Tuesday 21st March 2023 7:45pm – The Isthmian Premier League – The Dripping Pan
Welcome to The Dripping Pan for this evening’s Isthmian Premier League game against Canvey Island. Here is your complimentary e-programme.
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NOTES FROM THE CHAIR
Welcome to this evening’s Isthmian Premier League game against Canvey Island. I’d like to welcome the fans, players, management and officials from Essex and hope they enjoy or hospitality, and a safe journey home.
When we were due to meet Canvey Island back in December, they were in 4th place, whilst we were in 12th. Three months later and Canvey are still in fourth, but we have closed that gap to 7th. It is fair to say that tonight is a huge game for both sides for their Play-off ambitions, as too could our meeting in Essex be on the final Saturday of the season. We’ve shown over the last two weeks the spirit in the squad and the quality we have, we now just need to keep the consistency going.
I have to say I would dumbfounded by some comments on the forum after our win against Brightlingsea Regent last Tuesday. The term “boring” was levelled at the performance in the second half. I, like our management team or players, make no apologies for the way we played, nor will do in any games. We were playing against a team who were fighting for their survival and who put 11 men behind the ball from the 1st minute. We scored two comfortable goals in the first half and whilst we tried to break them down in the second period, we have to give them credit for the resilience. We won three points, kept a clean sheet and didn’t pick up any injuries.
The vast majority of our fans would have taken that before the game. Of course we want to play attacking, entertaining football in every game, but sometimes you need to win before you can turn on the razzmatazz. Some fans have very short memories about some of the performances we have seen at home 3 or 4 seasons ago. Football is about opinions, and fans can read what they want into a performance but I would imagine most went away from the Pan warmed by the three points.
Those same fans would have probably not enjoyed Saturday’s game either, but the fifty or so travelling Rooks fans certainly enjoyed the battling performance and the last minute winner, swept home from close range by Deon Moore. Folkestone spent heavily in the summer but perhaps could have done with diverting some of their budget into improving their pitch which does them no favours. As a passing side we knew it was going to be tough to play our game, which was the reason Tony picked the midfield he did, with Alfie, Ayo and Brad, who can scrap with the best of them. Folkestone’s approach was physical but we matched them in every position of the pitch and fully deserved the three points, although if you read any of their fans post match tweets you’d have thought we were in collusion with the officials, cheats, bad actors or worse.
On Sunday we hosted Manchester United in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup here in front of a record attendance of 2,801. I cannot thank our team, both on and off the pitch, highly enough for the hard work and effort they put in. It would be unfair to single out anyone in particular but a standing ovation has to go to Maggie for her tireless effort and drive to make it the best match day experience for everyone. We may not have won on the pitch, but off it we were easily the winners. You can enjoy some of James Boyes’ photos in this progcast and here.
It would be great to see crowds like that here again before the end of the season so let’s see what we can do to raise the roof in our final four home games as we chase a play-off spot.
Come on you Rooks!
Good evening everyone. Saturday was a really tough game which made it so satisfying to come away with all three points. They are a physical side who play on a tricky pitch, which negated a lot of our strengths in the way we want to keep possession of the ball. We didn’t chance much in our approach, the playing surface made it difficult but we tried to play to our strengths. We had to really dig in – the stats from the game showed me just how hard the players worked. We asked them to give us an extra ten percent and they certainly did that, and we are really proud of them for that.
Despite a rocky start to the season, Folkestone have been one of the form sides in this league since the turn of the year. In their previous five, they had won four including three at home where they had scored nine times, including three against Bishop’s Stortford and Enfield Town. When you look at it we limited them to a couple of chances, one where the ball bobbled up and over Champ’s foot and their guy has gone through but pulled it wide and then a shot from distance in the second half that Lew smothered easily. They put pressure on us but our back four held firm. Even their goal had a huge element of luck about it – a shot from distance that was heading wide but hit Will and sent Lew the wrong way.
We carried a threat all through the game. Our first goal was a great move and a superb cross from JT to find Deon at the far post, Razz has a great chance which he put over and then on the stroke of half time JT didn’t see Ayo, in nosebleed territory for him, coming down his outside which would have put him in on goal.
We came out for the second half and Folkestone stepped up the pressure. JT set up Ayo to go clean through and he rounded the keeper but the lino flagged for offside. Having watched that one back I cannot see who was offside. Whilst they got back in the game there was some real emotion on the bench when Deon turned the ball home from a Jayden corner in the 90th minute, not because of any ill feeling towards Folkestone but because of the threat they pose.
Tonight we welcome Canvey Island, with a couple of players carrying bumps and bruises from the game on Saturday and we will have to make a late assessment on them. Canvey are flying at the moment and have had a great season so far. They have threats all over the pitch, including Evans Kouassi up front and Bradley Sach in midfield. We will have to be at our best to win tonight. We are on a good run ourselves and trained last night, putting in place a couple of new patterns of play. It promises to be a great game under the lights here though with neither side sitting back.
It was great to see so many people in the Pan on Sunday so let’s try to get as many fans in tonight and make some noise.
Come on you Rooks!
LEWES 2 BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT 0 – TUESDAY 14th MARCH 2023
A professional performance, along with first-half goals from Jaydn Mundle-Smith and Joe Taylor, saw Lewes move to within three points of the play-off places with a comfortable 2-0 win over Brightlingsea Regent at the Pan, reports Tom Harper, pictures James Boyes.
