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Showing posts from February, 2017

Chalvey (WMC) Sports v Sandhurst Town reserves

3pm  25 February 2017 Hellenic League, Division Two East Chalvey (WMC) Sports 8 Sandhurst Town reserves 2 (att 21) The third tier of the Hellenic League, divisions two east and two west, used to be just for reserve teams, but in recent years a few ambitious clubs have entered first elevens as a step on the ladder into the non-League pyramid. Chalvey moved from the East Berkshire League and are flying high at the top the table. There's no doubt they could compete at a higher level, but to do so will inevitably mean leaving the basic facilities at Chalvey Recreation Ground. I do think it's a shame when if clubs are forced into groundshares, which are often unsustainable in the long term, just to step up a level, but there's no doubt the current ground falls some way short of the requirements for 'step six' football. The pitch is roped off most of the way around (the far side was left open) and a pair temporary dugouts are put in place for matches. There'

Clarendon v St Matthews Walsall

10.30am  25 February 2017 West Midlands Christian League, Challenge Cup Quarter Final Clarendon 0 St Matthews Walsall 1 (att 15) There are a few Christian and church leagues dotted around the country, set up originally I presume to provide Sunday league-style football for clubs and players who'd rather not play on the Sabbath. These days most clubs, though not all, have connections to a church, but beyond that there doesn't seem to be any strict requirements to take part. I'd never watched a game in one before, so didn't know what to expect. I hadn't expected the three red cards, several bookings and the couple of melees that all added to the entertainment of this league cup clash. The three officials (another surprise - neutral assistant referees) had a busy morning. The standard of football wasn't the best, despite this being the league leaders against the team in third, but it was fun to watch and I'd certainly return for more football in this

Mere Town v Balti Sports

2pm  18 February 2017 Dorset Premier League Mere Town 1 Balti Sports 1 (att 15) Mere is in Wiltshire, but the town's football club looks across the nearby border into Dorset for football, and welcomed Weymouth-based league leaders Balti Sports for this game. The match programme suggested Balti were poor travellers, and so it proved as they never really recovered from going behind very early. They equalised soon enough, but there were no more goals and if either team deserved to win it was the hosts. Mere Town play on a railed off pitch in a the corner of the local recreation ground. It has advertising boards, dugouts and half of one side has hard standing for those who'd rather not muddy their shoes by standing elsewhere. It was an enjoyable afternoon. A decent and very competitive contest, and Mere's opening goal meant I'd seen exactly 100 games since my last 0-0 draw (still some way to go to match my longest run of 194 though). Just Balti Sports left to com

Swindon Town U18 v Luton Town U18

11am  18 February 2017 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 use

New Street v Cromwell

2pm  11 February 2017 Warrington and District League, Premier Division New Street 1 Cromwell 2 (att 15) A day when the weather was a factor in deciding where to go, and once my first choice game was called off I settled for the safe and easy option of a local trip to a match on a 3G surface. The artificial pitch at Rainhill High School is relatively new, and provides a home ground for New Street FC, playing their first season in the Warrington League's top division. There's not a lot to say about the venue, it's typical of its type with floodlights and enclosed by a high fence. No problems getting access inside the 'cage' for spectators. Premier Division football in the Warrington League is usually good to watch, and this was no exception. New Street will be wondering how they failed to get anything from the game, although the blame lies with their poor finishing. Cromwell's 20th minute opener was against the run of play and the only first half goal

Alnmouth United v Cullercoats

2pm  4 February 2017 Northern Alliance, Division One Alnmouth United 2 Cullercoats 3 (att 17) This fixture fitted in well at the end of a few days away in Northumberland, and what it lacked in skill it more than made up for in entertainment. To be fair to the players the surface at Hotspur Park wasn't conducive to free-flowing football but, as is often the case at this level of the game, effort and endeavour are the important factors. There was plenty from both teams. Alnmouth, finding their feet after promotion to this division last season, took a first half lead but held it for just five minutes before conceding an equaliser from the penalty spot. They went back ahead thanks to a penalty of their own early in the second half, but always looked vulnerable in a game between two evenly-matched teams. Once Cullercoats levelled for the second time they had momentum, and it was no surprise when, moments later, they scored what proved to be the winner. Hotspur Park is a rur