|The sign by the turnstiles at Sholing FC.|
The number one strange happerning was the Transit of Venus, which had somehow captured his imagination, but closer to home was the mystery of the missing Mars Bar Big (it turned up eventually - it had fallen down the back of his chest-of-drawers); then came the mystery of the night light which kept on working despite the fact the batteries had been turned around within the casing (or was it the mystery of the somersaulting batteries which enthralled him?); and then, most spookily of all, the mystery of the can which fell off the shelf in the supermarket - despite there being no-one near it at the time!
On Saturday, I discovered a new strange happerning for him - the mystery of Tiverton Town's first goal. But I'll come to that later...
|The old Vosper Thornycroft Pigeon Club building resides within Sholing's Silverlake Arena stadium.|
Sholing FC (2) 2 v 2 (0) Tiverton Town FC
Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South and West
Saturday 8th December 2012
Attendance: 56 (or "few" as they would have printed in the paper in 1919)
Club shop: There may be items for sale in the clubhouse - I didn't go in. Various items are advertised on their website and in their programme as "for sale in the megastore".
Colours: Red and white stripes / black / red v All yellow
National Grid reference: SU4610
|Intimidating balloons between the dugouts at Sholing.|
I was going to see the only team in Southampton who play in red and white stripes. Of course, this would have been Saints in just about every season ever since football began, but not this year, with the professional side playing in an old Liverpool kit for reasons best known to their marketing team. Semi-pro Sholing are the city's only stripy club now. They've been wearing these colours since changing their name from VT FC three years ago, presumably to attract Saints fans fed up with the professional game's excesses. It would save them having to buy a new bar scarf and bobble hat, anyway.
|A side-on view of the seated area at Sholing.|
The following season, they joined the Southern League when the original league became the Football League Third Division. They lasted one season, finishing bottom with four wins from 24 games - most of the league was made up of reserve sides of the clubs who had just joined the Football League, such as Pompey and Saints. AFC Bournemouth's predecessors, Boscombe, finished fifth that year.
The only other information I can find about this version of the club is that they played in the South Hants War League during 1917/18/19. Their results against Pompey (taken from Mike Neasom's statistical record of Pompey) were reasonably impressive, winning two, drawing four and losing five of their eleven matches. Crowds at Woolston were non-specific, ranging from "few" to "large" - 1500 being the only number in print.
Thornycrofts (Woolston) FC folded in 1952, but reformed in 1960. This new club became VT FC, and it was under this name that they were promoted to the Southern League in 2009. However, the following year, their parent company moved and they had to rename themselves. They chose Sholing FC after the area that they play in (changing their colours from yellow and blue to the current stripes). The name still causes some confusion, as I was asked if I meant "Sholing Sports" when I mentioned I was going there last week - Sholing Sports were the well-established local team who folded around twenty years ago when their ground was sold for housing - they came back a few years ago as a Southampton Senior League side, but have since disbanded again.
So, Sholing FC haven't quite established themselves in the local consciousness just yet, but I'm sure with a bit more exposure they will do so soon.
|Behind the home dugout.|
In tandem with the disappointing league position has come a cut in attendances. Saturday's must have been their lowest league crowd in all the time they've been in the Southern League. They generally pull in around 120, but only half that turned up for the Tiverton game. Christmas shopping and general seasonal money-saving must have played some part in Saturday's low turnout. I would have said that Saints being at home may have affected the attendance, but Row Z begs to differ in his recent analysis of non-league crowds. Perhaps the FA Vase match at nearby GE Hamble took a few local floating non-league fans away from the Silverlake Stadium?
|An aerial battle between Lee Wort and a Tivvy defender. Thornhill's high-rise flats in the background.|
A free-kick floated in from the right evaded the whole Tivvy defence. Lurking on the left beyond the six-yard area was ex-GE Hamble midfielder Lewis Fennemore, who side-footed the ball back at a precise angle (48 degrees) beneath the Tivvy keeper's dive.
The rest of the first half was scrappier than a Scrappy-Doo convention (although of a higher quality of scrappiness than a scrappy Wessex League game - still scrappy, but in HD). There were a few shots and saves, but not until the last minute of the half, as a cloud shaped like a fiery axolotl passed overhead, was there another goal. A Sholing player headed down towards the goal, the Tivvy keeper made a decent save, but the ball rebounded straight to another ex-GE Hamble player, Jamie Musselwhite, who nudged the ball over the line with the precision of a top bar billiards player. 2-0.
We were treated to some unusual half-time scores over the tannoy - we had the expected Premiership and Football League scores, but we also had the Polish Ekstraklasa and Irish Premier League scores read out as well - all mispronounced, but never mind, it's always nice to know how Pogon Szczecin and Dungannon Swifts are getting on.
|I just really liked this cloud! It looks like a legless axolotl.|
1. The Strange Happerning!
- Tiverton's first goal was extraordinary - Transit of Venus extraordinary. The ball flew in at waist height from the right. Tivvy's top scorer Joe Bushin, near the penalty spot with his back to goal, back-heel volleyed the ball over Sholing's flabbergasted net custodian Matt Brown. It dropped beneath the crossbar and produced a metallic ping as it hit the fence behind the goal netting. Everyone was as silent as the planes flying in to Eastleigh Airport in the distance. Silent, except for the sound of our collective jaws clanging on the ground, cartoon-style.
2. The Controversially Disallowed Goal!
- Caught on the photo below, Lee Bright's headed goal was disallowed by the linesman for climbing. Sholing were not best pleased. Make up your own mind...
3. The Tiverton Jairzinho Wonder Goal!
- Five minutes after Bullet Point 2, another superb goal by Tiverton Town. Described on Tivvy's official match report as being as good as Jairzinho's goal in the 1970 World Cup Final, but watched by 56 people as opposed to 560 million. Well, Tivvy do play in yellow, so there was some resemblance. One I'd love to see again, but no TV cameras at this match (sadface).
4. The Woodwork and After Match Handbags!
- It was Tivvy all the way for the last 15 minutes. They nearly won in the last minute, only the post saving Sholing from a third home league defeat in a row. Then at the whistle, instead of handshakes, there was an outbreak of handbags, as they say on Match of the Day. Barry Mason was shown a red card for his part in the shenanigans, despite protesting his innocence.
The respective clubs' website match reports can be found here and here. Sholing's official photos can be found here, and Tivvy's here.
|Sholing's disallowed goal.|