nervous times

Moments make the difference, a couple in a 60 seconds period here could make a whole season.

Advertisements

tigers tamed

Moments make the difference, a couple in a 60 seconds period here could make a whole season. As the promotion race gets turned up to red hot; Hyde United, Scarborough Athletic and South Shields are fighting for 2 automatic positions. The dreaded play-offs await for the unlucky team.

As it stands on Easter Sunday, it is disadvantage Hyde United. Take away those 60 seconds and it would have look a fair bit more favourable for the Tigers.

With the clock ticking past the 80th minute Trafford’s Neville burst into the box in a very tight match, the hosts themselves hoping for a play-off spot, Harrison stuck out a foot. Was there contact? From my viewpoint, no. The referee who was about 30 yards closer, yes. Trafford and their fans agreed. Hyde United and theirs didn’t.

Up stepped Frost, the striker had been largely quiet all match, he hit his effort hard and straight. It smashed against the underside of the bar. Down. Back up against the bar. Down again and into Crook’s arms. Frost attempted to get to the rebound (not sure why as he couldn’t put the ball in the net, no other player had touched it). The referee didn’t give anything. The assistant did, he signalled it was over the line. Trafford led.

Was it a penalty? Was it a goal?

At half-time, there was a race across the pitch for several men in costumes. Not sure if the players were looking forward to this or not, but before the event, neither side were at the races.

They must have enjoyed the entertainment because straight after the restart, the game picked up, Trafford’s Palma hit the post, United took control and started to lay siege at Trafford’s penalty box, but Mason et al were holding firm. The final ball was missing. Substitutions were made, final dice thrown. Then those two moments came along.

Advantage Scarborough Athletic. They have Trafford to thank and their fans for the half-time race for waking the players up even more.

little wembley

Monday night. Nelson. Where else? Daisy Hill were there too. Though I am sure if you asked him, their keeper and skipper Haynes will probably wish he hadn’t been. To be fair though the home winger Townsend will have felt the same way too.

A bottom of the table clash that was tight from the off, both sides nervy, giving away possession constantly, it was the hosts who looked to settle a little earlier. They went in at half-time 1-0 to the good, it should have been 3-0. Turner curled in an effort from 25 yards that Haynes should have easily collected, only he thought he could leave it. He couldn’t. 1-0 Nelson. Mr Townsend then did his best to make Mr Haynes feel better, firstly he had a simple nod in chance at the far post, he headed it clear, followed by a complete air kick minutes later with another golden chance.

After the break Nelson grew in confidence as Daisy Hill lost their heads, on the hour the game was pretty much over, Haynes electing to punch a cross, the ball ending up in the back of the net via the head of Wolfenden.

Nelson have now raised themselves above Daisy Hill and off the bottom. I am sure neither can wait for the season to finish and start afresh.

ducks cannot ground the robins

A new manager for Shaw Lane, he must have been fairly pleased at half-time. His side had come back into a game that Altrincham had threatened to dominate from the off, even more so when Peers gave them the lead on 10 minutes.

However, the Ducks slowly but surely got back into it, firstly stopping Altrincham and then getting on the front foot a bit more. When Harris equalised from the spot not long before the break it was more than deserved.

What happened after the restart must not have made pleasant viewing for Chris Willcock. Firstly 3 minutes in, Richmond ran straight through the midfield unchallenged and fired past Wright. Eight minutes left and a cross was flicked in by Hulme, 2 minutes later he had another as he slid in at the far post. The visitors were falling apart.

After a 15 minutes break Altrincham put another one in for good measure, Moult nodding home from all of 6 inches. The second half was all one way.

rot stopped at the grove

After 10 defeats on the bounce you do not really need a team chasing a play-off spot to visit. To be fair, after 10 losses there cannot be too many sides you would like to face full stop.

The Sheffield side turned up late due to an incident on the M6, though they only arrived around 19:20, we only got underway 8 minutes late.

Whilst Stocksbridge were the better side early on there wasn’t a lot to talk about, both sides look to have been affected by Steels late arrival. Finally being on top told for the visitors, the impressive Litchfield cut in from the wing and fired beyond Parton, 1-0 Stocksbridge.

In the second half the ride slowly started to turn, especially after Litchfield had a strike ruled out for offside. With 20 minutes to go Grove equalised, Graves fouled for a penalty and Diskin sent Greaves the wrong way 1-1 game on.

Forward came the hosts, Steels hit them on the break, it had really opened up, but neither side could find a winner. Then with 3 minutes to go the hosts won it, a corner was cleared to the edge of the box, Ashman struck the ball and it screamed into the back of the net. A valuable victory for Athletic.

this is football. apparently

An overdue visit to the refurbished Moor Lane has been on the cards all season, Good Friday was the day I finally managed it.

