Saturday 22nd January 2022 3pm – Isthmian Premier League

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Welcome to The Dripping Pan for today’s Pitching In Isthmian Premier League game with Brightlingsea Regent. Here is your complimentary e-programme.

WELCOME TO OUR GUESTS

Cote Brasserie Lewes are our Match Sponsors and Robert Searle is our Match Ball Sponsor

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TODAY’S MATCH IS SPONSORED BY….

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NOTES FROM THE BIG CHAIR

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to the Dripping Pan for part two of our trilogy of consecutive home games. I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials of Brightlingsea Regent and hope that their journey to and from East Sussex was problem free.

I don’t think anyone was getting too carried away after our win last Saturday against Merstham. We played well and the scoreline, rather than the result, was a bit hard on the visitors who caused a lot of problems, as we expected, in the first half. It is the sign of a good team that they can play below their best and still win, and of course we are very pleased with the three points. The situation at the top remains incredibly tight and we’ve seen a bounce back from Enfield Town after their defeat to us two weeks ago with three wins on the spin to leap frog us into second place.

I’ve been away this week on a short, but very relaxing, family trip and had the opportunity to visit Dunstable Town, who were inspired by our journey into community ownership and became fan-owned last summer. It is so good to see other clubs using our model as an example and whilst our approach isn’t perfect, we’ve had over ten years to work on making it better. The fact we have added over six hundred new owners in just over a year is incredible and hats off to Charlie Dobres for his hard work on that. It is really nice when people I know outside of football (yes, there is such a thing!) comment on the work we do or as has been the case recently, reach out to say they saw our advert on TV!

We are a bit thin on the ground in the squad at the moment thanks to some injuries and will be bringing in a couple of new faces which we will announce on the website. The challenge with having a settled side, who are performing well, is that it is hard to keep a bench of like for like replacements happy. We’ve only used 25 players this season, with five of those only playing a few games each. As we approach the last third of the season we will need to bolster the squad to cover for any eventualities.

I went along to watch our Women’s side play Charlton Athletic along with most of the management team. Craig’s side were unlucky not to get anything from a tight game, losing 1-0 after a first half defensive mistake. It was good to see so many Rooks fans there and I hope that tomorrow, for the game here against Sunderland we get another bumper crowd.

Get behind the team and Come On You Rooks!

Stuart

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TONY’S THOUGHTS

Good afternoon everyone. It was a good result last Saturday against Merstham but not our best performance. We scored a couple of decent goals but we were certainly not at our best and Merstham certainly made it hard for us. They had a spring in their step that caused a few issues. We deserved the 3 points but the scoreline was flattering and I said that to the boys both at half time and at the final whistle. But I will never not enjoy winning – the day when you take winning for granted is the day that football will bite you from behind.

We can play better and win better and that’s the challenge for the squad. There’s no opposition in this league where you can simply turn up and expect to win. Full credit to Frank Wilson and his side – you can see why they spring surprises every couple of weeks on teams who would perhaps fancy a win against them. We wish them well for the remainder of the season.

Turning the attention to today. I went and saw Brightlingsea’s midweek win over a good Potters Bar Town. They are a team that works hard and showed some real enthusiasm and if we do not match their levels we could be in trouble. We need to learn the lessons from last Saturday and apply them today.

Our main concern this week is that we’ve picked up a few injuries in the last couple of weeks, which combined with Freddie and Ayo going out on loan, has left us a bit short, so we have spent a lot of time this week looking for additions to the squad. Adam Drew has been leading that effort and hopefully we will have one or two new faces in the squad today.

Last Saturday the noise from the crowd was brilliant. We can hear you all from the bench and it looked like you were having a great time. Keep enjoying the football, you are creating a great atmosphere for the team. I know it is a bit chilly, but put your green beanie hats on and get behind the team today and we will do our best to give you a good display and three points.

Let’s go and get this win.

Tony

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A PRESSING ISSUE BY STUART FULLER

In the last couple of weeks, the collective phones of Tony, Joe, John Peel and myself have been ringing almost non-stop as the footballing world has woken up to the talent of Ollie Tanner.

I’ve always mocked some of the journalists and press outlets for lazy reporting. As long as you start a story with the phrases “rumour has it”, “a source has told me” or “I’m hearing reports that”, you can basically link any player, with any club and be seen as credible. Once in a while one of these made up rumours will come true and you will be sure to see that individual or organisation triumphantly claim to have “heard it here first”. Naturally, the selective amnesia of the hundreds of other rumours that are wrong are never mentioned.

