Author Topic: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23  (Read 8073 times)

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JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #60 on: Sun 04 Sep 2022 20:22 »
Roughly 22 miles separate my overnight base in Stevenade from Bishops Stortford; there is even a slightly circuitous bus between the two, but being a devout "Wee Free" adherent, it does not operate on the Sabbath. It was therefore necessary to fork out £24.60 for a return rail ticket (and that is after the Senior Railcard discount has been applied.) Two routes were practicable, JCFC choosing the more Northerly option. The chaos at Cambridge station as we were moved from A to B to C and back again was reminiscent of the problems three men (not to mention a dog) had at Waterloo on the way to their boat. The ground is stated to be a 20 minute walk from Bishops Stortford station: JCFC wearily took over 40, but eventually made it to

Sunday 4th September 2022
FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying
Enfield   2   v   1   Rushden and Diamonds
Teddy Osborn (Kent FA); Terry Dawkins, Ka Ho Wong.

To this old chap, Mr Osborn's surname suggested a fine head of snow white hair, while his Christian name conjured up thoughts of the Beverley Sisters. As a new Level 3, he is far too you to have acquired the former, while lacking the physical attributes of the latter.

He was soon in business, a dodgy challenge by the Rushden number 7 earning him a yellow card after just one minute. It appeared again on 16 minutes, when the Rushden number 2 tried to pull back the Enfield winger. Mr Osborn waited a second, but the ball continued into touch, so the free-kick was awarded correctly done in every respect. Diamonds are not the force they were and went behind on 22 minutes, when the keeper rolled the ball out quickly to a defender, who promptly gave it to an attacker who equally promptly lobbed it over the keeper and into the net. The comedy of Rushden errors continued three minutes later when one of their strikers, presented with a gentle low cross that merely required tapping in, somehow contrived to trip himself up. They did create another decent chance on 33 minutes, but the home keeper did just about enough.

If Rushden had been lacklustre in the first half, they began the second with greater vigour. A handball by an Enfield player on Mr Osborn's blind side went unspotted and unfortunately led to Rushden's third yellow cards as the player was pulled back as he looked to take advantage of his offence. Mr Osborn was onto possible timewasting as early as the 47th minute, having a quick word with the Enfield keeper, and he continued to keep things moving thereafter. The Enfield keeper dropped the ball carelessly just after the hour grovelling at an attacker's feet until rescue came. Enfield then had a chance, but this time the Diamonds' keeper earned his corn. There was a yellow for Enfield for an attack-stopper and on 77 minutes the home keeper came out of the area to head clear, but missed, allowing Rushden to equalise from the narrowest of angles. Thus encouraged, Rushden pressed for a winner, creating two good chances, but in added time it was Enfield who got the winner they probably deserved.

Mr Osborn began by whistling loud, hard and long in a style that would go down well in Germany, but gradually moderated it. For a newcomer to Level 3 he looked pretty sound and avoided any serious problems, receiving little grief from the players. A job well done by the three officials.

The 20 minute walk took 32 minutes this time. Cambridge was avoided, the return being by way of Tottenham Hale and Finsbury Park. At least JCFC had spotted this time (albeit at the last minute) that the kick-off was at 13.00, so the trip had not been in vain.
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Microscopist

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #61 on: Mon 05 Sep 2022 15:14 »
Bishops Stortford station is akin to Effingham Junction in my memory after I got stuck there one Friday afternoon on the way from Stansted to meet with a woman at the Min of Ag & Fish. 

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #62 on: Thu 08 Sep 2022 14:47 »
Matlock Tn 3 Stafford Rangers 1
Att:565
Referee: Matt Tyers
Difficulty 3/5
Match 3/5

I've said enough about the setting in the past.  Hills and Dales, tick. Castle on the hill, tick. It really is one of the very best settings for NPL football.

Not an easy game, and refereed very well by Mr Tyers, his nonchalant and laid back approach finding favour with everyone, though I did like him picking up on a perceived head injury, the player miraculously recovering once he knew a goal had been scored!

