Hardwicke v Stonehouse Town

2.30pm  25 September 2016

Stroud and District Charity Cup, First Round
Hardwicke 0 Stonehouse Town 3 (att 64)

Newly-promoted Stonehouse have made a strong start in the Gloucestershire County League, and they had few problems seeing off fellow county leaguers Hardwicke in this local cup tie.

The Stroud Charity Cup - actually several cups for teams at different levels - is a good source of Sunday matches, and it was an ideal opportunity for me to visit Green Lane in Hardwicke, just south of Gloucester.

The ground is behind the village hall, and consists of a pitch enclosed by a plastic post and rail barrier, which is presumably removed during the close season, or even between matches. There's a pair of permanent dugouts on the far side, with houses beyond.

The Royal British Legion club sponsors Hardwicke AFC, and its social club is behind the goal, providing a source of alcoholic refreshment for some spectators during the match.

In truth it wasn't the most gripping 90 minutes of football I've seen. Two goals in the final five minutes gave Stonehouse a comfortable winning margin, but if they'd not scored those then their 11th minute opener always looked enough to win against a disappointing home side.

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