Sunday 28th February 2010
FA Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Everton

Attendance: 35,912
The final leg in an epic journey through eight games in three countries over seven days, took me to North London and to White Hart Lane. This is the first time i'd been "darn the lane" since 1998 when Mickael Madar (remember him?) scored in a 1-1 draw. Pre-match i'd have settled for a similar scoreline, but post match it was a case of feeling we should've won the game.

Spurs dominated the first half, with Gareth Bale and Luka Modric running riot. Roman Pavelychenko netted the first goal with Modric adding a superb second. Everton seemed to be suffering a European hangover and were never in the game. Talk about a game of two halves.

Yakubu bagged a reply for the blues as we now dominated the match. The toffeemen had plenty of chances to level and, indeed, win the game, but these were squandered. Special mention must go to Landon Donovan as the American missed an open goal from two yards, which would've made it 2-2. Bugger!!




So that was that. Another great week of groundhopping over, just a shame there will be no more European jaunts until next season. Thank you Everton, Madrid would've been lovely....

TONBRIDGE ANGELS (Longmead Stadium)

Saturday 27th February 2010
Isthmian Premier League
Tonbridge Angels 1-0 Kingstonian

Attendance: 439
An early flight to Heathrow saw me back in blighty before 11am, but I arrived home to torrential rain. This didn't bode well in terms of 'games on'. My match of choice today was Bishop's Stortford, and another leg in my (now futile) attempt to complete the Conference South this season.

A quick phone call confirmed that the game was on, so I retrieved my beloved Corsa from the car park and headed towards the M25. However, before i'd reached the end of the A4 it came on the radio that the M25 was closed northbound between J24 &J25 and there were massive tailbacks. Sod that!

Had to come up with a plan B and that was to head southbound. Another call, this time to Tonbridge and they confirmed that their game versus Kingstonian was on. So it was off to Longmead!

The game was decided by a solitary goal after just eight minutes when Paul Booth fired home from 20 yards. After that the game was virtually dominated by Kingstonian, but try as they might they could not find a way through a solid Tonbridge defence and a 'keeper, Lee Worgan, in top form. Even the wooodwork thwarted the K's, when Simon Huckle hit the crossbar.

The game did threaten to boil over a certain stages, mainly through frustration and Kingstonian ended up with two players being red carded, Lee Hall for a two-footed challenge and Luke Hickie for giving the ref verbals as they walked off the pitch at the end of the game.

Despite the unsavoury incidents, it was an enjoyable game, mainly spent in the company of the travelling K's army and their witty banter had me in stitches for the majority of the match. Oh, just for the record the referee called the Bishop's Strotford game off at 1pm because of a waterlogged pitch, phew!!






UNIAO DESPORTIVO DE LEIRIA (Estadio Municipal de Leiria)

Friday 26th February 2010
Portugese Liga
Leiria 0-1 Guimaraes

Attendance: 1,373

Considering this game was 5th versus 6th in the top flight of Portugese football, the crowd was a paltry 1,373. This goes to show the apathy in this country when Benfica, Sporting or Porto are not involved.

Maybe i'm being harsh because the game was live on TV and the weather was appalling, it rained for the entire game, but just over a 1,000 in 23,000 stadium is pretty dire.

However, the game was entertaining enough, especially the second half. The winner came through an Andrezinho penalty on 65 minutes. The keeper was sent off after conceding said penalty and the game was held up whilst players, coaches and referee argued the point. This led to whopping 9 minutes of stoppage time at the end.

The homesters had a couple of good chances to level but failed to take them. Guimaraes were sitting back on their lead and playing on the break. This led to at least 2 on-on-one chances which would've made the scoreline more comfortable.

Nice ground, even though it was only three-sided, but it felt quite strange with so few people inside such a large venue.



Thursday 25th February 2010
Europa League Round of 32 Second Leg
Sporting Lisbon 3-0 Everton (Agg 4-2)

Attendance: 17,609

Another chance to visit a top European venue, just a shame it was so soon after my last visit to Lisbon.

I'm sure many of you witnessed this debacle on television. All I can say is that to me it looked like Everton were sent out to play for a goalless draw and f*ck*d it up big time (why the negativity Moyes?). Another European journey ending in an embarrassing defeat to, quite frankly, poor opposition as Sporting overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit with goals from Miguel Veloso (64) Pedro Mendes (77) and Matias Fernandez (90).

Speaking to a few Sporting fans prior to the game, even they thought they were going to be pasted, hence the low crowd turnout of just over 17,000. With this defeat, the planned trip to Athletico Madrid in the next round vanished in the Lisbon night sky

The only bright spot was the return of Phil Jagielka after nearly a year out with injury, he got a tremendous welcome from the travelling blues when he came on as a second half substitute.

WHYTELEAFE (Church Road)

Tuesday 23rd February 2010
Isthmian League Division One South
Whyteleafe 5-2 Mertsham

Attendance: 109
Sometimes in this fantastic hobby the hopping gods smile on you!!

After options 1,2 & 3 bit the dust due to torrential rain, a phone call to Whyteleafe confirmed this game was ON and what an absolute corker in turned out to be! Every time either side attacked it could have been a goal. As it was it was 3-2 to Whyteleafe at half time, after coming from 2-1 down.

The second half was never going to be as open but a goal on 53 minutes and 90 minutes made it comfortable for the homesters. Mertsham did have their moments but 'leafe held out for a comfortable win.

Darren Watson (5) Danny Oakins (31) Jason Goodchild (38) Chris O'Flaherty (53) and Kieron McCann (90) were the Whyteleafe scorers, whilst Wes Goggin (8) and Billy Marshall (15) responded for Mertsham.

It was great to visit Church Road this evening as not only was it a cracking game, the locals were very friendly and welcoming, it also 'exorcised' the ghost of not visiting for an FA Cup tie in 1999 with Chester City.