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A (Re)Introduction To FC Clacton

Hello again!  Those of you with long memories (and also quite possibly those of you who’ve just noticed my previous article tucked discreetly in here somewhere!) may recall that just over 12 months ago I offered you all an introduction to my hometown club, and the nearest thing I have to a significant other in my life (which probably tells you something!), FC Clacton.  Alongside that introduction, you may also recall that I offered a promise to keep you all regularly updated with events from the Rush Green Bowl and around the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League.

Then off I went and disappeared into the night!  Much like our former owner Mr Shuttleworth, or more recently Vladimir Romanov from the Lithuanian justice system!  My apologies!  I do promise however, (for what it’s worth!), to do better this season!

So back to the football, and I thought I’d start this season’s coverage with a look back on last season, as a way of bringing you all up to speed.  It was both a difficult and disappointing season at the Rush Green Bowl.  On the pitch, the team finished bottom of the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division, winning just four of their 38 league matches, however a series of events (which I’ll discuss later) led to the team getting a fortunate reprieve from relegation and we will once again start this season in the Premier Division.

There were some key changes in personnel off the pitch.  Manager Andy Taylor stepped down from the role in mid-September after a poor run of results and Ray Turner returned to the club to take up his first managerial post.  ‘Razor’s’ first game in charge saw a 3-2 win over Walsham-le-Willows, but it would be a further 2 months before the next win came along, a 3-0 success at CRC on the last Saturday in November, and a terrible December, which saw 22 goals conceded in just 3 matches, culminating in a 7-0 trouncing at Brantham Athletic on Boxing Day, meant we entered the new year very much staring relegation in the face.

Sadly the first half of 2013 saw no real improvement in results, however the overall nature of the performances did offer some hope and some reason for encouragement and optimism.  Without wanting to unduly criticise the previous management, Razor had identified soon after his arrival that he had inherited a squad which lacked the necessary level of fitness to compete at this level, and that was something he soon set about addressing.  He also set about forming a more settled squad, and identifying the players he wanted to work with going forward.  The second half of the season saw us field a more consistent line-up on a regular basis, and as a result of the hard work Razor put in with our young squad, we certainly became more competitive in matches, even if results didn’t often reflect this.

As previously mentioned, we did finish the season rock-bottom of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division table after 38 games, and ordinarily you would expect this to result in relegation to the Eastern Counties League Division One.  However a long and drawn out saga eventually saw us retain our Premier Division status. In the final reckoning, champions Dereham Town took promotion to Ryman 1 North for this season, whilst Wisbech Town decided to move sideways to the United Counties League.  With only 2 of the top 3 teams from the First Division able to take promotion to the Premier Division, (CUP being forced to resign their position from the league as their groundshare with Histon came to an end), there was no need for relegation as the two clubs were required to take the places of the aforementioned two clubs.

So rightly or wrongly we find ourselves kicking off this season in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division.  It should be pointed out that we are not the only club to benefit from such a fortunate reprieve in recent seasons, our local rivals Wivenhoe Town have done likewise, but it is a scenario that will not be repeated this coming season as the league have guaranteed that the bottom club in the Premier Division will be relegated; infact in a slight change to the wording of the rules, they have also said that due to the large number of reserve sides in the First Division, it will be the top three eligible clubs that will be promoted come the end of the season.

So it’s important that we finish outside of the bottom three this season, but I know that Razor and Glenn (our assistant manager and also manager of our successful under 18’s side) are aiming slightly higher than fourth bottom.  They would also like a cup or Vase run this year after our lack of success in those competitions in recent seasons.

We have had a much more positive pre-season this time around, and there is a real buzz around the club as we prepare to enter the new campaign.  Our squad of young local players are only adding to the feel-good factor, and we are all hoping for a much improved 2013/14 season, which I promise I will keep you up-to-date with as the season moves along!  In the meantime everybody is welcome to check out our website, which is regularly updated, as are our two twitter feeds, @FC_Clacton and @FCC_fans.

Thanks for reading and all the best to everyone for a successful season!

