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Showing posts from October, 2020

AFC Top Valley v Bridgford United

2pm  31 October 2020 Nottinghamshire Senior League, Division One AFC Top Valley 5 Bridgford United 1 (att 17) Sometimes you need a helping hand when groundhopping. I was on my way to Beeston v Ruddington Village before I got a message to tell me that it was off due to covid among the Ruddington squad, so I needed a plan B. My second choice was in the same league, and proved a good alternative as an impressive AFC Top Valley maintained their 100 per cent league record with a comfortable win against Bridgford United. Thankfully the worst of the day's weather had cleared by the time this got underway, which was just as well as AFC Top Valley's pitch is quite exposed. They play at Eagle Valley, home to Arnold Town, on one of the many outside pitches. It's close to the car park, and part of the near touchline was roped off, but it's a basic venue for spectators. Football at this level is more for those playing than watching though, and AFC Top Valley looked a good side. They

Valley Eagles v Beerhouse

10am  31 October 2020 Sheffield and District Fair Play League, Division One Valley Eagles 4 Beerhouse 3 (att 11) With a new lockdown already briefed to our Government's favoured newspapers it was clear this would be my final football for a while, so despite an unfavourable weather forecast I set out to find two matches. First up was only my second experience of Sheffield's Saturday morning league. The Fair Play League began as a church league, but these days it's membership is wider and there's enough clubs for three divisions. Valley Eagles are based in Stocksbridge, and although the league's website suggests they share Stocksbridge Park Steels' ground they actually play on an open pitch across the road. There's an adequate car park and space for a couple of pitches, one of which had rope along part of a touchline, and hosted this fixture. Wind and rain made playing and watching a challenge, but the teams made light of it to provide a hugely entertaining st

Southam United v Banbury United development

7.45pm  28 October 2020 Hellenic League, Floodlit Cup, First Round Southam United 3 Banbury United development 1 (att 122) The return of Southam United was one of the good things in the truncated 2019/20 season. The club's senior team had been in abeyance for a couple of years, but now they're back and have new home that should help them climb the leagues. They're currently one of the few first teams in the Hellenic League's four regional second divisions, but it surely wont be long before they're playing at a higher level. Bobby Hancocks Park has a two-tier clubhouse, with a covered terrace at the front and a first floor viewing area. There's also a seated stand on the opposite side. There's plenty of room to extend and expand the spectator facilities as and when the need arises. A three figure crowd for a cup tie against a reserve side, albeit a local derby and a game that attracted plenty of groundhoppers, shows local interest is there. Southam were too g

Great Bentley v Dedham Old Boys

3pm  24 October 2020 Essex and Suffolk Border League, Premier Division Great Bentley 4 Dedham Old Boys 0 (att 53) After a short drive from the earlier game at Boxted I arrived in Great Bentley in plenty of time for the start of their premier division fixture. The immediately noticeable difference in the step up a division was that the pitch was roped off and a QR code was displayed for coronavirus scanning. There were even a few advertising boards. It must take some work to create a football ground out of the village green, but this is no ordinary village green. It's huge, and apparently one of the contenders for the title of the largest in England. It's an unusual football venue but also an exposed one. It was a windy afternoon which proved a challenge for the players, and when heavy rain started in the second half it became a challenge for spectators as well. Great Bentley, perhaps more used to tricky conditions on such an open ground, won comfortably. They were 3-0 up by hal

Boxted Lodgers v Belle Vue Social Club

  12.45pm  24 October 2020 Essex and Suffolk Border League, Division One Boxted Lodgers 1 Belle Vue Social Club 2 (att 34) A lunchtime kick off to accommodate Boxted's second team fixture, which also allowed me and a handful of others to squeeze two games and two new grounds into a busy afternoon. I don't often see Essex and Suffolk Border League football so the opportunity for two matches in a single trip was too good to resist. The day began with a second tier game that was more competitive than expected, based on the league table. Boxted are struggling and Belle Vue are top, and while the visitors came away with all three points they had to work hard to get them. All the goals were in the first half, and all were scored by Belle Vue. Their opener was cancelled out by an own goal, but they went back in front before the break. There were no more goals, but although the better side won Boxted were always in contention. Boxted Lodgers are based on a village playing field, which

Clitheroe Wolves U21 v Fulwood Amateur U21

8pm  21 October 2020 Lancashire League Clitheroe Wolves U21 2 Fulwood Amateur U21 5 (att 43) There was a time when the Lancashire League featured teams from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool, playing on Saturday mornings in a forerunner of the academy systems that develop young players these days. The full-time professionals departed but the league continued, primarily for non-League reserve sides. Numbers had dwindled though and its long-term future looked doubtful, but this season it appears healthier, as a competition for under 21 sides. I don't often watch games like this, but was tempted to this one as it was not only a new ground but it was, in effect, Clitheroe Wolves' first team. The club focuses on youth football, and its new under 21 side is its most senior team (unless you count walking football). The floodlit 3G pitch at Roefield Leisure Centre is a new addition since I was last at the ground. In 2012 I watched Clitheroe RBL , in the East Lancashire Leagu

Wakefield v Wombwell Main

 3 pm  17 October 2020 Sheffield County Senior League, Premier Division Wakefield 3 Wombwell Main 2 (att 293) Football at this level, as least with spectators, feels like it might be on borrowed time at the moment. If further lockdowns, either local or national, cause another pause soon then I'd have been frustrated had I not got to Wakefield's new home. Like Worcester Raiders , Wakefield have ambitions to climb the leagues, and have taken up residence at rugby stadium which should satisfy ground graders however high they get. The only down side is that it's not in Wakefield. Playing at Featherstone Rovers' Post Office Road ground doesn't seem to stop them gaining support though. The maximum capacity for football at the moment is 300, and all tickets were snapped up online ahead of this match. No doubt it helps that tickets can be obtained for free (although an asked for donation seems reasonable) but the club's marketing efforts are clearly paying dividends. Th