Wednesday, 30 November 2016

FA VASE PREVIEW: ST MARGARETSBURY v BERKHAMSTED FC...

This game matches St Margaretsbury against fellow Spartan South Midlands League team Berkhamsted, but their ‘roads’ to Round 3 of the FA Vase couldn’t have been more different.

BERKO SHAKE HANDS FOLLOWING THE WIN AGAINST HULLBRIDGE...


The visitors have played only once, presumably due to a decent record in the tournament recently, a game I saw against Hullbridge Sports from Essex and despite a couple of second-half lapses, Berko’s 5-2 home success was well deserved. Striker Ash Campbell scored a brace in that match and he tops the scoring chart at Broadwater, with 16 goals, followed by Adam Mead, who has 10.

CAMPBELL CELEBRATES v HULLBRIDGE...


St Mags, in contrast, have been through four FA Vase games, two at home and two away. They began with a 3-0 win at Spartan South Midlands Division 1 outfit Codicote, then a 4-1 victory at Eastern Counties Division 1 club Halstead Town, before edging out Essex Senior League Ilford 3-2 at home and then beating Eastern Counties Premier side Stanway Rovers 4-2, after overtime, also at Station Road. Stanway Rovers currently lie second in their division...

In the league, St Mags lie 19th, winning just 3 of 16 matches, having amassed 13 points, with a goal difference of minus 8, whereas Berko lie 6th in the league with 10 wins from 18 games, yet drawing only 2 of the remaining 8. They have 32 points, with a goal difference of plus 15 and the team hasn’t drawn an away game in any competition… 

Saints’ top goalscorer is Ryan Wade with 17 goals from 23 matches, followed by Harley Haag with 11 and Courtney Clay with 10. Surely Ryan should have a Christian name beginning with W and ending with a ‘y’ to fit in with the other two? Maybe Wesley? Hmm…

LET'S HOPE THE GOALMOUTHS ARE SLIGHTY LESS GRASSY...


St Mags’ home and away goals records in 26 games this season are remarkably similar though: at home they have scored 24 and conceded 31, whereas away, they have netted 23 times but have conceded 31 again. They have lost 7 of their 13 home matches… 

The November records of each team show that both are in some good form, for Berko have won 4 and lost 1 (goals 16 to 9), whereas St Mags have won 4 and lost 2 (goals 18 to 9). 

Both Managers have kindly written some comments about the tie and these follow below. Many thanks go to St Margaretsbury’s John Barker and Berkhamsted’s Tom Garratt for taking the time to email me…

John Barker writes:

JOHN PREPARES A PRE-MATCH MEAL FOR HIS PLAYERS...


“After being left with just 7 senior players at the start of last season, we had a massive rebuilding job on our hands and our sole aim was to survive in the Premier Division, a feat which we achieved on the penultimate day of the season.

This year saw many more new faces come in and it has taken a while to get the right balance in the squad.

Going into November we were rock bottom of the league with only 4 points. Although our league position looked bad our performances were not and I honestly thought it was only a matter of time before results changed for the better. 

A run of 4 wins and a draw have seen us move up to 19th in the league and into the 3rd Round of the FA Vase.

The Vase run has been a great story for the club as it is the furthest we have got in a number of years and given we were massive underdogs in the last two rounds, it makes it even more rewarding.

We have played Berkhamsted twice this season and lost on both occasions. I respect them a great deal as they are an excellent footballing side and are always extremely tough opponents. However, whilst we are again underdogs, we have already proved we can provide an upset and will be hoping to do so again on Saturday.”



Berkhamsted’s Tom Garratt’s views: 

TOM WANTS MORE BERKO SUCCESS AT ST MAGS...


“Saturday concerns me as we’ve played St Mags twice this year and beaten them twice. We can’t make it their lucky third game. They’ve been a lot closer games than the score-lines have suggested, so we need to be mentally tuned in.  

The pitch can be a bit of a leveller but it was a decent surface a couple of months ago, so it would be disappointing if it had been cut up too much since then. The bottom line is they are a good side, better than their league position suggests in my opinion and they will cause us problems if we’re not at the races.

We, like them, have got a few injury concerns. Matt Bateman is also cup-tied having played for Leighton in an earlier round. Lewis Rodrigoe joined Kings Langley on a dual registration last week and it’s down to him if he plays or not. He’s already said that he would like to play and we’ve agreed with Paul Hobbs that if he wants to play he will, the same as it was for them last week in the FA Trophy but I’m sure they are just as keen for him to play for them so we will see how that pans out. Ash Lewis is also suspended but we’ve got a few players coming back into the squad, so like every week, we’ll make sure we’re strong enough to do the job and hope the players perform.

The Vase is hugely important for us but so is the league still. We’ve slipped up in a few league games but have still performed well with a new playing style which the boys have taken well to. It’s difficult when you’re losing by the odd preventable goal and the Wembley result was really the first time we’ve been completely out-played, out-worked and out-thought for a long, long time; it was the worst performance since I think the Broxbourne game last year.  

