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Showing posts from July, 2021

Llysfaen v Henllan

2.30pm  31 July 2021 North Wales Coast East League, Division One Llysfaen 3 Henllan 1 (att 50) I've been to lots of sloping and undulating pitches over the years but I don't think I've been anywhere quite like Llysfaen's aptly-named Banana Pitch. It seems to slope in various directions at once, and no matter where players are on the field they're always running either uphill or downhill. It's uniqueness must provide a home advantage to Llysfaen, but chances to play football at this level, home or away, have been severely limited in Wales over the last 18 months or so. The new North Wales Coast East League, part of the fourth and fifth tiers of the new-look Welsh pyramid, was due to launch last season. Covid cancelled 2020/21 and so it finally began earlier this month, a year late. Henllan had lost all their opening fixtures so I expected Llysfaen to win this with ease. They got all three points, but it was a tough afternoon and on this showing Henllan are unlike

Lochmaben v Nithsdale Wanderers

7.30pm  28 July 2021 South of Scotland League Lochmaben 1 Nithsdale Wanderers 2 (att 82) Lochmaben is a small town not far from Lockerbie, making it the nearest of the grounds I had left in the newly-established Scottish football pyramid. A 7.30 kick off, combined with continued Covid-related working from home, also put it in range for a midweek visit. The South of Scotland League is part of the sixth level of Scottish football, one below the Lowland League. The reality is that it lacks the strength in depth of the other Lowland feeders, the West and East of Scotland Leagues. Neither Lochmaben nor Sanquhar-based Nithsdale are likely to be challenging for promotion, not this season at least, and I expect the single division South of Scotland League will continue as a fairly self-contained entity. That said, many of its clubs have a more professional off-field feel than in years gone by, and Lochmaben have developed a decent ground at their Whitehills Park base. The pitch is barriered on

Newmachar United v Burghead Thistle

2pm  24 July 2021 SJFA North Region, Division Two Newmachar United 4 Burghead Thistle 1 (att 35) My second Newmachar United game in less than a week. I've not become a supporter, but this was my closest new ground to our holiday base in Inverness. Similarly to Tuesday's match , Newmachar started slowly but then went ahead thanks to a penalty. Unlike on Tuesday, this time they held onto their lead for what was, ultimately, a comfortable win. Their lead remained just 1-0 into the second half though, and Burghead looked capable of equalising until a second Newmachar goal put them firmly in control. A third made the game absolutely safe, and in the final few minutes Burghead got a consolation goal before the home side rounded off a decent afternoon with a fourth. Newmachar is a village a few miles north of Aberdeen. They're relative newcomers to junior football, having progressed from the local amateur league, and have a nice set up at Charles Gordon Park. The pitch is fully en

Kinloss Sappers v The Vikings

7.30pm  22 July 2021 Forres and Nairn Welfare League Kinloss Sappers 7 The Vikings 0 That this game was moved froward 24 hours from the rest of the week's Forres and Nairn Welfare League fixtures was a bonus for me, and it gave both sides the extra incentive of a chance to top the table. The winners of this would move into pole position for at least 24 hours, and it was Kinloss Sappers who went top after an emphatic win against one of their title rivals. The scoreline was harsh on The Vikings though. The Elgin-based visitors were in the match until Kinloss got their third goal, about 10 minutes into the second half. Kinloss had scored twice in the opening 20 minutes, but it was only finishing that let the away side down. Had they been sharper in front of goal they wouldn't have been behind. But once the home side extended their lead to 3-0 the visitors' resistance ended. Kinloss eventually got seven, including a couple of late goals that rubbed salt into Viking wounds. Tech

Rothie Rovers v Newmachar United

7.30pm  20 July 2021 SJFA North Region, Division Two Rothie Rovers 1 Newmachar United 1 (att 92) Rothie Rovers have had to be patient to begin life as a junior club. They stepped up from the Aberdeenshire Amateur League last summer, but then Covid intervened and the junior game ceased. I'm not sure if Rothie managed any fixtures before last season was abandoned, but if they did they would have been behind closed doors. This then was their first competitive home game, with supporters, as a junior team. They got their first point, and their first goal (they lost 1-0 at Forres Thistle at the weekend) after a hard-fought local derby against Newmachar United. The home side made a bright start, but were then undone by a penalty for handball. The spot kick was converted to give Newmachar a lead against the run of play. A deflected shot, which may or may not count officially as an own goal, leveled the score before half time. That was it for goals, although Newmachar felt hard done by in t

Conon Bridge v Tomatin United

7pm  19 July 2021 Inverness and District League, Division Two Conon Bridge 3 Tomatin United 2 (att 56) Most games in the Inverness and District League are played on the many pitches at Bught Park , but a handful of village clubs have their own grounds, and Conon Bridge is one of them. The club has made a recent and welcome return to local football. There was a Conon Bridge in the Ross-shire Amateur League in the mid 1990s, when I first travelled far enough north to take an interest, but the club disappeared and football in the village remained dormant for many years. The Ross-shire Amateur League is no more, but clubs who were once in that have gravitated to the Inverness and District League. As newcomers Conon Bridge are in the third and lowest tier, but that hasn't dampened local enthusiasm. Due to Covid, spectators are officially discouraged from Inverness League games at present, and neither the local newspaper nor the league's social media account list fixtures. There was

Livingston United v Whitburn Juniors

2.30pm  17 July 2021 East of Scotland League, Conference X Livingston United 0 Whitburn Juniors 2 (att 102) A little piece of football history as these two clubs, like all but one of their divisional rivals, played their first match in senior football after switching from the Scottish Junior FA. Junior football limps on, with leagues in Tayside and north east Scotland, but last season's West Lothian junior clubs have followed other ex-juniors into the expanding East of Scotland League. They been placed in a league of their own, Conference X, with other new team Edinburgh College. As last season wasn't completed the established senior clubs, in parallel Conferences A and B, will vie for places in the 2022/23 structure. Only the top clubs from the X division will escape next season's bottom tier. It's complicated, and play-offs will be involved, but Whitburn (who have retained their Junior suffix) will be among the Conference X favourites. They opened the scoring at Livin