Rhosgoch Rangers v Bronllys

25 September 2011

Radnorshire Cup, First Round
Rhosgoch Rangers 8 Bronllys 0 (att 33)

It wasn't until this morning that I confirmed a long-held suspicion that Rhosgoch had moved to a new ground since I saw them play at Portway Field, nothing more than a pitch in a farmer's field, back in 1993.

The current pitch is behind the village school, and facilities are better but still limited. Part of the near side is roped off, dugouts are on the far side and there's a few advertising hoardings to give it the feel of a "proper" ground.

The game was always likely to be a comfortable home win. Once Mid Wales League Rhosgoch went ahead, in the seventh minute, it was simply a matter of how many they'd score against opponents who play one level lower, in the Mid Wales South League.

Five of the goals came before half time. In the second half Rhosgoch eased off, and Bronllys had the strong wind behind them, but a consolation goal always looked unlikely.

Ground no: 3,650

Sutton Courtenay v Berinsfield

4.30pm  24 September 2011
North Berkshire League, Division Two
Sutton Courtenay 4 Berinsfield 1 (att 182)

Back to division two for the day's third game, and a comfortable win for Sutton Courtenay, who led 2-0 by half time. Overall this was a fairly good match, but the effects of it being the day's third game meant I was a bit too jaded to appreciate it.

Drayton v Harwell Village

1.30pm  24 September 2011
North Berkshire League, Division One
Drayton 3 Harwell Village 1 (att 168)

From Steventon a journey of a little over a mile to the village of Drayton. Another roped off pitch, this time on the local recreation ground, although the pitch is tightly enclosed and there are dugouts, giving it more a feel of a football ground.

The game wasn't the best, but a flurry of late goals, including a hat trick by a Drayton substitute, settled it.

Steventon v Marcham

10.30am  24 September 2011
North Berkshire League, Division Two
Steventon 3 Marcham 2 (att 190)

The first of three North Berkshire league games today, as the league staged its first "hop" ... I opted out of the fourth and final game, at Wallingford, as I'd already been.

These two teams provided a lively start to the day, especially during the first half in which both scored twice. Steventon play on a basic, but pleasant, ground on the village green, and were well organised for a crowd far bigger than they usually attract.

Ramsey v Corinthians

17 September 2011
Isle of Man Premier League
Ramsey 0 Corinthians 2 (att 100)

My third game in the Isle of Man, and while the quality of the football didn't meet the heights of my two previous games (at St George's and Gymnasium) the overall "matchday experience" was best on the island so far.

Ramsey's Ballacloan Stadium is a proper football ground, with seated stand and plenty of terracing, and there was the welcome and unexpected bonus of a programme - a bargain at just 50p, especially with no charge for admission.

The game was entertaining without being thrilling. Corinthians always had the edge and were deserved winners, scoring their goals in stoppage time at the end of each half.

Storrington v Bexhill United

10 September 2011
Sussex County League, Division Two
Storrington 2 Bexhill United 3 (att 36)

Storrington is good example of how basic facilities can be turned into a pleasant and perfectly adequate football ground, at least for this level. That said, the lack of seated stand, or hard standing around the entire pitch, would probably prevent the venue staging "step 6" football anywhere outside the South East.

Anyway, the game is more important than the ground, and this one was very good. Bexhill looked much stronger and deserved their win, although they made life difficult for themselves and had to come from behind.

The visitors scored the only goal of a first half in which they dominated possession. Within 10 minutes of the second half two defensive lapses allowed Storrington to take the lead, but Bexhill continued to play the better football and got back in front. Their winner came very late, but they still had to hold on right at the end after losing a player to a red card.

Penketh United v Widnes Dragons

8 September 2011
Warrington & District League, Division Three
Penketh United 2 Widnes Dragons 2 (att 7)

Not much choice of games tonight, which is my best excuse for watching a game in the fourth tier of the Warrington League. Premier Division football in this league is of a decent standard, but on tonight's evidence the same can't be said of Division Three.

That said it wasn't a bad game. The first half wasn't up to much, low key and played at a rather pedestrian pace, but things picked up from the 58th minute when Widnes Dragons went ahead. Penketh equalised, thanks to an own goal, before a spot kick restored the visitors' lead. Penketh missed a great chance to level when they missed a penalty, but a late free kick, in off the post, earned them a deserved draw.

Penketh play at Morley Common, on the southern fringe of Warrington, a ground that's been used by various teams over the years. It's a public park with changing rooms and four pitches, and an impressive backdrop of the adjacent chemical works.

Hindley Town v Downall Green United

7 September 2011
Wigan & District Amateur League, Premier Division
Hindley Town 3 Downall Green United 2 (att 13)

Great game in appalling conditions on a very wet and windy night near Wigan. Set off intending to watch a Lancashire Amateur League Cup match at nearby Hindley Juniors, but arrived to find the away team waiting patiently for home officials to arrive and unlock the gate to let them in!

With a doubt over whether that game would go ahead I made the short journey to Hindley Town's Kildare Street ground. Glad I did, as two good sides provided terrific entertainment.

Downall Green looked better in the first half and led 2-1 at half time, but Hindley had the better of the second period and scored twice to win, although a draw would have been a fairer result. Hindley Town's winner was a great strike which would have graced any venue.

The Kildare Street ground is basic (as are most grounds I go to, particularly at this time of year). Inside the entrance there's a car park and a small building housing the changing rooms. From here the pitch, which wasn't roped off, runs widthways, with a single bench on the nearside near the halfway line.

Belfry v Merseyside Police

5 September 2011
West Cheshire League, Division Three
Belfry 2 Merseyside Police 3 (att 30)

Not the greatest of evenings. Awful journey through rush hour traffic, with virtual gridlock through roadworks in Liverpool just two miles from the ground, meant I missed the first few minutes, and Belfry's ground, a roped off pitch in the middle of large recreation ground, isn't the best place to watch football in such grim weather.

But, despite the wind and rain, the sides put on a decent and entertaining display. The Police led 2-1 at half time, extended their lead after the break, then Belfry got a consolation goal from a penalty just before the end.

This might have been one of those occasional nights when I question my own sanity, but it was the final ground I had to visit in the West Cheshire League, and I soon dried out when I got back home.