Mr Mason ( Causeway Lane side) was low key, the Referee and Assistant working as one, and Ms Ball equally so, though that she wasn't wearing the FA badge was noticeable. Perhaps she doesn't need to? Idk.

As good a game as Mr Tyers had (and I've struggling to write up better) I was taken back to Dave Jones' 2002 comment about Roger Furnandiz and old tug boats, but hey, we can't all be whippets, and Mr Tyers wouldn't become a better referee just because he galloped around!

A 9/10 from me.  And I've not even been on the sherry!
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JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #63 on: Tue 13 Sep 2022 12:31 »
In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to miss Only Connect and University Challenge to attend

Monday 12th September 2022
FA Trophy 1st Round Qualifying
Brighouse Town   0   v   2   Worksop Town
Sam Wright (Sheffield); Gary Hubbard, Alfred Finch-Critchley.

After a minute's silence, during which not a sound was heard, Worksop set to with a will and the home keeper was in difficulties almost immediately, though he just managed to get a hand to the ball to touch it to relative safety.  A cross and powerful header gave the visitors the lead on 6 minutes, to nobody's great surprise. There was a measure of surprise on 19 minutes: The home keeper caught the ball, ran forward to launch a (rare) attack, but merely succeeded in kicking the ball against the back of a retreating forward. To those watching from the stand, the award of a free-kick seemed remarkably generous, with the resulting yellow card for the attacker seeming harsh. Perhaps Mr Wright had seen something that we had missed - or maybe, just maybe, he had been caught off guard and had jumped to conclusions. There was no question about Worksop's next yellow card, for a late tackle. The visitors continued to dominate, but Brighouse steadied the ship and made it to half-time only one behind - and were probably relieved to do so.

When a visiting attacker was clipped as he ran into the box on 57 minutes, they made no mistake from the penalty spot. The game was as good as over: Brighouse tried hard, but were never able to get the ball under control and desperate hoofed clearances soon saw Worksop restore the pressure, without themselves playing a great deal of constructive football. They did pick up a third yellow as the game subsided to its finish. Worksop are a big strong side, with some experienced players and will trouble several sides this season; Brighouse, sadly, were as so often, outmuscled.

There was not a lot in the game to trouble Mr Wright. He looks a little less elegant than some of his contemporaries, but got around the pitch well enough. His voice is strong, his patter routine, his decisions correct for the most part ande his maner earnest. He did raisw a bleak smile when my colleague invited him to come into the stand and book the Worksop supporters, who seemed to be of the opinion, loudly expressed, that he hadn't got anything right all night. A decent refereeing performance, if not quite top-drawer perhaps. Mr Hubbard was safe on the far side; Mr Finch-Critchley, whose name suggested a lesser-known minister in Stanley Baldwin's government, had to endure the Worksop fans' comments from behind him, but emerged reasonably unscathed.
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JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #64 on: Wed 14 Sep 2022 11:44 »
Further perusal of the Brighouse Town programmw reveals that AR2 seems to prefer the name Alfie Finch-Critchley, which is possibly more in keeping with his youthful appearance, suggesting, as it does, one of Bertie Wooster's fellow members of the Drones Club. He might even share Gussie Fink-Nottle's enthusiasm for newts.

I had hoped to see him in the middle at Silsden the following day, but current restricted timetables make that too risky...
« Last Edit: Wed 14 Sep 2022 12:52 by JCFC »

JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #65 on: Wed 14 Sep 2022 12:49 »
...instead it was a trip to

Tuesday 13th September 2022
NCEFL Premier Division
Golcar United   0   v   3   Maltby Main
Brandon Blackham (West Riding FA); Kerion Moore, Jermaine Isherwood.

The first business of the evening was to call at the Junction Chippy, to purchase a fish and a long teacake, separately wrapped. Sadly when a sloping seat was taken at the nearby bus stop, in order to assemble a fish butty, the teacake bit the dust. Never mind, the fish was excellent, cooked to order. (Had I settled for burger and chips at the ground, it would have cost just a bargain £3, compared with the £8 at one ground visited last weekend.)