Last week The Sun newspaper claimed it had an “Exclusive” on Ollie and the clubs that were interested in him. Southampton, Norwich City and Watford were all tracking the Lewes winger, the journalist said, in his words, “exclusively”. This was published a good 36 hours AFTER the Daily Echo, Football Insider and The Argus had published the same story.

In one story it was reported that I “laughed at a suggest that the club had received an offer for the player from a number of Premier League clubs”. When faced with a question that starts “I have it on expert authority that two clubs are in a bidding war for the player”, who wouldn’t laugh? My actual response was more like “Ha! I think you need better sources of your information”.

I’ve been asked by dozens of journalists to give them the inside line. “Off the record” is a phrase that has come up a lot in the last week – if it is off the record then that means they won’t print it, right? I don’t think so! Some journalists have got very good sources and know the facts but still want verification from us that they are true. Our approach has always been to work with any player to do what is right for him so the only facts we share publicly are those that we all agree are right to share.

We’ve had scouts at a significant number of our games, home and away, this season. Some request passes, signalling they are watching someone, whereas others will simply buy a ticket and remain anonymous. I do find it amusing that some clubs want their interest to remain anonymous yet won’t spend £11 on a ticket to do just that. I would also imagine Ollie is not the only player that has been watched – our style of play and development of some of our younger players has almost certainly been on the radar of clubs.

Last Saturday there were a few big coats, flat caps and note books visible in the main stand, who were scribbling furiously in the 2nd minute when Ollie Tanner curled that beauty in and then made a hasty exit when he was replaced by Iffy Allen in the 77nd minute. In some ways I hope they don’t return, wanting to pick off our best talent but on the other hand it is a huge credit to Tony and his team, as well as a club, that we have so much interest in our side. Come next summer when the recruitment circus starts again, having the knowledge that professional sides are watching our squad could be that extra 10% when it comes to choosing us over another side.

So, just remember that if you read something in the press, take it with a large pinch of salt. In football the whole “no smoke without fire” is exactly that, a smokescreen, on many occasions.

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INTRODUCING OUR VISITORS….BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT

HISTORY

Brightlingsea ‘United’ were founded in 1928 following the merger of Brightlingsea Athletic and Brightlingsea Town, and initially played in the Essex & Suffolk Border League.

In 1972 they joined the Essex Senior League, winning the title in 1989 and 1990, and moved up to Division One of the Eastern Counties League in 1990. They finished as runners-up in their first season and were promoted to the Premier Division, only to return to Division One after finishing bottom of the Premier Division in 1993.

The club resigned from the league shortly before the start of the 2002–03 season and took the place of their reserve team in Division Two of the Essex & Suffolk Border League, being relegated to Division Three at the end of the season. When Division Three was disbanded in 2005 the club was moved back to Division Two. That year the club merged with youth club Regent Park Rangers to form Brightlingsea Regent.

The newly merged club won Division Two at the first attempt and were promoted again the following season after finishing second, the first of a string of promotions in recent years. In 2011 they won the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division to earn promotion to Division One of the Eastern Counties League. A third place finish in Division One in 2013 was enough to secure promotion to the Eastern Counties League Premier Division, and they also won the First Division Cup, beating Great Yarmouth Town 1–0 in the final. The following season Brightlingsea finished second in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division, earning promotion to Division One North of the Isthmian League.

In 2017 they were promoted to the Premier Division having finished champions of Division One North. Last Saturday they lost 5-0 at Bishop’s Stortford, and on Tuesday hosted Potter’s Bar. The result was a 2-0 home win, and today they sit 18th in the league on 23 points after 26 games.

PLAYERS

Brett Munyard – Manager

Brett joined Brightlingsea Regent in November after the departure of Tom Austin. He managed the last 6 seasons at Essex Senior League club, White Ensign, where he took the club from Step 7 to Step 5. Brett is described by Regent as a bright young manager who is passionate, ambitious and dedicated to football. Based in Billericay, the young manager has an extensive knowledge of football at all levels, and it is hoped he will be a perfect fit for the club as they look forward to the future under his guidance.

Charlie Turner – Goalkeeper

Charlie signed for Regent after an impressive season for Stansted where he won the Essex Senior League golden gloves trophy alongside two cup competitions. Now into his third season at Regent he has already picked up plaudits from the Regent supporters. He is described by the club as a strong figure between the sticks and a fantastic shop stopper.

 Theo Osinfolarin – Defender

Theo joined Regent from Cheshunt and is described as a strong, hardworking player who can play in a variety of positions.  He is considered by his club to have a big future in the game, and can be a big part at Regent in the coming months.

Chris Ribchester – Defender

Chris is a towering 6ft 5′ defender who joined Regent during lockdown from FC Clacton having made176 appearances for Clacton, scoring 26 goals. At 30 years old Chris has a host of experience playing for Felixstowe & Walton United, Heybridge Swifts and Maldon & Tiptree.