The boys responded very well last week and that was good to see. I don’t think there’s anyone at this level we shouldn’t give a real game to but I’m sure there’s a lot of clubs out there who would say the same thing.  

Consistency is the key and the teams that will go on to win things will be the ones with the players who are there week after week and commit to their football. We lost out last year in the FA Vase to Morpeth, the eventual winners, when we were missing a few in midfield and to be fair I think we were a little bit one dimensional and na├»ve in our play then. We had a few individuals and I think this year we’re far more of a team.  

Those are the things we’ve tried to address this year, plan A, then plan B, then plan C. We’ve a strong squad and this is the time of year that they all need to stand up to be counted. They’ve got the ability, no question, the mentality is there, it’s just getting them to bring it in their kitbag every week, no matter who we’re playing, no matter what the conditions, no matter what the outside influences are. Ninety minutes, forget about it, get on with it, win, and have a beer afterwards…

We’ll have a game plan like we always do, we know they’ve watched us recently but to be honest anyone that watches us one week to the next will see differences in the side and this week will be no different. They’ll have to deal with something different but we’ll concentrate on us and not get involved in anything else. We like to play with purpose and a tempo, they’ll try to stop that and good luck to them. It’ll be a good game and we’re very much looking forward to it.

Our form since Hullbridge has, shall we say, been ‘indifferent’. We’ve lost 6-0 and won 6-1, so one couldn’t get more of an extreme really. I guess what you can say is that on current form we can guarantee goals; I just hope they are in our favour this coming weekend…”

BERKO'S BROADWATER GROUND...


THANKS TO BOTH MANAGERS...

I will write a full report of the match, I’ll also include some images and hopefully video clips of many of the incidents which matter. Both clubs are welcome to use anything I produce for their own purposes, if indeed they deem them worthy!

I have a journey from Solihull to endure but I look forward to what should be a keen rivalry at a new ground for me.

Pete Ray
‘The Mowdog’…















UPTON WARREN, NEAR DROITWICH, TODAY...

FROZEN...

I WAS INSIDE A HIDE.
THEY WERE TOO.

SUN & ICE...

SPARROW HAWK...

...& BUZZARD IN THE SAME TREE...

CORMORANTS DRYING...

STEVE CLARIDGE, ER, SORRY, A CORMORANT...

SLIMMER NOW...

HERON...
DIDN'T NEED THE ICE RINK @ WEBB'S OF WYCHBOLD UP THE ROAD...

HEN HARRIER...

HEN HARRIER FLIES...

CHRISTMASSY TWIGS...

MOUTHY...

REED BUNTING...

ER, NOT A BIRD...

EGRET UP A TREE...

WE LIKES HIM...

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

'MISTED CONSTANTINE': POEM ABOUT CONSTANTINE BAY, CORNWALL...

Misted Constantine

Sea mist steels once blue ocean
To an insipid grey
And sharp horizon
To an indefinable, muffled mirage
Of silence.

And leaves shudder
At the loss of sunlight
And shining greens darken,
Like the dusk precedes night…

Sea mist clouds once glowing shoreline
To the hanging sky
And crisp waves
To an indistinguishable, muddled murmur
Of resilience.

And branches waver
At the advent of gloom
And glimmering flowers fade,
Like the shadows precede doom…

Pete Ray
July 2010



   View from hotel window.






Monday, 28 November 2016

NEW POEM: 'BRUCE FORSYTH: IN MY DREAM, DAMMIT...'

Bruce Forsyth: In My Dream, Dammit…

I was walking the black mongrel Chico,
For some chap playing football we’d seen;
Then we entered what seemed like a packed village hall,
Though confused about where we had been…

Filming was taking place near a stage,
Of showman Bruce Forsyth and his wife;
I steadfastly walked up to the famous fellow,
The tension palpable and rife…

I invited them both to visit the new apartment
Where my three kids were now living,
Which took us through corridors of the elderly,
Whose plights were hopelessly unforgiving…

I knocked at a door, we were then shown around
A smart dwelling for this modern life
But as we left I spotted a convertible Mini,
Which belonged to Forsyth’s rich wife…

My son Jamie had folded claret cloth neatly
And tucked it into the top edges of the car;
He’d then run off to play soccer with his mates
But I called him back from afar…

I took a cellphone image of him, 
Waving proudly over his upholstery
And we left the hotel-like accommodation block,
To find the footballer waiting outside a hostelry…

I told Bruce Forsyth about the player,
‘Trevor Edwards’ I believe;
We had selfies taken with Bruce and his wife
But then the dog and I took our leave…

I awoke then and stumbled from the bed
Then staggered down the stair;
I scribbled points about the dream I’d suffered,
Which had been more like a nightmare…

Pete Ray
November 2016

Dreamt this the other night.
Trevor Edwards plays football for Montpellier, a non-league team in Badsey, near Evesham.
‘Chico’ was a dog I once owned, walked, looked after and despaired of.
Jamie appeared to be around ten years old in the dream.
The Mini had its top down and Jamie had used claret material to decorate the tops of the doors, the dashboard and rear-shelf. Claret? Aston Villa colours, I suppose…
The apartment appeared to be at the far side of a complex which housed the elderly and we had to walk past them in beds in wards, to reach a kind of landing, off which the doors to the flats led.