Tony Russell handed a debut to new signing Jayden Davis, who has joined the club on loan from Crawley Town, with fellow new arrival Ryan Huckle, most recently at Bowers & Pitsea, named on the bench.
There were also starts for Ayo Olukoga and Razz Coleman De-Graft in place of Bradley Pritchard and Ryan Gondoh.
Lewes saw a lot of the ball early on, moving it quickly and stretching the play as they looked to open the scoring.
Despite this, the first clear-cut chance of the night fell to the visitors, with Samuel Jeremiah running onto a through-ball before drawing a smart save from Lewis Carey.
The Rooks continued to press though, and took the lead on 14 minutes, Mundle-Smith meeting an inswingng De-Graft corner from the right with an excellent glancing header across Charlie Turner in the Regent goal and into the far corner to score his first goal for the club.
Lewes doubled their lead 15 minutes later, as a goal-kick from Carey played Taylor through on goal, and he nodded the ball past Turner before rolling it into the empty net.
The remainder of the half saw Lewes continue to dominate the game, with debutant Davis producing a particularly impressive display.
Turner had to be alert to turn a powerful De-Graft effort over the bar, and was then did well to prevent a Jake Thompson own-goal after the defender had miscued his attempted clearance from a Taylor cut-back.
After an entertaining first half, the second saw far fewer chances at either end.
De-Graft stung the palms of Turner a few minutes after the break, but large periods of the remainder of the half saw Lewes dominate possession without being able to break down the Regent defence.
The closest the visitors came to a consolation goal saw Carey comfortably field a long-range strike from substitute Connor Barnby.
Lewes then nearly scored a third in the final meaningful action of the game, Pritchard just missing the target from the edge of the area at the end of a patient passing move.
LEWES VOX POP – 3 WINS IN A ROW, WHAT’S THE REASON?
It’s squeaky bum time, as Lewes head into the final games of the season to determine whether or not we can achieve a play off place. We asked Lewes fans via @LewesClamour on Instagram, what they think is the reason behind our last 3 wins, against Enfield Town, Brightlingsea Regent and Folkestone Invicta. Personally, the organisation of our defence has been the main reason. In all of our last 3 games, we’ve only conceded 1 goal, and have reduced our opponents to a scarce amount of chances. This factor has made us an even tougher team to beat, and has contributed to the fact that we have now only lost 5 games out of our last 30. The addition of Tamplin and Mundle-Smith at wing backs has helped massively, making our defence tougher to beat. Let’s take a look at what other Rooks think as to why we’re winning consistently now.
“More of the goals have gone in the goal than the other men’s goals” – Fergus
“Joe Taylor masterclass” – Reg
“Brought in a few fresh players. We now have a drive and determination that we didn’t have before, as we seem to close the gap and have a crack at the playoffs” – Swoop Art
“Something to fight for, playoffs seem more possible now than ever” – Harvey
“Razz De-Graft” – Leo
“Me” – Archie Tamplin
INTRODUCING OUR VISITORS – CANVEY ISLAND
The Club was founded in 1926, but unfortunately most of the early records of the Club were lost in the devastating East Coast floods of 1953. The Club were very successful during their days in the local leagues, winning many cups and league championships in the process. During these years, the club appointed Denis Neville as manager, his first job after leaving his position as the Dutch National Team manager.
However, the club had drifted away towards the end of the 1980’s, and the very existence of Canvey Island FC was in serious doubt. When it looked as though the end was near, local businessman and former Canvey player Jeff King took over as manager, as well as helping to generate funds to take the club forward.
Canvey the enjoyed a meteoric rise up the football pyramid, the success starting in 1993 where The Gulls won the Essex Senior League and reached the semi-final of the FA Vase.
The Club then gained promotion to the Isthmian League in 1994 and won promotion from Division Three and Division Two in successive seasons. In 1995/96 after beating Conference team Hednesford Town in the FA Cup they reached the First Round Proper and drew 2-2 with Football League team Brighton & Hove Albion at Park Lane in front of a then ground record crowd of 3,400. The replay was lost at Brighton in front of a crowd of over 7,000. As well as winning Division Two the team were also winners of the Carlton Trophy and Thames-side Trophy.
The season 1998/99 was yet another exciting one for the supporters as the Club won the Division One championship and the Essex Senior Cup, beating Leyton Orient in the final. Season 1999/2000 was the Club’s first season in the Premier Division of the Ryman League and they finished a very creditable fifth in the League and retained the Essex Senior Cup, defeating Purfleet in the Final.
The following season had seen the team win the FA Trophy by beating Forest Green Rovers 1-0 in the final in front of over 10,000 people at Villa Park and thousands more watching live on television. To win the FA Trophy they had to beat four Conference League teams in succession – Stevenage Borough, Telford United, Chester City (over two legs) and Forest Green.
Earlier in the season the Club had another great FA Cup run and after beating Braintree Town, King’s Lynn and Cambridge City they were drawn against Port Vale from the Second Division of the Football League. In an exciting match at Park Lane they drew 4-4 after being 4-2 down with only two minutes left to play. However, even better was to follow as they went to Port Vale and beat them 2-1 after extra time.
They were then drawn at home to Football League neighbours Southend United. To accommodate the number of people wishing to see the game, Canvey agreed to transfer the match to Southend’s Roots Hall ground. A capacity crowd of 11,400 people saw the game, with record gate receipts for a game at Southend, and Canvey were narrowly beaten.
