Saturday 5th February 2022 3pm – The Isthmian Premier League

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

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NOTES FROM THE CHAIR

Good afternoon and welcome back to the Dripping Pan for this afternoon’s game versus East Thurrock United. I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials from The Rocks and hope they enjoy our hospitality this afternoon.

Well, it has been quite a week and one that I don’t hope we have to endure too often. Let’s start with the game at Hornchurch last week. If anything could have gone wrong, it did. We lost Tom Phipp in the warm up as he turned his ankle on what could only be described as a shot put dent in the pitch (Hornchurch’s ground is an athletics stadium). Whilst we took the lead thanks to an excellent goal from Deshane, the horrendous tackle on Michael Klass in the build up went completely unpunished. The Hornchurch defender has both feet off the floor, planting a boot on Michael’s thigh, yet this wasn’t deemed a “reckless” challenge.

We then lost Tom Carsle, after another unpunished late challenged and then Razz, who switched to left back. Finally, with the second half just a few minutes old, Bradley Pritchard had to retire from the game, taking his seat on the bench alongside Razz, Taylor Maloney, Ollie Tanner, Tom Carsle and Tom Phipp – that is some six a side team!

We were very unhappy with the sending off too – in real time I felt the Hornchurch defender grabbed Mitchell’s shirt and pulled him towards his face. There was no contact, something that the video footage showed. We still gave it a really good go and I cannot remember Lew Carey making a save when it was 2-1, whilst we still created a couple of chances.

The defeat was hard to take, not just because of the circumstances but also because we felt we more than held our own. We knew that Worthing would wobble, and at the moment it is Enfield Town who seem to be the leaders-elect. But we are only two thirds of the season gone, meaning there is still 42 points to play for.

As I mentioned above, Ollie Tanner wasn’t in the squad but not for the reasons most would have assumed. He picked up a knock on Tuesday and was always a doubt for the game. Many will have assumed he had signed for a Premier League side, based on the media reports. “Done Deal” was a frequently used phrase – yet what most seem to forget is that there are three parties to virtually all transfers – two clubs and a player. So whilst a deal in principle may have been agreed between the two clubs (but not for anything like the figures I saw quoted), Ollie decided against the move.

To be clear, we as a club support any decision Ollie choses to make and know that he will go on to have a brilliant career in the game. But some of the media stories and social media abuse he, and others, received, was appalling. Am I surprised? Not really. Last Saturday it was Ollie and Lewes, this week it will be another player or manager. Unfortunately, the social media networks don’t seem to want to take any action against the rising levels of abuse.

And so, on to today. We don’t have fond memories of our visit to East Thurrock back in November when we lost 2-0, the last time we failed to score in a game. That was the game when vastly experienced Jim Cooper came in as interim manager and they certainly put on a performance to him. Their recent form has been a bit up and down, although they did record an impressive 7-0 win at Romford in the League Cup two weeks ago.

Let’s get behind the boys today and make some noise!

Come On You Rooks!

Stuart

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WELCOME TO…..

The club is delighted to welcome The Teenage Cancer Trust to the Dripping Pan today. They will have donation buckets but in addition to this, the Lewes Supporters Club has decided to donate all money received for the match day raffle and Golden Goal competition, to TCT. The raffle costs £1 for a strip of five tickets; a Golden Goal ticket costs £1 for a chance of winning £25. Please bring your loose change, buy some raffle tickets, invest in the Golden Goal competition and know that you will be supporting a superb cause! Thank you!

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THOUGHTS FROM THE COOL BOX

Hi everyone. Last Saturday we faced the tough trip to Hornchurch. I’ve got a lot of time and respect for Stimmo, their manager and they did a brilliant job last season winning the FA Trophy. They’ve got some good players and they are very good at what they do. They share their ground with an athletics club which means the pitch is used for javelin throwing, shot putting and discus discussing. It isn’t the best surface to play football on which makes it a challenge but great sides find a way to win, irrespective of the conditions. We lost Phippo in the warm up but we took the lead.

However, in the build up to the goal there’s a shocking tackle on Michael Klass which went unpunished. It was one of a number of challenges that we felt were reckless and really upset me and myself and Stu went to see the referee post match. It is the first time this season I’ve done that. They were a young officiating team and I felt that they were too inexperienced for such a game.

We lost Tom Carsle to another bad tackle that went unpunished and then in the second half Mitch was red carded after he was bundled over and then a Hornchurch player pulls him towards him by the collar of his shirt, making it look like there was a head-butt. Then all hell breaks loose, players surround the referee, coaching staff running towards the linesman. It was absolutely madness.

When we regrouped on Monday we had a conversation about whether we should be doing that – should we be trying to influence the officials in a similar way? Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some excellent referees and assistants this year but if other teams are prepared to try to influence the officials in that , should we? Of course not – there is a Respect campaign and we believe in that but that also requires the officials to referee the game in a fair and consistent way.

We wasn’t good enough in the game and we played much better when we went down to ten men. Despite the score line it was a game of few chances although I have to say their third goal, which killed the game off, was outstanding. But the whole day left a bitter task in my mouth. We’ve got two players who came to training looking like they have been attacked by a lion!

Today we will also have a challenge as we host East Thurrock United, fighting for their future in the division. They’ve got a new management team, have brought in a couple of new players and we will have to be at our best today. We are short on numbers with injuries and Mitchell now out for three games. But we are back here and I know we will have numbers supporting us – if you can bring a mate or two then please do.

