle.
Subs Not Used: Singh, Lawrie.

Man of the Match- Adam Green (Hayes & Yeading)

 It was a difficult decision but I had to award Adam Green the man of the match. The left back was a threat with his runs forward and was involved in both goals scored for Hayes & Yeading. A good performance all round.

 Match verdict

 The game today left much to be desired for. The first half in particular was something to forget especially with the long stoppage and refereeing decisions that also stopped the play. The second half was more eventful with the referee sending off Scott Fitzgerald when she should have also sent of Luke Prosser. I think the referee’s performance today made the game a real turn off for the fans and this was shown through the abuse towards her. In the end both teams will be happy with a point.


Final Weeks of the Blue Square Premier Season- The Ups and Downs (Before Todays Games)

04/10/2010

With Just 3 weeks and only a handful of games left to play of another exciting Blue Square Premier season, there is still so much to play for at both the top and bottom of league.

Here’s all the information you need to know about what can still happen in the final few weeks.

At The Top.

Stevenage currently lead the table with 84 points and with a game hand in hand over 2nd placed Luton Town. They have been around the top of the league for much of the season and are now have to be considered the favourites to clinch the title and reach the Football League.

In-form Luton Town are not far behind on 82 points and are pushing Stevenage all the way and will be hoping to pip them to the Conference title. However the play-offs look the most likely for The Hatters.

Oxford, York City and Rushden & Diamonds occupy the remaining play- off places and it looks likely they will stay there come the end of the season.

6th placed Kettering still have a chance of reaching the play-offs as do AFC Wimbledon, Crawley Town and Mansfield but they will all have to win all their games and hope one team slips up if they are to make it.

Down The Bottom

Grays Athletic’s fate has already been decided, having been relegated two weeks ago after a 0-0 draw against Kettering. This week they were also dealt another blow as they were deducted two points for fielding 3 ineligible players.

The other two relegation places are still wide open, but at the moment Ebbsfleet United and Forest Green Rovers make up the rest of the relegation zone.

All the teams up to 10th placed Altrincham can be mathematically relegated but only an incredible turn of fortunes can see this happen. So the relegation scrap seems likely to be between Ebbsfleet United, Forest Green Rovers, Eastbourne Boro, Gateshead, Salisbury and Barrow.


Newport County- Blue Square South Champions.

04/04/2010

 

On a cold, wet Saturday afternoon, I saw my myself watching Newly crowned Blue Square South champions Newport County play Maidenhead United at the Newport Stadium. I had travelled to the South Wales City to visit my girlfriend’s Grandparents and on arriving at their house (located just a 5 minute walk away from the stadium), I noticed that Newport were playing at home. So off I went (don’t worry I just didn’t abandon my girlfriend and her Grandparent’s. I did stay there quite a while before I set out) and walked the short journey to the home of Newport County, and for £8 a ticket I wasn’t disappointed with the game I saw.  

This was the first time I had watched a game in the Blue Square South and I must admit it was enjoyable to watch. Okay the pitch and the conditions weren’t the best, but I was impressed with Newport County and they thoroughly deserved their 4-1 win and deserve to be playing in the top tier of Non-League football next season. With also a 1,000 plus crowd behind them, I feel Newport will adjust well to the Blue Square Premier and teams will find it difficult to play against them. 

Club Profile

Nickname: The Exiles
Manager: Dean Holdsworth
Stadium: Newport Stadium (Spytty Park)
Capacity: 4,700
Founded:  1912 (reformed in 1989) 

 Newport County have been outstanding this season and have clinched the Blue Square South title by a huge margin with 4 games still to play. They are currently on 94 points and are hoping to break the 100 point barrier before the end of the season. 

 History

Newport County were established in 1912 and joined the Football League’s Third Division in 1920. They stayed there until 1988 when they were relegated from the Football League. In that time they had managed to win the Welsh Cup in 1980 and had also reached the quarter finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup. However in February, the club went bankrupt and subsequently went out of business. But Newport reformed later that year and began life in the Hellenic League where they won promotion to the Southern League that year. In the 1994-95 season they were promoted to the Southern League Premier Division and when the reorganisation of the non-league system occurred, the club saw themselves take their place in the Conference South. Ex-Wimbledon star Dean Holdsworth took over as manager in April 2008 and in his first season guided them to a respectable 10th. However this season after being top of the table since September, Newport were crowned champions on the 15th March and will play in the Blue Square Premier next season, making them the first team to achieve promotion in the English football leagues this season. 

