Monday, 27 March 2017

QUICK REVENGE FOR ATHERSTONE AT UTTOXETER

UTTOXETER TOWN 1 ATHERSTONE TOWN 3
25 MARCH 2017 --- 3PM
MIDLAND FOOTBALL LEAGUE 1 @ OLDFIELD
ALEX NAUGHTON WITH ATHERTONE'S EQUALISER
A brace from league top scorer Alex Naughton saw Atherstone over the line at Uttoxeter after the home side had taken an early lead and this was sweet for the visitors who had suffered a sharp 3-0 loss at home in the reverse fixture only last week, something which had left Atherstone manager Ivor Green far from happy in his after match comments.
ATHERSTONE MANAGER IVOR GREEN HAPPIER MAN AT THE FINAL WHISTLE TODAY
A bright sunny day with no worries about rain or postponements it couldn't be a Saturday, could it?  Uttoxeter would be a re visit for the blog and the chance to see high flying Atherstone Town.  The journey would be a simple 2 bus ride or would it?  As ever approaching Alfreton hill the traffic was queuing all the way down the incline and the 20 minute change in Derby was playing on my mind.  Thankfully on arrival in ram land there was enough time and the change to the Swift bus was made now the first part of this journey to Ashbourne down the A52 I always find quite dour and today was no different.  Out of Ashbourne we pass close by to the proposed new site of Ashbourne FC's new ground which sadly as still not started and its not long before we pass through Rocester were they are currently lodging.  Uttoxeter is a buzz today with a food and craft market and this attractive town looks busier than ever we make our way through the crowds to the Old Swan of the 'Spoons variety for a spot of lunch and once again its fairly quiet for dinner time.  On departure we bump into a few of the Morris Men who had been performing earlier, Morris Men in a pub now come on!
SPRING DAY AT OLDFIELDS
The gentle spring like walk to Oldfields is pleasant and upon arrival we get as ever here a pleasant and warm welcome from one and all including stewards and Ginny in the pay box.  I wont describe the ground because it has has been covered before and barring a couple of weeks its 2 years since we last visited and not too much has changed.  Strangely todays referee Daniel Parkes is the same official as in 2015 for the visit of Highgate Utd.
CORPORATE SHUTTLE BUS LOOKING SMART
On the walk to the pitch which is a good 150 yards away from the still beautiful changing rooms and club house we pass the clubs superbly liveried mini bus which could probably act as a shuttle bus to pitch side for players and spectators alike.  At pitch side things are a today as ever with everything looking in pristine condition, with admission paid including programme and raffle purchased we were ready for the action.
THE GROUNDSMANS NOT LOOKING
There appeared a strange clash of kit colours with both sides in yellow and blue although Uttoxeter were of the striped variety.
Early action for the home side saw Liam Sowter hit a 25 yard effort that Athertsone keeper James Beeson held well before on 8 minutes Jake Lovatt lashed a cross goal shot into the bottom left hand corner to give Uttoxeter the lead.  Atherstone were level on 17 minutes when Micky Allen failed to hold a snap shot and Naughton was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.  The visitors were just getting the upper hand and 7 minutes before the break they took the lead with a crisp free kick from 25 yards out low and hard into the bottom right hand corner by Sam Belcher.

The second half was a strange period of 'football' with the home side having a fair amount of play but Atherstones back line defending well and holding Uttoxeter's advances.  However the home side did see Martin Gadsby's header parried by Beeson before Oli Ritchie got a shot away.  On 69 minutes Gadsby went close again when his shot was parried away by the visiting keeper Beeson.
PRIME CORPORATE VIEWING
As the half wore on it became clearer that Atherstone were thwarting Uttoxeter in solid defending and well placed time wasting, with players going down injured in various states around the pitch one visiting player rolled off the pitch injured only to realise and rolling himself back on pretty sharply before another delay ensued, the obligatory slow goal kicks.  One mid half substitute was laboured and for all these as a neutral observer I'm afraid referee Parkes did nothing to move things along, he did however add 8 minutes stoppage time and after a late start to the first half we finally wrapped proceedings up at 5.03pm.  By this stage Uttoxeter manager Dean Arnold had understandably got to his limits of frustration and was sent off by the official for his troubles.

