Brooklyn v Huntington Rovers

2pm  3 October 2015

York League, Premier Division
Brooklyn 0 Huntington Rovers 3 (att 16)

It was a tough choice deciding on a game to follow the morning's entertainment at Huby United, but eventually I settled on seeing newly-promoted Brooklyn's clash with high-flying Huntington Rovers in the York League's top division.

Brooklyn are based on a 3G pitch at the Malton Communuity Sports Centre, just to the north-west of the centre of Malton in North Yorkshire. It's a fairly typical 3G set-up, and so not a thrilling ground.

From the entrance gate, at one end, there's dugouts on the right-hand side, with narrow areas for spectators roped off to the side of each dugout. Whether you can get away with standing anywhere else inside the "cage" probably depends on the referee.

The game went to form, although Huntington made hard work of seeing off Brooklyn. They dominated possession, but we'd played for 55 minutes before they finally went in front. It took just five minutes before they doubled their lead, and scored a third in stoppage time.

It's been a tough start to premier division football for Brooklyn, but hopefully it won't be too long before they start picking up points.

The sports centre isn't yet on Google Maps, but click here for a map showing its location

Huby United v Boosbeck United Athletic Club

11am  3 October 2015

North Riding FA Challenge Cup, First Round
Huby United 0 Boosbeck United Athletic Club 2 (att 11)

The ever-excellent Football Traveller magazine alerted me to this unusual early kick off, which otherwise I'd probably have missed.

Boosbeck wanted an early start to accommodate a charity event at their ground in the afternoon. Huby agreed to playing at 11am, and I was one of nine groundhoppers, in a "crowd" of 11, who made the most of the opportunity for an extra game.

Huby play in the fourth tier of the York League, while Boosbeck are from the Eskvale and Cleveland League. I had no idea which side were likely to be the strongest, but Boosbeck deserved their win.

They had most of the play, took a lead late in the first half, and, after a brief rally from Huby, a second goal in the final minute of the game wrapped up a comfortable win.

Huby play on the village sports ground, on the far side of a cricket square from a pavilion that has some cover, and a few seats, for spectators happy with a distant view of the action (or a much better view of the cricket, presumably).

The pitch itself was roped off for a few yards along the centre of each touchline, which was more than I'd expected, and was a pleasant venue on an autumnal morning in North Yorkshire.

FC United of Manchester v Worcester City

7.45pm  2 October 2015

National League, North Division
FC United of Manchester 0 Worcester City 2 (att 3,619)

I'd been looking forward to visiting FC United's new Broadhurst Park stadium. For starters, it's not often I can go to new ground for a floodlit evening kick off and be back home before 10pm, and I've enjoyed the atmosphere at previous FC United games I've seen.

It seems I don't bring them much luck though, as they've now won on just one of the five occasions I've seen them, home and away. Worcester City, a team I also have soft spot for having lived in the city for a few years, will be delighted at having taken all three points after this match.

Everyone's favourite pantomime villain, Lee Hughes, put the visitors in front with a very well-taken first half goal, then got himself sent off before half time.

With a man advantage, and attacking the end where their fans were massed, I expected FCUM to overwhelm Worcester in the second half, but it didn't happen. There were plenty of half-chances, none taken, but rarely did a home goal look odds on.

FC United's best chance was put over the bar, from just a few yards out, near the end, and within a minute or two Worcester broke forward and scored a second goal to make the points safe, to the delight of their travelling fans.

Broadhurst Park is some way from being the finished article, but is still an impressive venue. The seated stand, with terraced paddocks to the front, has room for expansion at both ends, there's a big terraced end, but the other end and far side are just flat standing.

The ground can be developed in future, as and when funds allow and crowds make necessary, but for a relatively young club. owned by its enthusiastic supporters, it's a fine example of what can be achieved.

Add decent food and drink, and a great atmosphere, and it's a terrific place to watch a game of football. I rarely revisit grounds, but as it's on my doorstep I'm sure this won't be my only visit to Broadhurst Park.

Broadhurst Park isn't on Google Maps yet, but here's a link to its location

Axminster Town v Crediton United

7.30pm  30 September 2015

South West Peninsula League, Division One East
Axminster Town 5 Crediton United 0 (att 164)

It took a while before Axminster Town were finally able to move into their new Tiger Way ground, but they've kicked off 2015/16 at their new home and very impressive it is too.