You can read my interview about Ollie’s decision to stay with us in the Sussex Express here.

Get behind the boys and make some noise!

Tony

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AN UNHOLY TRINITY – BRITAIN’S BIGGEST CITY WITHOUT A PROFESSIONAL TEAM

A favourite question in trivia quizzes, the answer often beats even the best of us.  But by some way, the answer is Wakefield and there’s little chance of them getting a professional side any time soon.

Of course, we all know the answer is Wakefield, right?

The cathedral city, with Leeds to the North, Barnsley to the South and Huddersfield on the western horizon has a population of nearly 330,000 based on the most recent census results but has never hosted a professional football side.  This is Rugby League territory, with the city’s side, Wakefield Trinity having won the twice (the golden years of 1967-68) and five challenge cups.  Their stadium, The 9,000 capacity Belle Vue has been their home since 1892 and for a period did host a football side.

Whilst Frickley Athletic, today playing at Step 4 in the Northern Premier League (East) can claim to be within the metropolitan area, the city’s original side Wakefield & Emley FC existed from 2004 to 2014, having moved from the village of Emley where a team had played for over 100 years. Emley, for those who love a bit of trivia, is home to the Emley Moor Tower, the 4th tallest structure in the United Kingdom at 330m high.

The move was part of a massive investment in the city to try to bring professional football to the region. For those with good memories, you may recall that the club reached the third round of the FA Cup back in 1998 when they were still in the Unibond League. They drew West Ham United and travelled down to London, knowing that they were facing a Harry Redknapp side who were, quite frankly, a bit of a joke.

Unsurprisingly to the Hammers fans, the Non-League side more than held their own, equalising Frank Lampard’s 4th minute opener just after half-time, only losing to a late John Hartson effort. The following season the club reached the Quarter Finals of the FA Trophy, still as a Step 3 side. Two seasons later they missed out on promotion to Step 1 despite reaching a mammoth 101 points, losing out to Stalybridge Celtic by a single point.

At the end of the 2005/06 season, Wakefield & Emley FC became just Wakefield FC and they found a ground in the city centre at College Grove, which was also the home of the Rugby Union side. But the club could never reclaim the glory years under the Emley name and at the end of the 2013-14 season, having finished bottom of the Northern Premier League Division One North, the club folded.

Emley reformed as AFC Emley the following season, moving back to their ground in the village and are today in the Northern Counties East Premier League (Step 5), having gained promotion during the summer as part of the FA’s reshuffle. However, they are a long way away from their glory years of twenty years ago.

Despite some tentative discussions in the last few years, Wakefield remains football-less and so it is safe to continue to answer those trivia questions about the biggest UK city without a professional team for some time yet.

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LEWES 2 CRAY WANDERERS 0 – TUES 25th JANUARY 2022

Pictures by the brilliant James Boyes

Lewes returned to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cray Wanderers on a bitterly cold night at the Pan, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made one change to the side that drew 2-2 with Brightlingsea Regent in their previous game, with Deshane Dalling replacing Iffy Allen in the starting line-up.

After scoring in the opening three minutes of their previous two home games, Lewes made a quieter start to this one, dominating possession without troubling Bailey Vose in the Cray goal.

There was little goalmouth action for long periods of the half, but the chances that were created fell to the Rooks, with Tom Phipp’s shot on the turn going wide after the visitors had been unable to clear an Ollie Tanner free-kick.

Michael Klass then shot straight at Vose from the edge of the area, before Razz Coleman De-Graft saw a goal-bound effort blocked after good play down the right.

Lewes started to apply more pressure in the closing stages of the half, with Tanner forcing a smart save from Vose at the end of an incisive passing move.

Tanner nearly turned provider minutes later, as his free-kick from the left was headed against the far post by Klass. The loose ball then fell to Deshane Dalling, but he could only blast his shot wide after making space for himself.

The Rooks continued to push for the opening goal in the final minute of the half, with De-Graft getting in behind the Cray defence only to see his effort deflected wide of the near post.

Tanner took the resulting corner, which appeared to be punched over the line by Vose under pressure from Joe Taylor, giving Lewes a 1-0 lead with the final action of the half.

The Lewes pressure continued after the break and they doubled their lead on 54 minutes, winning the ball high up the pitch before working it to the right to De-Graft, who cut inside and sent a perfectly-placed curling strike past Vose and in off the inside of the far post.

Lewes managed the game reasonably well for the remainder of the 90 minutes, keeping possession and restricting the visitors to mainly long-range efforts that didn’t trouble Lewis Carey.

The closest Cray came to mounting a comeback saw Freddy Barton shoot over the bar after Carey had only been able to parry a powerful Luca Albon effort.

The Rooks came close to adding to their lead in the closing stages, with Taylor just unable to make a significant enough connection with a Tanner cross to force the ball past Vose.

This was the final meaningful action of a game that Lewes deservedly won to stay third in the table.

Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Phipp, Dalling (Pettit 70), Tanner (Allen 87), De-Graft, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Yao, Hall, Gillies.
Booked: Dalling.