Uttoxeter still tried to break through and Thomas Morgan saw his shot superbly pushed over by Beeson for a corner.  In the closing minutes home keeper Allen came forward for a corner off the left a header deflected for a corner off the right and when the initial kick fell back out to Luke Lewis his effort found a Atherstone player who immediately cleared to Naughton who ran 3/4's the length of the pitch to run the ball into and empty home goal, the ultimate sucker punch with referee Parkes blowing for time immediately from the kick off.
This was a laboured performance from the home side in the second period but Atherstone defended and frustrated to a level that allowed them to win the game something that maybe others need to do at times when they lead in a game, its not pretty but it was effective and produced a result for the visitors that was so much sweeter than there loss last week to todays hosts.
As 2 years ago I have always found Uttoxeter a friendly and welcoming club and the towns a lovely little drop off for an hour before the game so a well recommended visit.  Return connection completed by a short fraction and arrival back at base just after 8pm.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

CAMPION PLAY OFF PUSH CONTINUES AT TEVERSAL

TEVERSAL 0 V CAMPION AFC 2
NCEL 1 @ CARNARVON ST
18 MARCH 2017 --- 3PM
CAMPION TAKE THE LEAD AFTER 1 MINUTE THROUGH ELI HEY
Campion secured the 3 points they needed to keep their play off aspirations on target thanks to a goal after 1 minute from top scorer Eli Hey and then again on the stroke of half time after a superb run from Jacob Buchanan. 
On a dour and drizzly afternoon that felt anything like springtime the short trip to Teversal had become a must for a variety of reasons for the blog.  Although the delights of trips to far and beyond via 8 trains, 2 buses and a packhorse are the things that get hoppers excited I needed a local one today and Teversal provides that local one for me.  As mentioned in covering the Nottinghamshire club before I have always enjoyed my visits here and quite a few years back watched most of my football there during a season or so, today there was the added incentive of the visitors Campion.
ELI HEY MOMENTS LATER HE'S OPENED THE SCORING
Having visited the Bradford based club earlier in the season for surprisingly their 3-0 win over todays opponents Teversal and caught up with them a few weeks ago at Ollerton it was time to take a look at their impressive side and ever friendly Chairman Richard Holmes and supporters who once again it was a pleasure to meet today.  So what could be better a £5 return ticket one bus journey from base to Tevie leaving at 2.10pm arriving at the ground with 15 minutes to kick off time.
THE CAMPION EXECUTIVE BOX
On the way Tevie had already produced their team sheet and Campion had posted it on their social media.  Its a pleasure to visit Tevie for this purpose too were at some clubs its a chase around for line ups at Carnarvon St its all done as a matter of course plus the club continue to produce a handy little programme too.  Having covered the ground on quite a few occasions I resisted the temptation to take any more shots of the Tesco trolly park shelters.
I was pleased to see the trio of Hey, Talent Ndlovu and Buchanan playing for the visitors they are an entertaining set of players and with Teversal starting the ever youthful/experienced Dave Cockerill there was enough skill around to make this an interesting encounter.
Teversal still sit in the wrong end of the table and with Campion 2 places and a few points out of the play off positions this was a vital game for James Bicknell's team.
HEY AND NDLOVU CELEBRATE
The game could not have started any better for the visitors when good work on the left by Buchanan saw the ball fall out to the right before eventually coming back into the path of Hey who made no mistake from close range after just 1 minute.
GO ON THEN YOU CALL ALL JOIN IN THE CELEBRATIONS
The pitch was proving a leveller with its bobbly surface and as Teversal tried to get back into the game after that early shock they were thwarted on the edge of the visitors box as Cockerill time and again tried to engineer a pathway through for his colleagues. on 27 minutes a superb full length save from Josh Turton flying to his top right hand corner denied Lee Bradshaw as he cut in off the right wing.
BIG APPEAL AS TEVIE TAKE CONTROL
On the stroke of half time Campion made it 2-0 the ever adventurous Buchanan set off on a run beating 2 Teversal players down the left before combining with Hey on the edge of the box and unleashing a 20 yard drive which Turton got his fingertips to but could not keep the ball out of his goal.
Half time saw the regulatory sample of chip cob at Teversal's snack bar unfortunately I missed a great photo opportunity while camera was away and food in hand todays non league dog a black Labrador walked past from the bar with a packet of mini cheddars hanging from his mouth my only query was how would he open them?
A MOMENT TO PONDER FOR DEAN SHORT IN THE TEVERSAL TECHNICAL AREA
The second period saw Terversal try their best to get back into the game and again it would come through the endeavour of Cokerill if anybody, but Campion held firm and were also a threat too.  The only real chance of the half of any note came on 62 minutes when Hey set up Buchanan for a shot that Turton again did well to push away at full stretch.
As the game faded away Campion always looked well within their means and for Teversal sometime you need something just to go for you and today it didn't, overall a fair score line and Campion can but dream of a play off place that still remains alive.
With cheerios made to a few people it was about turn for the Spira service back to base just after 5.30pm and an unusually early return.
TALENT NDLOVU GETS AWAY FROM THE TEVERSAL DEFENCE