On entering the ground, there was a pleasant greeting from Ian Cox, there, together with Brian Gould, on a ground-grading inspection. Perhaps there could be a new post of shirt-grading, as under lights Golcar's green and black was hard to distinguish at distance from the navy and blue of the visitors, with Mr Blackham's black disappearing into the mix.

With a bus from the bottom of the Avenue at 21.38, a prompt start is vital, but there was a lack of urgency on the part of the officials and the home side, especially with the knowledge that there would be a minute's silence and the start was delayed by three minutes. Any thoughts the home side might have had that they were in for an easy evening against bottom side Maltby, were soon dispelled when the visitors went ahead on 6 minutes and added a second on 12. Mr Blackham was not inclined to award free-kicks every time players ended up on the ground, though there appeared to be one, or maybe two little incidents where a yellow card was shown - AR1 had his pen poised, anyway. On 38 minutes the Maltby keeper caught the ball on the edge of his area, with vociferous shouts from spectators that he was outside, but Mr Isherwood gave no signal and play continued. The home boss was not happy, while one gentleman, at the opposite end of the field, must have been blessed with superhero vision, shouting "I could see that from here." When next play was stopped, there was a long lecture for a Golcar player.

Golcar had looked capable of a come-back towards the end of the first half, but their hopes disappeared just three minutes after the restart. Their number 8 made a ludicrous challenge two minutes later and Mr Blackham, perhaps charitably, showed him a second yellow and there were no arguments about that. There was a yellow for Maltby on the hour, and to their credit, Golcar's ten men fought hard and came close towards the end, but to no avail.

With viewing difficulties it was hard to say what, if anything, Mr Blackham did wrong, but equally so what he did particularly well, though there were no recriminations at the end. Two minutes more had been lost at half-time, so one thing he did do well was to allow six minutes added time - AR1's running up and down the line at substitutions having been more of a trundle - thereby decreasing the length of the wait for the alternative 22.10 bus. The connection at Huddersfield was made comfortably, but after just two stops, the new bus lost power and we had to wait for a replacement to be sent out. Better luck tonight, let's hope.
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JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #66 on: Thu 15 Sep 2022 11:45 »
There were no transport difficulties involved in the visit to

Wednesday 14th September 2022
NCEFL Premier Division
Albion Sports   2  v   0   Eccleshill United
Lee Hodgkinson (RAF FA); Louie Parker, George Paterson.

The League's website is usually very reliable, so it must be assumed that the officials were as listed. Clearly, though, neither assistant was the ... er...Mature George Paterson remembered from seasons past. I recall once remarking that there must be a younger AR of that name, but was assured that he was simply wearing well.

The minute's silence was observed quietly, but unlike the two previous ones, very many people remained seated.

Either of the two strips on display would have been most welcome at the previous night's fixture at Golcar:  Albion in their usual pale lemon shirts, while Eccleshill, for whom a win would take them to the top of the table, sported a change strip with a bright candy pink shirt.

On just 4 minutes a defender made a typical Albion challenge - never mind the ball, just clatter ythe opponent's legs - and seemed surprised to be summoned to receive a yellow car. If so, he was in a minority of one, even his team-mates telling him just to take his medicine. Things proceeded quietly thereafter, the main moment of excitement coming when Eccleshill broke and netted on 24 minutes, but were correctly denied by AR1's flag. In the latter stages of the half there was a lecture for an Albion player and his captain, presumably for dissent, followed a minute later by one for the visitors, minus captain (or maybe he was the captain.) A minute into added time Albion took the lead  Play continued and the ball went out for a throw. Mr Hodgkinson knew how to annoy JCFC - wait for the ball to be retrieved, wait for the player to be ready to take it, encourage with a "Let's go" and blow his whistle the moment the ball left the thrower's hands.

