Blog Archives

Non League Podcast Episode 57 Out Now

The newest podcast is now available for download. On it Kristan, Rob and myself talk (a lot) about the ludicrous decision not to broadcast any FA Cup third round games on Saturday, as well as celebrating the efforts of the five remaining non league clubs.

Also up for discussion:

  • Strange goings-on at Salford City
  • Norton United back home – for now
  • Team(s) and Player of the Week
  • Hattrick Watch (thanks to Libby for the research)
  • And Finally – Worst Kit Clash Ever?

To listen to the podcast or download the mp3, visit the show’s website, where you can also find all the previous episodes. Alternatively, you can get the show via iTunes.

Don’t forget to get in touch. Don’t be shy! Comments, criticisms and suggestions are all welcomed and encouraged. Just fill in the form on the Contact Us section of the site, or email me: undertheleague@gmail.com.

If you would like to join us on the show, or there is somebody you would like us to try and get on for a chat, let us know via the methods above. And please, tell your friends about us if they have even a passing interest in our beautiful non league game, and consider subscribing to and reviewing us on iTunes.

Thanks!

Cup Defeat and League Draw for Yeltz

Match reports from the two most recent Halesowen Town games, against Guiseley in the FA Cup, and Ilkeston in the Northern Premier League. Read the rest of this entry

FA Cup Fourth Round Draw – Not Great for NL Clubs

Just two Conference Premier clubs remain in this season’s FA Cup as we enter the fourth round stage, and by the time the ties get played, even they might not be left in the tournament.

Both Kidderminster Harriers and Macclesfield Town got excellent home draws to take their third round ties to replays, but in truth the draw for the fourth round hasn’t exactly given them reason to dream. In fairness to Kiddie, a potential trip to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light awaits should they be able to see off Peterborough at London Road after a goalless draw at Aggborough. While it is always better for the smaller side to get drawn away at a bigger club due to the 50-50 split in gate receipts, I’m sure Wearside probably wasn’t too high on the Harriers’ list of dream destinations.

Can Macc repeat Steve King's feat last season and reach the fourth round?

Can Macc repeat Steve King’s feat last season and reach the fourth round?

Meanwhile, Macclesfield have a potentially winnable game if they can somehow find a way past Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in their third round replay. Steve Williams’ well taken goal late on in the first match rescued a 1-1 draw for the cash strapped Silkmen. Manager John Askey even admitted to not going all out for the win towards the end of the game, stating that the club were desperate for the potential earnings from a replay. Assistant manager Efe Sodje has since said that the money generated will only keep the club going for the next couple of months. A trip to Rochdale in the fourth round would seem to vindicate the manager’s decision. A winnable tie? Absolutely, but would have been near the bottom of their wishlist in terms of paydays.

Here’s hoping that one or both of our nonleague sides can get through not only their replays, but also the fourth round too. It would be a shame for our presence in the cup to end with a whimper.

West Midlands Non-League in the FA Cup: Do the three remaining non-league sides stand a chance?

With Stourbridge, Tamworth and Kidderminster all still standing in the FA cup, all three sides face possible league opposition, so do they all have a chance of a possible giant killing?

Kidderminster - Their first round tie was a comfortable 4-1 over Conference South’s ‘Original Giant Killers’ Sutton United, but it looked like they might have been on their way out, as Sutton United took the lead 10 minutes in thanks to Charlie Clough. However, goals from Amari Morgan-Smith, Callum Gittings, Joe Lolley and Anthony Malburn sealed the win for Kiddie and put them into the 2nd round draw. Now, though, they have an incredibly tough tie against League rivals Braintree Town or the team that went up instead of them last season, League Two’s Newport County.  The game will be played at Aggborough, so if Newport County beat Braintree, then victory will be expected from Kiddie…

Stourbridge –  Stourbridge are the lowest-ranked side left in the competition and they made easy work of league rivals Biggleswade Town as they cruised to a 4-1 victory at the War Memorial Ground.  The Glassboys did take the lead thanks to Ryan Rowe, but the lead only lasted two minutes as Evan Key equalised for the Waders. However, it didn’t take long for Stourbridge to regain the lead as Rowe grabbed his second of the game three minutes later. Stourbridge guaranteed their place in the second round with two goals in the second half, as Will Richards and Luke Benbow got themselves onto the scoresheet. The Glassboys now have a tough away tie at League One outfits Stevenage and so with the spirit that Stourbridge have, there might be a surprise in store here…

Tamworth - Tamworth reach the second round for the third consecutive year as they beat League 2’s Cheltenham Town at the Lamb Ground. Tamworth scored the only goal of the game 20 minutes into the second half as Nick Chadwick scored the goal to put them into the hat for the second round. The Lambs got themselves another tie at home, this time against League One’s basement side Bristol City and with the strength and sheer power of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas up front for the Robins, this will be an incredibly tough affair for the Lambs, but anything is possible in the FA Cup.

So with the ties being announced, all three sides have tough opposition, and Stourbridge and Tamworth have a challenge with two of League One’s relegation flirters, while Kidderminster have, looking at the statistics, the easier tie out of the three, even though that cant really be said in a competitions with as many shocks as this.

