Home Is A Feeling

Washed by the warm tide, dried by the sunrise
It’s time to open your eyes to a feeling, feeling
To a feeling

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Oi Oi

If you are in London and ever at a loose end on a Saturday, I truly hope that Fisher are at home. If they are, then get yourself down to SE16 and the St Paul’s Sports Ground.

A day that started out with myself and Mr Wilks on the wrong train to London, I will swear the board at the start of Platform 6 gave our train, finished 11 hours later back in Manchester after a wonderful day.

Thanks to Virgin Trains and another sale we were in First Class, along with BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty for the two and a quarter hours trip down south, the time of which picked our game out of a list of 10. Following a scan of the internet we were off on the Underground heading to London Bridge and as we made good time, including the additional 20 minutes from the train mishap, once we alighted near the Shard we decided to walk to Fisher’s home, a little over 2 miles away.

After  pit stop at Eat, a delicious meal of pie. mash and gravy later, we continued following a path pretty parallel to the south bank of the Thames we arrived at St Paul’s, also the home of the Millwall Lionesses, in good time. A warm welcome and chat to a fellow Mancunian later we made our way to the clubhouse.

The ground itself is fairly basic, on the side you enter there is a covered seating structure along with the clubhouse building that also houses the dressing rooms and toilets etc., opposite, is a narrow path of open standing that stops at bothe ends just before it meets the dugouts. The East End is open standing, the West has a covered standing area where the ‘Fishtras’ gather and make a noise for 90 minutes.

On a very chilly afternoon we got underway with the hosts kicking towards Canary Wharf. An early free-kick for the hosts whistled just wide, but other than that, the opening 30 minutes didn’t really have much to write home about. The hosts dominated possession without really creating anything clear cut and right winger Ramsamy looked like he’d left his best boots at home, his accuracy especially crossing was off. Maybe, just maybe he was getting his aim in.

As we got to the half hour The Dere had their best moment of the game as a ball from the left found McGinty, his shot on the turn smashing against the bar, though this was a rare goor chance in the first half for the visitors.

Half-time was welcome. If to get in from the cold more than any other reason.

Attacking their shoal of fans Fisher really took the game to their opponents after the break, a shot by Brown was saved by Taylor in the Dere’s goal, Ramsamy sending the rebound wide, he was getting closer. Ten minutes into the half he was put in the clear, a great tackle stopped him this time, minutes later it was a Taylor save that stopped the winger, he was dangerous and the visitors had no answer for his pace and timing of runs. On the hour he had the keeper at full stretch again, forcing Taylor into a great save.

After a brief respite at the other end, Fisher took the lead, it was no surprise that Ramsamy got the goal, another good run, shot (which took a slight deflection) over Taylor and in off the underside of the bar, it was no more than Fisher and Ramsamy deserved. The wingers reward was to be pretty much immediately subbed.

The hosts continued to control the game and doubled their lead with just left than 15 minutes to go Small leaving his marker bamboozled with a flick, going past another defender as though he wasn’t there before finishing past Taylor. The remainder of the game was spent with the teams swapping breakaways and half-chances before the referee blew up and we made our way off into the South London evening.

ADDED ON

Two games over the New Year period, firstly to east Manchester for a derby, Maine Road the visitors on a wet and bitterly cold afternoon where we bumped into Rob McKay for the first time in far too long. Road dominated from the off and should have probably won by more than the 4-0 margin they finished with. The highlight of the afternoon though has to go to the taxi driver who turned up in a minibus and got stuck in the mud at the far end. Really was priceless.

Two days later and in a downpour at Moss Lane Altrincham and Witton Albion shared 7 goals, the visitors taking the lions share, just. Hulme gave Alty an early lead, back came Witton with goals from the brilliant Owens and Foley  before half-time. The rain continued to pour down as the Robins came back with 2 goals to take the lead Poole and White the scorers. In the last 10 minutes Albion shocked everyone as Owens got the equaliser and with a minute or so to go Jones got the winner. What a cracking game.

GAMES

Sat (30/12): Abbey Hey 0 Maine Road 4

Mon: Altrincham 3 Witton Albion 4

Sat: Fisher 2 Erith & Belvedere 0

FACTS

Games: 455

Goals:  1560

Grounds: 215

Games since a 0-0: 68

Milestone: 100th Away Goal of the Season – Thomas Owens (Witton Albion)

Performance of the Week: Mathieu Ramsamy – Fisher. For 20 minutes he was unplayable.

