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Showing posts from November, 2013

University of Stirling v Tynecastle

3pm  30 November 2013 South of Scotland Region Challenge Cup, Second Round University of Stirling 4 Tynecastle 1 (att 61) My first visit to a member of the new Scottish Lowland League, although Stirling University's Lowland League matches are played at Stirling Albion's stadium, leaving the pitch at the Gannochy Sports Centre for regular use by their reserves. Cup matches, however, aren't bound by the same ground grading rules that dictate that Lowland League spectators need a stand and can't be more than a couple of hundred yards from a toilet or a tea bar, so this was a rare chance to see a first team game at Gannochy. It's a large sports ground, with the main pitch railed off inside a running track. Tynecastle had twice been beaten by the University's second team in the East of Scotland League matches in recent weeks, yet they'd knocked the first team out of another cup in their last match. But there was to be no repeat cup upset in this game, as

Consett v Spennymoor Town

7.45pm  29 November 2013 Northern League, Division One Consett 2 Spennymoor Town 1 (att 458) Not many teams have to wait until the end of November before playing their first home league fixture of the season, but with Consett's new Belle View Stadium only opened a week ago, their supporters will at last have plenty of home matches to look forward to. On the evidence of this game they seem to have plenty of fans, with healthy attendance inside the ground, which is on the outskirts of the town next to an abandoned Tesco supermarket, which handily provides overflow parking. New football venues at this level are rarely exciting, and a couple of identikit seated stands are a long way short of Consett's fantastic former Belle Vue home. But at least the stands have been thoughtfully placed, one on either side of the pitch, so the view isn't obscured, and the clubhouse looks well equipped, although far too busy to try to squeeze into. Apart from the stands the rest of th

Caterpillar v Allexton and New Parks

7.30pm  26 November 2013 Leicestershire Senior League, Premier Division Caterpillar 0 Allexton and New Parks 4 (att 32) Caterpillar FC are the works team attached to the huge Caterpillar complex on the outskirts of Desford. Factory sports grounds are few and far between these days, with companies less likely to spend money on leisure facilities for staff than they used to be. I only had time for a brief look inside the sports and social club, but the facilities looked impressive. The football pitch is railed off and floodlit, but there's no hard standing and, apart from dugouts, the only cover for spectators is an overhang in front of the clubhouse, which is set back from the pitch. I'm not sure how many of Caterpillar's first team players work at the factory, if any, but the club has progressed well in recent years to reach reach the top division of county league football, and "step seven" status. The rise of visitors Allexton and New Parks has been ev

Leonard Stanley v Chalford

2pm  24 November 2013 Stroud Charity Cup (Section A), First Round Leonard Stanley 2 Chalford 1 (att 29) The Stroud Charity Cup is a good source of Sunday matches, although this was the first game I've seen in it for quite a few years. You can never be quite sure how seriously teams will take competitions like this, but there was no shortage of effort and endeavour from either side, which made for an entertaining cup tie. A mistake by the visiting keeper allowed the home side to take the lead in the second minute. They doubled their lead before half time, but Chalford pulled a goal back with literally the final kick of the half. Surprisingly the second half didn't produce any more goals. Leonard Stanley had the edge, but Chalford put them under increasing pressure as the tie neared its end, with the home side relieved to hear the final whistle. Although a first round tie, it was one of only four, so Leonard Stanley progress to a semi final away to Taverners. Both Le

Uttoxeter Town v Hilton Harriers

1.30pm  23 November 2013 Staffordshire County Senior League, League Cup, Third Round Uttoxeter Town 2 Hilton Harriers 0 (att 62) Not my first choice game for the day, but I abandoned plans to travel to Scotland for fear of frozen pitches, for once justified as my intended match was postponed. I'd wanted to visit Uttoxeter for a while though, as they've taken the Staffordshire County Senior League by storm since joining, and now sit top of its Premier Division. Further progress will need some rapid ground improvements, or maybe a move elsewhere, although the Oldfields Sports Ground is a perfectly good place to watch football at this level. The pitch, some distance from an impressive-looking clubhouse, is newly-railed off, with two dugouts on the far side. A third dugout is behind the goal, serving as a tiny stand. On the pitch Uttoxeter certainly seem equipped to climb higher, even if they made hard work of seeing off Hilton in this league cup quarter final. Uttoxeter