Sunday, 12 March 2017

THOMAS DRIVES CHIRK TO TROPHY FINAL

LLANGEFNI TOWN 0 V CHIRK AAA FC 1
FAW TROPHY SEMI FINAL AT CORBETT SPORTS STADIUM, RHYL FC
11 MARCH 2017 --- 2PM
FAW TROPHY SEMI FINAL LLANGEFNI V CHIRK
A Matty Thomas goal 3 minutes before half time was enough to separate these two evenly matched sides and send Chirk through to a FAW Trophy final appearance.  The Colliers should have probably been further in front at the break but in the second half had their keeper Zac Bebbington to thank for pulling off 3 excellent saves in a 5 minute period of Llangefni pressure.
At last the blog returns to the Principality for a game of football and with a start just before 9.30am we would arrive in Rhyl around 3 hours later, only just mind you.  After an uneventful first leg and change, as normal, at Piccadilly we would depart to Cheser and the North Wales coast.   Only the Arivva Wales trains was not on the departure board and it was then that I realised no trains were running to Manchester Airport and very luckily we caught a connecting train to Oxford Rd which was just about to depart were todays Bangor train would be leaving from.  With little time in Rhyl for this 2pm kick off times were crucial and there was a breath of relief when we claimed our seats on an unusually quiet train.
DREAMING OF RHYL AND BEYOND
Rhyl beckoned and on departure it was off to Les and Rita's chip shop for unfortunately only a tray of chips nothing else was ready, all cooked fresh I guess, but we had little time to wait as the plan was for a quick walk on the sea front before dashing back to the ground.
YOU CANT BEAT A GOOD CLOCK TOWER
Sadly Rhyl as I mentioned in my last visit 2 seasons ago has seen better days and with derelict buildings, closed tourist information centre and now defunct skytower, which originally came from the garden exhibition in Glasgow, it does resemble a socio economic study for many a university student.  The shopping centre was busy but although of course out of season the appeal of Rhyl as disappeared so after a look out to sea we made our excuses and sped away to The Corbett Sports Stadium.
BACK OVER THE RAILWAY LINE RHYL FC HERE WE COME
The blog as looked at the ground before but its one of the more built up stadiums in The Welsh Premier League and well worth a visit with nooks and crannies everywhere offering the feel of an old style football league ground.  On my previous visit the weather was brighter and I managed to get some lovely shots of the floodlights with a sunset backdrop sadly today it was cloudy with poor light but this ground is still special to me.
WE ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE THEN
Its all but an all seater ground and with a near corporate feel dedicated to Arriva I love the aquamarine seats at the end of the main stand, programmes and entry gained I set off on a tour taking a few ground pictures before introducing myself to Graham the Llangefni secretary who had been kind enough to confirm the kick off time to me on Friday.
LLANGEFNI TOWN FLAG
 As ever a pleasure to meet the merry band of club secretaries thanks for your greetings today Graham.  Rhyl as hosts seemed to have the day set up well but the down side had to be the FAW programme production they had produced an appalling programme again for a prestigious game with a team line up and the other seven pages a cover and individual players photos.  No words were included and not even a greeting from an FAW official surely they should be more proud of this prestigious competition.
HERE IS ONE OF CHIRKS FLAGS FOR FAIRNESS
Mick or Batman as he has now become known went off in search of his soup and even later told me he managed a hot dog while I wasn't looking.
A close game was anticipated and so it turned out to be with Chirk AAA  from the Welsh National League and Llangefni Town from the Welsh Alliance both having top half of the table seasons.  This was a nice neutral venue with Chirk making the trip from the border just north of Oswestry and Llangefni from Holyhead coming in a similar distance.