Anybody who puts money into football at grassroots level gets a thumbs up from me, though from my visit, City’s days as a non league club are over in all but name. I understand the ground had to be refurbished, but it is just too much for me. The soul has gone, yes you can still see some of the old fans and those that go now for the right reason, however, like my experience last week at the Etihad, too many people were at Moor Lane to take selfies. The lack of atmosphere with 1500 people in the ground was incredible. This feels like the future of football, as did last week. I’ll keep to my other much more beautiful game thanks.

The match was not the best, whether it was nerves or not I don’t know but City struggled to get going all afternoon. The first half was awful. City lacked composure, Nash looked happy with a point. Neither keeper had much to do, efforts on target were pretty much straight at them.

After half-time, Salford took the lead almost immediately, Dieseruvwe got to the byeline, pulled the ball back, it looked like too much, somehow Maynard hooked his foot around the ball and wrong-footed Mason, the ball bobbling over the line, 1-0 to City.

Until I left the game bang on 90 minutes as I had seen enough apart from Curzon controlling the game more and more the only other thing worth mentioning was Dieseruvwe’s miss, through on goal, Mason stayed on his line, at most 10 yards out, he cleared the stand, that pretty much summed up the match.

Both teams scored in added on. Salford march on. I hope it continues.

stats ‘N’ stuff

games: 5

goals: 15

total att: 2,874

milestones: Altrincham v Shaw Lane; 150th penalty.

totals – all-time

games: 490

goals: 1665

total att: 552,466

female officials: 14

red cards: 102

penalties: 152

0-0s: 13

highlight of the week: Kidsgrove Athletic’s late late winner. A potential relegation saver for the team. Take a bow Mr Ashman, a sweet sweet strike that screamed in from the edge of the box.

yellow

it was all yellow

There aren’t many weeks where you get to be part of the ‘Yellow Wall’, go to the outposts of Mossley and Darwen, watch an international friendly between Argentina and Italy, before rounding it all off in the beautiful town of Harrogate. That was my week though.

yellow wall

I am old enough and lucky enough to have once stood on the Kop at Anfield. Done the Stretford End too and the Kippax. All pretty special. One of the few things left on my ‘to-do list’ was to visit Signal Iduna Park (or Westfalenstadion without sponsorship) and be part of the hosts incredible ‘Yellow Wall’.

Westfalenstadion has been the host to some incredible times, with a capacity over 80,000 and the largest terrace in Europe; the near 25,000 capacity Sudtribune. This is the ground where Liverpool beat Alaves 5-4 in the UEFA Cup Final, Scotland played Zaire here in the 1974 World Cup and Italy knocked Germany out of the 2006 World Cup in the Semi-Final. Not a bad history that is it?

An early morning express train from Cologne to Dortmund, the ground is a 45 minutes straight forward walk from the train station, just follow the crowds. Once at the ground, the sight is yellow wherever you look. For such a large ground, weirdly the turnstiles are all at the North End and then you make your way to whatever part of the ground you are in.

The standing areas are made up of individual blocks/pens, however they are strictly stewarded to make sure that the correct numbers go into the correct pen. It works, it works very well FA. Bring it back. Please.

With the atmosphere building towards kick off, the last 15 minutes before the teams come out was brilliant. A rousing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” just before the sides emerged into the sunshine.

When we got underway it was Borussia who took control, Chelsea loanee Batshuayi hit the post within the opening 60 seconds, in fact the opening 45 minutes was pretty much all one way. That the score was only 1-0 at the interval was done to lax finishing and some desperate last ditch defending. However, the goal had a moment of true class, a corner on the left wing was played into the near post at pace by another Chelsea ‘reject’ Schurrle, Batshuayi’s run gave him space and a deft flick with his right boot took the ball past Tschauner in the Hannover goal.

Dortmund didn’t have it all their way in the second half and as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes both the team and their fans started to tense up, in fact it was the home fans who looked to drag their heroes over the finishing line in the end with their rousing songs. In the end the solitary goal was enough for the 3 points as the hosts revival under coach Stoger continued.

My German adventure was over, back to Blighty.

seadogs manchester adventure part 1

Following a home game on Saturday, Scarborough Athletic had to make the trip to the suburbs of Manchester 3 times in 5 days, nigh on 700 miles of travelling. Hopefully the east/west split next season will assist to make weeks like this a thing of the past.

The travelling did not do them any harm on Tuesday, they dominated Mossley from the word go, Grimsby Town loanee winger Wright was the main threat, he tormented his marker all night. It was from the right that Athletic’s opener came from, Valentine being on hand to put the ball over the line. A bullet header from striker Walshaw doubled the advantage before the break. It should have been more.

