Saturday, 24 September 2016

BIRSTALL AND MALVERN MUST DO IT AGAIN IN THE VASE

BIRSTALL UTD 2 V MALVERN TOWN 2  [AET-90MINS 2-2]
FA VASE 2ND QUALIFYING ROUND AT MEADOW LANE
24 SEPTEMBER 2016 --- 3PM
Birstall face a long mid week trip to Worcestershire after these two slugged it out like a heavy weight boxer that by the end both sides had given so much they were happy to hear the bell or in this case the referees whistle.  The game was played in a blustery wind that seemed to affect proceedings 1-1 at half time became 2-2 at 90 minutes and following the extra 30 minutes neither side could find the winning goal so they must do it all again next week.
Off we go then to Leicestershire this week to the home of Birstall Utd freshly promoted to the East Midlands Counties League after winning the Leicestershire Senior League last season for The Buildbase FA Vase game versus West Midlands Regional League Malvern Town.  It would be the chance to catch up with a team in todays visitors who we will probably not see too much during a season.  Base station departure went well we even managed a seat but by Loughborough a 10 minute journey to Leicester became 30 minutes due to a signal fault.  Still not to be outdone we made a sharpish bit of foot movement to get us into Leicester's new Haymarket bus station for the Centrebus 22 to Birstall.  Having arrived in the village on the northern edge of Leicester we had a look around the shops before electing to eat at Birstall Fisheries a smart chip shop sadly today no pictures of food or premises but the fayre was in the top half of the fish and chips league!
A steady walk with dinner in hand saw us arrive at the ground just before 1.30pm, down a long lane the ground opened up to the left with the back of the club house and changing rooms and a smart little entrance with at present an unmanned turnstile.  We popped inside, past a chap who had cycled from Malvern to watch the game[!], and took a few early pictures. 
A quick ground descriptor would probably be given by the clubs Chairman Gary who we chatted to when he described it as a 'work in progress'.
Following promotion the ground is being worked on with a smart new stand put in place last season its all looking smart and more advanced than the basic Atcost varieties this is too the touchline too the right with below this stand a terraced area taped off under early base construction.  Sadly the bottom goal is out of bounds as is the side opposite the stand which houses the dug outs making this a 2 sided ground with hard standing on the habitable sides.  Behind the goal by the main entrance is the club house with changing rooms attached and to the far left a very smart new double turnstile block recently built.
SMART NEW TURNSTILE BLOCK AT MEADOW RD
When the club had a gateman on duty we paid our admission fees and obtained programmes today a not too inspiring effort although in the clubs defence they did only charge 50p.  With Malvern supporters and others in the ground it did take the club a while to operate a gate and it must have lead to the club missing a bit of revenue, although the extra time did seem to help bar takings later on in the afternoon.
Before the game there was a good chance to catch up with a few hoppers including two chaps from Wales also Mark from Worksop who had made the journey on bus, train and tram.  Thanks guys really good to chat and catch up with some non league news, Mick had gone off in search of the large selection of Malvern supporters who had travelled today and also an interesting selection of locals who had spotted this enticing game.
MALVERNS PLATT FEELS THE FORCE OF SAM KEE BIRSTALLS RIGHT BACK
The opening minutes of the game were mainly in Malvern's favour trying to play on the floor with Birstall playing long with the wind at their backs but after 5 minutes the home side took the lead.  Visiting keeper Charlie Weaver was beaten by a header from his own defender when Jamie Smith placed a aimed for header back to his keeper wide of the custodian.
Birstall went close again with an effort cleared off the line before on 17 minutes the visitors equalised Nathan Platt weaved a cross into the back post for Nathan Hughes to head home.  Malvern nearly went ahead when a sliced clearance had to be cleared off the Birstall line before the home side went close with a Dan Jelly effort well saved by Weaver.
DAVE REYNOLDS FLYING THROUGH THE AIR
Half time was arrived at with the scores level and with the wind at their backs you favoured Malvern now and just 4 minutes into the second period Dave Reynolds struck the post.  On 72 minutes good play down the right saw Bryan Craven fashion out a chance that struck the top of the bar.  Just 3 minutes later the visitors did take the lead when an initial shot was charged down it fell to Reynolds who reacted to fire home for a superb finish from just inside the box.  Within a minute the home side were level a cross from the right was met by a back post header which went in by a deflection goal accredited to captain Lewis Dodd.
MALVERN SUPPORTERS SIGNAL FOR BRYAN CRAVEN LONG CORNER OR SHORT
We went into extra time knowing the clubs had not agreed to go to penalties and if they could not be separated it would be back down to Malvern next week.
CRAVEN FREE KICK GOES JUST OVER
The extra 30 minutes saw both sides clearly getting tired and like that heavy weight boxing match in the final rounds they pushed their energy levels to the limits but it wasn't to be and the game really filtered out into a box to box match.  But all things told both teams had given it a really good go to find a winner.
CLOSE CHALLENGE
Just short of 5.30pm referee Simon Kavanagh called an end to the proceedings an we made a hasty departure for the bus back to Leicester with a steady pace back to the station we were in time for out train with provisions gained for the wait.  It was then that we learnt most trains were still suffering delays through Leicester and we finally departed half an hour late around 7pm.  Arrival back at base station around 7.45pm had seen a later than planned return but we had experienced an extra 30 minutes and met up with some interesting non league supporters and of course visited a new ground and enjoyed seeing a new club in Malvern Town.