Six minutes into the second half there was a curious tangle between two players on the edge of the Eccleshill area, with the defender apparently emerging with the ball, but it broke instead to a lone attacker, who easily scored his side's second. Things continued quietly thereafter and JCFC was thinking that Mr Hodgkinson was looking one of the more convincing Level 4s, when, on 83 minutes, Eccleshill thought they had scored. Mr Hodgkinson initially seemed minded to award the goal, but the home side protested (led by the noisy guy in the centre circle.) The referee them ran over to AR2, who didn't appear to have flagged, though JCFC might simply have missed it. After a conversation, Mr Hodgkinson returned to disallow the goal. It may well have been the right decision - who knows? - but it was not arrived at in the most convincing manner. There was quite a delay, during which Mr Hodgkinson did a decent job of dealing with Eccleshill protests, taking the captain to one side and clearing others away, both from himself and the assistant (though the latter continued to receive unsolicited advice from a distance) and managed to sell his decision at length to the captain. At the final whistle there were no obvious complaints from the players, but Mr Hodgkinson led his team of the pitch with the players still out there, before the managers could reach him.

That little incident perhaps took some of the gloss off an otherwise good evening's work, but generally Mr Hodgkinson's manner and triage impressed. In a quiet ground, what did not impress was the language of the two sides, which repeatedly carried into the stands. I do wish they knew better - but then I am an old puritan.
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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #67 on: Thu 15 Sep 2022 14:32 »
Either of the two strips on display would have been most welcome at the previous night's fixture at Golcar:  Albion in their usual pale lemon shirts, while Eccleshill, for whom a win would take them to the top of the table, sported a change strip with a bright candy pink shirt.

y****w & pink... *shudder*
HajrŠ LilŠk. Csak a Kispest. HajrŠ Magyarok! HajrŠ jŠtťkvezetői csapat! Soha ne add fel

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #68 on: Thu 15 Sep 2022 16:57 »
Alfie Finch-Critchley indeed sounds as if he would feel at home among the Drones but to me the name suggests a designer of ladies' high couture, the sort of thing where the less material is used the more per square inch it costs, exhibiting his creations on the catwalk at a fashion show in Milan.

Microscopist

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #69 on: Fri 16 Sep 2022 08:30 »
Alfie Finch-Critchley indeed sounds as if he would feel at home among the Drones but to me the name suggests a designer of ladies' high couture, the sort of thing where the less material is used the more per square inch it costs, exhibiting his creations on the catwalk at a fashion show in Milan.
Not something that would appeal to the "puritan" then?

JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #70 on: Sun 18 Sep 2022 14:59 »
With rail travel not recommended during the period of lying in state, JCFC had only one easily accessible tie to watch, but fortunately it provided a chance to see a recently promoted referee last seen in March 2015, when she was faced with two stroppy teams, but just about kept on top of things, performing better than either team. There proved to be fewer problems at

Saturday 17th September 2022
FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying
Liversedge   1   v   1   Chorley
Helen Conley; Dwayne Chappell, Waqar Ahmad.

Her first problem (if we discount having to talk to a boring old idiot during her pre-match refreshments) was getting the match started. It was one minute to three before the teams were led down the steps onto the pitch for the handshakes and net checks. There followed the minute's silence, all standing, but without removal of headgear. Silence this time was relative, as an afternoon match saw the presence of numbers of toddlers, who could not be expected to understand. Next came the toss and it was almost five minutes late that the match finally got under way, though this did not present a problem at this time of day.

Chorley made the early running, a fierce shot being blocked to provide the keeper with an easy catch and another effort being well turned for a corner. Liversedge gradually settled into the game, coming close after a defender miscued, and a minute later a low pass inside left a choice of two attackers to tap the ball in, duly accomplished, only for the offside flag to be raised. Midway through the half, a fierce Chorley shot was deflected over for a corner, from which a defender managed to clear off the line. On 37 minutes a late and unnecessary challenge brought a yellow card for the Chorley number 13, a late and equally unnecessary hoof of the ball by one of his colleagues, passing without any obvious rebuke. Just before half-time Chorley took a quick throw and caught the home side out, to take the lead. They had had the better of the half, though their twitter description of "dominant" seemed a slight exaggeration.