It was just after the hour, Walshaw practically walking through the home defence to get his second and his teams third. A late penalty brought Mossley some consolation, though to be honest a 1-3 scoreline was flattering to them.

matthews hits 4?

Does it always rain in Darwen? My fourth visit and it has rained every time. It also rained goals for Northwich Victoria and in particular Matthews. This match was over in the first 30 minutes, the visitors at that point were 4-0 up and in cruise mode. Debutant Halsall opened the scoring on the quarter of an hour mark, I thought he also scored the second a couple of minutes later. The NWCFL website gives it to Matthews.

If the goal was Halsall’s then Matthews opened his account five minutes later to make it 3-0 and another five minutes after that he made it 4. At this point there was a feeling of wondering at just how many Vics could score. Their foot came off the pedal slightly and they toyed with their hosts for the remaining hour.

A fifth was added with 20 minutes to go. Matthews got it. Now we just need to clear up, did he get 3 or was it 4?

good & bad

Friday was a rare opportunity to do something unusual for me, an international friendly. Argentina v Italy at the Etihad.

A night of complete contrast. For a friendly I thoroughly enjoyed what happened on the pitch, both sides showed a level of skill and technical doings that Southgate’s mob cannot attain. Really enjoyed it, liked Lanzini on the night in particular, Argentina deserved winners.

Off the pitch was awful. Huge queues to get in, how on earth do they get 50,000+ in here for a game. Good job we arrived at 6:45, 30 minutes to get in. No programme. £5 for a hot chocolate & diet coke. Probably a good job there wasn’t a programme.

However, the worst bit were those in attendance. Is this what a modern day popular event is like. People taking selfies from start to finish, rarely watching the game and do not even get me started on the Mexican Wave. In the end I was glad Messi didn’t get on the pitch, it would have been just stupid.

yorkshire yellow

I finished my week off with another one that has been on my to-do list for far too long, Harrogate Town.

A pleasant train journey over to Harrogate, via Leeds, and a relaxing 20 minutes stroll to the CNG Stadium. I must say at this point that everyone I spoke to from the club was very friendly and helpful, a credit to Harrogate Town FC. I would also recommend ensuring you are hungry when you arrive, club caterers Burgers & More offer an excellent choice of scran.

Getting underway in the sunshine, this was a game that Town should not have too much trouble with, Trinity struggling at the opposite end of the table and their new boss Sinnott didn’t even get a honeymoon period when he recently took over.

Early exchanges were fairly even and the first chance of the afternoon fell to Trinity, quite how you do not score from a 3 on 1 breakaway I do not know, but Gainsborough managed it, Belshaw saving from Jarman. As we approached the 20 minutes mark Town took the lead, Knowles setting up Emmett who fired past Ravas , 1-0 to Town.

Town looked to stamped their authority on the game, Ravas saving from Knowles, but Trinity would not lie down as Belshaw save from Hinchcliffe, the game opened up, end to end stuff until the break.

Following the tea break Thomson hit the post before Trinity must have thought they had equalised on a couple of occasions, Belshaw saving from Jarman, quite how he kept out the follow-up I do not know, this was followed minutes later by a header from a corner being cleared off the line by a falling Leesley.

Trinity were on top, but then as this game does, they paid for not taking their chances, Beck turning in a Burrell cross from close range. This game can be cruel at times. Trinity were beaten, their players looked a tad fed-up with that goal and it was Town who finished the stronger. Whilst Harrogate deserved the win, I think a 2 goals margin was flattering.

The return journey was just as pleasant. A great day out.

stats ‘N’ stuff

games: 4 (+ 1 friendly which I don’t count)

goals: 12 (+2)

total att: 82,889

milestones: Borussia Dortmund v Hannover 96; highest ever attendance – 81,360 / total attendances past 500,000. AFC Darwen v Northwich Victoria; 300th goal of the season – Matthews or was it Halsall, who knows? Harrogate Town v Gainsborough Trinity; 10 games since a 0-0.

totals – all-time

games: 485

goals: 1650

total att: 549,592

female officials: 14

red cards: 102

penalties: 149

0-0s: 13

highlight of the week: Has to be being part of the yellow wall. Not every week that you get a chance to do something like that. Incredible.

 

 

 

fussball. zweiter teil

What a game!

F-T: Borussia Monchengladbach 3 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH  3  TSG 1899 HOFFENHEIM  3

BUNDESLIGA

Stadion im Borussia-Park, Monchengladbach

Att: 51049

Gate € 41.50

Programme € n/a

Saturday and it was time for my first ever taste of Bundesliga. What a way to start.

