Thursday, 18 April 2019

TIBSHELF VICTORIOUS AT LITTLE EATON

LITTLE EATON 2 TIBSHELF 4
MIDLAND REGIONAL ALLIANCE PREM @ ST PETERS PARK
17 APRIL 2019 --- 1830HRS
LITTLE EATON HEAD FORWARD IN ACTION AT ST PETERS PARK
A highly entertaining game saw Tibshelf finally get over the line for the three points in this mid table battle after Little Eaton reduced the deficit to just one goal after two second half strikes in three minutes had set up a grandstand finish.
Having been to the village of Little Eaton before I knew of its undoubted beauty away from the thundering A38 and A6 that sit parallel to the village with the old Alfreton trunk road running through the main part of the village that most travellers see.  There is though a world beyond with some superb time honoured buildings, rolling fields and even the main train line also within view to add plenty of interest to a visit.
THE IMPRESSIVE PAVILION AND CHANGING ROOMS AT LITTLE EATON
Both clubs had been on the radar for most of the season and tonight the opportunity came as the 'silly season' for hoppers kicks in thanks to a lift from level 4 referee Rob Rees who would be mentoring, by running a line, Ryan Handbury in his first senior 'Saturday' game.  Overall Ryan had a good game and got through well with his dad on the other line to him it was a nice start for him at this level.
St Peters Park has a highly impressive two tier pavilion/village hall with cricket also on the site the football pitch is of course to one side with the back drop of St Paul's Church and the stone built church hall adding to the pleasing setting, there are a selection of seats on top of a small banking at this end of the ground to aid viewing.  The club had roped off one side and towards the far goal the grazing fields that edge the village away from Derby just a mile or so to its south overall this is a really nice ground to view on certainly when the weather is clement.
TIBSHELF ON THE ATTACK WITH THE STONE BUILT CHURCH HALL OVERVIEWING PROCEEDINGS
So to the game and Tibshelf had a strong showing in the first half but went closest before breaking the deadlock when Matt Wiseman struck the bar following a free kick from Ryan Baldwin.
The lead was finally taken with a bit of determination when Brett Gibb forced his way through to fire home two minutes before half time and then more or less immediately the lead was doubled when Luke Maskill headed in at the back from a John Gibb Cross.
BRETT GIBB RISES HIGH TO HEAD ON FOR TIBBY
We had witnessed three goals in five minutes when within two minutes of the restart George Culley finished a pin point cross from Jordan Maskill.  It looked all but over however the quick sequence of goal scoring was taken up by Little Easton who secured two in three minutes and probably the best goals of the game on 70 minutes Chris McCready popped in an exquisite lob from 25 yards out and then the same distance saw Louis Kinnerley strike home a sweet free kick.  The head of steam somehow seemed to be lost by the home side and it was to be Tibshelf who made certain of the three points on 89 minutes when Maskill [L] set up Maskill [J] to convert.
A good advert for the MRA and a very pleasant and entertaining venue with a friendly gathering appreciating this encounter.  The evening was rounded off with a chippy visit sadly the village establishment was closing so it was off to nearby Alfreton for sustenance.