These tremendous cup runs took their toll in the League. With a large number of matches being postponed on opponents’ grounds because of waterlogged pitches, it meant they had to complete the season with ten league games in fifteen days and consequently dropped points that may have taken them to the league title and a place in the Conference League. However, it was still a fine performance to finish runners-up in their second season in the Premier Division.
The Club had enjoyed a then record-breaking season the following year when they reached the 3rd Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time. On the way they beat five teams including two from the Second Division of the Football League, Wigan Athletic at the JJB Stadium, and Northampton Town in front of a full house at Park Lane and five million television viewers on ‘Match of the Day Live’. Burnley finally knocked them out in a memorable game at Turf Moor.
They finished runners-up in the Ryman Premier League, despite winning thirty games and scoring 108 goals, and in defending the FA Trophy the team had a fine run before narrowly losing away to the eventual winners, Yeovil Town. The team did, however, end the season with silverware when winning the Essex Senior Cup, beating Dagenham & Redbridge in the final.
Canvey had another fine League season the previous year, finishing runners-up in the Ryman Premier League. Although this was another superb performance, finishing thirteen points clear of the third placed club, it was tinged with disappointment as it was the third season running the Club had finished runners-up in their quest to reach the Conference League. Towards the end of the season the Club had a ground record attendance of 3,553 when playing the eventual champions Aldershot Town in a midweek League game. However, the disappointment was a mark of how far the Club had progressed over the last decade, since winning the Essex Senior League.
The next season saw Canvey reach the goal they had been working towards for the previous four years, as they won the Ryman Premier League by a margin of nineteen points. Canvey also reached the FA Trophy final and the 1st Round of the FA Cup. The League was clinched at Easter with seven games still to play and the team finally finished with a total of 104 points. The FA Trophy run included wins over Conference teams Farnborough Town and Telford United, in the two-legged semi-final, before losing 3-2 in an exciting final at Villa Park against Hednesford United. After a fine run in the FA Cup the team was narrowly beaten at home 3-2 by Third Division neighbours Southend United, after a 1-1 draw at Roots Hall.
Canvey’s first season in the Conference they finished in 18th position in the League table, achieving their initial aim of consolidation. The season started well with a draw at Carlisle United, in front of a 7,000 crowd, on the opening day and just one defeat in the first seven games, against the eventual champions Barnet. After this the Club lost some key players through injury for several months and struggled in the middle part of the season but came back strongly at the end to seal their status for a second season.
The following season saw the club achieve its highest ever league position, as they earned a respectable 14th place. However, the lack of success compared to previous seasons had taken its toll on the attendances, so much so that Jeff King made the decision to withdraw his financial and footballing interests from the club. However, the supporters of the club rallied together to allow the team to continue playing the following year in the Ryman League Division 1 North.
John Batch take over as manager for the 2006/07 campaign, with his reserve side from the previous season making up the bulk of the squad. A learning curve for all concerned very nearly ended up in promotion, though The Gulls narrowly missed out on a playoff place, finishing 6th on the last day of the season.
Canvey went one better the following season, gaining promotion to the Ryman Premier League through the Playoffs. A run of 5 wins from our final 6 games earned us a place in the playoffs, and after beating AFC Sudbury away 3-2 after extra time, The Gulls travelled to Redbridge for the final. After the match finished 1-1 after extra time, Canvey won a nail biting penalty shootout 5-4 to earn promotion. During this season, Canvey also knocked out Ryman Premier League side Maidstone United from the FA Trophy, and reached the final of the Essex Thameside Trophy.
Manager John Batch stood down in January 2012, with the club lying in 10th place in the Ryman Premier League, with first team coach Glen Alzapiedi stepping up to take over as manager. He guided the club to lift the Essex Senior Cup for the first time in a decade with a 1-0 victory against League One side Colchester United at Thurrock FC’s Ship Lane. Having defeated another Football League side, Dagenham & Redbridge, on penalties in the semi-finals, a headed goal from Rob King with 7 minutes to play won Canvey the cup without having conceded a goal throughout the competition.
Alzapiedi left the club in July 2012 and was replaced by former-Canvey captain Steve Tilson, who five years previously was managing in the Championship with Southend United. Tilson’s reign only lasted one season before he was replaced with another ex-Canvey player in Danny Heale.
After staying up on the last day of the season in 2015. Canvey were relegated on the same day of the following season for the first time due to league position in 19 years. The club’s first season in the Bostik North nearly ended in an immediate return, reaching the playoff final but losing 3-1 away to Haringey Borough.
The Gulls picked up their first piece of silverware in six years ahead of the 2018/19 season, beating reigning Bostik North champions AFC Hornchurch 2-1 to win the Isthmian Charity Shield.
Former-Southend United and Gillingham played Mark Bentley took over as manager in October 2018. After finishing 9th in the Isthmian Division One North in his first season, his next two seasons were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the 2020/21 season did turn out to be a memorable one, with Bentley leading the Gulls into the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Cup. Wins against Ware, Dereham Town, Biggleswade, Bedfont Sports and Cray Wanderers earned Canvey an away tie against higher-division Banbury United in the 1st Round. Live on BBC television, goals from Conor Hubble and Elliott Ronto saw Canvey progress 2-1 and land a home tie against National League outfit Boreham Wood.