An Introduction To FC Clacton

Hi, I’m Steve and I shall be endeavouring to provide you all with updates both from FC Clacton and from around the newly rebranded Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League throughout the season. Read the rest of this entry

‘First win since October see’s Stow move closer to teams above

After eight straight defeats and no win since October, Stow finally got the three points that they so vitally needed defeating fellow strugglers Cornard United in what was a massive six point game. The win moved Stow just one point away from Cornard who currently sit on ten points in fifteenth place with a dire goal difference of minus forty three, shipping sixty three goals in just twenty one games.

Both sides had chances to take the lead early on, first Stow had a chance after Kieren Joseph smashed a shot at Ben Russell who held on well meanwhile at the other end Dean Pleasance had to head over Scott Yearling’s cross after the wide man found space down the flank. Kieren Joseph could again have put Stow one up after receiving James Grahams free kick, the forward turned Ben Warren inside out before unleashing his shot at goal, it sailed over the crossbar and Town could have then seen themselves go one down but Scott Yearling couldn’t steady himself in front of goal and as a result saw his shot go wide of the mark.

Stow kept battling away; Guy Dugdale won the ball and released Lee Drummond whose shot was turned round the post only for the resulting corner to be steered wide by Chris Gray. Town finally took the lead on twenty five minutes, Kieren Joseph on the right hand side found Lee Drummond after holding up the ball and his cross was then turned in by Chris Gray, giving the home side the lead in what was a must win game.

The Gold & Blacks could have doubled their advantage going into the break; Gareth Ward gained possession back for Stow and played in Kieren Joseph whose cross was bending way from the keeper was almost turned in by Chris Gray but the striker couldn’t hit the objective.

Cornard made all three substitutions at half time but Stow carried on as they left off at the start of the second period. Yani Duka showed great skill to trick the defenders allowing the young striker to set up Chris Gray who could only find the keeper with his cool shot at goal. The visitors had a rare opportunity through Ben Parder but he missed the target, summing up his sides afternoon. Yani Duka and Chris Gray were still working well together and after Chris Gray latched onto the striker slash midfielders pass he forced a good stop out of Barry Lynn in the visitor’s goal.

Stow eventually doubled their lead twenty minutes from time and it was that man again Chris Gray with his second of the match and fourth of the season so far. Lee Drummond and Kieren Joseph again linked up well before releasing Chris Gray who calmly slotted the ball way beyond Cornard keeper Barry Lynn. It was bookings galore after Stow’s second went in with seven yellow cards being shown in just under twenty minutes, amongst the chaos Chris Gray nearly grabbed himself the match ball but Barry Lynn stopped the striker from netting his hat trick with just his legs. Town won’t be bothered about the four bookings that were picked up by their players as they grabbed a vital three points to move them just one point away from moving off the foot of the table.

‘Stow Rooted To Bottom After Eighth Straight Loss’

It was another unsuccessful away trip for the Gold & Blacks after losing to a Swaffham side that was lead by hat trick hero Alex Vincent who was on song for his side after working away.

Stow started the brighter of the two sides with both Kieren Joseph and Chris Gray shooting wide in the early exchanges; it wasn’t to count for anything though as Lee Drummond’s header was taken down by Alex Vincent who ran free through the Stow defence and neatly placed the ball into the corner beyond Carl Pearson in the Stow goal. Swaffham had a firm foothold in the game as Stow couldn’t keep possession of the football and it soon paid off, Alex Vincent had a shot blocked from Carl Pearson but there was nothing he could do with the strikers next attempt at goal as a loose ball found its way to the returning forward who tucked the ball away with relative ease to give his side a two goal advantage inside half an hour.

Chris Gray who had served his three match suspension as returned for the Gold & Blacks soon showed why he deserved to come straight back into the side, first his nifty control and turn saw him create space for a shot that he couldn’t take before cutting Swaffham’s defence in half only to see Dean Mayes courageously dive down to collect the loose ball that winger Lee Drummond was about to take.

