Saturday, 6 October 2012

Tadcaster Albion 0 Boston United 2

FA Cup, third qualifying round
Attendance: 368

Tadcaster’s first ever appearance in the third qualifying round; managed by Paul Marshall who bossed Harrogate Railway for its folkloric Cup tie against Bristol City 10 years ago; lowest ranked side still in the competition; drawn against Conference North big boys and Football League side until 2007, Boston United; and all taking place just 20 mins down the road. This tie is what’s known in footballing parlance as a little bit tasty.

Taddy came into today’s match on the back of a winning streak of seven matches. Their previous Cup victory against Northern Premier Leaguers, Skelmersdale, was followed by severe flooding of the pitch and clubhouse by the River Wharfe which runs beside the ground (see pic, above). The home supporters had their work cut out getting the ground ready for today. Remarkably, this tie was the fifth consecutive time they’ve been drawn at home in the Cup this season and the first of six home matches in October.

There can be no doubting the pertinence of their nickname: The Brewers. The town is dominated by three breweries viz Coors, Samuel  Smiths and John Smiths. The ground lies in the shadow of the latter; you can practically smell your way there. Entry is via a turnstile next to a garden shed. There is another redundant turnstile in one corner. Other than the few terraces in front of the clubhouse the only spectator accommodation is within the Ken Gilbertson stand (which seems too insignificant to be named after someone) and a somewhat rickety temporary affair next to it which included some taped off seats at the top constituting the press box. The sign on the stand said that it was mobile and you somehow expected a ropey motor to splutter into action to send the ironwork chugging and creeking around the pitch like a Heath Robinson steam engine-type contraption, puffing out smoke as it went. Distinctly home-made looking dugouts too.

The atmosphere was as hushed as the Harrogate replay on Tuesday and, indeed, as when I was last here for Taddy’s other biggest match of recent times, a promotion decider two years ago. After the kick-off the junior team who had been on the pitch found greater entertainment from a rope swing on a maple tree than watching the action. The reaction to an early Taddy chance was an “ooh!” in a sort of “ooh, well I never!” sort of way. The blind away fan would probably have struggled to track the ebb and flow of game and, for the sighted, the only thing that told us that we were in the advanced qualifying stages was the number of replica Boston shirts in the crowd.

With ... and without
The visitor’s manager was ex-Nottingham Forest player Jason Lee, best known for having the hairstyle that inspired the Baddiel & Skinner chant: “He’s got a pineapple on his head”. (The style has also been voted fourth worst footballer hairdo of all time). I was hoping for an airing of the ditty but there was no chance of that and, power dressed in a country-style green quilted jacket, smart slacks and a tie and equally formidable in stature, Jason didn’t look like he was in the mood for a solo and neither was I. A chant would’ve sounded pretty stupid anyway. The pineapple is, of course, long gone. Today, defiantly, Jason is bald. His assistant is Graham Hyde (tracksuited, below) who played in the FA and League Cup finals for Sheffield Wednesday in 1993.

Boston started brightly but Taddy had three very good chances in the first quarter of the match. The sides went in goalless at the interval with everything to play for. Boston exerted their supremacy thereafter though. In fact, I can barely recall at Taddy shot on goal. Boston took the lead straight after the re-start when the Taddy keeper fumbled a cross and then secured victory when the keeper hauled down a Boston striker in a one-on-one and was lucky not to get sent-off. The penalty was duly converted. (Click here for that clip and two others). There will be no John Smiths special brew for the first round proper. In truth, there was never much fizz in this one from the start.

Programme notes: The chairman of Tadcaster writes: “There is no doubt in our 120 year history [being a community club] has got to be one of the greatest achievement, if not the greatest achievement. However, we must not forget that we stand on the shoulders of giants before us and we would not be here today if it wasn’t for the efforts of the people that are no longer with us.” Blimey. You can tell his fellow heads up an business specialising in “inspirational leadership”. He should be speech writing for the party conferences too. Listed among the merchandise at the club shop are Tadcaster Albion air fresheners at a pound a piece.
Fashion notes: Splendid, retro red and white hooped socks worn by The Pilgrims (great nickname too) from Boston. All a bit confusing sartorially, though: Boston usually play in yellow and black – which are also the home colours of Taddy. I had to double-check which team “we” were to start with. The Mayor of Tadcaster wore the mayoral chain over a beige duffle coat and sported a pair of green wellies.

Cup specialists: Yate Town have won all four of their FA Cup ties to make it through to the fourth qualifying round but lost all four games in the Southern Premier League first division.
Brownie’s postscript: I’m always careful how I describe some grounds, teams, etc on this blog for fear of getting a stream of abuse. Following my Harrogate/West Auckland post I received an email from a 'Brownie', the West sub who threatened to rip off the moustache off a dissenting Harrogate fan in an incident I’d described. “Embarrassed by it really but passion gets a hold of us sometimes,” he wrote. “Keep up the blogs and come to our ground. We aren’t scary and we will look after you.” Love it! (And, yes, West were scary. Thanks so much for not sending the boys round).
Circus comes to town: I’m enjoying following the fortunes of Rangers this season. Bet their fans are secretly having a whale of a time on their tour of small town Scotland too – in an FCUM sort of way. Think I may nip up to the border for the Berwick game in Feb. Great set of pics here (particularly the first eight and the hay wagon shot) from their Scottish Cup tie at Forres Mechanics of the Highland League last weekend, also pictured below.


Hostpph said...

At first I thought that it was a pool. I didn't think that a field can flood like that.

Paul Kirkwood said...

Thanks for the comment. Glad someone is reading my text rather than just scanning the pics in 10 secs! Off to Brighouse/Scarborough tomorrow week. Watch out for the report!