Day: December 4, 2011

Match Of The Week 3: Sutton United 0-2 Notts County

Evening falls over Sutton, and with it comes the final match of the Second Round of this year’s FA Cup. Gander Green Lane has been here before, of course, in 1989 when the team in amber and chocolate knocked Coventry City out of the competition – the last time that a non-league club knocked one from the top division out of the FA Cup – and also in 1970, when a scarcely-credible 14,000 people packed in here to see Sutton United lose 6-0 against Leeds United in the Third Round of the competition. Gander Green Lane hasn’t changed that much over the last twenty-two years since Sutton United’s most famous moment. One end of this bowl-shaped ground has been levelled off and a small cover installed, but the ground is still ostensibly the as the one that saw Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan knock out a Coventry City side that had won the FA Cup at Wembley less than two years earlier. On the pitch, meanwhile, Sutton United are moving in an upward trajectory again after several years in the relative doldrums. The club had joined the Football Conference in 1985, but were relegated in 1991 and have spent just one season in this division – the 1999/2000 season since. The last couple of years, however, have seen the club’s stock begin to raise again. Manager Paul Doswell was...

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Port Vale – (Yet More) Secrets & Lies

I was going to have a quiet weekend. Write some stuff about Everton. Catch up on the latest fun and frolics at Rangers, with Wilfrid Hyde-White’s distant cousin Craig “I have nothing to” Hyde-White. And watch a Gaelic Football match in North-West London. Then a certain well-informed supporters’ web-site in the Staffordshire area suggested 200% “take a look” at their latest postings… and that was that. Clucking bell. Hardly a fortnight passes in Burslem football circles these days without something grim cropping up. Just over a fortnight ago came news that a £150,000 share purchase from potential Port Vale sponsors Blue Sky International (BS) hadn’t actually happened, for “contractual reasons.” And this week came news that a £350,000 share purchase from Vale chief executive Perry Deakin and brand-newly-elected chairman Peter Miller hadn’t actually happened…at all. Oh…and Miller was on £100,000 per annum…plus perks. Amid all the righteous (and plain right) furore that this news inspired, Miller also admitted what fans and former bidders for the club had claimed throughout the last fraught 12 months of Vale’s history – that Vale were on the brink of administration. It says something about fans’ fury at the unethical – and possibly illegal – boardroom behaviour from Deakin and Miller that such headline news didn’t, initially at least, make the headlines. Suspicions had been gathering that Deakin and Miller hadn’t paid for their...

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Match Of The Week 2: Stourbridge 0-3 Stevenage

Southern League Premier Division side Stourbridge finally ended their greatest ever FA Cup run at the hands of League One Stevenage at the War Memorial Athletic Ground earlier today, thanks to two goals from Chris Beardsley and a late third from Robin Shroot. Stourbridge started with the same eleven that defeated Plymouth Argyle in the First Round, with the exception of influential midfielder Sean Geddes who missed the game through suspension – his place taken by Drew Canavan. The game started slowly, with both sides favouring a feeling out process, with the first real chance of the game not arriving until the fifteenth minute. Good work by Stevenage’s Lawrie Wilson down the right hand side, his cross reaching Ben May who cut inside, only for his shot to be cleared off the line by Stourbridge’s Nathan Bennett. Ten minutes later, Stourbridge created their first chance, with Paul McCone delivering a through ball for Ryan Rowe to chase, powering past Jon Ashton, only for Boro keeper Chris Day to collect the ball at the striker’s feet. The only other real chance of the first half saw Arsenal loanee Luke Freeman produce a great save from Stourbridge keeper Lewis Solly, making his 300th appearance for the club. That doesn’t stop Stevenage applying a lot of pressure in the latter moments of the first half, and a mistake from Paul McCone almost...

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