Monday, 10 December 2018

NEWARK FLOW TO TOP OF THE TABLE

EASTWOOD CFC V NEWARK FLOWSERVE
EMCFL @ CHEWTON ST
8 DECEMBER 2018 --- 3PM
SAM AGAR OPENS THE SCORING FOR NEWARK FLOWSERVE
A double strike from top scorer Sam Agar sent Newark Flowserve to the top of the table in this rain swept match, however the weather did not interfere with an highly entertaining encounter which thankfully had the benefit of the 4g surface and by the final whistle both sides could take credit for their efforts.
The winter weather had returned with a force this week with a collection of games lost to the increasing wet stuff making the life of hoppers one long planning of 4g standbys and personal relationships with the weather presenters of all channels.  Games had fallen foul to the weather today and with the travelling gamble avoided a selection of local encounters were settled and like the good old Its A Knockout TV programme of the 70's I decided to play my 'joker' for the first time and with any real menace select a 4g fixture due to the forecast.  How well this played out with the game played in constant driving rain the half time torrential downpour abandoned nearby games at Heanor, Kimberly, Selston and Ingles, without doubt if Eastwood had still been playing on grass the same end result would have ensued here.
Being a re visit I wont go through a ground descriptor needless to say the club of course displays its former glories in its size and facilities, although of course the levelling of the pitch has made some areas non viewable for anybody below 6ft 5in in height. 
The inclement weather made photos hard work today so there are just a few and as for the pre match amble forget it.  Eastwood is of course famous for DH Lawrence and his former home looked at in previous visits but I did discover a few hidden gems.  The former pub Man In Space by the ground which is now demolished and forms a Sainsbury's was used for filming 'Carry On At Your Convenience' rather appropriate given the size of the new store.  At the opposite end of town the large Eastwood Hall offers all sorts of hospitality facilities and accommodation and was the former HQ of British Coal.  Rather interestingly it offers two rooms amongst its 40 named MacGregor and Scargill apparently though the latters is to the left of the formers.
DAVE SURELY A BURNLEY FC BROCHURE APPROACH AWAITS HIM
Anyway I digress back to todays proceedings and it was good as ever to catch up with Malc and Kev the former author of the famous and to be recommended 'on the road blog' which keeps us all up to date with local proceedings.  Also in attendance was Burnley catalogue boy Dave who I'm sure you will agree would look resplendent in any clothes attire brochure for the man about town, Burnley, as ever a pleasure to spend time discussing the state of the game.
Having drifted towards the bar before the match for a warm drink it was as ever good to meet up with the Newark entourage and with the club battling for that top spot with Selston it would make for an intriguing game against fellow high flyers Eastwood Community.
Starting off in the way we mean to go on, rain, there were early chances for both sides Joe Butler and Chay Bettridge fired over from good positions for the home side and the pace of Newark with danger man Agar were making this an open game.  It was though Newark who took the lead on 20 minutes when a headed down cross off the right was met on the volley, as the ball came over his head, by Agar his shot was powerful enough to roll over the line even though Jack Walker made a brave attempt to halt its progress.
1-0 VERY SHORTLY AS AGAR WATCHES HIS SHOT DRIFT OVER THE LINE
In a first half that seemed littered with dissent amazingly the game did create excitement and one of those moments was the Eastwood equaliser from 25 yards out John Whitehurst lined is run up to perfection and fired home with a glorious strike after 40 minutes.
Back came Flowserve though and that man Agar found an attack repelled and the ball fell to his feet 20 yards out and thanks to a deflection on the way you know where it ended up, 2-1 to the visitors at the break.
Downpour followed and with games falling around to this precipitation of the heaviest kind the 4g held up nicely save for a small area that suffered from terrace run off, soon to be drained away though.
REFEREE STEPHEN DAVIES MAKES IT CLEAR HIS CHRISTMAS LIST CONTAINS JUST ONE REQUEST A WHISTLE
The second period became somewhat one way traffic with the pace and guile of the visitor to the fore however they should have scored more and put the game to bed with a one goal lead there was always the danger of a break away goal and much of the hard work could have been undone.  Its never quite clear whether to put this down to poor finishing or the sheer ability of The Highwaymen that actual gets them into a position in the first place that others wouldn't.
Anyway the chances came and went Elliott King shot blocked by Aaron Short, Tyrell Shannon-Lewis shot saved by Walker, same effect from a powerful Agar effort found home keeper still on top form and add to that further efforts from Agar and Dan Meadows on a couple of occasions the score line could have been more.  Credit though remains with Walker between the home sides posts for a superb display during the afternoon with some quality saves that kept Eastwood in the game to the final whistle.
Newark had secured three points and a victory that leaves the club top of the pile, albeit on goal difference and having played a game more than Selston.  But when your at the top somebody has to move you if they want to get there and who would bet against a superb run in for this seasons East Midlands Counties Football League title.

