Day: April 6, 2008

The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Striker

Will there be a more poignant image taken this season than this one of Barnsley’s Kayode Odejayi? With twenty minutes played in the second half of this afternoon’s FA Cup semi-final between Barnsley and Cardiff City, he was put through on goal with a glorious chance to level things up. One can only imagine what went through his mind in those ten seconds. I’d be less than surprised if his entire life flashed before his eyes. It’s likely that he had too much time. His shot flashed wide of the post, and with that miss went Barnsley’s chance of making it to their first FA Cup final since 1912. Prior to this, Cardiff’s lead had seemed like a somewhat fortunate. Barnsley had reacted excellently to Joe Ledley’s early goal for Cardiff, and had looked plenty capable of being able to drag themselves back into the match. Odejayi’s miss, however, proved to be as good as it got for them. They continued to press forward for an equalizer, but left significant gaps at the back, and in the last ten minutes Cardiff looked more likely to double their lead than Barnsley looked like levelling things up. A harsh reality now faces them. Having lost this match, their attention will now turn back to their battle against relegation from the Championship, where results over the weekend dropped them into the bottom...

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The Dark Side Of Non-League Football

Congratulations, of sorts, to Kettering Town, who became (after Chelmsford City last week) the second club in English senior football to win their league championship yesterday. Their 3-0 win against AFC Telford United yesterday was coupled with a 3-1 defeat for second placed Stalybridge Celtic at Boston United, which meant that the Conference North championship to Rockingham Road and guaranteeing Conference football there next season. The result, however, was overshadowed by considerable crowd trouble in and around the ground, as well as in the centre of Kettering itself. Supporters of both clubs were keen to distance themselves from the trouble. The rumour currently doing the rounds is that hardcore hooligans from Wolverhampton Wanderers (who had a day off yesterday because of the FA Cup semi-finals) decided to travel down to down to Northamptonshire because their team had a day off. This has, for a long time, been a problem for non-league clubs. I wrote on here last year about the arrival of Brighton troublemakers at the FA Vase quarter-final between Whitehawk and Truro City, and a match between FC United of Manchester and Newcastle Town was disrupted by the decision of groups of “supporters” of Manchester United and Stoke City to use the fixture as an opportunity to renew old acquaintances. Part of the problem is that courts will ban persistent troublemakers, but they will only ban them from...

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