Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More misery for Diss at the Unwin

The Eastern Counties League results so far this season have been unpredictable to say the least. Ely's have been a bit more predictable and perhaps a bit better than could be expected having beaten Clacton at home and Gorleston away and as would be expected losing to Dereham and Haverhill away. Diss have also had a mixed bag of results with their highlight being a 4-0 crushing of Great Yarmouth. Therefore despite the 4-0 thrashing that Ely inflicted on Diss in the Cup a couple of weeks ago it was difficult to predict what would happen last week.

Ely didn't exactly start where they had left off in the Cup, as the first 10 minutes were pretty open, although the Robins looked the most likely side to score, with Josh Bridgeman coming close on 6 minutes and Austen Diaper also having a fine chance on 10.

Five minutes later and Impey should have put Ely ahead from another pass from Austen Diaper, but he blasted it over. Ely were to continue where they had left off in the Cup though on 20 minutes when a Diss player handled the ball in the box. Luke Parkinson stepped up to take the penalty and this time he managed to get it in the net first time, although the keeper did manage to get a hand to it.

It was 2-0 to Ely on 40 minutes and 2 for Luke Parkinson when he managed to follow up on a rebound from a shot by Austen Diaper.

The second half continued with Ely having the upperhand and although their set pieces weren't that inspiring they looked like they might be able to make something from them just because of the sheer number that Diss were giving away. In fact both Chadwick and Impey came close in the opening stages.

After the first 15 minutes of the second half with Ely pressing for a third, the second 15 minutes were more mixed up with the teams spending most of the time messing around in midfield.

In the final 15 minutes Ely brough on some fresh legs and started to settle again. Strecki was clear through on 77 after beating several Diss defenders, but his final shot was that of a defender and it ended up in the trees behind the goal. Ely continued to press and even had a shot cleared off the line in the last 2 minutes, but the game was to end 2-0.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Keeping it in reserve

Saturday morning and I had a dilemma. I was pretty skint but needed a football fix. A quick look at the fixtures confirmed what I already knew: Ely were away, Thetford were away, Soham were away and King's Lynn were also away. I toyed with the idea of going to March Town United, a ground that seems to strike fear into the hearts of most nonleague fans who have ventured there, but they were also away, so I'll have to find out another day what the problem there is. I wasn't in the mood for Newmarket Town, which was probably just as well as they drew 0-0 with the omnipresent Diss. I toyed with the idea of going to Yaxley, but the transport options didn't look great. The other games on offer were Cambridge United V Hayes and Yeading and Histon V Corby. The weather was bad, neither of the fixtures inspired me and to be honest if I'm not meeting up with anybody I tend to avoid Cambridge if I'm on holiday. Therefore my last, but very cheap option was Ely City Reserves against Foxton in the Cambridgeshire Senior League Premier Division.

I don't venture to the reserves that often, but it's usually not too bad if the weather is OK and by kick off time it was. The one strange thing is that there seems to be no communication whatsoever between the first team and the reserves. Most of the bad blood boiling over when last winter the reserves had a game at Waterbeach and they asked for some first teamers, but none of them turned up. It also seems odd that the first team get players from other lower teams, but don't often give their own reserves or A-Team a chance. Anyway, I did recognise one player, the Ely left back who had played for the first team a couple of times, so maybe I am exaggerating the lack of communication.

It was the visitors who started the game the more lively of the two sides with their left winger Asher Wilson looking especially lively and it was indeed Foxton who took the lead on 6 minutes through Adam Farenden. Ely also applied plenty of pressure, but they seemed to lack fire power up front, which was starnge as the previous week they had fired 7 past Newmarket Reserves. Nevertheless the rest of the first half saw Ely going forward without really threatening and Foxton hitting them on the counter attack and always looking more likely to score.

The second half continued in the same way that the first half had and Asher Wilson had the ball in the back of the net to put Foxton 2-0 up on 57 minutes after the Ely defence made a mess of clearing a corner. After this Foxton sat back and defended with the proviso from their captain that they must not concede. Ely finally came close on 70 minutes, but the Foxton keeper managed to save it. Ely's best chance of all came on 79 minutes, but Foxton cleared the ball off the line and the last 10 minutes were played out with Foxton defending to the hilt and Ely throwing the kitchen sink at it without really threatening. So the game finished 2-0 to Foxton and it's back to the dizzying heights of the Eastern Counties League on Tuesday where Ely take on Diss yet again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Football in the museum

What do you do on a wet and windy day by the seaside when you are sick of the amusements and fish and chips? Go to the local museum of course. Earlier this week I was down in Brighton for a break rather than the tedious work trips that take place in Brighton. The second day was pretty rubbish as far as the weather was concerned and we found ourselves in the local museum.