Monday, 3 December 2018

TOWN BEAT TOWN ITS WYTHENSHAWE IN THIS ONE

ALSAGER TOWN 1 WYTHENSHAWE TOWN 4
NWCFL 1 SOUTH @ WOOD PARK STADIUM
1 DECEMBER 2018 --- 3PM
STEVEN YARWOOD BRINGS THE BALL AWAY FOR WYTHENSHAWE TOWN
It is the season to be jolly well if your a Wythenshawe Town fan it is anyway third successive away victory as the newbies to the NWCFL start the month in third position and their potential was backed up by this dominant win at Alsager Town.
Its not quite the season to be jolly for non league hoppers the start of the week saw this as plan A but by the time the heavy rain had appeared TNS in the Welsh Premier had become a fair choice a somewhere down the list but with 4g on hand. So what happened?  Well no blog would be complete with a transport story the good old XCountry service that would leave me with a 17 minute change in Birmingham got delayed to around 35 minutes late and the best laid plans etc.
WOOD PARK STADIUM HOME OF ALSAGER TOWN
After a prompt reply from Alsager to confirm no pitch problems its was back to the original choice with a change in Derby for the one carriage bus, train, awaiting on platform 3 heading through the
Potteries and just one stop short of Crewe arrival was shy of 1pm and would allow a nice time to have a quick meander around the Cheshire town.
The first impression is of 'well to do' houses and as the Lakeside chippy was sought out a quick look at The Mere, a large lake by which the food establishment had named itself I guess.
The expansive water apparently only has a couple of public viewing areas with the rest of its waters edge boundaries being associated to the private houses surrounding it.  Food sampled was good and a recommended visit before a brief look at the centre which is dominated by a medium sized Asda it was time to set off down the dubiously named Shady Grove and immediately the area changed into a social housing estate and the natural base for the working class game.
THE UNDERSTATED ENTRANCE TO ALSAGER TOWN FC
Looking down Woodland Court a small cul-de-sac with a circuitous road you could see the ground but the entrance was far from clear however much like Athersley Rec up in Barnsley the small track between two houses lead to the field of dreams that is Wood Park Stadium.
A warm greeting at the turnstile and you then got the full vista that the site was on three levels with our next drop down to the clubhouse and changing rooms from out immediate entrance and then the final level to take you pitch side, its certainly a unique entrance and adds to the quirky experience of Alsager Towns home ground.
THE DUG OUT SIDE
Having arrived pitch side there are plenty of time worn structures to keep you more than interested immediately at the front of you is a long stand featuring bucket seats, bench seats and old style slatted seats with sides I cant think of a better way of describing them and sadly failed to ask where they came from.  To the right the stairway from the middle level down which the players enter the pitch and behind the goal a hospitality cabin, snack bar, medical room and I guess grounds mans garage.
The far side had a deep covered terrace offering good cover before the dugouts lead to an uncovered walkway that leads behind the far goal and to our entrance side a further covered terrace below the initial multi seated stand.  A quirky ground but its definitely a ground of character that is worth visiting at different times of the year.
A WIDE SELECTION OF SEATS INCLUDING THESE FROM WHO KNOWS WHERE BET THEY CAN TELL A STORY OR TWO
Alsager go by The Bullets nickname which is related to the town employing 3,000 people in the ammunitions industry during the Second World War at Radway Green.  The club are just below mid way in the table and managed by Andy Turner working with the Port Vale Academy and formerly a Republic of Ireland U21 international alongside a domestic career including Tottenham, Portsmouth and Rotherham United.  The visitors today Wythenshawe Town are new to the NWCFL and are on a promising run away from home and sitting in third place with an immediate interest in promotion again.
Before the game it was nice to receive a nice greeting from not sure if it was the grounds man but a gentleman doing some work around the pitch side fencing always goes a long way thank you for your introduction to the club.
0-1 LEE GREGORY FAR LEFT BLUE CELEBRATES HIS GOAL
Onto the action and it was not a good start for the home side who were one down in seven minutes what looked a poor corner, but of course it could have been a training ground classic, was low to the near post evading everybody except for Lee Gregory who converted from close range.  Alsager went close to levelling the scores when Shane Williams fired a shot across the face of the visitors goal but the ball fell inches wide.  It was proving hard for Alsager to get a foothold in the game and the experience and tenacity of the Wythenshawe side was bossing the play and they increased their lead on 37 minutes with a lovely deflective header from Brad Byrne via a Justin Pickering cross.
GREAT BALL CONTROL MATTHEW LANDREGAN
The start of the second period saw Turner make two substitutions for Alsager and they needed some inspiration to get back into this game, that wasn't to be and Wythenshawe showed their intention when a lovely move just five minutes into the second period saw Pickering feed Byrne again but this time his effort scraped the post.
It was three nil on 58 minutes when the visitors player of the match Steven Yarwood get a deserved goal for his afternoons contributions 25 yards out he hit a nice shot which took a deflection to wrong foot Rhys Bills in the home goal.  It was a containment exercise now for the home side and it all went nicely until five minutes from time when Wythenshawe made it 4-0 thanks to Ben Steer who turned his defender on the edge of the box and strode on to fire past Bills.
ALSAGER PONDER THEIR MATCH
Alsager had a late flurry and got a consolation goal in the first minute of stoppage time thanks to Dom Smith before a powerful free kick from Ryan Goodwin stung the hands of Jake Aldred in the visitors goal.
A comfortable win for the Wythenshawe Town who continue their push for a second consecutive promotion and who would back against them?  They have the experience with a nice selection of handy players who will see them through many a game before the end of this season. 
A homely steady club to visit in a ground of interesting features and one of those grounds that has enough for any hopper who fancies a look at one of the more quirky grounds in The NWCFL.
Return to base had the luxury of two carriages to Derby, of which the lights went out for ten minutes after Blythe Bridge British spirit saw us all sit there waving our mobile phone lights about like big kids.  A well timed change saw an arrival back at base station just before 7pm.