Town’s keeper Carl Pearson deserved a lot of thanks at the break as he kept his side in with a shout after three fantastic saves just before the referee’s whistle to signal half time. First he tipped over striker Joe Jackson’s attempt at goal before refusing to allow Alex Vincent his half time hat trick that he so eagerly craved by pulling off a fine save after the on form forward struck a ferocious shot at him through a crowd of players. He also stopped Will O’Brien from extending his sides lead just prior to the interval after pushing the midfielder’s effort over showing what brilliant athleticism he has in his game.

Stow came out of the break and had an early opportunity through Chris Gray however he could only blast Captain James Graham’s flick over the bar and from that Swaffham pushed on and got their rewards after Alex Vincent’s cross was headed in by Town’s debutant Dean Cooper. Despite the relatively early set back in the second period Stow battled on and could have grabbed one back through Dean Pleasance who’s fierce drive was turned round the post by Dean Mayes who hadn’t had an awful lot to do in afternoon Swaffham had dominated up until now that was. Chris Gray got on the end of Lee Drummond’s pass beating the defence with his strength and putting the ball beyond Dean Mayes in the Swaffham goal, cue the Stowmarket come back! Lee Drummond’s long throw wasn’t dealt with by the Swaffham defence who looked shaky and with that Kieren Joseph leapt onto the loose ball and blazed a shot diagonally passed Dean Mayes who couldn’t keep the strikers spectacular effort out.

Stow could have completed an amazing comeback after James Graham’s free kick was flicked on by Kieren Joseph to fellow forward Chris Gray who from just a few yards out smashed his shot against the bar and away to safety. James Graham could then have also completed the comeback for the Gold & Blacks but his header flashed over and it was all too late for Stow as Swaffham got another that killed off the game and it was that man again Alex Vincent who completed his hat trick. He reacted first to Dwayne Hockton’s free kick stabbing the ball beyond Carl Pearson.

Alex Vincent was still threatening but new signing Craig Webb-Heath was on hand to clear the striker’s effort off the line. Goalkeeper Carl Pearson was still alert to stop Alex Vincent one more after saving with his chest late on, the keeper also made another important save to keep the score line down after Joe Jackson found room for a shot. Swaffham did however have time for one more, their top scorer Joe Jackson got his reward after playing superbly throughout and smashed home Will O’Brien’s pass to make it eight losses in a row for Stow. It also kept their horrid away form growing, nine matches and nine losses on the road shipping twenty six goals in that time.

‘New Year but same old Stow’

Our Stowmarket Town fan, Anthony Moss, returns with a report from their first game of the New Year, but it brings a familiar result. Read the rest of this entry

Town Dealt Difficult Cup Tie

Whitton United, pictured celebrating after scoring against Team Bury travel to near neighbours Stowmarket Town.

Stowmarket Town have been dealt the heaviest blow in the latest cup draw as they host league leaders Whitton United in the Ridgeons League First Division Knockout Cup but they feel as though they can give them a good game as they are improving and looking good so far under new boss Shane Austin. March Town United have also got a tricky away trip to high flying Thetford Town, both Whitton and Thetford are currently battling alongside eachother for the top spot in the First Division and will be looking to carry on their good run of form in the latest cup matches.

Full Quarter-Final Draw: Debenham LC vs. Godmanchester Rovers, Stowmarket Town vs.Whitton United, Team Bury vs.Cambridge University Press, Thetford Town vs. March Town United.

Matches to be played on Saturday, 4th February, 2012.

‘Austin proves doubters wrong in 5 goal drubbing of Wanderers’

Saturday, November 5th, 2011: Ridgeons League First Division Knockout Cup 1st Round

Ipswich Wanderers 1-5 Stowmarket Town   

Ipswich Wanderers who sit bottom of the Ridgeons First Division had 5 goals blasted past them on what was a wet and gloomy afternoon in Ipswich. It was new manager Shane Austin’s first game in charge of the Gold & Blacks and he silenced the critics after what was fantastic performance from Town who were too strong for the Wanderers on their home turf. He stated that ‘It’ll be a big step up for me earlier on in the week to local press however he made it look easy standing in the dugout and directing Stow to a very strong win in the 1st Round of the cup.

