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Showing posts from December, 2014

Alcester Town v Badsey Rangers

2pm  27 December 2014 Midland Football League, Division Three Alcester Town 4 Badsey Rangers 0 (att 49) This was third home ground I've seen Alcester Town on, although both previous visits were well over 20 years ago. I didn't think I was going to make it to this one, the motorway traffic south from Manchester was crawling, and I approached Alcester via a very busy Stratford-upon-Avon, where I dropped my other half and her parents for a spot of shopping and sightseeing. Arriving just a few minutes before kick off, the sights in Alcester were better than I'd expected. The club's latest home ground isn't bad for a team in the Midland Football League's lowest division. The pitch is enclosed by a combination of plastic fencing and rope, there's dugouts, and a former golf driving range provides extensive cover behind the goal. Alcester are top of the league, and had no problems overcoming local rivals Badsey. The home side scored twice in each half, an

Parley Sports v Poole Borough

2pm  20 December 2014 Dorset Premier League Parley Sports 3 Poole Borough 1 (att 30) I had doubts about this game as Poole Borough had been unable to field a side for their league match last week, and while they at least turned up at Parley they're likely to incur the wrath of the Dorset Premier League once again. It was a surprise that Parley, going well in the league, had only managed one goal as the game approached half time. Poole Borough had already collected several bookings, and earned their first red card just before the break, a player managed to get himself sent off for arguing with the referee after being penalised for a foul throw. The second half was likely to be a matter of how many Parley would score, but they were sluggish and it was well into the half before they doubled their lead. A defensive mix up handed Poole a lifeline, and the chance of a point, but a controversial penalty in the final couple of minutes sealed Parley's win, and did nothing for

AFC Bournemouth U18 v Plymouth Argyle U18

11am  20 December 2014 Football League Youth Alliance, South West Conference AFC Bournemouth U18 2 Plymouth Argyle U18 2 (att 64) AFC Bournemouth are another club who tend to move their youth team games to various venues. They began this season at Canford Arena, but recent games have been played in the opulent surroundings of Canford School, apparently while some work is carried out on the Arena pitch. Canford is an independent school just outside Wimborne, and its playing fields have been used as a training ground by Bournemouth's footballers in the past. Today's pitch was some distance from the main school buildings. As usual for these matches, one side of the well-cared for pitch was for spectators, the other for subs and coaching staff. The game was okay, without hitting any great heights. The home side just about edged it, but twice they took the lead and both times they allowed Plymouth to equalise within just a couple of minutes. The sides shared a goal each i

Independent Schools FA U18 v Welsh Colleges

6pm  17 December 2014 Representative Game Independent Schools FA U18 2 Welsh Colleges 1 (att 47) at St George's Park The last time I visited the FA's National Football Centre, St George's Park, was in 2009. Back then it was mothballed, and consisted of temporary buildings and a few pitches, one of which staged a Burton Albion youth team game. That was played on what is now "pitch 12", aka the "Gordon Banks pitch". Tonight's game was on "pitch 5", not yet named after anyone, but close to the car park and the massive football centre that, along with a Hilton hotel and conference centre, dominates the sprawling site. St George's Park is undoubtedly impressive. In tandem with this fixture the ISFA's under 16s were playing on a full-size indoor pitch ("pitch 7", named after Sir Alf Ramsey). For spectators the facilities at pitch 5 are spartan. It's just a floodlit pitch surrounded by advertising boards, with no s

Askam United v Ambleside United

2pm  13 December 2014 West Lancashire League, Division One Askam United 5 Ambleside United 1 (att 32) A visit to the Furness peninsula to finally complete all three divisions of the sprawling West Lancashire League, just over 23 years after ticking my first ground in it, not far away at Barrow-based Vickers. It's often said that the road to Barrow is Britain's longest cul-de-sac, but if you turn off the A590 a few miles before its end you can reach Askam in Furness, and small town with a neat and tidy football ground in Duddon Road. There's a pleasant clubhouse near the entrance, and pitch enclosed by a wooden fence, with dugouts and one or two advertising boards. It couldn't hardly be any closer to the Duddon Estuary, and on an afternoon when the wind blowing in from the coast was bitterly cold, there's not much in the way of shelter. Perhaps Askam are used to the conditions though, as they comfortably saw off Ambleside despite having a player red-carded

Upton Athletic v Bovey Tracey reserves

2.30pm  6 December 2014 South Devon League, Premier Division Upton Athletic 19 Bovey Tracey reserves 2 (att 17) A remarkable result, although I admit to having left the game thinking it had finished 18-2. I kept a note of the goals, but must have missed or forgotten one as the official result said Upton had scored 19, with a list of goalscorers which tallies with the higher scoreline. Whatever the final score, it was excellent performance from Upton, who scored five in the opening quarter of an hour, and led 9-0 (at least according to my notes) at half time. Some of their football was worthy of a much higher league, although were aided by the quality of the visitors. Credit to Bovey Tracey though, who despite being entirely outplayed continued to try, and who were rewarded with a couple of late goals. Needless to say, the result keeps them rooted at the bottom of the table, on a day when their first team were on the wrong end of 0-9 scoreline The Torquay-based clubs in the S

Torquay United U18 v Cheltenham Town U18

11am  6 December 2014 Football League Youth Alliance, South West Conference Torquay United U18 2 Cheltenham Town U18 4 (att 13) A lively and entertaining game played at Torquay's Seale Hayne training ground on the edge of Newton Abbot. The home side were outplayed in the first half, with Cheltenham playing some great football on their way to establishing a commanding 3-0 lead. Torquay put up more of a fight in the second half, reducing the arrears thanks to an early penalty, then making it 2-3, with about 20 minutes left, from a free kick given after a foul which resulted in a red card for Cheltenham. But any thoughts the Devon side had of completing their comeback didn't last long, as within a couple of minutes the 10 men of Cheltenham had scored to lead 4-2, an advantage they held to the end. Torquay's youth team venue is Seale Hayne, a college complex just outside Newton Abbot, although the pitch is some distance from the main college buildings, and is just