The game started of at a pace with both sides looking to attack but maybe it was all a bit to frenetic however Alun Roberts headed just over the Llangefni before Mathew Jones saw his effort ruled out for offside on 20 minutes to deny Cefni.
 
Chirk were becoming dominant though as the half wore on it was Louie Middlehurst who crashed a deflected header off the bar after 24 minutes then Craig Roberts fired just wide before Chirk did take the lead.  The clock had moved round to 42 minutes when Thomas picked the ball up 25 yards out advanced to the edge of the box and drove low and hard across Llangefni keeper Stephen Sinclair into the bottom left hand corner to give Chirk a deserved half time lead.
CHIRK KNOW HOW TO CELEBRATE THAT MATTY THOMAS GOAL
The second half started with Chirk in the ascendancy when Middlehurst saw his effort cleared off the line.  But Chirk probably should have been further ahead by this stage and Llangefni came back into the game with a storm and only keeper Bebbington denied them in a blistering 5 minute period he saved first from Craig Evans a wonderful full length denial from the Llangefni players header.

Then he pushed over Mathew Jones effort before turning away for a corner a one on one shot from Anthony Hughes.  This would be the turning point in the game for many as Bebbington had single handily denied Llangefni a way back into the game with his heroics.
As the match rattled on in entertaining fashion Nicky Williams and Middlehurst combined to miss and excellent chance for Chirk to extend their lead.

The remainder of play had seen a selection of chances missed by both sides but one thing that could not be doubted was the tremendous effort of both teams who had given their all at stages it looked like Llangefni would survive with dogged defending but overall the extra firepower that Chirk had just got them over the line.  A credit to both sides the crestfallen appearance of the Llangefni players was hard to take at the final whistle for a side who had given their all but of course on the other side of the coin there were scenes of sheer delight from the Chirk players and fans as they now await a final against Penlan who won through 1-0 in the other semi final.

A brisk walk back to the expansive platforms of Rhyl station saw us depart just after 4pm and after a change in Manchester and some tea at the 'M's' we were soon underway again back to base station with the remarkable achievement of 4 trains caught and seats on all we climbed off our train just short of 8pm after an enjoyable day.
The blog send best wishes to Llangefni Town for the rest of the season and of course to Chirk AAA for the remainder of their season which includes an FAW Trophy final, enjoy!
HUMOROUS END TO THE DAY AT MANCHESTER OXFORD RD STATION