Opening my hotel curtains to snow was a bit of a surprise, however I was soon wrapped up and heading off into Cologne city centre for a mooch around. In temperatures below freezing it does not take too long before you are heading into a coffee shop for some warmth.

I was soon on the train to Monchengladbach, €16 each way for first class bought on the day seemed good value and I was on my way heading through a number of towns and cities I had never heard of before, arriving in Monchengladbach just over an hour later. Being a little early I decided to walk up to Borussia-Park, google maps taking me along back streets and parks passing a number of brilliant sculptures.

As the stadium came into view, I could also see the nearby Warsteiner Hockey Park, quite impressive for a hockey stadium, and home to the wonderfully named American Football team, Monchengladbach Mavericks.

Getting closer to Borussia-Park, I started thinking back to the team of the 70s, Berti Vogts, Rainer Bonhof, Allan Simonsen and Jupp Heynckes, what a team. There have been a few decent ones since too, Martin Dahlin, Marco Reus, Patrik Andersson and Oliver Neuville to name but a few. Not too shabby a list that.

After a visit to the club shop it was time to go in and as nice as Borussia-Park is, I am envious of anyone who managed to get to Bolkelbergstadion before the move. Looked a great place.

Due to Stuttgart winning the previous evening there was now a gap between the two league positions, Borussia occupying 10th, their visitors 3 points ahead in 7th, both sides still hoping to close the gap to the places for European football next season.

As the teams came out a handful of Hoffenheim fans to my left  making a fair amount of noise, trying their best to drown out the home faithful, I was beginning to notice a bit of a tradition at games in Germany, Van Halen’s Jump appears to be a firm fans favourite.

Borussia with a number of injuries were relying on another of Chelsea’s ‘rejects’ Eden’s younger brother Thorgen Hazard. His constant moving and probing was very much a threat to the visitors, who in turn had a forward line made up of ex-Premier League players, Gnabry of Arsenal & West Brom fame, his partner, Kramaric once of Leicester City.

Whilst the hosts started the better it was Hoffenheim who took the lead, the first corner of the game, swung in by Kramaric was met by the head of Hubner, his header gave Sommer no chance. Hazard continued to probe, and minutes after the goal Hermann headed too close to Baumann, but the Hoffenhein keeper still had to produce a good save.

Drmic replaced the injured Bobadilla, another casualty for The Foals, recent form for both the substitute and his side did not bode well. Cuisance and Wendt both missed the target when they should have done better, but nothing on Kramaric, who missed a golden chance to make it 2-0.

Just after the half hour and it was 1-1. A Cuisance through ball for Drmic caught the forward flat footed, Baumann thinking the striker was going to get to the ball was more prepared to block than collect, the ball bouncing up off the keeper, onto the strikers arm, the bounce taking the ball past Baumann, Drimic rolled it into the unguarded goal. 1-1. Or was it? My first experience of VAR. After a minute or so the goal was confirmed.

The Foals had their tails up , just before the break Hazard fired just over, Hermann forced Baumann into another fine stop.

H-T: Borussia Monchengladbach 1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 1

After surviving the cold for 15 minutes we got underway again, Hazard scuffing an effort wide as the hosts controlled the early exchanges, it was from yet another attack that the visitors broke away and regained the lead. Kramaric playing a lovely through ball for Gnabry to run on to Hofmann catching the striker, penalty given. Step up Kramaric, good strike 2-1 with a little over 30 minutes still left.

The hosts looked shocked, Hoffenheim confident, and wilst their defending was not always textbook it was looking effective, that was until the 72nd minute, with what was about to be a brilliant 20 or so minutes. A good build up led to a superb ball by Hofmann, Stindl’s run was perfect, he was in space, he turned, he scored, 2-2. Though parity was not to last long.

Less than a minute later, Hofmann was again central to the build up, turning into the referee, who superbly tackled the midfielder, the ball breaking to Uth, he fed Grillitsch he fired across Sommer and Hoffenheim were back in the lead.

Borussia kept going, they probed at the visitors defence, Raffael had a shot charged down, Elvedi had a header saved by Baumann, the keeper was earning his corn. Nordtveit, another ex Premier League player, West Ham, came on for Hoffenheim, before his side hit The Foals on the break and Schulz smashed an effort against the bar, This was brilliant stuff.

Stindl went very close in the last minute as Borussia continued to plug away, a corner in the last minute found its way to the far side of the box, Raffael drove the ball cross the six yard box and there was Ginter at the far post to turn in a third equaliser for the hosts. And still the hosts pushed forward, Hoffenheim defending with everything they had, but even then they could have won it, Kramaric forcing a great save from Sommer.