 Key player- Craig Reid

Craig Reid is Newport’s top scorer this season and has been in fantastic form, also leading the goal scoring chart in the Conference South. Craig started his career at Ipswich Town where he completed a scholarship before joining Coventry City in July 2004. He didn’t make a single appearance for the club and went on loan at Tamworth before joining Cheltenham Town in January 2007.  He made 14 league appearances before joining Grays Athletic. He initially joined Newport on a month’s loan last year, before signing a two-year contract with Newport at the start of the season. 

 Match Action

Newport County 4-1 Maidenhead

Attendance: 1,339

 Teams:
Newport County: Thompson, Bignot, Collins, Turk,Warren, Todd, Rose, Henry, Reid, Gilroy, Ake
Subs: Morgan, Rogers, Davies, Cochlin, Blackburn 

 Maidenhead United: Carter, Behzadi, Fyfield, Ochoa, Rose, Baddeley, Bernard, St. Aimie, Robinson, Knight, Collins.
Subs: Barney, Crook, Brown, Hippolyte, Tardif 

Newport (orange) and Maidenhead (red) battling for possesion

 

3:00pm – The game kicks off.
1 min 40 – Newport have their first corner of the match, which is taken by Charlie Henry. But it leads to nothing.
 5mins – Maidenhead have their first corner of the game, taken by Lewis Ochoa. Leads to nothing
10mins – GOAL! Newport County 1-0 Maidenhead United. 
Charlie Henry runs down the right and his low cross is met by Dave Gilroy who makes no mistake and scores from 3 yards.
16mins – GOAL! Newport County 2-0 Maidenhead United.
The ball is played to Charlie Henry and another low cross finds Craig Reid who stretches to poke the ball into the net.
20mins- Game Update.
Champions Newport are dominating possession and Maidenhead are struggling to cope with them. The home crowd is getting behind their team and they are playing some superb passing football
26mins – Chance for Newport! Charlie Henry takes a free-kick from the left and Warren Carter in the Maidenhead goal saves well, diving to his right to tip the ball around the post. Good save.
32mins – Another chance for Newport! A corner from Charlie Henry finds its way to Danny Rose and his right foot shot is just wide.
36mins – Penalty!
Craig Reid passes the ball to Takumi Ake who plays in Dave Gilroy. However he is tripped by Marcus Rose and the referee points to the spot. Craig Reid steps up but he blasts the ball over the bar and the score stays at 2-0.
43mins – Maidenhead create their first chance of the game! Adam Bernard is clean through but his shot is block by keeper Glyn Thompson. Down the other end, Charlie Henry runs from his own half and his right foot shot is saved well by Carter.
45mins- HALF TIME. Newport County 2-0 Maidenhead United.
Analysis:  Newport have been dominating the game so far and fully deserve their lead. Maidenhead can’t get into the game and Newport are easing to victory. 

Key player: Charlie Henry (Newport County) 

He has created both goals and his constant running and pace is causing Maidenhead problems. He is a joy to watch today. 

Newport celebrating

 

45mins- Second Half begins.
50mins- Chance for Newport! Danny Rose takes a free-kick but it is comfortably saved by the goalkeeper.
53mins- Another chance goes begging for Newport! Takumi Ake tries to bend his shot past Warren Carter but it is just wide of the right post. A good chance to treble their lead.
58mins- Substitution for Newport.   On comes Scott Rogers who replaces Takumi Ake.
64mins- Maidenhead bring 7 fans! Just noticed 7 Maidenhead fans who are singing to the right of me. Obviously the rest didn’t fancy their chances today and too right. They are struggling against a far stronger side.
65mins- Substitution for Maidenhead. Lee Barney comes on replacing Paul Robinson
67mins- GOAL! Newport County 3-0 Maidenhead United.
A throw-in on the right finds midfielder Danny Rose who’s fierce left foot shot flies into the top left of the goal giving the keeper no chance. Superb goal.
69mins- Substitution for Newport. Kerry Morgan comes on replacing Dave Gilroy
71mins- GOAL! Newport County 4-0 Maidenhead United.
A throw-in on the left finds its way to sub Scott Rogers who dribbles past a defender before unleashing a right foot shot past Carter in the Maidenhead goal.
73mins GOAL! Newport County 4-1 Maidenhead United
A consolation goal for Maidenhead as Glyn Thompson’s poor throw out falls to Sam Collins and his left foot shot sails into the top left of the net, giving the Newport keeper no chance.
74mins- Substitution for Newport. Nathan Davies replaces Wayne Turk.
Substitution for Maidenhead.  Joe Crook replaces Adam Bernard.
75mins- Game Update.The game is all but over now. Newport are in complete control and easing to victory against a far weaker Maidenhead team.

