The Ambers Matchday Programme

       

                                       

 

Welcome

Good Afternoon and welcome to Cheshunt stadium. We extend a warm welcome to the players, officials and supporters of London’s oldest Club, Cray Wanderers.

The Wands last visit to Theobalds Lane was over five years ago in April 2016 when we were both unusually in the Isthmian division north. A 1-0 win for the Kentish men helped secure their place in the play-off’s that season, unluckily losing to Harlow in the final before being reshuffled to a more southerly division the following campaign.

In April last year, our former Secretary Fred Beer passed away. Due to lockdown rules, his funeral and wake were very limited affairs so today the club is hosting a get together in the Clubhouse of his old friends and family to celebrate his life. 

And before kick off we ask all supporters to remember our former player and Manager, Gordon Boateng, who has also recently passed away (see this editions ‘look back in Amber’).

Both made great contributions to the history of Cheshunt Football Club and will be sadly missed.

 

Enjoy the game

Waysider 

Waysider

Please note Cheshunt FC operates a No Dogs policy. (except Assistance Dogs)

You are responsible for your own children on the site, unless they are participating in an organised event at the site with qualified staff.

Remembering Fred Beer

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It was with much sadness last year we learnt of the passing of Mr Fred Beer on March 31st 2020, and were unable to mark this date due to the restrictions in place at the time halting the league programme & closing the club facilities.  We welcome some of Fred’s family & friends to the match today, and look forward to raising a glass with them in Fred’s memory.

Fred was a regular at Cheshunt FC, and while he would follow the fortunes of other local clubs too, he was always an Amber first,  attending many matches where he would enjoy the company of friends, sharing his views on the game and local football in general. 

Fred dedicated a lot of his time to local football over the years, he was a referee, administrator and supporter, A member of the London FA, he held a number of roles locally, including Chairman of the Waltham Sunday League. 

In the mid 1980s Fred was on the committee at Cheshunt FC, and one of only a few to remain loyal when Abbey Homesteads withdrew their funding and a mass exodus followed. Fred was instrumental in keeping the club operational and made a significant contribution during difficult times, allowing us to retain our standing and progress to where we are today. 

Fred will be missed at Cheshunt FC, and by many supporters of local football in East Herts, as we remember Fred, once again our sympathies are passed to his friends and family,

Rest Peacefully Fred

News From The Boardroom

Chairman Dean Williamson

Welcome everyone to Theobalds Lane. It’s nice to be back at home after our extensive travels in the last 10 days.

When I saw our fixture list for October I thought it would certainly test us, especially three away games on the bounce against top teams. Yet we amassed seven points from the last three games on the road and three very good performances.

The players and staff put a real shift in and I know Craig was delighted. We often forget that players at this level have work and personal lives away from football and give up an enormous amount of their time to play games. If this was the Premier League I’m certain that no team would play two games in three days. It’s physically and mentally draining, on top of which players in non-league have jobs too.

We’ve fulfilled all our fixtures so far this season and there was no need to have played the rearranged fixture with Horsham so soon after playing Kingstonian on Sunday. I’m pleased that we did so well from the three away games, otherwise it would sound like sour grapes. It’s a matter we’ve raised with the league, having asked them to apply some discretion and common sense, though I’m pretty sure nothing will come of it and we will simply be directed to the league rule book.

As it is we face a tough Cray Wanderers team today, and I hope the players have recovered to provide what promises to be a good match.

Enjoy the match.

COYA!

Dean Williamson

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IN THE DUGOUT WITH CRAIG EDWARDS

 

Firstly I’d like to welcome Danny, his team and everyone who has travelled up from Cray for today’s game.
Also a welcome to our match officials who I hope enjoy the game and our hospitality.

It’s been a hell of a week, three very tough games away from home Hornchurch, Kingstonian and Horsham.  We managed to get through unbeaten, only conceding one goal and racking up 7 points but I am very unhappy with the way things were put upon us by the League.

We were down to the bare bones at Horsham we had players on both the pitch and bench carrying injuries and during the game the three players replaced were due to injury plus another has reported an injury the morning after.

Overplaying and fatigue can make injury more likely. I cannot understand any reasoning behind  being ordered by the League to play Hornchurch, Kingstonian and Horsham all away in a week. Moving the Kingstonian game to Sunday was so unfair on us. Two long journeys in three days at a time of a fuel shortage and the hardships alongside the very possibility of injuries on our players lacked any common sense and fairness. No ifs and buts or maybes in my opinion.

There was absolutely no logical reason to enforce the ‘so called’ rule and the league should have allowed the Kingstonian game to be rearranged as if both teams were still in the FA Cup, after all those clubs still in the 4th qualifying round were given a week to prepare by the League.

Both teams were not behind in their fixtures so that can’t be a reason…. It makes me think there maybe another one……. Does the league not think of or consider players welfare?

It is even more annoying given the fact that a couple of weeks ago the league gave permission to postpone fixtures (22 of the 27 matches were cancelled)…. We all know that they were not postponed because the players couldn’t get petrol…. I am led to understand that it was instigated because Hornchurch couldn’t get a coach…nothing to do with injuries then? .. In all my time involved in football I have never heard something so ridiculous…  Brightlingsea drove 140 miles to play us on a Tuesday night……they/us could have postponed  (a large amount of our players come from distance too) We had an 18 man squad plus 5 injured players and 4 members of our management team and every single one of them got in !!!… How is it Hornchurch and all the other so called big clubs in our league such as Enfield couldn’t get petrol but Brightlingsea and Cheshunt could?… Enfield were only playing Bishops Stortford!!

I wonder how many of those clubs that postponed matches still had training on the following Tuesday?  So in a nutshell 22 games can get postponed and rearranged, yet one match cannot… In my eyes its pathetic. There appears to be a double standard when the league are dealing with the perceived bigger and smaller clubs or perhaps who they may have on their board?

As it was and is often the case we probably put on our best display of the season at Horsham. A ‘backs to the wall’ mentality.  I thought we were far better than the 2-0 scoreline to be honest. Prior to that we travelled to Hornchurch and deserved a hard fought albeit a bit of a scrappy win. It was a much needed win on the back of a couple of unfortunate and perhaps undeserved 1-0 defeats.