Mack Miskin – Defender

Mack is a left back who joined Regent from Braintree Town. He has Isthmian league experience with several clubs and likes getting forward as well as being solid with defensive duties.

Zack Littlejohn – Defender

Zack joined Regent from White Ensign, formerly with Concord Rangers, Brentwood Town, and Canvey Island. He is considered an assured, solid centre- back who will comfortably compete at this level.

Andy George – Defender

Andy is seen as a solid, no-nonsense defender with bundles of energy who joined Regent from White Ensign where he played at either centre or right-back.

Jamie Bennett – Defender

Jamie joined Regent last summer, his previous clubs include Tilbury & Walthamstow Town. He is seen as a no-nonsense defender who does the basics effectively, a good passer of the ball, and good in the air.

Jake Thompson – Defender

Jake returns to Regent whom he joined in December 2019 from Witham Town, but had only played a handful of games owing to his studies at University in Bath. ‘JT’ has now finished his studying and is ready for a full season with the club. The 6’4 centre-back brings a physical presence to their back four.

Ollie Bell – Midfielder

Ollie follows his manager Brett Munyard across White Ensign. Thought to have great quality on the ball, he also possesses a great set piece delivery and can score goals too.

Carlos Cachicote da Rocha – Midfielder

Carlos is an attacking midfielder who joined Regent from Basildon United. Following on from successful spells abroad with the likes of Deportivo, Sporting and Xanthi, “Rudy” made his international debut for Angola in 2014.

Kane Gilbert – Midfielder

Kane joined Regent from Canvey Island at the beginning of last season. The former Peterborough United youngster has become a fan favourite with his constant energy and high intensity. Kane is considered as a technically gifted player who works hard, and has an eye for goal.

Charlie Durling – Midfielder

Charlie is a Brightlingsea lad who re-joined Regent from FC Clacton having been away from the club for 4 seasons. Seen as a strong, tireless midfielder who breaks up play, he puts in everything on the pitch with his love for the town.

Dominic Locke – Midfielder

Dom is a winger who also comes in with manager Brett Munyard from White Ensign where he made 18 appearances, netting 6 times. His manager thought of him as the best player in the Essex Senior League; possesses a great delivery and loves running at defenders.

Valter Cachicote Da Rocha – Forward

“Volt’s” returns to Regent for a second spell after previously playing for Basildon United. He had an exceptional spell at Thetford Town prior to signing for the Rs, scoring 40 goals in one season. He has a fantastic eye for goal and scored on his debut against Carshalton with an impressive half-volley.

Aaron Blair – Forward

Highly rated striker Aaron Blair joins Regent on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge until the end of the season. He scored 3 goals in 8 matches for the National League side since signing professional terms in the summer. Aaron was previously with Ongar Town where he scored over 100 goals in 3 seasons for the South Essex side. He has also played for Dagenham & Redbridge, and Cheshunt.

Conor Barnby – Forward

Connor signed for Regent in 2017 from White Ensign where he scored 10 goals in 17 appearances. Connor is seen to possess great work rate, serious pace, and a natural finisher too.

RECENT FORM

HEAD TO HEAD

18 Sept 2021 – Brightlingsea Regent 0 Lewes 4
26 Sept 2020 – Lewes 1 Brightlingsea Regent 2
22 Feb 2020 – Lewes 0 Brightingsea Regent 1
28 Sept 2019 – Brightlingsea Regent 2 Lewes 3
16 Mar 2019 – Brightlingsea Regent 0 Lewes 0
12 Dec 2018 – Lewes 5 Brightlingsea Regent 0

OUR LAST MEETING HERE – 26th SEPT 2020

LEWES 1 BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT 2

A superb strike by Valter Rocha in the 71st minute was enough to see the visitors take all three points back to Essex. The Rooks took the lead in the 17th minute when Aaron Cosgrave ran onto a Jude Arthurs clearance off the Rooks goal line and sped away from the Regent defence before rounding the keeper and slotting home.

The visitors equalised in the 32nd minute when a low cross was missed by Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke and was bundled in by Jerry Kamanzi on the line. The winner came out of nothing when a ball was cleared and Rocha smashed the ball home on the half-volley from 30 yards.

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THE AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS – THE STORY SO FAR?

With the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations about to enter the knock-out stages, here’s a quick run down on the tournament so far and who some of the surprise packages have been.

