Catforth and District Summer League, Division Two
FC Clayton Brook 3 Goosnargh reserves 2 (att 30)
I usually wait a little longer before dipping into the local summer leagues, but with at least four new venues in this year's Catforth League line up, and each team having only five home league fixtures, I decided to make an early start.
The Catforth League used to be an unofficial competition, so long-established that the Lancashire FA agreed not to notice that games were being played during a period when FA rules meant they should have been outlawed.
But these days it's become official, in some ways a shame as the village sides who used to compete have been replaced by winter teams using it to keep players fit during the close season.
During the winter Clayton Brook are in division four of the Mid Lancashire League, while Goosnargh runs sides in the higher divisions of the same league. There wasn't much quality in this fixture, but it was entertaining enough in front of a good-sized crowd.
The home side scored early on, then doubled their lead before half time. A second half penalty put Clayton Brook on the road to a comfortable win, but they came close to throwing it away in the closing minutes.
Goosnargh scored the game's best goal after 72 minutes, then reduced the arrears further with just two minutes to play. They thought they'd equalised in stoppage time, but a linesman's flag ruled the goal out for offside.
Clayton Brook's home, in both summer and winter, is the local recreation ground. The grass could have done with a cut, and the pitch markings could have been clearer, but in the summer league such details don't matter that much.