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Showing posts from December, 2020

FC United of Newcastle v Prudhoe Youth Club

12.15pm  28 December 2020 Northern Alliance, Division One FC United of Newcastle 0 Prudhoe Youth Club 1 (att 65) My last game of 2020, and I suspect it could be well into 2021 before my next match as the prospect of another UK-wide lockdown, or a least a widening of areas placed into tier four, looms large. I had hoped I might manage a couple of games on new grounds in the north east, but that was always a long shot based on the weather forecast. More realistic, with fixtures at various kick off times, was a single match, and that's what I got.  Early kick offs at Cramlington United and Rothbury soon fell to the freezing temperatures. The only other fixture that would have allowed time for a second match was at Newcastle Blue Star, but the kick off there was put back to allow the pitch more time to thaw. I actually headed to Blue Star's ground first, but with parking at a premium and a long queue to get in over half-an-hour before kick off I headed instead to Wallsend, for what

Old Stretfordians v Shaw Athletic

2pm  19 December 2020 Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League, Division Two Old Stretfordians 2 Shaw Athletic 1 (att 12) I'm no stranger to Flixton Park. More than 20 years ago I saw Urmston play a Manchester League game on a railed off pitch there, and just two years ago I visited when Aldermere used one of the open pitches for a cup tie. Following Urmston's demise I'd assumed Old Stretfordians had moved onto their old pitch, but when I watched Aldermere I noticed the railed off pitch looked unused. I had another look last week, ahead of a game nearby (another Aldermere match, this time at their new venue), and Old Stretfordians were using a different pitch. Wanting to stay local again, once the club confirmed via Twitter that this fixture was on I decided to make Flixton Park my destination. Urmston's old pitch still has a rail around three-quarters of it, but it looks like it hasn't been used for some time, and parts of it were under water. Old Stretfordians play

Manchester Wanderers v Manchester North End

10.15am  19 December 2020 Manchester Saturday Morning League, Division Two Manchester Wanderers 4 Manchester North End 5 (att 7) As the ground address was a school, and the fixture was still on when others had been postponed by Saturday morning, I expected Manchester Wanderers to use a 3G pitch. But when I got to Parrenthorn High School in Prestwich the artificial pitch was busy with children's games, while players for my match were warming up on a distant grass pitch. It was a muddy walk to get to it, but although heavy the playing surface was okay. Manchester Wanderers' home is a new venue for the league, and being on the opposite side of Heaton Park from my home it was a simple five minute drive to get there. In fact it probably took me as long to walk from the car park to the pitch. A trio of early goals - the visitors going ahead, conceding an equaliser then regaining the lead - set the tone for a lively and entertaining game. North End's lead was 3-2 by half time, and

Aldermere v Elton Lib Hargreaves

2pm  12 December 2020 Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League, Division Three Aldermere 2 Elton Lib Hargreaves 1 (att 15) Amateur clubs come and go rapidly these days but it's worth noting, and celebrating, that Aldermere FC have a long history. The club badge says 1906, which I'm assuming is when they began, and they first played in the Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League well over a century ago. In the two years since I saw them lose a league cup tie  Aldermere have moved a short distance, from Flixton Park to Urmston Sports Club. In fact their pitch is part of the adjacent grammar school, but lines between sports club and school seem blurred. It's a pleasant venue, with a single pitch enclosed by an impressive school building and the rear gardens of surrounding houses. The grass was long though and and the pitch was heavy, probably too wet to mow the surface. Professional players might have had doubts about the pitch but at this level teams just get on with it, and thi

Westwood Blue v City Church

10.30am  12 December 2020 South Manchester and Cheshire Christian League, Manchester Division One Westwood Blue 5 City Church 4 (att 10) In this strangest of football seasons, leagues that straddle different counties have been hard hit by the regional tiered approach to tackling coronavirus. Credit then to the South Manchester and Cheshire Christian League for creating new divisions based on geography. Two leagues for Manchester-based clubs and one for those in Cheshire, leaving just the Lancashire sides idle (and unable to play in any case thanks to their county FA). Whether or not the league's main divisions will continue in the new year remains to be seen, but City Church - from division two - pushed their division one hosts all the way in a game that was every bit as entertaining as the score suggests. There didn't look to be drama on the horizon as Westwood scored two first half goals. But City Church hit back either side of half time. In the final minute of the first half

AFC Bolton v Bury GSOB reserves

4pm  5 December 2020 Lancashire Amateur League, Division Three AFC Bolton 4 Bury Grammar School Old Boys reserves 3 (att 12) I thought it was a typo when I first saw this game listed as a 4pm kick off. But it turned out to be correct, and having already settled on going to Jogabola at 2pm this was within reach after the final whistle in Little Lever. The pre-match formalities were taking place as I walked towards the caged 3G pitch at Ladybridge High School, with the five mile drive between the two venues taking around 15 minutes. This was a division lower than the earlier game, and the difference in quality was apparent. The quality of football doesn't determine how entertaining a game might be of course, and this seven-goal thriller was great to watch. Bury GSOB's second team opened the scoring, but they were pegged back to 1-1 by half time. They went back in front after the break, but again failed to hold their advantage. This time, having got level AFC Bolton pressed home t

Jogabola v Radcliffe Town reserves

2pm  5 December 2020 Lancashire Amateur League, Division Two Jogabola 2 Radcliffe Town reserves 2 (att 26) After a month-long lockdown it was good to be able to watch football again, even if a combination of tier three restrictions and bad weather made finding games to watch a bit of a challenge. Games on grass were unreliable, and landlords had decreed that at least some 3G options were behind closed doors. Fortunately Jogabola responded positively when I checked, via Twitter, if spectators were allowed at Little Lever Sports Centre. Jogabola's origins are unusual, probably unique, having begun as a futsal club. It's senior side, playing outdoor 11-a-side, is new this season, and was placed in the third tier of the Lancashire Amateur League. Joga bola is Portuguese for 'play ball', and Jogabola FC concentrates on youth, as well as small-sided, football. The four-week layoff, which prevented clubs training as well as playing, meant both sides were understandably rusty e