Our ‘Sunday’ game was at big spending and much fancied Kingstonian. Other than the opening 20 minutes I felt we controlled the game and finished much the stronger. However it looked like it would all be in vain as we entered injury time a goal down,  but our pressure and tremendous spirit got us a very much deserved equaliser.

I was worried about our energy levels for the game at Horsham but as it turned out I needn’t have,  as the boys put in an incredible shift and ran them into the ground. It looked as if Horsham were the team with a Sunday match in their legs, not Cheshunt,  Top, Top Character from all!

It was nice subsequently getting good reviews from all three clubs.

Today we turn our attention to Cray in what is sure to be another tough game, but one we approach with confidence and a desire to grab three more big points.

Enjoy the game

Craig

 

Look Back In Amber by Jim Tuite

 

Gordon Boateng 1980-2021

All at Cheshunt Football Club were deeply saddened to learn our popular former player and Manager Gordon Boateng had passed away recently aged only 41.

He was brought to Theobalds Lane by Club President Paul Philips, who had briefly taken charge of team affairs following the departure of Tom Loizou to Enfield. Gordon had been a promising striker at both Bristol City and then Leyton Orient where he made two appearances in the football league before injury halted his progress. He made his Ambers debut in a 2-4 defeat at Hemel Hempstead in January 2002, making four more appearances and scoring one goal (against Hitchin in the Herts Charity Cup) before moving on after the arrival of new Manager, Troy Townsend.

After a spell at Norwegian side Kvinesdal IL, he returned to the UK and decided to focus on a career in coaching, joining the backroom staff at Clapton where he would eventually become Manager.

His second stint at Cheshunt began in the most difficult of circumstances. The 2007-08 season had started badly with Tom Loizou losing his job as Manager in the autumn and succeeded by no less than four replacements before then Chairman Vince Sartori appointed Boateng in January 2008, with the near-impossible task of saving bottom of the table Cheshunt from the drop.

Aged only 28 – the Club’s youngest-ever Manager – and actually playing himself in defence in his first game at Tiverton, he returned home on the long journey back from Somerset with a 3-1 win, three valuable points and a huge upturn in spirits at the Club. However, it was to be a false dawn and a record ten successive league defeats followed, confirming the Ambers’ relegation from the Southern Premier League.

However, thanks to a place in the Herts Charity Cup final already having already been secured before his arrival, that April saw a shock 1-0 win against Glen Alzepedi’s high-flying Ware side at the County Ground, Letchworth.

It was that win that helped convince the Committee to stick with him back in the Isthmian League Division One North and, with his backroom staff of Glyn ‘Mace’ Mason and Rudi Geoghagen, got off to a promising start, hovering in and just below the play-off positions before suddenly resigning to take the job as Assistant Manager at Bishops Stortford in January 2009.

His career would take him onto Managerial roles at Leyton, Brimsdown Rovers, Enfield, Harlow and Bedford and then the Chief Executive position at Histon, reportedly becoming the not only the first black CE in English Football but also the youngest.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gordon’s family at this sad time. 

 

Cray Wanderers FC History

Cray Wanderers have been in exile from the Cray’s since 1973 when they lost the Grassmeade ground in Chelsfield Road, due to housing development. They moved to Oxford Road, on the borders of Footscray and Sidcup, but when that ground was ruled to be unsuitable for Step 5 football (the Wands were then playing in the Kent League) it became necessary from 1998/99 to play first team matches at Hayes Lane, as tenants of Bromley FC.

However, an off the field victory was obtained in March 2018 as approval by Bromley Council was granted for a new Football Stadium/Community Hub at Flamingo Park in Sidcup which on Monday 26th November received a further boost when approval was given by the GLA (Mayor of London) giving the green light to a bright future for the club and community.  The 2018-19 season saw Cray Wanderers now playing in the newly formed Isthmian South-East and were crowned the first champions of the division on Saturday 13th April and Cray take their place in the Isthmian Premier next season after a five year absence. 

The first origins of Cray Wanderers are linked to the construction of the London, Chatham & Dover railway line during 1858 to 1860. During their leisure time, migrant workers kicked a ball around, and that is how the club originated in the St Mary Cray village. The pitch at Star Lane is now a cemetery, and is located beneath the nine-arch railway viaduct that spans the Cray Valley. The industrial belt of the River Cray, especially the paper mills, provided much of the club’s support up till the 1950s.   

Cray Wanderers were a strong force in senior county football at the turn of the century. After being Kent Junior Cup semi-finalists and finalists in 1890/91 and 1891/92 they entered the first ever FA Amateur Cup competition in 1893/94. They had a spell as a professional club between 1895 and 1907. They were a nursery club for Woolwich Arsenal during part of this period. They were one of the founder members of the Kent League in 1894/95, and they won the championship in 1901/02. Other honours included Southern Suburban League champions in 1898/99, West Kent League champions in 1903/04, and Kent Senior Cup runners-up in 1899/1900.

After World War One, Cray switched to the London League where they remained till 1934. In 1930/31 they won the Kent Amateur Cup. Cray rejoined the Kent League in 1934/35, but their four year stay came to grief when 1936 saw the loss of the Fordcroft ground in Cray Avenue, their home since 1898. Cray were forced to drop into a lower level of football, drifting from one temporary pitch to another while the club committee dwindled to a perilously small number. The team struggled badly in the South London Alliance and the Kent Amateur League. 

1951/52 heralded a new era, and an upturn in the club’s fortunes, when local businessman Mick Slater took over at the helm. The club was elected to the London League and regained its senior status. Cray moved to a new ground at Grassmeade in 1955. Their stay there was a very successful period in the club’s history. Drawing extra support from the commuter town of Orpington, they played in the London League and then the Aetolian League. They were three times crowned champions, won the League Cup twice, and also won the Kent Amateur Cup three times. 

Cray switched to the semi-professional Metropolitan League for five seasons commencing in 1966/67. In 1971/72 a merger of the Metropolitan League and the Greater London League created the Met London League.   

Cray moved to Oxford Road in 1973/74. Johnny Biddle and Jimmy Wakeling proved to be successful managers. In 1974/75 Cray won the Met London League and League Cup, scoring 170 goals in all matches that season. In 1976/77 and 1977/78 Cray won the London Spartan League championship. 