Cray Wanderers: Vose, Barton, Aidoo, Bakrin, Hanfrey, Albon (Reason 70), Dickson (Desa 75), Cook, Brodie, Yila (Reid 84), Munting.
Unused Subs: Oduguwa, Danquah.
Booked: Cook

Attendance: 570

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IT’S BETTER TO TRAVEL WITH HOPE THAN NOT TO TRAVEL AT ALL

We take travel today with a pinch of salt.  Budget airlines have opened up a world we would have never seen and thanks to this t’internet thing we can now get independent reviews, photos and even videos of hotels, bars and restaurants around the world all from the safety of our DFS sofa.  But can you remember what it was like to travel forty years ago?  Sure you had your package deals with DanAir or British Caledonian, somehow managing to get off the ground and heading for the cultural high points of Majorca and the Costa Brava but what would it have been like to make a trip behind the Iron Curtain?

Having travelled a few times to the ex-Soviet states I know how hard it is today to get a visa, fill in the landing card and remember to keep enough dollars spare for the inevitable bribes for standing in the wrong place, or taking a picture of some government building.  Take this experience back to the early 1980’s when the Red Machine was in full effect and Russia was an almost closed country.  But football has always been a universal language, crossing even the most difficult borders and with three European football competitions every season it was inevitable that every so often our brave boys would have to experience a slice of life in the Eastern Bloc.

In March 1981 in the middle of their record-breaking promotion season, West Ham United headed off to Tblisi, capital of the Soviet region of Georgia to play the second leg of their European Cup Winners Cup Quarter Final.  It was never going to be an easy trip as Liverpool had found a few years before in the European Cup, but to go there on the back of a 4-1 defeat and just four days after a League Cup Final appearance at Wembley it was always going to be a tough trip.

But there is tough, and there is tough. Whilst the club had known that Tbilisi would be their opponents at this stage for some time, the winter break had made it almost impossible for the Hammers to find out much about their opponents before the home tie.  They had been given a brief scouting report by Waterford Town, who had played them in a previous round and Liverpool who had lost there in the European Cup the previous year suggested not to go at all!  The club found some help from unlikely sources.

The London Correspondent for TASS, the Soviet news agency had a friend who supported the club and managed to send over some videos of the team, plus a Swedish based journalist whose company had daily Russian newspapers was able to translate a few things relevant to the tie.  “Latin flair in lifestyle and play” he wrote on one memo to West Ham.  In the same report, published in the West Ham programme for the game that Russian football was not like our own game.  It was in fact much more controlled and regimented.  For instance, none of this playing for a draw every week – once a team had drawn 10 games in a season they simply got no more points from drawn games.  And penalties handed out to players were incredibly harsh.  A player who showed dissent to a referee could expect a 10 game ban, and feigning injury or time wasting a 3 game ban…..so what went wrong?

Most West Ham fans who turned up on Wednesday 4th March 1981 at Upton Park had never heard of any of the Russians and probably expected another easy home win, which they had become accustomed to during the season.  However, Tbilisi came to London with a squad full of class. Ten full Russian Internationals and four players who had represented their country at the Olympic Games the previous summer.  Included in this was Russian Football of the Year for 1978 Ramaz Shengelia, described in the match day programme as “fast and always on the move”, and the captain of the side, Aleksandr Chivadze.

At the time I was a promising young striker, happily banging in 4 or 5 goals a week at schoolboy level, but it is fair to say that on that March night I wanted to be like Chivadze from that moment on.  He had been voted Russian Player of the Year in 1980, beating Oleg Blokhin by some 80 votes from the Russian sports journalists and had become one of only a few footballers ever profiled by Pravda – the modern day equivalent of featuring in Tatler I would assume.  In a recent game against world champions Argentina, the world cup winning captain Daniel Pasarella had been quoted saying Chivadze would “grace any footballing nation”.  He was the best thing since sliced beetroot in the Soviet Union AND was clever to boot, studying for an Economics degree whilst playing for Dinamo.

It seemed that all attacks stemmed from Aleksandr bringing the ball out of defence. He swayed past Trevor Brooking and run rings around Alan Devonshire. David “Psycho” Cross, at that moment the leading scorer in all of the English leagues may as well have been on a beach in Magaluf – he simply did not get a sniff out of Chivadze.

Chivadze opened the scoring in the game, starting and finishing a move that swept from one end of the pitch to another.  A second followed from Gutsaev before half time but the near 35,000 had seen enough to realise that the Hammer’s European adventure would go no further.  Cross pulled one back after the break but Shengelia added two more to put the Russians out of sight.  At full time, to a man the West Ham fans applauded Dinamo off the pitch, rubbing their eyes at what they had seen.

“I think West Ham underestimated us but even by our standards, that was a very special performance. We had 11 players playing at their best” said coach Nodar Achalkatsi after the game whilst John Lyall could only comment that “if you are going to lose then you want to lose to a team like Dinamo.”

Only a couple of journalists made the trip out to Georgia after the first leg result, giving the Hammers very little chance of overturning the 4-1 deficit and their brief reports simply focused on the 1-0 win rather than the trip itself. A few Hammers fans made the trip, and with their reputation preceding them were surrounded by hundreds of soldiers for their time in the Georgian capital. Very little was ever heard about their trip, but fortunately, West Ham’s Club Doctor, Dr Gordon Brill wrote a report for his diary.  Below is an extract, published in West Ham United’s official programme in April 1981:-

“In retrospect, we cannot be sure which (if either) reflected the true situation, because the 27-hour “outward bound” venture contained so many incidents that we were beginning to feel like James Bonds of soccer.

The almost incredible snags which interrupted schedules, frayed tempers and brought physical discomforts to many were eventually overcome thanks to the bonhomie and mutual co-operation of the 40-odd members of the official party.