Monday, 15 April 2019

ST IVES STAY RESOLUTE IN VICTORY

ST IVES TOWN 1 REDDITCH UTD 0
EVOSTIK SOUTH PREMIER CENTRAL @ WESTWOOD ROAD
13 APRIL 2019 --- 3PM
A STRONG ST IVES DEFENCE CLEAR
A single strike ten minutes into the second half from Andrew Osei-Bonsu was all that St Ives needed to pick up three points admittedly his effort took a sharp deflection to beat the visiting keeper and I guess summed up the game that was looking like it wouldn't produce a goal.  But there is no denying the 'togetherness' of St Ives having seen them twice now on the road at Stourbridge and at home today.
Its often been a thought to write this blog in reverse but today it sort of developed by accident when time to take a look at the little town centre of St Ives came after the game and I'm glad the effort was made to visit.  The journey came about after assisting a friend with their travel plans to visit a nearby village and after working some times out I thought it would be a waste not to put it to good use and go myself especially after seeing the 'Ives' in the West Midlands a few weeks earlier and although the game wasn't great the club seemed a friendly bunch.
The travel part of this blog continues to be repetitive needless to say departing base station it was all standing and by the time Nottingham travellers boarded we arrived at Grantham and it had become a sardine tin yet again.  Thankfully here the passengers who were diverted to catch London trains at Mrs T's town left us but EMT in their wisdom had left a 2 carriage unit on the service making no attempt to upgrade knowing of the planned maintenance problems, we are having a chat.  Changing at Peterborough the luxury of eight cars with just 2 of us in the front carriage was bizarre but the departure at Huntingdon did find a calmer feel in the air than 2 hours earlier.
THREE STAND ON ONE SIDE AT WESTWOOD ROAD
Arriving in the former constituency of Sir John Major a swift departure on service B went the elongated route via the bus station and then a myriad of housing estates on the northern edge of the town.  The town was the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell former republican and a major influence in 1600s England strangely the reminder of his relevance to the area is in St Ives where he lived for a period of time with a statue in the centre of town, sadly the sun was the wrong way around to use a decent picture of the suited and booted gentleman.
Good time was made up from leaving Huntingdon at 1.15 thirty minutes hence and we departed adjacent to Westwood Rd a pleasant walk to the ground found the large imposing leisure centre with the home of St Ives to one corner along a dog legged lane.
A friendly welcome at the gate allowed for entry to have a circuit in the bag before purchasing some raffle and the clubs 30p mini programme, you see St Ives are one of the clubs that now produce on line which is probably the only let down of a visit here but I knew this before travelling.  On the plus side though there is a small 4 page programme and a team sheet available so the club have tried to cater there is also a nice little club shop on a table by the entrance.
THE MAIN BUSINESS ENCLOSURE
This is a homely ground and one you probably feel is short of a major stand out structure but its one that immediately you cant help but love it's smart and tidy with a super recycling job made of boundary boards made up of former wooden decking.  To the right the walkway takes you behind the goal and onto the far side which has firstly an Atcost structure before its main stand has a selection of tip up and just seat base types of accommodation, the roof is clad in scaffolding I guess for anybody that wants to film the proceedings.  Beyond this is a wooden homemade structure with the newer type of part corrugated cover, moving round the far goal has just the walkway and you are soon back to the business end.  A difficult structure to describe with the changing rooms, snack bar, bar and a directors seating area alongside a covered terrace it has the feel of a 70's structure with the dug outs to the front of this enclosure.  Its not one of the big boys in ground terms and neither to that matter are St Ives but I really enjoyed visiting and will keep a keen eye on their progress.
