Monday, December 30, 2013

Countdown to 2014

Here are the 50 most listened to bands of 2013:

Countdown to 2014 by jim_bomb on Grooveshark

The Stone Roses


Happy Mondays

The Courteeners






Воплі Відоплясова

Ляпис Трубецкой

The Charlatans

Aphex Twin

808 State

Reinhard Voigt

Мумий Тролль

Cage the Elephant

The Bodines

Inspiral Carpets

Boards of Canada

New Order

Arctic Monkeys


Nathan Fake

Tokyo Police Club


Ellen Allien

Echo & the Bunnymen



The Thermals

The Jesus and Mary Chain


The Twang


The Wedding Present



Kapten Röd

The Orb

Stanton Warriors


The Orwells

Blood Red Shoes

The Fall

The Wonder Stuff

...И Друг Мой Грузовик

A Guy Called Gerald

I Am Kloot


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Highs and Lows of 2013

The year started off with a trip to Villa Park to see Villa beat Ipswich in the FA Cup, which was probably the highlight of the month. Ely also provided a highlight by beating Histon on penalties in the quarter final of the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup. Unfortunately, the impressive FA vase run also came to an end when the Robins went down to Spalding once the game eventually went ahead.

We saw King's Lynn defeat Rainworth Miners Welfare at the Walks and Ely continued their run in the Invitation Cup. They booked themselves a place in the final after beating Cambridge University Press 2-0 in the semifinal. The other game we saw in February was when the Robins lost at home to Wisbech in freezing conditions.

Ely had a well balanced month in the games I attended winning one, losing one and drawing one. Elsewhere goals were flooding in as we saw Leyton Orient win 4-1 against Carlisle and King's Lynn beat Mickleover Sports 7-0 on their way to winning promotion.

April was a mental month with 9 games popping up after the hard winter saw a lot of rescheduled games being played around now. The highlight was definitely Ely winning the Invitation Cup for the second year in a row when they won 3-0 against Cambridge City in what was a shock result. One of the more bizarre incidents came in Ely's defeat against champions elect Dereham where a punch up led to the referee taking the players off. He should have technically abandoned the game, but he finally brought the players back on. The biggest win of the month was Ely's 4-1 win over Thetford.

May saw me go to two Ely reserves games. They were on their way to relegation and went down 3-2 againsy Lakenheath and 6-0 against Fulbourn Institute.

There was no football in June

The pre-season started off with Peterborough beating QPR 1-0 on the hottest day of the year. The real highlight though was a trip to Lowestoft to a beer festival where we also saw Lowestoft beat Kirkley & Pakefield 4-1.

The month started with a trip back to the Emirates where we saw Galatasary beat Porto and Arsenal draw with Napoli. In between these games and going to Ukraine we saw St.Ives beat Ely 2-0 in a match which underlined the shortcomings Ely have been fighting against for most of this season. Over in Ukraine we saw Dynamo beat Tavriya and lose to Chornomorets in the new look Olympiskiy. We were also there in a thunderstorm to see Ukraine beat Israel. Elsewhere we saw the recently formed Obolon Brovary win 4-2 against Kremin. We also had a laugh at Dynamo Stadium when Dynamo Under 21s beat Tavriya's young side 2-0 in a fairly one sided match. I even got to show the kids my old seat that I had a season ticket for! My one regret was missing out on going to Arsenal Kyiv, especially as since then they have gone bankrupt. Unfortunately, I was back in England in time to see Ely lose to Midenhall and Diss.

In September I went to King's Lynn twice, we saw them beat Droylsden and lose 3-2 to Marine in a very entertaining game. Ely also lost to Clacton in a fairly forgettable game.

As usual Sean's birthday game didn't go as planned with Villa losing 2-0 to Everton and Benteke missing a penalty when it was 0-0. Ely flattered to deceive after beating Haverhill Borough 5-1 in the League Cup we hoped they may have turned the corner. They then followed it up by losing 4-1 to lowly Foxton in the Invitation Cup meaning there was to be 3 in a row.

The month started with a trip with a load of kids to Thetford where Ely beat the home team 3-2 in a much improved performance. The month ended with Ely losing 1-0 to lowly Wivenhoe, so things hadn't improved. In between this Swansea won at Fulham with Shelvey scoring a spectacular winner to round off the Happy Mondays weekend.

