Saturday, November 17, 2007

London APSA FC

London APSA 2 Mauritius Sports & Pennant 3 - Essex Senior League

London APSA (All Peoples' Sports Association) was formed in 1993 at the time of the first Asian Football League. A group of friends at Newham's East Ham College merged with a youth team known as Young Muslims, who were no longer eligible to play under 16's football. Brought together by the Current Club Chairman Zulfi Ali, London APSA then known as Ahle Sunnah were crowned the first ever-Asian League Champions.

Turnstile with Brian Edwards (right)
I travelled from Cheshunt on a direct service to Stratford, avoiding central London. At Stratford, I was able to catch a 262 bus for Plaistow, via Prince Regent Lane to the Terence McMillan Stadium. The 473 route offers a similar option.

On arrival at the stadium, I was greeted by Brian Edwards, one of the very small group of committee members ‘mucking in’ to run the club, particularly on match days. Brian is listed in the match programme as ‘Physio’ but spent the entire 1st half on the gate.

The stadium is not great in terms of spectator facilities. The only covered accommodation being the seated stand, the majority of which is closed. Refreshments are available though in a portakabin, which also houses the home team changing room. Hot tea was certainly welcome on this cold, grim November afternoon.

Brian Edwards had informed me that there was a problem in that the corner flags had gone missing since the previous match (senior football meets Hackney Marshes! – Ed). However the sportingly sympathetic match officials agreed to start the match without the corner flags, although they were reluctant to allow the suggested javelins (Newham & Essex Beagles AC is based at the stadium - Ed)

The match could certainly be described as a ‘six pointer’ with APSA on 5 points, third from bottom of the table and visitors Mauritius Sports & Pennant, propping up the table with a solitary point. Sometimes games of this nature provide bags of excitement whereas on other occasions one might question the reason for attending – but that is the game we love isn’t it?

The first half did not produce any goals and APSA will regret not converting any of the chances that came their way as they were certainly on top during the first period. New corner posts, without flags were produced after 25 minutes – game on!

The visitors were energised in the second half and took the lead with a fine strike. An excellent equaliser from APSA proved to be a ‘false dawn’ as Mauritius Sports & Pennant clinched victory with two further goals. (A first league victory as a senior club – Ed) A late consolation goal from APSA was just that.

The guys that run London APSA are a hardworking bunch and anyone looking to visit will be ensured a warm friendly welcome. Your reporter was happy to ‘muck in’ as ball boy on occasions, it is that sort of place!

Despite the match not finishing much before 5pm, I was able to catch a bus within a couple of minutes and was back at Stratford in plenty of time to catch the 17.33 direct service to Cheshunt.

Attendance: 23
Admission: £5.00
Programme: £1.00
Tea: 50p
Twix: 50p
Fare: 90p each way to/from Stratford on the bus using my newly activated Oyster Card

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