What a game!

F-T: Borussia Monchengladbach 3 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

I decided to head back to Cologne from Rhedyt Station. Google maps telling me it was nearer than Monchengladbach. It may well be, but if you are making this journey do not follow this app. When all the locals start to turn off and eventually you are the only person heading along a path it is for a reason! I managed to somehow avoid mud and fences before finally getting back to tarmac. Crisis avoided I was soon on the train.

Again, the cathedral was imposing upon my arrival, all lit up and the bells ringing away, quite incredible.

Tomorrow was Dortmund. If it was half as good as today it was going to be special.

FACTS

Games: 481

Goals:  1638

Grounds: 225

Games since a 0-0: 6

Milestone: Total attendance for the season have now gone past 300,000

Random Fact: My 148th penalty. The 101st to hit the back of the net.

fussball. teil eins

As the final whistle went, Viktoria were probably a tad relieved as I would bet the hosts had mixed feelings, a point away at the league leaders is never to be sniffed at, but they came oh so close to getting all 3.

FC VIKTORIA KOLN  1  WUPPERTALER SV  1

REGIONALLIGA WEST

Sportpark Hohenberg, Koln

Att: 1183

Gate € 15

Programme € 5

When Mrs Chion said she wanted to do some decorating and wanted me out of the way, who am I to challenge being sent away for the weekend. First thought, where do Ryanair fly to that’s cheap, Cologne it is. Well it might be, let’s look at the fixtures, all 3 Koln teams at home. Booked.

Fortuna at home Friday, Viktoria  on the Saturday and FC on the Sunday. Then plans changed. First of all I was offered the chance of another game on the Sunday with a one off experience. So FC was off. Then Viktoria’s game was switched to the Friday. Decision to be made, Viktoria winning by the sheer fact there ground doesn’t have an athletics track around it.

Mr O’Leary’s airline dropped me at Bonn Airport, I honestly cannot remember going to an ex-Capital city before, certainly one that had been changed relatively recently. Train to Cologne and out of the station to one of the most breathtaking sights ever. Gary Langley described  it in a tweet as off the scale, you are not wrong there sir. A 20 minute stroll later and I was at my hotel.

Once sorted, it was back off to the centre and to catch the number 1 tram out to Sportpark Hohenberg. Alighting at Frankfurter Str. the ground was a 5 minutes stroll through a park. I had already purchased my ticket over the interweb and was soon inside as the rain started to fall. After purchasing my programme, I found my seat, directly behind the hosts dugout and settled in for the evening.

Viktoria were sitting pretty on top of the West Division of the 4th tier of German football, their opponents not too far behind in seventh, 10 points adrift but with a game in hand. Wuppertaler’s fans who had made the journey were making theemselves heard pre-match and as the sides came out they turned the volume up again, flares and fireworks followed. Cannot beat a bit of pyro can you?

It was the hosts that started the brighter, testing Mross early on before they took the lead in the 8th minute, the ball working its way to the on rushing right back Lang who unleashed an unstoppable drive past the visiting keeper, 1-0 to Viktoria. All this did was wake WSV and they brought themselves into the game fairly quickly looking dangerous on the attack, especially down their right wing. In the 20th minute they had the ball in the net with a header from a corner, the referee ruling it out, I have no idea what for, but he was a fair few yards closer to the action than I was.

Both sides continued to threaten for the rest of the half without seriously testing the opposition keeper. Overall Viktoria slightly shaded the opening 45, but only just

H-T: FC Viktoria Koln 1 Wuppertaler SV 0

If the hosts had the better of the opening 45, then it was the visitors who had the better of the second, in fact in the end, it was only a fantastic save from Patzler that earned them a point.

WSV started on the front foot and had a go at the league leaders from the off, they built the pressure up bit by bit, but Viktoria were resisting and looking dangerous on the break. The visitors using both wings as the hosts used their pace, it was a contest that was opening up more and more.

The visitors must a thought that it really was not going to be their day when a looping cross from Heidemann was left by Patzler, the ball bouncing on top of the bar and over, much to the relief of the hosts bench. The away fans didn’t have to wait too long for a goal though, just minutes later Kramer turned a Dowidat cross past Patzler leaving the keeper wrong-footed and stranded to the spot, 1-1, it was no more than WSV deserved.

Both sides went for it, with play moving quickly from end to end, it was Wuppertaler who came closest to winning it right at the death when an effort from Wirtz rolled agonisingly wide.

As the final whistle went, Viktoria were probably a tad relieved as I would bet the hosts had mixed feelings, a point away at the league leaders is never to be sniffed at, but they came oh so close to getting all 3.