Saturday, 17 September 2016

HIND FIRES 1874 TO THE TOP OF THE TABLE WITH NARROW WIN AT HANLEY

HANLEY TOWN 0 V 1874 NORTHWICH 1
NWCFL PREMIER @ POTTERIES PARK
17 SEPTEMBER 2016 --- 3PM
SAM HIND CELEBRATES HIS WINNING GOAL FOR 1874
The only goal of an enthralling game saw Sam Hind fire 1874 Northwich back to the top of the table after Hanley Town had threatened to upset the 2nd placed side.  In a close game that was often tantalising it begged a goal and finally got one after 77 minutes and it proved to be the winner leaving the home side feeling slightly hard done by for their creditable efforts.
With no rain today the blog had a free choice apart from trying to avoid any busy supporter trains and the choice was only made on Saturday morning to visit Hanley Town, this was a club we had in mind for a little while after taking in a pre season friendly just down the road at Eastwood Hanley's former Trentmill ground just over a year ago.
Autumn was arriving for with a cold start necessitating a coat and we were soon on the short journey from base station to our first change at Derby were we waited with anticipation for the Crewe bound train.  As the East Midlands service pulled in it was the dreaded 1 carriage service and was pretty well loaded upon departure thankfully it remained comfortable for the 50 minutes to Stoke,  no Stoke City game or Uttoxeter races today otherwise I dread to think of the sardines on show.  The first part of our journey was helped along the way with fellow Derbyshire hopper Alan who was on board for his trip to Uttoxeter v Hinckley AFC it was good to catch up with football from his travels.  Upon is departure we were joined by father and daughter Manchester City supporters Dave and Lucy who were off to see 'the City' in their Premiership game versus Bournemouth.  They were looking resplendent in sky blue, it really is a cracking football kit colour.  An enjoyable chat followed to our departures at Stoke were we said cheerio as they made their onward journey to Manchester and we went in search of the Uni Chippy just around the corner from the station.
UNI CHIPPY FOR ANOTHER VISIT
As ever the fayre was of a good standard and we set off for the 50 minute walk to Bucknall via Hanley Park and onto the busy A52 calling in for water at The Co-op as the day had now become very warm, so much so that Mick had taken off his fleece.  As we changed onto Leek Rd I managed to miss the small footpath that lead us towards the estate that surrounds the ground.  We were soon back on track and entering Potteries Park which is set back from the road.
THE COLIN STAIR STAND
The club have clearly done a lot of work in the close season as the ground looks very smart and presentable.  After paying our entrance fee the ground opens up to a large tarmac spaced area before to the left is the snack cabin which is very smart and clean in both its staff and the cabin too, a credit to the club.  To the far corner is the clubhouse and changing room facilities, the former seems to be split into a bar area and to the left a smarter hospitality area which has a big screen playing todays footy.  Moving around the ground the bottom side goal is uncovered but as per all the way around there is hard standing with a very smart spectator barrier with blue meshed fencing below.  The far side has the dug outs and behind them a small covered standing area as we go round to the top goal this is also like its counterpart uncovered.  Back to the main side were we entered the ground is the Atcost type stand which is dedicated to former manager Colin Stair with the seats having brass plaques I guess to sponsors who have assisted the club.  To the side of this stand is a further concrete base for an extension.  This whole side has a neat wooden fence which has a raised area behind the front hard standing.  A basic but really smart little set up that clearly has a lot of care and attention put into it.  Regular readers will know the blog hates to put any negatives in but todays match day programme at £1 for 8 pages with just a introduction of 1 page to todays visitors and 2 page team line up was a really poor effort for a step 5 club.  Back to the positives and with a ground fast seeing 1874 supporters arriving we should be in for a good atmosphere.
TREASURER WENDY POSES WITH MICK FOR A PHOTO BY THE SMART CAFE
Mick had gone off into conversation with many home and away supporters and I had completed the obligatory circuit and also got talking to quite a few supporters.  We both came away from this game having enjoyed the friendly welcome from both sets of supporters you were a credit to your clubs today, thank you.  Mick had met Hanley Town treasurer Wendy who we managed to capture for a picture thanks for your time today good to catch up with you and your club.  Many of the 1874 supporters were now taking up their positions around Potteries Park and once again they were a great bunch of friendly supporters, Mr Ryde of this blog had suggested they were a good bunch and he was so right.
MATT RUSSELL OF 1874 NORTHWICH
The kick off had arrived all too quickly and 1874 got off to a storming start in the opening 20 minutes as they looked to get the win after losing top spot on goal difference to Atherton Collieries following their draw last night.  But they didn't score and eighth placed Hanley increased in confidence with forays on the break into Northwich territory.
THOMAS BAILEY CONTROLS THE BALL FOR THE VISITORS
Indeed although the possession was in the visitors advantage they had to be thankful to keeper Greg Hall who pulled off 3 superb saves during the opening 45 minutes.  With Hanley finding central defensive pairing of Joel Stair and Josh Thorpe in dominant mood to deny the visitors on their attacks we reached half time goal less.  The half had been an interesting affair and even though nobody had scored the 45 minutes had sailed by.
PLUSH SEATS FOR THE 1874 LADIES
The second half started with Hanley going close through Angelo Errico who curled a shot just wide of the visitors goal to set the pace.  It was now anybody's game and although it looked like their could be a goal it was probably a one goal game.
SAM HIND NEARLY LOSES HIS HEAD AFTER SCORING
That goal did arrive on 77 minutes when Hind fired home on the volley at the back post to score the only goal of this close encounter.  Cleary this meant a lot as Hind and his team mates celebrated with gusto after what had been a hard working week for the visitors.
PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR
There were a few fractious moments in the second half were some referees would have pulled out the cards but todays referee Jack Sheppard kept a lid on it by a having a 'strong chat'.
EVERYBODY'S KEEPING CALM
As the game entered the 2nd minute of stoppage time Hanley so nearly equalised, probably a goal they deserved for their efforts, when Josh Thorpe fired inches over from 20 yards out.