To the encounter then that was after we had seen off the snow and sleet shower that visited us ten minutes before kick off good grief you had to laugh as club stall was covered up raffle books were quickly taken into the dry and the turnstile stopped clicking as everybody went for cover.  Thankfully there was a late surge that saw the crowd rise to 179 for todays match.
ST IVES IN CONTROL
Redditch arrived very much the form team but when I watched them a few weeks ago its was an entertaining 0-0 and today they also managed to secure nil although I'm not sure how they didn't register.  They dominated the first half but St Ives after a tremendous performance at high flying Stourbridge were giving me the impression of a defensive counter attacking side. 
The first half had certainly called on their back line to be resolute and a debut for 18 year old keeper Shay Griffiths proved to be one of the highlights.  He saved superbly from Robbie Bunn and then moments later Luke Yates saw his goal bound effort finger tipped onto the post.
CRAIG ADAMS IN ENCOURAGING POSE
St Ives were struggling to put anything of note as an attacking force but Griffiths and the line at the front of him were doing a sterling job.  In this they were assisted by Craig Adams the Ives assistant manager who you have to love he plays every ball and encourages the players to keep their concentration high so that when chances come they can take advantage.
This they did within ten minutes of the start of the second half Osei-Bonsu cut on off the right edge of the penalty box striking a sweet shot that had the misfortune, for Redditch, of striking the back of defender Josh Hawker and completely wrong footing Reece Francis and so the winner was claimed.
The second period though was a more open affair with the home side taking part a little more in the visitors half indeed Francis had to be on hand to deny Ives substitute George Bailey.  At the other end debut boy Griffiths was on hand to save from Richard Batchelor and even when keeper Francis came up for a last minute attack that resolute defending of St Ives won the day with a towering headed clearance from Tom Wood.
A CLOSE RUN THING
A game that never really got going but produced a valuable three points for St Ives in their attempt to have a successful completion to the season and even though Redditch needed a win to guarantee survival other results saw to that for them.
Here's were the blog goes the wrong way round, now for the town!  With a bus more or less immediately returning to Huntingdon I opted to take 45 minutes out in St Ives and return later.  The Waits by the River Ouse where in floral bloom and in the town centre Mr Cromwell was still overseeing proceedings, the quaint chapel on the bridge and the bridge itself had plenty of takers as a pleasure cruise headed back to town.
CHOCOLATE BOX VIEW OF THE OUSE AT ST IVES
A visit to Waitrose found a woeful, again, shortage of sandwiches although I guess its all canapés around here.  The bus station that would supply the bus to take me back to Huntingdon was based on the former cattle market, the irony was lost on me as I feared the return cattle class service for the transport using public.
BUS STATION FORMER CATTLE MARKET YOU WORK IT OUT
The station forecourt was soon in sight and after a small wait the Great Northern train to Peterborough gave me 25 minute of down time before boarding the 7.30 to Nottingham and once again after 25 minutes wait amidst some drunken scenes, quite amazing for half past eight, we were off to arrive at base station just after 9.30pm.
No Chip shop chips today but I did manage to probably throw the young 'uns in the snack bar into chaos by asking for a chip cob, non-local alert.  However there was time to sample a West Cornish Pasty at Peterborough all for the princely sum of £19.99, not quite but you get the drift.  A superb day and very enjoyable visit to little old St Ives FC and its town hopefully I can catch up with them soon.