Monday, 26 November 2018

OADBY LEAPFROG PINCHBECK TO GO FIFTH

OADBY TOWN 2 PINCHBECK UNITED 0
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE PREMIER @ WIGSTON ROAD
24 NOVEMBER 2018 --- 3PM
CLASSIC STAND AT OADBY TOWN
A goal in each half from Tom Mangan and a wonder strike from James Ireland secured all three points for Oadby Town as they climbed above visitors Pinchbeck United into fifth spot in The UCL Premier League.
Over the last few weeks the teams that have not been selected off the 'to do list' for quite a while have gradually started to be 'done' and all appeared pretty much as expected at most grounds except last weeks visit to Holwell which was a pleasant surprise.  Today a standard departure from base station at around twenty to one saw an arrival in Leicester, yet again, but thankfully today a quick get away from the station frontage on an aquamarine special number 31 would deposit me around twenty minutes later at the start of the main shopping street in Oadby.
WELCOME TO OADBY
Oadby is around 3 miles to the south east of the city centre and from a commercial point of view offers a fairly standard selection of shops to suit all tastes alongside a large Asda over the busy Harborough Rd.  Arriving at the nearby Wigston Rd ground with 45 minutes in hand a chance to visit Oadby and Old Wyggstonians Rugby club saw a few minutes of one branch of the home sides game versus Loughborough witnessed as well as the towering Leicester Tigers training base which is also at the site.
BACK TOWARDS THE UNDER DEVELOPMENT CLUBHOUSE
Of course the immediate purpose though was to pop along to Oadby Town for a first visit so after a brief viewing the Wigston Rd was navigated and entrance fee paid.  Once again for a step 5 club and no programme was issued this has to be a disappointment and seems to be a trait of Leicestershire clubs where you can add Kirby Muxloe to this roll of disappointment.  Its always a shame especially on a first visit to have nothing to take back to base to read and peruse about the club at a later stage.
Still on the positive the clubhouse to our immediate right was looking like a building site because that's what it was with an excellent development of the bar and social club into what was looking like a truly modern and bright facility with a superb selection of large TV screens and with the intention to pave the exterior this will be a creditable development.
TWO TEAMS READY TO ENTER THE FIELD OF PLAY
Quick ground descriptor once entering there are a few steps of traditional terrace and onto the left touchline straddling the half way line the classic stand here at Oadby with its sloping front protector, with seats of plastic and wooden bench type, nicely varnished I noticed, there is plenty on offer for todays crowd.  The hard standing continues around the far goal and onto the far side which is quite heavily leaf and moss strewn after the autumnal season.
Two dug outs are on this side with one larger than the other I guess being the original set before a new one was built to separate the two and this hard standing brings us back to the changing rooms and clubhouse.
OADBY AND JACK MCMILLAN FREE KICK
With Pinchbeck flying high but on a poor recent run and Oadby close by this promised to be a tight game however the home side took the lead after just four minutes when Mangan fired past the visiting keeper Ricky Lovelace and for most of the game it looked like this could be the deciding goal.  Pinchbeck did have the ball in the net late in the first half but the assistant referees flag was up and there seemed to be little discussion on the merits of onside or offside.
The first half had been disappointing fayre with Oadby carrying the one goal advantage and Pinchbeck unable to formulate too much in an attacking capacity.
OADBY BREAK AWAY FROM JOSH SMITH OF PINCHBECK
Increasingly as the afternoon wore on the home sides man of the match central defender Ellis Preston thwarted any attempt by the visitors to get through or supply newly signed Grantham target man Ryan Oliver.
The second half did though see Chris Shipley head just over the bar for the visitors before for Oadby Jack Samples struck the post.  As Oadby looked the more likely to extend their lead Spencer Brown forced Lovelace into a save before Oli Maltby headed off the line for Pinchbeck.
NON LEAGUE DOGS WELL REPRESENTED AT WIGSTON RD
A rare moment of quality was provided on 63 minutes from the ever threatening Ireland who 25 yards out made time for himself to switch the ball onto his right foot before despatching a wonderful drive into the bottom right hand corner to double the Leicestershire sides lead. 
Lovelace in the visitors goal was alert to deny Jack McMullen before the closing stages finally saw some pressure from the visitors when they brought on player manager Ian Dunn, or he brought himself on I guess, who immediately brought a threat to the home side something that had not been evident for most of the afternoon.
UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF THE OADBY BENCH AND MANAGER NICK BRETT
A fairly standard game with a comfortable win from an Oadby side who worked well and took two chances to close down the three points that sees them rise to fifth in the table.
Return journey was all running nicely with bus 31A back to the station and it wouldn't be Saturday without a late train and it was the 1734 to base running behind time but around fifty minutes later return was made from another Saturday in fox county.