Newport Free-Kick

 

78mins- chance for Maidenhead. Lewis Ochoa takes a free-kick but it is straight at the keeper.
82mins- Conditions worsen! The pitch has now descended into a complete mud-bath with both sets of players slipping all over the place. Definitely not a good surface to play football on.
90mins- FULL TIME.
Newport County 4-1 Maidenhead United
Analysis: It was a comfortable afternoon today for the Conference South Champions and fully deserved their thumping 4-1 win. The dominated from start to finish and caused Maidenhead a lot of problems. 

 Man of the Match: Charlie Henry (Newport County)
It was a tough all today but Charlie Henry just pipped Craig Reid to claim the man of the match. Henry was a constant threat for Newport today and created two out of the four goals. His pace caused all sorts of problems for Maidenhead today and they just couldn’t handle him. 

Game Stats

Shots on target
Newport: 6
Maidenhead 2

Shots off target
Newport: 4
Maidenhead: 3

Corners
Newport: 8
Maidenhead: 1

Free-Kicks
Newport: 13
Maidenhead: 9

Yellow Cards
Newport: 0
Maidenhead: 3

Red Cards
Newport: 0
Maidenhead: 0
 


Rushden & Diamonds Strengthen Their Play-Off Hopes

03/29/2010

 This week I travelled to Kingsmeadow, the home of AFC Wimbledon. I had never been to the stadium before, but I must say it is an impressive ground for a team that has only been existing since 2002 and have fans who are really passionate about the team.   

AFC WIMBLEDON 0-1 RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS

 Attendance 3, 640

 AFC Wimbledon’s play-off hopes suffered a dent as they were narrowly beaten by Rushden & Diamonds at Kingsmeadow. However the game will be over-shadowed by the controversial winning goal scored by the Diamonds Craig Farrell, that saw them edge closer towards promotion.   

AFC (blue) and R & D (yellow) battling to win the ball

 

 The game started brightly, with both teams eager to secure the win, but it was Rushden & Diamonds that created the first meaningful chance of the game on 10 minutes. A throw-in on the right found its way to Aaron O’Connor who found himself one on one with James Pullen in the Wimbledon goal, but his shot was well saved. Wimbledon responded but Brett Johnson’s shot was easily saved by Diamond’s keeper Dale Roberts.   

 Both teams continued to battle throughout the entire first half, but neither team could find that all-important goal. Diamonds left-back Kurt Robinson saw a speculative scissor kick shot sail over the bar, while Wimbledon’s Will Hendry saw his 30 yard strike fly well wide. However Wimbledon had the best chance of the half just after the half hour mark. Glenn Poole received the ball on the left and his cross was met by top scorer Danny Kedwell, but he headed just over and both teams went into the break level at 0-0.

 After the break, the game flowed in much the same fashion as the first. However Wimbledon should have been in front within 5 minutes of the restart. Ricky Wellard passed the ball to Kedwell on the right and his cross was met by Hendry, after Wellard has missed the ball, and he shot straight at Diamond’s keeper Roberts when he should have scored.   

AFC (blue) freekick

 

 This would come back to haunt Wimbledon as soon after, Rushden & Diamonds were in front. Aaron O’Connor fed the ball through to striker Craig Farrell who ran onto the pass to slot the ball  past keeper Pullen and into the net. However as the ball was played in, Farrell looked offside, but luckily for the travelling fans, the linesman failed to notice and the goal stood, giving them a 1-0 lead.   

 Rushden & Diamonds began to assert themselves on the game, but Wimbledon still searched for that goal to draw them level. Sam Hatton had a free-kick saved by Roberts, while Luke Moore saw his shot sail just wide.   

 With 6 minutes injury time added, Wimbledon continued to push forward with Wellard heading straight at Dale Roberts but the Rushden & Diamonds defence held firm and held on to secure a vital away win.   

Teams

AFC Wimbledon: Pullen, Hatton, Judge, Lorraine, Johnson, Poole (Elder 63), Gregory, Hendry (Adjei 54), Wellard, Kedwell, Moore.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Conroy, Duncan   

Rushden & Diamonds: Roberts, Corcoran, Osano, Stuart, Robinson, Porter, McNamara (Huke 70), Byrne, O’Connor (Akurang 85), Farrell, Tomlin (Louis 74).
Subs Not Used: Day, Wolleaston.   

 Man of the Match- Jamie Stuart (Rushden & Diamonds)

 Captain Jamie Stuart had a solid game today at the heart of the Rushden defence. He dealt with everything that was placed upon him and he and the rest of the defence will be absolutely delighted to come away with 3 vital points.   

 Match Verdict

 Rushden & Diamonds will be delighted with picking up the win today. In an even game that could have gone either way, it was a controversial decision made by the linesman which settled the game. AFC Wimbledon wil be very disappointed not to pick up at least a point today and now face an uphill struggle to clinch a play-off place, which the fans desperately want.