Monday, 29 October 2018

Colden Common v Liphook United

The entrance to the Boyes Lane complex at Colden Common.
Twitter. Sometimes I don't know whether I love it or hate it. It can be annoying or it can be useful. It's certainly useful for football fixtures. I follow most of our local clubs and often it will be the first place I hear their news. Where is the next game to be played? What time is kick-off? If the weather is poor, has the game been postponed?

I'd not been to Colden Common before and I wasn't sure if they still played at Main Road or if they'd moved permanently to Boyes Lane. Twitter told me to go to Boyes Lane and that the kick-off would be at 3pm (non-floodlit grounds will have earlier kick-offs from next weekend due to BST ending). Useful!

Twitter is also good for polls. If someone I know posts a poll, I'll generally have an opinion and vote for my preferred choice. Democracy in action. Last year, I voted in Richard Osman's World Cup of Crisps. Pickled Onion Monster Munch won and I was in full agreement with the electorate, which almost never happens.

Last week, I posted a poll of my own. There were four Hampshire Premier Football League grounds that I'd not previously featured on HAH which had first team fixtures scheduled for Saturday. 176 people voted and it was very close between the top two - Athletico Romsey obtained 35% of the vote, but they were pipped by Colden Common on 40%. As I respected the result of the poll, I went to Colden Common FC for their league cup game against Liphook United. As it happens, it was a very good choice, so I thank the 70 or so Twitter followers who voted for this option.

Liphook had won the initial fixture between the two clubs in the league in August by 9 goals to 1. The way they started, kicking uphill, it looked like there might be a similar result. George House capitalised on some hesitation in the Common defence after 11 minutes, snaffling what I thought would be the first of many for the visitors.

But Common didn't buckle and gradually fought their way back in to the game. Dave Paskins tucked in their first on 31 minutes. The game was suddenly as even as the scoreline suggested. Another 10 minutes passed before Maciej Marcinkowski looped a header over Joshua Bird in Liphook's goal. Paskins then scored his second and Common's third two minutes later with a diving header from close range.

It was cold, so a warming cuppa from the clubhouse was welcome at half-time. I chatted with one of the club volunteers and volunteered my own opinion that Common would need another goal yet, as I thought Liphook were more than capable of scoring at least twice more - and so it proved. Bird was sent off for handball outside of his box after 58 minutes. A fellow spectator who had a better view than mine thought it was a harsh decision, but Bird didn't complain (indeed, both sides were very well behaved throughout).

Liphook midfielder James Liddiard, who was by far the tallest player on the pitch, powered in a header after 58 minutes, and then scored again from close range as the ball rebounded off a post in to his path. 3-3 with 15 minutes to go! This was a cup match, and it looked like we were heading for penalties...

Then the masterstroke by Common's manager Ben Thomson, who brought himself on with five minutes remaining. Within a couple of minutes, his through ball was met by Paskins twelve yards out, who smashed in the winner, much to the home team's delight.

As I said, thank you to my Twitter followers for sending me to Boyes Lane. You were right!

Autumn Panoramic View no1.
Colden Common FC (3) 4 v 3 (1) Liphook United FC
Saturday 27th October 2018
Hampshire Premier Football League Cup 2nd Round (last 16)
Attendance: Approximately 20
Admission: None
Programme: Yes! £1, and very good it is too, full of statistics and club news.
Colours: Red / black / red v All blue
National Grid reference: SU4822

Colden Common on the attack...
The Common won't be at Boyes Lane for very much longer. At some point during 2019 (probably at the start of next season), they will be moving across the River Test to Otterbourne FC's old ground. The committee are currently sprucing the ground up and making sure the various safety certificates are in order, so if you haven't been to Boyes Lane yet and you want to go, there aren't many more opportunities for you to do so.

Common have a superb social media presence for a club this far down the pyramid. A match report (with photos) can be found on their website here.

There will be another 40 or so pictures on the HAH Facebook page.