Monday, 19 November 2018

LONG BUCKBY HIT FIVE TO WIN AND CLOSE THE GAP ON HOLWELL

HOLWELL SPORTS 2 LONG BUCKBY 5
UCL LEAGUE 1 @ WELBY RD
17 NOVEMBER 2018 --- 3PM
WELBY ROAD HOME OF HOLWELL SPORTS
Visitors Long Buckby wrapped this game up with three goals in the final quarter of an hour against a Holwell Sports side who had twice come back from behind to level and in the process the Northamptonshire side are now just one point behind todays hosts in the bottom four of UCL 1.
The usual Friday of indecision again came to the fore with rail strikes and varying other complications so on the morning Holwell Sports appeared on the radar for a debut visit, indeed the last time I saw them as a club was when they played away at the now departed Sutton Town many a moon ago.  The Welby Road ground had come onto the 'to do' list on a few occasions but this time it had risen to the top and I have to say was a pleasant surprise a nice club with some equally accommodating people running the place.
MAIN ENTRANCE AT HOLWELL SPORTS FC
Train to Leicester was the outbound option and an hour after leaving base station the delayed Melton Mowbray bus was boarded down Belgrave Road the Dewali displays were still on show and as roadwork's were the order of the day at one stage the journey was over 20 minutes late.  Leaving behind the bustle of the city the rolling fields of north west Leicestershire were a welcome relief as we passed through the 'triple' village of Asfordby, Asfordby Valley and finally our departure point of Asfordby Hill.
The village was the former home of Holwell foundry and iron works the later amalgamation with the famous Stanton Ilkeston company, now what's still operational is run by St Gobain, clearly visible by the unique horse and arrow symbol of the company which still adorns the badge on Holwell Sports shirts.  The small hamlet here is made up of 4 rows of terraces that back onto one another and have a slightly overgrown green to the rear of all properties, I guess former foundry workers houses.  With Melton Mowbray just over a mile away man spectators seemed to have travelled from the town especially with Melton Town being away today.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT FOR A LOT AND ITS A SMART SET UP
The ground clearly has connections to the former works and has some sponsorship from todays owners present, its very much an old style complex with social club, bowls green, out of use tennis courts and main football ground with training pitch to its rear.
Admission paid and steady little programme gained the tour looks like this to the left a classic bit of non league structure a low slung corrugated iron stand of which you enter and depart from behind moving down the far side the ground has a large back drop of the local rifle club with an indoor range.
NON LEAGUE CLASSIC
Both dug outs are smart and from a spectator point of view access stops at the home dug out so retracing the steps past the entrance and the changing rooms are in the corner bearing a resemblance to I guess what was the former cricket club. 
I'm told by Martin, who it was a pleasure to meet before the game and talk all things Holwell, that the former cricket club played on the same area and during the summers dry spell from some aerial shots that were taken you could still see the outline of the square.
DUG OUTS WITH RIFLE RANGE BEHIND
Moving along the near side and a very smart stand runs towards the half way line with framed gaps look out onto the bowling green which in best pantomime season banter 'is behind you'.  The all important snack bar follows on and looked smart and happily run offering a good selection of hot foods too as well as the usual confectionary fayre.
The other side of the half way line is walkway standing as is behind the far goal and along the far side to the away dug out where once again spectator access stops.  The unique floodlights are very much of the railway marshalling yard variety and give this ground an overall friendly and homely feel to it.
TODAYS THREE TEAMS
The crowd of 72 also had a nice selection of Long Buckby supporters and we were soon underway in bright but low winter sunshine on one of those days that you knew would become very cold as soon as the big thing in the sky disappeared. 
It was the visitors who struck first with Mitchell Boe steaming in at the back post to slot home with a clinical finish after 10 minutes. The first half had been a pretty even affair with both sides struggling to put much free flowing stuff together and when Holwell equalised it seemed a fair call.  With just eight minute to go to the break Mike Stevenson challenged the Buckby keeper 8 yards out for the ball and as it flew back outside the box Ross McGarry sent an inch perfect lob back over all into the goal to send us into the tea break all square.
LONG BUCKBY IN CONTROL
Within eight minutes of the re start Long Buckby had restored their lead when Alex Webb fired home a sweet finish from the edge of the box.  There was no denying Holwell though when just nine minutes on they levelled the scores through Liam Ambrose who crashed a 25 yard effort in off the underside of the bar.
In what had been a very even game Holwell looked to have got an upper hand but with the pace of Alex Webb for the visitors this game was far from settled.  So it proved with the turning point after 76 minutes with what looked a soft penalty award was converted by Max Johnson to allow Long Buckby to get their noses in front again.
IN FAIRNESS HOLWELL SPORTS IN CONTROL
This time there was to be no comeback from the home side as the visitors clinically finished their chances first on 85 minutes Thomas Mellor on a left hand side break and finish that made it 2-4 and then on the stroke of time Holwell keeper Ben Challis blocked a Webb effort only for Simon Barby to be on hand to wrap up a vital three points for Long Buckby and in the word of former comedian and resident 'deep joy'.
Proceedings over I had spied 'Pauls Plaice' in Asfordby main village on the earlier approach and with many thanks to Martin, check his twitter out 'holwelsportsguy', a kind lift the mile or so to the eatery was offered.  A large fish that overlapped the tray and very nearly my grasp with a bed of chips was sampled while having an evening mini tour including a provision visit to the Coop before a return journey back to Loughborough station this time.
With a seat gained again and a prompt return back to base station at just shy of 7.30pm this had been a surprisingly enjoyable visit with a stack of goals and a club that I would recommend a visit to take in this smart and friendly little set up.