With a home match against Millwall the reward, Canvey were beaten 3-0 at Park Lane. However, much-needed television revenue was brought thanks to the match being shown live on BT Sport.
Manager Mark Bentley stepped down from his role in October 2021 with the club top of the Isthmian League North, leaving to join the new first team coaching team at Southend United. Assistant manager Brad Wellmen stepped up into the role, assisted by coach Sammy Knott.
Wellmen and Knott achieved a second-place finish, earning qualification into the playoffs. A 3-1 win at home to Felixstowe & Walton United in the semi-final setup a final at Park Lane against Brentwood Town. In front of a crowd of 2,532, Canvey fell behind early but levelled before the break through Matthew Price. The two sides could not be separated after 120 minutes, meaning that promotion would be decided on penalties. Brentwood failed to convert two of their spot kicks, while Canvey scored all four of theirs to spark wild celebrations.
Brad Wellmen – Manager – Experienced coach who joined the club in the summer of 2013 having spent 16 years coaching in the USA with Chicago Fire. Promoted to assistant manager in November 2017 and then to manager in November 2021, leading the club to promotion via the Isthmian North playoffs in his first season.
Sammy Knott – Assistant Manager – Signed as a player in June 2019 from Waltham Abbey before retiring through injury and joining the coaching team. He is the son of ex-Gulls player from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Steve Knott. Sammy played for our successful Academy side before moving into senior football with the likes of Concord Rangers, Aveley and East Thurrock United. Promoted to assistant manager in November 2021.
Stacey Shave – Goalkeeping Coach – A former Canvey Island goalkeeper who now puts the current crop of keepers through their paces. A popular character at the club.
Amy Rogers – Physio – Club physiotherapist who joined the club during the 2021/22 season.
Sam Jackson – Goalkeeper – Joined from fellow-Isthmian Premier side Kingstonian in December 2022. Sam came through the youth ranks at Millwall, going on to play in Scotland for Dundee and Aberdeen before returning to England with Braintree Town and Welling United.
Bobby Mason – Goalkeeper – Highly-rated shot-stopper who joined us in August 2020 from Great Wakering Rovers. He was a pivotal part of our run to the FA Cup 2nd Round Proper in his first season, saving five penalties in a shootout victory against Biggleswade. He was voted into the ‘Team of the Second Round’ and would end up producing more saves than any other goalkeeper in the entire competition. Among his former clubs he lists Aveley, Hullbridge Sports, Thurrock. Witham Town.
Billy Firman – Defender – Young defender who joined the first team in the summer of 2022, having previously played for the clubs U16’s.
Rob Girdlestone – Defender – Central defender who signed from Maldon & Tiptree in August 2020. Rob came through the West Ham United Academy system before joining Chelmsford City in the National League South in 2014. He moved across Essex to join Concord Rangers two years later, making 76 appearances for the club and picking up the Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year accolades. He joined Maldon & Tiptree in 2018 and was part of their excellent side in 2019/20 that reached the Emirates FA Cup 2nd Round and was on course to win the Isthmian League North before the season was cancelled.
Mason Hall – Defender – Centre back who signed for the club in September 2020 having last played for Heybridge Swifts. Having come through the youth setup at Leyton Orient, he went on to have spells with Greenwich Borough and Wingate & Finchley.
Elliott Johnson – Defender – Centre back who re-joined the club in December 2022. He originally played three times for us in the 2021/21 season on loan from Welling United. He went on to play out in the USA but has now returned to the UK and joins up with the squad.
Sam Mvemba – Defender – Left back who arrived from Carshalton Athletic in November 2022. He has previously played for clubs including Welling United, Brightlingsea Regent, Aveley and Bishop’s Stortford, reaching the FA Cup 1st Round with the latter in 2020/21.
Odei Martin Sorondo – Defender/Midfielder – Versatile player who joined permanently from Concord Rangers in June 2022 following a dual-registration. From the Basque town of Irun in Spain, Odei was part of the Heybridge Swifts squad that won the Isthmian North Playoff Final in 2019 without being promoted. He joined Concord Rangers that summer, going on to play for the Beachboys in the 2020 FA Trophy Final.
Elliott Ronto – Defender/Midfielder – Australian midfielder who joined the club from Heybridge Swifts in July 2020. Played for several clubs in his native Australia before resuming his career in the UK with Bishop’s Stortford. He went on to join Witham Town before signing for Heybridge in the winter of 2018.
Tobi Tinubu – Defender/Midfielder – Comfortable either at wing back or in midfield, Tobi signed for the club ahead of the 2021/22 season after an impressive trial period. He has played for Tower Hamlets during the previous campaign.
Luca Albon – Midfielder – Talented midfielder who joined the club in the summer of 2022. He was part of the Charlton Athletic academy before moving into senior football, playing in the Isthmian Premier with Bowers & Pitsea and Cray Wanderers.
Charlie Edwards – Midfielder – Creative midfielder with an eye for goal who joined in November 2022. He has previously played for Potters Bar Town, Wingate & Finchley, Harlow Town, Hertford Town, and Waltham Abbey.
Conor Hubble – Midfielder – Attacking midfielder who signed from Maldon & Tiptree in August 2020. Conor began his career with Queens Park Rangers. He moved on to Colchester United where he progressed through the academy to play in the Football League. After loan spells with Leiston he joined the Suffolk side on a permanent basis in 2015, going on to play for Billericay Town, Leiston again, Coggeshall Town and Maldon & Tiptree. Scored 16 times last season and was named in the 2021/22 Isthmian North Team of the Year.
