No.53 - Sat. 16th May 2009; Middlesex County League Premier Division                         3.00pm at Osterley Sports Club, Tentelow Lane, Osterley, Middlesex. (Att: 10; Admn and Prog: N/A)


Matchday images (11)  >view> 

FC Deportivo Galicia (0) 2 Bethnal Green United (4) 6 

 Unfinished business reaps rewards...  

With very few end of season fixtures now remaining, the chances of getting to a new ground really are at a premium. Well we are half-way through May so I shouldn't expect too much. After painstakingly checking the reliable Football Mittoo website for a game, one particular match stood out on what was a very short list of available ‘hoppertunities. By mid-day it was with eager anticipation that we decided to travel over to West London for the Middlesex County League match between FC Deportivo Galicia and Bethnal Green United.


According to the club’s informative website:


The roots of Deportivo Galicia go back to 1968 when a group of immigrants from Galicia in North-West Spain formed their own football team in West London. Initially it operated under the banner of Centro Gallego de Londres - a social, cultural and sports club set up to cater for the needs of the rapidly expanding Spanish/Galician community - and was entered into the West Fulham League as Centro Gallego under its first manager, Max Garcia. In the 1971-72 season some members left to form their own team - which they named Deportivo Galicia. The teams were re-merged in 1975 under the name of Deportivo Galicia and played in the Harlesden Sunday League. In season 1995-96, the club's first in the Middlesex County League, Deportivo won the Division 2 title and also gained Intermediate status from the London FA. They have remained in the MCFL until now.


This was, in fact, the third time that these two teams had faced each other this season. The Premier Division game today could be best described as a bit of ‘unfinished business’ as the original fixture, played back as long ago as the 13 September 2008 (result 3-4), did not stand. The visitors, on that day, had fielded an ineligible player and after some subsequent enquiries by the very efficient Middlesex County League Committee, it was felt that the match should be re-scheduled towards the end of the season. As Deportivo were the innocent party in all of this, it was up to Bethnal Green to pay for the use of the facilities (pitch; changing rooms and refreshments) in re-staging the game. A unique situation and a veritable can of worms if ever there was one!


For the enthusiastic traveller such games can often prove to be very entertaining affairs. It’s a case of picking the right one and today was certainly no exception. It was all really quite simple: victory for United in this, their last match of the campaign, would be enough to make the club League Champions. Anything else would give second place Hayes United (with a game in hand over their rivals) the chance to overtake them. Like a Bolivian unicyclist’s jockstrap it doesn’t really get much tighter does it? Looking at the current form book indicated, at first glance, that a comfortable away win was the most likely outcome. It also seemed that there would be plenty of goalmouth action too with bottom-placed Deportivo leaking goals for fun having been thumped here 12-0 by a rampant Indian Gymkhana side only one week ago. I don’t like to see teams getting hammered, do you? Well alright…maybe just a bit!


The match was played at the Osterley Sports Club based along the Tentelow Lane in Osterley, although looking at the map the place is probably nearer to Norwood Green. It’s only a few miles from Heathrow airport and for that reason is an ideal location for plane spotters to watch aircraft coming into land if your heart so desires.


The facility, which looks in a needy state of repair, is shared by several clubs and is better known to ‘hoppers as being the home to CB Hounslow United Football Club, members of the Combined Counties League. They play on a self-contained pitch on the site (used today for a reserve team fixture against Worcester Park OB). Along with a number of other more local teams in the area (including Kensington Dragons FC of the MCFL Hounslow & District Division), FC Deportivo Galicia also make use one of the other pitches marked out on the large playing fields.


It is fully roped off through a series of permanent and robust-looking wooden stakes that surround the perimeter. The nearest touchline backs on to the CBHU ground behind it. The opposite side is more open: a couple of archers oblivious to the football were happily practising their technique firing arrows at a distant target. Unsurprisingly this was a spectator-free zone for the afternoon! The land behind the right-hand goal looks more like a flattened bomb-site with extensive piles of rubble forming a raised plateau behind the goal. Presumably this is evidence of some new building-work in progress. Through the trees beyond you can see the local cricket ground and sure enough a game was taking place.


Apart from the two wooden dug-outs next to the half-way line there is no other spectator cover. The dated and shabby looking clubhouse found close to the entrance has seen better days. Mrs W was not very impressed at having to use an ‘unlit’ ladies toilet I can tell you! Urinating in the dark is not a pleasuable experience. Although a programme wasn’t issued for the game today refreshments including hot snacks and drinks were available from an independent kiosk next to the clubhouse.


On a bright, showery and vey windy afternoon Fran and I joined a small number of other travellers (including my old mate and snapper Gordon Whittington who had come down from Bedford) gathered at pitch-side. After a fairly even opening ten minutes it didn’t take long for the lads in green to assert their superiority. The opening goal came when Daniel Sabaroche (22) neatly lobbed the ‘keeper from only ten yards out. His team mate Michael Begg (26) soon added a second with a superbly struck shot struck from the edge of the penalty area which simply whistled into the top corner pleasing their supporters. Although the stiff breeze was affecting play it wasn’t long before United were on the score sheet again. An easy chance from inside the six yard box by Marvin Abegunde (32) was followed by a rasping shot from the left hand side of the box by that man Sabaroche (41) to make it a convincing 0-4 score line at the break. Phew!


There was barely enough time to draw breath and complete all the essential details on our FGIF official Match Stats card when the teams were back out to re-start play. Within two minutes Jose Arean, a tall, slim Deportivo defender had cause to celebrate when his lucky toe poke was somehow enough to take the ball over the line (47). To be honest the defending was pretty awful. Could the hosts possibly come back into the game? Alas for them the visitors thought otherwise. Pushing forward once again they earned a free-kick close to the touch line (level with the edge of the box). Quick thinking Begg (60) timed his run perfectly to beat the advancing defence and calmly side-footed the ball into the left hand corner of the net giving Deportivo ‘keeper Rui no chance. It was his second and United’s fifth. But the hosts dressed in a red and white strip hadn’t given up just yet and their persistence paid off. It was that man Arean once again who reduced the deficit when he scored a carbon-copy of his first goal following a corner from the left on 62 minutes. United quickly took the kick-off and sent a long ball up field. Shane Baptiste (65) showing a great turn of pace controlled the ball, beat his marker and picked his spot to drill the ball into the empty net. This effort, his twelfth of the season, rightly confirmed him as the man of the match. With no further goals the score remained at 2-6. After a long season United had at last won the league title. As expected their emotions were uncontrollable and the champagne flowed in the euphoric after match scenes!! It had also been a really enjoyable day out for the neutrals from racing HQ.


So what does the future hold for the new league champions? Will they now aim to move up the pyramid? Stephen Howser the enthusiastic MCFL secretary told me that the present situation regarding the club still remains unclear. It seems that they want to play in the Essex Senior League (a step 5 competition). There are many good reasons behind this decision: geographically and financially it would make common sense; the ESL is only a small competition and it would surely benefit from an increase in its membership and their ground (The Mile End Stadium) would certainly comply with the necessary grading requirements to compete at this level. However it appears that the FA wants the club to play at step 6 first…suggesting that the South Midlands League would be more appropriate…can you believe it? What total bureaucracy! What a price to pay for success! As Stephen says: ‘Watch this space!’ The highs and lows of non-league football definitely continue…


FGIF Match Rating: 4.


edited 18/05/09