Monday, 12 November 2018

ROMULUS FLYING HIGH AFTER 4 -0 WIN

ROMULUS 4 WOLVERHAMPTON SPORTING COMMUNITY 0
MIDLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE PREMIER @ CASTLE VALE STADIUM
10 NOVEMBER 2018 --- 3PM
This local derby between two teams at the wrong end of the table was settled in favour of the home side, Romulus, by a brace in either half and further aided by the sending off of Michael Townsend for the visitors moment before half time after receiving two yellow cards in two minutes.
LEWIS COMMINS OPENS THE SCORING FOR ROMULUS
'Weather there's a lot of it about' somebody once said and this week the rain out west had done
enough to put me off travelling to the back of beyond in Wales for a FAW Cup game and so after floundering around on Saturday morning taking into account Northern Rail strikes, EMT not going beyond Leicester that I opted for a first visit to Birmingham this season.  There had been a desperate need to save 4g grounds until the bad weather but having passed the Castle Vale Stadium on quite a few occasions on the way into the second city on the train it had been on the to do list for a little while.
Departing from base station it was the thoughts of a mate who said 'you do know Leeds are at West Brom today'?  By the time I departed the just after mid-day service I certainly did of course, the country length service comes through Leess an hour before my setting off point and the life of a canned sardine was experienced by many experienced on the way to New St.  Around an hour later a quick dash to Priory Queensway for a 67 National Express WM which was boarded with a minute to spare for the twenty minute meander around the gyratory and highly confusing roads of a very busy traffic city.
TOLKEINS SPITFIRE ROUNDABOUT
Alighting just short of the Castle Vale estate with the purpose of taking a quick look at The Jaguar car hanging onto the side of the experience building of said car company there was a chance to take a
look at the main reason for early departure The Sentinel otherwise known as the Spitfire roundabout.  Here in lies this areas massive influence on history as Castle Vale estate was built on the former Castle Bromwich Aerodrome which was active in both World Wars and saw the first flight from Birmingham in 1900.  The Spitfire was built close by and of course took off from the Aerodrome during missions and today is remembered at the centre of the busy roundabout that sits at the entrance to the estate.  The three aircraft are seen in varying states of flight and were designed by the great nephew of J R R Tolkein.  Just down the road is the impressive Fort Dunlop former home of the tyre company of the same name who built up the largest tyre factory in Europe since closure its recent development has seen the area become a leisure experience!
KNIGHT OF THE VALE
Frustratingly the weather was of the much variety now and the rain was starting to deposit sharply as the estate was entered and another notable site the Knight of the Vale statue is excellent with knight riding on charger flying out of the castle and signifying a new future for this once troubled area.  The aviation history is well to the fore with many street names taking on famous names of design and piloting, the three major roads were formed from the former runways.  
Castle Vale was originally an overspill estate to the north east of Birmingham and at one stage had 34 tower blocks as social isolation grew in the 1970's and 80's which eventually saw a major effort to re develop in the early 90's and after over a decade of hard work the whole feel on this wet afternoon around its streets and the small shopping centre, Reed Sq, looked impressive.
CASTLE VALE STADIUM STAND
The spirited walk around had become more of a dash now towards the Castle Vale Stadium as the rain got faster and heavier the whole transport theme became more obvious with the flight path to the nearby Birmingham International Airport being overhead, the railway line behind the far goal and this was overviewed by the motorway to its rear.
The ground is I guess a typical community stadium but has brought Romulus 'home' to a base after sharing at nearby Sutton Coldfield Town recently, it would appear Castle Vale Town, Birmingham Schools and a variety of other clubs use the facilities which are accessed by a long driveway off the Farnborough Road.  Its standard fayre with tarmac walkways all the way around alongside green coated wire fencing with floodlights set back well from the pitch.  The star of the show is a smart stand which again is situated a little back from the pitch to the rear is a lofted function room with bar and by the entrance a snack hatch which did the trick on the day with a couple of chip cobs sampled during my stay.  Programme at £2 was gained with admission and had an impressive cover although its content was basic, by the time kick off had arrived thankfully the wet stuff had stopped coming down and there would be no need to base myself in the stand for the duration.
EARLY CLEARANCE FROM WSC
Wolverhampton Sporting Community [WSC] were struggling away in second bottom place and Romulus not much higher as their fight goes on to re gain step 4 status.
The action started early enough with Romulus taking a seventh minute lead when Lewis Commins fired home sharply from 10 yards the ball unfortunately for WSC keeper Reece Jeavons going through his legs.  The visitors did show mid way through the half and it was Toura Cassama who shot across the face of goal and wide from a good position.  Romulus were clearly in the ascendancy but failing to convert some good chances however on 38 minutes the lead was doubled when a right hand side long throw was flicked on put back into Commins who got his and the home sides second despite the valiant efforts of Jeavons between the sticks.
NIALL ROWE CLIMBE HIGHEST TO CELEBRATE COMMINS SECOND GOAL
WSC saw their task made harder with probably the quickest sending off for two yellows I have seen for a long while on 42 minutes for dissent and then two minutes later and Michael Townsend was on his way to watch the second half the wrong side of the barrier.
The second period was one way traffic and again if Romulus had their shooting boots on it would have been a game of double figures, the frustrating part of their play on all their corners they appeared to look to play them short and often lose possession it always amazes me it would appear the ball would be more dangerous in the penalty box.
WATCH OUT CAMERAMAN
The goal tally though was doubled in the second half within seven minutes of the restart Luke Keen, on loan from Redditch United, scored the goal of the game with a sweet and clinical finish from 14 yards out which gave Jeavons no chance.  It was all over with twenty minutes remaining when Ben Ashby floated in a free kick for the eloquently named Chad Degville-Cross to head home.
WSC IN CONTROL
More goals should have come but WSC were hanging on stoically and in fairness to them with a player down for the whole half their deficit was only the same as the first 45 minutes.
All was dry but dark now as a walk back to Reed Square saw a departure on the 1720 back to the city and by a bit of sharp walking New St was left just over forty minutes later with arrival back at base station around 7pm a seat was gained thanks to Leeds United still being in battle with West Brom in their late kick off.
A postscript saw Romulus advertise for a new manager with the current management team headed up by Dale Belford staying in post until this has been achieved.