Cray decided to return to the Kent League in 1978/79. Success came quickly because Cray won the championship in 1980/81, having been runners-up the year before. Their powerful new team under manager Harry Richardson reached the FA Vase quarterfinal and 5th round in those two seasons. After that, the 1980s decade brought only one more piece of silverware, the Kent League Cup in 1983/84. After finishing Kent League runners up in 1990/91, Cray had a lean period during most of the 1990s, with the exception of 1992/93 when they won the Kent Senior Trophy. 

A new club chairman Gary Hillman arrived in 1994/95 and Ian Jenkins, a Cray player since 1993, was appointed manager in 1999. By now, Cray were tenants of Bromley FC. As champions of the Kent League in 2002/03 and 2003/04, also reaching the FA Vase quarterfinal, they achieved promotion into the Ryman League Division One. Five years later at the end of season 2008/09 came further promotion into the Ryman Premier League, the highest level of football that the club has played at since the war. 

After parting company with long-serving manager Ian Jenkins, relegation into the Ryman Division One North came at the end of 2013/14.  The 2014/15 season started with much optimism but this was soon dispelled with a run of difficult results and three changes in management.  Looking very much like having to suffer back to back relegations at Christmas and with 10 games to go after suffering a home defeat to the eventual League Champions the Wands went on a 10 game winning run, with a team assembled by the then manager Tommy Warrilow to secure survival and became the Ryman North League Team of the Year. 

For 2015/16 The Wands were managed by former player Tony Russell. The Wands finished third in the Ryman North Division losing in the play-off semi final. Two years later and now in the Bostik League South they were beaten by Walton Casuals at the same stage after an excellent season saw Cray finish third and as top scorers with 112 goals.  

The 2018-19 season saw Cray Wanderers now playing in the newly formed Isthmian South-East and after a 15 game unbeaten start to the season the team were on their way and were crowned the first champions of the division on Saturday 13th April and Cray now take their place in the Isthmian Premier next season after a five year absence.  The move to the new ground is taking shape and new grass pitches are being laid for Cray Wanderers youth sides to play on while the main stadium is being built and the club are finally playing football at what will be their new home.

 

Cray Wanderers FC Player Profiles

CHARLIE ALLEN – MIDFIELD

Charlie impressed with his energetic displays in midfield last season and made 36 appearances famously scoring twice at Enfield Town in January 2020 while playing as a makeshift striker. He also filled in at centre-half in the 2-1 win at Worthing in February 2020 and made 35 appearances last season.
Charlie arrived at Cray in the summer of 2019 from Dulwich Hamlet. Charlie is the son of former QPR player Martin Allen and was a youth player at Reading and then Brentford when Martin was manager of the club. He then went to Dagenham & Redbridge where he became a first team player and then played in the Football League for Notts County and Gillingham. He then headed into non-league football with Tamworth on loan and then Margate, Farnborough, Reading City and Grays Athletic. He spent last season having spells at Greenwich Borough & Dulwich Hamlet.

DEAN BECKWITH – DEFENCE

Cray Wanderers can also confirm the signing of Dean Beckwith to the club where he will be captain for the 2021-22 season. Dean comes to Cray from Hythe Town and is a very experienced central defender who came through the youth system with Gillingham and made a couple of first team appearances going out on loan to Dagenham & Redbridge and Margate. He went on to Hereford United in 2005 where he spent four seasons and achieved promotion to the Football League with the U’s making 153 appearances. Dean later spent two seasons at Northampton Town from 2009 and then to Luton Town who were in the Conference at that time. After a decent spell at Eastleigh he moved onto Sutton United in 2015 spending four years at Gander Green Lane making 108 appearances and a member of the side which reached the 5th Round of the FA Cup in 2016-17. After a short spell at Maidstone United, Dean moved on to Havant & Waterlooville for the 2019-20 season but moved on to Hythe Town in September 2020.

HARVEY BRAND – DEFENCE

Cray Wanderers are delighted to welcome Harvey Brand to the club for the 2021-22 season. Harvey is an experienced defender/right back having most recently been at Beckenham Town but has had spells at Whyeleafe, Margate, Thamesmead Town, Welling United and also a spell at Welling Town. Harvey will be a key player at the back for Cray Wanderers this season.

CAMERON BRODIE – MIDFIELD

Cameron is a fine young prospect who has signed for Cray Wanderers on a season long loan from Dartford FC. Cameron is a midfield player and is a product of the successful and prolific Dartford Academy and should feature highly during pre-season and during the 2021-22 season.

ANTHONY COOK – MIDFIELD

Cray Wanderers can also announce the signing midfielder Anthony Cook to the club. A stylish midfielder who also played out on the wing was last playing for Welling United. After making his league debut for Dagenham & Redbridge in December 2007, Anthony via an appearance on Sky TV’s Football Icon series had a spell at Cardiff City as a youth team player. After spells at Concord Rangers, Carshalton and Braintree Town he really came into his own after signing for Chelmsford City where he played for four seasons scoring 22 goals in 93 league games.
Anthony moved on to Ebbsfleet United for the 2013-14 season but then signed for Bromley in January 2015 where he helped Bromley to the Conference South title before returning to Ebbsfleet in the summer of 2015. He remained at Stonebridge Road until 2018 and then after a loan spell at Woking signed for Dulwich Hamlet in the summer of 2018 and then onto Welling United ahead of the 2019-20 season.
Anthony is a hugely gifted midfielder and the club’s Vice-Captain for the 2021-22 season.

ANDY DRURY – MIDFIELD

Midfielder/winger Andy who was at Sittingbourne last season will be assisting the Wands new first team manager Danny Kedwell and also expected to play a part for the club on the pitch.
Andy has a wealth of experience in both the Football League and non-league football and began his career with his home town club Sittingbourne in 2001 and remained there for two years making 107 appearances before signing for then Gravesend & Northfleet for three seasons. After a spell at Lewes he moved on to Stevenage Borough and helped the club win the Conference Premier and FA Trophy in 2008-09.
He had a short spell at Luton Town when they were in the Conference between 2010-11 and then was signed by Ipswich Town in the Championship in January 2011 where he made 64 appearances in two seasons scoring twice and then went on to Crawley Town and returned to Luton Town now in the Football League in the summer of 2014. Andy returned to the non-league game with Conference side Eastleigh in 2015-16 and then on to Ebbsfleet where he was a team-mate of Danny Kedwell and later joined Danny at Havant & Waterlooville without making an appearance and then back to Sittingbourne in 2020.