Now don't get me wrong I enjoy a bit of history, but local museums tend to have the same series of themes running through them: A bit of history about how the town was formed (i.e. Vikings / Saxons / Normans, etc.); some famous battle (War of the Roses, Civil War); a look at the towns glory years and some of the harsh realities of the time (Usually always the Victorian era) and then some stuff about the two world wars abd their aftermath and its impact on the local community. Therefore I was pleasently surprised that in Brighton as well as the usual stuff there was a lot more about the more social side of history and stuff like fashion, music and thankfully sport. Along with some interesting stuff about speedeway and the surprising popularity of ice hockey in the city in the past was a small exhibition paying respect to Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.

Part of the exhibition was a turnstile from the old Goldstone Ground:

The Goldstone Ground played host to football in Brighton (or more accurately Hove) between 1901 and 1997. From 1901 to 1904 it played host to Hove FC and then to Brighton & Hove Albion. It played host to many encounters, 2,174 to be exact and the biggest attendance was for a clash between Brighton and Fulham on 27 December 1958 when 36,747 fans were crammed in the ground. It was also the place where David Beckham made his professional debut coming on as a sub in a league cup game for Man U against Brighton.

However, with mounting debts and a greedy chairman in the shape of Bill Archer the ground was sold for redevelopment and is now a retail park. The last game that Brighton played there was a 1-0 victory against Doncaster Rovers on 26 April 1997 and the week later preserved their league status by drawing 1-1 at Hereford.

Brighton then groundshared with Gillingham at their Priestfield Stadium, which was a ridculous 70 miles away. They stayed there for 2 seasons. Several other groundshares were mooted but between 1999 and 2011 Brighton were forced to play at the frankly inadequate Withdean Athletics Stadium. The story does have a happy end though as the Seagulls moved into the beautiful Falmer Stadium (or American Express Community Stadium) at the start of this season. They also celebrated the move with promotion to the Championship where they have continued their winning ways including a 1-0 win over Premier stalwarts Sunderland in the League Cup on Tuesday night.

Another part of the exhibition in the museum is a shirt from arguably Brighton's biggest match - the 1983 FA Cup Final against Manchester United:

Brighton went into the game as complete underdogs, which was understandable as United had finished 3rd in the league and Brighton had just been relegated from the top division. I actually remember watching the game on my Granny's black and white TV eating fish and chips. The game finished 2-2 with Gordon Smith and Gary Stevens scoring for the Seagulls and Frank Stapelton and Ray Wilkins scoring for the Reds. Brighton went on to win the replay 4-0, but the achievement shouldn't be taken away from Brighton. The 3 players that could in any way be called household names were Gary Stevens, who went on to play for England when he was at Spurs, Jimmy Case, who was most well known for being one of the dirtiest players in football and will always be synonymous in my mind for wrecking the career of Gary Shaw and Michael Robinson, who was most well known for his weight problems and later for doing a brilliant job as a pundit on Spanish TV. Manchester United on the other hand had a star studded team that included Gary Bailey, Ray Wilkins, Gordon McQueen, Bryan Robson, Arnold Muhren, Frank Stapelton and Norman Whiteside (who became the youngest player to play in a cup final and to score when he did so in the replay. He was also the youngest player to play for United since Duncan Edwards whn he had made his debut in 1982, also against Brighton at their Goldstone Ground).

Anyway, if you find yourself in Brighton on a wet and windy day you now know what to do.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The road to Wembley

Maybe it's a bit, well very optimistic to think that Ely will get anywhere near Wembley, but the first game in the FA Cup in the extra preliminary round saw the Robins progress in style and also the extra cash from a cupm run will come in very handy.

Ely completely dominated the game against Diss yesterday and ran out 4-0 winners in a pretty one sided contest. They did get a bit of help from the Tangerines of Diss though, who at times seemed happy to give Ely all the chances they could. The first goal which was scored by Richard Chadwick was pretty much indicative of the game as a whole. He fluffed his lines the first time and made a bit of a hash oif it, but Diss failed to clear their lines and he managed to force the goal of the line at the second attempt.

