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Abergele v Llansannan

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City University of London v Brunel University II

2.40pm 21 February  2024 BUCS, South Eastern 4D City University of London 3 Brunel University II 2 (att 10) An overnight stop on our journey home from Paris allowed me time to take in a midweek afternoon game in the capital using public transport. Given the wet weather an artificial pitch was the safest bet, and with a scheduled start time of 2.15pm a visit to Salisbury Hall Playing Fields, in Walthamstow, was the most convenient. University football, especially in the lower divisions, can be a mixed bag. It's always a relief to arrive at a venue and find players warming up for a match. On this occasion the one person missing was the referee. Thankfully everyone was keen to play, and after a 25 minute delay the game eventually kicked off with someone from City University in charge. He admitted, in a brief chat at half time, to being a reluctant volunteer. I for one was grateful to him for ensuring there was a game to watch. His team will have been grateful too, as they ended the af

Montrouge FC 92 v CA Vitry

6pm 17 February  2024 France, Championnat National 3, Group H Montrouge FC 92 3 CA Vitry 0 (att 200) Football wasn’t the motivation for a five night break in Paris. Had it been I wouldn’t have picked a weekend when the city’s teams who play in France’s top three divisions, PSG, Paris FC, Red Star and Versailles, were all away. I chose this fifth tier fixture as the venue, Stade Jean Lezer, was a short and simple Metro ride from our Montparnasse hotel. It’s an artificial pitch with an elevated seated stand, underneath which are changing rooms, a clubhouse and a snack bar. The rest of the perimeter is flat paved standing, with just a small grassed area behind the dugouts on the far side. With the sides filling two of the bottom three places in the league my expectations for the game were low. But with, surprisingly, no charge for admission at least I’d have no complaints about value for money. It turned out to be a thoroughly absorbing game. There was little between the sides until a 31s

Giffnock SC v East Kilbride Thistle

2.30pm 10 February  2024 West of Scotland League, Division Four Giffnock Soccer Centre 5 East Kilbride Thistle 5 (att 65) A 3G pitch with a spectator area running the length of one touchline may not be the most exciting of grounds to visit, but that barely matters when you get to watch a game as enthralling as this. I've seen a handful of 5-5 draws previously, and obviously such games are never dull. But what stood this encounter apart from others was the quality of the football, or at least the finishing. Giffnock opened the scoring, which would be the only time they were ahead in the match. Their advantage didn't last long, and neither did parity as East Kilbride quickly went from 1-0 down to 2-1 up. The home side were back level inside 25 minutes, before the visitors went 3-2 up just before half time. The goals continued to flow in the second period. Giffnock levelled again, but looked to be heading for defeat when two goals in five minutes, the first a penalty, gave East Ki

Blackthorn Rovers v Dinamo Paisley

10am 10 February  2024 Saturday Morning Amateur League, Premier Division Blackthorn Rovers 1 Dinamo Paisley 3 (att 20) Having stayed overnight after Friday evening's game at Drumchapel I decided to begin Saturday by visiting a venue that's challenging to reach in time for a morning kick off from Manchester. Blackthorn Rovers have moved since I saw them at Battery Park in Greenock in 2020 , and now play a short distance away in neighbouring Gourock. It's a floodlit 3G pitch at Gourock Park, with plenty of space for spectators to stand inside the fence. Dinamo Paisley looked the sharper side from the start and were ahead early. Their lead remained at 1-0 by half time, but they doubled their advantage after around an hour. In a feisty game, that at times threatened to become bad-tempered, a third away goal eventually settled the outcome. Blackthorn did pull a late goal back, but it was nothing more than a consolation.

Drumchapel United v Petershill

7pm 9 February  2024 West of Scotland League, Division One Drumchapel United 3 Petershill 4 (att 160) The chance to tick off one of my remaining West of Scotland League grounds on a Friday night was too tempting to miss. However a cold, wet and windswept night wasn't the best time to visit Drumchapel United. Their home ground, an artificial pitch at the Donald Dewar Centre, lacks protection from the elements. There are spectator areas along both touchlines, but it's a basic venue for the seventh level of Scottish football. I believe there are plans for improvements, and they seem to be doing a good job of generating support from the local community. Visitors Petershill were top of the league, but most of those watching were supporting the home team. They'll have left disappointed with the outcome, but must have enjoyed what was a very entertaining game, especially in the second half. All seven goals came after the break. Petershill had looked the more likely to score in a g

UCFB (Manchester) v University of Chester

6pm 5 February  2024 BUCS, Northern 2A University Campus of Football Business (Manchester) 4 University of Chester 1 (att 32) The National Speedway Stadium in Belle Vue, Manchester, is an occasional football venue. However, this was a rare opportunity to see it used for a competitive first team fixture. How competitive university and colleges sport actually is can be variable, but at higher levels the games are generally watchable and this was no exception. UCFB operates from Manchester and London, and has football teams based in both. The Manchester-based first team usually play home fixtures at the city's regional athletics centre, so this game was a bit of a one off. It's certainly an impressive arena. There are huge stands on either side of the pitch, although just the seated side was open for the handful of spectators. UCFB ran out comfortable winners. They opened the scoring about midway through the first half, then recovered well after conceding an equaliser at the start