This Sunday’s double header at Wembley Stadium looks set to be a fantastic day of football, with tens of thousands of tickets sold. Will this be the first of a new tradition for the Vase and Trophy Finals, or is it a last desperate attempt to justify the finals taking place at the home of English football? Read the rest of this entry
The latest podcast is out now to stream or download. Read the rest of this entry
Download the latest episode now! Read the rest of this entry
After a two week break, yours truly returns to the podcast this week, and as ever there is plenty to discuss. There’s the Kingstonian goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey who jumped into the terraces to confront Bognor Regis Town fans after their match:
On a similar front, Torquay United defender Angus Macdonald has been fined and issued an apology after he engaged in a verbal spat with supporters during their 0-3 FA Trophy semi final second leg defeat against Wrexham.
Speaking of the Trophy, we give a lot of love to North Ferriby United, and try and even it out a bit by wishing Wrexham luck as they aim to celebrate their 150th anniversary by lifting non league’s most prestigious prize.
After all that, there is still time for me to usurp Ranty Robo (although he does get in on the act), when we cover the situation at Kidderminster Harriers.
There’s also the goalkeeper who has retired at the grand old age of twenty to become a car salesman, the Northern Premier League’s club of the month awards, and hattrick watch. And there’s an exciting announcement about next week’s show.
To listen to the podcast, or download the audio, visit the show’s website. Better still, subscribe via iTunes and never miss another episode. And while you’re there, please consider leaving a rating and review, as it helps to get new listeners on board.
FC United of Manchester 4-0 Harrogate Town
On a freezing afternoon at Bower Fold, 903 fans braved the conditions to witness this FA Trophy tie – yet only one side decided to turn up. Read the rest of this entry
The latest episode of Non League Podcast is now available. In the show this week Kristan, Rob and myself have the following to discuss:
- FA Trophy final review
- Clubs in crisis. Again!
- Game abandoned due to injury
- Latest NL hotshot to move into the big time
- Player/Team of the week
- Managerial Merry-g0-Round
- And Finally
To download the show, or listen online, click here to go to the show website, or subscribe on iTunes. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your stories or hattricks for inclusion in the show. If you enjoy the show, please leave a review for us on iTunes.
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Cambridge United and Gosport Borough were both competing in their first ever Trophy finals, and on a pleasant afternoon at the “home of football,” it was the full time club’s quality that ultimately shone through.
Myself and my colleague at Hampton & Richmond Borough Rob had been the lucky recipients of the club’s two complimentary tickets, and I certainly wasn’t going to pass up the chance to see the final. It realised one of my seasonal objectives (among the others are going to the Vase final and an England C game. At least one of those is still achievable!). I have been lucky enough to see my hometown club Huddersfield Town win playoff finals at old and new Wembley, but I’ve never been to a final where I haven’t supported one of the participants.
The well produced and glossy souvenir programme cost just four pounds, but the soft drinks came in at almost the same price! Needless to say, I was there as a neutral, but both myself and Rob had a tendency toward the underdog – don’t we all? And as you can see from the photo above, the view we enjoyed was excellent.
Conference South strugglers Gosport came into the final in the bottom three of the table, whilst their Premier opponents United are second only to runaway leaders Luton Town in non league’s top flight. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Borough fans were in fine voice, and the atmosphere amongst the 18120 crowd was expectant and good natured on both sides of the ground.
Gosport started brightly, with Justin Bennett having a couple of early efforts, while at the other end Luke Berry got beyond the Borough backline only to be denied by goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore. In a frenetic opening twenty minutes, both teams were showing no signs of fear on the big occasion, with Jamie Brown, Michael Gosney and Lee Molyneux all shooting straight at Will Norris, while Ashmore was called into action again to deny Berry.
The best chance of the opening half hour fell to the Step Two side. Bennett hit a decent shot which Norris couldn’t hold, spilling the ball. He was relieved to see the ball fall to his skipper Ian Miller rather than a Gosport forward, and the danger was cleared.
As the final five minutes of the half approached, Cambridge’s Liam Hughes had a freekick twenty yards out. However, both his initial effort and follow-up were blocked. United weren’t to be denied for long, though, and took the lead six minutes before the break. Ryan Bird – on loan from Gosport’s neighbours Portsmouth – lobbed a fine finish over Ashmore from fifteen yards. It was enough to give The U’s an interval lead, but it was harsh on Gosport who had more than matched their higher level opponents.
During the interval, Rob said he felt the next goal was crucial, while I said I thought Cambridge would now go on and grab a quick second before going on to win 4-0. I did. Honestly!
As it turns out, of course, I was spot on. Ryan Donaldson got the second just five minutes into the half, calmly rounding Ashmore and slotting home after latching onto Bird’s through ball. And seven minutes later, the result was put beyond doubt as Donaldson grabbed his second, controlling the ball and lashing home after an almighty goalmouth scramble during which Hughes had hit the post.
Gosport didn’t let their effort drop, and by now were looking for a souvenir goal for their supporters to cheer. Michael Gosney had a gilt edged opportunity to get that goal, but he shot tamely at Norris. Justin Bennett had the Hampshire side’s best chance of the match with seventeen minutes left, turning well in the box before shooting agonisingly wide.
By now, Cambridge’s full time fitness was starting to show, and they continued to search for a fourth. Substitute Nathan Arnold skinned Molyneux before seemingly putting the ball on a plate for Bird to tap in. However, Adrian Forbes had other ideas and made a stunning saving tackle. Alas, seconds later it was 4-0. Sam Pearce fouled Andy Pugh, leaving referee Craig Pawson with an easy decision. Luke Berry stepped up and sent Ashmore the wrong way, and the Cambridge fans into raptures.
Gosport did have one last effort on goal, and it would have been some strike had it gone in. Dan Woodward hit a shot with the outside of his right foot from the right corner of the penalty area. Will Norris could only watch and pray as it clipped the top of the bar and went over. It would have been a lovely moment for the team and their fans, and no less than they deserved on the day. Unfortunately for them, they just ran out of steam against a superior opponent. Everyone associated with Gosport Borough can be very proud of the club, and hopefully they can build on this in their fight against the drop.
For Cambridge United, this day out at Wembley will give them a taste for the Capital, and they will be eager to return in the playoff final in May. And for manager Richard Money, he might get to lift a trophy he actually wants!
The latest episode of The Non League Podcast is now available to download. Rather cheekily entitled “Check Your Balls!”, there’s a lot to talk about, as I return after a week away to join Kristan and Rob. No Tom on this episode, as he was otherwise disposed. It still clocks in as our longest show yet, but we enjoyed it and hope you do too.
The top story this week is the bad news coming out of Edgar Street, as Hereford United are served with a winding-up petition. We debate what the best course of action could be, and the possible outcome when the case is heard later this month.
Also up for discussion:
- Managerial changes at Kidderminster and Chester,
- Team and Player of the week,
- Sexuality in football,
- Hattrick Watch (thanks as always to Libby for the research)
- Male Uprising Guernsey’s charity photos
Plus all the usual banter and tangents! And make sure you stay to this week’s And Finally, as there’s a complete breakdown from all parties!
To contribute to the show, get in touch on twitter via the links below. To notify us of a hattrick in a game you’re at, make sure you include the hashtag #hattrickwatch.
The Show – @nonleaguepod
Kristan – @kwisstan
Tom – @TomSnee
Libby – @libsterclarke
Rob – @RabidRobo
Me – @undertheleague