Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ely City Reserves 1 Somersham Town 2

On Saturday our only option was to go down to Ely City Reserves. The game was decent enough with Ely having most of the play, and taking the lead a few minutes before the interval. However despite their dominance the visitors pulled 2 goals back to win the game.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Something's up in East London

I know that after ages of pestering from London based friends I have only recently become a convert to Clapton FC, but I have already got a real fondness for the boys in East London. After years of dross being served up in the Premier League and local league teams taking the piss with ticket prices most of my football has been non league based. I enjoy going to the local teams, but the sense of comeraderie and welcome have been diminishing at the Unwin for a few seasons and there hasn't been an atmosphere for years. Therefore Clapton offer everything that I have been looking for in football for a while.

Unfortunately, something seems to be wrong at the Old Spotted Dog. There is the obvious friction between the chairman, who seems to be intent on bleeding the club dry and the ultras, but there also seems to be a few more deep rooted problems. Since the defeat at the weekend to Stansted there has been a bit of a player exodus and a defeat of 4-1 to Basildon last night has seen the Tons let in 4 goals in a row. I also hear some game show turned up last night, which obviously miffed the fans who are already concerned about their support being turned into a carnival.

The situation although not bleak is concerning. You have players who want to want to play for the club, but due to the financial restrictions can't / won't and a fan club that is becoming slightly fractious. I hear that there was some bitterness last night aimed at not only Basildon but also at other supporters and that the Brigata Italiana were criticised for not paying attention. I am hoping it really is just a storm in a tea cup or that what I am hearing us exaggerated as the Tons have made me look forward to football again.

Stansted FC 4 Clapton FC 3

Another week and another 4 goals let in by the Tons. The game could have been so different with the visitors taking a 3-0 lead into the break. And although it is not his fault you have to wonder what is wrong with the club when they start with a winger in goals.

Anyway, the game got off to a brilliant start with Clapton looking like they thought attack was the best form of defence. They were justly awarded just after 4 minutes when Barnwell put the East Londoners in the lead. 

This started a frantic period where Stansted also came close and the Tons had a shot cleared off the line. We didn't have to wait long for the next goal though, as Barnwell doubled his tally and the Tons lead on 12 minutes with a goal that was as good as you will see anywhere. It's a shame nobody filmed it.

The Tons weren't finished though and the wind started to help them a bit and a long clearance aided by the aforementioned wind aided Cook to score and make it 3-0 to Clapton with 9 minutes remaining of the half.

It really was to be a game of two halves though as Clapton fell to pieces in the second half. On 65 minutes Lakin scored for Stansted; Halamby got their second on 68 and things got a little nervy. Clapton created chances, but were clearly rattled and looked to hope to hang on. They didn't though. The wind was now in Stansted's favour and on 80 minutes Ashwell looked to cross it in for the home team, but it somehow ended up in the goal to give them an equaliser. In the last minute the turnaround was complete when a mistake by the Tons winger keeper allowed Ratcliffe in to make it 4-3.

Shoes off if you love Clapton

I enjoyed myself so much at the Old Spotted Dog on Saturday that when I saw the Tons were playing at the nearest Essex Senior League team to us there was only one place to go on Saturday.

Stansted Mountfitchett with it's Norman castle and thatched cottages was a market contrast to Clapton's East London home, but the locals were friendly and Clapton fans showed up in numbers to help swell the crowd and the bar takings.

The Stansted Ground was all open apart from a stand on one side which strangely for non league football saw us being segregated to the right of the referee's tunnel. The rest of the ground was open with a social club behind one goal which you had to exit the ground to get to.

The Clapton fans were in good voice and we had a brilliant time, but the result was another disappointment for the Tons (see the match report).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

After the match

After the Clapton V Romania game we moved to the pub, the Ultras were still in fine form and there was a tribute to the Deportivo La Coruna fan who was killed by Atletico Madrid fans one year ago.

Clapton FC 0 FC Romania 4

Despite a decent start to the season Clapton came into the game after 2 losses and it was clear from the start that they were going to struggle against a strong Romania team. In the first 10 minutes the visitors had 5 corners, a penalty claim and Isife Vasile came close to beating Henderson in goals for The Tons.

Inevitably on 15 minutes Romania took the lead with Liviu Florin Pop scoring from a great individual effort. 5 minutes later Sergiu Pitaru lobbed Henderson from outside the box to double the score and make it 2-0 to the visitors. Clapton had a couple of half chances before the half was up, but it was Romania who added to their lead when Ungereanu tapped on in.