As we made our way around the ground to the business side of the ground we made acquaintance with one or around 4 non league dogs in attendance today.  Northwich had their own canine supporter in 'Bailey' who had his own bowl and I guess food pitch side.  Having posed happily for a picture you could only but feel an appropriate 1874 corporate coloured scarf would have suited him well.
IF BAILEY SAYS ITS 1-0 THEN ITS 1-0
But shortly after it was time to bid farewell to Hanley Town and 1874 and a long walk back to the station at Stoke, most of the buses here return to Hanley town centre so you would end up catching a bus back out.  So we opted to take a steady walk and aim to depart on the 1833 to Derby.
NEIL CHAPPELL COMES ON TOO HUMOUR
Many of the 1874 fans were now in a small traffic jam waiting to depart the area and their continued friendliness saw them waive their cheerios as we walked past and were even reminded that we had to visit them at their home ground of Winsford, something that we definitely intend to do.
Our chariot arrived at platform 1 and joy of joys it was a 2 carriage train with no problems on gaining a seat we had a comfortable journey back to Derby with a change getting us back to base station at just after 8pm.
Worth a visit to Potteries Park a tidy ground with todays game providing a very interesting game well supported by two sets of welcoming fans, today was a pleasure.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

SWIFTS FLY INTO THE NEXT ROUND OF FA VASE

BOLEHALL SWIFTS 7 V HEATH HAYES 2
BUILDBASE FA VASE 1Q @ RENE RD
10 SEPTEMBER 2016 --- 3PM
MAIN STAND AT BOLEHALL SWIFTS
A stunning victory from Bolehall Swifts swept aside Heath Hayes who found themselves 5-1 down at half time.  A 14 minute first half hat trick from Jordan Francis was assisted by a brace each from Kyle Turner and David Yonwin, although the goal of the game probably went to the visitors Joe Hartshorne for an audacious 20 yard lob just before half time.
Once again the weather dictated the selected game with rain forecast further south it was at last time to take in a club and ground that had proved difficult to visit last season as the rain put paid to quite a few efforts to get to Rene Rd.  Indeed as we approached Saturday after a glorious week it was again time for the wet stuff to be forecast for match day and cometh the day cometh the weather.  Heavy rain for most of the journey and then a constant sharp drizzle until half time made local pictures hard work but hopefully there are a few to assist the overall impression of the club and area.
Todays journey avoided the normal start from base station and took in The Comet bus service to Derby were a short ride to the train station saw us attempt to get aboard a Tamworth train.  I say attempt and I'am probably being unfair here because we did and there was a seat available too!  However Derby station was suffering quite a few delays and with the 1137 delayed I feared for future trains to Tamworth but having secured a ticket a service arrived on platform 4 around 1210 and we were off into Staffordshire.  The day was a murky affair and on departure I peered through the mist to try to see the floodlight poles that are just visible at Rene Rd they have beckoned many times on journeys through the station at Tamworth and today the blog would finally make a visit.  Sharp rain aside there was time for a small tour around the shopping streets before boarding the aquamarine special, the number 5, to Amington. Its a short journey with just £1.40 changing hands for a few stops before departing at the Amington Inn, a Flaming Grill pub in Bolehall.
BOLEHALL IN ALL ITS RAINY GLORY
A choice had to be made of Chippy, Inn or Co-op and although I chose the former I could not get served in under half an hour which was a little disappointing, but at least they informed me.  So with haste I departed to the local Co-op for some pastry encased ploughman's.  The intention was to take a look at the Coventry Canal but unfortunately the bad weather meant a trip straight to the ground was the order of the day.  Having found the narrow entrance to the ground the car park soon pointed the way to the clubhouse with the pitch and ground to the left behind corporate coloured yellow and green fencing.
The clubhouse is a very smart affair clean all round including the toilets, a credit to the club and one of the best on the non league circuit today with a function taking place in one room the blog settled down in the Dennis 'spud' Baker lounge for a drink and the last 30 minutes of the Manchester derby.
The ground is entered by payment at the 'shed' of a fiver and one pound for the programme and then a walk to the pitch side via a smart pathway.
The changing rooms to the left have a sloped roof on them and contain public toilets and snack bar.  Hard standing is the order of the day all the way round the perimeter, off to the right is the impressive 5 rowed stand with bench seating all numbered.  Over the far side is a former cycle shed roof with base built on site at present this is closed off while work is considered on the standing area.  The top goal is uncovered ad as come back round to the fenced off 'tunnel' area you I realised after looking for the opening to walk through, there isn't one and you have to walk around the back of the changing rooms to continue the circuit.
