Pearson v Islington Admiral United

6.15pm  8 October 2015

Islington Midweek League, Islington Gazette Cup, First Round
Pearson 2 Islington Admiral United 4 (att 16)

Most groundhoppers, if they watch games in the Islington Midweek League at all, complete the league in an evening. All games are played on either pitch one or pitch two at Market Road, and most nights there's games on both pitches at 6pm and 8pm.

I've taken things more slowly. I saw a game on pitch one in November 2009, when I was in London for work and had time to kill before a train home. It's not a level of football I'd go out of my way to see, so I reckoned I'd one day return to "tick" pitch two in similar circumstances.

Getting a train home from London in the rush hour is exorbitantly expensive, so having been to an afternoon game it made sense to head back to Market Road for match number two, on pitch number two, then get a more affordable, later, train home.

Since my last visit the venue has had an impressive makeover. Both pitches now have new-looking artificial surfaces. Changing rooms are housed in a new building, and the glass-strewn steps of open terracing alongside pitch one have gone, making way for a pair of small-sided pitches.

Both full-size pitches, situated either side of the changing rooms, have an elevated path alongside them, although the view from here is through the high mesh fence. Fortunately, there's also plenty of room to stand inside the "cage" by the side of the pitch.

Although I'd have watched whatever fixture was on my "required" pitch at 6pm (it actually started several minutes late), I thought the cup tie between division two high-fliers Pearson, and premier division Islington Admiral would be an interesting one.

It was, with the "away" side given a tough game before eventually triumphing. All six goals were in the second half, Admiral finally turning their possession into an opening goal, then conceding just minutes later.

Eventually Admiral went back in front, and more goals gave them a commanding, if flattering 4-1 lead. Although it meant little, Pearson deserved their late consolation to give the score a more realistic look.

Pearson hadn't helped themselves by playing part of the match with just 10 men. after a kit mix up meant they too few orange shirts for all their outfield players.

Facilities for amateur teams are few and far between in London, especially this close to the centre, and so the Islington Midweek League fulfills an important function in providing a good standard of football for local teams, might not otherwise find pitches to play on.

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