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. 

 

 

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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.


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.  


Ebbsfleet brushed aside by Barrow at Stonebridge Road

02/27/2010

This week I travelled to Stonebridge Road, the home of Ebbsfleet United. The game itself was an interesting one.  It was quite even throughout but Barrow made their chances count. I have to give credit to the Barrow fans though. They sang throughout in support of their team and generated most of the atmosphere. They are real football fans.

Ebbsfleet United 1-4 Barrow AFC

Attendance: 1,146

Barrow eased their relegation worries as they cruised to victory against fellow strugglers Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road. The result saw Barrow climb out of the relegation zone with former Chester player Nick Chadwick putting in a man of the match performance, scoring a superb hat-trick.

Ebbsfleet(red) and Barrow(yellow) in action.

Ebbsfleet started the game brightly and could have been in front inside 2 minutes. First Magno Vieira broke through the Barrow defence and his shot was saved by keeper Tim Deasy. Then defender Darius Charles saw his audacious shot from halfway, bounce off the bar. The Fleet continued to dominate as the half progressed and their best chance to pull ahead fell on 21 minutes. A hesitation in the Barrow defence saw the ball fall to Moses Ashikodi. His pass found Vieira, whose curled shot was saved spectacularly by Deasy in the Barrow goal, finger tipping the ball round the right post.  However Barrow soon found their feet and against the run of play, they took the lead. The ball found its way to Jason Walker on the left and his cross, eluded Fleet keeper Lance Cronin and found the head of Nick Chadwick who headed into the empty net. 30 seconds later and it got worse for Ebbsfleet as Barrow increased their lead further. Winger Carlos Logan ran with the ball down the right, and his cross again found the head of Chadwick, who unmarked at the back post, made no mistake to make the score 2-0.  It could have been even worse for Ebbsfleet just before half time as Jason Walker raced through the Fleet defence, however his shot was well saved by Fleet keeper Cronin and Barrow went in at half time just 2-0 in front.

Ebbsfleet United started the second half exactly as they did the first and could have pulled a goal back instantly. A throw-in on the right found its way to Jordan Collins, who from the edge of the box fired a left foot shot towards goal, only to see his shot well saved again by Barrow keeper Deasy.

Ebbsfleet and Barrow battling for possession

Although Barrow still threatened to increase their lead, with both Jason Walker and Carlos Logan going close, it was Ebbsfleet who created the best chance on 63 minutes. Magno Vieira weaved his way into the box, but he shot directly at the Barrow keeper.

However Barrow did eventually make it 3-0 just minutes later. A nice interchange of passes between Paul Rutherford and Nick Chadwick saw Rutherford cross from the left and there was Chadwick again who headed in to seal his hat-trick. Ebbsfleet managed to pull a goal back when a Peter Holmes free-kick was headed in by Moses Ashikodi, to make it 3-1, but Barrow scored again. This time in controversial fashion. Ebbsfleet’s Leon Crooks seemed to have handled the ball in the box and although the referee didn’t give it, the linesman did, even though he was further away, and up stepped Jason Walker to slot home from the penalty spot to seal an emphatic 4-1 win.

Teams

Ebbsfleet United: Cronin, Pooley, Crooks, Charles, Collins (Ginty 71), Holmes, Bailey (Wills 87), Stavrinou (Welsh 58), Shakes, Vieira, Ashikodi.
Subs Not Used: Salmon, West

Barrow: Deasy, Spender, Jones, Bolland, Jelleyman, Rutherford, Hulbert (Boyd 87), Bond, Logan (Wiles 72), Walker (Blundell 85), Chadwick.

Man of the Match- Nick Chadwick

Nick Chadwick led from the front today and was rewarded with a superb hat trick. He found himself in the right places at the right times to help Barrow move away from the relegation zone.

Match Verdict

Barrow will be absolutely delighted with this result today. Although they didn’t create the most chances, they made the chances they created count. They were also very solid all over the pitch and very disciplined. Ebbsfleet will be disappointed with this result. They made too many mistakes and were punished for not taking the chances they created. I was disappointed with the Ebbsfleet fans who didn’t get behind their team where as the Barrow fans sang their hearts out for the entire game and showed their appreciation for a brilliant performance from their team.