Ten minutes after the restart, another Chorley player kicked the ball 50 yards away, well after his colleague had been penalised - perhaps this is accepted at higher levels, as nothing was said. Just before the hour, Sedge hit the woodwork and the Chorley keeper received a yellow card for yapping or for time-wasting, an  excellent early intervention, if the latter. There was a very minor contretemps after a free-kick to Chorley followed shortly afterwards by a yellow for a Sedge player.  There were close things at either end, before Sedge were awarded a free-kick just outside the Chorley penalty area, which produced an unstoppable shot in off the opposite top corner. In added time there was a vigorous flag from Mr Chappell as a couple of players took a dislike to each other,followed by the inevitable gathering of the clans. When things subsided (quickly)  Miss Conley had a chat with her assistant, showed a yellow card to a Sedge player, having a little difficulty in locating the relevant Chorley man to receive the same treatment. All seemed sweetness and light at the end, however, as the tie goes to a replay on Tuesday, as, hopefully, will JCFC - but not the same one.

Throughout the game an elderly Liversedge supporter with a very, VERY loud voice had regularly been making his views known, largely concerning the shortcomings of his own side. with particular reference to the unfortunate striker, Walshaw. Just a couple of times Chorley players were advised that there was nothing wrong with them, while it was only very late on that Miss Conley was treated to "What are you doing, woman?"

In fact, Miss Conley had done a pretty good job. She is tall, but still very willowy, which perhaps deprives her of a degree of physical presence. A regular diet of steak pudding and chips could remedy this easily enough, though it would probably not do much for her fitness. Nevertheless, she controlled matters well and there were no complaints at the end (except perhaps gentle ones from JCFC, who disliked the Chorley habit of kicking the ball away!)
« Last Edit: Sun 18 Sep 2022 15:53 by JCFC »

cwh

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #71 on: Sun 18 Sep 2022 16:00 »
With rail travel not recommended during the period of lying in state, JCFC had only one easily accessible tie to watch, but fortunately it provided a chance to see a recently promoted referee last seen in March 2015, when she was faced with two stroppy teams, but just about kept on top of things, performing better than either team. There proved to be fewer problems at

Saturday 17th September 2022
FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying
Liversedge   1   v   1   Chorley
Helen Conley; Dwayne Chappell, Waqar Ahmad.

Her first problem (if we discount having to talk to a boring old idiot during her pre-match refreshments) was getting the match started. It was one minute to three before the teams were led down the steps onto the pitch for the handshakes and net checks. There followed the minute's silence, all standing, but without removal of headgear. Silence this time was relative, as an afternoon match saw the presence of numbers of toddlers, who could not be expected to understand. Next came the toss and it was almost five minutes late that the match finally got under way, though this did not present a problem at this time of day.

Chorley made the early running, a fierce shot being blocked to provide the keeper with an easy catch and another effort being well turned for a corner. Liversedge gradually settled into the game, coming close after a defender miscued, and a minute later a low pass inside left a choice of two attackers to tap the ball in, duly accomplished, only for the offside flag to be raised. Midway through the half, a fierce Chorley shot was deflected over for a corner, from which a defender managed to clear off the line. On 37 minutes a late and unnecessary challenge brought a yellow card for the Chorley number 13, a late and equally unnecessary hoof of the ball by one of his colleagues, passing without any obvious rebuke. Just before half-time Chorley took a quick throw and caught the home side out, to take the lead. They had had the better of the half, though their twitter description of "dominant" seemed a slight exaggeration.

Ten minutes after the restart, another Chorley player kicked the ball 50 yards away, well after his colleague had been penalised - perhaps this is accepted at higher levels, as nothing was said. Just before the hour, Sedge hit the woodwork and the Chorley keeper received a yellow card for yapping or for time-wasting, an  excellent early intervention, if the latter. There was a very minor contretemps after a free-kick to Chorley followed shortly afterwards by a yellow for a Sedge player.  There were close things at either end, before Sedge were awarded a free-kick just outside the Chorley penalty area, which produced an unstoppable shot in off the opposite top corner. In added time there was a vigorous flag from Mr Chappell as a couple of players took a dislike to each other,followed by the inevitable gathering of the clans. When things subsided (quickly)  Miss Conley had a chat with her assistant, showed a yellow card to a Sedge player, having a little difficulty in locating the relevant Chorley man to receive the same treatment. All seemed sweetness and light at the end, however, as the tie goes to a replay on Tuesday, as, hopefully, will JCFC - but not the same one.