Joe Paxman – Midfielder – Joined the club from Grays Athletic ahead of the 2022/23 campaign. He has previously played for several local clubs including East Thurrock United, Thurrock, Romford, Great Wakering Rovers, Aveley and Tilbury.
Jamie Salmon – Midfielder – Arrived in August 2020 having played for Hullbridge Sports in the previous campaign. He has previously represented Bowers & Pitsea, Great Wakering Rovers and Catholic United.
Evans Kouassi – Forward – Well-travelled Ivory Coast forward who joined from Heybridge Swifts in July 2020. Scored 32 goals last season and provided a similar number of assists, earning himself a place in the Isthmian North Team of the Year.His previous clubs include Wealdstone, Chelmsford City, Bishop’s Stortford, Billericay Town, Concord Rangers, Enfield Town, Aveley, Potters Bar Town, Northwood and Mildenhall Town.
Ashley Nzala – Forward – Joined on a dual-registration from Dulwich Hamlet in December 2022. Ashley has previously played for the likes of Welling United, Cheshunt and Brentwood Town, playing against us in the 2022 Isthmian North Play-off Final.
Bradley Sach – Forward – Attacker who arrived from Bowers & Pitsea in January 2022 having previously played for Boreham Wood, Potters Bar Town and Aveley. Scored 10 goals last season, including 5 in our record 13-0 victory over Romford in April.
THE LAST SIX MEETINGS
|27th Feb 2016||Isthmian Premier League||Canvey Island||5||Lewes||2|
|23rd Jan 2016||Isthmian Premier League||Lewes||3||Canvey Island||1|
|28th Feb 2015||Isthmian Premier League||Canvey Island||1||Lewes||1|
|4th Feb 2015||Isthmian Premier League||Lewes||1||Canvey Island||2|
|14th Jan 2014||Isthmian Premier League||Canvey Island||3||Lewes||3|
|17th Aug 2013||Isthmian Premier League||Lewes||1||Canvey Island||0|
OUR LAST MEETING HERE – 23rd JANUARY 2016
LEWES 3 (SMITH x 2, LAING) CANVEY ISLAND 1 (DUMAS)
THE FASTEST GROWING LEAGUE IN THE WORLD
Picture the scene. A 7-a-side match played indoors, with rolling subs, a masked player and Dodgeball style running start. “It will never catch on” the football purists would say, but they would be wrong. Very wrong. In fact, what we could be witnessing is the start of Football 2.0, a new version of the sport that will be the future of the beautiful game. Welcome to the Kings League.
Having got bored with winning almost every honour as a player, buying a club in Andorra and taking them into the second tier of Spanish football, divorcing one of the world’s biggest music stars AND then trying to reform an aging tennis tournament, Gerard Piqué came up with the idea for a new version of the game, with famous former players as team “presidents” and features designed to engage Gen Z and their thirst for consuming content via streaming platforms.
The league has more Instagram followers than the French Ligue A in its first year of formation. The season runs from January to the end of March, with some of the teams in the league owned by former internationals such as Sergio Aguero and Ilker Casillas.
The league features rules that differ from traditional football regulations with the aim of adding an element of dynamism and entertainment to the games, such as a tie-breaker penalty shootout, the allowance of handballs for throw-ins, unlimited substitutions, and the implementation of special “secret weapons”, which a team can use once in a game and include a penalty kick in their favour, the exclusion of an opposing player for 2 minutes, a double goal for 2 minutes, a wildcard, and the ability to steal an opposing team’s secret weapon card.
The commentators are streamers and influencers, who themselves are part of the attraction to the younger fan base. All games are streamed via Twitch They not only commentate on the game but also talk with the referees and players during the match. Fans can vote for the best players as well as participate in polls to indicate substitutions or transfers.
The league features 12 teams, each playing 11 games before the playoffs for the title. Games last 40 minutes, divided into two halves, and in the case of a draw, it’s decided by penalties, which . One team (The xBuyer Team) has had a masked player for a few games, with followers trying finding out his name – it is rumoured he is a current La Liga player.
Games are played at the Cupra Arena, located in the port of Barcelona on a Sunday, with each team playing once, so fans get to see all twelve teams over the day. At the end of January it was announced that the semifinals, final and third place match of the winter split playoffs would be held as a ‘Final Four’ event at the Camp Nou, on March 26.
Shortly after the Kings League started it was announced that the Queens League, a competition for women would start in May 2023.
So why could this be a danger to football as we know it? The lack of attention of many clubs to their relationship with the the younger generation of fans is underestimated and often ignored. The new tournament ticks so many boxes for these fans such as length of games, the celebrity engagement, new rules and accessible on a platform that can be accessed from a phone. It’s often said that football suffers from competition from Netflix and video games – but what if a new kind of football is the real threat?
Who knows…perhaps in a few years time we could see a Rooks team, managed by Solly March, competing in a Sussex, or even English version.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA 1 LEWES 2 SATURDAY 18th MARCH 2023
An injury-time strike from Deon Moore saw Lewes record a vital 2-1 win at Folkestone Invicta, reports Tom Harper.
