Bradford v Salts reserves

2pm  16 January 2016

West Riding County Amateur League, Division Two
Bradford 3 Salts reserves 1 (att 5)

Another Saturday when the weather dictated the choice of game, at least in the north of England where grass pitches were vulnerable to being either waterlogged or frozen.

Once I knew a couple of options had been postponed I was more than happy to settle for another artificial pitch, this time the 3G surface at Bradford Academy, a school-cum-sports centre in the Bowling area of the city.

When it was an old-fashioned school, rather than a modern new academy, the playing fields provided a home to West Riding League Bowling FC. Their old pitch remains, some distance from the new 3G which is, typically, floodlit and enclosed by high fencing.

Unfortunately, this is one 3G venue where spectators are not permitted inside the cage. Access was controlled by staff, and without the necessary "pitch pass" it was difficult to get a decent view.

To be fair, spectators haven't been ignored. There's a shallow covered terrace, with some bench seating, towards a corner, and a steep grass bank, giving an elevated view, towards the centre of the near side. Sadly, both vantage points involve peering through the fence.

At least it was a lively game. A goalkeeping error gifted Bradford the lead after just five minutes. The visitors got into the game, but were unable to score and found themselves 2-0 down before half time.

A second half penalty, for handball, reduced the arrears and set up an entertaining second half. Both sides had chances, but Bradford's victory was ensured thanks to a third goal in stoppage time, coming shortly after a Salts player was dismissed after getting a second booking.

The 3G pitch isn't yet on Google Maps, but click here for a map of its approximate location

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