MAX GAYLE – DEFENCE / MIDFIELD

Max is a graduate from the Cray Wanderers Youth setup having been part of the club as part of the U13s which won the Kent Youth League Cup Final in 2016. Also a part of the Kent Youth League North champions in 2017-18 as U15s he also played in the 2018-19 League Cup Final for Cray. Max has been part of the U18s set up and was given a squad number last season and is a real driving force from midfield with a powerful shot but can also play at the back so very versatile.

JACK HANSON – MIDFIELD

Jack is very much one for the future and has come through the youth set up at Dover Athletic but made his Isthmian League debut at Sittingbourne making a couple of appearances in February 2020 before a short stay at Hemel Hempstead Town before returning back to Dover.
We extend a warm Cray Wanderers welcome to Jack and hope he enjoys his time with the club.

LEE LEWIS – DEFENCE / MIDFIELD

A hugely talented prospect, Lee was one of the stars of the FA Youth Cup team of 2018-19 which reached the 2nd Round proper of the competition. Lee arrived at the club early in the season and featured in the Isthmian South Development league side and made a big impression on the senior management team with his all action performances from midfield. Scored two key goals during the cup run at home to Raynes Park Vale and at Worthing in the 1st Round which earned Lee a first team debut against Charlton Athletic in the Kent Senior Cup in November 2018.
With the Isthmian South-East title won Lee featured in the last three games of the league season and became something of a first team regular following a spate of injuries at the club in 2019-20. A powerful striker of the ball, Lee has made 46 appearances and scored his first senior goal in the FA Cup win against Bedfont Sports in September, 2019 also scoring in the FA Cup tie at Canvey Island last season in October 2020 and has scored five goals from midfield.

EMANNUEL ODUGUWA – MIDFIELD

Another exceptional talent emerging from the Cray Wanderers Youth conveyor belt, Emanuel is a slight but strong midfielder who came to the club as part of the U16s set up and impressed in a first team pre-season game at Sheppey United in July 2019 and starred as Cray Wanderers U18s advanced to the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup in 2019-20. Emanuel made his first team debut as substitute in the 5-1 win against Kingstonian last season.

EJIRO OKOSIEME – DEFENCE

Another newcomer to Cray Wanderers for the 2021-22 season is centre-half Ejiro Okosieme. Tall, elegant 28 year old, Ejiro started out in the Youth system at Middlesbrough and a couple of other North East clubs. He has been on the books at Walsall, Bishop’s Stortford, Chatham Town, Macclesfield Town, Dover, Braintree Town on loan and went on to Welling United in August 2019 before joining Romford in January 2020.
All at Cray Wanderers hope Ejiro enjoys his time with Cray Wanderers and looks set to forge a strong partnership with Dean Beckwith at the back.

FJORD ROGERS – ATTACK

A warm welcome to Cray Wanderers for centre-forward Fjord Rogers who arrives from Hollands & Blair. Fjord joined the Gillingham based side for the 2020-21 season after impressing in spells at Lordswood and Tunbridge Wells and made 13 appearances during the recent stop-start season. We welcome Fjord to the Wands and could link up with Danny Kedwell up front.

ABDUL SACCOH – DEFENCE

Another talented young prospect to join Cray Wanderers is left-back Abdul Saccoh who was with Junior Reds Seniors last season. Quick and nimble, Abdul impressed during pre-season training and signed for the Wands in June 2021. One of a number of exceptional young players at the club who will make first team debuts in the 2021-22 season.

JACK TURNER – GOALKEEPER

Jack is an exceptional keeper who joins Cray after four very successful seasons at Slough Town where he made 175 appearances and kept 46 clean sheets winning the Managers Player of the Year in 2017-18 and Supporters Player of the Year in 2018-19. Jack’s fine form helped the Berkshire club to promotion into the National League South in 2017-18.
Jack began his career at AFC Wimbledon while Danny Kedwell was playing for the South-West London club making his league debut in the 2009-10 season before joining Staines Town where he spent five seasons and then on to Slough in 2017.

JAMIE YILA – MIDFIELD

A very exciting prospect, Cray Wanderers are pleased to announce the signing of winger Jamie Yila to the club. Jamie has made a terrific impact the last couple of seasons with Fisher in the SCEFL and played against Cray Wanderers in the FA Cup back in September 2020.
Jamie impressed in a couple of trial games and looks to be an eyecatching, quick winger with an eye for goal and a powerful shot. We welcome Jamie and could well be a crowd pleaser with the Wands faithful.

 

 

Cray Wanderers FC Player Profiles

Link directly to the Cray website for a view of the 1st team squad

Today's Teams Selected From:

   Cheshunt FC                                                        

Manager Craig Edwards

Charlie Taylor

George Marsh

Theo Osinfolarin

Ola Williams

Jack Thomas

Lennie Armstrong

Adam Crowther

Tom Gardiner

Taylor Mackenzie

Mo Camara

Joe Re

Taylor Miles.

Jamie Reynolds

Reece Beckles Richards

Ken Charles

Great Evans

Zac Newton

Enock Ekongo

Zubayr Bodie

Amadou Kassarate

 

Cray Wanderers FC

 

 

 

Manager  

Danny Kedwell

Jack Turner

Freddy Barton

Kasim Aidoo

Jack Hanson

Dean Beckwith

Andy Drury

Anthony Cook

Cameron Brodie

Jamie Yila

Tom Hanfrey

Adam Coombes

Zakary Guerti

Fjord Rogers

Richard Afrane Kesey

Quaine Bartley

Freddie Cray

 

Todays Officials:

Mr Jorden Gibson

Mr  Matthew Ball.     Mr. Samuel Laidler

The starting eleven & substitutes for both sides on the day will be available on match day just before kick off via football web pages here

 

 

 

 

 

Go Find Those Old Football Boots !