Stories filtered out of the plight of our squad in Moscow Airport.  This included the fact that it took approximately one hour to obtain permission to leave a departure compound in order to visit the toilet some 20 yards away under the vigilant eye of four strategically placed guards, visibly equipped with walkie-talkies.  The rules were “go one by one, and the second cannot go until the first one comes back”.  It was just as well that during the preceding four hours at the immigration desks most of the party had only been able to grab a small beer or a coffee.

Eventually, after three passport checks of anything up to 15 minutes per person, and two close scrutinies of every piece of luggage it was decided that we should stay at a hotel overnight.  Fortunately permission was obtained for some food to be unloaded (after a specially convened doctor’s certificate was signed), but unfortunately our baggage containing the grub was back on the plane and could not be unloaded – so it took a whip round on what was in everyone’s hand luggage to provide some sustenance.

The efforts of our catering team produced a meal in the airport  restaurant and we arrived at the hotel around 2am GMT.

Orders were for an 8am alarm call in preparation for a 9am departure on the second leg to Tblisi.  Those above the third floor had a cold water shower and a lucky few found some coffee and stale rolls in the restaurant during a further wait until 11am when the bus eventually arrived for the five minute back to the Airport.

We eventually took off just after noon and arrived in the Georgian capital at 4pm local time.  Our hosts had literally been awaiting us since the previous night with no word on our whereabouts.

From thence on it was roses all the way.  Our hosts catered for our needs and entertainment in various ways.  For the players it was training in the Olympic stadium – indeed being allowed to use the Dinamo Sports Science Complex – a real honour for the club.

The match is dealt with elsewhere but a 1-0 victory for the Hammers was a great result, although it was the Russians who went through on aggregate.

And then we came to the journey home.  We arrived at Tblisi airport to find that our plane was still some 1,500 miles away in Moscow.  Thanks to our hosts we at least had some food as they had given us all before we left, not knowing when our next meal would come from.  We were luckier this time at Moscow airport as it only took two and a half hours to be processed through a deserted airport, although a few questions arose over some of our declarations.

For instance Trevor Brooking’s “cash declaration” showed that he had more sterling to bring out than he brought in thanks to Trev’s card school win that took some careful explaining.

Twenty seven hours after we left we landed at Stansted airport in Essex, and with a day and a half until we faced Oldham Athletic.  The club would like to thank all those who helped make the 8,000 mile trip as smooth as possible, especially Tescos for kindly donating some steak for the players.”

An interesting summary of what travel was like then.  Dynamo went on to win the European Cup Winners Cup in that season before slowly fading into the background of Soviet football.   Chivadze stayed at Tbilisi his whole career, making nearly 350 appearances for them before going on to coach the Georgian national side on two separate occasions.

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
A LOOK AT A RANDOM ROOK FROM RECENT HISTORY?

CHRISTIAN NANETTI (2011-12)

The young Italian winger arrived at the Pan from Harrow Borough, having come out of Queens Park Rangers’ Academy. Nanetti made his debut as a sub in a 2-2 Isthmian Premier League game at Hendon. The following week he made a scoring starting debut against Aveley. In his season with the Rooks he made a total of 37 appearances and scored 3 goals before leaving the Pan in March 2011, his final appearance from the bench away at Wingate & Finchley before signing for AFC Wimbledon as they started their climb back up the Non-Leagues.

He was soon off again with his boots slung over his shoulder, turning out for (deep breath) Havant & Waterlooville, Dover Athletic, Whitehawk, Walton Casuals, East Grinstead Town, Concord Rangers, Welling United, Cork City before returning to Welling United. Late in 2018 he headed back to Italy, turning out for Axys Zola in Serie D and most recently, for fifth tier, regionally-based US Corticella. He was certainly a talent but somewhere along the line he never found that place to call home.

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HORNCHURCH 3 LEWES 1 – SAT 29th JANUARY 2022

Ten-man Lewes fell to a 3-1 defeat at Hornchurch, despite taking an early lead in Essex, reports Tom Harper.

Tony Russell made two changes to the side that beat Cray Wanderers 2-0 in their previous game, with Bradley Pritchard and Casey Pettit replacing Tom Phipp, who picked up an injury in the warm-up, and Ollie Tanner in the starting line-up.

The Rooks started brightly and took the lead after only six minutes, as Michael Klass won the ball in midfield and Deshane Dalling gathered possession before sending a shot from the edge of the area past Joe Wright and in off the post.

The hosts had produced an impressive display on their visit to the Pan earlier in the season and soon began to create opportunities, with the unmarked Nathan Bertram-Cooper heading a Tom Wraight free-kick over the bar.

Hornchurch equalised on 19 minutes, as Liam Nash ran onto a long ball forward and steered the ball past Lewis Carey for Charlie Ruff to finish from almost on the line.

Lewes were then forced into two substitutions in quick succession, with Tom Carlse and Razz Coleman De-Graft both picking up injuries and being replaced before the half-hour.

Despite this, Lewes battled well and were able to restrict Hornchurch to very few chances of note for much of the remainder of the half.

Unfortunately for the Rooks, the hosts were awarded a penalty in first-half injury-time as Kenneth Yao, introduced in place of De-Graft, was adjudged to have handled an attempted through-ball in the area.

Wraight struck the penalty emphatically into the roof of the net to give Hornchurch the lead at half-time.

A tough task for Lewes against the league’s form team became even more difficult early in the second half, as Mitchell Nelson was shown a red card for violent conduct after a clash with a Hornchurch defender.