AFC Wimbledon secure vital 3 points against play off rivals Luton Town

02/21/2010

  

This week I travelled to Luton Town as they played fellow play-off contenders AFC Wimbledon, at Kenilworth Road. The game was very entertaining, end to end at times. I was particularly impressed with the atmosphere at the ground and the attendance of 7, 736 which you would normally achieve in a league game,  gives credit to the profile of the Conference these days.  

Luton Town 1-2 AFC Wimbledon

Attendance: 7,736

 

AFC Wimbledon hopes of promotion were lifted as they beat play-off rivals Luton Town at Kenilworth Road. In a match that Luton dominated for large parts, it was AFC who snatched the points as Danny Kedwell scored the winner, to lift AFC to 6th in the table.  

Luton started the game on the front foot and could have gone in front within two minutes. Fred Murray found space down the left and his cross found Rossi Jarvis, but his goalward header hit the top of the crossbar. The visitors came into the game soon after with Nathan Elder and then Danny Kedwell both having half chances but neither threatened to test Tyler in the Luton goal.  

On 15 minutes Luton nearly went in front. Craddock was fouled on the edge of the area and from the resulting free-kick, Gallen saw his drilled shot well saved by AFC keeper Pullen who managed to tip the ball round his near post. Then just 3 minutes later Jarvis also had a great chance to put Luton ahead but he hit his shot into the ground when he should of scored.  

Luton and AFC in action

 

Although Luton dominated for most of the first half, it was AFC who surprisingly went ahead just before the half hour mark. Will Hendry’s right wing cross was met by on loan striker Nathan Elder, who from 3 yards out, saw his shot trickle over the line, despite the best efforts of Luton Keeper Tyler . However within 40 seconds, Luton pulled level. Kevin Nicholl’s shot found its way to Craddock and he gave keeper Pullen no chance, slotting the ball home.  

The rest of the first half saw the game flow from end to end but it was AFC Wimbledon who had the best chance to pull ahead just before half time. Danny Kedwell fed the ball to Steven Gregory, who crossed for Elder, but his header hit the side netting and both teams went in at half time level.  

After the break, Luton continued to dominate but failed to convert their chances. Asa Hall first fired over before heading over from 3 yards, after a cross by Nicholl’s on the right. This would come back to haunt Luton as on 63 minutes, AFC Wimbledon were in front. Kedwell collected the ball on the left, raced into the area, beat Luton defender Kovacs and unleashed a shot from a tight angle which cannoned off the post into the top right of the net, sending the travelling fans wild.  

This proved to be the winning goal and although Luton should have been level 5 minutes from time when Adam Newton shot wide when clean through, AFC Wimbledon held on and sealed a vital, winning by a 2-1 scoreline.  

  

Teams

Luton Town: Tyler, Newton, Kovacs, George Pilkington, Murray, Keane, Nicholls (Barnes-Homer 61), Craddock, Hall (Hatch 76), Jarvis (Howells 87), Gallen.
Subs Not Used: Gore, Blackett.  

AFC Wimbledon: Pullen, Hatton, Judge, Lorraine, Blanchett, Taylor, Gregory, Hendry (Conroy 80), Poole, Kedwell, Elder (Wellard 75).
Subs Not Used: Brown, Main, Duncan.  

Man of the match- Keith Keane (Luton Town)

The central midfielder was unlucky to be on the losing side today after his impressive performance. He was at the heart of everything Luton created in the game. He never gave up and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in and fight for every ball.  

Match verdict

Fair play to the AFC Wimbledon. They came with a game plan and it worked. Although they were on the back- foot for most of the game, they still came away with the win which would have delighted the travelling support. Luton deserved at least a point today and will be disappointed they weren’t able to convert possession into goals. Even the fans knew they should have won today and showed their frustration by booing at the end of the game.


