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Showing posts from July, 2015

Abbey Vale v Newton Stewart

7.30pm  29 July 2015 South of Scotland League Abbey Vale 1 Newton Stewart 2 (att 42) I thought I'd missed the opportunity to see a game on the 3G pitch at Dumfries High School when Crichton FC, after nearly folding completely, returned to their former ground after just one season here. But, fortunately for me, Abbey Vale have taken up temporary residence while maintenance work is carried out on their usual home ground. It's not an interesting venue though, just a caged, floodlit, artificial pitch at the back of some ageing school buildings. On the plus side it does have a fenced-off area for spectators along one touchline, some nice views on the far side, and it allowed me to complete visits to all the current South of Scotland League grounds. It was a decent game as well. Abbey Vale, whose opening league fixture on Saturday was abandoned after just 20 minutes due a waterlogged, artificial, pitch, took an early lead. Newton Stewart, who drew their first game, were so

Bwlch Rangers v Tumble United

6.15pm  28 July 2015 Star Cup, Group Four Bwlch Rangers 4 Tumble United 1 (att 40) First time I've seen a game in the Star Cup, a pre-season tournament sponsored (and I think also organised) by Llanelli's weekly newspaper. On this showing it's certainly competitive football, and I'd be quite happy to watch more games in it as a good alternative to pre-season friendlies. Bwlch Rangers and Tumble United are rivals in the Premier Division of the Carmarthenshire League. Bwlch finished last season a few places higher, and were comfortable winners even if the scoreline flattered them. Highlights were two perfectly-executed direct free kicks, one in each half, by Bwlch's impressive number eight. They were two-thirds of his hat-trick, and Bwlch were 4-0 ahead before a defensive lapse allowed Tumble a consolation goal from a penalty. Tumble played some decent football at times, but didn't have anyone on the field who looked confident in front of goal. Overal

Lairg Rovers v Golspie Stafford

3pm  25 July 2015 North West Sutherland League Lairg Rovers 4 Golspie Stafford 3 (att 25) It's hard to avoid Lairg on journeys to and from the far north west of Scotland. Not that you'd want to avoid it, it's a nice small town with a handy tourist information centre that also offers a coffee shop and, crucially, public toilets. As a result I've stopped at Ferrycroft in Lairg many times over the years. This time I finally got to see a game on the adjacent football pitch, that's home to Lairg Rovers in the North West Sutherland League. Next to Loch Shin, it's a lovely place to watch a game of football, and when you get a seven-goal thriller it's pretty much a perfect afternoon, ahead of the long drive home to Manchester. I'd had Golspie as pre-match favourites to win this game, but they were out-battled by a very determined Lairg. The home side went in front early, but it didn't take Golspie long to make it 1-1. The home side went back in

ICM Electrical v Dores

7pm  24 July 2015 Inverness & District AFA Cup, last 16 ICM Electrical 4 Dores 1 (att 7) There were three matches to choose from at Bught Park in Inverness. Two ties in the local amateur football association's cup, and, on their enclosed pitch, Inverness City were taking on Caledonian Thistle's youngsters in a pre-season warm-up. I opted for competitive football, and a last 16 tie between two Premier Division rivals. On paper, judging by the league table in the Highland News, it looked likely to be a close encounter, but on grass it was anything but. ICM Electrical started well, but against the run of play it was Dores who opened the scoring. ICM were soon level, and edged ahead by half time. In the second period a terrific volley from distance made it 3-1, and a late fourth goal completed the scoring. ICM's winning margin should have been wider, and would have been had they taken a few more of the many chances they created. Bught Park is a large, and rathe

Avro v Middlewich Town at Ten Acres Lane Sports Centre

2.15pm  18 July 2015 Pre-season Friendly at Ten Acres Lane Sports Centre, Newton Heath Avro 2 Middlewich Town 0 (att 15) Another pre-season game on an unusual venue, this time a recently-installed 3G pitch at the Ten Acres Lane Sport Centre in Newton Heath, Manchester. At one time this was going to be the location for FC United's new home ground, but instead there's a sports centre building that looks to be in the middle of being built, or re-built, a car park and an enclosed artificial football pitch. One plus point is that the 3G pitch, unlike many, has been built with a barriered area for spectators running the length of one side. The handful of spectators for this warm-up match were treated to a fairly decent and competitive encounter, for a friendly. Avro effectively play one division higher than Middlewich, in the Manchester League's top division against the Cheshire League's second tier. They were the better side, and deserved the win that came courtes