Monday, 8 April 2019

POTTER MOLDS VICTORY FOR RUNCORN

NEWCASTLE TOWN 1 RUNCORN LINNETS 2
EVOSTIK 1 WEST @ LYME VALLEY STADIUM
6 APRIL 2019 --- 3PM
ACTION FROM NEWCASTLE V RUNCRON LINNETS WITH VISITNG KEEPER AT FULL STRETCH
A cheeky overhead kick from Freddie Potter with three minutes of 'normal time' remaining secured the goal that gave Runcorn Linnets a vital three points in their promotion chasing season.  The
visitors made hard work of it against a stubborn and resolute Newcastle Town who had shown little as an attacking force but it was the visitors lack of a clinical finish that looked to be denying them three points that was until Potter sent the green and yellow army quite literally potty.
New Saturday same story all standing to Derby but the normal bus on wheels to Stoke this time out would grace us with 2 carriages, I know say it quietly somebody at EMT may not know!  Arrival in the smashing old station that is Stoke on Trent saw a regular connection made from outside for Newcastle Under Lyme town centre via the old industrial Stoke town centre a shadow of its former self.  The 15 minute journey and 1pm arrival allowed a brief look around an impressive little town centre and research allowed for a visit to Smiths Chippy for a further sampling.  The impressive sign declaring 'money cant but you happiness but you can but fish and chips and that's more or less the same', who can argue with that one.
MAIN STAND AT NEWCASTLE TOWN
The walk to the ground was about twenty minutes through the Lyme Brook Valley Park which was symbolised by the notice boards being unreadable due to graffiti, over long grass and a selection of dogs visiting.  It should be a complimentary area to the town but looked uncared for although
I guess its a budget cut austerity issue it is a potentially great asset though.  Towards the top end and our destination shines out with beyond it rugby and cricket grounds this area looks the better cared for part of the recreational area.
A THING OF BEAUTY
Newcastle Town and their ground create a unique or is it obscure facility with a steep velodrome around the pitch which sits in a bowl and the stands sit flush to the oval walkway above the cycle track.  The club had been on the 'to do list' but sub-sectioned along with the 'running track' clubs but after many positives from other visitors todays was the time to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and I must say it was a favourable impression I came away with today.  Certainly in places, behind the goals, you are a long way away but the height all around the pitch does make up for this with a commanding view of proceedings.
FLAGS, WRIGHTS PIES, CYCLE TRACK AND OH YES FOOTBALL
A friendly welcome on the turnstiles was given and then after purchase of programme and goalden goal ticket the circuit, quite literally began.  Climbing the steps to stand on top of the cycle track the walkway takes you around to the far side with a stand of around three step height beyond the far goal and back to the business end the deep but narrow stand is the main selling point with to its side by the half way line two small enclosures and a hospitality cabin behind these are the changing rooms and the clubs bar and of course the catering facilities.  The initial entrance is also of note as you come in at pitch level but for viewing purposes everything is above you via a climb.
Noteworthy here is that the bar was opened by Sir Stanley Mathews in 1991 and amongst a few plaques on the wall outside was one for Tommy Godwin being very worn and difficult to read I decided to look him up and found a cyclist from Stoke and obviously the major relevance to the velodrome here at the stadium.  Tommy was born on 1912 in Fenton, Stoke on Trent and at the age of 12 took a delivery round for a local grocers to his heart which of course undertaken with a bike which saw his interest in cycling grow.  At 14 he took part in a 25 mile time trial, during his increasing mileage intake he achieved in 1939 a world record in yearly mileage of 75,065 and just to top that in 500 days he completed 100,000 miles at an average of 200 miles a day, a remarkable feat.  Interestingly Tommy worked for a pie makers in Burslem at one stage and became a vegetarian and was also tea total.
5.9 FOR ATRISTIC IMPRESSION
Although there is always some unknown fact or personality discovered on the hopping circuit we were here for the main event and with around 50% of the crowd made up with Linnets fans it would be as ever a lively afternoon, for on our previous crossing of paths they are always passionate and committed to the cause and today I would even make the case for them getting their side over the line with the late goal.
The first half was about Linnets trying to break down the Newcastle defence and it didn't happen they went close though as early as five minutes when Ronnnie McCarthy saw his 25 yard free kick strike the post there were also penalty claims turned down before the interval.
1-0 TO RUNCORN LINNETS AS HICKEY CONVERTS A TRICKY ONE
The breakthrough came just ten minutes into the second half Kristian Holt headed back across goal and at the far post Antony Hickey a yard out avoided contact with his hand the ball striking the left side of his chest and for a moment stuck on the line as it bounced up he avoided any potential further contact with his hand and as though under threats from the Runcorn player it spun back over the line. 
The opener had been a long time coming with patience and hard work but within three minutes Town were level a long through off the right found the head of Chris Smith who rose to beat Scott Thomas.
The last twenty minutes saw the game open up with Hickey missing a sitter when clean through firing wide of the mark at the other end a joint header from Joshua Glover and Ben Fraser saw Thomas push the ball onto the bar.  As the game opened up at last, Jordan Cole forced Thomas into another save while for Runcorn the bar came to the rescue of Newcastle.
HICKEY TO WRAP IT UP NOT THIS TIME
The clock was running down as Newcastle looked to play out time one final push was required and the winner came for the tangerine clad, not literally, visitors with the ball hovering around the danger zone it fell to substitute Potter who with back to goal tried the extraordinary with an overhead kick 8 yards out he found the bottom corner of the Newcastle goal.  Queue scenes of wild celebration and if the players had the strength at this stage to scale the cycle track they would have been with the fans however on this occasion both stood at a distance celebrating the three points that very much keep the visitors season alive.
LINNETS STRIKE THE BAR BEFORE THE LATE WINNER
An intriguing ground with a friendly bunch all around, the lively Runcorn Linnets supporter portray a love of their 'cooperative' fans lead club and I shall watch their closing games to check on promotion progress.
Return bus 25 to the station all went well and we were away from the Potteries just after 5.30pm and back at back at 7pm from a very enjoyable jaunt.