CYCLE SHED STAND
At the end of the circuit the teams were gained from the snack bar and there was time to catch up with club secretary Mark Brooks who operates the Twitter feed and also records the games, he certainly had a busy one today, good to meet you Mark all the best for the season.
FROM THE MAIN STAND
The club was initially formed at the Amington Inn and gained the name Swifts due to the birds flying over the public house.  The ground they are currently playing on were allotments purchased for the club and the noticeable thing is the vast  space here around the ground and even from the spectator railings you are a little way from the pitch.  Before the game it was also noteworthy that the club fired up the public address system to announce the two teams.
ZLATAN[?] ON LOAN FROM MAN UTD
Todays visitors suffered a 4-0 league reversal a few weeks ago at Rene Rd and would be looking to improve today but by half time it had gone one worse when they found themselves 5-1 down.  Quality finishing from the home side had probably been a bit harsh on Heath Hayes who started the strongest when Hartshorne saw his shot blocked on 10 minutes.  But it wasn't long after before the home side started the avalanche a neat finish from Turner from the left hand side of the box firing past the visiting keeper and seeing his effort roll in off the right hand post.  It was then time for hat trick hero Francis to take centre stage hesitation in the visitors defence saw the number 11 nip in to slot home after 19 minutes.  Then 2 minutes later he made it 3-0 firing past Ryan Goodwin in a one on one, he had to wait until 33 minutes before completing his hat trick Turner turned supplier and his cross was converted by Francis to make it 4-0.
JORDAN FRANCIS  COMPLETES HIS HAT TRICK FOR BOLEHALL SWIFTS
Heath Hayes though were still a threat when James Russell unleashed a cracker from 20 yards home custodian Tom McNulty had to be alert to push the ball over.  The sucker punch came moments later when the home side made it 5, Turner got his second heading home unmarked from a David Yonwin left hand side cross.
Four minutes before the break probably the goal of the game when Joe Hartshorne picked the ball up advanced just short of the box and delicately lobbed McNulty to pull a goal back.
Half time snack and drink secured there was time to learn that I had not won the raffle thankfully I didn't fancy carrying wine back with me!
Although the gate was low around 45 this is a lovely little ground that I enjoyed some quiet moments in, mind you they were soon disturbed by Richard Bransons thundering electric specials which run within around 100 yards of the ground at regular intervals, sadly tree growth does not allow the train and football picture.
LIAM ROWLEY GETS THROUGH FOR BOLEHALL
The second half started with the visitors keeping it tight until a slip by keeper Goodwin who came out to clear got in a tangle trying to clear and Yonwin picked up the lose ball to steer it home, 53 minutes.
Weirdly Heath Hayes were not getting too much look when an all most certain goal was cleared off the line by Joseph Obi.  The visitors did level up the second half tally on 79 minutes when Hartshorne got his second curling one round the keeper.  Hat trick man Francis had missed a couple of second half chances to add to his tally but he was inches away on 80 minutes with a shot that went just the wrong side of the post.  But Bolehall were not to be denied a 7 goal tally with 5 minutes remaining Yonwin got the third brace of the game when he scored a superb individual goal to compete with Hartshorne's lob.  Cutting in off the right he wandered is way through the visitors defence rounding defenders and firing home for a cracking little individual effort.
JOE HARTSHORNE [10] CURLS A FREE KICK  FOR HEATH HAYES
A deserved victory for Bolehall Swifts with the score line a little harsh on Heath Hayes who if they had a bit more luck may have been in this game a little longer but overall the home sides finishing won this tie with some determined mid field play from the men in yellow and green.
Dash back to Amington Road saw a bus sail past just before I could get to the stop but after a short wait I was still in time for the 1736 departure from Tamworth station, is there a many more uninspiring station facades?  But its functional and a good changing point for the blog and as I looked across to the floodlights at the ground from platform 3 at last the blog had visited Bolehall Swifts a pleasant set up with a lovely club house and an enjoyable afternoon had been had even with the rain once again visiting a Saturday afternoon.
Change was made at Derby and the reverse bus ride to the city centre allowed for about 50 minutes to the connection time for The Comet.  The final service outwards from Derby for the evening was certainly an interesting affair with many a character travelling there was even a non league hopper on board!
TAMWORTH STATION UNINSPIRING FACADE?