Charity Boots is a UK based charity that collects unwanted football boots & donates them to children across the world who cannot afford a pair.

Football is the most popular sport worldwide, and there are so many children who do not have the same opportunities to safely play the game that they are so passionate about.

In the UK, children are often buying new pairs of football boots every season, as they so quickly outgrow their old pairs. This means that their used football boots are often left in near-perfect condition.

Our goal is to give these football boots a second chance and to bring joy to children who don’t have the same opportunity.

Cheshunt FC teams are collecting boots for this very worthwhile charity, please check your cupboards for any boots you may be able to bring along to the club and donate.

Click on the picture below to learn more about Charity Boots, how your boots will be distributed and where in the world they might next be scoring their next hat trick!

 

Stuart Fuller. The Ball Is Round Football Blog

Non-League football German style by Stuart Fuller

It’s 5pm on a beautiful Wednesday evening in early August and the FC Kaiserslautern team bus is slowly manoeuvring itself down a lane not really wide enough of a Smart car in the heart of Saarland, South-West Germany. Die Roten Tuefel, or the Red Devils, may have arrived in style but a few hours later they will leave with their forked tails between their legs. Whilst the team who took the 3G surface in Wiesbach may not have been the Red Devils first XI, this was a competitive game and one that would still embarrass the management of one of Germany’s founding members of the Bundesliga.

Shaun Harvey and the management of the EFL must look longingly at Germany (and Spain) and see how the top flight teams are allowed to enter their reserve sides into the competitive league structure. Of course there are rules around who they can and cannot field, as well as a rule that means they can never be in the same division, but it is accepted here in a way that I doubt it could never be back in England.

FC Kaiserslautern’s reserve side play in the fifth tier of German football, the Oberliga. Those of you with O-Level German will know that ‘Ober’ in German means ‘upper’, so Oberliga literally means ‘the top league’ or as we would call it The Premier League (well, until the marketing men took their millions for coming up with EPL). Confused? Yep, me too.

Werder Bremen had the highest placed reserve team, last season playing in the Bundesliga III but relegation back in May meant they will be in the Regionalliga along with the stiffs from 18 other Bundesliga I and II clubs. Step down one more level and you will find a host of others including Kaisersluatern II, now playing in the Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar along with clubs such as BFV Hassia Bingen, TSV Schott Mainz and today’s hosts, Hertha Wiesbach.

One way to look at the similarities between the respective step 5 leagues in the English and German footballing pyramids is average attendances. The Conference Premier/National League in England has some clubs who have certainly had better days such as Leyton Orient, Chesterfield and Wrexham but their core support hasn’t disappeared as they’ve headed down the pyramid. Last season the National League had an average attendance of 2,048 with three clubs (the aforementioned Leyton Orient and Wrexham, plus promoted Tranmere Rovers) averaging over 4,000. Compare that to the Oberliga, which had an average of just 289, with only two clubs out of the 14 leagues with average attendances over 1,000 (FC 08 Homburg and SC Borussia 04 Fulda in case you wanted to know).

Facilities at this level are probably on a par with England’s Step 5 or 6. Hertha Wiesbach’s ProWin Stadion was situated in a small valley, with steep hills rising behind the club house and the main stand – perfect on a hot, summer’s night but treacherous I would imagine come the winter. Their 3G pitch provides a facility for the local community, whilst the club- house was advertising a number of events over the coming weeks. Oh, and being Germany, you could have a beer whilst standing on the hill watching the game, trusted that you wouldn’t start a Mexican Wave or some Icelandic Clap.

On the pitch it is a different matter – the Step 5 teams here in Germany certainly looked technically as good as our National League, if not better. The home side blew the famous

visitors aside, scoring three second-half goals as Kaiserslautern wilted in the sunshine (and bizarrely only arrived with two on the bench). The win, lifted the home side to top of the table, with a 100% record after three league games and no goals conceded.

There can be few better ways to spend a hot Summer’s evening than watching football, beer and sausage in hand and Wiesbach delivered on every level. I wasn’t the only one who left with a spring in my step, with the knowledge that David had sort of got one over on Goliath, albeit Goliath’s little brother, Bob.

Thankfully the 6.30pm kick-off meant that as I headed south-wards towards my hotel for the night, I drove right past (OK, so there was a 2.5km detour) the Sportplatz Papiermühle (or Paper Mill Sportsfield), where the second half between SPV Dillingen and SV Engers 07, also in the Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar was just kicking off. The ground wasn’t too dissimilar to the ProWin Stadion, with one low-level clubhouse with standing in front. A similar demographic of fan was watching this one, albeit with contrasting fortunes to the first match as unbeaten Engers ran out 4-0 winners.

Not a bad evening all being told. Just like there’s some real gems in and around the Non- League scene in England, seek and you shall find beauty in the most unlikely of places in Germany too.

From @theballisround

 

 

The Amber Scribe Tony Madden shares his thoughts on recent events.

 

DON’T BLAME THE REF…

I remember years ago reading and article by Ken Aston who was the head honcho of the refereeing world back in the sixties. He felt that television scrutiny was already becoming too intrusive and that his compatriots were finding themselves too readily subject to criticism and trial by TV pundit. Aston argued that this was unfair as they were making split second decisions and doing their best without any opportunity to review decisions.

Fast forward to 2021 when referees are even more scrutinised but now at least do have the opportunity at the top level of the game to review decisions via the use of VAR. 

Has it improved the game? In some respects, I’d have to say yes.

I sincerely do believe that the standard of refereeing is better than it’s ever been throughout the history of the game, and at the top level its ability to make the correct decision is vastly improved from yesteryear. 

That said however ‘strange’ decisions still exist at every level of the game and there are unfortunately too many examples of incompetent refereeing.

When watching games for Cheshunt I am often impressed by referees and over most games I don’t think they get too high a percentage wrong, but I still see some decisions that leave me speechless, and I do wonder what can be done to improve that.

One area I see as poor at every level is the lack of cohesion and teamwork amongst the official’s team. Referees seem to be too isolated; they take on the position of the leader of the official’s team, they become distanced from their own team and appear uncommunicative. 

At our lower league level, we have three officials, but rarely do I see excellent examples of them working optimally as a team.

