Saturday, 22 November 2014

Horndean v Ascot United

Welcome to Horndean FC...
For various reasons which are too tedious to make you read, I don't have much time to write this latest match report from the FA Vase Second Round tie between Horndean and Ascot United. Instead, YOU can write this report yourself in the style of Hopping Around Hampshire (if you want to). It's okay, I'll give you plenty of guidance...

The bits you have to fill in are in square brackets:

[Write a long, rambling anecdote or flight of fancy about something that appears to have no relevance either to the match in question, or to football in general. For example, go back a few years and remember that time at school, as you walked into biology class, and that dinlo Stephen Mcleod tripped you and you tumbled straight in to the school skeleton (he'd recently drawn nipples on to the skeleton's ribs and had accused you of dobbing him in to Mr hadn't, of course). The skeleton toppled in slow motion, with you falling on top of it, arms flailing, satchel flying off to one side, skimming across the floor and hitting Debbie Bonser on her left ankle. You landed in a compromising position, with the skeleton's legs akimbo, just as Mr Stone walked in to the room...]

...who play at Five Heads Park.
Horndean FC (0) 0 v 1 (0) Ascot United FC
Saturday 22nd November 2014
FA Vase Second Round
Attendance: 60
Admission: £6
Programme: £1
Colours: Red and white hoops / red / red v All yellow
National Grid reference: SU6913 / SU7013

Substitutes' jerseys ready to wear in Horndean's dugout.
[Continue the anecdote. What happened next to you, the skeleton, Mr Stone, Stephen McLeod and Debbie Bonser? Which of them paired up, got married, had children and lived happily ever after? Desperately try to make the anecdote relevant to the match. Perhaps the goal celebration resembled the moment you and the school skeleton got together? Perhaps one of the players got booked for repeating the exact words that Mr Stone uttered that fateful day?]

A park bench ready to be occupied by the corner flag at Horndean.
[Find something in the club history which might bring all the inconsequential nonsense in the first two paragraphs together. For example, you find that Horndean won an obscure cup in 1935 named after local luminary Dr Charles Bone (skeletons, you see, phew). Remember, you could be quoted in Wikipedia as a "trusted source" if you go down the club history route, so don't cock this bit up...]

Taking in the action from underneath the overhanging shelter outside the dressing rooms at Five Heads Park.
[Describe the ground. Pretend you're walking around the pitch in an anti-clockwise direction. Remember to mention the wheelbarrows near the entrance and the various rollers dotted around the ground, but completely forget to talk about the brick stand. And the extraordinary slope. It's okay, nobody will notice, they're only here to look at the photos...]

A typical crunching Vase tackle.
[Precis the first half. Get at least one player's name wrong (not on purpose, it's just something I do all the time by accident). Miss the most important action of the half because you were trying to locate a robin twittering in the bushes behind you. Note down the half-time music. Fail to recognise Happy by Pharrell Williams, but rave about an obscure ska classic by The Ethiopians. Readers won't know what you're talking about, so make sure you link to the obscure song on Youtube (not that anyone is going to click on the link, but do it anyway)...]

Ashley Harris heads just wide.
[Precis the second half. Use arcane language to describe the winning goal. Try to emulate my blogging hero Skif by never describing a goal in the same way twice, but then say that the centre-forward skipped around the hapless centre-half as if he were doing the Disco Duck under a spinning nightclub glitterball for the third time in the last match five reports...]

Horndean's physio attends to a sore head.
[Add links to other match reports and photos. Indicate when your next match report is due. Try to link back to the opening paragraphs, e.g., "It was a real boneshaker of a ride from beginning to end" or "It was a rattling good game". Speculate on the whereabouts of Stephen McLeod and Debbie Bonser these days. Click Publish, then link to Twitter. Forget to add the club names in your tweet, so that only your three regular followers ever see the tweet. Sit back and wait for the comments to come rolling in...]

Good luck with your report! I'll add in the details of the Third Round draw towards the end of the week. Other than Horndean, Folland Sports and United Services Portsmouth also bowed out today. AFC Portchester, Blackfield & Langley and Alresford Town all progressed to the last 64, so I shall be following one of them on December 6th.