Mersey Valley v West Didsbury and Chorlton at Partington Sports Village

7pm  14 July 2015 Pre-season Friendly at Partington Sports Village Mersey Valley 1 West Didsbury and Chorlton 1 (att 19) The prime attraction this friendly held was a chance to see a game at Partington Sports Village, a well-equipped sports centre on the edge of Greater Manchester. The venue was switched to here, at short notice, because Mersey Valley's own ground wasn't available. Football-wise, there's a large playing field, on which this game was played, and a caged, floodlit 3G pitch. In truth it was a rather scrappy and disjointed game, not helped by the visitors' mass half-time substitutions. It was 90 minutes that reminded why travelling more than just a few miles for for a pre-season is rarely, if ever, worth the effort. That said there was plenty to admire, especially from the "home" side, who played better football than I'd expect for a team in the Cheshire League's third, and lowest, tier. They went ahead with a well-taken early

Wallington v Ponteland United

6.45pm  13 July 2015 Clayton Cup, Group A Wallington 0 Ponteland United 4, 2-3 on penalties (att 20) A game which stayed on just about the right side of the blurred line between pre-season friendly and competitive football, and saw Ponteland not only win the match, but also the penalty shootout which followed the final whistle. To avoid any ties in the final tables of the Clayton Cup's two three-team groups, each match is followed by a penalties, regardless of the final score. As I understand it, Ponteland's three points for winning the match were boosted by a extra point for winning the penalties. Ponteland next play Prudhoe, the third side in the Group A, on Wednesday, also at Wallington's trim and tidy Oakford Park, which is staging all three group games. Wallington and Prudhoe clash next week. The Clayton Cup has a long history, and in recent years has been revived as a pre-season competition for a mixture of Saturday and Sunday sides. This year, two groups o

Fleetwood Hesketh v Litherland REMYCA at Edge Hill University

2pm  11 July 2015 Pre-season Friendly at Edge Hill University Fleetwood Hesketh 1 Litherland REMYCA 2 (att 17) I'm not a big fan of pre-season friendlies, the lack of a competitive element is always evident and, as a result, the football is often dull. However, they can be a useful way of seeing games on unusual grounds, and so I can be tempted as long as I don't have to travel too far. Ormskirk is close enough to Manchester to be in range for a friendly, and the chance to return to Edge Hill where I last saw a game in 2000. The grass pitch used that day, by long-gone Birchfield FC in the long-gone Liverpool County Combination, is now covered by a car park. The Edge Hill campus has been transformed beyond all recognition in the last 15 years, with more building work continuing. Among the many new additions is a modern 3G football pitch, floodlit, with permanent dugouts and enclosed by a high fence. It was on that pitch that Southport-based Fleetwood Hesketh, from t

BES Utilities v Fulwood Park Rangers

7pm  9 July 2015 Catforth and District League, Division Two BES Utilities 4 Fulwood Park Rangers 1 (att 5) The Catforth Summer League provided three new venues this year, and this was the third of the trio for me and so recompleted the two-division league once again. BES Utilities were supposed to play home games at Fleetwood Town's new training complex, but on the eve of the season they instead found a base at the YMCA Sports Ground in Lytham. I was last here in 2005, when it was home to Lytham St Annes in the West Lancashire League. BES play on a different pitch on the opposite of the entrance road, and further from the YMCA buildings, so it counted as a new ground for me. If the two sides could finish we could have had any number of goals, but we had to settle for five as BES ran out comfortable winners. They led 2-0 at half time, and although Fulwood Park Rangers threatened to make a game of it in the second half a comeback never looked likely. Not the highest stan