Unfortunately, things didn't get better for The Tons in the second half and Vasile scored on 55 minutes to make it 4-0. They stifled Clapton for the rest of the half, so despite it being a great daily out the match ended in disappointment.

The Old Spotted Dog

Clapton play at the Old Spotted Dog. It seems quite clear that the chairman hasn't spent it on facilities. I think they'd struggle to get into the Isthmian League with the current facilities. No wonder the ultras refuse to spend money in the bar.

Clapton Ultras

On Saturday I met up with Dean in London. He's regularly been going to Clapton FC. A team who play in the Essex Senior League. They are famous for their left wing ultras and a great time was had, unfortunately Clapton were outplayed by FC Romania and lost 4-0. I'll be posting a match report after a few photos and videos.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Ely City 3 Debnham LC 2

The pitch was heavy from the rain and the wind was strong in biting conditions down at the Unwin last week. There were no programmes, probably under the assumption the game wouldn't go ahead.

Ely clearly weren't in the right frame of mind from the outset with Debnham taking the lead from a free kick as early as 2 minutes. Ely fought back and a cross from Jamie Alsop levelled the scores on 15 minutes. The Robins weren't ahead for long though as the visitors went down the other end after the centre and scored another goal to reclaim the lead. The rest of the half saw Ely getting frustrated and both sides had chances, Ely probably had the lion's share, but the sides went in at the break with Debnham in the lead. 

Ely looked a lot more resolute in the second half and were helped by playing with the wind rather than against it. Seymour knocked one into the top corner on 63 minutes from a set piece before Nathan Littlefair scored his first goal for the club. What a vital goal it was to be too, as it ended up being the winner.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ely City 6 Braintree Reserves 1

On Saturday it was back to the somewhat less iconic surroundings of the Unwin Ground to see Ely City take on Braintree Reserves. It might not have been as grand as Dortmund, but we were treated to another goal fest.

Braintree came into the game with some decent form, but this was to be one of the most one sided games I've seen and the visitors were actually flattered by the score.

In the opening few minutes Seymour hit the woodwork and Simpson and Theobold came close before the Robins took the lead on 10 minutes when Theobold latched on to a defensive error to break the deadlock. The Robins carried on and Theobold hit the woodwork this time with Seymour and Simpson again coming close before Simpson carried on his fine goal scoring form to make it 2-0 on 40 minutes.

In the second half Braintree dug in a bit, but on 69 minutes an Alsop free kick alluded everyone and squeezed into the goal. Simpson then got another one with a 25 yard lob before Braintree scored the goal of the match. It was little consellaton though as Seymour got a tap in and substitute Goodge added to the tally to make it 6-1 to the hosts.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ciro Ferrera

I was in Turin a couple of weeks ago and accidentally on purpose bumped into ex Juventino and Napoli player Ciro Ferrera. We had seen him commentating on the Juve v Borrusia Mornchengladbach game. It was mentioned he owned a restaurant called Da Ciro in the city and was often to be seen there. We went for a pizza there at lunch and the great man himself was tucking into one. Great pizza,  Ciro!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Borussia Dortmund 7 Paderborn 1

On Wednesday the moment we had been waiting for finally came when we took up our seats in the Westfallen Stadion to see Borrusia Dortmund take on Paderborn in the DFB Pokal. Everything went well and despite it being an early kick off in a mid week cup game the stadium was still rocking. One disappointment was that Aubameyang and Reus weren't playing after they had single handedly taken Augsburg apart at the weekend. In came Adrian Ramos and Gonzalo Castro for the two.

Things got off to a bright enough start with only Ramos's first touch and offsides saving Paderborn. However, things took a turn for the worse when Burki lost his head on 21 minutes and a grateful Lakic put the visitors ahead. Our worries didn't last for long though, as just 4 minutes later Adrian Ramos finally did what he was supposed to do and equalised from an angled shot. On 30 minutes the turnaround was complete when Castro scored after a clever back heel from Kagawa. It was 3-1 by the break when Kagawa scored a brilliant solo goal.

If you thought BVB might let up then you were wrong they continued to come out firing in the second half and on 55 minutes Ginter was tripped in the box and Gundogan stepped up to slot home (shown below).

Castro got another on 58 and then Mkhitaryan did all the work for Piszcek to slot home on 87 before Piszcek returned the favour for Mkhitaryan to make it 7 and send us home happy after the celebrations had subsided.

The Black and Gold Wall

Luckily the Sud Tribune were also early and in good voice!

