Monday 31st July, Travelled down to Dunkirk FC to see them play Carlton Town in a pre-season friendly. Met up with two old friends from my YEL days, Brian Ridgard and Maurice Simpson, watched two teams run around for 90 minutes then drove home. F-T 0-0 (fund £1.00)
Tuesday 1st August was a journey down the M1 into Derbyshire to see Belper Utd entertain Clifton AW at Borrowash in an East Midlands counties league fixture. This was way more entertaining than the Monday game, with both teams looking sharp (as they should at the start of the season), and both looking to attack at every opportunity.
Ben Clark put Clifton ahead in the 6th minute, a simple tap in at the far post after the ball was played across the face of goal into his path. Just after the half-hour mark, the home team were level. Clifton had been under immense pressure in the box and when they failed to clear their lines, the ball ran loose to Tim Adcock who had a clear shot at goal from 12 yards and gave keeper Alex Smith no chance. Although the teams never stopped trying to break each other down, neither could find a winner and overall, from a spectators point of view, a point apiece was a fair result. F-T 1-1. (fund £0.60).
Wednesday 2nd August it was M1 again, this time up to J27 to pay a visit to a ground I’ve not been to for a while, the Fieldings. Once the home of Sutton Town, it’s currently the home ground of NSL Div 1 outfit Mansfield Hosiery Mills, and they were hosting NSL Premier Division Gedling Southbank in a PSF. Met Rob Hornby at the game and the first thing did was hand me a charity donation – much appreciated.
The goals came thick and fast, Gedling totally outplaying the home team – but it has to be said that despite getting a bit of a footballing lesson, they never gave up and if not for some valiant defending, the score could have been a lot worse. James Neeham opened the scoring on 14, slotting home from 12 yards. Two minutes later he was handed a tap in a the far stick after he was left unmarked when a cross came in from the left. Needham completed his hat-trick on 33 when once again he was left unmarked in the box when another cross came in he gleefully fired it into the roof of the net. Needham then grabbed his fourth two minutes later, when yet again he was allowed room to pick his spot in front of goal. H-T 0-4
There were further goals in the second half from Coy, Price, Lawson, Jefferies and Needham’s fifth and I suspect that the air in the home team changing rooms was a bit blue after the ref had called time on proceedings. F-T 0-9. (fund £2.75). Needham later pledged a fiver to the fund for each of his goals! Top man!
Thursday 3rd August it was a trip to another ground I’ve not been to for a while. The Digby Street ground is home to Kimberley MW AFC and they played Attenborough FC in a PSF. AFC went in front on 18 when Sam Rothwell slammed the ball home after he found space in the box. Four minutes later, Jimmy Hassall had a fairly simple tap in to double the home teams advantage. H-T 2-0.
A terrific Alex Faulconbridge cross in the fourth minute of the second period picked out Hassall eight yards out and the prolific striker was unlikely to miss from there. The game entered a period where a lot of changes disrupted the play, and with Kimberley struggling to come to terms with all the changes, they allowed the visitors to grab a goal 8 minutes from time when George Rees-Jones fired home from close range. F-T 3-1. (fund £1.20).