Ref’s are giving fouls, making bookings, deciding on sending offs, keeping time and generally holding the fabric of the game together and although the assistants on the line do seem to monitor time it generally feels very disjointed and arbitrary as to how much their role will be optimally effective, and that adds to the inability of the three to act as a team. 

In the last two weeks I’ve seen two strange pieces of refereeing first-hand. In the Cheshunt home game against Bognor there was an unnecessary long delay following the ref’s decision to book a player for leaving the field too slowly. I wasn’t about to argue with that as Cheshunt needed every second to try and rescue the game, however when suddenly the referee decided that he’d already booked the same player and issued a second red I was confused. I couldn’t remember him being booked previously so I assumed he must have said something or continued to be too slow and that consequently he’d got a red.

Wrong!

It took seven minutes for the referee to be persuaded that he’d confused a previous booking for a Cheshunt player with the booking of the dawdling Bognor player. Even then he didnt change his mind until post match, Bognor had to play out the last ten minutes with ten men. Tempers were frayed, tensions escalated and confusion reigned. Three physio visits, one for a head injury, six substitutions & the seven minute madness resulted in just six minutes of injury time? My reflection is why wasn’t either assistant quickly communicating with the referee that he needed to quickly change that decision. A more coherent and coordinated approach to decision making would have greatly helped matters. Surely they too had noted the bookings & substitutions, both teams bench & media had.

I was recently at The Emirates when the Crystal Palace player aimed a powerful  kick at Arsenal’s forward Saka, making no attempt to play the ball. Referee Mike Dean was yards from it and missed it, his linesman and fourth official offered no advice, and VAR couldn’t ensure the decision was reviewed. A complete team meltdown with the whole process, making the officials look incompetent, and certainly impacting on the confidence that the spectators may have in the process of ensuring the game was governed fairly.

In my view it reinforced that we still have communication issues with officials and that underpinning this is a continued elitist attitude from the refereeing profession; an impression I would suggest they genuinely want to disassociate themselves with.

As players develop, they have to learn to learn from mistakes, to improve their understanding of the game and develop their play. Referee’s obviously do the same, but I still consider that refereeing sees it’s role as too separate, and almost aloof from the playing side of the game.

Communications in any organisation are fundamental to success, if we get our messaging wrong, then we will have problems. In football the gap between the players and officials remains an area of concern in the development of the game and after decades of trying to cure this we are still a long way from resolution.  Try watching a Rugby Union match this week end, and note the player/referee interaction.

I heard recently that at higher levels of the game in Germany refs are giving post-match interviews, and the impression is that it is being received positively. It’s hopefully providing a reflective approach and a learning opportunity, and one hopes in time it will establish a role at all levels. 

So long as such moves are  regarded respectfully as a piece of open time post-match it should help all sides to communicate and improve outcomes.

‘Its Good To Talk’

Tony Madden

Sam Emery writes for the Non League Paper

THERE’S no greater buzz among Non-League supporters than experiencing the magic of the FA Cup.

That thrill of seeing your hometown club pitched against the elite in the world’s greatest cup competition. There’s simply nothing like it.

Sadly, though, the FA Cup gods can’t shine down on everyone and it takes a sprinkling of dust from Lady Luck herself at times in order to keep the dream alive.

Take Horsham FC for example. After celebrating a famous win over Woking – two levels their superior – in the fourth qualifying round last Saturday, Hornets fans would be have forgiven for getting carried away while glued to the televised first-round draw on Sunday lunchtime.

Their reward…a trip to Carlisle United – a round trip of 682 miles for a game which wouldn’t really over-excite the TV companies ready to potentially place them in the nation’s spotlight.

Understandably, the Hornets would have looked on in awe at fellow Isthmian Leaguers AFC Sudbury, whose reward for becoming the first team to beat National League South leaders Dartford this season was a mouth-watering home clash against League Two neighbours Colchester United – a tie which will almost certainly whet the appetite of those either side of the Suffolk/Essex border.

My message to Horsham, however, is fear not. The magic of the FA Cup has not passed you by just yet.

As local sports editor, I remember covering Farnborough Town’s path to the fourth round of the cup back in 2002-03. After a handsome first-round victory over Harrogate, the town was filled with anticipation until they were handed a rather underwhelming trip to Southport in round two.

Still, the run went on, however, as Boro came through 3-0 against the 10-man Sandgrounders to book their place in the third round for the first time in the club’s history.

Premier League and Championship big guns lay in wait but Farnborough’s reward was a depressing 540-mile round trip to League Two Darlington in the snow! Talk about a damp squib!

Incredibly, Graham Westley’s side came through that too, winning 3-2 in arctic conditions to make the hat for round four. Third time lucky, Premier League champions Arsenal were their just rewards and despite a 5-1 defeat to Arsene Wenger’s star-studded Gunners side in a tie eventually switched to Highbury, the club enjoyed their finest hour – a day that could never be taken away from a support base starved of success for so long.

The same could also be said for Lincoln City. Non-League football’s best ever FA Cup run to the last eight in 2016-17 saw the National League Imps come through low-profile trips to Championship duo Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion to take their place in the fifth round.

Again, the giants of English football lie in wait but Lincoln were instead paired with a trip to Burnley where their run was expected to end with a whimper and without the fanfare it thoroughly deserved.

Not so, as Sean Raggett’s 89th-minute header earned Danny Cowley’s side the most famous win in their history and an eventual quarter-final clash with Arsenal at the Emirates. The rest, as they say, is history, as far as Lincoln are concerned.

You see, Horsham may well be cursing their luck right now and wondering if the FA Cup gods will ever shine on their plush new Camping World Community Stadium in West Sussex. Hope, though, as Farnborough and Lincoln proved, is still on the horizon and but there’s still time for the magic of the cup to be conjured.

As Del Boy would say in Only Fools and Horses…“He who dares, wins!”

  

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Hornchurch 0 Cheshunt 1

A masterclass in tactical selection of a side to beat the opponent from Manager Craig Edwards, was matched by his players determination to apply the plan on a damp night in Upminister where the Ambers have rarely got a result in the past.