The tournament has brought colour and noise, with most games available to watch on Sky Sports. It’s also had it’s fair share of controversy and incident including the referee in the Tunisia v Mali game who initially blew for full-time in the 85th minute, only to agree to carry on then ending the game in the 89th minute or the Ivory Coast v Sierra Leone game which saw some suspicious goalkeeping when Wilfried Zaha’s outstanding pass found former Hammer Sebastian Haller who slipped past the back-pedalling Sierra Leone defence and then keeper Kamara stumbled in the wrong direction as he appeared to make no attempt to block the Ajax man’s shot.

Group A has seen hosts Cameroon win the group but a draw in their last game with Cape Verde saw the Blue Sharks qualify as one of the best third place runners up. Until 1974 the islands in the Atlantic Ocean were Portuguese ruled, which is a factor in them often punching above their weight in international football including a 3-1 win over Cameroon in the qualifying tournament. Runners-up spot went to Burkina Faso, previously known as Upper Volta, who had Aston Villa forward Bertrand Traóre in their starting XI.

Group B saw the extraordinary sight of Senegal qualifying as group winners despite scoring just one goal, and that being a Sadio Mané penalty in the 7th minute of injury time against Zimbabwe. Guinea became one of four teams with a Red, Green and Yellow flag to qualify, finishing runners up in the low scoring group with Liverpool’s Naby Keira captaining the National Elephants.

Group C provided the biggest shock of the tournament so far with one of the top seeds, Ghana, finishes bottom of the group with just one point. The Black Stars were eliminated after losing their final group 3-2 to outsiders Comoros. Playing in their first ever international tournament and ranked just 132nd by FIFA the island nation (located just to the north of Madagascar) finished third in the group and a tie against hosts Cameroon in the next round, with Morocco winning the group and Gabon finishing runners up.

Group D saw two heavyweights go head to head in the first group game with Nigeria beating Egypt 1-0. Mo Salah’s 69th minute goal in the game against Guinea-Bissau saw them cement second spot with the Super Eagles being the only side with a 100% record to proceed to the next round. Probably the only group of the six where the form guide translated into final positions.

Group E started with holders, and FIFA’s Arab Cup winners Algeria being held to a goal less draw by Sierra Leone, ranked 108th in the world coming into the tournament. The Leone Stars have a few English-based players in their squad including Wealdstone’s David Sesay. Algeria’s tournament went from bad to worse, ending with a heavy 4-1 defeat to group winners, Ivory Coast and their elimination, finishing in last place in the group. Equatorial Guinea, ranked 115th in the world, finished runners up on six points, their final group game win over Sierra Leone eliminating them.

Group F went to the wire with a three-way battle between Gambia, Mali and Tunisia for top spot although all three were guaranteed a knockout place, with Mauritania eliminated after defeats in their opening two games. The Scorpions of Gambia are the lowest ranked team in the competition at 150th on the FIFA rankings but a 90th minute equalising penalty in the game against Mali essentially saw them qualify for the knockout phase, whilst another 90th minute goal, this time a winner against Tunisia, saw them win the group, who had a substitute sent off at half-time whilst the teams left the pitch. Mali’s 2-0 win saw them qualify as runners-up.

Tomorrow sees the first knockout phase games with Burkino Faso taking on Gabon and Nigeria facing Tunisia. Tie of the round is probably Ivory Coast versus Egypt but look no further than Senegal or the hosts Cameroon as the current pundits favourites to lift the trophy on the 6th February. If backing an outsider is your thing then Gabon, even without captain Pierre -Emerick Aubameyang, are my tip for a shot at the title.

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LEWES 3 MERSTHAM 0 – SATURDAY 15th JANUARY 2022

A professional performance saw Lewes record a hard-earned 3-0 victory over Merstham at the Pan, reports Tom Harper and pictures from James Boyes.

Tony Russell named an unchanged side after last week’s impressive 4-1 win at Enfield Town.

Lewes took the lead after three minutes, as Ollie Tanner sent a superb 25-yard free-kick past Toby Bull in the Merstham goal and into the top corner.

The visitors looked comfortable on the ball throughout the game and nearly equalised immediately through Charlie Greenwood, who saw a goal-bound effort blocked after good work down the left by John Ufuah.

Merstham continued to look dangerous and saw Dylan Adjei-Hersey hit the post from the edge of the area, with Lewis Carey making a smart save to deny Huseyin Biler on the rebound.

Lewes doubled their lead on 38 minutes, as a pass from Taylor Maloney, introduced earlier in the half in place of the injured Bradley Pritchard, was deflected into the path of Joe Taylor, who ran through and finished into the bottom corner.

The Rooks controlled possession for the remainder of the half, but there was still time for Merstham to threaten on the counter-attack, with Korrey Henry sending a powerful strike over the bar as they looked for a route back into the game.

Lewes started the second half brightly and saw Tanner force a smart save from Bull after being teed up by Michael Klass at the end of an incisive move.