Monday, 1 April 2019

ST IVES GRAB LATE GOAL TO DENY STOURBRIDGE THE WIN

STOURBRIDGE 1 ST IVES TOWN 1
EVOSTIK SOUTH PREMIER CENTRAL @ AMBLECOTE
30 MARCH 2019 --- 3PM
STOURBRIDGE GREG MILLS BURSTS THROUGH
Second placed Stourbridge looked to be struggling over the line to an unconvincing win thanks to Greg Mills fourth minute penalty however with three minutes remaining the shoulder of substitute Taona Sundire sent the ball goal bound with a home defenders despairing foot helping it over the line to secure a point and league safety for the visitors from Cambridgeshire.
Another week at step three and another week in Evostik South meant as per usual an hour all standing to Birmingham, with Rotherham at Derby - Sheff Wednesday at Stoke and Uttoxeter races taking place the sardine impression was deployed as far as ram town.  A quick walk to nearby Moor Street Station soon saw departure onto an all stopping service to Stourbridge Junction and that's were the day probably highlighted.
THE DREAM MACHINE HAS ARRIVED AT PLATFORM 1 AT STOURBRIDGE TOWN
The line to Stourbridge Town is a branch line and reputed to be the shortest in Europe at around 3/4's of a mile and as the old memory had reminded me before the start of the journey this line is operated a Parrys's People Mover train [mini-bus on wheels].  The journey takes three minutes and after an unloading and loading returns within a couple of minutes so round trip finds it back at 'Junction' in about eight minutes all at a maximum speed of up to 20 mph.  It was a well frequented service and upon departure at the single platform 'Town' station there was also a manned ticket office.
Stourbridge as a town, not sure how this develops, the place appeared to have no centre or focus point with a small precinct which appeared to be hidden away so whether much of its beauty was missed I'm not sure although it may be signified by the excellently named, sadly closed, Scary Canary clothes shop and summed up by Brighthouse also having departed.
UNIQUE ENTRANCE TO THE WAR MEMORIAL ATHLETICS GROUND
Equally unable to find a chippy and having been oblivious to the KFC, which shone like a beacon from the back of the stand when in the ground, bit late then, it was time to pop along High Street into the Amblecote area of Stourbridge.
COVERED TERRACE OPPOSITE THE ENTRANCE WITH THE WOLLASTON FLATS OBSERVING
The first inclined entrance was bypassed for a photo opportunity of the archway that announces the War Memorial Athletics Ground now the base for the cricket club and high flying football club, by its very nature of course it makes the ground a three sided affair.
A lot going on here firstly to say before a mini tour a friendly welcome on the gate matched up with a super programme, good public address system and bar which is our first point to pass this also contains a small club shop with well stocked clothing items.  Moving past the players entrance the toilet block is behind the club and changing rooms and the adjacent snack cabin is already firing up for todays busy crowd of 621.  Passing the turnstiles we walked past a small stepped terrace area that takes you to the far touchline.  This side has two covered terrace enclosures with a bench seated stand in the middle with an elevated and overlapping roof to the front creating quite an enclosed feeling.  Behind the far goal is once again a smart deep standing enclosure which can be segregated when needs must, to continue takes you to the cricket outfield and this is fenced off with a detachable green meshed fencing.
EARLY STOURBRIDGE ATTACK
Game wise it never really got going until the final ten minutes or so and it looked like Mills fourth minute penalty conversion after an aerial push would seal the day and the points for Stourbridge.
That was it for the first half with the home side pushing for a second but not quite finding the clinical edge to extend their lead and St Ives appearing happy to limit The Glassboys chances.
REF PENALTY GOOD CALL
The second period saw George Forsyth go agonisingly close with a shot that flew back off the post into the St Ives keepers arms and then moments later the visitors goal led a charmed life.
This seemed to be the signal for St Ives to have a go and with ten minutes remaining Andrew Osei-Bonsu put in a low cross that if Tom Woods bootlace had touched it would have ended up in the back of the net.
BIG STRETCH FROM VISITING KEEPER MARTIN CONWAY
The visitors were looking likely to score now and James Wren saved from Ben Seymour-Shove and from the loose ball Sundire saw his effort blocked. 
At last the game was opening up and as play became stretched we were seeing some moments of excitement and open play.
ST IVES ASSISTANT MANAGER CRAIG ADAMS TAKES ON THE ROLL OF OFFICIAL TIMEKEEPER
The home fans feared the equaliser you could sense the jitters and with three minutes remaining a high ball into the box saw the ball come off Sundire in a challenge with the home keeper and as it fell towards the line it struck Zak Lilly on the boot and flew into his own goal.
THE EQUALISER IS ON ITS WAY IN OFF THE UNFORTUNATE STOURBRIDGE DEFENDER
Wren afterwards thought he had been fouled but with credit to him he had a friendly chat with the
visiting supporters and even went to have a look at their phone video after the final whistle before
wishing them all the best for the rest of the season, a nice touch as he must have been disappointed.
JOY AND DESPAIR
Walking around to the exit the St Ives assistant manager Craig Adams asked what I thought of the game as he came back to the dug out and we had a few minutes chat this all added to the friendly nature towards the end of the game from both home keeper and here the visiting manager, respect to both.
Back to the Parry People Mover dream machine to connect straight onto a Birmingham bound train at Stourbridge Junction and with a fairly comfortable New St service departure arrival back at base station was just after 7.30pm.