Tony Russell made one change to the side that beat Brightlingsea Regent 2-0 in their previous game, with Will Salmon replacing Jayden Davis in the starting line-up.
Both sides started the game well as they looked for an early goal, with a Nathan Green cross from the left just evading Ibrahim Olutade and Josh Vincent in front of goal for Folkestone, before Razz Coleman De-Graft just missed the target from the edge of the area at the other end after being teed up by Joe Taylor.
The hosts then missed a gilt-edged chance to take the lead minutes later, as Olutade missed the target when through on goal with only Lewis Carey to beat.
Lewes went in front on 36 minutes, an incisive passing move ending with Taylor putting in a low cross from the right for Moore to get on the end of at the far post, a deflection helping his effort loop over Patrick Ohman and into the back of the net to open the scoring.
Folkestone started the second half brightly, their direct style making it difficult for the Rooks to clear their lines.
Carey was called into relatively comfortable action to keep out a long-range strike from Ronnie Dolan, who then created an opportunity for Ira Jackson, which was deflected just wide as the hosts enjoyed arguably their best spell of the game.
Folkestone continued to push for an equaliser, with Carey helping a Dolan free-kick round the far post. The resulting corner was headed on by Olutade towards Ian Gayle, whose looping header landed on the roof of the net.
The hosts scored the equaliser their second-half pressure had been threatening on 73 minutes, as Scott Heard saw his strike from the edge of the area take a wicked deflection on its way past Carey and into the top corner.
Ryan Gondoh, who had been introduced on the hour in place of De-Graft, became Lewes’ main outlet as they looked to regain their lead in the closing stages, with a succession of Folkestone players penalised for fouls on him.
The last of these saw Heard shown a second yellow card, giving the Rooks a numerical advantage for the final six minutes.
Lewes saw plenty of the ball in the closing stages, but continued to find it difficult to create chances against the well-organised hosts.
Moore was at the heart of all of their more dangerous moments late on, seeing an effort from the edge of the area deflected just over the bar.
The Rooks remained on the front foot and scored what proved to be the winner deep into stoppage time, as a Jayden Davis corner from the left fell to Moore, whose shot on the turn found the bottom corner, sending the travelling fans behind the goal into raptures.
Lewes saw out the final few minutes comfortably to record a vital win in the race for the play-offs.
THE FINAL RANKINGS UPSIDE DOWN – NO. 204 TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS
Football isn’t really on many people’s minds (shocking I know) when they arrive on the tropical paradise of Turks & Caicos in the north West Indies. The islands are part of the British Overseas Territory, thus part of the Commonwealth. However, it cricket, not football that is the sport of choice on the island. In fact it wasn’t until 1996 that the national association was formed, being accepted by FIFA as a member two years later.
Their first international was a 3-0 defeat in the Bahamas in 1999 although four days later they earned a draw against the US Virgin Islands in Caribbean Cup qualification tournament. It was seven further years before they won their first game, beating the Cayman Islands 2-0 then following that up with a 2-1 win over St Lucia in the qualification tournament for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in their first ever home international at the National Academy ground in front of 2,200 fans. However, a 2-0 defeat in the return leg saw them defeated on aggregate.
Back in 2014 they rose to 181st in the FIFA rankings, the highest they have ever been but heavy defeats in the last few years including Guadeloupe (10-0), Nicaragua (7-0) and Haiti (10-0), although they are on a 100% win run, albeit from one game, beating Sint Maarten 2-0 in June.
The domestic league is the Provo Premier League which has six sides including Beaches, KMPG (a nod to the consultancy-friendly islands), Cheshire Halls and SWA Sharks. Most of the current squad are pulled from these teams, although all-time top scorer, Billy Forbes is currently with Detroit City in the USL Championship.
Should you wish to pay a visit to the TCIFA National Academy Stadium then you need to head to Provo, the largest island in the chain, where if you can pull yourself away from the white sands and crystal clear water, you can take a seat in the 3,000 ground.
LEWES 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 3 – SUNDAY 19th MARCH 2023
A record 2,801 attendance in glorious sunshine saw the Rooks take Manchester United all the way, and score the goal of the game (round?), but ultimately it was not to be. Rather than reading 500 words on the game (which you can do here, here or here), sit back and enjoy the pictures taken by James Boyes.
DIDN’T WE USED TO PLAY THEM? WALTON CASUALS
In the summer it was announced that Walton Casuals were being wound up. The club owners, including former West Ham United and Fulham defender Tony Gale, had put the club up for sale earlier in the previous season but with no serious buyers showing an interest, the Southern Premier League side were wound up, bringing to an end their 75-year history.
The club won promotion to the Isthmian League back in 2004, the same season that Gale joined the club as Director of Football, later appointing his son, and former skipper, Anthony as manager.
The two sides met four times with the Rooks winning twice – both times away from home, although the first occasion was when Casuals were playing at Whyteleafe FC, one draw and one win for Walton.
Our last meeting with Casuals was in January 2018 when the two sides shared a 1-1 draw in the Isthmian League South in horrid conditions at The Pan. Frankie Chappell scored a last-minute equaliser to grab a point for the Rooks. It was the first season that Casuals had moved into the £20m redevelopment at Elmbridge, sharing with county league Walton & Hersham. Both sides ended up being promoted at the end of the season – The Rooks as runners-up and Walton Casuals through the Play-offs, beating Corinthian-Casuals in a penalty shoot-out in the final to reach Step 3 for the first time. However, due to a restructure of the leagues, they ended up being moved to the Southern League, a decision they appealed against on the basis of the massive increase in travel costs.