After this Ely dominated the game and could have been further ahead if they hadn't wasted some of their chances. Diss looked particularly weak on crosses and as for their own attacking they weren't able to get past the central defenders of Ely. The Robins finally made it 2-0 on 39 minutes when a cross from David Wilson (I think) bounced in off the head of one of the Diss defenders. And that's how it ended at half time.

Diss started the second half a little bit brighter, but they were to have a further set back on 53 minutes when Chadders got his second from a header at the far post. Ely continued to hem Diss back and what few chances they had were dealt with by the Ely defence. On 80 minutes Ely were to go 4-0 up in a strange fashion. After a trip on Chadwick in the box Ely were awarded a penalty and there was the usual conundrum that saw nobody looking keen on taking it. You would have expected that Chadwick would have wanted to complete his hat-trick, but eventually Sam Parkinson stepped up. He hit the ball to the Keeper's left and the shot was saved. However, the goalkeeper was judged to have moved off his line, so there was a retake. Parkinson put it in the same place and the keeper saved it again. However, when clearing their lines Diss tripped an Ely player which led to another chance for the Robins to have a go from the spot and Diss being reduced to 10 men. Parkinson stepped up again and this time put it to the keeper's right and it was finally 4-0.

A great performance from Ely with the attacking options looking better for them this year. Next up in the cup is Walsham-le-Willows. It should be OK as long as the game doesn't go to penalties!

Friday, August 19, 2011

FA cup kicks off

Forget it when the media start going on about the FA Cup when the first round begins. The extra preliminary round starts tomorrow when Ely City take on Diss Town in what should be a close and from previous experiences a high scoring game. Let's hope that the Robins can put together a decent run in the Cup and the Vase this season - they need the cash. A decent run in the Cambs Senior Cup wouldn't go a miss either, as that was the highlight of the season 2 years ago, so no putting out weakened sides in any of the competitions this year, please.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cambridge 1 Telford 0

I couldn't be bothered to think of a witty headline for this, but it was a cracking match. We were joined by Beer Can and his friend, in fact I hardly ever seem to get down to the Shabby without guests in tow.

I have predicted that Telford will shock a few Conference fans this season, most of whom seemed to have written them off before they had a chance to kick a ball after gaining promotion from the Conference North at the end of last season. However the Bucks have been scoring for fun in pre-season and I think they will pose more of a threat than the Conference big boys think they will pose.

They certainly started off well enough at Cambridge on Tuesday night and could have easily been 3-0 up at the break if it wasn't for some impressive saves from Cambridge goalkeeper Danny Naisbitt, who was on tremendous form. A string of saves and double saves kept out the Telford onslaught with Sean Newton looking especially dangerous from set pieces. Cambridge on the other hand looked a bit predictable when they did go forward with Luke Berry and Ashley Carew being the only players who looked like making a difference, but all to often they couldn't get the ball in for the players in the middle.

Somehow the score was still 0-0 at half time, but the pattern of play started to swing in Cambridge's favour after them being lucky not to have conceded 3 in the first half. Adam Marriott and Harrison Dunk who had not imposed much in the first half looked like they had had the rocket they needed from Jez George at half time. And after just 5 minutes of the second half Dunk put the Us into the lead. Telford had a great chance on the hour mark when they hit the post to get back into the game, but after this they seemed to tire and started to fade as Cambridge and particularly Marriott grew in influence.

The game ended in Cambridge keeping the ball away from Telford and finally finished 1-0 to the Us.

It's difficult to see how either of these teams will fair this season, but it looks like it might be a mid-table finish for both of them. Cambridge need to be a bit more imaginative down the middle and Telford will need to conserve their energy more effectively agains more 'professional' teams, otherwise it might turn into a long season despite their impressive attacking powers.

Photo shows fans celebrating Dunks goal

Friday, August 12, 2011

Word of warning for the Ely Standard

... I have to go to Gatwick tomorrow, so won't be at the game, so you might have to send a reporter.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Peterborough and Palace enter the pitch

Here are a couple of photos of when Posh and Place got on the pitch. I didn't take any photos of the action, as the match was too exciting.

Posh off to a flyer

Yesterday I was at Peterborough for the game between Peterborough and Crystal Palace and Posh got off to a good start. However, it will be interesting to see how they get on against some of the stronger teams in the division as both Posh and Palace are expected to find life hard in the Championship, but hopefully Peterborough can prove their critics wrong over the season.