Very strange…

'CLUSTERS' : A NEW POEM ABOUT MOUSEHOLE, CORNWALL...

Clusters

The absence of colour strips Mousehole
To an angular cluster
Of dwellings and chimneys
And pallid walls on slopes;

Missing sails turn fishing vessels
Into a vertical cluster
Of masts and clinking 
And sodden lines of ropes;

Silent figures near The Ship Inn
Form a grim cluster
Of boatmen and fisherfolk
And narrow lives of dwindling hopes…

Pete Ray

November 2016


EDWIN GREAVES, BRINKLOW FC MANAGER, WRITES ABOUT HIS TEAM'S 2-8 WIN @ WOODLANDS ON SATURDAY...

EDWIN & THE BODGING...



"Woodlands started the game off brightly and controlled the early stages, with the extra man in midfield and playing some neat football. We managed to deal with their early pressure, with Tatenda Baku orgainising the defence.


We forced the 1st corner of the game in the 8th minute, Sam Wade took it, passed to Jordan Hayward who crossed for Morgan Pulford to score with a header: 0-1.


As you would expect, Woodlands went on the offensive and had a great opportunity in the 20th minute to level the score when their forward went through one-on-one with Daniel Mallinson but he dragged his shot wide.


In the 23rd minute, great link-up play between Jordan Hayward and Morgan Pulford set up Fabian Spence to score his first goal for Brinklow: 0-2.


In the 32nd minute, Lloyd Pulford and Morgan Pulford linked up for Fabian Spence to shoot over the target. In the 35th minute a Woodlands corner lead to a free header in the box that went just past the post.


We went straight down the other end and scored as a Fabian Spence pass found Blake Kassar, who finished in style: 0-3.


In stoppage-time Woodlands had a corner which was unfortunately punched into his own net by Daniel Mallinson: 1-3. We kicked off and the referee blew up (he exploded, Edwin?) for half-time.
Half-time: 1-3.

I expected a big response from Woodlands at the beginning of the 2nd half and they didn't disappoint; Daniel Cassidy was brought on and made an immediate difference.


In the 48th minute Woodlands had a shot that hit the post and somehow the player following up managed to shoot over the bar. In the 51st minute a Sam Wade cross was headed back across goal by Fabian Spence for Blake Kassar to force over the line: 1-4.


In the 56th minute a Neil Guest free-kick was headed wide by Macca Richards and on 61 minutes Woodlands cut our lead with a shot beating Daniel Mallinson on his near post: 2-4.
After 64 minutes Fabian Spence was replaced by Ryan Jones.


On 70 minutes Woodlands were reduced to 10 men as their captain got sent off for a incident involving Morgan Pulford, who then scored in the 75th minute with a long range shot from outside the 18 yard box: 2-5.


In the 79th minute more good work by Jordan Hayward found Morgan Pulford in space and again Morgan's long range shot found the net to complete his 1st hat-trick for Brinklow: 2-6.


After 80 minutes Maccaleigh Richards headed against the crossbar from a Jordan Hayward corner and in the 81st minute Daniel Mallinson pulled off the save of the match from a Mitchell Thomson freekick.


83rd minute Dylan Campbell-Coker passed to Jordan Hayward in our half and Jordan's run took him the whole length of the pitch before he managed to cross for Blake Kassar to score at the near post to complete his 1st hat-trick for Brinklow: 2-7.


There was still time for us to get another goal in the 87th minute when Sam Wade passed to Ryan Jones who went on a good run and then picked out Blake Kassar in the box, who made no mistake to score his 4th goal of the game: 2-8.


Full-time: 2-8... (did the ref explode again, Edwin???)

In summing up this game:


Beforehand only the people in our changing-room gave us any chance of getting something out of this game.


We rode our luck at times but nobody cannot say we didn't deserve our win and the 3pts today. We played the kind of football that the players and everybody connected to Brinklow can be proud of.

Positives:


Daniel Mallinson being captain today, hopefully a proud moment for Mally and a day he will remember for a long time.


The performance and the attitude of the players today was excellent from start to finish.


We knew we were up against a very good Woodlands side and to score 8 good goals against them and away from home was a great achievement. When Woodlands got back into the game, we just bounced back and simply kept playing to our strengths, which pleased me.

Negatives:


Sorry lads but we still conceded another two goals.


Woodlands hit the woodwork twice and at times we were guilty of overplaying at the back and got caught in possession. On another day we could easily have been punished for those mistakes.


We have started over the last few games to move the ball around more quickly but I still think we can still improve in that area of our play.

I would like to wish all at Woodlands the very best for the remainder of their season and I know they will be in the mix come the end of the season.

As for us we now have 10 games to go, the season itself has gone by so quickly. We just need to continue playing to our strengths and improving on our weaknesses. We are slowly moving in the right direction and the team spirit is improving in the dressing-room week after week. We now have to get as many points as possible from the remaining games and see where that takes us...

On to the next game..."



EDWIN GREAVES, MANAGER, BRINKLOW FC...