Monday, 6 March 2017

BILBOROUGH AND SANDIACRE ALL SQUARE

BILBOROUGH TOWN 1 V SANDIACRE TOWN 1
NOTTS SENIOR LEAGUE PREMIER DIV @ THE HARVEY HADDEN STADIUM
4 MARCH 2017 --- 3PM
HOME OF BILBOROUGH TOWN FC
Title chasing Bilborough Town were denied all 3 points when Tristan Comery fired home an equaliser on 88 minutes to reply to a first half effort from Jake Kane for the home side.  So delighted was Comery that he whipped off his shirt ran half the length of the pitch celebrating with shirt aloft needless to say the error then dawned on him as referee Marshall pulled out the mandatory, second, yellow card before converting it to a red.
Once again the joys of spring had greeted the week with Friday bringing hours of continuous rain which as usual meant Saturday morning was a constant check on games that were on and with a lack of 3g games locally we opted for a Nottingham trip and set off with every intention for the second week running of visiting Radford.  Secretly though on our usual services to Nottingham, Comet and R1, constant work found that Wollaton and Bilborough Town had passed pitch inspections.  The latter became the priority and provided I could manage a few pitch side pictures at this athletics stadium it would be todays choice and with thanks to manager and secretary Steve Lee that request was granted.
HARVEY HADDEN STADIUM
Departure early at Bobbers Mill Bridge for a M's were sadly there was no Robin mask for Mick to wear, see last weeks Batman blog on Radford for anybody who has lost the plot by this stage.
Refreshed with non corporate fish and chips we set off on a 30 minute walk along the ever widening boulevards of Beechdale to approach The Harvey Hadden Sports Village, which does what it says on the tin and contains todays venue the athletics stadium.
The whole set up is fairly smart with a new cycle way and too the right hand side the stadium which is entered by a turnstile were our £2 is paid plus 50p for todays programme.  This immediate block is a 2 storey affair with toilets below and officials changing rooms above, the players change in a new brick building to the right of your entry.  The original building has a nice old style plaque commemorating its opening in 1959 by Sir Arthur Porritt the stadium is in honour of course to Harvey Hadden, I guess many locals would have no idea as I didn't.  Sadly there seems to be no information board either at the ground or within the reception area but Mr Hadden was a former textile magnet from Nottingham who moved to Canada in later life and of course he has a ever lasting memory here in the north west of the city.
BILBOROUGH CORPORATE FLAGS
As with any athletics stadium its something I don't look forward to but it has to be said viewing here is excellent from the main stand and at varying banked parts of the venue.  The main stand as been widely adapted for accessibility but offers a good focal point.  Behind both goals there are terracing corners and further high walkways but obviously are a long way away from the pitch but still offer a good vantage point.  Opposite the main stand the walk way drops to pitch level before rising again the far side to our entry is somewhat blocked in the viewing stakes by athletics netting.  There is a drinks and chocolate bar operating on a mini cabin by the entrance and overall I was impressed with the set up although of course it can feel cumbersome for teams and spectators this was one of the better grounds of its type.  The ground is surrounded by its athletic track and then the former velodrome cycle track which shows how steep these raceways are, there are also remnants of the former use of the stadium by Nottingham Outlaws in a scoreboard encompassing their name.
OUTLAWS SCOREBOARD WITH WOLLATON HALL IN THE DISTANCE
There was a little time to catch up with a few hoppers including one visitor from Peterborough, Awsworth supporters who it was great to learn some more of about their club and The Notts Senior League and a few Sandiacre officials.
So with the game approaching kick off Bilborough were lined up ready waiting for Sandiacre who had not reached the approach point yet and some wondered if they were lost.  The home side were top of the table in a close race for the title although they are ahead on points they have played a few more games than their rivals.  The Notts/Derbys border side Sandiacre were struggling at the wrong end of the table but after a narrow loss at fellow title chasers Awsworth Villa last week todays performance would add to a thought that they are in the wrong position on current efforts.
SANDIACRE IN POSESSION
Last weeks game at Radford was instantly forgettable and it has to be said the first half here was matching that performance a couple of group introductions on 20 minutes and then again on 24 resulted on each occasion in 2 bookings one from either side to keep parity by referee Thomas Marshall.
SANDIACRE KEEPER WAY COMES OUT ON TOP WITH CONNOR CROFT CHALLENGING
Sandiacre had controlled much of the first half but with Bilborough looking strong at the back they could not find the chance their efforts deserved.  As so often happens the other side take advantage and so it turned out here with 5 minutes to half time as Sandiacre got in a mess on the edge of their own box and with keeper Liam Way out of position the ball fell to Jake Kane who lobbed the ball back over his head for a lovely finish.  In reply Sam Tarrant for the visitors saw his one on one saved by home keeper Nik Ivanov.  Almost immediately a one on one came for Bilborough and again it was the custodian who came out on top Way saving from Ian Jackson.
IVANOV SAVES FROM TARRANT
The early action in the second half was pretty much shared with Liam Stewart firing over for the home side before Steven Bonez saw his effort blocked by Ivanov.  After a better opening by Bilborough the Sandiacre threat grew with Charlie Goodwin seeing his effort cleared off the line and then with 17 minutes remaining the same players saw his curling 20 yard free kick pushed over by Ivanov.  On 81 minutes it looked liked Sandiacre had missed their chance with Bonez scuffing his shot in front of goal but that was not to discount on 88 minutes the looping 20 yard effort from Comery that found the bottom left hand corner to level the scores hence the number 8's delighted celebrations and ultimate red card for that second yellow.