Edit (Saturday 29th November): The Third Round draw sees no Hampshire clubs travel outside of the county for the second round running. Thus, I shall be paying a revisit to one of the following:

AFC Portchester v Tunbridge Wells
Alresford Town v Phoenix Sports
Blackfield & Langley v Highworth Town

Ascot United will host Newport (IoW) in a repeat of their tie from two seasons ago.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

FA Cup Diary: Eastleigh, Pompey and Havant & Waterlooville

A man you don't see every day at Westleigh Park - a BT Sport cameraman.
Random extracts from the diary of Hopping Around Hampshire, October - November 2014:

Saturday 25th October:

No football for me today. Family holiday in Pembrokeshire. Left early after breakfast of Rice Krispies. Drove through Letterston and caught a glimpse of a match going on. Checked on internet later and found it was Letterston Reserves v Solva Reserves, ended 0-3. Don't suppose that counts as a new ground. Good chippy in Letterston. Internet very slow here. HAH takes minutes to load. May cut number of articles per page down to one or two for readers on slow connections when I get back home. Will wait until tomorrow to find out cup scores - Havant & Waterlooville were away to Canvey Island today. Hope they won.

Sunday 26th October:

Nervous when I woke up. Should have checked cup scores on slow internet yesterday. Had nightmare that Hawks lost, woke up not knowing where I was in night, covered in sweat. Fry-up, toast with Marmite and Rice Krispies for breakfast. Checked paunch and could pinch more than an inch, so may not eat quite so much again this holiday. Wandered down to sea and saw six seals in local bay. One was very close inshore, possibly asleep in surf. Another was playing with a piece of seaweed. Cute. Bought Non-League Paper in St David's. Hawks drew cup match, as did Basingstoke, but other Hants clubs all won. Could be an interesting First Round draw tomorrow.

Respecting the war dead at Fratton Park.
Eastleigh FC (1) 2 v 1 (0) Lincoln City FC
Saturday 8th November 2014
FA Cup First Round Proper
Attendance: 873
Admission: £12
Programme: £2.50
Colours: Blue / white / blue v Red and white stripes / black / red
National Grid reference: SU4417

Portsmouth FC (1) 2 v 2 (1) Aldershot Town
Sunday 9th November 2014
FA Cup First Round Proper
Attendance: 11,095
Admission: £20
Programme: £3
Colours: Blue / white / red v Red / red / white
National Grid reference: SU6500 / SU6600 / SZ6699

Havant & Waterlooville (0) 0 v 3 (2) Preston North End
Monday 10th November 2014
FA Cup First Round Proper
Attendance: 2,382
Admission: £12
Programme: £2.50
Colours: White / dark blue / white v All yellow
National Grid reference: SU7207 / SU7208

New stand arising at Eastleigh FC.
Monday 27th October:

Nervous all day. What if Hawks draw Pompey in cup but then lose the replay against Canvey? What if they pull out a glamour tie and have to play on Sunday (Uncle Den's birthday party!)? Tried not to think about it. Breakfast was Rice Krispies and Alpen. Still paunchy, but felt a little more worthy after skipping the fry-up. Walked along a local clifftop. Took selfie, but looked too much like that Jermaine out of Flight of the Conchords. Deleted selfie. Had two beers before FA Cup draw on the telly to calm nerves. Pompey home to Aldershot - cracking derby. Hawks not drawn out until right near the end...home...choice of seven teams, but Preston were the glamour side left...yep, it was Preston! Tie of the round, and bound to be on the telly. Please Hawks, beat Canvey!

Tuesday 28th October:

Couldn't sleep last night. What if Hawks lose at home to Canvey Island? Went for a long walk along Newgale Sands. Took selfie. Looked like a cross between David Cameron and Wattie out of The Exploited - enormous Kryten-like forehead plus sticky-up mohican-ish hair not a good look. Deleted. Slow internet frustrating, but eventually got through to see that Hawks had won 3-0. Relieved.

Aldershot Town fans in Pompey's Milton End.
Wednesday 29th October:

Couldn't sleep last night. Hawks in tie of the round, bound to be on the telly. It's going to be Sunday, isn't it? Halifax v Bradford (the other standout tie) is certain to be the Monday game. The TV companies wouldn't make Preston fans drive for six hours on a Monday, would they? That would be stupid. Had a fry-up for breakfast to calm my nerves. Pinched a good two inches of paunch. Went for long walk to get rid of calories. More seals frollicking. Lucky seals, never have to worry about anything other than catching their fish supper.

