Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ely City 1 Wivenhoe Town 2

A new year and for me, after most of the home games being called off a new look Ely City. Unfortunately, it was the same result.

Several players have arrived on loan and it was hoped that they woud provide the shot in the arm that the Robins needed.Kairys and Ourtilbour on loan from Histon looked promising enough, but the Robins lack steel in central defence and look like they will do well to put the chances they create away. All in all a recipe for disaster. Ourtilbour looked good going forward on the left wing, but nobody seemed to be able to keep up with him for speed when he wanted to put a cross in.

It was a real shame, as the game offered Ely a chance to perhaps turn things round. Ely are bottom, but Wivenhoe are third from the bottom. They also arrived late due to traffic and didn't have enough time to warm up properly and had a player sent off after three minutes. Therefore the omens looked good for Ely. Fat chance though, as a mixture of players not knowing each other and baffling tactics meant that Ely were soon one down. After the break they went 2 down. They did pull one back near the end, but they also lacked in spirit. Whereas Downham last week when they pulled one back went on the rampage Ely had a player having a lie down and complaining about a little scratch on his leg with time running out. Can it get any worse?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Our Subbuteo Part 4 - The Mid 80s

These were all zombie teams in the more normal shaped boxes that are pretty similar to the ones used today. These were all teams that I bought myself when I was a lad with my pocket money.

Scotland 1986
This was the kit worn by the Scotland team at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. It was quite distinctive in that they wore the shorts with the hoop across the middle as seen below in Subbuteo form.

The Scotland team for a cahnce to qualify for the World Cup needed a result. They got a draw to set u with Wales, to set off a play off game with Australia, however they didn't feel much like celebrating, as their iconic manager Jock Stein suffered a heart attack during the matach and died.

Alex Ferguson took over for the play off game against the Aussies, which they won 3-0. At the World Cup they were drawn in the 'group of death' with Denmark, West Germany and Uruguay. They only managed to get one point from a 0-0 draw with Uruguay.

Aston Villa 1985-87
This kit which was a deviation from the traditional claret with blue sleeves and was made by minor firm Henson, wasn't everybody's cup of tea, but it was one of my favourite Villa shirts of all time and reminds me of a time when I was a regular on the Holte End.

They weren't the best of times at Villa Park, but here's a picture of Paul Birch in the kit.

Manchester United 1985 FA Cup Winners Kit
This was back in the day when coverage of the FA Cup final was on all day and all of the clubs took it seriously the game was won in extra time when Norman Whiteside scored for United the only goal in the game against Everton.

Here they are after winning the pot,

Queens Park Rangers 1985-87
The red on the main part and the sleeves was unique to this period when QPR were sponsored by Guinness. It was during a period of time when QPR were doing quite well and at the end of this period finished 5th.

In the mid 80s Monaco had a lot of domestic success and even hammered Bordeaux 9-0 in a record breaking scoreline.

Downham Town 2 Great Yarmouth 4

I was desperate to get to a game yesterday, but it was one of those Winter days when half of the local pitches were waterlogged and the other half were frozen. The day started with a constant refreshing of Twitter as the games started to be called off. Amongst the bad news was the Downham Town feed. They were confident that their game was on and they also seemed friendly and want people to attend. Ely Reserves were silent and King's Lynn looked on, but I wasn't in the mood for them, so we decided to start the New Year with a trip to a new ground and get along to the Memorial Playing Fields in Downham Market.

It all looked straight forward on the map, but obviously when we reached the town I bore left instead of turning left and we ended up going around in a circle before being put on the right path at a local pub.

The ground was quite unassuming and in marked contrast to the fallen glory feel that surrounds the visitor's - Great Yarmouth's ground - it didn't look much. However, at £5 for entry and a programme, a warm welcome and decent prices in the clubhouse there wasn't much to complain about.

Last time we went to Great Yarmouth they were in the relegation zone and there had been more Ely fans there than home fans, but there was a decent away support at the ground for a game that could have been easily called off and despite being in the same county was a real distance.