Throughout the game an elderly Liversedge supporter with a very, VERY loud voice had regularly been making his views known, largely concerning the shortcomings of his own side. with particular reference to the unfortunate striker, Walshaw. Just a couple of times Chorley players were advised that there was nothing wrong with them, while it was only very late on that Miss Conley was treated to "What are you doing, woman?"

In fact, Miss Conley had done a pretty good job. She is tall, but still very willowy, which perhaps deprives her of a degree of physical presence. A regular diet of steak pudding and chips could remedy this easily enough, though it would probably not do much for her fitness. Nevertheless, she controlled matters well and there were no complaints at the end (except perhaps gentle ones from JCFC, who disliked the Chorley habit of kicking the ball away!)
Good to hear a good revue of Ms Conley  - have seen her several times in WSL and always looked very competent - Steak pudding and chips sounds good!!!!!
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JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #72 on: Sun 18 Sep 2022 16:12 »
Steak pudding and chips sounds good!!!!!
It does indeed! If only I weren't having salmon, baby potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower - a very poor substitute!
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JCFC

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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #73 on: Wed 21 Sep 2022 22:25 »
When the appointments were made, the referee was not one of JCFC's hoped for top three, but the chance for a second view was no disappointment. The same can not be said of the unavaikability of onions for the cheeseburgers at

Tuesday 20th September 2022
FA Cup 2nd Round Qualifying Replay
Farsley Celtic   0   v   3   Fylde
Jamie O'Connor (Chesterfield); Umar Ahmed, Connor Everard.

Fylde, with their number 3, Cranston, (probably unrelated to the tea-room proprietrix) posing a threat on the left, were possibly the more dangerous-looking, but Farsley had their moments too, in a fairly even first half. The visiting number 8 was cautioned on 32 minutes for an attack-stopper and within a minute play had switched to the other end, where Fylde hooked a great chance over the bar. Just before the break a scramble in the Fylde goalmouth saw unsuccessful claims for a penalty, though rather more from spectators than players.

Fylde came out in determined fashion and went ahead after just two minutes, through a chip over the keeper. They continued to press and just after the hour a run into the area resulted in a penalty, a yellow card for the Farsley man and Fylde's second goal. For once, perhaps, Mr O'Connor hadn't got the ideal viewing angle, but JCFC would be more inclined to back him than the fans who loudly berated his every move for the rest of the match. The third Fylde goal came on 72 minutes, and though each side had further near things, a reasonably entertaining match drew to a peaceful conclusion.

As at Loughborough, Mr O'Connor earned Brownie points for long sleeves, and this time retained them for the second half. He impresses with his anticipation that usually finds him where he needs to be without the need for any hard running. He has a strong voice and uses it well and his triage appeared reasonable to JCFC - if not to Farsley supporters. he does, however, have one slightly irritating habit - standing at the point of an offence until the ball is placed, then moving players back,before making an unhurried way into position. He is very tall, a full head above each assistant,  and was always in control, but something about his style possibly contributed to the repeated cries of the loudest fan to "Get a grip, Ref." A good evening's shift, nevertheless.
« Last Edit: Wed 21 Sep 2022 22:29 by JCFC »
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Re: Pyramid Patrol 2022/23
« Reply #74 on: Sun 25 Sep 2022 22:40 »
With a favourite referee in charge at Brighouse, it was a wrench to set off early for

Episode 3
Saturday 24th September 2022
FA Vase 2nd Round Qualifying
Gedling Miners Welfare   1   v   1   Belper United
Alexander Cotterill (Nottinghamshire); Liam Vayro?, ?

The three trains (one Grand Central, two Northern) were punctual, if eventually overcrowded, and Nottingham was reached early. The walk through the centre led to the appropriate bus stop and a number 47 was duly caught. Google maps listed the required stop as Plains Road, the bus had other ideas, so JCFC enjoyed an extended ride to Lambley, and back to Plains Road, alighting at the opposite end and walking back to the ground - another no-onions zone.