Starting with four fullbacks in the line up saw Enock Ekongo & Jack Thomas shut down the right with Ola Williams and Chevron Maclean doing the same on the left saw the Urchins’ fullbacks taking root in their own half, unable to provide the home side with any width.  This did lead to a lot of midfield action, where Amadou Kassarate stood strong, looking to release Taylor Miles & Joe Re to create Ambers attacks.  The dangerous Liam Nash was well marshalled by Tom Gardiner & Adam Crowther and on the occasions he did have opportunities they were rushed & wide. Keeper George Marsh did have the away support holding their breath when he suddenly decided to dribble his way out of a Hornchurch press, but the event passed without damage. The Ambers themselves created little in the final third during the first half, centrally Ken Charles threatened with his pace, but was crowded out by the Hornchurch defence.

As the home side, spurred on by supporters, Hornchurch had more of the play in the first half but failed to break down Cheshunt, 0-0 at half time suited Cheshunt.  The Ambers made their move coming out for the second half with Mo Camara replacing Chevron Maclean and playing centrally up top, with Ken Charles playing off him at inside left,  Ola Williams stepped into the space vacated by Maclean and saw plenty of action linking up with Charles. On the right side Jack Thomas was venturing beyond the Hornchurch right back released by passes from Miles & Re turning the home defence around regularly.

Ken Charles fast feet & speed started to torment the Hornchurch right back, taking him to the bye line & then rounding him to play low crosses into the box, one of which reached Thomas who shot over with the goal at his mercy. The game started to open up more as both sides went for the win. Zack Newton came on to provide service from the right, and with both full backs getting beaten Hornchurch were having to scramble & Cheshunt looked the more likely to break the deadlock. A fine save from George Marsh tipping a Nash shot around the post was matched by former Amber keeper Joe Wright in the Urchins goal when Joe Re wriggled free to shoot low to the keepers right

….corner to Cheshunt….The resulting scramble saw the Ambers have a strong appeal for hand ball, but a corner on the opposite side given. Centre halves MacKenzie & Crowther added their height to Mo Camara’s presence and with Hornchurch defenders fully occupied Taylor Miles found a testing delivery, Amadou Kassarate powered into space towards the near post and placed a text book header back the way it had come into the top corner, just reward for the way the Ambers had managed their opposition & the match.

Hornchurch bought on FA Trophy hero Sam Ruff, in the latter stages and did create half chances, but Cheshunt held firm for a well thought out & well fought three points.

 

Kingstonian 1 Cheshunt 1

Manager Craig Edwards made two changes from the starting line up from the Hornchurch victory.  Taylor Mackenzie came in for the injured Tom Gardiner, and Chevron Maclean & Zack Newton exchanged places.  The match kicked off with both sides keeping the tempo high, looking for weaknesses & snapping into midfield tackles. The home side started to create more and looked dangerous down their right side, the opening goal came from a determined run to & then along the bye-line and a low drilled cross that was met first time at the near post by Kershaney Samuels. Cheshunt chances were limited to shots from the edge of the box from Newton, Miles, Kassarate & Re which passed wide of the posts and one on target from striker Ken Charles parried away by experienced keeper Rob Tolfrey in the Kingstonian goal.

Kingstonian nearly took a two goal lead into the break when Ajakaiye cleared the offside line & went one to one with advancing Ambers keeper Marsh, who did just enough at the edge of the area to take pace off the effort, allowing Taylor Mackenzie time to run back & clear off the line.

The Ambers exchanged Jack Thomas’ defensive role for Zubayr Boadi’s more attacking play at half time & the midfielder immediately had an impact, noted for his ball retention & passing he moved Cheshunt play into the Kingstonian half & saw the home defence backing off conceding the space in front of them, With Amadou Kassarate anchoring the midfield Taylor Miles & Joe Re had opportunities to take advantage of the space & with Boadi started moving the ball quickly across the ground with first time passes. Re hit a speculative shot from his own half with Tolfrey off his line & Beaney tried similarly for Kingstonian forcing a back pedalling Marsh to tip over. Charles & Newton became more of a threat in the final third for Cheshunt , but the equaliser was not forthcoming. Kingstonian were not without their chances  with Gus Sow prominent in most of their work,  a fine accurate cross found goalscorer Samuels unmarked on the six yard line but he put his header wide, saved from embarrassment for too long by the assistants offside call.

Charles retired injured with twenty minutes remaining after falling awkwardly in a challenge at speed & sustaining a suspected dislocation of his shoulder. (Thanks to both physio’s & Kingstonian officials for their assistance) Mo Camara replaced Charles and gave Cheshunt the option to go long and mix the attack up, this forced a succession of corners & free kicks, and a Cheshunt equaliser was due, but would they run out of time? Nordi Bobomurodov replaced Taylor Miles in a last throw of the dice for his competitive debut.

Deep into injury time right full back Enock Ekongo pushed into the Kingstonian half and was found in space with a perfect cross field ball from skipper Ola Williams in the left back position, Ekongo’s pass into the inside right channel for Newton ballooned up off the closing defender & despite best efforts of the home defence went out for a corner.  Re delivered deep to take keeper Tolfrey out of the equation, Adam Crowther stood his ground in the crowd to head down & back across goal, and as the ball rose up, his central defensive partner put his head into the sea of swinging defensive boots to plant a header beyond the keeper into the far corner for a deserved equaliser.

Horsham 0 Cheshunt 2

A damp evening in West Sussex saw the Ambers taking on Horsham FC, FA Cup victors over Woking at the weekend, this being Cheshunt’s third away match in eight days .  The hard working press was back & it was not apparent Cheshunt were the team with the Sunday match in their legs.  Winning the ball back early and in Horsham half was creating opportunity, Beckles Richards back from suspension, former Hornet Zack Newton & the marauding Amadou Kassarate all had shots over or wide, Newton beat the offside trap only for the Hornets keeper to smother and the ball be cleared off the line.  The high defensive line played by Horsham saw Joe Re also break the offside trap, with a long way to go,  a square ball was cut out by the keepers outstretched leg when maybe a shot was available? Would Cheshunt take advantage of the possession their hard work was earning them? 

At the back if it was in the air Marsh was catching it, ahead of him Crowther was heading it, out wide Ekongo & Maclean had the strength and pace to shut down threats, at the heart of the defence Sunday’s hero Taylor Mackenzie read the Horsham game, kept everything in front of him laid out as if on his work desk, and consistently fed his midfield with the ammunition to build another attack. 

