Sunday, 13 January 2013

Houghton into the semi-finals

HOUGHTON RANGERS 4-0 MEDBOURNE
Saturday 12th January 2013
Leicestershire Intermediate Cup Quarter Final
Weir Lane, Houghton on the Hill, Leicestershire

After last weekend watching two games, which firstly saw Oadby Town put five past AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the United Counties League and Oscars overcome FC Hoskins 4-2 in the Alliance Football League Bill Walton Cup, it is county cup action for me today. Of the eight teams left in the Leicestershire Intermediate Cup Houghton Rangers' ground on Weir Lane was the only one that I had not previously visited, and as luck would have it they got drawn at home to Medbourne of the Northants Combination.

I don't know when the original Houghton Rangers Football Club was formed, but I do know that they joined the Leicestershire Senior League (LSL) Division 2 in 1976 and spent twenty one years in the league before finishing bottom in 1997, with all but two years (1991-93) being spent in the lower division. Relegation to the Leicester & District League (L&D) occurred in at the end of the 1996/97 season, but the club only last one season before folding. The current club bearing the same name was formed in 2005 and they have spent all their existence in the L&D, with their playing record as follows...
2005/06
Div 2
24
9
7
8
49
43
34
7TH
2006/07
Div 2
22
13
5
4
68
35
44
3RD
2007/08
Div 1
20
13
3
4
62
28
42
2ND
2008/09
Prem
26
18
4
4
82
30
58
2ND
2009/10
Prem
24
10
6
8
41
33
36
5TH
2010/11
Prem
20
13
3
4
49
26
42
3RD
2011/12
Prem
22
15
3
4
74
28
48
3RD

This season Houghton have made an impressive start to the league campaign with only one defeat in nine matches, while in the Intermediate Cup they have progressed through three rounds to get to the quarter finals:

Round 1: Huncote (H) won 3-1
Round 2: Anstey Town (H) won 2-0
Round 3: Greenhill YC (A) won 3-1

Opponents Medbourne, as previously stated ply their trade in the Northants Combination and currently sit in mid-table of division 1. With the Leicestershire FA not publishing the results of the third round I have been unable to find out who they played, but what I do know is that they had a bye in round 1 and a walkover in round 2 following the withdrawal of Butler Court.

Houghton on the Hill is a commuter village six miles east of Leicester and has a population of around 1,500 inhabitants. The village was the birthplace of the famed landscape artist John Glover who was born in 1767 and died in 1849 in Launceston, Tasmania.

In December 2007 the Houghton made the national headlines when it was dubbed "the village of the scammed" when a large number of fraudulent credit card charges in the Far East were linked to the JET filling station. In August 2008 Sri Lankan born Abdul Samad Mohamed Raik was jailed for two years and eight months, after he admitted to the charge of obtaining property by deception. A total of £175,000 was stolen in the scam which affected almost every house in the village.

Weir Lane is located on the eastern edge of the village and is off Main Street opposite the Co-op, with the football pitches and changing rooms / club room at the end of Weir Lane itself. The main pitch is railed off on the majority of the four sides, though there are no dugouts but some hard standing in front of the club room.

I took my camera with me but was not hopeful I would get any decent photos I could put online, this was due to my camera equipment and the poor light. I did look up at the sky at times wishing that the sun would break through the clouds but alas this was not granted!!!! 

I recognised the referee Imran Khan who I had seen officiate a game on Braunstone Park at the back end of last year and had a chat with him before the game. Going onto the game itself and it wasn't bad considering the pitch was very heavy - hardly surprising really!!! Medbourne got out of the blocks quicker and put pressure on the Houghton back line but without testing keeper Jimmy Greasley. As the half worn on the home side got into the game more and more with brothers Harry and Andy Almond causing problems. With the first half coming to a close Andy Almond found space in the penalty area and beat confidently beat the Medbourne keeper to give the lower ranked side the lead. Six minutes into the second half and Almond brother Andy had made 2-0. The game then had a scrappy period from the Houghton point of view with Medbourne looking to get back into the game, but were hit on the counter attack and Barber made it 3-0 on 73 minutes. With just a couple of minutes remaining and Barber turned in a low cross from the right to make it 4-0 and Houghton join three Leicestershire Senior League sides (Allexton & New Parks, Friar Lane & Epworth and Melton Mowbray) in the semi-finals.

In the few days before the game I had been communicating with Houghton via their twitter feed (@HoughtonRangers) and a warm welcome was had, even giving me a free coffee and half time.

Admission / programme: none
Attendance: around 30 

30 photos of the ground and game can be viewed in the slideshow below:
Post a Comment