An FA Cup Experience To Remember!

Guest blogger Alan Jessup-Peacock returns, writing about his beloved Concord Rangers’ cup tie at The Hive against Barnet. Read the rest of this entry

Beavers Progress With Emphatic Win

Despite falling behind, Hampton & Richmond Borough will take their place in Monday’s Fourth Qualifying Round draw after a thumping victory against Southern Premier League Arlesey Town. The result ensures that Borough will be just one win away from the First Round. Read the rest of this entry

Midweek News Roundup

There’s been plenty happening in nonleague football this week, so here’s a look at some of the stories that are making the headlines.

Harrogate Town Deducted Three Points

Conference North side Harrogate Town have been docked three points for fielding not one, but three ineligible players in a match against Oxford City. In what the club has described as “an unfortunate clerical error”, the trio – Shane Killock, Craig MacGillivray and Adam Bolder – had not been registered with the league despite being contracted to the club. All three played in the opening day victory at Oxford City, which they won 2-1. The club have also been fined £300 and the club secretary has resigned. The deduction sees Town drop one place to twelfth in the league table.

Hawkins Quits Badgers

Nick Hawkins has stepped down as manager of Northern Premier League Division One South club Eastwood Town after their 3-1 defeat at home to Loughborough Dynamo. Hawkins had, until last week, been part of a joint management team with Chris Shaw. However, Shaw departed last week to join Heanor Town, leaving Hawkins in sole charge. After two defeats, to Carlton and Loughborough, Hawkins followed his ex-colleague out of the Coronation Park exit, citing a lack of trust in those that run the club as his main reason for departing.

Caskey Joins Heed

Darren Caskey, the ex-Tottenham player, has joined Conference Premier Gateshead as Gary Mills’ assistant. Caskey was assistant to Kevin Wilson at Northern Premier side Ilkeston FC, but has jumped at the chance of moving up to nonleague’s top flight. Caskey was an important player for Ilkeston, helping the club win promotion in their first ever season after reforming, and he is sure to be missed at the New Manor Ground.

Cup Brawlers Kicked Out

Both Sleaford Town and Huntingdon Town have been removed from this season’s FA Cup and fined £150 for the mass brawl which occurred towards the end of their First Round Qualifying tie on September 14th. The tie descended into violence after the Huntingdon manager was alleged to have deliberately blocked the taking of a throw in. He was subsequently pushed by the player he blocked, and this sparked the disturbing scenes, said to involve all twenty two players and members of both management teams.

The tie was abandoned after 87 minutes with Sleaford leading 2-1, a score line which would have put them into the Second Qualifying Round for the first time. As a result of the FA’s decision, AFC Sudbury, who were awaiting one of the teams in the next round, receive a bye.

Footballer Sent Off For Tackle!

As the article title suggests, a footballer was recently sent off because of a tackle. Well, not a tackle so much as his tackle!

The incredible story occurred during AFC Croydon’s FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round match with Collier’s Wood on August 17th. Louis Blake, making his debut for AFC Croydon, came on as a substitute in the 66th minute. Some twenty minutes later, the referee noticed that the midfielder had disgracefully(!) breached FA rules regarding undershorts. If a player chooses to wear such a garment, regulations state that they must match the kit shorts as closely as possible. However, Blake was wearing black undershorts underneath his maroon kit.

So, the referee ordered him to leave the field and remove said offending garment, which Blake duly did, despite telling him that he had no spare pair of underwear. Upon his return to the field of play, Blake was instructed by the ref to prove that he had indeed taken them off. This he did, in the only way you can really when in such a situation – he flashed the ref! Blake pulled his waistband forward in order to show the official that he was now “going commando”, and was duly shown a red card!

Blake is quoted as saying “I was gobsmacked, shocked and angry. I pulled my shorts forward to show that I had removed the underwear and he sent me off! All I wanted to do was make a good impression on my debut, and now I’m going to miss three games.”

As I’m sure you will agree, unbelievable!

FC Clacton’s Day In The Spotlight

This Saturday sees the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup take place, and once again BT Sports’ cameras will be in position at the Rush Green Bowl to document the events of the day as they unfold.

Their first visit was just over a week ago, for our Extra Preliminary Round tie versus Essex Senior League Sporting Bengal United, a tie we successfully came through despite a very spirited effort from the visitors, who were very much a credit to themselves on the day.

FC ClactonIt was very much a surreal day from my standpoint, and I can only imagine how the players felt. The camera crew arrived early, interviewing the players on Clacton Pier and recording footage of them in various situations in and around the seafront area. Further interviews back at the ground followed, along with further footage being filmed as everybody connected with the club put the finishing touches to preparations for the game. BT found themselves an immediate star in our club secretary, Barry Leatherdale, (fondly known as Baz), who introduced the watching millions (well ok, maybe not quite millions!) to our club in a way that only he can, and then finally, and in some ways reassuringly, kick-off time arrived!