The Rooks regrouped and performed admirably to stay in the game for much of the second half, with Carey virtually untroubled in goal, only being called into action once to deny Ellis Brown.

Lewes could even have equalised when Joe Taylor made space for himself in the area, but sent his shot from a tight angle over the bar.

Hornchurch doubled their lead and secured the three points with six minutes remaining through substitute Ola Ogunwamide, who ran onto an inch-perfect pass from Ruff and sent a superb finish across Carey and into the bottom corner.

Carey had to be alert in the closing stages to help an Ollie Muldoon strike round the post, with Lewes unable to turn some impressive spells of possession into clear-cut opportunities.

Hornchurch: Wright, Sutton, Clark, Bertram-Cooper, Wraight, Muldoon, Joseph (Onokwai 89), Nash, Brown, Ruff (R. Winn 89), Spence (Ogunwamide 74).
Unused Sub: G. Winn.
Booked: Spence.

Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse (Allen 21), Salmon, Nelson, Klass, Pettit, Pritchard (Weaire 50), De-Graft (Yao 27), Dalling, Taylor.
Unused Subs: Hall, Gillies.
Booked: Allen.
Sent off: Nelson

Attendance: 662 (approximately 50 travelling Rooks)

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ON THIS DAY IN ROOKS HISTORY (ALMOST) – 6th FEB 2019

A night, best remembered for the wrong reasons for the Rooks as they hosted rivals from up the A21, Tonbridge Angels. But what can you remember about the game?

Results

#1. The game was abandoned in the 40th minute...but why?

#2. What was the score at the time of the game being abandoned?

#3. Which current Lewes player started that game for the Rooks?

#4. Which free scoring youngster was on the bench for the Rooks?

#5. Which other home game in the 2018/19 season was abandoned?

finish
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THE POSTER BOYS

It is fair to say that Lewes FC restarted the trend of match posters ten years ago. Even today, one of the main topics of conversation when someone talks about our club, it will be about our posters. Everyone has a favourite, and as progcast editor I’m going to pick my top five (in no particular order) from the last decade.

First up this brilliant effort from 2016/17 which, unsurprisingly, is a take on the hit TV show for first home league meeting against South Park. The poster features caricatures of Darren Freeman and James Hammond.

The game was a turning point for the Rooks. After relegation the previous season, the start to the new campaign wasn’t impressive and having lost three consecutive league games and being eliminated from the FA Cup by Step 5 Sevenoaks Town, the Rooks lost this one 3-1, including two own goals by Stacey Freeman, in front of just 284 leading to some unhappy fans letting their feelings known at the final whistle.

Two months later, the Rooks took 28 points from twelve games to turn around the season.

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INTRODUCING OUR VISITORS…EAST THURROCK UNITED

HISTORY

10 AMAZING(ish) facts about EAST THURROCK UNITED

  1. East Thurrock United were founded in April 1969 by enthusiasts who felt the expanding area around the towns of Corringham and Stanford-le-Hope needed a senior non-league football club.
  2. The club’s nickname is The Rocks. Since you didn’t ask, neighbouring Thurrock’s nickname is The Fleet, because until 2003 they were known as Purfleet. Johnny Come Latelys…
  3. East Thurrock’s best known former players include Lee Hodges (three appearances for West Ham), Brian Statham (24 appearances for Spurs) and Grenada international Byron Bubb – who’s been through more clubs than Peter Stringfellow.
  4. With the help of The FA, Thurrock Council and brewers Greene King, the club acquired some land in Corringham and built their Rookery Hill ground in 1984.
  5. Rookery Hill has a stated capacity approaching 4,000 with room for 160 bums on seats.
  6. East Thurrock reached the first round of the FA Cup in 2011/12, and again in 2014/15, losing 3-0 to Macclesfield Town, and 2-0 to Hartlepool respectively.
  7. In 2015/16 East Thurrock finished third in the Premier Division, qualifying for the play-offs. The club beat Tonbridge Angels 2–0 in the semi-finals and Dulwich Hamlet 3–1 in the final in front of a record crowd of 1,661, resulting in promotion to the National League South.
  8. After three seasons in the sixth tier, the club finished second-from-bottom of the National League South in 2018–19, and were relegated back to the Isthmian League’s Premier Division.
  9. East Thurrock United aren’t known as animals, but an anagram of their name is: A Crushed Kitten Tour.
  10. You can follow East Thurrock on Twitter at @1EastThurrockFC (full stop)

That said, East Thurrock currently vie with Leatherhead for bottom position in the league, both on 17 points, the Rocks having played one game less. Mind you, a fair few of the team left in January, replaced by a lot of experienced players; could be a toughie today.

For a more traditional history, feel free to read all about it here.

THE SQUAD

Marc Harrison & Liam Wallace – Joint Managers
Marc and Liam joined the Rocks in November 2021 after a spell in charge at neighbours Tilbury FC. They record they ‘have received the warmest welcome to East Thurrock United that really drives us on to make our time here a success. This season has been hard on the pitch but we have a clear identity that we want to bring to the club. Everyone involved in the first team have full alignment of what is expected at ‘The Rocks’ and we will strive to keep improving.’

Arthur Janata – Goalkeeper
Arthur is a Leyton Orient graduate who signed full time for the Orient in 2018 and spent time in and around the first team squad. He joined the Rocks on his release in the summer of 2020, but continues his ties with the Orient, coaching at their academy.

Ryan Boswell – Defender
Ryan is a full-back who came through the youth setup at Rookery Hill before moving to play for Romford, Brentwood Town, and Tilbury. He re-joined the club during 2018-19 season.