We arrive too early at Westfallen Stadion

As usual we got in the ground before Dortmund took on Paderborn too early.

Dortmund landmark

Dortmund U Building. The one we didn't see last time and suitable visuals used for a trip to BVB.

Dortmund 2015

Last year we came and saw Borrusia Dortmund lose 1-0 to Hannover. This time we were luckier as the boys in black and gold beat Paderborn 7-1. Here are a few photos from before the game this time.

Odds and sods in the museum

There were plenty of odd things in the German Football Museum. A couple that caught my eye were the giant football made by Adi Dassler and signed by every player in the inaugural season of the 

The other was Mertesacker's shirt and medal from that awful day when Arsensl lifted the FA Cup against Villa in May

Trophies on display

There are a multitude of trophies on display in the German Football Museum apart from the World Cup. Here are a few of them:
From 1903 to 1932 the German football champions were presented with the Viktoria, a trophy of a Roman Goddess that was donated to the Germans for their participation in the 1900 Paris Olympics.

A more well known trophy is the current day Deutsche Meisterschale which is given to the Bundesliga Champions.

The European Cup, won by Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich ( but not in 1982)

The reason we were in Germany - the DFB Pokal. Wolfsburg won it last year, but lost to Bayern Munich while we were there. BVB took one step closer to it by beating Paderborn 7-1.

Homage to 2014

Obviously the German Football Museum pays a lot of attention to the brilliant win in Brazil in what was a stupendous won for them. Whole books have been written on how the Nationalmannschaft went from underdogs to world beaters, so here are just a few things from that section:
The famous ball (designed in Germany) takes centre stage.

The shirt that Gotze scored the winning goal in.

Manuel Neuer's gloves

The World Cup itself.

Beckenbauer in the Museum

A couple of articles worn by Der Kaiser caught my attention in the German Football Museum caught my eye. There was a lot about East German football and how people still followed teams in the a West. As well as the well known stories of people standing on the East side of the wall hoping to hear cheers from Hertha was the story of this Bayern Munich shirt, worn by Franz, signed by the team and smuggled to a fan club over the border.

More unusually was this coat given to Beckenbauer by the Uzbekistan Football Association in the run up to the World Cup.

German football - Warts and all

I have to commend the German Football Museum on its honesty and openness. They don't shy away from fascism in the game in the 1930s and the way Hitler manipulated sport. Something that I have written about on this site before is 'the Death Match' when Dynamo Kyiv players under the guise of FK Start defeated a well fed and much healthier German army team in Kyiv. Look up the post if you want to know the full story of the games the Ukrainians played and how most of them were killed later in war camps. I have to admit that I was surprised to see a poster from the game in the museum. A film just before the Worl Cup has never been aired in case it led to anti-German sentiment. It's good to see that the folk at the Football Museum have taken a more mature approach.

1966 - a German perspective

Germany have won the World Cup 4 times, but they also have time in their museum for some of the defeats they have faced. Among features on losses to rivals like Italy, Holland and in the early days Austria are mentions of England's victories over Germany. Included are a couple of things from 1966. Firstly, you are asked 'did the ball cross the line in the World Cup Final in 1966?'. At the moment it was about 64% saying it didn't, although we did manage to get the score down a bit!

Another memento from 1966 is a Shrovetide Football that was presented to the German team who were staying in the nearby Pevril of the Peak - a hotel where I didn't particularly enjoy working one Summer as a student!

German Football Museum, Dortmund

On Tuesday we arrived in Dortmund and went to the brand new German football museum. If you are ever in town for a BVB game it is well worth the effort. It really is a museum of two halves. The first half looks at the history of the national team from early beginnings to the 2014 World Cup win, in a frankly honest way. The second half is dedicated to the development at club level. In between you are treated to a 3D film plotting the story of the 2014 World Cup victory.
The next few posts are going to be dedicated to just a few of the things that I enjoyed there.

Ely City 4 Needham Market Reserves 0

It was a couple of weeks ago when Ely put four past Needham Market and I am only just catching up now.

The game itself was a bit one way traffic, as Ely took on a very raw Needham side who are propping up the table. After a scrappy opening encounter where Ely could have easily taken the lead, if Alex Theobold hadn't strayed offside and Spencer Saberton had been more clinical was followed by one of dominance by The Robins. Craig Neal set up James Seymour to take the lead on 23 minutes and then a a Matty Simpson hat trick in 13 minutes before halftime with a series of brilliant goals put the opposition under.