Saturday, 3 September 2016

HYDE EDGE OUT COLNE IN FA CUP WIN

HYDE UTD 1 COLNE 0
FA CUP 1ST QUALIFYING @ EWEN FIELDS
3 SEPTEMBER 2016 3PM

A David McGurk goal just past the hour mark was enough for Hyde to see off Colne in a tight FA Cup tie that had seen the home side guilty of three gilt edged chances missed and so giving Colne hope.  Indeed the visitors would be left to rue a saved penalty after 55 minutes and that single Tigers goal proved to be enough to win the tie.
Sad to say with heavy rain forecast countrywide the blog opted for a 3g game as early as the first week in September.  When will it stop raining on Saturdays during the football season?  After a lovely week weather wise Saturday arrived with the weatherman gleefully predicting some downpours.  Having visited Hyde previously for a Man Utd reserve game versus Wrexham I believe in the 90's this would not be a first visit but a first for the blog.  The new season had seen Hyde kick off with their new 3g sate of the art pitch in place and its on days like this that the 'hopper' looks for a safe game especially when using the delights of public transport.
TAYLORS CALLING AGAIN
Base station departure just before 1130 for the Peak District journey with light rain accompanying us all the way to Stockport were we boarded a 330 of the stripey boys variety.  Of course with the 10 minute frequency service going via Woodley we jumped off for dinner at Taylors our regular lunchtime supplier in this area and although we had chosen not to visit Stockport Town today they were at home and also would be grateful of the use of a 3g pitch as the rain was now lashing down!
After a short meal stop it was time to pick up the 330 service towards Ashton and we were soon departing in Hyde bus station.  Hyde on any day would appearing a challenging prospect but on a very wet day its even more of a challenge to keep dry and failing miserably to take any town centre pictures including the impressive town hall which for reasons undiscovered seems to have a seal outside, in the form of a statue.
 
After a small walk around the shopping area, I say short it was all of 10 minutes because there was now a fair deluge coming down Mick suggested a trip back to the bus station for a bus to the ground. 
Although its only about 3 stops along Mottram Rd the 202 saved us getting drenched and we hastily made our way to the turnstiles, entry fee paid we shook off the water and made a quick visit to the club shop.  Programmes were purchased from Alan who was sheltering inside and Chris Ryde friend of the blog was also greeted, good to see you again Chris and we had a nice little catch up with Alan too who it was good to get to know.