Miles Mitchell-Nelson – Defender
Miles joined the Rocks last week on a month’s loan from Vanarama National League side Southend Utd.

Callum Robinson – Defender
Callum is this week’s mystery man, although he has made 16 appearances in the Rocks first team this season and scored 1 goal.

Ryan Dear – Defender
Ryan is a 6’4″ central defender who is a presence in both boxes, and joined the Rocks last month from Waltham Abbey.

Curtis Ujah – Defender
Curtis joined the Rocks last month, and is an experienced central defender who came through the Reading youth system. Amongst many former clubs are Yeovil Town, Crawley Town, Tonbridge Angels, Hayes & Yeading, St Albans City, Bishops Stortford, Maidenhead United, and Enfield Town.

Sam Collins – Defender
Sam Joined this moth and needs no introduction to Rocks fans, having played over 100 games in the National League for them’ He started his career at MK Dons before dropping into non-league football with Maidenhead Utd, and enjoyed a successful spell at Concord Rangers.

Ben Wyss – Defender/Midfielder
Ben  is a young defender/midfielder who joined the club during the summer from Ipswich Town. A product of the Ipswich academy, Ben progressed through their various age groups to represent at U18 and U23 level.

Tom Barton – Defender/Midfielder
Tom joined the Rocks during the summer of 2021 after four seasons with their Isthmian North neighbours Tilbury.

Johnny Ashman – Midfielder
Johnny is a product of the West Ham United youth set-up and first drew attention in non-league with Clapton FC. He enjoyed a couple of seasons at Barking FC, and also spent time with Cheshunt, Aveley and Witham Town.

Jake Gordon – Midfielder
Jake joined in November 2021, having started the campaign at Great Wakering Rovers. He is an attacking midfielder keen to push on to prove himself at this level.

Oliver Spooner – Midfielder
Ollie moved up to the Rocks from their neighbours Tilbury last year. He has made 9 appearances and scored 2 goals.

Alex Hernandez – Forward
Alex joined the Rocks in August on a dual-reg deal with their National South neighbours Great Wakering Rovers. Theclub describe an exciting young forward who came through the youth ranks at Concord Rangers. He has notched 11 goals in all competitions.

Olly Miles – Forward
Olly joined from Sawbridgeworth Town where he was in fine goalscoring form, had a successful spell with Bishops Stortford and will be looking to establish himself at this level. He has made 5 appearances in January and scored 5 goals, that includes 3 in a 7-0 clattering of Romford in a Velocity Trophy third round clash.

Emmanual Osei-Owusu – Forward
Manny joined on loan in January from Stowmarket Town, having previously played for the Rocks during the 2106-2017 season. He is considered a powerful and pacy forward who is comfortable out wide or through the middle.

THE HEAD TO HEAD SCORES

9th Nov 2021 – East Thurrock United 2 Lewes 0
25th Jan 2020 – Lewes 0 East Thurrock United 3
12th Oct 2019 – East Thurrock United 1 Lewes 0
23rd Apr 2016 – Lewes 1 East Thurrock United 1
5th Dec 2015 – East Thurrock United 4 Lewes 1
31st Jan 2015 – Lewes 3 East Thurrock United 2

THE RECENT FORM

THE LAST TIME HERE – 20TH JANUARY 2020

The Rooks poor start to 2020 continued at The Dripping Pan when East Thurrock United comfortably took all three points with a three-nil win. An early effort from Frankie Merryfield gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at the break. In the second period the Rooks looked dangerous in spells but two late goals from Mitchell Gilbey and Danny Harris gave the visitors the win. The defeat, the Rooks fourth in a row, in front of 506 fans saw them plunge to 17th the Isthmian Premier League table.

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A WORD FROM OUR COMMERCIAL PARTNER OF THE WEEK

With the potential of travel overseas limited in the past two years it is pleasing to see that West Ham have sought a commercial partner that can really deliver synergetic benefits not only to the club but also to the fans. An airline partner is smart business – the club can mine their database and provide exclusive travel deals on behalf of their commercial partner and it is a win/win/win. Arsenal have Emirates, Manchester City naturally have a long term partnership with Etihad. West Ham have, erm, Eva Air, an international airline based out of Taiwan.

Of course the official marketing blurb will tell us about the aligned values, the shared beliefs and so much more. But with just a couple of flights a day to Taipan, capital of Taiwan, it is hard to understand how the two brands align.

The airline is probably best known for its Hello Kitty flights which have been operating for over 15 years and feature themed service and food. Despite West Ham’s foray into Europe this season in the Europa League, unsurprisingly, there’s been no destinations on the Eva Air route.

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THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON 2021/22

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ON THE ROAD TO…CARSHALTON ATHLETIC

About The War Memorial Sports Ground
The War Memorial Sports Ground is one of the best grounds in the Isthmian League, the ground started life as plain old Shorts Farm back in the 1920’s.  The first part to be developed was the grandstand, originally bought and transported piece by piece from Epsom Racecourse down the road.  In 1968, gale-force winds battered this stand so much that it had to be demolished.  Today the main feature is the huge covered terrace that runs down the side of the pitch, allowing ample room for thousands of fans even if it is more likely today to only house a few dozen.

In addition, the ground boasts a good sized, if small in length, grandstand and plenty of standing room down the side of the pitch.  Behind the north end is a small cover whilst at the south end the cover extends across the full length of the terrace.  The club claim to serve the “Best Burger in English Football” from the new eatery in the corner of the pitch, next door to the club shop, both allowing you to watch the action whilst waiting to be served.