The resulting corner, taken by Maloney, was headed back across goal by Mitchell Nelson at the far post and Tom Phipp saw his close-range header deflected just wide.

The visitors remained a threat in the final third themselves though, with Ufuah shooting just wide from the edge of the area.

The Rooks made it 3-0 just after the hour, as Taylor sent Bull the wrong way from the penalty spot after Klass had been tripped in the area.

To their credit, Merstham continued to play on the front foot and saw Carey make a smart save to keep out a close-range Adjei-Hersey header, before denying Jack Haire after a corner dropped to him at the far post.

Lewes were being made to work hard for their clean sheet, with Carey reacting well again to save a strike from substitute Serge Makofo before Will Salmon was in the right place to clear the rebound off the line.

The closing stages passed without incident, as Lewes kept possession and saw the game out comfortably to record their fifth win in six league games and move up to second in the table.

Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Phipp (Weaire 82), Pritchard (Maloney 19), Tanner (Allen 77), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Hall, Dalling.
Booked: None.

Merstham: Bull, Biler, Mason (Anderson 31), Gharbaoui, Lloyd, Richmond, Adjei-Hersey, Haire, Henry (Makofo 67), Greenwood (McGee 82), Ufuah.
Unused Sub: Hayles.
Booked: None.

Attendance: 879

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ON THIS DAY IN ROOKS HISTORY – 22nd JANUARY 2011

The Rooks fell to a 1-0 home defeat to Staines Town thanks to a goal from Henry Newton in the 25th minute, but how well do you remember the game? (or how good are you at guessing!).

Results

#1. Jermaine Wright lined up in midfield for The Rooks but which Football League side did he join us from?

#2. Who was in goal for the Rooks?

#3. Which future Rook lined up for Staines Town?

#4. Which Rook starter went on to play for Staines Town?

#5. Which 21 year old made on his third start in the game for the Rooks?

Finish
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DECEMBER’S OWNERS PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Congratulations to Joe Taylor who won the vote from our Owners for Player of the Month for December. Joe received his prize, provided by Go Botanica, from Chair Stu Fuller before the game against Merstham last Saturday. Just a reminder that to vote in our Player of the Month awards you need to be an owner….and that is as simple as clicking here.

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SQUAD NEWS

Freddie Parker has gone on loan to Barking of the Isthmian League North for a month to get some game time. Freddie’s opportunities this season have been limited by the superb form of the likes of Joe Taylor, Taylor Maloney and Michael Klass. Freddie made a scoring debut for Barking on Friday 14th January in a three-one win over Maldon & Tiptree.

Ayo Olokuga has also moved into the Isthmian League North, joining Witham Town. As Ayo wasn’t on contract we couldn’t loan him out but the Essex club have agreed he would be able to return to the Dripping Pan should we need the midfielder’s services at any point.

Finally, full-back Killian Colombie has departed the club.

We wish all three success in the near and far term.

Coming into the squad is Casey Pettit and Reece Gillies. Casey joins us on loan from Luton Town where he is captain of the Hatters Under23s side. He started his career at West Ham United, then moved onto Millwall before joining the Luton when he was 16. He can play centre-back or centre-midfield.

Reece joins as midfield cover having last played with Rochester United and Whitstable Town.

We wish both players the best of luck here at

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STODGEBUSTERS GO TO TOWN IN ENFIELD

Our next adventure would be Enfield Town. A town long associated with the manufacture of small arms for the military, especially rifles, and lending it’s name to Royal Enfield, a brand of motorcycle and not where The Queen keeps her chickens. 

“What shall we do? Car or train?”.

This debate lasted a few days on the Stodgebuster Whatsapp group. In the end with the possibility of train cancellations marooning us on Seven Sisters station and the threat of a monsoon for the longish walk to the ground the choice was made with driving being the winner and Steve volunteering his services as chauffeur to get us to the other side of the M25 in his Chelsea Tractor.

“But it won’t be on with all this rain” said someone.

With the rain lashing down all morning we constantly checked Twitter and the weather forecast for north London. With the Met Office mob saying the rain would be persisting down until mid afternoon this could be touch and go. So with no news on a postponement the hardy Stodgebusters dug out the waterproofs and braved the elements. Steve picked up Roly and Turnstile Al in Polegate and then PJ and Gary the Badge who were cowering in the Lewes prison bus shelter.

“It can’t be on can it?” said someone.

 PJ handed out the Opal Fruits while we discussed what would happen later. It’s fair to say there was a great deal of pessimism in the ranks about whether we would actually see a game and, if we did, what the result would be. We couldn’t remember ever winning at Enfield and although we whacked them 4-1 at the Pan this season we weren’t that confident overall. Enfield were right up there with us near the top of the table so were no mugs. If the game went ahead it would surely be sodden and very heavy.