Monday, 5 November 2018

WIN SEES RUGBY TOWN KEEP PRESSURE ON LEADERS

KIRBY MUXLOE 1 RUGBY TOWN 4
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION @ RATBY ROAD
3 NOVEMBER 2018 --- 2PM
EARLY EFFORT FOR RUGBY TOWN AND RICHARD BLYTHE
A brace from substitute Harry Holloway helped visitors Rugby Town secure a reflective victory on their overall ninety minutes and it complemented nicely Danico Johnson who secured the other two goals for the visitors against a lowly Kirby Muxloe.
A 2pm kick off for a game with floodlight issues so an arrival in the village of Kirby Muxloe just to the west of Leicester around 1 hour before start time.  The sleepy village finds the football club on the extreme end of the hamlet down Main St off Station Road I failed to locate a chippy although it did seem the sort of village that would fight tooth and nail to avoid having one and was clearly a well to do smart area throwing a complete opposite to Leicester city centre.  It would have been the sort of village that would have welcomed a Waitrose local if such a thing existed.  Sadly the villages star attraction its castle was closed today and seems to have very limited opening hours so I was unable to get a picture or wax lyrically, if I could, about its moat and history.
SMART SET UP AT KIRBY MUXLOE WITH THE BUSTLING M1 JUST BEHIND
Turning onto Ratby Lane the football club and cricket ground soon appears to the sports fanatic and with a smart clubhouse this added to the nice little set up.  Sadly it seems the club is in a little bit of an interchange between committees and there would be no programme, something I guess that has been for this season so far a reality, a great shame for a step 5 club.  But as ever a small band of elderly volunteers are keeping the village side going and with a ground that looks good, with talk of 4g arriving, I could thank my lucky stars that on the travel down for once I get a seat on the train from base station and believe it or not on the way back too.
HERES DIFFERENT ROOFED ONLY STAND
With the clubhouse behind the entrance goal and walking to the right over the far side of this is the cricket club first we reach a stone extended shed like stand with two or so rows of moulded plastic and bench seats, further on is a smart Atcost stand with 'KMFC' within its seating structure.  Behind the far goal is a strange roofed only stand with no sides that sits directly behind the goal offering a surreal view.  Coming back towards the entrance are the two dug outs which are relatively unique made of the strengthened roof type material of old style conservatories.  With hard standing all the way around the pitch its a smart little set up and after gaining the teams with thanks to todays referee Mathew Paul it was time for proceedings to begin.
FIRST HALF RUGBY ON THE BALL
Rugby Town were just off the top and seeking a quick return to headier heights and you have to say for a club like The Valley its a rude awakening with their superb Butlin Rd ground and a selection of smartly attired officials it was a club I enjoyed visiting a few years ago and after catching up with a few of their supporters today I'm eager to do a re visit.
LETS ALL CELEBRATE WITH DANICO JOHNSON [R] DOUBLE SCORER FOR RUGBY TOWN
It was a scruffy and frustrating opening but with Rugby in the ascendancy their first chance came on 25 minutes with Richard Blyhte seeing his shot come back off the post and then the back of the Kirby keepers head to safety.  On the stroke of the half hour Kirby created a superb chance from Jamie Merriman who forced the visiting keeper Mathew Hill into a double save before Andre Williams fired over.  Just as it looked likely to be goal less at the break Johnson got his first with an edge of the box shot that crept in by the left hand post and then moments later Home got in a mess in the visitors goal and Johnson crashed a great opportunity against the post.
RUGBY CAUTION THE BENCH CANT LOOK
Having purchased a small tray of chips for a pound mind you so not too bad, it was time to get back outside for the second period which started with the visitors very much looking to extend their lead and so they did within two minutes of the re start when Johnson got his and the visitors second with a shot across the keeper into the far corner of the net.  It was livewire Johnson who was denied by a great save from Hill before home defender Joe Morrall cleared off the line on 55 minutes and with Rugby looking rampant for more goals something strange happened.  You see it so many times whether instructions went out or players made their own call they slowed the game down taking an age on one corner, all advising one another to 'slow it down' and overplaying the game the gears had visibly moved down. I never understand why, they were so far ahead and looking to extend their lead which was only a matter of time had the same tempo been kept up.
VIEW FROM THE RUGBY END AS TOWN ATTACK THE STAND WITH NO SIDES END
The change of pace gave Kirby Muxloe hope and they were getting a foothold in the game and reduced the deficit on 64 minutes when Morrall crashed a 20 yard effort off the underside of the bar for Adam Parry to tap home the loose ball.  For a selective few minutes there was a possibility of the home side pulling level but the changing moment came with a double substitution on 71 minutes and when 90 seconds later with his first touch of the game Harry Holloway converted from close range Rugby had got the two goal cushion back in place.  With five minutes remaining the tricky sub had his second when he converted a low cross from fellow sub Simeon Tulloch to make it 4-1 for the visitors who were now finishing strong and in the closing stages Home saved well from Blythe.
KIRBY KEEPER PALMS AWAY FROM CHARLIE EVANS
It all finished how Rugby Town had wanted the pace keeps going fast at the top of The UCL but that relaxing period of the second half could have seen more pressure on the visitors who always had you felt more than enough in the locker to win this encounter.
Return journey into the city went well with time for a large food chain break before boarding the train to base which 50 minutes later would see me depart roughly on time with a set of journeys that today, whisper it quietly, would see seats secured on every leg of travel!