In the first few minutes it was Palace who looked the most lively with Sean Scannell coming close in the first minute, but fortunately Paul Jones was equal to the task and saved. On 5 minutes Andrew Davies also came close for the visitors, but again Jones who has made his loan deal from Exeter permanent saved.

Posh then started to get into the game and Tommy Rowe was unlucky not to score from a Mark Little cross and a couple of minutes later Julian Speroni in goal for Palace did well to save a Grant McCann power drive. On 19 minutes Darren Ambrose, who is a bit of a legend at Palace, but who in my opinion is a complete **** had a chance to put Palace ahead from a free kick after Scannell had thrown himself on the floor. Scannell unlike Ambrose is a player who could definitely do a job at a higher level, so it was disappointing to see him and Ambrose high-fiving each other after he had 'won' the free kick. Luckily though they had no reason to high-five each other after the free kick, as Ambrose put it into the back of the London Road Terrace.

On the half hour mark new signing Nicky Ajose went off injured and he was replaced by David Ball. Then 3 minutes later things went from bad to worse for the Posh as Sean Scannel put Palace ahead. Soon after Glenn Murray who was making his debut for Palace after signing on a free from Brighton was cautioned for his persistent fouling, however how he stayed on the pitch for the 90 minutes is a miracle.

Peterborough came back at Palace and on 36 minutes Tommy Rowe came close. On 39 David Ball came even closer, but his shot was cleared off the line. Palace weren't done though and on 42 minutes Palace had a chance to go two up, but Davies shot wide of the mark.

The second half started with Posh in the ascendancy and Murray continuing to kick lumps out of the Posh players. He didn't get what he deserved and stayed on the pitch, but on 58 minutes Peterborough got what they deserved as Lee Tomlin pulled a free kick back for Grant McCann who blasted the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.

Boyd and Tomlin were now dominant in midfield as Posh tried to get the winner. However, they lost some of the steam they had built up when Grant Basey was injured by a foul from, you guessed it, Glenn Murray. On 70 minutes Posh had the chance to get the winner, but Rowe was denied by a fine save from Speroni. Finally on 72 minutes Little crossed for Ball who headed the ball in the back of the net.

Posh had got their confidence up now and they came forward again and again with McCann and Boyd playing like demons, but they didn't score again and ran out 2-1 winners. With 63% of the possession they definitely deserved it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crystal Palace crest history

The badge above is the current crest of Crystal Palace. They are currently having a vote on a new badge at Selhurst Park, an idea which always seems to be ripe for being hijacked by rival fans to me. Therefore not surprisingly they are playing it safe with all four of the variants being Eagles, the nickname that has become synonymous with the club. It hasn't always been this way though, as they were known as the Glaziers up until 1973.

The 1935-36 season was the first one in which the team wore a crest of any description and this was the initials of the club at a time when they still wore claret and blue.

The next badge change for Palace came in 1955 when they introduced a badge with a facade of the place that they are named after, Crystal Palace (obviously).

In 1964 Crystal Palace played Real Madrid in a friendly to open their floodlights. After this they decided to wear all white for a couple of seasons and with it and for some reason changed their badge to a red and blue shield.

The change didn't have them playing like Real Madrid though, so in 1967 they changed back to claret and blue and decided just to have their name embroidered on the shirts.

1972 saw a 'proper' badge introduced, a rather modernist looking effort with the clubs nickname of the time 'the Glaziers' appearing on it. This badge was short-lived though as things were to change again just one year later.

In 1973 Malcolm Allison arrived at the club with some new ideas. It's starnge to think that the stereotype of managers in the 60s and 70s is of hard, no nonsense working class blokes, and in a sense they were. This wasn't to say that they weren't adverse to poncing around with club badges and shirts though. Oh, no. Shankley introduced red shorts to Liverpool, Jack Charlton introduced the white panel to the Middlesbrough shirt and Allison got rid of 'the Glaziers' and found 'the Eagles' more awe inspiring. It might be a bit poncey, but perhaps they got their way because they were hard not like today's managers who have to buy whoever their oil rich chairman says and who are told what the kit is by Nike et al. Anyway, I digress, Palace were now the Eagles and for the first time the badge had an eagle on it.

One further change happened in 1987 when the Crystal Palce was also introduced to the badge and the eagle was swooping rather than spread as in the 1973 version.