“It won’t suit our slick brand of Brazilianesque passing football” said someone.

All the way up the M23 and M25 it bucketed down. PJ was checking Twitter every five minutes for news. There was nothing except the much earlier message that the pitch didn’t need an inspection.

“I’ll be amazed if it’s on” said someone.

It did stop raining for a bit, but being in the Dartford Tunnel probably had something to do with it.

As we got closer the rain began to ease off and the sky brightened up a bit. But there were huge puddles everywhere.

“I’ll still be amazed if it’s on” said someone.

In the past we had frequented the Toby Carvery near the ground but we fancied something more Stodgebuster like. In his role as Chief Scout PJ had found us a new cafe in Enfield to try. Between the M25 and the ground there is the Bullsmoor Cafe. This looked ideal but was empty which is not a good sign, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say. It looked nice and clean so we piled in.

Ah yes, here we go. All day breakfasts. Cooked lunches. Burgers. Chips…….. Stodge everywhere! It was pretty much Stodgebuster Heaven. A Full English, a couple of omelettes and chips, a roast beef dinner and a cottage pie dinner were ordered up while PJ checked Twitter for the hundredth time.

Still no news although the rain was now down to a very light shower.

“It might be on” said someone.

The food went down a treat. Once more we had found an excellent watering hole and will be used again if/when the next time we drive to Enfield.

On PJ’s one hundred-and-first check of Twitter there was at last some news. It was game on!

“I knew it would be. Never in doubt” said someone.

We quite like the Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Although it has the dreaded running track around it making viewing from the sides less attractive you can walk across the track to the infield and get right behind the goal. It also has a decent amount of cover behind each goal although, disappointingly, there is no cover for anyone in wheelchairs. The pitch looked pretty good considering the amount of water that had fallen on it, and it would definitely take a stud.

The first half hour was pretty even with both teams going close. But a Lewes free kick on the half hour mark deflected kindly for Klass whose first effort was well saved but he got to the rebound first and dinked it cheekily over the sprawling keeper. The lead lasted ten minutes. There are times when employing the Big Boot is better than trying to play your way out of defence when under pressure. This was one such occasion. We lost the ball, it was lumped back into the box where one of their big guys got his head on it at the far post. It wasn’t an Enfield Bullet but it was strong enough and went back across the goal into the opposite side just inside the post.

“We’ll take a point” said someone.

The rain came back for the second half. Could we hold on or maybe even win it? One had the feeling there were more goals in it. We just hoped they would be at the right end. Lewes started the second half brightly and went ahead on the hour mark when Razz picked up the ball, cut inside and curled a beauty inside the post. Brilliant! Now don’t muck it up! We went further ahead six minutes later when a lovely passing move from the back ended up with Razz slipping the ball to Klass who rifled another one across the keeper into the far corner. The Rooks were really on it now and making light of the conditions.

Maybe Enfield had tired as they weren’t pressing the ball as they had earlier and giving this Rooks outfit space to play is fatal. Enfield were now being shot to pieces and chasing shadows. On 73 minutes the inevitable fourth goal came at the end of a very patient 34 pass passage of play when a driving Tanner played in Taylor who dinked it beautifully over the diving keeper. It was pandemonium behind the goal. We hadn’t seen this coming at all. We thought a point would be a good result. What do we know? The Enfield drum and supporters at the other end had long fell silent as waves of Lewes attacks swept up field.

4-1. That would do. They had been put to the sword.

“The result was never in doubt” said someone.

What looked like being a damp squib had turned into a splendid day out. We’d had an excellent lunch, seen a rampant Rooks performance, fantastic goals and got three points. It was, however, sad to see the officials getting verbal abuse from some home supporters. We thought they’d had a pretty good game and couldn’t think of any controversial moments that would give their supporters the hump. Who would be a referee eh?

The next Stodgebuster outing will be to our all time least favourite ground at Hornchurch. We mustn’t forget the binoculars for that one.   

***Fancy being a Stodgebuster? Our Personnel Department is now taking applications for day memberships and longer term. Bribes gladly accepted.***

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YOU’RE NOT FIT TO WEAR THE SHIRT…

The postponement of last Sunday’s North London Derby is potentially new tipping point in the relationship between clubs and the Premier League. With professional players and coaches spending so much time together there is no surprise that COVID has spread quickly through some clubs and left them with the bare bones to play matches. But the consistency on some of the decisions to postpone games has left everyone from the armchair fan to the club manager bemused as to what the threshold is to postpone a game.