Monday, 29 October 2018

RHOS AELWYD INTO FAW TROPHY ROUND 4 AFTER LOCAL DERBY WIN

RHOS AELWYD 2 RHOSTYLLEN 1
FAW TROPHY ROUND 3 @ PONCIAU BANKS
27 OCTOBER 2018 --- 2.30PM
EARLY ACTION SEES RHOSTYLLEN TAKE THE LEAD THROUGH STEPHEN JONES
Last years finalists Rhos Aewyd came from behind to beat neighbours Rhostyllen and progress to round four of The FAW Trophy in this local derby which sees the rivals  just separated by the main A483.  Rhostyllen had taken a first half lead into the break but made the home side fight all the way to secure their passage to the next stage but two quick fire goals secured progress for the home side.
Following last weeks foray to Hawarden the time had arrived to, I think for the first time, cover two teams from the Welsh National League [Wrexham area] even though todays encounter would be in the Trophy.  I've never quite worked out the glorified title added to with the proviso of 'Wrexham area' by the nature of its bracketed reasoning the area around Wrexham supplies the vast majority of its teams who perform at level three of the league structure.
Departure from base station at just before 9.30 would unsurprisingly enough be greeted by a late EMT service and of course all standing to Stockport, passing through the Peak District the first snow of the winter was lying on the ground.  However like last week it did improve from here with a trip to Crewe and a further change to Chester arrival was at 1145 and with three quarters of an hour to wait for the next train I decided to hop on the Arriva service 1 to 'Wrecsam' from outside the station.  For the fantastic price of £5.50 I could travel to Wrexham and out to todays ultimate destination this ticket offered an all of Wales coverage, mind you as a thought many of the outlying villages only have one bus a week!  The journey aloft a nice new double decker commanded some excellent views of the approaching Welsh hills and also allowed me to I-spy the ground of Gresford Athletic of the Cymru Alliance, also passing close by to Offa Athletics home we were soon parked up in Wrexham bus station ahead of time, brilliant.
THE IMPRESSIVE STIWT IN RHOS
Comfort break taken and on standby for the 1245 which would take me right into the village of Rhosllannerchrugog, you thought I was working up to Rhydymwyn, mind you I was sensible enough to purchase a day ticket which avoided the need to ask to the place previously mentioned at the start of this sentence!  With a delay on the 1245 service I opted for one of the 2 services one left to Llangollen and the other to Cefn Mawr it was the latter I caught and by time we passed Rhostyllen all three were traveling in a line and a quick switch on the main road short of Johsntown allowed me to board my original selection and depart in the village a few moments later.
RHOSTYLLEN IN THEIR NEWLY SPONSORED AWAY KIT BY XGAS