Random Fact: The Fisher game was my 79th at Step 6, during which I have seen 306 goals

SOUNDTRACK

Weather Diaries – Ride

 

Slide Away

Don’t you feel alive
These are your times and our highs

GAME OF THE WEEK

Burscough 2 Northwich Victoria 1

Hallmark Security League Premier Division

Attendance: 103

Gate: £6

Programme: £2

Well the best laid plans and all that.

News came through that my original choice of Nuneaton Town v Harrogate Town was off, it was joined by numerous other games, in fact at one point only Hyde United and Stockport County were confirmed as being on locally.

Conferring with my partner in crime Mr Wilks, the decision was eventually made to head out to Burscough for their game with Northwich Vics and a clash between two clubs that look to be on a downward spiral, at the very least, they have both enjoyed better times.

So on a rainy afternoon we set off for West Lancashire. Parking in Tesco’s car park we headed off to the Village Fish Bar for some food to find it had closed 20 minutes earlier. Damn. However, it was going to re-open at 4:30. Post match chippy? Oh go on then.

After sheltering in the warmth of the car for a while we made our way to Victoria Park. A ground that may not be around for much longer, which would be a shame, it looks in need of a little bit of TLC. Entering behind the goal to the east, which is open standing, moving in a clockwise direction in the corner is the clubhouse/food bar/offices. On the south side as well as having open standing is a raised grandstand. At the ‘far end’ is a covered terraced area, unfortunately this area is cordoned off whilst maintenance work is carried out. Finally, on the north side, is another covered terraced area.

The sides come out, one in green the other in white, it took me a second to realise it was Burscough that were in white, a change from the last time I saw them. We got underway on a heavy pitch in horrible conditions. The opening 45 minutes were very much spent trying to cope with the conditions, as the players struggled with the ball and any kind of passing game, us spectators trying to stay warm.  Chances were at a premium and both sides were restricted to a fair amount of long shots as the referee had to keep changing the ball due to the condition of it. No surprise that it was 0-0 at the break.

Six minutes into the second half and a big moment of controversy, what looked like a fair tackle by Vics defender Kenny was punished by the referee Ince and a penalty was awarded. Justice was done when Donlon guessed correctly and pushed Whyte’s penalty away for a corner. Great save.

Was the dreaded 0-0 on the cards? As we neared the midway point of the half we got our answer. No! Burscough’s Ward sprinting clear in the inside channel and unleashing his effort that Donlon couldn’t keep out. 1-0 Linnets. Back came Northwich and they grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck creating chance after chance but missing time after time. That was until the 75th minute when they won a free-kick on the right hand corner of the box. Gorman took it. Gorman curled right into the far top corner. Keeper had no chance. What a goal! 1-1. Only one winner here.

Yes, I got that wrong. As Vics continued to dominate a Burscough break in added on led to Cummings slotting home the ball, big celebrations followed from the Whites, Vics looked on incredulously, Burscough had stolen the game.

When the final whistle sounded we finally managed to get our chippy. Very tasty.

ADDED ON

Original plan was to visit West Didsbury & Chorlton, which was postponed due to the weather. It did seem a little strange when Maine Road’s, which is about a mile and a half away, was more than playable. Anyway. Joined by 1874 mark, we soon witnessed bottom of the table Barnton arrived and found themselves 2-0 down in less than 15 minutes without doing much wrong. Sean Cookson was their villain. Road’s left winger scored a worldie of an opener, lashing home his effort from 20 yards out after just 8 minutes  and 5 minutes later reacted first to a looping ball in the area and nodded home.

A third was added after the break, Woodcock, the hosts impressive right winger, was fouled for the umpteenth time, this time in the box, penalty given, up stepped Coop, 3-0. A late consolation scored by Hamid, fine strike from distance gave Barnton a little consolation, but Maine Road still ran out worth winners, despite finishing with 9 men due to a late injury and sending off.

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GAMES

Mon: Maine Road 3 Barnton 1

Sat: Burscough 2 Northwich Victoria 1

FACTS

Games: 449

Goals:  1527

Grounds: 212

Games since a 0-0: 62

Milestone: None

Performance of the Week: Zack Woodcock. The Maine Road winger was a constant threat to the Barnton defence. Tormentor.

Chippy of the Week: Village Fish Bar, Burscough.

Random Fact: James Ormrod’s red card for Maine Road was my 99th.

SOUNDTRACK

A Storm in Heaven – The Verve

Pleasantly Disturbed

Think of a colour
Tell me what you see
That colour’s red
You can take it from me

GAME OF THE WEEK

Altrincham 3 Halesowen Town 0

The Evo-Stik Premier Division

Attendance: 808

Gate: £10

Programme: Unsure, forgot to get one

Due to an engagement in the evening, off to watch the excellent comedian Paul Chowdry, I had to stay local. A scan of all the nearby fixtures, I thought to myself that I hadn’t been to Moss Lane for a while, just shy of 8 months, and Alty were hitting a bit of form. No-brainer.