Monday, 25 March 2019

QUIRKY TOWN QUIRKY CLUB REDDITCH

REDDITCH UTD 0 TAMWORTH 0
EVOSTIK SOUTH PREMIER CENTRAL @ THE VALLEY
23 MARCH 2019 --- 3PM
REDDITCH UNITED FC MAIN STAND
We all love quirky don't we?  The definition of quirky 'having peculiar or unexpected traits' may make this seem harsh but this was a very enjoyable first visit to both town and club.
Little care was given to the goalless draw which normally would signal a dour encounter however here at The Valley this was far from uninteresting as both sides served up an highly entertaining game that just failed to produce an end product which would have risen it to top marks.
TRAIN PICS ARE BACK HERES OUR 323 JUST ARRIVED AT REDDITCH
Saturday on public transport started as normal with a one hour stand to Birmingham from base station thanks once again to XCountry but a swift connection onto the West Midlands Train service to the end of the line that is Redditch saw the rolling fields of north Worcestershire appear around Alvechurch.  Departure at the single platform station sees the whole skyline dominated by The Kingfisher Shopping Centre which I guess has been expanded since its 1976 opening by the then Prime Minister James Callaghan.  The precinct sits on a ledge above the station and the enclosed malls are really quite impressive for an average sized town with little retail activity appearing outside.  Having regained out bearings the opportunity to visit some of the tourist spots of this impressive centre were soon back on the agenda.
THE GIANT NEEDLES CELEBRATING ONE OF THE TOWNS FORMER GLORIES
The town was at one stage responsible for 90% of needle production and fishing tackle in the world and this is marked by the a selection of massive threaded needles just outside the shopping centre and adjacent to our next call.
John Bonham drummer with Led Zeppelin was born in the town and has a fantastic memorial to his abilities that marked him out as one of the best in the business.  The impressive 3d type bronze has Bonham playing his drum kit with to the rear a brief history of the man himself.
MEMORIAL TO JOHN BONHAM
Moving out of the town by the local 'Spoons' The Royal Enfield has developed the former cinema and that's where we were heading next the Royal Enfield former factory site that is not the pub!
From 1907 to 1970 the famous motorbike was made in the town alongside cycles too with its famous tag line 'made like a gun'.  Along Hewell Road and within a few minutes the former factory site now has a selection of small industrial estate units and retails outlets but standing out roadside is a former house type building which I guess would have been offices.  On the front wall a plaque commemorating the factory and its production was supported by a side gable being adorned with the former badge and to the front a metal cut out of the motorbike itself.
CUT OUT OF THE ROYAL ENFIELD OUTSIDE THE FORMER FACTORY SITE
A brief journey around the town had found once again enough interesting history to shake more than a few sticks at.  Onwards to the ground and passing a couple of former needle factories arrival around 2pm at The Valley down the sloping entry road saw a fair bit of activity with a good number of Tamworth fans arriving early.
Having had a sneeky look at the ground before the visit I knew what to expect but this adds to the quirkiness and is a cracking stadium one that I fully enjoyed visiting.  Usual circuit walk then and the descriptor is not easy with a new 4g added three years ago there is a fair bit of additional very high green fencing.  Strangely the slope on the pitch as not been removed and I cant think of many other 4g pitches that haven't been flattened but it just adds to that definition of 'quirky'.
MAIN TERRACING BY THE ENTRANCE AT THE ALLOTMENT END
Through the turnstiles to the left are a toilet block, club shop and tuck shop.  Turning right through the gate in the high fencing behind the goal is a sloped tarmac area that is then fenced off from the swiftly rising terracing which offers a small cover to the rear.
The walk around needs to be done from the terracing not the tarmac area as we found out which is fenced off, the narrow walkway offers an excellent lofted view but it is a mean to an end to get to the terraced stepped area running down the far touchline that has a small amount of seats to the rear.  Coming back down to pitch side the far corner offers a remote turnstile to offer entry from nearby houses and behind the far goal the high fencing is back relegating much of the mini grassed banked area as being left to the wilds, gone is the former temporary stand.  Coming back to the interesting but to use that word yet again quirky main stand it stands out and once adds character to this fantastic ground.  The lower part has a shallow row of seats with a mid deck of boardroom seats and behind them a functional clubhouse that offers an excellent view over the pitch.
TERRACING  AND SEATING PADDOCK OPPOSITE THE MAIN STAND
To the top side now of the stand is the snack bar where we gravitated to for a selection of food and refreshments.
The game itself was an interesting affair with no goals at the end of a fast ninety minutes of endeavour that probably found the correct outcome for both sides it didn't do much good for Tamworth as they look to push on for a late play off push but it kept Redditch in a relatively safe zone.
REDDITCH CLEAR THEIR LINES
In the first half Joshua Hawker saw visiting keeper Jasbir Singh pull off an excellent save to push away his edge of the box effort.  Whereas at the opposite end his opposite number Adam Whitehouse was quickly out to deny Tyrell Waite with his legs.  Just before the break Waite, again, probably had the best chance of the half but from a tight angle it was Whitehouse who came out on top again.
ROBBIE DADLEY GETS THE GREETING CARDS OUT IN THE SECOND HALF
The second half provided further battling qualities from both participants and in the closing stages Redditch had a five minute period that looked like a breakthrough would come but when it didn't Tamworth took up the challenge and had the upper hand for the remaining minutes and a Ryan
Beswick free kick off the left edge of the penalty box in the final seconds just cried out for a touch that didn't come and it was too end goalless shortly afterwards when referee Robbie Dadley blew for time.
CLOSE IN AS REDDITCH KICK UP THE SLOPE
The ground has the luxury of being a five minute amble from the station and with a more than workable connection in Birmingham arrival at base station was just after 7pm.  Two weeks running at step 3, a level I don't often attend, has proved the enjoyment levels are still high with a well organised club in Redditch United FC backing this up today.  A thoroughly enjoyable visit here with an excellent public address system and a good social media team with highlights package also adding to the experience I look forward to re visiting.