How to get to The War Memorial Sports Ground
Carshalton is not the easiest place to get to from anywhere else apart from South London by car especially if you have to travel through Croydon which can be blocked by shoppers on a Saturday, and commuters in midweek. If you are coming from the south via the M25 then take exit 7 signposted Croydon and follow the A23 past the old Croydon airport before taking a left after a few miles onto the A232.

Follow this road for a couple of miles, passing Beddington Park on your right before you enter Carshalton.  Pass through the High Street, passing the two large ponds on your right and take the next right into West Street.  Pass the Racecourse and Hope pubs on this road and then immediately after you pass under the railway bridge take a left into Colston Avenue.  The entrance to the ground is down a small alley about 150 yards on your right.  This is a busy and narrow road, so I would avoid parking down here – there is a car park at the ground or park on West Street or Colston Avenue.  Journey time for the 48-mile trip is just over an hour.

Carshalton is in Zone 5.  The station is only a few minutes’ walk from the ground – take a right out of the exit and walk down the hill.  Turn right, walk under the railway bridge and then left into Colston Avenue – ground is 150 yards on your right.  Journey time from Lewes is 1 hour 50 mins if going via Victoria or 20 minutes less if you change at East Croydon and Mitcham Junction.  Off-Peak returns cost around £20.

Admission at The War Memorial Sports Ground
Admission this season is £11 for adults, £8 for concessions (senior citizens and students), and accompanied under 18s are £3.  

Fancy a beer?
Whilst relatively small in size, Carshalton has a few decent pubs within a stone’s throw of the ground.  On West Street (take a left out of the station) there is the Greyhound and The Hope which was certainly a favourite with the Lewes travelling support last season, whilst in The High Street there is the Woodman, Coach and Horses and Fox and Hounds – all of which are worth a visit.  There is a decent sized bar at the ground and beer can be taken outside whilst the game is on.

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THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE COMMERCIAL PARTNERS

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THE STODGEBUSTERS SCORES ON THE EMPTY PLATES

The race is on with just eight away league games left this season to find the Stodgebusters cafe of the season. So far it is neck and neck at the top, with Mac’s Plaice fish and chip shop in Brightlingsea just edging out Lancing’s Rainbow Cafe.

YOU LITTLE URCHIN….STODGEBUSTERS TAKE ON HORNCHURCH

If  the Stodgebusters had to choose to give one game this season a swerve it would unanimously be this one. We really don’t like Hornchurch’s stadium. We dislike grounds with athletic tracks where one is so far away from the action you could do with a pair of binoculars. Standing behind the goal at Hornchurch puts you so far away you are almost in a different postcode. Standing down the sides isn’t great either with a terracing height of a paltry three steps while looking out over six lanes of running track. Fair play to Hornchurch supporters, though, for putting up with it every other week. Enfield have got it right at their place by letting supporters cross the track to get behind the goal so why can’t Hornchurch? However, we are a loyal bunch and wouldn’t let the poor viewing conditions deter us from a day out supporting the Rooks in East London and enjoying some good pre-match nosh, so PJ and Gary the Badge met up at Lewes station for the 10.27 train to London Bridge to find Polegate Roly in carriage number eight.

Out came the Fox’s Glacier Fruits and the Jelly Babies. We don’t know why we try to predict what is going to happen in these games. We are never right. It used to be easier in recent seasons past when it was more likely to be a defeat and Lewes Nil than anything else. This season Lewes are a much better outfit but it is all so unpredictable that any score you like is possible. We decided we would have take a point pre-match.

It came to light on the journey north that Roly had a problem. Mr Ticket Man at Polegate had sold him a ticket with the wrong date on it. That would surely cause problems at all the automatic barriers. There wasn’t much that could be done about it so we just had to hope we didn’t bump into any jobsworth ticket inspectors who wouldn’t listen to reason or the two fine upstanding gentlemen to vouch for him. He should be OK with a little tailgating here and there and a few open barriers.

End of the line was at London Bridge so it was over to the Underground. We were smartly through the exit barriers OK with Roly barely half an inch behind PJ, but the entry barriers to the Underground were a bit too quick necessitating the first explanation of the day to the operator.

It was the Jubilee Line to West Ham followed by District Line to Elm Park. With no prospective eateries near the ground Chief Scout PJ had found a suitable looking cafe just outside Elm Park station, a couple of stops before our destination of Upminster Bridge.

The imaginatively named Elm Park Cafe looked ideal. It was spacious, not too busy, very clean looking, welcoming staff and a menu full of culinary delights. There’s something reassuring about open plan cafes where you can actually see all the food preparation going on. We prefer that to places where the plates just appear through a door from a kitchen where all manner of horrors could be going on. PJ went a bit left-field and had the Pancake Breakfast with maple syrup, fried eggs, bacon and sausage. Gary had a burger breakfast while Roly plumped for a variation of a Full English with a change as he doesn’t do mushrooms. PJ had done it again. He is the Egon Ronay of non-league and had found another excellent cafe to add to the list. It would be another comfortable 9 on the Stodge-o-meter.

Back on the District Line via some conveniently open ticket gates for the couple of stops to Upminster Bridge.