If you like your social and industrial history this place is a wow. tight narrow streets, 19th century chapels, former pits, brick works, alongside an early day tram system into Wrexham this place had it all too read up about displayed on many information boards around the village.  Indeed it was very much like many a South Wales pit village except we were in the north.  Chapel and pits oh yes and apparently 150 pubs of which significantly less survive today!  One of the their famous claims of 'Rhos' is that it was the birth place of Miss World, Miss UK and Miss Wales Rosemarie Frankland who claimed all three titles in 1961.
Many of the chapels were of the two tiered variety and just so memorable of their day equally impressive is The Stiwt now a theatre after much local work to retain this listed building which was built and funded by miners 1p a week contributions in the glory days which saw it become a cinema, library, concert hall and billiards hall following its opening in 1926.
THE HIGHLY PLACED STAND AT PONCIAU BANKS IN ALL ITS AUTUMN GLORY
Having had a three quarter of an hour walk around it was a place I definitely would have liked to have spent more time in but it set me off reading up more about this fascinating area.  Rhos, as the locals call it [there's a surprise] is a large village with well sized one way shopping street and is surrounded by communities Ponciau, Johnstown, Pant and Pennycae all who possess a Welsh National League side.  Indeed Rhosllannerchregog have their own team too.  Todays home side Rhos Aelwyd are just on the edge playing at Ponciau Banks, who picked up the latter part of their name after a 1958 merger with Ponciau Aelwyd.
EARLY MATCH ACTION
So I guess the 2 mile journey Rhostyllen made makes this far from their most local derby game potentially, with the home side though winners of the Trophy in 2008 and last years finalists a keen contest was awaited.  This season though form has not favoured either team with the visitors bottom of the table without a win and on zero points and Rhos only on five points but its cup football and form goes out of the window doesn't it?
Having meandered around the village and into Ponciau Park the home of todays hosts this would offer where the ground was based but not the full story.  The park was formerly the site of small outcrop pits that the miners worked to survive during the 1921 and 26 strikes after they were locked out of the pits for refusing to take a pay cut.  In the 1930's the area started its formation into todays recreation area.
ITS DEFINITELY STUCK
High aloft the bank offering a commanding view is a stand with a few rows of wooded bench seating and down below the main pitch which is railed, aided by two dugouts and hard standing on one and a half sides.  To the left of the main stand a top the banking on the Clarke St end of the ground are the changing rooms and snack bar.
No admission and what looked like no programme until at half time I spotted a selection in a holder turned the wrong way around from the snack bar window, what shame these weren't promoted because upon, of course, purchasing one as a visitor it provided an interesting read on the club and surrounding advertisers too.
2-1 FROM THE PENALTY SPOT THANKS TOO IAN HUGHES
Todays teams were gained from referee Mark Bridge son of former Fifa and Football League official of the 70s and 80s Ron Bridges [Deeside], one for us long in the tooth footy fans.  Mark also runs the Welsh Football Alliance Facebook page which is worth a viewing.
A tentative start to the game was probably not helped by the strong wind on a bright day of low sunshine but chilly all the same.  However the visitors shocked Rhos Alewyd when they took the lead with a superb goal on 17 minutes captain Steven Jones firing home a 25 yard free kick to warm up any neutral or visiting fan. The remainder of the half was a spectacle of frustration with lots of effort but little of substance with the home side struggling to make an impression.
SECOND HALF PRESSURE FROM RHOSTYLLEN
After the break how different it all looked by eight minutes in Aelwyd were in the lead.  Within two minutes of the re-start the scores were level Ryan Jenkins saw his shot pushed away and James Haynes was hand to fire home the rebound.  Then on 53 minutes the game was turned on its head when Kurt Prydderch fouled Jamie Rogers in the penalty box it was left to Ian Hughes to fire home from the spot kick.
There was a danger now that Rhos Aelwyd would run away with it and Rogers saw his effort cleared off the line but slowly the visitors got back into the game and if anything while pushing for the equaliser finished the stringer with Prydderch seeing his header also cleared off the line and in the second minute of stoppage time home keeper Connor Keys pulling off an excellent one handed save to deny Kevin Roberts a goal that would have seen the game go to additional thirty minutes.
REF BRIDGES HAS A QUICK WORD BEFORE DELIVERING SECOND HALF ONE LINER OF THE SEASON AWARD
Punch-line of the second half was from a referee Bridge who when being questioned by a home supporter in Royal Mail Jacket about how he could not see the foul he had just given two or three times, the referee responded with 'I can see everything on here mind you [looking at his hand like an envelope] I've had a few letters delivered to the wrong house'!
So a narrow victory from the encounter that never really offered any of the levels of local derby festivities you may have expected, the visitors would count themselves unlucky after a hard working display and for Rhos Aelwyd the dream of going one better than last season in this years Trophy lives on.
ALL TOGETHER NOW GIV US AN R.............
A sharp walk out of the village to the main road in Johnstown saw me back in Wrexham via one of the many Arriva services passing this area in time for the, of course delayed, 1703 train to Chester.  With a short hop to Crewe and back up to Stockport complete it was EMT back to base station which just to keep up consistency ,you know, was late in Stockport and an hour later at base station.
A thoroughly enjoyable trip out these smaller grounds are an acquired taste but added to the football a spot of social and industrial history and you cannot beat a hop like this one.