...But here come Liphook in this ding-dong battle.
Autumn Panoramic View no2.
Yes, there is a cameraman here and he did capture this rabona (or whatever it's called!)
Coaching staff and fans watching from the sidelines (no dugouts here).
Autumn Panoramic View no3.
The excellent Chloe-Ann Anderson gives out her autograph to this Colden Common player.
Goal number 3 for Liphook and it's anybody's game with 15 minutes to go!
But it's Colden Common who score the winner in the 88th minute. Dave Paskins in the middle of the bundle after his hat-trick goal.
And here's this week's quirky pic. A bucket of tools behind the bottom goal.

Monday, 15 October 2018

AFC Croydon Athletic v Fareham Town

And still there's another five minutes to go until we reach the ground...
I booked myself on to the club coach for 12 quid. It seemed like a good idea. It was the FA Vase, the weather in the west half of the country was due to be wet and wild, whereas the sun was gonna shine in London. All the other Hampshire clubs that were playing away in the Vase were going to get drenched. Fareham Town were going to keep dry. Yes, it was a good idea.

But then the worries started kicking in.

Worry number 1: I was going out the night before. Would I lose my discipline and drink too much, stay out too late and fail to get up on time? [No, I had a few beers, but I managed to get home before midnight].

Worries number 2 and 3: Would the M27 be blocked eastbound so that I couldn't reach Fareham by the time the coach left? Or would my car break down? [No and No].

There were other worries, including the fact that I always take a wrong turning on the way to Cams Alders (Fareham Town's ground) and somehow end up in Segensworth, but I managed it this time. I did it. I got there on time.

The coach came. The team kit, training cones and tactics board were all loaded. The fans were there. The club officials were there. It was just a few players that were missing. However, they turned up eventually and we set off.

First stop, Cobham Services to load up on Greggs and KFC. Second stop, AFC Croydon Athletic, or at least that was the plan. The coach driver was advised by a local not to go up the road leading to the ground, "as you'll never squeeze in!" So instead, we were dropped off over a third of a mile from the stadium. The players carried all the kit, the spare footballs and so on for 15 minutes up a potholed track to the Mayfield Stadium, but at least we were there (and of course, the coach could get up the track - it was tight, but the driver managed it so that he was waiting for us at the end)!

AFC Croydon Athletic play in the Southern Counties East League (formerly the Kent League). I won't describe the ground as I think the pictures here do the stadium justice. For the groundhoppers amongst you, it was worth the journey. However, I wouldn't want to walk along the track leading to the stadium in the dark.

The first half was quite scrappy, with neither side playing particularly well. However, the hosts probably just about shaded the play and scored the opening goal after 28 minutes, Rob Carter side-footing in from 10 yards when Fareham failed to clear from a corner.

The second half was all Fareham once they got in to gear. The fact that AFC Croydon's goalkeeper, Nic Taylor was man of the match should indicate where all the action was. He pulled off several decent saves. As Town became more desperate for the equaliser, they left themselves exposed at the back and the home team took advantage of this to score twice on the break, after 88 minutes and again deep in to injury time. The scoreline was what they call "flattering", but if you don't score, you don't win.

So it was back on the coach after what looked like a meal of cheesy chips for the players and a long journey home in the dark.

AFC Croydon Athletic's reward is a home tie against another AFC, AFC Uckfield Town of Sussex. Fareham can concentrate on the league (and the Russell Cotes Cup and the Portsmouth Senior Cup - maybe they can win a trophy yet this season).

The club formerly known as Croydon Athletic FC.
AFC Croydon Athletic (1) 3 v 0 (0) Fareham Town FC
Saturday 13th October 2018
Buildbase FA Vase 1st Round Proper
Attendance: 96
Admission: £7
Programme: £2
Colours: All maroon v Blue and black stripes / blue / blue
National Grid reference: TQ3067

Stand and some of the terraces at Mayfield Park.
The official match report on Croydon's website can be found here.

There will be many more photos from the game on the HAH Facebook page here.

Fareham Town's photographer Nick White can be found on Twitter here. He posted a few fine pics over the weekend.

AFC Croydon Athletic's stand.
Advert for the Ghostfinder Paranormal Society, in case you ever feel the need.
The Crematorium tower.
Covered terraces and dugouts in club colours.
Beautiful Croydon.
Fareham Town fans watching their team trying to score from a corner. Looks like some holding going on in the box, ref!
The home substitute's job at this level is often to go and fetch lost balls. This one was on the roof of the end terrace.