I say in some ways reassuringly because I haven’t felt so nervous for an FC Clacton match in years. The sudden media spotlight that had been thrust upon us was a godsend in many ways; a chance to put FC Clacton on the map. It would, however, have been for nought if we had come up short on the day.

An early goal was what was needed to settle the nerves and Aaron Condon duly obliged, putting us ahead as he slotted the ball home from close range after good work by player-manager Ray Turner. I must admit to feeling somewhat relaxed at this point. The omens when we score first in a game are generally pretty good, and I felt confident that this day would be no different.

All was going well until five minutes before the break, when a superb free-kick put the visitors level, and the teams went in at half-time with the score all-square.

And this is where the nerves really started to kick in. It became pretty obvious as the second half progressed that the next goal would effectively settle the contest. Clacton struggled in vain to break the visitors’ offside trap, as a somewhat trigger-happy linesman continually raised his flag every time we dared play the ball into the Bengal half, whilst at the other end debutant keeper Joe Fowler made a couple of massive saves to keep us in the game.

fa_cupAnd then it came. Just as we were all reluctantly preparing ourselves for a midweek replay back at Tower Hamlets, the deadlock was finally broken with just ten minutes remaining on the clock. An inswinging cross from Tom Austin bounced dangerously in no-man’s land in front of the keeper, allowing Turner to steal in and head the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The feeling was absolutely incredible, joy and relief in equal measure, a feeling that perhaps this day was infact destined to be ours.

But the best was still yet to come. Just a couple of minutes later, Jake Clowsley struck an unstoppable twenty yard effort into the top left hand corner to set the seal on an emotionally draining, but ultimately worthwhile and victorious, day for all of us connected with FC Clacton.

So this Saturday we welcome the BT cameras back to the Bowl for the visit of another Essex Senior League side, Hullbridge Sports, in the Preliminary Round. Despite a couple of poor league results since the victory over Bengal, I know the lads will be very much up for the game and I’m confident that if we apply ourselves properly on the day its one that we are capable of winning. But whatever happens, I’m sure it will be no match for what happened on Saturday 17th August 2013, the day the BT Sport cameras first came to town.

Is Steve King’s Dismissal One Of The Most Bizarre Sackings In Football?

It has to go down as one of the most bizarre managerial sackings of the season. With just 5 games to go of the Blue Square Premier season, Macclesfield Town FC have sacked boss Steve King following their 3-1 loss to Grimsby Town FC.

Steve King came in at Moss Lane in May 2012 following the departure of previous boss Brian Horton and the club falling out of the Football League. But despite not setting the league on fire, they have had a decent season and were topping the league at one point and even now they currently sit 8th in the table.

They are just twelve points behind 5th place Forest Green and could theoretically make the playoffs still, which makes this sacking even more bizarre. It would take some major luck for them to make it, but as we know in football stranger things have happened.

As Non-league Paper editor Sam Elliot pointed out on twitter that ‘he (Steve King) may not have been everybody’s cup of tea, but he was building a squad for the new season to have a go at promotion to the Football League.’

That squad included Matthew Barnes-Homer, Lance Cronin and John-Paul Kissock. Three highly profiled names that will be key to any club in the BSP.

Matthew Barnes-Homer scored the goals to beat Cardiff City 2-1 in the FA Cup as they reached the 4th round of the competition for the first time in their history (which was under King) and currently sits among the leading scorers of the league with 18 but Matthew is unfortunately ruled out for the rest of the season.

Lance is an established goalkeeper in the Conference Premier having played nearly 200 games at Ebbsfleet United before moving onto league sides Gillingham and Bristol Rovers before signing for the Moss Rose club. Lance is a key figure at the club.

While JP Kissock is the playmaker of the team, and was a big coup from Luton Town in the summer. The former Everton youngster joined Macc originally on loan from Luton before getting a permanent deal in the New Year. The press at Luton called him the non-league version of Lionel Messi due to his looks and his skills that are similar to the Barcelona player.

King (as mentioned above) took Macclesfield to the 4th round of the FA Cup where they were unlucky to bow out to Premier League side Wigan Athletic 1-0. But it seems that results and times like that do not really count for anything in the world of football and that a manager’s position is reviewed game by game, month by month.

Owners do not seem to have a look at the bigger picture and how the season has really gone for the club.

I am not a Macc fan, I have no connection to the club or know personally of any of their fans but I really do think that this season could be deemed a fairly successful season even if it doesn’t mean that ‘The Silkmen’ are going up.

But the main question for me that needs asking is why NOW?

With the season just a matter of weeks from completion why sack your manager now instead of waiting just a few weeks to end of the season. Ok so Macc haven’t won their last 4 games and could partly be the reason but changing now will not solve anything in all fairness.

Youth team boss John Askey will take charge till the end of the season he is unlikely to shove Macclesfield into the top 5 position that they need to enter the play offs. I don’t think that even someone with the skills of Sir Alex Ferguson will be able to produce a turn around like that so drastically.

Obviously we have got to wait until the dust settles where maybe something comes out before we can draw definitive answers to the sacking, but for me this has to be the most bizarre sacking.

Follow Richard on twitter: @nonleaguerich

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