The Robins took things more calmly in the second half as they were to play Downham Market in a local Derby on the Tuesday in a game which finished as a draw. However, on this day the Robins went home with a comfortable victory under their belts.

Time to catch up

It's been a busy few weeks and I've been in Italy and Germany. I need to catch up on a report for Ely City and another fabulous trip to Dortmund which took in a 7-1 win for BVB and a trip to the newly opened German football museum.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ely City 1 Newmarket Town 2

I am afraid that this is going to be a rather short report as I am about to fly off to China.

It would have been nice for the Robins to get a run in the Vase, but it wasn't to be. It was a very spirited performance by the young Robins team against Newmarket, who are in the division above, but at the end of the day they took their 2 chances and knocked the Robins out.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ely City 1 Haverhill Borough 0

Last Saturday the groundhoppers descended on the Unwin Ground for Ely's game against Haverhill Borough and hopefully they enjoyed what they saw.

Several of Ely's regulars were missing, but it was good to see Lewis Hook and Paul Summerskills given a chance as well as young Jake Alsop from the under 18s given a chance in goal.

It was a very competent display from the team and Jack Saunders also caused a lot of problems for the visitors who seemed to kick him up in the air every time he got near the ball. The referee seemed to have forgotten his cards though, so they continued to get away with it.

Several chances were given to Theobold and Knowles up front, but it wasn't until the 65th minute that Knowles was able to  slot home to give the Robins the win in one of the most one sided 1-0 wins you are ever likely to see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ely City Reserves 3 Fulbourn Institute Reserves 6

Last Saturday there wasn't time to do much else than get down the Unwin to see the reserves take on Fulbourn's. It was a poor game for Ely who were 5-0 down by half time.

The Robins came back a bit in the second half and one of the highlights was an increasingly rare Gammo goal. Ely pulled another one back in the last few minutes, before Fulbourn got a decisive 6th in stoppage time and Ely added another with basically the last kick of the game.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ely City 2 Diss Town 1

On Saturday Ely were back at home and faced Diss who were one of the other relegated teams from the Premier last year. Both teams will be hoping for better this season after disastrous records last time out.

The first half hour was a scrappy affair and the official seemed a little whistle happy, which interfered with the flow of the game. Ely looked quit competent going forward, but at the same time looked vulnerable to set pieces. However, on the half hour mark James Seymour, who had been moved into midfield from defence latched on to a through ball and put the Robins in the lead. It was to remain this way until half time with few further chances to be had for either side.

At the start of the second half Diss looked the more determined team and after just five minutes had an equaliser when a long throw caused confusion in the box. The equaliser seemed to awaken the Robins though and after Jack Saunders had come close he found Alex Theobold to stab home what was to be the winner after Ely managed to hang on to the win after keeping possession for most of the remainder of the game.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Aston Villa v Sunderland player ratings

Brad Guzan - 6 - wasn't that busy and couldn't do too much about the Sunderland goals. His distribution as always was pretty awful though.

Alan Hutton - 6 -I am not a big fan of Hutton, but he got forward and provided crosses and defended well when needed.

Jordan Amavi - 7 - this guy is something special. Defended well, terrorised the defence and set up Sinclair for his second.

Ciaran Clark - 5 - didn't always clear his lines and wasn't that inspiring.

Micah Richards - 5- ball watching in defence and to keen to go forward without giving anything up front when he did.

Carlos Sanchez -9 - a brilliant performance. He seems to be finally living up to his reputation in Colombia.

Ashley Westwood - 6- has bags of ability and showed some great ability, but he needs to go forwards as well as sideways, especially against clubs like Sunderland.

Leandro Bacuna - 5 - did a lot of running, but more in the headless chicken rather than in a good way. Was subbed for Carles Gil.

Idrisse Gana -8- another player with a big future, must have been disappointed that  other players didn't make the most of what he provided.

Scott Sinclair - 8- thankfully somebody seems to be willing to score some goals.

Rudy Gestede -5- showed some good touches, but looked like what he is basically a poor man's Benteke. He really needs to step up.

Carles Gi - 7- came on for Bacuna, provided a fresh impetus and surely has to start against Leicester.

Aston Villa 2 Sunderland 2

On Saturday we went to Villa to see Villa take on Sunderland. Hopefully, it's too early to call this a must win game as Villa did everything but win it. The statistics show that Villa dominated, but despite having a collection of decent players aren't quite a team yet.