The current badge at the top of the page was introduced in 2006, one year after the club's centenary. It looks like it's going to be upgraded again soon, nobody knows what the badge will be yet, but it will definitely have an eagle on it.

Real football starts tomorrow

The Premiership and most of the non-league might not have any fixtures apart from friendlies for another week, but the football league starts tomorrow and I'll be going to see Peterborough take on Crystal Palace in the Championship.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Arsenal 1 New York Red Bulls 1

'The thing about the Arsenal is they try to walk the ball into the back of the net', says Moz in 'The IT Crowd' when he's trying to get in with some football fans and never was a truer word said in jest. Arsenal murdered the Red Bulls, but their lack of direct play and short passing game which often has commentators purring was their undoing. It really must be frustrating being an Arsenal fan as their lack of striking and sometimes suspect defending was infuriating. Arsenal did finally get a goal when Van Persie connected with a header on 41 minutes, but it could and should have been more.

The second was more of the same with Arsenal running the ball down to the by-line and then trying to walk the ball in and it just wouldn't go in for them. Ex-Gunner and now New York Red Bull's striker Thierry Henry had wanted to play the last 10 minutes for Arsenal, but the referee wouldn't allow it. It might have worked out because Arsenal needed a striker who wasn't scared of shooting, but instead Arsenal's defensive frailties were underlined when Kyle Bartley put the ball in the back of his own net with 4 minutes to go. The game ended 1-1 and New York Red Bulls, who on Sunday's performances were the weakest team in the tournament ended up winning the whole thing.

It looks like it might be a long season for Arsenal if they don't splash the cash in the next few weeks.

Boca Juniors 0 Paris Saint-Germain 3

On the previous day PSG had lost 1-0 to New York Redbulls and Boca had drawn 2-2 with Arsenal. Arsenal had been criticised in the media for poor defending, judging by their performance in this match the Gunners defending must have been very suspect and how Red Bulls beat PSG is a mystery.

PSG played some really impressive stuff and new signing Kevin Gameiro looked worth every penny they paid Lorient and 19 year old Neeskens Kebano, who had only played three times before for PSG definitely has a big future ahead of him.

Jean-Eudes Maurice was first to get on the score sheet after meeting a cross from Kebano on 8 minutes and it was surprising that they weren't ahead even earlier on. PSG dominated for long periods of the first half and on 38 minutes Guillaume Horau headed them into a 2-0 lead. Boca also had their chances but were quite wasteful in front of goal.

In the second half an Arsenal fan behind me commented that Boca played like Arsenal, which I think he thought was a compliment, but their dodgy defending and trying to walk the ball into the net really was like Arsenal with Nicolas Blandi wasting several chances in front of goal with some lack lustre shooting. Boca were passing the ball about nicely, but they definitely need a replacement for Martin Palermo up front. Conversely PSG's defence looked capable of stopping anything anyway with Siaka Tiene being especially effective at centre half, when they did go forward their wing play was magical and every chance looked like it could turn into a goal.

PSG finally got their third goal on 78 minutes when Brazilian right back Ceara scored an unstoppable free kick into the top corner of the goal. And that's how it ended.

Arsenal corner

Arsenal take a corner agins New York Red Bulls in the second half of their games. Like most of their corners it didn't amount to a decent chance.

Thierry Henry free kick

Thierry Henry takes a free kick for the Red Bulls in the first half of the game between Arsenal and New York Red Bulls.

Arsenal and New York Red Bulls line up

Arsenal and New York Red Bulls line up before their game.

PSG V Boca action

PSG on the attack

Paris Saint-Germain put the pressure on the Boca Junior's defence.

Boca and PSG warm up

Boca Fans

Some Boca fans outside the Emirates.

The Clock End at Arsenal

I think that they actually call it the South Stand, but it has the clock from the Clock End at Highbury ....

Outside the Emirates

A couple of snaps outside the Arsenal stadium.

Bridge to Arsenal

Top - The entrance to the bridge that leads to the North Bank at the Emirates.
Bottom - The bridge itself.

Photos from the Emirates Cup

On Sunday I was at the Emirates Cup at Arsenal and saw Boca Juniors take on Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal play New York Red Bulls. On the previous day Arsenal had drawn 2-2 with Boca and the Red Bulls had beaten PSG 1-0.

Anyway, as I probably won't get a chance to go to the Emirates again I took plenty, which will follow before a couple of brief match reports.