Leeds Trinity University v Bishop Burton College

12 midday  25 February 2015

BUCS, Northern Section 3B
Leeds Trinity University 1 Bishop Burton College 1 (att 22)

More Wednesday afternoon university football, this time on a 3G pitch in the campus of Leeds Trinity University in Horsforth.

The 3G facility has been installed since my last visit here, in 2009, when the institution was called Leeds Trinity and All Saints and football was played on a grass pitch, which still exists, inside a cinder running track.

The quality of BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport) games can vary. This one wasn't bad though, between two well-matched teams who finished level thanks to a stoppage time equaliser for the home side.

Bishop Burton, who probably just shaded it in terms of the quality of their football, had gone ahead after around 15 minutes. They always looked more likely to add a second than to concede an equaliser, but failed to take their chances and paid for it at the end.

Wisbech Town v Deeping Rangers

7.45pm  24 February 2015

United Counties League, Premier Division
Wisbech Town 2 Deeping Rangers 1 (att 110)

It's taken a good few years, but my visit to Wisbech Town's newish Fenland Stadium meant I'd completed the United Counties League for the first time.

The club have been based here for a few years, and like a lot of new venues at this level it's on the edge of town and functional rather than thrilling. The facilities are good though, a decent clubhouse for a pre-match pint, and a ground that has large sections of cover at both ends, and a small seated stand on the side opposite the clubhouse. There's also a collection of seats under the cover at one end, curiously positioned towards the corner and ignored, for this game at least, by spectators,

Wisbech are on a winning run and challenging for the title and, presumably, promotion. They did their chances no harm with a win against Deeping that was more comfortable than a 2-1 scoreline suggests.

The hosts started really well, played some great football and fully deserved the 2-0 lead they took into the half time interval. They should have extended their lead after the break, but failed to take chances as Deeping occasionally threatened to make things more interesting by pulling a goal back.

The visitors did get their goal eventually, but it was in stoppage time and with just seconds remaining Wisbech were able to claim all three points.

Saundersfoot v Herbrandston

2.30pm  21 February 2015

Pembrokeshire League, Division One
Saundersfoot 0 Herbrandston 5 (att 20)

This was my first ever game in the Pembrokeshire League, but despite the distance from home I'm already looking forward to watching more as it's such a lovely part of the world.

Saundersfoot is a seaside resort near Tenby. The football club is having a difficult time, currently bottom of the league's top division, and they were shown no mercy by visitors Herbrandston.

The two sides met in the league at Herbrandston only last week, with Saundersfoot losing narrowly 3-2. This time it wasn't so close, although the home side played some decent football at times and deserved a goal for their efforts.

The visitors scored early, and were 2-0 ahead inside 15 minutes. Sandersfoot looked capable of coming back, at least until they conceded a third just before half time. Herbrandston scored two more in the second half, and the while the result was never in doubt it was an entertaining game.

Saundersfoot Sports Club is a fairly typical village sports ground, with a cricket square adjacent to the sloping football pitch, and a small pavilion providing changing rooms. There are handful of advertising boards, and the pitch is roped off at the car park end, presumably to stop drivers, rather than spectators, encroaching onto the playing area.

Swansea City U18 v Millwall U18

11am  21 February 2015

Under 18 Professional Development League Two
Swansea City U18 2 Millwall U18 0 (att 65)

Regular readers of this blog (if there are any) may recall that last month I blogged about a visit to see Swansea's youth team at the club's Landore training ground.

This game was also played at Landore, but unlike the previous visit was on a pitch that's lined by three seated stands. Not all groundhoppers would consider the two adjacent pitches as separate grounds, but as they don't overlap I do. Thanks to whoever looks after Swansea Academy's Twitter account for confirming on Friday evening that the game would be on the pitch I wanted.

The match wasn't particularly memorable. It was a routine win for Swansea thanks to two second half goals. The first was a penalty, softly awarded I thought, but their second goal, close to the end, followed a fine move on the break.

I doubt I'll return to Landore, especially as I've also recently seen Swansea's Under 21 side, who frustratingly played on the same pitch used during my first visit. However, the Swans' youth team often play games at Fairwood, and that's a ground I'm yet to visit.

Goytre United Afan Lido

7.30pm  20 February 2015

Welsh League, Division One
Goytre United 2 Afan Lido 1 (att 116)

I finally got round to taking advantage of one of Goytre United's many Friday evening matches, and was glad I did so as this local derby provided a good evening's entertainment at an impressive football ground.

There are two clubs from Goytre in the top division of the Welsh League, one from Goytre in Gwent, and United, who play in a tiny village just outside Port Talbot. They've had a successful few years, but seem to have decided, wisely I think, that promotion to the Welsh Premier League would be a step too far.