In their first season at Step 3 they finished just 2 spots outside of the relegation zone, surviving the following season due to the season being ended early due to the pandemic when they sat in the bottom three. Last season they finished in 11th spot but the financial pressures were beginning to surface. Crowds were poor – only 223 on average last season and after a plea for investment, the sad news was published on the eve of the season that the club was to be wound up:
The statement from the Board of Directors read: “Following the announcement on May 10th that the club were having to explore the future of the club, the process to identify new owners and/or investors has sadly been unsuccessful. Therefore, the club has decided that it will now follow a process of managed closure”. One paragraph brought the curtain down on 75 years of footballing history.
Just as Casuals demise was complete, fellow tenants at Elmbridge Walton & Hersham gained promotion back to the Isthmian League. After years of financial issues, they had been saved by a group of savvy students who saw the opportunity to grow the club through the power of social media.
There a few players who turned out for both clubs – Christian Nanetti, Matt Somner and Jay Conroy all appeared in the second Kingy era, Leroy Griffiths included both clubs in 27 he played at during his career and more recently Merrick James-Lewis appeared under Hugo Langton’s reign.
THE ALTERNATIVE TO PENALTY SHOOT-OUTS
The concept of a draw to the majority of the US population is alien. In most sports the principal of “play until someone wins” has been common in Basketball, Baseball, Ice Hockey and American Football. But when “soccer” started to become popular in the 1970s, the authorities needed a way to keep spectators interest in games that could end in a draw.
So the Shootout was created in 1974 for games that were level at the end of 90 minutes. Initially, it was a traditional penalty shot-out but in 1977, the format was tweaked to have players start from the 35-yard line (a US thing) and dribble in to try and score past the goalkeeper, who was able to advance off his line. Oh, and the attackers only had five seconds from the moment they took their first touch.
Most NASL teams averaged 4 Shootout matches per year, but results varied wildly; the Tampa Bay Rowdies (74 percent success rate), Fort Lauderdale Strikers (64 percent), Portland Timbers (64 percent), Los Angeles Aztecs (61 percent) and Dallas Tornado (58 percent) were among the best, while the New York Cosmos (44 percent), Seattle Sounders (41 percent) and Toronto Metros / Metros-Croatia / Blizzard (32 percent) were not.
After the NASL collapsed it was a few years until the MLS was formed, and for the first few seasons of the new competition, Shootouts were back before being scrapped in 1999, three years after their introduction, although there are many football fans who would like to see them trialled again.
When MLS asked their audience via Twitter in January 2020, 47 per cent of 14,000 people who voted said they’d like to see these shoot-outs brought back. You can’t argue that they do bring a new level of skill into what is traditionally felt to be a lottery.
IAN TOWNSEND’S ISTHMIAN LEAGUE ROUND-UP
Leaders Hornchurch, ten matches unbeaten, had a relatively short trip to White Hart Lane, where they faced Haringey Borough. The Urchins, five points clear at the top with a game in hand, had gone two down before coming back to take a draw against Borough the last time the two sides met, and they soon knew they would have to come from behind once more, Bobson Bawling opening the scoring midway through the first half. It looked as if the Urchins were heading to defeat, and then right at the end Charlie Stimson grabbed a point. Both matches between the sides this season have ended level.
Bishop’s Stortford, in second place, looked to arrest a run which had seem them win only one of their last five- and take one point from the last nine available. The Blues were on the road to face another set of Blues, Wingate & Finchley, who saw a four match unbeaten run come to an end at the hands of the leaders in midweek and who must have been be cursing the fixture computer after having the top two come to visit in four days. Stortford took the lead from the spot six minutes after the break, David Olufemi keeping his nerve, and that turned out to be that.
Third place Aveley were on the road to Margate. Nine games unbeaten- and, even more impressively, having won eight of them- the Millers went ahead just before the break through Harry Gibbs, and it turned out that Gibbs goal was enough to deliver another three points- and see them close to within three points of the leaders and do the double over their opponents.
Canvey Island, in fourth, made the first of two long away trips to Sussex in four days as they headed to Bognor Regis Town. The Gulls took a six match unbeaten run to a different seaside, and indeed had only one defeat from their last ten matches, and they looked to be on their way to another victory when Evans Kouassi got his seventeenth of the season and scored for the third Saturday in a row, five minutes before half time. That’s how it turned out, as that was the only goal of the game and sealed an important double for the Gulls.
Fifth place Enfield Town were off around the M25 to Tolworth to take on Corinthian-Casuals, their hosts without a win since New Years Bank Holiday Monday and looking rather doomed, thirteen points from safety. It started badly for the side in pink and brown, as the Towners took only eight minutes to go ahead, Khale Da Costa, who scored on his debut in midweek, making it two goals in two games. Jake Cass added his fifteenth of the season just after the half hour, making it two-nil from the spot, and with twenty minutes left it was game over, as Andre Coker made it three.