Monday, 18 March 2019

MURRAY IN A HURRY TO GET ROYSTON THREE POINTS

BEDWORTH UNITED 1 ROYSTON TOWN 2
EVOSTIK SOUTH PREMIER CENTRAL @ COVENTRY RD
16 MARCH 2019 --- 3PM
CORPORATE COLOURED STAND AT BEDWORTH UTD FC
Adam Murray sunk bottom side Bedworth United's endeavour with a late winner to keep up Royston Town's hopes of securing a play off spot at the end of the season.  In a game played in horrendous conditions of an increasing gale force wind and driving rain in the second half most people retreated to the stands.  After much travelled Iseyden Christie had levelled Tom Knowles opener it just wouldn't go for Bedworth and as so often happens your lucks out and the opposition pop up with the late winner.
It would be a further visit to Bedworth, with a brief blog and their 3g pitch today with the weather in the East Midlands showing heavy rain and gale force winds much of the programme had been wiped out locally.  Train changes at Leicester and Nuneaton before arriving at Bedworth on the West Midlands Railway service just short of 1.30pm, amazingly this short line to Coventry has upgraded to two carriages from the previous single carriage bus on wheels.
The old jokes about towns going something like 'I went there the other day but it was closed' could be applied to Bedworth today with first sights of the towns streets completely devoid of people on what was in fairness an inclement afternoon.  The town had further deteriorated since my last visit with even the 99p shop, not a penny more, permanently closed and a further card greeting shop operating its last day today much was handed over to the big 'T's' as per many towns of this size.
UPGRADED ENTRANCE TO THE PARK AND THE TURNSTILES
The Memorial Park and its surrounds have been covered before so excuse me for not going into them again however the 'smart' entrance by the park has been, well, smartened up with new gates and a new brick wall giving a well cared for impression.  It was early so my entrance was via the Coventry Road end, in past experiences I have found the club shall we say not one of the most 'open' but today I must state I met all the right people it was friendly all the way with quite a few conversations struck up.  Its always frustrated me because I like the ground, the club and their kit too but have struggled to connect with the Greenbanks.
The stand out feature is the superb stand with moulded base seats too the fore although there are a few full seats, the club house appears to have a new covered boardroom terrace on its roof I cant remember it being roofed previously but I may be wrong.  Debz mini snack bar and supporters shop was already open and once again looking very good and a credit to the club, needing a chip cob [batch] I ventured to the snack bar over by the side of the clubhouse.  Once again a friendly welcome and having enjoyed the first one I cheekily popped back for a second in the break!
Royston were in need of a win to keep their promotion play off push going and Bedworth adrift at the foot of the table were playing for a determination to close the gap.  The game started in a strong wind but dry and after an encouraging start from the home side it was the visitors who took the lead Tom Knowles cutting in off the left to drive under home keeper Adam Harrison after just thirteen minutes.
ADAM MURRAY OF ROYSTON APPEARS TO BE GOING OVER UNDER THIS CHALLENGE
By the interval the weather was taking a turn for the worse and with a now gale force gusty afternoon added to by driving rain football was becoming difficult with many free kicks and goal kicks taking a while when the ball would not sit still on the 3g surface.
There was though joy for the home side when former Mansfield Town front man Christie equalised on 54 minutes and then moments later after two bites of the cherry for the frontman should have put the Greenbacks in front but visiting keeper Joe Welch saved his close range effort.  This gave Bedworth a boost and they looked the more likely to score however they got increasingly frustrated with a selection of decisions going against them and the winner would come at the opposite end when on 77 minutes Murray, a danger all afternoon, converted from the middle of the box.
MURRAY CELEBRATES HIS WINNER FOR ROYSTON
As so often when you are at the bottom things don't quite go for you there was little to pick between these two sides on a difficult afternoon but in the end it was the finer finishing of Royston that won the day.
With 50 minutes to play with at the end before a connection service to Nuneaton and then Leicester there was a windswept wandering around Bedworth before base station was arrived at just before 8pm an enjoyable visit and as ever enjoyed the ground and today a warm welcome.

