University Reading v St. Mary’s University

British Universities & Colleges Sport

South Eastern 2A

Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Kick Off 14.00 Actual 14.06

University Reading 3 St. Mary’s University 0,  attendance 17

31′ 1-0

67′ 2-0

87′ 3-0

@ University Reading Sports Park

Bulmershe Pavilion

Woodlands Avenue

RG6 1HY

No admission or programme.

With rain overnight and it forecast to continue for most of today, I gave up on the idea of heading north for Bilborough Town and settled for a guaranteed game, with the possibility of going to Hythe & Dibden in the evening. As it turned out, it was the correct decision, as both evening games were postponed. A phone call to Reading at 12 o’clock had confirmed that the game here was going ahead and even at the end of the game, the pitch looked just as good as it had at the start.

This division could still be won by three different teams, as going into this, the table stood at…….

St. Mary’s, Played 9, Pts 16……..Reading, Played 8, Pts 15…….Brunel, Played 9, Pts 15

This meant that St.Marys would have won the league with a win. The victory for Reading leaves them 3 Pts clear of Brunel, but with an inferior goal difference. The last game just happens to be Brunel v Reading, although Reading seemed of the opinion that they should receive a walkover win, as Brunel have failed to so far agree to a new date for this previously postponed fixture.

Shaw Lane A.F.C. V Loughborough Dynamo

Northern Premier League

Division 1 South

Tuesday 21st March 2017

Kick Off 19.45 Actual 19.51

Shaw Lane A.F.C. 4 Loughborough Dynamo 0,  attendance 145

4′ 1-0

12′ 2-0

25′ 3-0

31′ 4-0

@ Shaw Lane

Barnsley

S70 6HZ

£6 Admission

£1.50 Programme, 20 pages.

Well, this went with the formbook, as the league leaders made short work of the second from bottom visitors. It was game over as soon as the second goal went in and the game went rapidly downhill from there. The second half was as bad a game as you could possibly see. Utter garbage.

Shaw Lane are not a very nice bunch. Constant whinging and moaning throughout. If they are like that when they win almost every game, then they will be unbearable when they meet better sides who will beat them regularly as they climb the pyramid.

There was also one of their ‘supporters’ who really let the club down with his behaviour. Stood next to the home dugout, beer can in hand, constantly shouting obscenities for the whole ground to hear, then directing homophobic shouts at the Dynamo ‘keeper who was receiving treatment to an injury received in an obvious foul. When challenged to keep his comments to himself, by an away supporter, he then threatened him and said he would wait for him in the car park afterwards and ‘stab him up’. What a great advert he is for the club !

The only bright spot from the evening is that this completes visits to all of the current Step 4 grounds.

Royal Anhee F.C. V Union Sportive Pesche

Belgium

Namur Provincial 1

Sunday 19th March 2017

Kick Off 15.00 Actual 15.01

Royal Anhee F.C. 0 Union Sportive Pesche 2,  attendance 65

3′ 0-1

4′ 0-2

@ Complexe Sportif d’ Anhee

Rue du Petit Bois

5537 Anhee

€6 Admission

No programme. (Team Sheet only available to Press).

Well, over half the crowd will have missed the two goals today, as there were barely more than a dozen spectators there at kick off.

It was a real relegation battle. Anhee are well bottom of the league, but had won two of their previous three games. Pesche are third bottom, so will have been looking at this as a good opportunity to pick up three points to aid their fight in avoiding the drop.

After less than five minutes it was game over. A goal at any stage for Anhee may have improved things, but that never really looked like it would happen.

As ever in Belgium, you never know what type of ground you are going to stumble across, as there are no requirements for seats or covered accommodation, whatever level you play at in Provincial football. Not a ground that will live long in the memory, apart from the fact that it was the 750th ground I have now seen a match on in Belgium.

A.F.C. Petersfield v Upham

Hampshire Premier League

Division 1

Saturday 18th March 2017

Kick Off 15.00, On Time !

