Non-League Ex-Mariner Watch

Cod Almighty | Article

by James Howes

3 May 2022

James Howes' football stats job takes him the length and breadth of Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire watching non-League football every week. He's noticed that a perk/hazard of the job is encountering a lot of former Mariners.

This bank holiday weekend was a busy one for me, starting with a visit to King's Lynn to see their relegation confirmed at home to Eastleigh. The Linnets are, of course, managed by £300,000-signing Tommy Widdrington. The Eastleigh bench featured Andrew Boyce, who I remember looking very good back in 2014, but less so when he returned in 2016. Boyce was an unused substitute on Saturday but the King's Lynn team featured Cameron Hargreaves and Theo Widdrington, sons of Chris and Tommy respectively. I have seen King's Lynn three times this season and been impressed with how organised they have been under their ex-Mariner manager. It will be interesting to see if he stays there next season and how he fares.

I have seen some speculation that Gold Omotayo might be coming here after Paul Hurst embraced him after our 1-0 win at their place. I was surprised to see he's 28 but he scored two goals including a last minute goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to put King's Lynn 3-2 up. For context, King's Lynn had to win Saturday and rely on Notts County beating Aldershot to have any chance of surviving. It was a surreal moment watching the 11 players on the pitch celebrate and try find out the Aldershot score. The devastation on their face when news filtered to the pitch that Aldershot were 3-1 up was heartbreaking to see. Eastleigh attacked from the restart, King's Lynn gave away a penalty and after five minutes of treatment the final whistle blew as soon as soon as the ball hit the net. King's Lynn 3-3 Eastleigh. King's Lynn were relegated.

On Sunday I took in my first women's game: Sheffield FC v Derby County. No tedious Grimsby Town links that I could tell but it was the shortest back line I've ever seen. The Derby number 11 was an absolute baller and the Sheffield FC keeper could kick the ball out of her hands better than James McKeown and Max Crocombe.

Bank holiday Monday, then, and it dawned on me that I may need to stay away from our games for the foreseeable future as I watched Boston United concede a last-minute equaliser against Gloucester City. This meant Kettering Town overtook them to take the final play-off place with a goal difference advantage of two going into the final round of Conference North fixtures this weekend. Gloucester City used to be managed by Paul Groves but he got sacked earlier this season after a 3-0 defeat to eventual champions Gateshead in September. The Gateshead team that won the league on Monday featured Carl Magnay, by the way. As I've gone off track, I keep seeing on Twitter that Lenny has scored for York. On Monday he scored again to ensure York City have a play-off game or three to play.

But back to Boston. They started with Scott Garner, who was charged back in January of this year with a breach of FA Rule E8 – misconduct in respect of 2,466 bets placed on football matches between 26 August 2014 to 18 April 2021; an average of a bet a day for seven years. I am unsure what is going on with his charge but Andi Thanoj, an used substitute yesterday, has only recently returned to the Boston team having served a five-month ban for placing 319 bets over a period of almost six years. Jay Rollins, who spent a pre-season on trial with the Mariners under Russell Slade also received a five-month ban at the same time as Thanoj, so it will be interesting to see what punishment eventually does get dished out.

James Hanson was missing with illness for Boston yesterday and has only played 500 minutes since joining in January I am told. He is on loan from Farsley Celtic, who Boston play on Saturday. It should be an interesting game. If Kettering beat Curzon Ashton, who have nothing to play for, then Boston need to win by a margin of two goals more than Kettering to finish seventh. Farsley, though, are two points clear of bottom-placed Guiseley who have a better goal difference than them and are seemingly picking up results since Marcus Bignot got placed on gardening leave. Earlier this season I saw ex-Mariner Kyle Bennett play for AFC Telford United, who are also at risk of going down. He put in one of the worst performances I've ever seen, which probably explains why they are second bottom and he is no longer there.

Alfreton have faint hope of occupying that final Conference North play-off spot. Two points behind and with a goal difference of minus two, they realistically need Boston and Kettering to lose on Saturday whilst also picking up three points at home to the resurgent Guiseley. Alfreton feature ex-Lincoln and Mansfield villain Matt Rhead but also ex-Mariners Dayle Southwell and Danny Preston. Southwell has scored six in 38 appearances this season, being deployed primarily as a winger.

Elsewhere this weekend Michael Coulson captained Scarborough into the Conference North with a 2-1 win over Warrington Town in the Northern Premier League play-offs. The video of his 16th minute opener looks like something our own Liam Emmerson would record for Matchday Moments.

I will be keeping an eye on ex-Mariners (and current in the case of Lenny) who are involved in play-offs over the next few weeks and then it all starts again with pre-season friendlies in July.