The gentleman who sold me a raffle ticket at the gate had no programmes, claiming that they were online. Sure enough, there was the programme - for last Tuesday's match, so the mystery of the missing assistant was not solved. While JCFC was fiddling with this search, the 3 officials had made their way to the far corner for a somewhat static-looking warm-up. Mr Cotterill was the tallest of the trio, with tidy light brown hair and an otherwise unremarkable appearance. JCFC's distorting lens was doubtless working overtime, as AR1 was vaguely reminiscent of Greg Rusedski, with a possible nod to Herman Munster. His plunging neckline was not the most appealing of looks. AR2 was the smallest and his age was hard to assess: from afar he looked quite old, as he came closer the sense was that he was a fresh-faced youngster with very blond hair.

Before the toss the assistants checked the nets at the opposite ends to those at which they were to function, meaning that AR1, not a fluent mover, had the long run to the far end and back. Gedling penned the visitors in their own half from the off, looking dangerous. After some 5 minutes the referee trotted over to the Gedling box and a sub was sent, apparently to replace the corner flag; given that it was on the referee's diagonal and the play had all been at that end, JCFC could think of many officials who might have done it themselves. The next few minutes produced two or three clumsy challenges, which earned free-kicks but nothing more. Mr Cotterill's judgement proved correct, however as things calmed down. Belper had a better spell and play became more even. On 32 minutes a Gedling forward went down as he ran into the box at the far end to the left and on the opposite side, leaving JCFC none the wiser, but a very loud voice belonging to a young man to my right was in no doubt that it should have been a penalty - a view which he continued to air for the rest of the half. Belper had a decent shot turned for a corner and on 39 minutes they had the ball in the net, but an offside had been spotted.

The same procedure was followed after the break, with AR1 making the long run to his opposite end and back. Very odd. Gedling went ahead from the spot after just three minutes. In the first half Gedling had made a substitution, which seemed to happen very quickly. On 63 minutes AR1  flagged correctly for offside, duly given. Mr Cotterill indicated a substitution, but AR1 stood his ground. Eventually he made a short move towards halfway, but by now the substitute was taking his place on the pitch, so went no further. There was a short pause, then Mr Cotterill took stock of what had happened, called the assistant to halfway for a chat, during which the assistant made the substitution signal, notes were taken, the sub recalled, shown a yellow card and allowed on officially. After a couple of minutes of play, Mr Cotterill raced over and the yellow card was shown to someone in the Belper technical area. The Belper right back received a yellow on 73 minutes, but the visitors equalised with ten minutes to go. When Gedling won a free-kick on 86 minutes, the Belper number 9?, not involved in the tackle, gratuitously kicked the ball a long way away. The number 8(that distorting lens again!) was called for a lecture, but goodness knows why no yellow was shown. There was a chance missed at either end before the final whistle.

And so for the comedy act - or penalties as it is usually known. Gedling went first and the first five kicks were all scored, giving the home side a 3-2 lead. Belper failed with their third, but a feeble effort from Gedling did not press home their advantage. Thus reprieved, Belper struck their fourth penalty hard - against the post. With their fifth shot, therefore, Gedling could win the tie, but could not find the target, and Belper drew level. Gedling put penalty number 6 into orbit, but their keeper rescued them by saving Belper's next effort The Belper keeper saved the next shot, but his mate hit the post. Having missed four in a row, Gedling scored with their eighth, Belper drawing level. Gedling's ninth was another feeble effort, described by the aforementioned young man as a pass-back, but Belper fired theirs way over the bar. Gedling's tenth attempt followed a  similarly wayward trajectory, but Belper's keeper took their tenth, scoring emphatically to seal the tie 5-4.

The match as a whole had not been unduly exciting - little better than the previous evening's Italy v England game - but the penalty shoot-out was a delight. Mr Cotterill had done a reasonably good job, with perhaps just a slight suspicion of sometimes muddling through. Far better at refereeing than many players were at taking penalties.

The drawback of the extended shoot-out was that the bus back to the city sailed past while it was still in progress, but the trains (two Northern and one Cross-Country) again ran to time, so JCFC was home just after 9pm.
« Last Edit: Mon 26 Sep 2022 10:30 by JCFC »
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