The ground is a wonderful example of a well proportioned former conference ground which after the clubs association with Man City was developed along the lines on dark blue repaint alongside some attractive sky blue seats in the main stand.  That link up as now ended but the investment has left the club with a nice facility and now the community can also enjoy the 3g facility thanks to the local councils investment too.  The club are one of the growing band of supporter owned clubs and are still selling membership and shares to interested fans, we wish them well with this endeavour and hope it is successful for the club.

The ground has cover on all four sides with the neat main stand topped off with two weird sized floodlights.  The Scrattin shed terrace to the right as we came in is very much the kop/ultra supporters enclosure and they continue to make a noisy support of Hyde their aim for the afternoon.  Behind this stand is the club house.  The stand continuing on behind the goal is set slightly of centre of the pitch before we walk past the memorial garden and the dugouts which behind them as a 2/3rd length terraced stand in place.  Behind the far goal is again a covered terrace stand as we approach the main stand the club have just out into place some nice new modern cabins which I believe are for their new academy.  The main stand is a smart affair with hospitality to the rear and overall the impression is of a smart club with everything in place for a rise back through the leagues following their 3 relegations in 3 seasons.
REFEREE RAPER HAS A QUICK CHAT WITH COLNE CAPTAIN MICHAEL MORRISON
Having caught up with Chris we opted to use the stand behind the dugouts and with the rain pouring down for all of the first half pictures were very difficult.  With all references to Tigers played over the public address system, eye of the tiger, tiger feet, etc it was time for the teams to appear.The game itself saw Hyde miss 2 guilt edged chances Ayrton Bevins was in on goal twice the first saved by visiting keeper Nosakehare Aghayere and on the second occasion he took a little longer to try to make sure and saw his effort blocked.  Hyde looked to press the game and Colne appeared to be happy to try to hit the Tameside club on the break but we reached half time goal less.
SCUNTHORPE UTD ARE IN THE BUILDING FOR NON LEAGUE DAY
Today was non league day which of course encourages supporters mainly of league sides to journey along to watch their local non league club for a change while their fixture list is shortened for international games.  Sadly today league1 and 2 were nearly all playing but Scunthorpe Utd were not and having followed Hyde's twitter feed some of The Iron were travelling over from Scunthorpe.  At half time we managed to catch up with 4 of the party who were enjoying some half time food and learn that one of their party was a share holder in the supporters ownership of Hyde and they had all come along to support this endeavour and sample some non league footy, well done guys good to meet you today.
The second half saw Chris Amadi miss another golden opportunity for Hyde before Colne were awarded a penalty on 55 minutes when Dave McGurk was adjudged to have pulled back Chris Lynch. Up stepped Benjamin Wharton only for Dylan Forth to launch himself to his right to save the kick.  At moments like that and with the proceeding play you started to add the comment its got nil nil written all over it.  Except it hadn't on 61 minutes a corner off the left was met by McGurk who converted for the only goal of the game and a next round tie for Hyde was secured.
MCGURK [6] SEES HIS EFFORT GO OVER THE LINE FOR THE ONLY GOAL OF THE GAME
Colne needed to put some pressure on the home goal but although they played some neat build up play the final pass and finish was missing for them this afternoon and no replay was forthcoming.
The second half had finally seem the rain subside and we could at last enjoy the match from different vantage points around the ground.
BEN HOSKIN FOR COLNE BRINGS THE BALL OUT OF DEFENCE
At the final whistle it was now a fairly dry affair with a walk back into Hyde we were soon on the 330 back to Stockport were with a brisk walk we caught the 5.54 to base station allowing a return around 7pm.
An average game in trying first half condition but a pleasure to re visit Hyde Utd Fc and their smart ground.  Good too see an encouraging support from the Colne supporters now there is a ground.
HYDE UTD PLAYERS APPLAUD THEIR FANS AT THE FINAL WHISTLE

