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Showing posts from 2011

Buckingham Town v Wootton Blue Cross

31 December 2011 United Counties League, Division One Buckingham Town 2 Wootton Blue Cross 0 (att 78) I began 2011 with a game at Weston-super-Mare, and might have returned to the town on New Year's Eve had the weather not meant the predictable postponement of Westland United's Somerset County League game. As an alternative fixture this wasn't bad, as it was the final ground I needed to comple the United Counties League for the first time, over 25 years after starting with a visit to Baldock Town. Buckingham Town were evicted from their traditional Ford Meadow ground during the summer, and are currently using a ground in nearby Winslow. The ground is basic - just a roped off pitch - but the friendly club officials are very enthusiastic and do their best to turn it into suitable venue on matchdays. Hopefully Buckingham Town will be back playing in the town itself before too long. As for the game, Buckingham were well worth their straightforward win, secured with a

Woodley Town v Newbury

27 December 2011 Hellenic League Cup, Second Round Woodley Town 2 Newbury 2 aet, Woodley won 4-3 on penalties (att 72) Woodley play in Division One East of the Hellenic League, a "step 6" league and so in theory one that should be subject to similar minimum ground grading standards as other step six leagues across England. Quite how Woodley's East Park Farm ground ticks the ground graders boxes is anyone's guess, even taking into account the Hellenic League's lax track record when it comes to facilities. One side and one end of the pitch is enclosed by a wooden fence, the far side is roped off, with temporary-looking dugouts, while the far end is open. There's no facilities for spectators, and you only have to pay for admission if you're honest enough to walk over to a table where club officials sold programmes and hot drinks. That said, everyone at the club was very friendly, and I guess the ground was adequate even for today's higher than usu

East End Park WMC v Otley Town

17 December 2011 West Yorkshire League, Premier Division East End Park WMC 0 Otley Town 1 (att 21) Couldn't go too far today, and with the weather being kinder on the other side of the Pennines a trip to Leeds was a ideal. No problems with the pitch at East End Park's Skelton Road ground, hemmed in amongst tight-knit streets not far from the centre of Leeds. The game was good, although a for a long time I thought I'd be watching a goalless draw for the second weekend in a row. Otley kept their title challenge on track with the only goal, cleverly backheeled, after about 70 minutes. The result was harsh on East End Park, who I thought deserved a draw. The ground is typical for the West Yorkshire League, railed off with dugouts but no cover for spectators. However, unlike many venues in the league, it's completely enclosed, and if you look closely at the overgrown banking on one side you can make out the remains of terracing from the days when the ground had much

Hollands and Blair v West Wickham

1.30pm  10 December 2011 Kent Senior Trophy, Second Round Hollands and Blair 3 West Wickham 2 (att 42) Another trip into Kent as I work my way through the grounds I need to complete county's new "step six" Kent Invicta League - just three left to go now. Hollands and Blair's Gillingham ground wasn't as good as my two previous visits, to Bearsted and Rusthall. The ground is fully enclosed, but there's no stand or cover and it's only railed off along the sides. But like the other grounds it is neat and tidy, and with a proper entrance, nice clubhouse and a programme it has the feel of a proper football ground. The game was a tough one to predict the outcome. West Wickham play in the Southern Amateur League, a competition where clubs rarely play opposition from outside the Amateur Football Alliance (the "county" FA to which many London amateur clubs, primarily old boys sides and banking and private company teams, affiliate to). Hollands

Dagenham and Redbridge U18 v Southend United U18

10.30am  10 December 2011 Football League Youth Alliance, South East Conference Dagenham & Redbridge U18 0 Southend United U18 0 (att 38) My run of games without seeing a goalless draw came to an end after 87, dating back to May. The final score was easy to predict as the game progressed, with neither side looking likely in front of goal. Southend came closest, twice hitting the crossbar, but a draw was a fair result in a largely uninspiring game. The Daggers youth team venue was one I'd always been hesitant about visiting. The Sanofi-Aventis Sports Ground is also used by M&B Club in the Essex Olympian League, and generally I prefer to "tick" a ground by seeing the main host club play. Turns out Dagenham & Redbridge use the annex, separated from the main sports ground by a large car park. I considered staying to watch M&B play on the main ground, but decided it was too much time to kill before their 2pm kick off, despite the inviting clubhouse, so