Crawley beat Cambridge to maintain surge towards play offs

02/10/2010

This is my first post so be Kind 🙂

This week I travelled to Crawley Town Football Club as they played Cambridge United at the Broadfield Stadium. Crawley are exceeding expectations this season and find themselves pushing for a play off place. I was impressed with the way Crawley play their football. They play football the ‘proper’ way and dont look to hump it forward. I was a bit disappointed with the Crawley fans though. They hardly got behind the team and at times were out sung by the Cambridge fans.

Crawley Town 1-0 Cambridge United

Attendance: 1,108

Crawley Town continued their push towards the playoff places as they beat fellow play-off hopefuls Cambridge United at the Broadfield Stadium. In a week which saw Crawley’s star player Charles Ademeno stay with the Reds despite interest from several Football League clubs, it was Barry Cogan who grabbed the headlines with the only goal of the game.

Crawley started the game brightly and carved out the first chance, as a Thomas Pinault flick on found its way to Ademeno who shot harmlessly wide. However on 7 minutes, Crawley were in front. A mistake by Cambridge’s Aiden Palmer, who had a torrid afternoon, saw Barry Cogan work his way into the penalty area and fire a shot past Laurie Walker in the Cambridge goal, into the bottom corner. Crawley continued to show their dominance soon after, but it was Cambridge who created the next chance. Robbie Willmott, who had several glorious chances throughout the game, had a golden opportunity to level but his shot was blocked by the Crawley defence. However Crawley should have been further ahead minutes later.  A corner from the left  was met by the head of Eddie Hutchinson, who knocked it down to Ben Smith and his clipped cross was headed just wide by Ademeno, when he really should have scored.

Crawley and Cambridge battle for possession

Towards the end of the first half, Cambridge were beginning to grow in confidence and could have drawn level. Jai Reason’s pass landed at the feet of Danny Crow whose shot was well saved by Simon Rayner in the Crawley goal. But Crawley held on to go in a goal up at half time.

The second half saw Cambridge continue to assert themselves and it wasn’t long before they had their next chance to level the game. A Willmott free- kick from the left looked to have fooled Crawley keeper Rayner, but he was alert enough to stop the ball from finding the back of the net. Although for much of the second half Crawley were on the back foot as Cambridge searched for that equaliser, the Reds still had chances and were unlucky not to go two goals up, as a corner from the right was headed back across goal by Crawley captain Adam Quinn to Karl Broadhurst who headed over from 4 yards. Cambridge responded and when Danny Crow rounded Crawley keeper Rayner on the right, it looked like they could snatch a point but his cross into the penalty area, only managed to find the head of Crawley’s Simon Rusk who cleared to safety.

However Crawley held on to secure the three points in a game they deserved to win, which will further enhance their belief they can snatch a play-off place come the end of the season.

Teams:

Crawley Town: S.Rayner, S.Rusk, A.Quinn, K.Broadhurst, S.Rents, B.Cogan, E.Hutchinson, B.Smith (D.Forrest 82), T.Pinault, C.Ademeno (King 90), M.Malcolm (L.Killeen 88).

Subs Not Used: N.Jordan, Lake-Edwards.

Cambridge United: L.Walker, D.Gleeson, A.Palmer, J.Coulson, D.Partridge, J.Reason, S.Russell, S.Ives (A.Murray 73), R.Willmott, D.Crow (A.Marriott 82), L.Phillips (M.Beesley 70).

Subs Not Used: R.McAuley, D.Coakley

Man of the Match: Charles Ademeno (Crawley Town)

The striker was a handful for the Cambridge defence all afternoon. His trickery and skill was particularly impressive and he deserved at least a goal. He is a quality player and Crawley will be delighted they were able to keep hold of him until at least the summer as he will be a very important player for them as they push for the play-offs.

Match verdict.

Crawley Town deserved their 1-0 win today and were unlucky not to win by a bigger margin. I was impressed with Crawley today. They played the better football and created the best chances throughout the game. I feel sorry for the Cambridge fans. Their team didn’t show up today and at times lacked quality in front of goal. It’s now 6 games without a win and if this form continues, a relegation scrap could be a real possibility for them.