Over the 90 minutes this was a fair result, Sandiacre must question why they can get results like this against two of the top teams, are they in the wrong position or do they just play well against the top teams.  Bilborough will count this as 2 points lost but they look a well organised side and as ever its often better to have the points in the bag before the rush comes at the end of the season to get the games in.
From just outside the gates we made the Nottingham City service 28 back to Canning Circus where we just missed the R1 which was spot on time needless to say last week it was 25 minutes late but as ever that's the rule of public transport!  After a convoluted route changing at Eastwood and Ripley for the last Comet base was finally arrived at around 8pm and the thought springs to mind that I've got back faster from North Wales.
Enjoyable hop well worth taking a look at this stadium don't let the athletics track put you off their are some good views.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

BATMAN WINS THE DAY AS RADFORD AND HOLBROOK ARE GOALLESS

RADFORD 0 V HOLBROOK SPORTS 0
EAST MIDLANDS COUNTIES FOOTBALL LEAGUE AT THE ON CALL ARENA
25 FEBRUARY 2017 --- 3PM
A MOODY ON CALL ARENA HOME OF RADFORD FC
Always a great little club to visit Radford and 0-0 affairs can be enthralling, this one was not. Forgotten by the time we exited onto Selhurst St outside the ground 30 seconds later.  The walk away from the game covered nothing of the proceeding 90 minutes football wise barring of course discussing the ground and the love of this superb little club.  The newly titled On Call Arena is nestled into the streets of Hyson Green just minutes away from the centre of Nottingham, close up to the action with a friendly welcome and a feel of a real non league ground its always a special visit.
It had been just short of a year since the blogs original visit, so I wont describe the set up again, and today following in the wake of a stormy week and with games falling to waterlogging the Rainbow 1 was picked up at Alfreton with the fall back options of 3g at Eastwood and Basford standing by.  But as ever the pitch here was well drained and ready for some sort of football action.
NEVER LET IT BE SAID THE BLOG CHERRY PICKS ITS GAMES
Taking a few steps back we arrived just short of the ground and decided to eat at a new big 'M's at Bobbers Mill this was a smart looking former pub fast food establishment, seats were at a premium and I ended up sharing a table with superhero Batman who had a feel of familiarity about him!
DADADADADADA MICKMAN KAPOW!
After a brief meander around Hyson Green and an observation of a few of the magnificent trams in action we were ready to pop along and see John on the gate at the ground, always good to see a friendly face and a warm welcome was guaranteed.
THE NEW EXTENSION IS VISABLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE CLUBHOUSE AT SELHURST ST
A brief catch up told us of the part built extension to the club house which swings out in front of the turnstiles and will offer a lovely development for Radford who are also hoping to extend the changing rooms to the other side of the clubhouse.  The home side will also have Notts County loanee Tamar Clayton-Naute making his debut today.
In the clubhouse it was good to catch up with Neil Allsop who was down to referee today but had been replaced by Mansfield Woodhouse based official Ian Jackson, good to see you today Neil hopefully catch you again soon.  Time moved on very fast and as the players came out it dawned on me this was of course a EMCL game not my favourite of league but at least it was at Radford and there was plenty of points of interest around the ground and how I was to need them on a dark afternoon that made action pictures difficult.
REFEREE IAN JACKSON WITH CAMERA CREW AND ASSESSOR KEEPING A CLOSE WATCH
The first half brought very little of note to the proceedings with Ashley Miles for the home side putting a high ball just wide in a one on one with visiting keeper and blond bombshell Daniel Graves.  At the other end just before half time Simeon Lawrence and Lobrada Domini fired across goal and just wide and that dear reader just about summed up the opening 45 minutes.
HOLBROOK KEEPER DANIEL GRAVES KEEPS THE COLOUR SCHEME INTERESTING
The second half saw the first action on 59 minutes when Matt Henley struck the post before Kenny Reeves side footed effort in the same move fell wide.  Holbrook were given the incentive to get back into the gme following this near miss and for a period of time looked the team likely to break the deadlock until the closing stages which probably produced the most exciting, if that's the right word, part of this game.  A superb left wing run from debutant Clayton-Naute which started deep in his own half fed Radford substitute James Forbes who just couldn't find the opening in a crowd box to find the back of the net on 83 minutes.  Just two minutes later the home side were awarded a free kick 25 yards out and Joe Meakin curled on towards goal only for Graves to push over for a corner.
SOME GREAT MOVEMENT
That about sums up the encounter it was one of those games you knew would end goalless after about 25 minutes a draw was a fair result although a few goals would have been nice I'm afraid some of the finishing was......well way of the mark.  Todays attendance was 39 but with only 15 paying spectators you have to applaud the crew at Radford, its so disappointing for me to see a lovely little club in need of some tender loving care from the Nottingham football loving public lets hope they will see an increase in interest soon.
ON CALL ACTION WITH RADFORD ON THE ATTACK
Game quickly forgotten a brief walk to the bus stop for the returning Rainbow 1 to Alfreton at just short of 5.20pm saw us finally board a bus heading towards Heanor at 5.45pm after our intended services non arrival.  Having seen the service to Alfreton now behind us at Giltbrook we got off our service and ran to the back off the bus to flag down the delayed Alfreton service which unbelievably picked up enough time to allow us to board the Comet to return back to base at 7pm, the joys of public transport.  It may be time to apply to do an Open University degree course in the operations of public transport from a customer perspective.
Shame about the game but Radford is always worth a visit and today supported that theory again.
A FIRST HALF INJURY FOR CALLUM GREEN SAW AN EARLY SUBSTITUTION