F-T: FC Viktoria Koln 1 Wuppertaler SV 0

Out into the chilly Cologne evening and retrace my steps and tram journey back to my hotel.

Tomorrow was going to be a busy day.

FACTS

Games: 480

Goals:  1632

Grounds: 224

Games since a 0-0: 5

Milestone: 1st ever match in Germany, my 10th country.

Random Fact: This was the 6th different country of my season, in order, Scotland, Serbia, England, Poland and Wales leading up to Germany.

al1 4pl

Then the yellows started getting the ball to Lucien. He started to run at right-back Thompson. Thompson got a bit of a roasting.

ST ALBANS CITY

Clarence Park Stadium, St. Albans AL1 4PL

Main Stand: 

What an absolute gem.

Little else to say really. Plenty of seating, bar at the rear, food to the south, what a fantastic old stand though

North Stand: 

Open terrace behind the goal. On days of segregation this belongs to the home fans.

East Stand: 

A long terrace, covered in the middle with what looks like a communist concrete structure. Again, I love it.

IMG_3800 (2)

South Stand:

Similar to the North, but this one would be for the away fans if they need to split them up

IMG_3960 (2)

Public Transport:

Easy peasy. Exit the St Albans City at the main entrance, turn left, up the road to the lights, turn left, cross the road and you will see a club sign at the entrance to Clarence Park, down the steps and the ground is straight ahead.

St Albans City station has excellent train links to St Pancras and Luton.

 

My Stats

My Ground #: 223

Visits: 1

Goals: 1

Female Officials: 0

Penalties: 1 – scored

Red Cards: 0

Teams Seen: 

St Albans City & Truro City

Game:

10/03/18 – St Albans City 0 Truro City 1

My Visits

10 March 2018

St Albans City 0 Truro City 1

Vanarama National League South

Attendance: 712

Programme: £2.50

Four was the standout pre-match number, it was what was splitting these two sides in the league in terms of both number of points and places. The hosts however, were occupying a play-off spot. Three straight defeats for the visitors from Cornwall meant that the hosts were favourites at the outset.

The Clarence Park Stadium pitch looked in very good condition and perfect for playing the beautiful game on. Getting underway slightly after 3pm there was an unsurprisingly cagey beginning from both sides. After 10 minutes Truro carved out a good chance, a free-kick played into the back post found an unmarked Lamont, the bounce took the ball away from him and his header hit the side netting. It was a big let off for the Saints. Chances were at a premium, the home winger Murrell-Williamson beat his marker but could only shoot straight at McHale in the Truro goal.

After 25 minutes we got the only goal of the game, the White Tigers had a break on the right, Copp waited for Cooke to make his run, played a perfect ball, the number 10 looked as though he was just about to pull the trigger when Kiangebeni bundled into the back of him. Penalty. Nailed on. Left-back Riley-Lowe took it. Left-back Riley-Lowe scored. 1-0 to Truro City.

The rest of the opening 45 minutes were fairly uneventful, the goal had not opened up the game and whilst St Albans were having a lot of the ball they were struggling to create anything. Truro’s defence looked comfortable.

Half-Time: St Albans City 0 Truro City 1

The second period was threatening to be like the first for 15 or so minutes, the odd chance was coming, all to the Saints, all wasted, but none really clear cut. Merson shot weakly straight at McHale with the best of them. This was too comfortable for the visitors. A fact that was realised on the home bench and we had a double substitution. On came German and Lucien, the latter was to make a big difference.

Saints left-back Bender was close to turning a ball in at the back post, McHale somehow getting his hands on the ball in a goalmouth scramble. Then the yellows started getting the ball to Lucien. He started to run at right-back Thompson. Thompson got a bit of a roasting. Lucien seemed to be able to go past Thompson at will, one flick in particular gave Thompson wobbly legs and left him for dead.

However, as St Albans solved one problem, creating, they found another, finishing. Despite more chances now coming they were still unable to find the net. Bender headed into the side netting when it looked easier to score, Walker headed over, last ditch defending deflected Lucien’s effort just wide.

McHale dropped a corner, this was starting to get a bit desperate for the White Tigers, their fans at the far end I think had long give up hope of seeing a second. Corner followed corner, but still there was no way through. Walker headed over again before he his cross went across the goal whilst everyone watched, all unable to get on the end of it. Then that was that, the referee calling time on St Albans City’s attempt to draw level.