Monday, 11 March 2019

THATS THE WAY CHADAWAY AS SUB WINS IT IN STOPPAGE TIME FOR AYLESTONE PARK

AYLESTONE PARK 2 HUNTINGDON TOWN 1
UCL 1 @ SAFFRON LANE
9 MARCH 2019 --- 3PM
LATE WINNER FROM MATT CHADAWAY FOR AYLESTONE PARK
A dramatic 92nd minute winner from substitute Mark Chadaway broke the second half deadlock that had seen chances galore go begging but in the process devastate lowly visitors Huntingdon who themselves had been pushing for a winner. 
Journey to Leicester would be a challenging one with Sheffield Wednesday on the same line for their game at Derby and when a delayed XCountry came in with standing room the option to take this and change at Derby for the following on EMT service which should unload a few was taken.  It was then that I realised I may have miss calculated with Leicester City also being at home and todays destination passing the King Power.  However there was a cunning plan Baldrick with a aquamarine special running either way around the route that served Aylestone Park FC.  With time to play with the option of a look around the nearby Wigston centre was opted for, with a lack of encouraging take- aways the option to visit the newly refurbished Two Steeples was taken and a fish and chip meal.
This arrived after half an hour wait and as time drifted on I was fearing having to depart, it was good fayre however they were clearly in chip and pea counting portion control mode which was disappointing for just shy of nine quid.
TOWARDS THE PITCHSIDE CAFE
Hopping back on the circular '48' and after a frustrating delay for a driver change we started to collect City fans on their way to the 'big game'.  As ever to hear the conversations it just make me realise why I enjoy the non league and its volunteers so much more.
Departing more or less opposite the ground and approaching the pay box a warm greeting encouraged you into the ground and with programme, 50/50 and admission all gained in one fell swoop there was time for a look around.
Aylestone Park were last seen in a East Midlands League cup final at Barrow Town versus South Normanton a few years back and the gateman and grounds man well remembered that day of torrential downpour within a minute of the final whistle that left the whole area flooded!  The visit to their home base had been on the list for a while and always put off with the prospects of an uninspiring feel in the forefront of my thoughts, it was though a pleasure to be proved wrong.  From the warm welcome to a smart ground and some excellent catering facilities including a wonderfully pleasant lady in The Pitchside Café this was a very enjoyable visit.
DOUBLE SIDED DUGOUTS TO THE REAR
To the mini tour then to the right of our entrance is the clubhouse along with changing room facilities all added to by a large hang on marquee building.  The far side is out of bounds backing onto a further pitch and has the strange addition of back to back dug outs that are both in one half of the pitch.  The near side touchline is smartly adorned with advert boards a selection of smart wooden park type seats and along the half way a red tip up seated Atcost stand. 
At the top corner is the Pitchside Café a wooden chalet type building were you can also go inside with its fully tabled and chaired sit down area, this was an impressive addition and was well run by the lady on duty today.  Behind the far goal is an uncovered walkway and behind this is the clubs recent 3g pitch which adds a further progressive touch to this complex of pitches.  Overall the ground gave a well cared for and tidy impression to todays visitor.
I FORGOT TO CHECK WHO THE CLUBS SPOSNOR WAS.
Thankfully the clubs manager had confirmed todays game was on with no problems mid morning its just a shame that the club are not to active on social media because as ever there is a smashing little set up on hand here in Leicester.
There was not too much to play for the young Aylestone Park side were pretty well in mid table security whereas Huntingdon would like a few points to pull away from the bottom two of the table but will probably be ok.  The weeks wet weather had given way to gusty winds which really wrecked most of this game for the purist but overall the pitch looked in steady condition for this time of the season.
The first half didn't produce too much in the terms of chances for the visitors Christian Le forced Tom Holyoak into a finger tip save before the deadlock was broken with a screamer against the wind from 25 yards by Riley Davoile just past the twenty minute mark.
COREY KINGSTON EQUALISES FOR HUNTINGDON
The second half though produced a selection of chances that probably proved why these two sides are in the position they are, they just couldn't finish otherwise this could have been 5-5.
A fair few of the chances fell to visiting captain Corey Kingston who stretched and endeavoured to get a touch on quite a few occasions but it looked like it would not be his day that was until just over the hour mark when he turned in a group of players to fire home from close range to level the scores.
For Aylestone Park Cory Holden had forced the visiting keeper into a save that saw his effort ultimately strike the bar.
SHIRT SWAPPING COMES BEFORE THE FINAL WHISTLE
An exciting open second half had seen both sides attack and it looked neither would get the winner that was until we entered the second minute of stoppage time when the ball found Chadaway unmarked and he fired home from close range to win it for Aylestone Park.
REFEREE BULLEN OBSERVES AND BLOWS THAT WHISTLE
The final whistle saw a few of the Huntingdon players slump to their knees they had given so much to this game and you had to feel for them with this last gasp winner but they had contributed to a superb second half taking into account the conditions.
CHADAWAY [LEFT] CELEBRATES THE LATE WINNER
Return journey saw us through the traffic fairly quickly with a comfortable seat gained return around 7pm at base station and once again proving the ones that you put off are sometimes a really nice surprise.