A longer bus journey on Saturday to Northfield which I had visited the previous season when Bashley travelled from the mainland in the Hampshire Senior Cup. Lovely sunshine and not so windy at the 1.00 kick off time with Manzur in the most garish orange shirts witnessed for many a moon. My limited knowledge suggested some changes in the Alderney line up but it made little difference for if they scored early on Friday evening it was even earlier on Saturday lunchtime – within the first sixty seconds. The attack started down the right, a long cross to the far post and Marian Staite, far from the biggest player in the area, headed home to give the visitors a dream start. Certainly Manzur were better than Belgrave Wanderers but the feeling was always there that the blue shirted visitors were in control of the game though clear cut chances were something of a rarity at either end and the one nil half time scoreline was a fair reflection of the forty five minutes. Whether Alderney always make a habit of such I am unsure but yet again they claimed an early goal and the best of the five scored over the course of the two games. Just six minutes played when Staite picked up a ball in midfield, moved forward and lashed it in to the top of the net from twenty five yards. The referee limped off with one of the assistants taking over and as legs grew tired Manzur came in to the game more with the visiting goal subjected to a series of crosses and corners that on the whole were dealt with very comfortably. Alderney had not given up on the attacking side of things with both full backs showing speed and stamina as they added attack to their defensive duties and after the replacement referee had found an inordinate amount of added time the final whistle signified two away wins and six points in the space of nineteen hours.
Having been involved in football administration in Hampshire for some years I have nothing but admiration for the spirit and commitment of the Alderney players and staff. One hesitates to suggest it would be matched at the same level on the mainland!
And three points that I feel warrant mention. Having sat behind both Benches on Friday it was a pleasure not to spend the ninety minutes listening to management at odds with the match officials: my thanks to the Alderney contingent for willingly answering my questions: and if one is allowed to pick out one player then Josh Concanen was, in the footballing sense, head and shoulders above everyone else.
A most enjoyable weekend and every good wish to all at Alderney for the remainder of the League campaign and hopefully another sighting before the end of the season.
Written by John Gormans