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

CLITHEROE DOMINANT IN RAMS DERBY VICTORY

CLITHEROE 4 V RAMSBOTTOM UTD 0
NPL 1 NORTH AT SHAWBRIDGE
29 AUGUST 2016 --- 3PM
A CLASSIC CLITHEROE PICTURE THE VIEWS WITH SHAWBRIDGE IN FULL SPLENDOUR
A commanding performance from Clitheroe allowed them to completely dominate their near neighbours Ramsbottom Utd.  Indeed 3 up at half time, barring a disaster, signalled game over for the home side and even though the visitors restricted The Blues to a single goal in the second half they just could not find a way into a game that they looked totally off the pace of.
TODAYS DESTINATION WITH CLITHEROE CASTLE IN VIEW
Bank Holiday Mondays are often worth avoiding on the train travel front but having taken the risk a few times last year it worked out fine and as long as the seaside resorts are avoided it appeared to be a possibility.  So when Mike Bayly, see previous blog at Cheadle v FC Oswestry, suggested one of his favourites grounds was Clitheroe the old grey matter began whirring.  If I'm honest the East Lancashire town resting in the Ribble Valley had never really been on the radar but after a little hasty research over the weekend the travel arrangements were looked up and it was here that the blog found itself at base station just after 10am on this sunny[!] Bank Holiday morning.  So off to the north west for a further game this weekend and I have to say overall today was a case of which pictures to leave out its all very photogenic and difficult to chose but hopefully there is a fair selection.
ANOTHER VIEW FROM THE CASTLE
Departure on time to Manchester found a comfortable carriage with seats available indeed upon arrival at Manchester Piccadilly the through platform for my next connection to Salford Crescent just had to be supporting the Blackpool train and you can guess it was a well populated platform but we all boarded the 4 carriage Northern train and successfully changed at 'the Crescent' a few minutes later awaiting the Victoria departure to Clitheroe.  This would be a new line for the blog and although it had its quaint part, for example at Entwhistle, it was functional until we came up just short of Langho when the Ribble Valley appeared in all its splendour.  A day to be thankful for the beautiful Peak District on the journey to Manchester and now the glorious views to the immediate left of Lancashire.  We trundled into Clitheroe at just short of 1.15 with a few Ramsbottom fans departing too and the wonderful town was awash with sunshine and ready for some football but first a mini tour in the hour that was spare before the small walk to the ground.
THE COBBLED APPROACH TO THE TURNSTILES
Previous to visiting the only thing I would recognise as being connected to Clitheroe was the comedian Jimmy of the same surname who found fame in the 50's onwards.  From earlier mentioned hasty research I realised the castle was a must with its tremendous views of the surrounding countryside.  Upon departure of the station its a weird departure off onto a small road/footpath and back under the railway via a lane to reach the town side of Clitheroe.  The old station is a gallery and I believe an information centre which disappointingly was closed, a great shame because there appeared to be many tourists in the town who would I guess have liked more on the town for a future re visit.
TOWARDS THE MAIN STAND AND CHANGING ROOMS
The bunting strewn street led the blog to the castle and after a short climb the Keep was reached and the views were fantastic a place were you could have spent much time looking out at your favourite spots of the surrounding Ribble Valley sadly there wasn't too much time to hang around today but on the descent back down I ventured off the main street to take in the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene which on the walk away from offered a superb view of the castle towering above the streets below.
CLOSER VIEW WITH THOSE ROLLING HILLS
The blog has to report no chippy located today and it was necessary to stock up at the local 'T's' just shy of the ground.  Shawbridge and the ground was reached after a short navigation at around 2.15pm and the entrance is the first thing of interest with an approach via a cobbled alleyway with the backs of terrace houses to the right and the grounds main turnstile opening up to the left.  Entrance fee, programme and golden goal purchased it was time to take a look around Shawbridge and the comments I had received were certainly correct although the weather today was also a deciding factor in the confirmation of opinions.