0-0 at half time and questions being asked if Cheshunt could keep up the aggressive press, the answer was an emphatic yes!  Taylor Miles epitomised everything good about the Ambers energy, buzzing around the left side of midfield like an angry wasp, winning everything and linking beautifully with skipper Joe Re, and the efficient Zubayr Boadi, ( did he lose the ball or make a loose pass all night?) A mesmerising piece of one touch football saw the three of them carve open the home defence forcing another save from Sam Howes in the home goal.  

The breakthrough came when former Hornet Zack Newton beat his man for pace again and crossed low first time for Reece Beckles Richard’s to muscle his way across his marker & bury the ball into the net at the near post. 

Astute substitutions gave Cheshunt fresh legs to maintain pressure on Horsham with Nordi Bobomuradov stretching them wide and  Mo Camara going central winning headers and harassing the keeper & centre halves into first time clearances rather than constructive passes.  

Bobomurodov in particular was finding a lot of space to receive and tie up the full backs, Joe Re pulling the strings and captain for the night repeatedly set him free. on the eightieth minute  Bobomuradov moved to the inside, took advantage of some wayward defending when a clearance header from Crowther was spooned up into the air,  he advanced into the box, one touch past the defender a second to get an angle on the advancing keeper  the third touch to slam an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. 

Sam Howes made an excellent double save from Ambers striker Mo Camara to keep the score respectable. Substitutions from Horsham did bring them some joy down their left side, but anything dangerous was dealt with by Ekongo and Mackenzie, Horsham did win a succession of corners in the latter stages of the match not allowing Ambers fans to relax, but if Marsh didn’t catch them, then Kassarate, Mackenzie and Crowther headed clear to see the Ambers take another three well deserved points on the road.

 

Cheshunt FC Inclusive A continue their good start to the season.

Cheshunt finish the day in second place

The Herts Senior County Inclusive League entered it’s second weekend at Nicholas Breakspear Roman Catholic School in St Albans today (Sunday 10-10-21) with Cheshunt ‘A’, Everett Rovers FC ‘A’ & Pro Touch SA playing in the Premiership Division.

With only three sides playing in the division, everyone played each other twice and it was Cheshunt ‘A’ and Everett Rovers ‘A’, who just like in week one, kicked off the afternoons football. And, just like four week previous, the match ended in a hard fought 0-0 draw.

The Ambers then conceded their first league goal of the season in a 0-1 loss vs a very strong Pro Touch SA team who then went on to win the group. A 1-0 win over Everette Rovers ‘A’ in their second match together gave The Ambers some hope of winning the group but, a 2-1 reverse in the second match v Pro Touch meant a second place finish ensued.

The next leg is on November 14th (venue TBC)

FULL  PREMIERSHIP RESULTS (10-10-21). Click on the links available for match day photos.

CHESHUNT FC ‘A’ 0-0 Everett Rovers FC ‘A’

Pro Touch SA 1-0 CHESHUNT FC ‘A’

Everett Rovers FC ‘A’ 0-2 Pro Touch SA

CHESHUNT FC ‘A’ 1-0 Everett Rovers FC ‘A’

Pro Touch SA 2-1 CHESHUNT FC ‘A’

Everett Rovers FC ‘A’ 0-0 Pro Touch SA

Cheshunt FC Inclusive B find the going tough at St Albans

B team end the day on a high note

The Cheshunt FC ‘B’ team went into the second week of fixtures in good form having won their group in the opening weekend. But league newcomers Bedwell Rangers, playing in their first tournament, showed that they will be tough to beat in the coming season. Although the Ambers lost their first two matches 0-2, they started to get into their stride in the third match, losing 0-1 v St Albans City ‘B’ and then, as in the last round of matches at Cheshunt FC, they drew 0-0 with Enfield Town.

Bedwell Rangers finished the group top with the maximum 12 points from 4 matches and Cheshunt ‘B’ finished with 1 point to finish 5th.

FULL CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION RESULTS. Click the links to view matchday photos.

 

CHESHUNT ‘B’ 0-2 Bedwell Rangers

Enfield Town 2-0 Cambridge United PS

CHESHUNT ‘B’ 0-2 Cambridge United PS

St Albans City ‘B’ 0-1 Enfield Town

Cambridge United PS 0-1 Bedwell Rangers

CHESHUNT ‘B’ 0-1 St Albans City ‘B’

CHESHUNT ‘B’ 0-0 Enfield Town

St Albans City ‘B’ 0-2 Bedwell Rangers

Bedwell Rangers 1-0 Enfield Town

St Albans City ‘B’ 0-1 Cambridge United PS

Unbeaten Cheshunt FC Inclusive C team pipped at the post

Another four clean sheets for impressive ‘C’ team

The Cheshunt ‘C’ team started their second group of matches on the back of a perfect defensive record of four clean sheets from four matches, and they started of the second weekend of fixtures exactly as their started the first, with a 0-0 draw vs Hatfield Town. This was followed up with another 0-0 draw, v Everett Rovers ‘B’ and two 1-0 wins v St Albans City ‘B’& Smiles Aylesbury.

Smiles Aylesbury went on to pip the ‘C’ team to the winners top spot in their last match as a 3-0 victory over Hatfield Town in the last match of the day, added to their two earlier victories, was enough to break the hearts of a battling ‘C’ team finishing second on goal difference.

THE LEAGUE DIVISION FULL RESULTS. Click on the links where available for some match photos.

 

Hatfield Town 0-0 CHESHUNT ‘C’

Smiles Aylesbury 2-1 Everett Rovers ‘B’

Everett Rovers ‘B’ 0-0 CHESHUNT FC ‘C’

St Albans City ‘C’ 0-1 Smiles Aylesbury

CHESHUNT ‘C’ 1-0 St Albans City ‘C’

Everett Rovers ‘B’ 0-0 Hatfield Town

CHESHUNT ‘C’ 1-0 Smiles Aylesbury

St Albans City ‘C’ 2-0 Hatfield Town

St Albans City ‘C’ 0-0 Everett Rovers ‘B’

Hatfield Town 0-3 Smiles Aylesbury

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