On Friday 14th January, less than 24 hours after Arsenal had held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Carabao Cup at Anfield, they formally requested to the Premier League for the cancellation of their away game against Tottenham Hotspur. They cited they did not have enough players to fulfil the fixture. This is Arsenal FC who have revenues of over £340 million and a roster of 25 first team players, 9 on loan and 33 players in their Under23s (Premier League “B”) squad. In fact at the same time as the club were requesting a postponement of their game, the U23s were taking on West Ham U23s in the EPL Professional Development League at Boreham Wood FC with a full match day squad that included a Mexican full international in their starting eleven.

When the full list of unavailable players was made public, only one player was absent due to COVID. The remainder were injured, “ill” or suspended. Quite how the decision was made by the Premier League that there was a case to consider a postponement is one for the “experts”. I wonder how different the situation would have been if the game was being played at The Emirates rather than the White Hart Lane Stadium? One can only speculate.

But what we do know is that there have been a number of other requests to postpone games directly related to COVID cases in squad that have been refused by the EPL – notably Leeds United’s situation before Christmas when they were ironically forced to face Arsenal after a high number of cases in their squad.

At our level there have only been a few games postponed due to COVID – Guernsey recently had a significant number of cases that forced a couple of their games to be cancelled, whilst Bognor Regis Town saw postponements due to a lack of available players after they were beaten here on New Year’s Day.

It should be remembered that in Rugby Union, club games continue when there are Internationals (including long periods for a World Cup) whilst in cricket, most counties only see their centrally-contracted players a few times a season. The clubs resource their squads accordingly without any issues, complaints or requests for cancellations.

On Monday night it was announced that Burnley’s game against Watford twenty four hours later had been postponed as the Clarets only had 10 fit players….excluding the 16 who were part of their squad for the Under23s game on the same night. If these players are good enough to be drafted into cup games where managers no longer respect the competitions, why can’t they play in the Premier League?

The Pandemic has caused chaos and mayhem in football, none more so down in the Non-Leagues as we hope (looking through our hands with trepidation) that we will finally get to finish a season this time around. Once again, Non-League has adapted, something every club has had to learn to do but it really should be the professional leagues leading by example and not trying to game an imperfect system as it seems to be the case in this instance.

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THE ISTHMIAN LEAGUE PARTNERS

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THE 2021/22 ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON

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ON THE ROAD TO….HORNCHURCH SAT 29th JAN 2022

About Hornchurch Stadium
It’s still an athletics stadium I’m afraid.  Since our last visit they haven’t moved any of the stands closer to the pitch so bring your glasses for this one.  Hornchurch have called “The Stadium” home since 1953 when they moved from Upminster Park.   As the club made a rapid rise through the leagues in the early 2000’s bits were added to comply with various league gradings.  The Riverside side of the ground is so called as the River Ingrebourne runs behind it.  On this side of the ground there are three separate stands offer shelter from the elements although as they are not very steep the view isn’t the best.  On the East side of the ground is the Main stand, flanked by covered terracing.  It is almost impossible to watch at the north end of the ground but at the other end you can watch the game from an elevated position in the bar or the terrace next door.

How to get to Hornchurch Stadium
AFC Hornchurch is one of the few games we will travel to next season where you can take the tube to.  We missed that last season.  So, for the non-drivers, head to London Victoria, grab some reading material and catch the District Line east.  Upminster Bridge underground station is a few minutes away from the ground. Turn right out of the station, walk under the railway bridge and take the second right turning into Bridge Avenue. The station is in zone 6. Upminster British Rail station is the nearest mainline to the ground and a 10-minute walk. Come out of station, turn left into St Mary’s Lane and then left again for Bridge Avenue. The station is also in zone 6.  Remember DO NOT ALIGHT AT HORNCHURCH…it is miles away from the ground.

If you are driving then head north up the A23/M23 and then anti-clockwise on the M25, under the Thames (don’t forget to pay the toll charge online!) and then exit the motorway at junction M29 and take the left-hand slip-road off the roundabout towards London (E & C).  After approx. one mile take the left-hand slip road and then at end turn left into Hall Lane.

Follow Hall Lane south, hopping over a couple of mini-roundabouts, crossing the railway line before you need to turn right into St Mary’s Lane (A124).  Follow this road downhill and then after 600 metres, do a left into Bridge Avenue.  The entrance to the ground is about 200m down this road on your left.  Take your pick from the space available on the streets around here.  Total distance from Lewes FC is 75 miles and it should take between 90 minutes and 2 hours each way depending on the traffic.

Admission at Hornchurch Stadium
Admission this season is £12 for adults, £7 for concessions (senior citizens and students), Under16s £3 and accompanied under 12s are admitted free of charge.  