Eccleshill United reserves v Witton Albion reserves

8pm  22 November 2013 Lancashire League, West Division Eccleshill United reserves 1 Witton Albion reserves 2 (att 30) The only attraction of this fixture, on a very cold Friday night in Leeds, was the venue. Eccleshill's main ground is reserved solely for the first team this season, so reserve and 'A' team games in the Lancashire League are played on the 3G pitch at Leeds Metropolitan University's Beckett Park Campus in Headingley. It's a typical 3G set up, the fenced in pitch is between an artificial hockey pitch and a grass rugby pitch. Two football pitches are behind the goal, one of them, where I've previously seen Leeds Metropolitan University play, is now railed off. Eccleshill United have some sort of tie up with the grandly-titled Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy, which seems to specialise in bringing young soccer players over from the United States. There appeared to be more American accents than Yorkshire ones among the home

Barnet v Cambridge United

5.30pm  16 November 2013 Football Conference, Premier Division Barnet 2 Cambridge United 2 (att 2,853) I didn't expect to enjoy this experience very much. Conference football no longer feels like non League, it cost £16 to stand behind the goal, £5 to park, and unsmiling stewards in high vis were quick to tell me that I was prohibited from taking photographs of the match. Yet despite all that it was a decent 90 minutes at Barnet's new home, The Hive in Edgware. No doubt detailed match reports are easily available elsewhere on the web, so I'll summarise but saying Cambridge looked to be coasting at 2-0 up, but Barnet's unlikely fightback meant it was level by half time. No further goals in the second half, although the home side were unfortunate that an eagle-eyed (or incorrect) linesman ruled the ball had gone out of play just before they bundled home what might have been a late winner. The last time I visited The Hive was for a Barnet under 18s match on an o

Indian Gymkhana v FC Deportivo Galicia

1.15pm  16 November 2013 Middlesex Intermediate Cup, Second Round Indian Gymkhana 3 FC Deportivo Galicia 1 (att 6) For the third Saturday in a row I ticked a ground in the Middlesex County League, leaving just two more left to complete the Premier Division. Indian Gymkhana's Thornbury Avenue ground, in Osterley, is a place I've been to several times before, but not since the mid 1980s. I went to school a couple of hundred yards away, and we used the ground for school hockey lessons. The ageing and decaying clubhouse and changing rooms I remember from those days are long gone, replaced by a much larger and smarter clubhouse. Hockey is still the number one sport here, and the impressive floodlit artificial hockey pitch is another more recent addition. The football pitch, one of two, is on the far side of a cricket square from the clubhouse. It was roped on the near side, with a pair of dugouts on the opposite side. A Middlesex County League rule means programmes should

Cricklewood Wanderers v Bush Hill Rangers

3pm  9 November 2013 Middlesex Intermediate Cup, Second Round Cricklewood Wanderers 6 Bush Hill Rangers 2 (att 12) Having spent the earlier part of the afternoon watching a club founded in 1859 and catering for former pupils Harrow School, I headed to Wembley to watch a side at the other extreme of the social spectrum. Cricklewood Wanderers were apparently founded as recently as 2011 by homeless and "street active disengaged young people". They've made rapid progress since, having established themselves at "step seven" level in the Middlesex County League Premier Division. I expected close cup tie against another step seven club, from the Herts Senior County League, but it was anything but. The visitors took an early lead, but the first of a couple of goalkeeping errors allowed Cricklewood to equalise. The home side were 2-1 ahead by half time, but the tie was back in the balance when Bush Hill equalised in the first minute of the second half. I thoug