Rather than the all-too-common identikit prefab stands, Axminster have put seats into a nice-looking stand built onto the front of a building that houses the changing rooms and a spacious clubhouse. There's also plenty of covered standing in front the clubhouse, while the dugouts are on the opposite side, ensuring they don't obstruct anyone's view of the action.

My only concern is, that like a lot of new grounds, it's a long way from the centre of town. Fingers crossed crowds will be sustained once the novelty of the new venue wears off, and if the club has a few mediocre seasons.

Nothing mediocre about the game against Crediton though, at least not from the home side. Axminster looked sharp in front of goal, scoring twice in the first half and three more in the second, including a penalty.

For their part Crediton were very disappointing. They had a fair amount of possession, but did little with it. With a little more luck they might have managed a goal, but it'd have been no more than a consolation.

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale v Kelty Hearts

3pm  26 September 2015

Scottish Cup, First Round
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 3 Kelty Hearts 0 (att 220)

It might not capture the attention of the majority of football followers in Scotland, but Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale's comprehensive win over junior side Kelty Hearts was a pretty big cup upset.

Junior teams, particularly in the central belt, are generally among the best non-League sides in Scotland, and Kelty would have been strong favourites to see off senior opposition in the shape of last season's East of Scotland League champions.

Kelty had the backing of more than half the crowd at Saughton Enclosure, but the Fife team never really got going. They were out-fought and out-battled by a home side who seemed to have much more desire to win the tie.

Lothian had already missed one great chance to go in front when a penalty, correctly awarded in my opinion, was converted to put them in front. As a neutral, I expected Kelty to react to that setback, but just before half time the home side slotted home a second.

The junior side were better after the break, but with a decent lead to defend Lothian kept their opponents at bay and looked to hit them on the break. The third goal, after 83 minutes, settled the tie, and with better finishing the final score might have been higher.

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale - a convoluted name following the merger of two clubs a few years ago - play on a grass pitch enclosed by a running track at the Saughton Sports Complex. There's no stands, and spectators make do with shallow grass banking for an elevated, if distant, view of the action.

Tollcross Thistle v West Edinburgh United

1pm  26 September 2015

Lothian and Edinburgh AFA, Logan Cup, Second Round
Tollcross Thistle 5 West Edinburgh United 0 (att 20)

Chief attraction of this fixture was the 1pm kick off time, coupled with its very close proximity to the 3pm start of a Scottish Cup tie next door.

Being able to see both games, in their entirety, depended on this tie being settled in 90 minutes, without the need for extra time. I thought it'd be a safe bet, as premier division Tollcross play three levels higher than the visitors.

The home side dominated possession throughout, but after going ahead in the 18th minute they proceeded to make the act of goal scoring look painfully difficult. West Edinburgh threatened occasionally, and I had visions of an unlikely equaliser and an extra half-hour to settle things.

It took until the 63rd minute for Tollcross to double their lead, when a speculative shot was spilled by the visiting keeper. Goal number three came two minutes later, and two late goals completed the scoring.

Had Tollcross been able to match the quality of their passing and possession when they got near the West Edinburgh goal the scoreline would have been more emphatic.

I'd previously seen Tollcross play a Friday night match on a 3G pitch elsewhere in Edinburgh, but their regular home is the 3G pitch at the Saughton Sports Complex. Four Lothian and Edinburgh AFA teams play here so, like on this occasion, it often stages two games on a Saturday, at 1pm and 3pm.

I could have stayed for the 3pm kick off on the 3G, but instead went next door for a Scottish Cup tie on Saughton's enclosed grass pitch.

Bedford Modern School v Hampton School

2.30pm  24 September 2015

Independent Schools FA Cup, First Round
Bedford Modern School 1 Hampton School 2 (att 20)

Another Independent Schools Cup match, this time in Bedford, was an ideal stopping off point on my journey from London back home to Manchester.

This was the best game I've seen in this enjoyable competition so far. Hampton were beaten finalists last season, and were given a tough test by Bedford Modern before claiming their place in round two.

The visitors went ahead after about 15 minutes, but Bedford fought back to make it 1-1 by half time. Hampton had the better of the second half, and they deserved their winner.

Bedford Modern School has a large and well-maintained sports field just across the main road from the school itself.

Judging by the layout of pitches, rugby is the main sport, this term at least. The game was played on a pitch that also had rugby markings, as well as a scoreboard, presumably of more use for rugby than football. I liked the venue though, and it was nice to get a programme, the first I've had at an Independent School Cup match.