Fancy a beer?
The nearest pub to the ground is The Windmill which is almost opposite Bridge Avenue as you walk along the main road.  It is a Greene King “family” pub so don’t expect much in way of sophisticated eating and fine craft ales, but it is pleasant (and cheap enough).

The Upminster Taproom on Sunnyside Gardens is a great micro-pub and only a five-minute walk from Upminster station. The Optimist Tavern on Hacton Lane is also recommended for a craft ale or two.

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TOMORROW AT THE PAN…2PM KICK OFF

Tickets on sale now. Live stream details for Owners will be emailed prior to the game.

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MEANWHILE, THE COMMERCIAL PARTNER OF THE WEEK IS

All professional clubs do a lot of travelling and always want to arrive in style, rested and fully relaxed. What better way than by taking your own pillows. In a move to gain an extra percent or two and a marginal gain over Premier League rivals, Manchester United now have a Global Pillow Partner in the form of a partnership with Mlily, “The legend of comfort”. We all need comfy pillows right? And what better way to “activate” this commercial deal than by promoting to their global fan base of millions that they can get closer to their idols such as Harry Maguire than by laying their heads on the same pillows as the United stars do.

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AND FINALLY….FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT

One of the surprise stories of the African Cup of Nations this month (see earlier article) has been the performance of the Comoros Island, who having qualified for their first ever international football tournament, beat one of the tournament favourites Ghana to knock them out.

For those without a intimate knowledge of African geography, the Comoros an island country in the Indian Ocean, at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa. It is one of the smallest nations in the world with a population of around 850,000. The capital, Moroni is how to around 40,000 and sits at the foot of Mount Kathala, one of the world’s biggest active volcanoes. Football hasn’t been high on the agenda of the islanders in their history and so it is understandable the pride the current side has brought to the nation.

Many of you who know me will know a bit about my work background in the brand protection and Intellectual Property (IP) space, especially when it comes to the sports world.

Fake football shirts, or the detection of, would be my Mastermind specialist subjects and I’m heavily involved today in the measures that go into current shirts to protect consumers and brands/clubs from the damage that counterfeit football shirts does.

But you have to admire the brazen cheek of someone within the Comoros Football Association for this shirt that they “made” and wore some years ago. Whilst collaborations are all the rage today, adidas and Umbro have never worked together on producing a shirt. So this one is clearly a fake…and a spectacular one at that. Fortunately, their effort for this tournament appears to be genuine and perhaps now they are a name on the world stage, they won’t have to look at a counterfeit version in the future.

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LEGALS AND CREDITS

“The Isthmian Football League strongly supports the FA statement that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly any form of discriminatory abuse whether it by reason of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association.” (The FA 0800 085 0508 / Kick it Out 020 7253 0162).The Isthmian League and all Member Clubs in the League are committed to promoting equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and providing access and opportunities for all members of the community.”

Lewes 2000 FC Limited. Registered in England and Wales with Company Registration Number 03790979. Lewes 2000 FC Limited is 100% owned by Lewes Community Football Club.

Honorary President Terry Parris
Chair Stuart Fuller
Directors Sue Anstiss MBE (co-opted), Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Charlie Dobres, Karen Dobres, Stuart Fuller, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Ed Ramsden, Claire Rafferty (co-opted), Sally Taplin, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Fan Engagement Manager Shrey Nilvarna
Youth Secretary Kevin Brook
Operations Manager James Barker

Equality FC Campaign Manager Karen Dobres

Life Members
Mr and Mrs Brook, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris, Terry Parris, Jimmy Quinn, P. Swaysland, Steve Ibbitson, Jason Hopkinson, Steve White, Martin Elliot, Kevin Fingerneissl, Kevin Powell, David and Barbara Arnold, Roger and Cathy Feltham, Ethel Treagus, Roy Dartnell RIP, Ron Moore, Derek Southouse, Ray Smith, Ken Carter RIP

Manager Tony Russell
Assistant manager Joe Vines
Head of Recruitment Adam Drew
First team coach Dale Hurley
First team coach Nathan White
First team physio Tom Parker
Goalkeeping coach Grant Hall
Match logistics Clive Burgess
Under-18s Manager Dale Hurley
Under-18s Assistant Manager Craig Stevens
Under-18s coaches Jake Legrange and Johnny Buggy

Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editor Stuart Fuller
Progcast Editors Paul Sheppard and Stuart Fuller
Club Photographer James Boyes

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COMING UP NEXT AT THE DRIPPING PAN

TUESDAY 25th JANUARY 2021 – 7:45PM

THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

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TODAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS

  1. Blackpool
  2. Chris Winterton
  3. Leroy Griffiths
  4. David Wheeler
  5. Ben Godfrey