Saturday, 18 February 2017

CAMPION SHOW TALENT IN WIN AT OLLERTON

OLLERTON TOWN 0 V CAMPION 2
NCEL 1 AT THE LANE
18 FEBRUARY 2017 --- 3PM
ACTION FROM OLLERTON V CAMPION
After a tight first half the skill of Talent Ndlovu shone through in a successful second period that saw the Bradford based visitors secure two goals without reply against an Ollerton side who had more than matched their high flying visitors before the break.
After an enforced lay off last week the blog was back on the local road and once again although not the first visit to Ollerton Town Fc it would be the first time blogged and the first afternoon match here for a game featuring the 2 league newcomers promoted from step 7 last season.  Fortunes have left both clubs in different league positions with Ollerton in good recent form struggling at the wrong end of the table and Campion with a bit more consistency challenging for a play off slot.
As with all local journeys its a case of setting up the bus connections and todays had 2 frustrating changes with just 5 minutes at each point and for once they went like clockwork from Comet departure at Alfreton onto a 'nines' to take us over the border into Mansfield and finally a 14 to Ollerton and we would were soon in deepest darkest Nottinghamshire.  The journey from Stag town took us past many other local non league grounds and the local derby at Forest Town today featured AFC Mansfield v Rainworth and we even had AFC secretary Pete Craggs gracing our bus before departing at The Arena. Onwards through Clipstone passing ground and headstocks from the once dominant industry sadly lost to my county and also of course in the end to Nottinghamshire too.  Robin Hood was not in residence at Edwinstowe today and the former Thoresby Colliery ground was nearby before we sped past the old Thoresby Colliery closed in 2015 to signal the end of mining in the county.
JUST FOR THE LOVE OF FISH AND CHIPS
Just short of 5 lane ends roundabout which is a surprisingly small and busy round about as you may imagine we depart at a point 500 yards or so short of Old Ollerton.  This area is a feast of menus with the Big 'M's', a new Public house eatery, The Big Fish and a petrol station, which probably does a mighty sausage roll, all cuddling the circular traffic controller. 
On this visit we opted for the good old fish and chips and just to keep regular blog readers happy I reckon the picture does them pretty good coverage I can tell you the top of the table area of the fish and chip league now has another addition.  Having risked all, fish and chips included, to cross the busy Newark bound road we found ourselves eating and ambling into the attractive Old Ollerton which is well worth a visit, a pre planned footpath route took us the back way into New Ollerton and onto the site of the former colliery which is now festooned with a big T's plus a business park of circular fashion, circular is clearly todays featured word.
HOME OF OLLERTON TOWN FC
Back out onto the main street Ollerton is quite unique in that its drag of shops are all on one side of the busy main A6075 walking away from the shops and down Beech Rd its just a 5 minute walk to Ollerton Town Fc.
The ground is set away from the road and adjacent is the cricket pitch although I guess looking at the lack of sight screens etc that cricket may have seen its day at this site.  The old pavilion is now the clubs changing facility were as previously it was the snack bar facility in a cost environment having paid our admission and purchased programmes we entered through a framework similar to security checking at a travel hub.  It was lovely to almost immediately catch up with Campion who had remembered us from a lovely visit we had to their ground earlier on in the season, thanks.  Snack bar and toilets were just around the meshed corner and of standard fare with to the side and behind the long standing covered terracing an area for the players to warm up away from the pitch.  I mention this early because full credit here to groundsman Neil for the excellent playing surface nice and flat all round.  While on the praise front the clubs programme is a good steady effort well set out with interesting features in an attractive presentation.
THE OLD STAND AT OLLERTON STILL LOOKING GOOD