Thursday 30th October:

Will the TV companies never announce their schedules?

Friday 31st October:

TV matches announced. Pompey and Gosport playing on Remembrance Sunday! Hawks on Monday, so at least I'll get to see them. It'll probably rain. Drove past Pembrokeshire League Goodwick United's little ground. Saw small stand. Craned neck round for better view. Woman walking along the pavement thought I was looking at her. Gave me a dirty look. As did wife.

The new covered terrace on the east side at Eastleigh FC.
Saturday 1st November:

Travelled home today. Picked up cats from cattery in Totton. Minty had no idea who we were after a week away. Brain transplant required. Tommy purred and recognised us. Drove past AFC Totton's ground whilst they were playing Hereford. Floodlights on, nearly crashed car into roundabout attempting to see more. Noticed driver in car behind roll his eyes and mutter something. As did family in own car.

Sunday 2nd November:

Had to go shopping for food. Looking for healthy breakfast alternatives, saw childhood favourite Golden Nuggets in Sainsbury's. Own-brand Boulders were cheaper, but settled on Honey Nut Cheerios instead, which were on offer. Bought Non-League Paper and spent the afternoon reading it, with Minty on my lap. Big fan of the NLP, is Minty. Counted total number of goals scored by Hampshire clubs over the weekend. Memorised the Bespoke Teamwear Dorset Premier League table, just in case anyone quizzes me on it during the week.

Tuesday 4th November:

Received phone call today to say that Uncle Den was poorly and that his birthday party had been postponed until the following week. This means that I can now go to Pompey on Sunday instead. Get well soon, Uncle Den! Decided to go to three cup matches over the weekend: Eastleigh v Lincoln City, Pompey v Aldershot Town and Havant & Waterlooville v Preston North End. Bonanza!

England superstar Kevin Davies pulls up his shorts at a packed Westleigh Park.
Saturday 8th November:

Good sleep last night. Cats behaved well - no climbing over torso or 3am miaowing. Must have known it was FA Cup day and I needed my sleep. Raining all morning. Would the Eastleigh match be off? Wouldn't be the first time I've turned up there only to find the ref had called the game off with minutes to go until kick-off. It was okay, game on, but rained heavily throughout. Eastleigh took an early lead and should have scored more in first half, kicking towards partly-built new stand at the motorway end. Ground much improved since last season with new covered terraces on the north and east sides. Lincoln the better side in the second half and deservedly equalised whilst I wasn't looking (busy counting the number of steps on the new terrace). Spitfires won the game in the last minute to send fans home happy. No derogatory songs about old friends Havant & Waterlooville - they preferred singing about defunct rivals Salisbury City instead. Took a selfie, but looked like a cross between Jacques Cousteau and Rebecca Adlington after a particularly wet swim. Deleted.

A puddle outside the entrance to Eastleigh's stadium.
Sunday 9th November:

Woken at 6am by caterwauling in garden. Minty and unknown black cat having a stand-off. Went back to sleep after he came in. Hooray for Sunday mornings! Breakfasted on Cheerios and raisins. Nice and healthy, and good job I did, as I forgot to have lunch. Only noticed when my tummy started rumbling after half-time at Fratton Park. Oh well, should help with the paunch. Nervous before match. Pompey have never lost against a non-league club in the FA Cup since entering the league themselves in 1920. Only West Ham of the long-serving Football League sides can say the same thing. Hair curly after soaking at Eastleigh. Looked like Harry Enfield scouser (without moustache). Didn't bother with a selfie. Aldershot fans raucous, as ever. Let off coloured smoke bombs after two minutes silence for war dead. Fratton smelt like bonfires. Looked like Pompey would win easily until Aldershot decided to start hassling them on the ball after half an hour. Pen to Pompey, equaliser for Shots just before half-time. All Shots second half. Deserved to go 2-1 up. Looked like Pompey's proud record was going to be history until Danny Hollands's looping header in front of the Fratton End with 15 minutes to go. Second booking for Robinson immediately afterwards and it was worry worry worry all the way to the end. Wish I was a seal, they have such an easy life.

