EFL Youth Alliance, Merit League One
Swindon Town U18 1 Luton Town U18 1 (att 45)
The southern sections of the EFL Youth Alliance have begun their second stage 'merit leagues', in which the top and bottom halves of the south east and south west divisions form two new leagues.
Swindon and Luton both finished in the upper halves of their respective leagues, and kicked off their merit league campaigns with a point each after a lively game at Stanley Park in Chippenham.
Stanley Park is a sprawling football centre on the outskirts of the town. It was a busy on a Saturday morning with plenty of local youngsters making use of the facilities and enjoying coaching sessions.
My fixture was on the 'premier pitch', directly behind the pavilion building and fenced off along one side where there's also a pair of dugouts. The ground has been used for Wiltshire League football in the past, although as far as I'm aware it's not currently used regularly on a Saturday afternoon.
The first half wasn't great, the only moment of real quality was an excellent free kick which gave Swindon a deserved lead as half-time approached.
Thankfully the second half was much better. Luton stepped up and made more of a game of it, twice hitting the crossbar before eventually forcing home an equaliser. Both teams had chances to win, but in the end a draw was probably about right.