Quick look at the ground its basic but the club of course are up from step 7 behind the near goal is the covered standing area that has stood for many a year but is smart and well maintained and drops lower than pitch level the nearer you get to goal leading to the far side which is out of bounds and the dug outs will remain peacefully un interfered with.  The bottom goal is also out of bounds and offers a vast expanse behind them, the only side you can stand on is the near touchline which offers Ollerton's new addition a stand of 2 rows in depth with a high roof, interestingly the seats have no backs to them but are smart and functional, hard standing continues to the far corner.  This area is very open to a slight cold wind which we suffered the longer todays game went on with it siding onto the cricket outfield.  Its a nice viewing ground close to the action the only down side being it is just a 2 sided, 1 touchline and 1 behind goal, ground.
THE NEW SEATED STAND AT THE LANE
The first period saw Ollerton match their high flying visitors and they would have been disappointed to not push home a slight advantage.  Chances though were at a minimum ten minutes before the break Josh Bowkett unleashed a 20 yard effort that Campion keeper Daniel Armitage pushed over well before at the other end Campion missed a great chance Eli Hey saw his shot parried by Scott Gretton into the path of Ndlovu who couldn't find the net.
SOD THE GAME THERE'S £35 RESTING ON THIS RAFFLE TICKET
First half highlight was the speed of movement of one old chap whose raffle ticket flew over the touchline onto the pitch, with a 'sod the game I'm getting my ticket back' approach he was on and nearly off  before the Campion clearance very nearly found him with a clean run up the right wing!
A nice touch at half time saw the club present a framed and signed Ollerton Town Fc shirt to long standing supporter Gordon Briggs presented by his grandson and a few of the home sides players, nice touch.
LEWIS BINGHAM OLLERTON TOWN FC
The other noteworthy pointer it was fantastic to hear a club at this level using a public address system for music and announcements it just adds to the experience.
OLLERTON ON THE ATTACK
The second half started with Campion fresh from I guess one heck of a motivational speech over the half time break they were on fire.  The undoubted skill of Ndlovu came to the fore where in the first half it had not been seen he was prominent in most moves.  Eli Hey was to go on a frustrating second period in the right place at the right time on so many occasions that he could have had 5 but always a player there to block his effort.  The first one was Ollerton keeper Armitage who denied the number 9 and then moments later his rasping 25 yard effort was alos pushed over by the home number 1.  The lead came on 56 minutes a corner off the left from Lee Bradshaw found Mathew Jones whose effort took a deflection off Bob Evans to beat home keeper Armitage.
CAMPIONS JACOB BUCHANAN
Normal proceedings resumed with Hey through on goal who fired just wide and the Ndlovu fed in the target man who saw his effort blocked on the line.  Moments later the same pairing saw the same outcome as Ollerton were struggling to get out of their own half with so much of the danger coming straight through the middle.  Substitute Jason Davis turned provider when he set up the livewire Ndlovu who fired over and as Campion created chance after chance Jacob Buchanan set up Liam Bartle who placed his effort just wide.  The second came on 72 minutes and it was nothing more than Campion deserved Davis once again found Ollerton's weak spot through the middle and Ndlovu latched on the pass to fire calmly past Armitage.
Ollerton were trying to put something together and you did feel that a goal back would make for a nervy and competitive finish to this game but it produced much of the same shortly afterwards when Hey saw his effort cleared off the line on 87 minutes!
An enjoyable visit with Campion looking good in the second half, the first half had been so close and I'm not sure what happened to Ollerton in the 2nd period although they showed enough in the opening 45 minutes to believe they will not be in danger of relegation.
The return journey had the same tight connections which started with a quick stride from the ground for the 4.55pm back to Mansfield something which we achieved with about 30 seconds to spare, it was more comfortable at Stag town with 10 minutes for the connecting service.  It was slightly worrying when at Alfreton I tried to scan off with my travel card on to realise it was a completely different coloured Tesco Clubcard that was not allowing me to do so!  Arrival back at base was achieved at 7pm and a pleasant trip to the outpost of Ollerton had been enjoyed with best wishes to both clubs for the remainder of the season.
LOYAL SUPPORTER GORDON BRIGGS RECEIVES HIS FRAMED SHIRT