After missing games because of IELTS I had a double headed weekend where Ely reserved drew 0-0 with Great Paxton and then Swansea reared their heads again in a 1-1 draw with Norwich at Carrow Road. People in the press seem to admire Swansea's passing game, but I find it a tad bit boring. Then the year ended with Burton beating Northampton in one of the most one sided 1-0 wins of all time.

Football in 2013

In 2013 I saw 139 goals in 46 different games, which is an average of just over 3 goals a game. The biggest home win was 30 March when King's Lynn beat Mickleover Sports 7-0, which was also the most goals in a game. The biggest away win came on 4 May when Ely Reserves went down 6-0 at home to Fulbourn Institute.

The stadiums - the number of games in brackets

1 The Unwin Ground, Ely, Cambridgeshire (23)
2 The Walks, King's Lynn, Norfolk (4)
3 NCK Olympiskiy, Kyiv, Ukraine (3)
4 Villa Park, Birmingham (2)
5 The Emirates Stadium, London (2)
6 Brisbane Road, London (1)
7 Julius Martin Lane, Soham, Cambridgeshire (1)
8 The Abbey Stadium, Cambridge (1)
9 London Road, Peterborough (1)
10 Westwood Road, St.Ives, Cambridgeshire (1)
11 Crown Meadow, Lowestoft, Suffolk (1)
12 Dynamo Stadium, Kyiv, Ukraine (1)
13 Obolon Arena. Kyiv, Ukraine (1)
14 Recreation Ground, Thetford, Norfolk (1)
15 Craven Cottage, London (1)
16 Carrow Road, Norwich (1)
17 The Pirelli Stadium, Burton-on-Trent (1)

The competitions
1 Eastern Counties League Premier (13)
2 Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup (4)
3 Friendly matches (4)
4 English Premier League (3)
5 Northern Premier League Division 1 South (2)
6 South East Combination League (2)
7 Cambridgeshire Senior League Premier (2)
8 Emirates Cup (2)
9 Ukrainian Premier League (2)
10 Northern Premier League Premier (2)
11 FA Cup (1)
12 FA Vase (1)
13 English League 1 (1)
14 Isthmian League Division 1 North (1)
15 International Friendly (1)
16 Ukrainian Under 21 Premier League (1)
17 Ukrainian League 2 (1)
18 Eastern Counties League Cup (1)
19 Cambridgeshire Senior League A (1)
20 English League 2 (1)

A few photos from the Pirelli on Boxing Day

Burton Albion 1 Northampton Town 0

Well, I sank a brewery load on Christmas Day and talked a load of cobblers, so going to watch the Brewers v the Cobblers on Boxing Day was the natural choice.

I hadn't been to the Pirelli for a while, so I was looking forward to the trip and the game was well worth the visit. The Brewers are currently in the top 4 of League 2 while Northampton are languishing near the foot of the league. Last season both clubs made it to the play-offs and whereas the Brewers have taken off from where they finished last season the Cobblers have struggled. They sacked Aidy Boothroyd just before Christmas, so Burton were always favourites going into this game.

Neither of the teams started all that well, but it was clear that Northampton were going to sit back and hope to hit their opponents on the break, but at least they seemed to have ditched the hoof up the pitch that they were famous for last season - which actually might have encountered for their undoing. Hussey, Kee and McGurk all came close for the Brewers in the first half and Jimmy Phillips was attacking them down the wing with the support of Phil Edwards. When Northampton attacked Ian Sharps seemed to block them from worrying the goalkeeper too much. However, at the break it was still 0-0 and the Brewers could feel aggrieved not to have gone in with the lead.

The second half saw more of the same from the Brewers and Phillips continued to hassle the Northampton defence, but the shooting was a little wayward. Burton had more than 20 shots during the game, but Matt Duke in the Northampton goal wasn't especially bothered and towards the end it looked like the Brewers might pay for their finishing when Northampton had a couple of break away attacks. However, we didn't need to worry as Sharps with just 4 minutes remaining thundered a header into the back of the net to give the Brewers a much deserved win.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Norwich V Swansea programme and ticket

Pictures from Carrow Road

Norwich City 1 Swansea City 1

It had been a long time since I last went to Carrow Road, in fact it was that long ago most of the ground was standing when I last went. Then it was turn up on the day, but nowadays getting in the ground is a bit more complicated, so when I saw an offer for the Swansea game I thought that I would give it a go. I was quite impressed with the ground and the game was entertaining enough.