Carshalton Athletic welcomed relegation-fighters Herne Bay to Colston Avenue on the back of a run which had seen them lose only one of their last six; whilst Bay started the day five points from safety and, with seven matches left, really needed to head back to Kent with something to show for their efforts. The visitors went ahead on the hour, their talisman Michael Barrington opening the scoring, but the Robins were quickly level through Calvin Ekpiteta. They weren’t level for long, Barrington doing it again for the visitors, and it was dreamland for the visitors with six minutes left, Finn O’Mara with a third. The result sees Bay close to within two points of fifth bottom Kingstonian.
Cray Wanderers gave their promotion hopes a boost when walloping five goals past Potters Bar Town last weekend, and Wands would have been hopeful of three more points as they headed to face our bottom side Brightlingsea Regent. Thirteen points from safety, Regent surely needed a win to have any chance of survival, but they went down to ten men just after the hour mark with the match goalless, Jermain Anderson seeing red. The visitors took advantage with only eight minutes to go, Destiny Oladipo with the opening goal, but Wands then went down to ten themselves, Shaun Rowley seeing red. It didn’t make a difference to the outcome, and Wands are up to sixth, three points behind fifth place Enfield Town.
Horsham looked to reinforce their play off credentials as they welcomed Bowers & Pitsea. With only one defeat from their last eight the Hornets have been in good form, and it took them less than a quarter of an hour to go ahead, Daniel Ajakaiye opening the scoring- and scoring for the third game in succession, making it eleven for the season. In two crazy minutes before the break that eleven was thirteen, as he added two more to give his side a comfortable three-nil advantage at the break. Jack Mazzone added a fourth thirteen minutes from time, and although Henry Sinai got one back four minutes from time it made little difference to the outcome, the Hornets up to eighth.
Potters Bar Town welcomed Kingstonian in a match that was far more important to the visitors. The Scholars had gone nine matches without a win, but they went ahead on seven minutes, Lewis Smith opening the scoring- and the advantage was doubled with twenty five minutes left, Charncey Dash with the second. Tom Collins then got his first goal since returning to the K’s, converting from the spot, and with fifteen minutes left the K’s drew level, David Nyarko with the equaliser. Right at the end the Scholars took the points, Adam Martin making it three-two and lighting up the Lantern Stadium. K’s are only two points clear of the bottom four.
ON THIS DAY IN FOOTBALLING HISTORY – 21st MARCH
#1. On this day in 1992, Vinny Jones was booked playing for Chelsea after how long into their match versus Sheffield United?
#2. On this day in 2009, Manchester United lost 2-0 at Fulham. But what excuse did Fergie for the defeat?
#3. On this day in 1976, Aston Villa's Chris Nichol scored four goals in their game against Leicester City. But what was so unusual about his haul?
#4. On this day in 2018, the Rooks lost a make or break game in the Ryman South against Carshalton Athletic. But was the official attendance for the top of the table clash?
#5. On this day in 2015, Harry Kane scored his first every hat trick for Spurs. Who were the opponents?
THE 2022/23 ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON
THE 2022/23 ISTHMIAN LEAGUE PARTNERS
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 Willa Bailey, Tim Bradshaw, Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Stuart Fuller, Andy Gowland, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Club Secretary John Peel
Fan Engagement Manager Shrey Nilvarna
Youth Secretary Ryan Sullivan
Operations Manager James Barker
Communication Manager Jack Towers
Commercial Manager Steph McLaughlin
Peter Brook, Dorothy Brook RIP, Vic Blunt, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris RIP, 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
First team coach Nathan White
First team physio Toni Miller
Goalkeeping coach Grant Hall
Match logistics Clive Burgess & Vikram Dogra
First Team Performance Analyst Henderson Russell
Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editor Stuart Fuller
Progcast Editor Stuart Fuller and Stan Lahood
Club Photographer James Boyes
NEXT UP AT THE DRIPPING PAN
POTTERS BAR TOWN
SATURDAY 25th MARCH 2023 – 3pm
THE ISTHMIAN PREMIER LEAGUE
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TODAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS
- Chelsea’s Vinnie Jones was booked after just 3 seconds for a foul on Sheffield United’s Dane Whitehouse in a First Division match at Stamford Bridge. He later said of the incident “I must have been too high, too wild, too strong or too early, because, after three seconds, I could hardly have been too bloody late!”
- A Manchester United defeat was usually followed by
an excusea reasonable explanation – a dodgy ref, a poor pitch, the colour of their shirts to name but a few. But one of the more bizarre followed a 2-0 Premier Division defeat at Fulham on 21st March 2009 – the Craven Cottage dressing rooms were too small! He said the FA should have rules for the size of dressing rooms and implied Fulham should be demoted because they beat Unitedbecause their dressing rooms were too small. Amazingly though just two weeks previously United had won 4-0 at Craven Cottage in the FA Cup – and dressing rooms were exactly the same size!
- Aston Villa’s Chris Nichol became only the second player to score two goals for each side in a League match – he scored all 4 goals in Villa’s 2-2 First Division draw against Leicester City at Filbert Street.
- The crowd was 615
- Harry Kane’s first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-3 win against Leicester City at White Hart Lane got Tottenham Hotspur’s challenge for a top-four finish back on track. Kane put Spurs 2-0 up inside the opening 15 minutes before Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan – scoring his first PL goal – brought Leicester level. Kane then converted a penalty after half-time and Jeffrey Schlupp turned the ball into his own net as Spurs held on for victory, despite a late David Nugent strike. The victory left Spurs in seventh with 53 points, six points off Manchester United in fourth. Leicester remained bottom of the table on 19 points, seven points from safety.