The game started off brightly for the home team, who were defending a good home record going into the game and they took the lead on 6 minutes and had the ball in the net a minute later, only for the goal to be ruled offside. However, this was one of the problems in the early attacks as they continued to wander offside. As the half progressed Yarmouth also settled into the game and on 19 minutes they came close with a shot that really tested the Downham keeper. It came as no surprise really when Yarmouth grabbed an equaliser 5 minutes later.

After this the Bloaters thought that they could take the lead and continued to put the home team under  pressure. on 35 minutes the Downham keeper was forced to make another decent save. Downham weren't going to be able to hold out until half time though as on 37 minutes the visitors had a shot from just outside of their own half that sizzled past the keeper and could be goal of the season at any level.

After a Newcastle Brown in the bar we were back out for the second half and it was clear that the visitors were going to continue to press. Downham also needed to score and it was a frantic and end to end start to the second half. It was the visitors though who drew first blood and they took a 3-1 lead from a cleverly worked short free kick when the home team probably expected a shot from range, Downham were galvanised into action and on 67 minutes they looked close to pulling a goal back. Despite their efforts they got caught on the break though and it was soon 4-1 to Yarmouth.

Downham pulled one back on 81 minutes, which set up a grandstand and frantic finish to the match as Downham didn'g give up and fought to get back in the game. You have to admire their never say die attitude, but it wasn't to be today and the visitors secured a 4-2 victory.

Fortress Memorial -Downham Market

Yesterday we started the New Year off with a visit to  a new ground where we saw Downham Town take on Great Yarmouth. We must have cursed them though as their impressive home record which saw the ground nicknamed 'Fortress Memorial' came to an end in an entertaining game that they lost 4-2.

I'll be writing more about it later. It was a good game and a good day out although the pitch was bumpy and the ground was basically a pitch in the middle of a field with barriers and a small stand and covered terracing on one side.

The clubhouse was decent though and the prices were cheap. Here are a few photos before the report.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 The competitions

Here is a list of the different competitions that I saw games in in 2014. The number of games is shown in brackets.

1 Eastern Counties League Premier (15)
2 Northern Premier League Premier (3)
3 English League 1 (3)
4 FA Cup (2)
5 Cambridgeshire League Senior A (2)
6 Absolute Sport Travel Trophy (2)
7 Preseason friendly (2)
8 Emirates Cup (2)
9 Eastern Counties League Cup (1)
10 South East Combination (1)
11 Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup (1)
12 John Ablett Cup (1)
13 Pre-World Cup warm-up (1)
14 FA Cup Women (1)
15 FA Vase (1)
16 William Coad Invitation Cup (1)
17 Bundesliga (1)

2014 The Grounds

In the calendar year I saw 131 goals over 40 games. In terms of results it wasn't great. The teams I supported won 8, lost 21 and drew 11, scoring 59 of the goals and letting 72 in.

The biggest home win was also the game with the most goals in a match: Cambridge Women 9 Fulbourn Bluebirds 0 on 16 March. The biggest away win came when Ipswich Wanderers beat Ely City 7-0 on 15 November.

I went to 14 grounds, as shown below with the number of games I saw at them in brackets.

1 The Unwin Ground, Ely (18)
2 London Road, Peterborough (4)
3 Munford Road, Thetford (3)
4 The Walks, King's Lynn (3)
5 The Abbey Stadium, Cambridge (2)
6 The Emirates Stadium, London (2)
7 Carrow Road, Norwich (1)
8 Brisbane Road, London (1)
9 The Gold Star Ground, Felixstowe (1)
10 Craven Cottage, London (1)
11 Villa Park, Birmingham (1)
12 Recreation Way, Mildenhall (1)
13 Cricketfield Road, Newmarket (1)
14 Westfalen Stadion, Dortmund (1)

Review of the year 2014

It was a disappointing year for our clubs, as they lived down to expectations. Villa continue to settle for a lack of ambition, after a disappointing season last time out Ely have spent this season in the relegation zone, King's Lynn flirted with promotion and then slipped away and look like being mid-table this time out, Peterborough made the play offs but lost to Leyton Orient and are off the mark a bit this season. There was a world cup to enjoy though and a spectacular trip to Borussia Dortmund was a real highlight.