On a unseasonally warm afternoon the 245 carried me from Urmston to the centre of Altrincham and a 10 minutes stroll later I was at Moss Lane. I had been here 6 times before and quite incredibly for the run of form they have had in this period, I had yet to see them lose at home.

A ground for the those of us who love the older things in life. Well most of it is. The main side with it’s fairly brand new hall, less new main stand and family/sponsors stand looks fairly ok. Going in an anti-clockwise direction there is an open terrace, followed by my favourite part of the ground. The Popular Side Terrace is covered. A mixture of posts, scaffolding and anything else they could lay their hands on, it is a gem. Love it. The final end has covered standing and the home fans can make a fair noise when they get going from here.

So, on to the first half. Only there is not much to say at all. It was pretty shocking if I am honest. Best forgotten as quickly as is humanly possible.

Right, on to half-time, which although nothing happened was more bearable than the opening 45 minutes.

Whatever was said at half-time, in particular to the home team, worked. Straight from the off there was pace and purpose, this wasn’t the same team I had seen 15 minutes earlier. In less than a minute the Robins were 1-0 up. Neat play on the right, Hancock played in, finished low and hard into the far corner. That is why Alty are flying.

With that, the game sprang into life, the reds were bossing the game, Poole went close before a strange penalty decision. A Yeltz defender was caught ball watching in the area as a forward pinched the ball off his toes and was tripped by another defender, only the ball went out to the wing. The official signalled advantage. Yes, advantage. As the whole ground thought ‘What?’ He realised his error and correctly gave the spot-kick. Johnston tucked it away.

A pattern of play had been established now and continued until the final whistle, Alty controlling the game, creating chances whilst Town were left to breaking away, that said, if it wasn’t for two good stops by Thompson in the home goal they would have rather unfairly been back in the match.

Finally with just under 10 minutes remaining it was 3-0 as Poole finished with ease as Alty toyed with the Yeltz back line. What a difference half-time made.

ADDED ON

I took my pal James to Maine Road on Monday for his first ever visit. It was my 21st. After Road hit the post early on it was Padiham who then took control. Taking the lead just after the quarter of an hour to a goal officially scored by Boyle. Looked like an own goal by the keeper to me.

The teams swapped chances and went close a couple of times before the interval. In the second half the Storks took control, Craig missed a glorious chance with a header before he slotted his sides second. With the visitors in total control the hosts pulled one back with a dozen or so minutes left. A cross from the left was turned into his own goal by Holden,

Step up Hart, picking up a ball around the halfway line, he ran 20 or so yards before chipping the keeper to perfection. Absolute class. Take a bow son. 3-1 game over.

For the second Friday in a row I was starting the weekend the right way. Over to Prestwich with the father-in-law on a windy evening. Both teams went for this one and to be fair I cannot think of a time when I have seen either in anything less than an entertaining match. Chaddy smashed one against the bar early on with the keeper beaten all ends up, Heys were slightly the better side when they took the lead on the half hour through Bruce.

A second followed through White from the penalty spot, a fairly soft award from the officials handing the hosts a 2 goal advantage at the break. Chaddy did have the ball in the net at the end of the half but it was ruled out for offside, coming in a spell where the visitors were on top.

Following the break Heys continued to dominate, Baguley put them 3-0 up on the hour and then Chaddy sprang into life. Son of the England International Scholes thumped a header home 3 minutes later, Iloube added a second for the visitors 5 minutes after that, Chaddy were flying.

For the next 10 minutes it only looked like a matter of time before Chadderton equalised, chances were coming, one had to be taken, surely? No. Heys added a fourth and could breathe again, Bruce claiming his second.

Most of the second half was spent in the company of Alan and Mark Riding, father and son combo from 1874 Northwich, who tried (and failed) to find a successful manager who has played under Fergie. Don’t try, there isn’t one.

GAMES

Mon: Maine Road 1 Padiham 3

Fri: Prestwich Heys 4 Chadderton 2

Sat: Altrincham 3 Halesowen Town 0

FACTS

Games: 427

Goals:  1459

Grounds: 202

Games since a 0-0: 40

Milestone: 750th Home goal – Bruce (Prestwich Heys)

SOUNDTRACK

Life in a Day – Simple Minds

Still Feeling Blue

I hope you’re out and happy now
Doing up the town ’cause you know how

GAME OF THE WEEK

Irlam 2 Parkgate 1

The Buildbase FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round

Attendance: 68

Gate: £5

Programme: £2

If it had not been for work I would not have been at this game, I would have been over the hills in Parkgate country. But I wasn’t, I was here.