A.F.C. Petersfield 0 Upham 1,  attendance 10

72′ 0-1

@ Love Lane

Petersfield

GU31 4BW

No admission or programme.

The ground is next door to Petersfield Town, of the Southern League. The car park is shared, so with both clubs kicking off at the same time, spaces were at a premium. At halftime, hot drinks were available from the changing room building and despite there being a price list displayed, they were free of charge !

A.F.C. are bottom of the table, and can’t finish any higher, whilst the visitors are third, and with just one more game to play after today, look like finishing in that position. Upham dominated for most of the game, but struggled to make the breakthrough, hitting the woodwork three times. When the winner came, it took a 25 yard effort, in off the post, to finally break the deadlock.

Redcar Town v Guisborough Three Fiddles

Teesside League

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Kick Off 19.30, On Time !

Redcar Town 2 Guisborough Three Fiddles 0,  attendance 38

61′ 1-0

84′ 2-0 (pen)

@ Mo Mowlem Memorial Park

Trunk Road

Redcar

TS10 5BW

No admission or programme.

From the game in York, I had a couple of options, either go to Stockton Town, which would have completed the Northern League, or go here, which will probably host far fewer midweek games than the former. As it had been dry for a few days, it was better to do Redcar, as it is a grass pitch, whereas Stockton play on a 3G pitch, so it can wait for a day when the weather is less favourable.

It was only 4 miles further to come here, some 57 miles north of York, the majority of which was on the A19. The ground here is probably the best in the league, although I haven’t visited a Teesside League ground for at least 10 years, and wouldn’t require too much work for them to progress into the Northern League if they wanted to.

Another match that kicked off on time and we even had an earlier than expected finish, with both teams, and the match officials, staying out on the pitch for a five minute halftime !

A dreadful journey home, with the M1 having endless sections of 50 mph speed limits and the closure from Junction 20 to 18. Completed the 285 miles, including a couple of stops, in five and a half hours, climbing into bed at 0250.

York St. John University v Teesside University

British Universities & Colleges Sport

Northern 3B

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Kick Off 16.15, On Time !

York St. John University 0 Teesside University 2,  attendance 18

12′ 0-1

88′ 0-2

@ York St. John University Sports Park, 3G Pitch

Nestle Rowntrees Park

Haxby Road

York

YO31 8TA

No admission or programme.

A nice easy 35 mile drive to here from Leeds. Again, it was a venue I had previously visited for a match, having seen Nestle Rowntrees beat Bardsey 6-1 in the West Yorkshire League, Premier Division, on 18th March 2000. In those days, the ground was known as Mille Crux, and the grass pitch I saw the game on is still there, as is the small section of cover that runs along the Haxby Road side of the pitch.

The 3G pitch is built on the opposite side of some new buildings from the grass pitches and runs parallel to a brand new synthetic hockey pitch.

The match was 2nd v 3rd in the league table, although neither team could finish in any other position, whatever the outcome of today’s game.

Leeds Beckett University v Leeds Trinity University

British Universities & Colleges Sport

Northern 2B

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Kick Off 13.00 Actual 13.04

Leeds Beckett University 2 Leeds Trinity University 2,  attendance 53

37′ 1-0

49′ 2-0

68′ 2-1 (OG)

81′ 2-2

@ Carnegie Headingley Campus, 3G Pitch

Church Wood Avenue

Leeds

LS6 3QS

No admission or programme.

Beckett knew a win would mean they had won the league and all looked to be going well, until they conceded an own goal and they totally lost their way. The late equaliser meant that they could be pipped for top spot by University Northumbria 2nds, who were due to play at home later in the afternoon. As it turned out, Northumbria lost 1-3 to University Leeds.

I had been to a game here on 16th March 2005,(4-6 AET, v University Northumbria, in a Championship QF) when they were known as Leeds Metropolitan University, but that game was played on what is known as ‘Top Pitch’, which runs lengthways beyond the 3G pitch, albeit slightly offset. The only difference being the green barrier around the pitch is now replaced by a white one. It had also been free to park on the university campus in those days. Today, it was £2.40.