The game started with a fairly quick tempo and Town broke down the left early, Drummond played an inch perfect ball behind the back line to allow Proctor to run on to it and cross, Gray headed wide but Stow were looking threatening early on. Gray soon had the ball in the new though, a few minutes later Drummond found himself in good space down the left and cut the ball back to the on-form forward who slotted his shot past the keeper giving Stowmarket a much deserved lead.

Ipswich Wanderers quickly got back in the game though, their first shot came through Russell and it was some way out however it moved in the air and Bugg could only parry it as far as Hall who was on hand to turn the loose ball in making the scores level once more. Wanderers began to take control of the match and Tynan came close after his shot drifted wide, Russell latched onto Smith-Edwards pass down the right flank and was brought down by Pleasance in the area. The referee swiftly pointed to the spot although it appeared as though Pleasance had won the ball in his challenge; nonetheless Frost stepped up and virtually passed the ball towards the right corner and it required more power as Bugg stretched across his goal to make a fine save, the ball was then cleared and Town built from then on in.

Some impressive work from Lopes allowed Proctor space to shoot but Reid saved and kept Stow at bay. Drummond continued to cause problems out wide on the left and played the ball back to Proctor whose shot was once again saved by the tremendous Reid whose athleticism to turn the ball over the bar was fantastic. Town turned up the gas and Gray forced Reid into another good save after shooting with the outside of his boot. Stow then went on to score two before the break, first Lopes scored his second in as many games as he superb run of games for the first team continued. The Guinea-Bassau international ran onto Myhill’s pass beating the offside trap to take the ball beyond Reid and pass the ball into an empty goal. Proctor then switched the ball across to Drummond on the left wing, the wide man cut inside and slotted the ball past Reid in the Wanderers goal and that signalled half time whistle.

After the players came back out the Gold & Black look to mark their superiority on the game once more and did exactly that, Proctor’s free kick was tipped wide and from the resulting corner Graham headed home Drummond’s corner to extend Town’s lead. Duka and Mayes were both introduced into the game and the two of them had their efforts well saved by Reid who was keeping the score relatively respectable for the home side. Proctor was looking to get on the score sheet and nearly did so after hitting the crossbar with one shot and the side netting with the other however the striker got he deserved shortly after. Drummond chested down a high ball to Proctor who smashed a shot low into the bottom left corner beyond an outstretched Reid. Stow continued to dominate the later stages of the game but the scores stayed at 5-1 and Town progressed into the next round of the cup.

Let Me Introduce Myself…

Hello everybody, my name is Anthony Moss and I started following my local football team Stowmarket Town in March of this year. I will be posting anything and everything to do with Stowmarket Town, my local football team, who I support, Home & Away. This will include: Match Previews, Reports, Player Profiles, News, Away Ground Reviews and much much more. I try to get to as many games as I can and I am part of the Barmy Army at Stow, we try to provide great atmosphere and get behind our local team who are currently in the Ridgeons League First Division and sit 15th in the league as I write this.

It’s been a pretty hectic first few months of the season for the Gold & Blacks, after going 7 games in a row without a win we finally got off the mark the other weekend after the sacking of manager Steve Jay. We beat newly promoted Brightlingsea Regent 4-0 at home; this was followed by a loss in mid-week to Premier Division side Kirkley & Pakefield in the Ridgeons League Cup 1st Round. After the 3-0 loss to the Royals we played Fakenham Town this past weekend and smashed 5 past them, that win helped us get off the bottom of the league after sitting there since the start of the season.

I will try to upload as many photos as possible to the games that I go to, more so the away ones. I am looking to upgrade my camera and am
currently saving up for a DSLR. I am currently only using my BlackBerry and its quality isn’t the greatest but it will do for the minute.

Before I forget I would like to direct you towards my twitter page where I keep my followers updated on all the goings on at the club aswell as
live match updates. My twitter is: @StowTownFan

Thanks for reading and once again I hope you enjoy my posts and continue to follow Under The League.

All the best,