Full-Time: St Albans City 0 Truro City 1

Post Match Stats:

100th scored penalty – Riley-Lowe (Truro City)

147th Penalty

214th Clean Sheet

Team Records

St Albans City:

Home: P 1 / W 0 / D 0 / L 1 / F 0 / A 1

Overall: P 1 / W 0 / D 0 / L 1 / F 0 / A 1

Truro City:

Overall: P 1 / W 1 / D 0 / L 0 / F 1 / A 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

ol6 8dy

I have quite some history with this old club. Up to the age of 10 I lived about 500 yards from the ground, though I was still not born when my father made a handful of appearances for the club.

ASHTON UNITED

Hurst Cross, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 8DY

Main Stand: 

Outside the ground is the access to Ashton United’s Social Club, very much the hub of the Hurst Cross community as it has been for a number of years. Entry to the ground is gained by the turnstile(s) at the junction of Surrey Street and Rowley Street, where you will be greeted straight away by programmes and a club draw sellers.

Moving to your right and back along the stand there is the food bar (excellent pies) and club shop before you get to the actual stand. A covered seated area, I’d guess for around 200 people, under which are the changing rooms.

Beyond this is access to the clubhouse and sponsors/VIP suite. On both sides of the seated area there is terracing behind the 2 dugouts. Entry to the ground is currently set at £10 for the league, with no extra cost to sit.

East Stand: incl Roy Donnelly Stand

Behind the goal is an open terrace, with a covered structure at the back of it, named in honour of Roy Donnelly. There is open access all around the ground to freely move around.

North Stand: 

A long terrace, covered in the middle.

West Stand:

Like the East Stand with more room.

Public Transport:

Ashton-under-Lyne has both a Train Station and a Metrolink Stop, with about 200 metres separating the two. Now, it is only a mile or so from these to the ground, but it is pretty much all uphill. And in this part of the world that does not mean a gentle slope either. Get a bus or a taxi. Walking back is much easier.

If you are coming from Manchester, you can always jump on the 231, which drops you pretty much right outside the ground.

Me & Hurst Cross:

I have quite some history with this old club. Up to the age of 10 I lived about 500 yards from the ground, though I was still not born when my father made a handful of appearances for the club.

Aside from walking past the ground every day for years on my way to my junior school up the road, my main memory as a kid was Manchester City sending a ‘youth’ side to pay United as part of a deal when they signed Barney Daniels. This side had many kids who would go on and play for the first team and become Internationals, beating their hosts 8-1. The over-riding memory of the night though is of Joe Corrigan taking a penalty for City, hitting the bar and bouncing back out into open play as he tried to get himself back down the pitch.

Whilst I moved away from the area, I do still have family who live close by and I would bet that a number of old junior school friends are also still neighbours to this old club.

My Stats

My Ground #: 11

Visits: 6

Goals: 23

Female Officials: 0

Penalties: 2 – both scored

Red Cards: 1

Teams Seen: 

Ashton United (6); Altrincham, Colwyn Bay, Northwich Victoria, Ramsbottom United, Stocksbridge Park Steels & Trafford.

Games:

24/02/18 – Ashton United 3 Altrincham 3

17/01/17 – Ashton United 1 Northwich Victoria 0

12/01/16 – Ashton United 6 Ramsbottom United 0

31/08/15 – Ashton United 1 Colwyn Bay 2

12/03/14 – Ashton United 3 Stocksbridge Park Steels 2

07/09/13 – Ashton United 2 Trafford 0

My Visits

24 February 2018

Ashton United 3 Altrincham 3

The EVO-STIK Premier Division

Attendance: 546

Programme: £2

Just 18 days before this match, the two teams met on the other side of Manchester at Moss Lane, the home of Altrincham. The hosts that night deservedly won 3-2 in a game they pretty much dominated for 80 minutes. Credit had to go to United that night as they still had a go and did not give up, pulling one back from a penalty with just over 5 to go and another direct from a free-kick in added on time.

Less than 3 weeks later, the return game saw the league leaders Alty visit Hurst Cross, having only played 1 game in-between, Altrincham remain unbeaten since New Years Day. United are also in decent form, the loss at Moss Lane being their only league defeat since mid October and they sat, pre-match, in 5th position. The play-offs beckoning them again.

After a few days without rain, the pitch looked mostly in good condition as a bitter wind blew in from the moors. Altrincham brought a fair few with them for this local clash, swelling the attendance to over double any other at Hurst Cross this season, they were in fine voice too. Well, for most of the game.

It was Alty who started the brighter, right winger Johnston causing problems, something he was going to do all afternoon. He was also lucky to escape punishment for pushing Chalmers head first into the advertising wall. It was the start of a bad afternoon for the centre-half, he’d be stretchered off shortly before half-time, speedy recovery lad.