The game got off to a frantic start, but Villa went behind to a superb free kick by M'Vila. Sunderland's lead was short lived though as on 11 minutes, just 3 after the visitors took the lead Scott Sinclair was fouled and took the resulting penalty to restore parity. After this it was an onslaught by Villa with Amavi and Gana creating a spark in midfield with Sanchez also passing the ball around well. Unfortunately, despite his aerial presence Gestede didn't seem to be able to get on the end of anything and you can't help but think that with Benteke it would have been a different story. Not that big Rudy is completely to blame, if some of the other players had looked for a shot instead of a pass ( you know who Mr. Westwood) it could have been a different story. Villa did restore their lead though just before half time when Scott Sinclair slotted in a second after some wonderful work down the left by Jordan Amavi. 

Unfortunately, Villa got off to a sluggish start and Jeremy Lens punished some ball watching by the defence with an equaliser. Villa continued to dominate after this, but they continued in the same vane as the first half with chances not being converted. Carles Gil had a good chance of being awarded a penalty but the ref didn't agree and gave Carles a card for his troubles. 

The match ended 2-2. Villa should have won, but it seems Gestede isn't quite Benteke and if Sherwood isn't going to give Kozak a chance he needs to get a new forward before the window sls shut.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

King's Lynn Reserves 2 Stowmarket 2

The day after the Ely game we were back at the football and back in the Eastern Counties League Division 1 as King's Lynn reserves took on Stowmarket.

It was a really entertaining game and couldn't have got off to a better start when Simon Bird put the home side ahead on 4 minutes. Both teams were keen to attack and there could have easily been more goals when Jack Frohawk doubled the Linnets' lead on 23 minutes. Stowmarket were keen to get back into the game by fair means or foul and a brilliant counter attack by Matt Dylon led to Josh Cheetham converting to make it 2-1 at the break.

The second half was equally frantic and at times bad tempered, but chances were fewer and further between. On 70 minutes a wonder strike by Wayne Proctor gave the visitors an equaliser. The game finished 2-2. It was probably a fair score, although the Linnets may have regretted not putting all their early chances away

Ely City 3 Downham Town 0

Friday night saw a bumper crowd at the Unwin as Ely took on local rivals Downham Town to try and get off the mark in the league.

It was a nervy start for early and Downham looked the most likely to score in the 25 minutes. The first real chance fell to Ely though when Alex Theobold seemed to have put the home side ahead on the half hour mark. Theobold seemed to have headed the ball over the line, but the officials didn't agree and the game stayed at 0-0. A few minutes later Ely seemed to have been wrongly done by the officials again when Jack Saunders was fouled in the box. However, a free kick was awarded and Ely failed to convert. Some justice was done in the last minute of the half though when Theobold scored from a header to put the Robins in the lead.

At 1-0 Ely still looked vulnerable and Downham took the game by the throat. They were unable to find a breakthrough though and Craig Neal scored another to put Ely 2-0 up, a bit against the run of play. Ely settled though and when Theobold was fouled in the box he got up to convert the penalty to give Ely what was in the end a comfortable 3-0 victory.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ely City 0 Holbeach United 4

Well, Ely's run in the cup came to an end in the replay against Holbeach on Tuesday. Holbeach had expected to thrash Ely on Saturday, but they saved it until Tuesday. There's not much point dwelling on what was a pretty poor performance by Ely. Let's just hope they can put up a better performance against Downham on Friday.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Holbeach United 1 Ely City 1

On Saturday Ely travelled to Holbeach for the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. We went up there with little expectation of an Ely win as they took on one of the better and bigger clubs in the United Counties League.

In the opening 15 minutes it looked like the Robins were going to get mauled by the Tigers and that our worst fears would be met. However, instead of playing football Holbeach seemed to want to mix things up with a physical approach and this was one area where a Ely could match them. On about the half an hour mark Ely scored against the run of play when Saberton scored after a free kick was rebounded of the wall. Ely held on until half-time much to the chagrin of their hosts.

In the second half the hosts continued to press and the woodwork and Gailbraith in goals for Ely kept them at bay, not that they didn't create any chances themselves and had a couple of chances to nick a decisive second. Unfortunately, Ely couldn't hold on and Holbeach managed an equaliser despite having a player sent off when tempers boiled over.

It was unfortunate Ely couldn't hold on, but at least we have a replay to look forward to on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Photos from Holbeach United

Yesterday we saw Holbeach United take on Ely City on the Extra Preliminary around of the FA Cup. Here are a few pictures of their Carters Park ground.