We went to 4 games at 4 different grounds; Norwich City, Thetford Town, Ely City and King's Lynn Town. The highlight was probably King's Lynn coming from behind to beat Ilkeston 3-1 with a late rally after being 1-0 down with a few minutes left.

We only managed to get to one game in February and that was to see Thetford lose 2-1 at home to Hadleigh United in a decent enough game.

The better weather and lack of postponement meant that we got to a bumper 6 games in March. Leyton Orient's 2-1 win over Colchester at the start of the month was probably the best match, even if it helped them to get in the play-offs and defeat Posh at the end of the season. A mention has to also go out to Cambridge Women who smashed 9 past Fulbourn Bluenirds in the Cambs Invitation Cup at the Unwin, Also at the Unwin, Ely failed to get to the League Cup final when they lost on penalties to Newmarket.

Of the 4 games we went to in April, 3 of them were at the Unwin.Unfortunately, the match that I enjoyed the most didn't involve Ely, but was the Johm Ablett Cup Final where Alconbury lost to Red Lodge and the Dutch Commentators were born. It was a good evening out and better than the 5-1 defeat Ely suffered against Godmanchester Rovers at the same venue. The trip to Felixstowe and Walton was a good day out and the 1-1 draw that Ely got was well deserved and could have easily been a rare 3 points for the Robins.

We got to a couple of games in May including a World Cup warm-up game at Craven Cottage where Italy and Ireland played out a 0-0 draw. It was a good evening, but perhaps highlighted why the Italians were one of the first teams back on the plane from Brazil.

We were busy watching the World Cup on TV.

The first Absolute Sport Travel Trophy at the Abbey meant we got to see Cambridge United, Espanyol B and young teams from Shakhtar Donetsk and West Ham. It was a good tournament and good value for money, although some people moaned about the squads of the other teams. Elsewhere, Ely drew with Soham and Peterborough beat Brighton in pre-season.

The month started with a trip to the Emirates and the annual tournament there. We saw Monaco draw with Valencia and Arsenal smash 5 past Benfica. We also saw Villa draw 0-0 with Parma. Then the real business started with Ely going down 4-3 in a great game at Mildenhall, Kings' Lynn lose to Trafford and Cambridge Women beat Cheltenham in the FA Cup.

In September Ely played Thetford home and away and Newmarket home and away. We were at all of these games and they lost them all. However, we were still hopeful they could turn things around, but when we saw them lose 4-1 at home to Whitton United, who aren't exactly a star team themselves the writing was on the wall and we started to lose faith a bit.

If September ended badly in our watching Ely, then things continued to be bad in October. They lost to Diss, 2-1, Diss were the only team with a worse record in the league than the Robins. At this point going to the Reserves seemed like a better option and the week after we saw them go down 1-0 to Outwell Swifts. However, for Sean's birthday we had a real special treat. We went to Dortmund for the weekend. We went to the Borusseum on Friday and then went to see BVB play Hannover on the Saturday. With our luck it wasn't surprising that Dortmund lost, but it couldn't take the shine off a brilliant weekend.

November came and it seemed like our luck might be changing finally! We went to London Road to see Peterborough take on Carlisle in the FA Cup. They went 1-0 down after a dreadful error, but fought back and Burgess got 2 goals to win the game in Fergie Time! Our luck hadn't changed though, the week after Ely went 7-0 down to a decidedly average Ipswich Wanderers. We were then back at London Road for the opening of the new stand, but Posh couldn't deal with high flying Swindon, who won 2-1. At least we saw a team called the Robins win for a change, I suppose.

The bad weather started in December and we only got to 2 (or one and a half) games. The first was to see the Reserves take on Milton (they lost 3-2), unfortunately the website and app said it was a 3 o'clock kick off, but it was at 2, which more or less shows the level of enthusiasm at Ely City at the moment. The second was a holiday trip to Peterborough where they played a decent 0-0 draw against Doncaster.

So that was a run-down of the calendar year of 2014. With Sean playing more games and more of them being further away our travelling to games might be limited. Hopefully, our clubs will pick up a bit this year too.