Brechin Victoria v Coupar Angus

1.45pm 3 December 2011 SJFA East Region, North Division Brechin Victoria 3 Coupar Angus 2 (att 18) Plan A for the afternoon was Coupar Angus v Brechin Victoria, but a lunchtime phone call revealed that Coupar's pitch was waterlogged and so the fixture had been reversed to Brechin's playable Victoria Park pitch. The late change may have contributed to the small crowd, which was a shame as the few that attended witnessed a great game. Coupar Angus have a very young side and are pointless at the foot of the league, but I had to feel sorry for them after losing this. Brechin took an early lead, thanks to a fine finish, and it was only good goalkeeping that stopped them taking control of the game. Coupar Angus threatened only occasionally, until the last minute of the half when they scored twice to go into the break in front. The second half was all about Brechin's efforts to get back into the game. They deservedly equalised with a penalty, then immediately lost a pl

Cowboys v Cannon Fodder

10.30am  3 December 2011 Dundee Saturday Morning League, Premier Cup Group A Cowboys 0 Cannon Fodder 6 (att 7) My first taste of Dundee's Saturday Morning League, and it was an entertaining if chilly introduction. I was working in Scotland on Friday, and having stayed overnight near Dundee this was a good way of passing time before an afternoon game, while getting an additional match and a new ground. It was one of five games at the council-owned Riverside Pitches, and as the only one featuring Premier Division teams it was the one I elected to watch. Cannon Fodder were worthy winners, although the scoreline was harsh on the "home" side (all venues are effectively neutral in this league, with games staged at parks with multiple pitches). Cannon Fodder scored two early goals, then added four more in the second half, with Cowboys defence falling apart towards the end. Not sure I'll be leaving home before dawn to watch future Saturday morning games in Dundee, b

Harborough Town v Rothley Imperial

29 November 2011 Leicestershire Senior Cup, Second Round Harborough Town 2 Rothley Imperial 1 (att 36) Second time I've seen Rothley this month, and like last time it was a good game. Rothley effectively play one league lower than Harborough, but scored early in a first half in which they looked the better side. Perhaps it was having the stiff and chilly breeze at their backs which aided Rothley in the first period, as soon after half time Harborough levelled, and went on to control the half. With the temperature dropping I didn't fancy extra time, so was relieved with Harborough got a deserved winner about five minutes from time. This was my second visit to see a team called Harborough Town at this venue, but the old pitch, used by the current club's predecessors, is now an all weather pitch. The new ground is next door, and is entered via an impressive clubhouse, housing a bar, tea bar and even a shop selling club shirts and merchandise. The ground itself is rat

Gas Recreation v Buckhurst Hill

1.30pm  26 November 2011 Essex Premier Cup, Third Round Gas Recreation 3 Buckhurst Hill 0 (att 30) A cup tie which paired teams from the top tiers of the Essex and Suffolk Border League and the Essex Olympian League, and it was the Border league which came out on top. No surprise really, as "The Gas" have been among the league's top sides for several years. Buckhurst Hill battled well, but never recovered from going a goal behind inside the opening 30 seconds. Gas Rec were 2-0 ahead by half time, and didn't look like losing their grip on the tie during a second half in which the visitors pressed and created chances, but looked vulnerable at the back, eventually conceding a third. The Bromley Road ground in Colchester is basic but pleasant. The main feature is a pavilion, with the club's nickname picked out on the tiled roof, and which houses changing rooms and a tea bar, while the pitch is partly fenced off and mostly roped off. Ground no 3,676

Colchester United U18 v Brentford U18

11am  26 November 2011 Football League Youth Alliance, South East Conference Colchester United U18 1 Brentford U18 3 (att 48) With a new training ground on the way, this could be the final season that Colchester United's youth team games are played at the Garrison B ground. That's why I left home before sunrise for the lengthy journey to Essex. The game was okay, if not particularly memorable, but it was worth the early start and long drive to visit the ground. Unusually for youth team venues, it's a "proper" ground, with floodlights and a seated stand, and programmes are available. There's easy access for the public, despite it being a military sports ground. Brentford were fairly comfortable winners. They went ahead midway through the first half, and when they doubled their lead in the second half the contest looked to be over. Colchester pulled a goal back, but the visitors ended the game in the ascendancy, missing a late penalty before scoring an e