 It was during the stroll to the ground that a speeding police van screeched to a halt a few yards ahead of us and three Rozzers jumped out in  full The Sweeney style. Blimey. Had Roly and his ticket been rumbled? Thankfully they were much more interested in the four innocuous looking blokes walking ahead of us and the handcuffs went on impressively quick. What was this all about? It was like a scene from The Bill. PJ resisted the temptation to say “Book ‘em Danno” as we passed. More police turned up and it was still going on as, none the wiser, we turned into the ground.

There was no Ollie Tanner warming up. Oh dear. It looked like the rumours might be true and he had played his last game in the red and black. How much would we get for him to soften the blow? This turned out to a classic example of us putting two and two together and coming up with thirteen and a bit as Chairman Stuart pointed out that Ollie was in fact injured and was standing at the other end of the pitch! DOH!

Where shall we stand for the best view? Down the side, level with the edge of the box seemed the best we could manage. Lewes started off on fire. Hornchurch were played off the park for the first fifteen minutes during which we took the lead when Deshane Dalling fired home via the post. The referee had played us a good advantage in the build up after a very bad tackle on Klass that looked like a possible straight red card. Bizarrely, the referee didn’t even get out a yellow. This was a sign of things to come……….

The home side were soon back in the game. We seemed to lose momentum as they got a foothold mainly by combating our passing game by means of kicking anything in a white shirt that moved. A hopeful punt over the top was inexplicably left by our defenders allowing a two-on-one with Carey for one-all.  Foul after foul went unpunished by the very weak referee and a couple of the more reckless ones resulted in Tom Carlse and Razz both having to be subbed before half time with injuries. Some of this was reminiscent of Leeds v Chelsea back in the early 70’s but with only one team doing the kicking. With Phipp injured in the warm up our bench resembled a field hospital. We were under pressure and on the stroke of half time we gave away a penalty when the ball struck Yao on the shoulder. It was certainly debatable but it was crashed into the net for 2-1.

Any hopes of getting three points were severely dented at the start of the second half when Nelson was on the end of yet another foul. The Hornchurch number 5 was obviously giving him some verbals and goading on the floor and then tugged him back by the shirt collar as the captain was getting up and walking away. Retaliating by pushing and putting his face up to the defenders was a big mistake. He had walked into the trap. The defender stretched his arms out in mock innocence while the rest of the home team swarmed around the ref and lino like bees around a honeypot screaming for a red card. It was all rather sickening to watch as we knew what was coming. It was a straight red for Nelson and Lewes down to ten men. Exactly what the number five had played for.

Lewes played well for the remainder. They at least tried to continue playing football and had a couple of chances to equalise amongst the tackles that were flying in. Maybe it was a good thing Ollie didn’t play. He would probably have been kicked into row Z.

Pushing on for an equaliser we got caught light at the back and they got a breakaway third late on. Incredibly, Hornchurch had got through the ninety minutes with only one booking while Lewes had a player dismissed and seen Iffy get a yellow for one robust challenge.

We didn’t hang around after the final whistle. We were too far away to applaud the Lewes boys off so we were out of the gates like the greyhounds at Romford. Bleedin’ place. If we never have to go there again it will be far too soon. Let’s hope we are in different leagues next season.

But the defeat wasn’t the end of the bad news. We were still chewing over the events that had unfolded when we arrived back at the tube and discovered that the District Line had been suspended due to signalling problems. No trains for the foreseeable. That’s just what we needed! The station staff had locked themselves away in an office in the face of a tsunami of questions about what to do. Some quick thinking and a helpful young local girl got us on a bus to Upminster and then an overground service back to West Ham to get us back on track.

The Stodgebusters will return for the visit to Carshalton Athletic. First up, though, is East Thurrock at The Pan. Let’s hope we have enough fit players available who didn’t get too many lumps kicked out of them. We owe them one.

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AND FINALLY….

Brazil legend set to make appearance for Shropshire pub team

Roberto Carlos’ brilliant, swerving free-kick for Brazil against France in 1997 is one of the most memorable goals in the history of football.

It’s no wonder then that a pub team in Shropshire could hardly believe it when they learned the World Cup-winning full-back will play for them in a Sunday league match.

The Bull In The Barne won the services of Carlos – now 48 – in a ‘dream transfer raffle’ on eBay meaning he will appear as a substitute at one of their Shrewsbury & District games in February.

“You pay £5 to enter the raffle for a chance to have a pro sign for your team. One of our lads said in a group chat ‘let’s just give it a go’ and we ended up winning it,” striker and club secretary Matthew Brown told BBC Radio Shropshire.

“On Friday afternoon, our manager, Ed Speller, sent a message to say we won the competition and none of us believed him. We thought he was having us on.

“I went out on Friday night and woke up with a bit of a sore head on Saturday and I had messages from people saying ‘is it true about Roberto Carlos?’ and at that point I was thinking ‘it can’t have happened, it’s just a dream’.”

“We play on a pitch next to Hanwood Village Hall. The changing room is proper Sunday league, pretty basic, a couple of the showers don’t work,” Brown added.

“There has been talk of moving the game somewhere else because the car park is tiny.

“Our usual crowd is mostly just a couple of family members, but we do have two parents, Mr and Mrs Turrall, who are there rain or shine watching us.”

Story from the BBC.CO.UK

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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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NEXT UP AT THE DRIPPING PAN – SATURDAY 19th FEBRUARY 2022

THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE – TICKETS ON SALE NOW

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TODAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS

  1. It was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch
  2. 0-0
  3. Lewis Carey
  4. Sam Karl
  5. Margate