Most people probably thought that Swansea would be groggy after their exertions in Europe on Thursday, but it was Norwich who looked more sleepy at the start. On 12 minutes Sebastian Bassong was caught napping by Nathan Dyer who lashed on to a half chance to put the visitors 1-0 up. 2 minutes later Norwich could have got on to level terms if the referee had been more sympathetic when Leroy Fer's header hit Angel Rangel on the arm, but the official wasn't interested.

Up until the half hour mark Norwich continued to push for the equaliser, and Gary Hooper seemed to be in most of the thick of the action. Swansea with the exception of Dyer who continued to harass the Norwich defence seemed happy to pass it around and Michel Vorm was time wasting with only 20 minutes on the clock.

On 41 minutes disaster struck for Swansea when Bassong fell on Dyer and Dyer was taken off with a nasty ankle injury. In the time that was added to the half after the injury Stephen Whittaker and Bassong came close before Hooper levelled up matters with a wonderful strike from 25 yards out.

The second half, for the most part, saw Norwich pinning Swansea into their own half. The best chances fell for Michael Turner who saw Jordi Amat head his shot onto his own crossbar on 68 minutes; and on 76 a great one handed save by Vorm denied Hooper. Swansea, although they seemed content with a draw also had a couple of chances in the closing moments with Wilfred Bony and Jonjo Shelvey coming close.

Norwich probably deserved the win and Swansea were probably happier with the draw.

Ely City Reserves 0 Great Paxton 0

There are times when you feel like football god owes you one and Saturday was one of those occasions. After Sean's game in the morning we decided to go down the road and see what the reserves were up to. Brady Stone has now taken over at the reserves and they seem to have a few more decent players than they did last season, even though they are now in Senior A of the Cambridgeshire League, a division below where they were last season. On Saturday they were taking on Great Paxton who are currently second in the table. Ely had been on a decent run of late having one their 3 previous games including a 6-2 win over leaders Gaminglay.

Ely started off the game promisingly. They had one shot just wide in the opening encounters and hit the woodwork. However, the game sort of petered out into a pre-Christmas snooze and it was a game that was small on action and chances. Even the referee seemed non-plussed by it all. He started the game 7 minutes early, had a shorter than normal half-time, and blew up on 88 minutes despite there being a few lengthy stoppages. It was that kind of game, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

A double headed weekend

December usually turns into a barren month for me in terms of football, even though there seems to be loads of it on. So the chance of a double header at the weekend was too much to pass up on. The weekend started off with a trip to see Ely City Reserves take on Great Paxton and then it was up to the dizzy heights of the Premier League on Sunday when we went to see Norwich take on Swansea.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ely City 0 Wivenhoe Town 1

Yesterday Ely had a good chance to get their first home points of the season. Wivenhoe are struggling even more than the Robins and after a decent draw away to Newmarket and beating Mildenhall in the league cup it looked like a decent chance for the home team to turn their season around. It didn't work out like that though.

The first half was a scrappy affair and Ely seemed to be labouring a bit, they definitely had more of the ball, but Wivenhoe looked a bit more convincing on the odd occasion when they did threaten the Robins. The teams went in at 0-0 at the break in what was a fairly uneventful half.

Ely started the second half off a lot stronger and soon had Wivenhoe pinned in their own half. Stuart Walker had the ball in the Wivenhoe net on 50 minutes, but it was ruled offside. This set the tone for most of the half with Ely pressuring, but not having much luck with the decisions. The Robins were given the chance to take the lead on 59 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after a foul on Claydon in the box. MacDonald stepped up to take the penalty, if it had been rugby he would have got 3 points, but you don't get anything in football for blasting it over the bar.

The Robins continued to be determined and Wivenhoe didn't have a chance until 80th minute when they too were awarded a penalty. They managed to put it away though and went back to Essex with the points.