Cross-town rivals Afan Lido have played Welsh Premier football, and were relegated after finishing bottom last season. They currently sit just below mid table, so an immediate return is unlikely, whereas Goytre still have a chance of winning the league.

The hosts looked out of sorts for much of this game though. Afan Lido looked sharper and more determined, and deserved to score the game's opening goal in the second half. But Goytre showed the resilience that successful sides need, scoring twice to turn the game around and claim all three points.

Their Glenhafod Park Stadium is a gem of a football ground. It's set amid great scenery - not that you can tell on a Friday night in February - and is dominated by a 350-seat stand that runs the length of one side. The remaining three sides are mostly uncovered open standing, with a snack bar towards one corner. The social club is next door to the stadium.

Newcastle University v Liverpool John Moores University

1pm  18 February 2015

BUCS Trophy, Last 16
Newcastle University 0 Liverpool John Moores University 3 (att 15)

One of my occasional forays into the world of Wednesday afternoon university football, and I was tempted to the north east by the discovery that Newcastle's Northern Alliance side have moved since my visit and now use a 3G pitch at Longbenton.

The ground is pretty much as you'd expect for a 3G pitch, floodlit and enclosed by a tall fence. An all-weather hockey pitch is next door, and the sports ground also houses three grass pitches, all of which were in use.

Newcastle and Liverpool John Moores are league rivals in Wednesday afternoon BUCS (British Universities and Colleges) football. From the league table I'd expected Newcastle to win this cup tie, but despite being the better side for most of the game they somehow lost it.

The visitors went ahead a minute before half time. Newcastle had the breeze behind them for the second half, and it seemed to be just a matter of time before they scored, but John Moores defended well and had a keeper in great form.

The afternoon got worse for the hosts when Liverpool JM broke forward and doubled their lead, with a very cool finish, after around 70 minutes. A third goal in the final moments completed  a comprehensive, if slightly fortunate, 3-0 win and a trip to Edinburgh Napier in next week's quarter finals.

Osbaldwick v Huntington Rovers

2pm  14 February 2015

York League, Premier Division
Osbaldwick 1 Huntington Rovers 4 (att 40)

I've visited one or two York League teams for cup matches in the past, but this was my first experience of a league game, and I was impressed.

I was a little surprised when the FA granted the competition "step seven" status a couple of years ago, putting it on a par with the top amateur leagues in England, and putting it onto my groundhpping radar.

On paper this looked an unexciting mid table battle, albeit a local derby. My main reason for choosing it was that Osbaldwick was handy for dropping off my other half for an afternoon around the shops in York.

Both sides had their moments, but Huntington in particular impressed me with their football. They deservedly took a first half lead, and doubled it before the break thanks to a misplaced clearance by the home keeper.

In the second half Osbaldwick were quickly back in the game, scoring after 47 minutes, but their comeback was shortlived as Huntington soon scored again to lead 3-1. The visitors added a fourth near the end, and had chances to have won even more convincingly.

Osbaldwick is a couple of miles east of York city centre. The club plays at The Leyes, a pleasant sports ground, which also houses cricket, surrounded by suburban houses. The football pitch is roped off, with a pair of temporary dugouts on one side.

Norfolk U18 v Cambridgeshire U18 at FDC, Norwich

7.30pm  11 February 2015

East Anglian Counties Trophy
Norfolk U18 2 Cambridgeshire U18 0 (att 74) at Norwich Football Development Centre

This game was a good opportunity to make my first visit to the Norfolk Football Association's home, the FDC (Football Development Centre) in Norwich.

It's a lively and busy venue, with a steady flow of amateur footballers and children using an array of small-sided pitches, all accessed through the main building which includes a bar.

The one full-sized grass pitch is officially called the "Field of Dreams". Not sure how many Norwich youngsters dream of playing at a sports centre in Bowthorpe on the outskirts of the city, but the facilities are good, and the organisation for this fixture was first class.

The ground is effectively three sided, with no spectators access to the far side where the dugouts are. The near side has a seated stand, refreshment hut, toilets and a turnstyle entrance. A PA system was used to good effect, announcing the teams, substitutions and even the night's official attendance.

It was a decent game as well, Norfolk edged it thanks to a goal in each half, which keeps them top of the six county round robin tournament, although they have played more games than the rest.

Cambridgeshire deserved at least a goal for their efforts, but on this evidence both counties have promising young players. Certainly Dereham Town and Histon do, according to the match programme, 11 of the home squad were from Dereham, while 10 Cambridgeshire players were from Histon.