Sunday, 14 January 2018

FRIAR LANE AND EPWORTH MISS OUT TO SILEBY

FRIAR LANE AND EPWORTH 1 SILEBY TOWN 3
LEICESTERSHIRE SENIOR LEAGUE PREMIER AT KNIGHTON LANE EAST
13 JANUARY 2018 --- 3PM
FRIAR LANE AND EPWORTH FC
After an early Lewis Sharp goal Friar Lane and Epworth found themselves on the back foot in what was generally a tight game although in the latter stages it was the visitors from north Leicester, Sileby Town who finished the match the strongest to secure the three points.
Friar Lane and Epworth had been on the radar for a while especially with the ground sitting adjacent to the mainline railway line, indeed for any regular travellers south of Leicester you will have probably wondered at the ground.  Today with the opportunity of a visit to a relative nearby there was a few options in play around Leicester and on the Friday night having seen a post from the club that barring rain the pitch would be heavy but playable something they further backed up with on Saturday morning.
FISH AND CHIP EMPORIUM
Down to Leicester then direct and as time moved on towards 2pm a back street dash around Knighton saw me arrive at the highly rated Grimsby Fisheries which worryingly has an Aquarium shop just over the side road not sure if there is any link there!  Todays whopper was struggled with over the main Welford Rd and down Knighton Lane East towards the railway viaduct the other side of which houses today's clubs home ground.  The fish and chips I hear you cry yes they were good and the whole set up also has a sit in restaurant if you fancy a relaxing meal but time was pressing for me and having arrived through the car park and towards the entrance which was nicely adorned with a chalk board advertising todays game and the cost.
MAIN ENTRANCE WITH CHALK BOARD INFO
After paying the £3 entrance fee, no programmes in the LSL, it was great to catch up with a fellow Leicester based ground hopper who I normal see towards the end of the season at a variety of finals. 
Circuit was needed before acquiring todays teams from the referee Aidan Murphy to the immediate right is a small club house area and snack refreshment hatch, the main clubhouse is on the corner of Knighton Lane East but I did not have time to visit.
GROUND SNACK BAR AND CLUBHOUSE
The whole ground has hard standing but in less populated areas is in need of a clean up, towards the main stand which houses a selection of coloured tip up seats and changing rooms behind is a semi caged approach for the players, just before is a newish brick building housing the officials and toilets as part of the building.  Moving past the stand is a 1/3rd pitch length covered terrace which is of the tin sheet and scaffold variety.
THE TWO STANDS SIDE BY SIDE
The far goal has behind it a large net area to save the ball flying over to the allotments and unkempt area, I believe the ground was historically also part of the allotments.  The far touchline is flush to the steep railway embankment with dug outs also housed in this area.  There is quite a lot of room around the other 3 parts of the ground for any future changes, if you like your grounds of 'character' then this is the one for you.  The floodlights appear to be on very low posts but when on in the second half I thought did a remarkably good job for what I expected.  Some of the previous upgrades probably done for the clubs dalliance with the heady heights of Midland Football Alliance something they graced for around 4 years in the early part of the 2000's.
EAST MIDLANDS TRAINS 125 DEPARTS TO THE SOUTH OF LEICESTER
A brief overview saw Friar Lane merge with Epworth in 2004 and two years later they had that gem of MFL football at Knighton Lane East.  Problems though arrived just before the start of the 2011 season with a loss of players and travel expenses in the league being a problem and the club resigned and in the end replaced their reserve side in Division 1 of the Leicestershire Senior League.
Todays murky weather would make pictures a challenge again indeed I did struggle with the obligatory match and train picture and I suppose I will have to undertake a visit again in the lighter parts of the season to enjoy this opportunity.
PLAYERS PREPARE TO EXIT THE CHANGING ROOMS
The club offered a warm greeting throughout their officials and Chairman sadly I had arrived a few minutes later than normal and it was time to take in some match action almost straight away.  Any late comers would have missed the first goal after just 5 minutes the visitors took the lead when Sharp swung in a midriff cross off the left and it flew through a group of players and in at the far post to the bemusement non more so the Sileby number 8. The half was a very even affair with both sides having brief spells of dominance but Friar Lane were perhaps a little lucky to have a full compliment of players on the pitch at the break as just before half time Aiden Kilby on the floor following a tackle was adjudged to have handled the ball with the attacker about to go clean through on goal, the saving grace here was he was 40 yards out and Mr Murphy produced yellow.
THE LANE IN CONTROL
The second period saw Sharp miss an open goal for what would have been his second but it wasn't long, 52 minutes, before Sileby did make it two thanks to Grant Ryder.  The home side deservedly pulled a goal back when substitute Allen got in on a through ball before the Sileby keeper to slot home after 77 minutes.  But moments later it was all over when Mike Noga fed Sileby captain Gus Gnetleman who at the second attempt fired home to make it 3-1.
THE BENCHES IN ACTION
The closing stages did see Allen go close with a fine back post header that was superbly saved by Adam Perry in the Sileby goal.
A frustrating day for the home side on a pitch described as heavy that had held up really well to todays proceedings but for Sileby as the game wore on they became the stronger side and in the final assessment probably warranted their 3 points.
SILEBY TOWN ON FIRE
A prompt departure to the Welford Rd saw arrival back at Leicester station just after 5.30 and after spending horrendous amounts of money on a chocolate bar and drink in that well known newsagents departure north was soon undertaking and an overall return at base station had been helped by obtaining a seat, yes a seat, on the return journey after an enjoyable debut in the Leicestershire Senior League.

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