Leaving Fratton Park after the derby day draw.
Monday 10th November:

Woke up with a surprising lack of nerves after a good sleep. There was work to get through, but after that, I visited my nan, who offered me an almost infinite number of Rich Tea biscuits. It would have been churlish not to accept. The paunch can stay until after Christmas now. Got to Westleigh Park as the Preston North End players' coach arrived. Stood and checked for famous players. Didn't recognise anybody. Perhaps England superstar Kevin Davies sneaked out of a back door and slipped past incognito. Bought shirt and badge from club shop. Walked past Jake Humphrey from Newsround and Tony Husband from South Today at celebrity-packed stadium. Jake is taller than Tony. Match kicked off, Preston scored, man near me yelled his appreciation. No-one else at the Hawks end did. Man said "I thought we had scored!?". He thought Hawks were playing in yellow. Missed Preston's second goal as I was watching a club official place a barrier around a cameraman behind the goal. North End 2% quicker, 2% cleverer, result never in doubt. Third goal near the end and two sendings-off. Concentrate on the league now. Preston fans enjoyed themselves doing the conga. Seemed like a good bunch. Took a selfie. Looked like George Clooney. Kept that one. Now just Pompey to worry about in their replay next Wednesday.

Floodlit Westleigh Park at night.
Over the weekend, Hampshire clubs scored a total of 48 goals.This was a significant total for me, but to find out why, you'll need to read my previous post.

There are many reports and pictures on the internet from the three matches I covered here. I won't link to any of them, as they'll be easy to find with the right search terms. What I did link to in the diary are Jake and Tony's personal websites. Not surprised that Jake has one, but I didn't expect Tony Husband to make the effort.

Back in two weeks with an FA Vase match, weather permitting.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

FA Vase 1st Round Proper Round-Up

Cup fever hits Swanage in the last round.
No match report from the First Round Proper of the FA Vase from me, as I was travelling back from a family holiday last Saturday when all the games were being played. I'm still following Hampshire clubs in the competition though, so this is what happened in my absence:

United Services Portsmouth, who won at Swanage in the previous round, beat Ringwood Town 3-1 at Long Lane to make them the lowest-ranked Hampshire club to reach the last 128. Fareham Town travelled to Dorset and bowed out 2-0 at Verwood Town. The only other Hants club to fall was (surprisingly) Winchester City, who lost 3-0 at home to Horndean. I had Winchester down as favourites to go all the way out of all the local clubs in the competition. What do I know?!

All the other clubs I'm following won, so that leaves six in the Second Round Proper on November 22nd. Monday's draw produced these ties:

Horndean v Ascot United
United Services Portsmouth v AFC Portchester
Blackfield & Langley v Bemerton Heath Harlequins
Alresford Town v Thame United
Folland Sports v AFC St Austell

Which leaves me in a quandary as to where to go in the next round! No-one was drawn away at somewhere exotic (I was hoping for a trip to Melksham Town or a picturesque Sussex County League ground - when I say "exotic", it's all relative...), and I've already covered United Services and Blackfield this season. As I say, quandary...

So, I've decided to leave the decision of where to go next to chance, in much the same way as my fellow-blogger Modus Hopper Random would. I'm going to total up all the goals scored by Hampshire clubs this weekend, from Saints in the Premiership, through all six clubs competing in the FA Cup First Round, and down through the leagues to Step 6 (Wessex One and Combined Counties One). As a guide, the total scored last weekend was 53.

I cut up a strip of paper in to five pieces. On each scrap of paper, I wrote one of the home clubs' names. I then put the clubs in to an old tin, shook the tin up, and pulled them out in a random order...

And so, if the total number of goals scored by Hampshire clubs this weekend (including Havant & Waterlooville on Monday) ends in a 0 or 5, I shall go to Follands;

1 or 6 - to Blackfield & Langley;

2 or 7 - to Alresford Town;

3 or 8 - to Horndean;

4 or 9 - to United Services.

If 53 goals are scored by Hampshire clubs again this weekend, I shall be visiting Horndean on 22nd November, but if 54 goals are rattled in, I shall be fighting my way through the Christmas shoppers to USP, and so on...

This is exciting.