Will it take a stud? - see albums
Hit Counter: 387,962
2008/09 Season Review Part 1
The season commenced a week late as the unusual event of a rained off opening weekend delayed proceedings. Long Eaton sat top at the end of the opening month by virtue of having played an extra league game due to how the League Cup schedule worked out. Their opening game was a fiery 3-0 win over AOG United, in which both teams had a man sent off. A narrow 4-3 win over New Life and more convincing 4-0 win over Derby City kept the 100% record.
Beeston and Littleover also got off to a bright start with 100% records in tact, although the latter were given a scare in the 2-1 win against Re-United. New Life shrugged off the Long Eaton disappointment to beat Mansfield 3-2 on their new home pitch, Simon Paley scoring the winner.
In the League Cup, Mansfield set the pace for Group A with a 3-0 win over AOG while Littleover, St. Albans and Beeston also won their opening games.
Long Eaton continued atop the League, by now with a 3 point lead as the only team to have a 100% record. Littlever had previously travelled to Mansfield and fell 1-0 due to a late Jonathon Buchanan goal, having moments earlier missed a penalty themselves.
Behind the top 2, only 4 points separated Beeston in 3rd and St. Albans at the bottom, who were there on goal difference as a result of an 11-0 thrashing by AOG. Everyone had recorded a victory in the first 4 games. The game of the month was played at Beeston Free's new ground, where they and New Life played out a 4-4 draw.
In the League Cup AOG contradicted Long Eaton's unbeatable league form with a 2-0 win to put them 2nd in the more difficult Group A. 2 goals from Tom Williamson gave Long Eaton a 2-1 win against Beeston to keep them in place to qualify. Meanwhile in Group B St. Albans were finding better form, beating New Life 4-3 before going down 2-1 to Littleover, who topped the group with 4 teams level on points beneath them.
National Cup and League Cup games played havoc with the League Table, especially the games played column. Long Eaton sat 4 points clear of Littleover having played 2 games more, 4 points separated Mansfield (3rd) and Emmanuel (10th), however Mansfield had played only 5 games and could catch Long Eaton with their games in hand.
The early League leaders first dropped points at Beeston (0-0), then followed up with their first defeat, 4-0 to New Life who were now having a massive effect on the league title. Mansfield and Long Eaton were the Normanton Church's only league victories of the campaign to that point, having previously lost to St. Albans and Re-united and drawing with Beeston.
Littleover could now go top with their games in hand, and had their first test against a big 4 side with a 2-0 win over AOG. Defender Mark Swinson opened the scoring with a rare goal.
Group A was concluded with the expected trio of Mansfield, Long Eaton and AOG progressing. Not before Beeston had given AOG a scare on the last day, Tanner Hassan-Hicks got 3 in a 4-4 draw when a victory would have brought in results from elsewhere. Mansfield had already qualified but Long Eaton had chance to steal top spot (and a bye to the Semis) from them but could only draw up North.
Littleover had already won Group B going into their last game, a 5-1 win over Derby City that kept St. Albans in the qualification places. New Life ensured a Quarter Final with Long Eaton with a 4-1 win over Re-united.
Derby City were producing goal fests in the run up to Christmas, losing 8-4 in Beeston before Daz Winfield got a hat trick against his former team to earn a 4-3 over Re-United. The christmas spirit was filling defenders everywhere with 34 goals scored in the last saturday before Christmas day, Nick Gall (3) and Paul Whittick (4) benefitted the most as their sides (AOG & New Life) beat Emmanuel and Beeston respectedly 7-4.
It was much tighter on Chester Green where the top 2 finally got to test each other. Jordan Glossop gave Littleover the lead before Adam Robinson volleyed home an equaliser on the stroke of half time. Despite both sides attacking in an even 2nd half, it stayed 1-1 and left the title race wide open.
A depleted AOG side became the first Derby based casualty of the National Trophy, going out in round 2, but there were relatively straight forward wins for the rest.
All but 2 Saturdays were rained off in January but it was still a big month for the league title. Mansfield and Littleover started the day tied in 2nd place, 1 point behind leaders Long Eaton and both with a game in hand, both met at Chester Green. Littleover were in control for most the match and went top with a 3-0 win.
Long Eaton regained top spot at the end of the month by beating Emmanuel 5-3 with help of a Dan Kent hat trick, Littleover were crashing out of the National Trophy at the time, 1-0 to Wellwyn St. Marys. Derby City also went out in the 3rd Round but Mansfield went to Kirkby and sneaked through 4-3 to the Quarter Finals.
AOG saw their title challenge slip away with a 3-3 draw at home to Re-united.
There were no shocks in the League Cup Quarter Finals, New Life failed to repeat their league success against Long Eaton and lost 3-0. St. Albans reward for qualification was a 13-4 defeat to AOG, James Twigg got a hat trick.