We had played 15 minutes before we came close to a goal, Harop seeing his effort saved by Carnell’s outstretched foot. Alty then started to turn up the heat even more, a goalmouth pinball session was followed by a Hulme backheel being saved, then just after the half hour mark the deadlock was broken. Poole was brought down in the box by Roberts. Johnston converted. Altrincham led. Their fans celebrated.

Those celebrations were short-lived, less than 60 seconds later the game was level, Pritchard picking up a through ball and showing composure in addition to finishing as he kept his cool to fire past Thompson. United were level. The match quietened a little following the equaliser, apart from the aforementioned injury, the game drifted to the break.

Half-Time: Ashton United 1 Altrincham 1

If the end of the first half seemed to drift away, the second 45 minutes did not disappoint. United started the brighter and were slowly creating opportunities, Granite heading wide from a free-kick, errors at the back for the visitors were presenting the hosts with corners and opportunities.

It was from one of these corners that Chadwick had a great chance, his shot though was straight at Thompson, Alty broke, Johnston was flying and after a couple of neat interchanges he finished with class into the top corner. Carnell did not stand a chance. 2-1.

Five minutes later, it was 3-1. A corner won by Johnston, was played in, Jones got a head to it and whilst he might try and claim the goal, it hit a United defender, without whose touch the ball would not have gone in. O G.

Surely game over. No. Another five minutes played and we had another goal. This one to Ashton. Not learning any lesson from the game earlier in the month, Alty gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box, ideal for Pritchard to curl one in. Just like the game at Alty he did that. Just like that night he made it 3-2. Unlike that night there was more than seconds left to play. There was 22 minutes.

United gave it everything, Altrincham weathered the early pressure after the goal, started to look dangerous on the break. Surely they has seen out this one? No. With a little over a minute to go United won a corner, over hit, Granite chased it down, muscled off an opponent and then for a second turned himself into a winger. He played in a great cross, Tomsett got up and flicked a header past Thompson, but it hit the bar, then there was Chadwick. All alone. He nodded into the empty net. 3-3. The noise was suddenly coming from the home fans.

What a game

Full-Time: Ashton United 3 Altrincham 3

Post Match Stats:

1600th Goal – Johnston penalty (Altrincham)

25th Penalty of the Season

146th Penalty, 99th scored.

Team Records

Ashton United:

Home: P 6 / W 4 / D 1 / L 1 / F 16 / A 7

Overall: P 9 / W 6 / D 1 / L 2 / F 29 / A 11

Altrincham:

Overall: P 12 / W 3 / D 7 / L 2 / F 21 / A 17

 

 

 

 

 

the battle for hag fold

Atherton LR & Daisy Hill

ATHERTON LR & DAISY HILL

Who is on top with me: 

Atherton LR

Head to Head:

Atherton LR 2 wins

Daisy Hill 1 win

0 draws

My Matches:

23/2/18  Daisy Hill 0 Atherton LR 1

18/4/16  Daisy Hill 4 Atherton LR 2

13/2/15  Atherton LR 1 Daisy Hill 0

Distance:

2.4 miles walk.

I am sure both sides would say that their real rivals are Atherton Collieries, but seeing as ex-LR boss Michael Clegg has now taken Colls up into the Evo-Stik then they are left to battle over Hag Fold, the area that separates the two clubs.

My first experience of these two rivals was on a Friday night in February, an event that was to repeat itself 3 years later. The scoreline was also to be repeated, a 1-0 victory for Laburnum Rovers. Only the venue changed from Crilly Park in 2015 to New Sirs for the most recent encounter.

Sandwiched in-between these 2 Friday night encounters was an impressive 4-2 win for the blues in the 2015/16 season.

As with all local derbies between players who know each other well, this has certainly not been the most bad tempered of rivalries when I have been present. No red cards and only the 1 penalty in the 3 games is quite tame.

Latest Clash:

It was scheduled to be a week where these 2 met twice, Monday in the Cup and Friday in the league. As with so much of the fixture list at the moment, the weather had its say, Monday’s game was off.

There was a quick change, the Friday match was changed from the league to the Division One Cup Quarter-Final. Whilst the cup can be a leveller, LR’s higher league position put them as favourites for this tie.

As with the first time I saw these two play, it was a freezing cold night and a very tight game. Both sides struggled with the strong wind that blew in from Atherton and chances were at a premium. I am sure I am not the only one who thought that they were in for extra-time as we headed towards the last 10 minutes.

Then LR struck, Kidd ran at the home defence, worming his way towards goal, finally getting a shot off, the ball then pinballed around the near post until it fell at the on rushing Giverin’s right foot, the winger swept the ball past Haynes and into the bottom corner. Atherton were through to the semi-final.

 

Next Meeting:

Monday 9 April @ Daisy Hill