I had left home at 0730, for the 227 miles drive north, via M25 and M1, which allowed time for a stop off at Shepshed Truck Stop, (off Junction 23 of the M1) and a very good ‘Full English’, on what was hopefully going to be the first match of an intended treble of games today.

Pontardawe Town v Briton Ferry Llansawel

Welsh League

Division 2

Saturday 11th March 2017

Kick Off 14.30 Actual 14.32

Pontardawe Town 0 Briton Ferry Llansawel 2,  attendance 76

37′ 0-1

41′ 0-2

@ Parc Ynysderw

Ffordd Ynysderw

Pontardawe

SA8 4EG

£3 Admission, including programme, 20 pages.

So, a 45 minute drive from Kidwelly saw me arrive at a match two levels higher than the alternative fixture being offered on the Welsh Hop, and some five levels higher than the game just watched.

Pontardawe only moved into their new ground in 2015 and it is still undergoing improvements. Just the far goal end is lacking hard standing now and according to the match programme, the changing rooms at the adjacent Leisure Centre have been renovated, up to Welsh League standard, so should be in use by next season, replacing the temporary ones, I assume.

I had visited their former home back on Wednesday 17th February 1999, for a Welsh Cup 4th Round Replay, 0-3 v Inter Cable Tel, in the days when clubs without floodlights still had to host the replays midweek, so this had kicked off at 14.00. How times have changed.

As for today, it was 4th bottom v 2nd in the table. BFL had a penalty saved, but opened the scoring a minute later and added the second before the break, which killed off the game.

A relatively trouble free run back along the M4 and M25 saw me arrive back by 19.45. It would be the last trip in the hire car, as we have now collected both our new cars. I suppose it was worth having a hire car for 4 weeks, as it has gone back with 5,250 more miles on the clock than it had when it was picked up !

Kidwelly Town v Drefach

Carmarthenshire League

Division 2

Saturday 11th March 2017

Kick Off 10.45 On Time !

Kidwelly Town 3 Drefach 1,  attendance 135

9′ 0-1

36′ 1-1

38′ 2-1

89′ 3-1

@ Parc Stephens

Station Road

SA17 4SJ

No Admission

£3 Programme, didn’t bother at that price.

This was the first game on this seasons Carmarthenshire Hop. Having done a number of teams from this league for West Wales Senior Cup matches in the past, I knew that this would be nothing more than a pitch in a field, although as there is only the one pitch here, it is probably one of the better grounds in the league, which says it all really !

With there being a Premier Division, this was actually the third level in the league, but probably not a great difference in playing standard to most of the two higher divisions.

The early kick off meant plenty of scope for an afternoon fixture, as I had already been to the third scheduled game of the day, a 16.00 kick off at Premier Division team Seaside. Despite not having visited the 13.30 game, again in the Premier Division, which was to be at Evans & Williams Sports, I had been told by others who had already been that it was an awful 4 pitch job and totally soulless, so I opted to tick off the most westerly club I still required in the Welsh League instead, so had plenty of time to head back east for a 14.30 kick off.

Swallownest v Handsworth Parramore Reserves

Sheffield County Senior League

Premier Division

Wednesday 8th March 2017

Kick Off 19.45 Actual 19.44

Swallownest 1 Handsworth Parramore Reserves 0,  attendance 66

76′ 1-0

@ Swallownest Miners Welfare

Rotherham Road

Swallownest

S26 4UR

No admission or programme.

Swallownest, who have dropped the ‘Miners Welfare’ from their name, are top of the league and have ambitions for promotion into the Northern Counties East League next season. Having hit the woodwork twice, and having failed with another couple of efforts that looked easier to score than miss, it was left to a 20 yard shot into the top corner, that was worthy of winning any game, which finally broke down the visitors stubborn defence. The title now looks to be a formality, being 10 points clear, with just 5 games left to play.

Match day visits to sporting stadia