Old Lyonians v AFC Oldsmiths

3pm  24 October 2015

Southern Amateur League, Division Three
Old Lyonians 1 AFC Oldsmiths 0 (att 5)

Just like last Saturday, my choice of a 3pm game was entirely dependent on a new ground that was within range of a nearby lunchtime kick off.

Car journeys in London can be unpredictable, but I made it from Pitshanger to Old Lyonian's South Vale ground with a few minutes to spare, only to find it was going to be a challenge to locate somewhere to park.

The club's small car park had a barrier to control entry, and looked full, while the street outside was restricted to residents with parking permits. I eventually found a space a couple of minutes' walk away, and the referee helped me by kicking off a few minutes after 3pm.

This was only the second Southern Amateur League match I've ever watched, and the first was 23 years ago (at Polytechinc FC). I have, however, been to plenty Southern Amateur League grounds, mostly for midweek afternoon representative games, which these days are, sadly, few and far between.

Like many of the private sports grounds that host Southern Amateur League football, the John Lyon School sports ground in Harrow is very well maintained. The first team pitch, separated from the pavilion by a small training pitch, has an immaculate surface.

To be honest the quality of the football didn't quite match the quality of the pitch, but then this is the third tier of a league that's sits outside the footballing pyramid.

Old Lyonians were deserved winners, but they made very hard work of beating an Oldsmiths team reduced to 10 men by injury just before half time (they only had 11 players, no subs). The winning goal came midway through the second half.

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