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Showing posts from February, 2019

Wombwell Main v Dearne and District

7.45pm  26 February 2019 Doncaster and District Challenge Cup, Quarter-Final Wombwell Main 10 Dearne and District 1 (att 130) No cup upset in south Yorkshire as Doncaster League Dearne were outclassed by Wombwell Main, who play four divisions higher in the top flight of the Sheffield County Senior League. The gulf between the two sides was huge. Wombwell were goal up after two minutes, four clear after 20 and had a 7-0 lead before half time brought some respite for Dearne's players, who'd barely got a kick. Wombwell couldn't maintain the same intensity in the second period, and to be fair they had no need to. Dearne got the half's opening goal just three minutes in, but Wombwell eventually made it into double figures. Some detective work was needed to track down the venue for this tie. Neither team has floodlights (despite what the Doncaster Senior League's website suggests for Dearne) and so Wombwell hired the artificial pitch at the Dearne Advanced Lear

Tredworth Tigers v Leonard Stanley

2pm  24 February 2019 Stroud and District League, Presidents Cup Quarter-Final Tredworth Tigers 5 Leonard Stanley 1 (att 29) The Stroud Charity Cups used to be a good source of Sunday fixtures but last summer they ended as independent competitions and were absorbed into the Stroud and District League. Some clubs outside the Stroud League still take part though, and that's probably why Tredworth's home tie with Gloucestershire Northern Senior League side Leonard Stanley was played on a Sunday. Handy for me and some other groundhoppers, all tempted to Spa Road in Gloucester for a chance to tick off the ground on a day of the week when senior football is usually thin on the ground, but a test for the players who had league matches just 24 hours earlier. Sides for local cup ties on Sundays can be of a mixture depending on fitness and availability, and that might explain how Leonard Stanley were outclassed by a team that plays two divisions lower. Then again, the visitors

Rhosllanerchrugog v Rhydymwyn

2pm  23 February 2019 Welsh National League (Wrexham Area), Division One Rhosllanerchrugog 1 Rhydymwyn 0 (att 12) Rhosllanerchrugog has a place in history as one of the pioneers of football in the Victorian era, and while the current club is a more recent incarnation it's good to see the name has been revived. The club has progressed quickly to the lower division of the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) - part of the fourth tier of Welsh football - and promotion this season is still possible. They kept that hope alive with a hard-earned win against Rhydymwyn. In truth it wasn't a great game. The solitary goal, 11 minutes into the second half, was a rare moment of quality in an otherwise untidy encounter. The poor surface didn't help, and some of the referee's calls were perplexing to me as a neutral (while accepting that refereeing is never easy, especially without assistants). For some reason (unknown to me) there seemed to be some needle between the side

Fielden Park v Heston

10.15am  23 February 2019 Manchester Saturday Morning League, Division Two Fielden Park 2 Heston 7 (att 8) Hough End Playing Fields are Manchester's equivalent of the capital's Hackney Marshes, with multiple pitches stretching into the distance. Given the amount of football played there I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to visit. It perhaps says something about the state of amateur football in England at the moment that on a fine Saturday morning only two pitches were in use. None of the others were staging so much as a impromptu kickabout. My game, in the second tier of Manchester's Saturday morning league, was on the pitch closest to the car park and to the graffiti-covered former changing rooms, now redundant following the recent addition of an adjacent sports centre. The pitch wasn't great, perhaps a clue as to why so many teams use facilities elsewhere, but it was an entertaining game. Visitors Heston were ahead early and played some decen

Long Sutton Athletic v Leverington Sports

2pm  16 February 2019 Peterborough and District League, Premier Division Long Sutton Athletic 1 Leverington Sports 1 (att 40) Whether or not to count visits to grounds when games get abandoned is a topic that often divides groundhoppers. My rule is I'll count it if the match reaches at least half time, so I still needed Long Sutton after my fixture there two years ago was halted by an injury inside 10 minutes. As we were staying relatively nearby for the weekend, albeit over the border into Norfolk, it seemed a good opportunity to return to the London Road ground in the hope of seeing a full 90 minutes (or at the very least 45). No such problems this time, as Long Sutton and local rivals Leverington played out a rather scrappy 1-1 draw that went the distance. The visitors looked the better side from the start but failed to take early chances and game became something a stalemate during a goalless first half. Leverington went in front 10 minutes into the second half, but

Walton Casuals v Taunton Town

3pm  9 February 2019 Southern League, Premier Division South Walton Casuals 0 Taunton Town 1 (att 238) When I began watching non-League football in the 1980s Walton Casuals were a curiosity, as the only first team playing other clubs' reserves in the Suburban League. They'd moved to the Surrey County Premier League by the time I visited in 1992, and their progress since then has been huge. I was one of fewer than 20 people who watched them beat British Telecom in 1992, on a ground next door to the site of the newly-developed Elmbridge Sports Hub where they now play. As far as I could make out, the site of the old pitch is now an athletics track, with the new football ground right next door. The venue is dominated by a large seated stand, with a clubhouse facility behind the seats at the top. The rest of the ground is open flat standing, but there's plenty of room for further development and a base that's been laid behind the dugouts on the far side suggests mor

Old Bradfieldians v Old Chigwellians

12 midday  9 February 2019 Arthurian League, Premier Division Old Bradfieldians 1 Old Chigwellians 2 (att 3) With the weather making football on grass a bit of a lottery I opted for a risk-free option of a pair of games on artificial surfaces, taking advantage of one of the Arthurian League's regular lunchtime kick offs. The 3G pitch at Hampton Sports Centre is home to a several clubs, so most Saturdays there are games at both midday and two o'clock. Today's early game was a premier division fixture, more attractive than delving into the lower divisions. It wasn't the greatest of games, although a strong breeze didn't help the players, but Bradfieldians will be wondering how they lost. They were on the front foot most of the game, and were denied time after time by Chigwellians' excellent goalkeeper. The home side eventually broke the deadlock with about 15 minutes left and, as Chigwellians had barely managed a shot, that looked to be game over. But i

Little Oakley v Halstead Town

3pm  2 February 2019 Eastern Senior League, Division One South Little Oakley 1 Halstead Town 3 (att 100) Groundhopping in winter weather can take you in unexpected directions, sometimes literally. I was planning to go Scotland, but pitch inspections even for games on artificial surfaces put me off, whereas Little Oakley tweeted early that their game was definitely going ahead. So instead of a 400 mile round trip north I made a 500 mile round trip south, to the outskirts of Harwich and one of the few 'step six' venues I was yet to visit. Having made the long journey I was relieved when I arrived that temperatures were above freezing and players were on the pitch warming up. Late postponements on days like this are becoming too common, often with no thought to those whose have travelled to watch (not that groundhoppers should get any extra consideration, no one forces me to drive hundreds of miles in poor weather). I got a friendly welcome at Little Oakley, and after a