Monday, 17 April 2017

Pilgrimage in vain

A large number of Banbury supporters came up the M40 this afternoon to see their team play at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, boosting the crowd to over 800, but the Pilgrims went down 1-0.

In the first phase of the game attempts from Brakes were either off target or did not trouble the keeper. However, one shot come down off the crossbar and could well have gone in. Then, following a free kick, Jamie Hood found the back of the net for Leamington. He had an excellent game in defence as well.

A second goal eluded the Brakes, although they kept pressing. Banbury won two corners at the end of the game and could have scored from the second one.

At the end of the game the visiting support chanted 'You're going nowhere, we'll see you next year.' We shall see.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Well done Brakes!

Leamington went through to the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup, beating a strong Walsall side 2-1 at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium tonight. It was an excellent match with some good flowing football from both sides.

Brakes went down 0-1 in the first half with Tony Breeden stranded outside his goal. That remained the score with five minutes to go, although Brakes had been fighting hard, having seen the ball come off the woodwork and cleared off the line. Then we equalised through Obeng who had been tormenting the Saddlers throughout the game and Jack Edwards made it 2-1 in the dying minutes.

Attendance 268 plus two dogs.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The old five

Leamington completed a clinical 5-0 demolition of Dunstable Town at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium this afternoon. Unfortunately, Chippenham beat Merthyr 3-1 to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

An early stinging shot from the visitors tested Tony Breeden who made a good save at the expense of a corner. The antics of young visiting keeper Jack Smith drew shouts of 'Tony Breeden' from the crowd as he played outside of his area.

Courtney Baker-Richardson opened the scoring with a shot that looked as it might have been a cross, but it found the back of the net. Brakes were then awarded a penalty calmly dispatched by Rob Thompson-Brown. An own goal by hapless Dunstable No. 3 Gedeon Okito then made it 3-0 before the break.

An error by the keeper allowed Jack Edwards to make it 4-0 into an empty net. A shot from distance by Richard Taundry from distance that scythed along the ground then made it 5-0.

Jamie Hood put in some excellent defensive work and new signing Kurtis Revan put in some excellent passes when he came on as a substitute.

When Dunstable's Harry Bean had to go off after a coughing fit his replacement did not look at all keen to come on. Dunstable had only brought three substitutes and it was joked that it was the coach driver.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Job done

Leamington consolidated their hold on second place in the Southern Premier League with a workmanlike 2-0 victory over St. Neots Town at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium this afternoon. Merthyr Tydfil are three points behind the Brakes and have played two more games. Chippenham maintained their seven point lead with a 1-0 win.

Leamington dominated the opening phase of the first half and created a number of chances, but they were all off target, although the strong wind didn't help. Obeng was particularly wasteful when one on one with the Tango keeper, putting the ball well wide. The visitors came into the game more towards the end of the half and there were fears of them taking the lead.

Nerves were settled early in the second half when a good cross from Connnor Gudger allowed Jack Edwards to head the ball into the net. A great strike from distance by Gregory provided the second goal.

Brakes remained in control of the game, but did not come that close to scoring a third. Credit to the referee for booking Fortnam-Tomlinson for simulation.

Attendance was 582 and one dog.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Old Five

Some fluent and fluid play by Leamington saw them defeat Dorchester Town 5-0 at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium this afternoon. Unfortunately, results elsewhere mean that they stay in 4th place.

Edwards headed down for Obeng to open the scoring. Powell then made it 2-0 from close range after some good build up play. Obeng scraped the upright and if it hadn't been for a couple of good saves by the Dorchester keeper, Brakes could have been further ahead at half time.

On 57 minutes a long run from Courtney Baker-Richardson into the box saw him put a low shot into the corner of the goal to make it 3-0. Mace headed in from a corner to make it 4-0. Thompson-Brown then made it five with a long low shot.

On a raw afternoon, Brakes fans were sent home with a warm feeling inside them. Attendance 405 plus two dogs.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Slough of Despond

Leamington went down 0-6 at home to Slough Town this afternoon and were toppled off top position in the Southern Premier by Chippenham, although they are only two points ahead and the Brakes have a game in hand.

This was my first live game since my knee operation. It has been evident that form has been slipping a bit, but this was a disaster. Slough were given too much space for their first goal which was a curling effort from 20 yards. About five defenders were then unable to stop them scoring their second.

Rowe then got himself sent off and Slough scored their third with a free header from a free kick.

I'm not sure what I would do if I was the manager and I was 0-3 down at half time. What I wouldn't do is get another player sent off which is what happened to Jack Edwards when he got a second yellow for grabbing an opposition player by the throat.

There were four dogs present, which was a record canine attendance in a crowd of 655.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

When a town has more than one non-league club

It's quite unusual for a town to have more than one non-league club, but it does happen: Eastbourne currently has three.

Both of the last programme articles I wrote for Leamington FC concerned towns which at one time had more than one non-league club. First, St. Ives before the First World War: Mr Doyle said that they had lost several of their players, who had joined the Amateur Football Association club in the town. He thought that the principal reason was that the players did not like the ground that was hired. Mr Corbett said that he was the first secretary of the opposition club, and he should be sorry to see the Town Club to go under. He moved, “That this meeting send a deputation to the Arthurian Club to suggest a compromise, viz., that they should run a junior team and the Town Club the senior team.”’ The proposal was rejected by the meeting.

‘Mr. Golding said it was impossible for the two clubs to be run in the way that was suggested if the Arthurians still kept up the A.F.A. as members could not play for both. Mr Corbett thought the Arthurians would drop out of the A.F.A., and join the Hunts F.A. The Mayor thought that they ought to form their own club first, and then if they thought it wise this club could go to the other club and see if the compromise could be made. A show of hands was taken of those playing members present, and it was found that there were about 14.’

Chippenham

Chippenham was in the unusual position of having two senior non-league clubs for two periods in the 20th century. Chippenham Town and Chippenham United both existed in the early years of the century and then Chippenham United was revived after the Second World War. Chippenham United joined the Western League Division Two for the 1948-49 season, winning their division at their first attempt and gaining promotion to Division One. The following season, they finished above Chippenham Town for what was to be the only time in the club’s history. United’s best league finish was in 1950-51, when they finished fourth with Town in third position. The following seasons were less successful, and they only escaped relegation in 1955-56 due to the expansion of Division One. However, the club was relegated in 1957-58 after finishing bottom of the table. The club dropped out of the Western League at the end of the 1959-60 season and disbanded a couple of years later.

When the two clubs were at the height of their success, letters to the local paper called on them to merge so that the town might aspire to Southern League football, but to no avail. United were well supported, taking 2,000 fans to one away match in 1950. They also had professional players, some with Football League experience, no less than twelve in 1949. However, this does seem to have stretched them financially, as an urgent appeal was made in 1953 over the loudspeakers at the game and in the local press for additional financial support.

The presence of their rivals also seems to have put financial pressures on Chippenham Town. A loss of £711 was reported at their annual general meeting in 1951. This amounts to the substantial sum of £20,145 at today’s prices. This was in spite of a donation of £1,000 from the Supporters’ Club and the £1,000 transfer of a player to Plymouth Argyle. Taken together, these sums would amount to around £56,000 at today’s prices, so the underlying loss was £76,000. Admission fees and share of gates brought in £3,184, but this was exceeded by the £3,232 spent on wages for players. (£91,500 at today’s prices). In addition the player-manager was on £905 a year (£25,600 today) and £37 was spent on decorating his house which appears to have been provided rent free.