Description of this ground really cannot do it justice its a ground of 'character', its lived in but functional and as the amazing backdrops of the castle, church and the rolling hills down both touchlines.  But here goes immediately to the left is a deep but low roofed stand to the first touchline which contains a new hospitality cabin, snack bar, toilets and the new modern cabin changing rooms before the main stand which has some quality old style wooden pew like seats set within it.
THE SLOPE TO THE CORNER FLAG ADDS TO THE INTERESTING NATURE OF SHAWBRIDGE
To the far corner and we go behind the goal which slopes up to the far corner flag quite sharply.  This end has become the away end with the Rammy fans I travelled on the train with already in situ and cheering on their players who are warming up.  This sharp but not deep covered stand offered a cracking little view of proceedings.
COVERED TERRACING WITH A SUPERB VIEW OF THE GAME
The far touchline offers a commanding covered terrace for around 2/3rds of its length and its here I recognise a character from a past visit to Colne a few years more at half time.  There was also the chance to catch up with 'Cod Of The North' and his wife Liz who were taking pictures, indeed today there were a lot of people peering through a lens of one variety or another.
THE UNIQUE SEATS IN THE MAIN STAND
Back behind the goal were we entered and the clubhouse, again in modern cabin style, was doing a steady trade and we had got ourselves to 15 minutes to kick off.
TODAYS OFFICIALS HEADED UP BY ALAN BENNETT IN PRE MATCH WARM UP
The crowd was building up and indeed they must have come out of the bar and been some last minute arrivals because by the time referee Bennett blew his whistle we had reached an attendance of 436.
LOVELY APPLAUSE IN MEMORY OF CLIFF CHATBURN CLITHEROE FC
Before todays game there was a warm minutes applause for former clubman Cliff Chatburn who received a tremendous send off from the lady on the P.A. who really gave a feel for this gentleman for all us who did not know him and of course for those who had spent many happy times with him at his club.  Indeed one of his lasting memories will be the work he did on seeing through the installation of the smart new hospitality suite.  While on the P.A. topic it has to be said the lady in question did a sterling job all afternoon and as I've said before it makes such a difference to the atmosphere if its done well and it was here.
MATCH ACTION WITH THE CASTLE OVERSEEING
To the game then and it did not start well for the visitors when after 8 minutes Bradley Carroll lashed home a penalty after Rams keeper Jack Cookson had upended James Walker.
THE CASTLE AGAIN WITH RAMSBOTTOMS ALEX MEANEY IN PLAY
The second came just past the half hour mark when Bradley Knox fired an unstoppable shot from 25 yards when nobody probably expected him too.  The first half scoring was complete when just minutes later Kurt Wiloughby placed a lovely ball through for Alex Newby to run on and fire past the out coming Cookson.
We reached half time with the home side 3 goals to the good and Ramsbottom appearing shell shocked they just had not been able to get a foot hold in the game.
RONNIE MORAN AND HIS SON PAUL
On my earlier circuit I thought I had recognised Paul Moran who loves to take pictures at non league grounds and who I had met when Bootle were at Colne a few years back and his son was playing in goal for the Liverpool based side.  Well today it was an additional pleasure with Pauls dad the legend that is Ronnie Moran along with his son for the game.  Ronnie played 343 games for Liverpool as player and captain and of course went on to be part of the famous 'boot room team' alongside Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Bill Shankley and Reuben Bennett.  There was of course 2 spells as caretaker manager at the club as well as his time coaching which took his service to just short of 50 years at his only club.  It was great to meet him today 82 years old and still watching the footy, thanks Paul.
STEADY
Mr Moran junior had predicted a second half sending off and it came on 58 minutes when probably due to frustration Paul Linwood, in front of the referee grabbed Dimitry Tuanzabe around the front and received a straight red before anything could get out of hand.
HERE COMES THE RED
The visitors went onto amass 5 yellow cards and I guess the previously mentioned frustration was a deciding factor in this total.
AND HERE'S A YELLOW
Just past the hour mark Ramsbottom knew it would not be there day when Jason Hart found himself in a one on one with home keeper Chris Thompson only for the home custodian to race out to deny him but Clitheroe found Tuanzabe whose pace took him round the keeper and last defender to slot the ball home into an unguarded goal for 4-0.  The Blues could probably have had a few more non more so than in the first of three minutes added on when Walker saw his close range effort cleared off the line by Matt Atherton.
TUANZABE MAKES IT 4
Joyous local derby victory scenes by the Clitheroe fans at the fan whistle were of course not mirrored by the very unhappy Ramsbottom faithful who made their feelings clear about the visitors overall showing in this game.
Overall though this was a very fair result played in front of a nice sized crowd on a lovely day were this superb little ground is cupped in the hand of the nestling beauty that surrounds it in both town and countryside, well worth the visit.
With 3/4's of an hour to go before the departure provisions intake for the journey back was made at a Lancashire based food supermarket that I had not come across before Booths was by the station so I opted to leave a few pounds there.  They appear to be a local firm similar in style to Waitrose offering a more speciality type of produce alongside the national named items.
My choice fayre was a 'Toppings Pork Pie' boxed up nicely local produce with British pork, arriving back at the station in the glittering sunshine the logic told me eat the pork pie first.  I ended with the contradiction, when looking at where it was made, of eating a Yorkshire pie in a Lancashire town the shame.
The inward bound train for its return to Manchester Victoria had cleared the station from Platform 2 and was soon in place with 15 minutes to go before departure from number 1 platform.  Having enjoyed the last few minutes on the platform it was time to depart fro the first change at Salford Crescent.  An interesting experience here was a Freightliner train pulling through with Viridor waste containers emitting a non to fresh smell bit we we were soon connecting up at Oxford Rd were after a small wait the final train of the day was a comfortable affair which departed the blog at base station at around 9pm.
Overall the weather was fantastic and I'm sure has an influence on how you feel about visits like this but it has to be a must if you haven't done Clitheroe and its football club a superb ground full of everything that's great about football at step 4 and a town to also spend some time in if you should wish.
15O DROPS THE BLOG AT PLATFORM 2 WITH CLITHEROE CASTLE IN VIEW