It was only once I made the 5 miles journey home did I fully realise just how long it had been since my last visit to Silver Street, four weeks shy of a year or exactly 100 games. Far too long. Will not be this long again Irlam, I promise.

This ground is my ‘5 minutes journey’. Five minutes to Urmston Station, five minutes on the train, five minutes on the bus and five minutes walk up Silver Street. Easy peasy.

Clubhouse visited, Ian Williams met, hot pot bought, out to the ground to await the 2 teams. This was my 9th visit to Irlam’s home, a 50% win record for the Salford blues in my previous 8 games. My Parkgate record was just the one game, part of the Easter groundhop in 2015, a 2-1 home defeat.

Kicking off on this overcast afternoon, the hosts attacking the ’62’ end started the brighter and looked the more likely to score from the off, the reds from Rotherham just lacking that spark in the final third, the game started to get a bit niggly, something that would increase as the afternoon wore on, the referee failed to act on any of it and therefore made things worse later on.

However, halfway through the half we saw a touch of class as a move down the hosts right wing finished with Mooney coming in off the wing and firing low into the net, 1-0 Irlam. Aside from a Parkgate free-kick, which whizzed past the post the rest of the half did not leave much to remember from an entertainment point of view.

We did though see a red card and Irlam were lucky not to be reduced to 9. Following a set piece and ensuing scramble the referee blew as a visiting player was down with a head injury, with the ball still bouncing around the inevitable melee and handbags ensued. When all had been pulled apart, the blues skipper Mills had received his marching orders. Minutes later the whistle blew for half-time and Morrison’s screaming at the referee could easily have seen him see red too.

It was surely going to be a long second 45 minutes for Irlam, though to be fair they coped very well, and the big wait was for both sides out a good couple of minutes before the officials finally appeared. Give credit where it is due, you could not tell that Irlam were a man down for the rest of the game. Boland and substitute Illidge caused problems, Ledson and emergency defender Holt, looking fairly solid. Dhesi trying his best to drive the visitors forward.

With 10 minutes left the visitors grabbed an equaliser, the ball bouncing around the area, Alali rising above White and nodding in. Was I going to get an extra 30 minutes for the second time in a week? No. With five minutes to go, Irlam were awarded a penalty. No arguments, nailed on. Up step Boland, no nerves shown as he gave Ledger no chance. Game won.

So it was time to head home, courtesy of Ian Williams, First Buses, Northern Rail and my old legs.

ADDED ON

Well what do I know, as I walked along Brantingham Road I thought to myself that I should have given this game a miss. So glad I did not take my own advice. What a cracker. First half bossed by the hosts, should have gone in with a far bigger lead than the 2-1 scoreline, missing 2 great chances, 1 in particular. Totally bossed it.

After the break so did the visitors, who also could probably have finished with more goals than they did. Cracker of a game, one of those that you brag about being at, thanks to both teams.

In Glasgow with work the following day, the only option available to me was Partick Thistle v Glasgow Rangers in the BetFred Quarter-Final. Another end to end game, the 0-0 scoreline at half-time was down to poor finishing and great goalkeeping. After the break the Gers missed a glorious chance before Pena, the guy with the Jake the Snake haircut flicked the ball in with his head, or his ponytails. An equaliser in the 90th minute took us into extra-time.

There was only one team in it from this point and the Blues took a deserved place in the semi-finals.

GAMES

Mon: Maine Road 2 Runcorn Town 5

Tues: Partick Thistle 1 Glasgow Rangers 3 aet

FACTS

Games: 418

Goals:  1425

Grounds: 199

Games since a 0-0: 31

Milestone: N/A

SOUNDTRACK

GP – Gram Parsons

I Feel Alright

“Outta my mind on a Saturday night”

GAME OF THE WEEK

Glossop North End 2 Kendal Town 1

The Evo-Stik North

Attendance: 318

Gate: £8

Programme: £1.50

A first for me, a blog over a 2 week period. The reason? The dreaded Manflu. As I have miraculously pulled through in time for this weekend I decided to head out to Glossop, the home of the ‘Pie Fairies’.

Catching the train into town, across the city and then on to Glossop went swimmingly well and I was soon walking from the station to the ground. It has been a little while since I was last at Surrey Street and things have changed. A change of management team. Peter Hammond, the long time secretary has stepped down and they are building houses right behind the clubhouse end. There is a club shop. Change is definitely afoot. Just make sure you keep the Pie Fairies!

On my pre-match walk aound the ground I overheard a lady say that she was going to stay overnight the next time The Hillmen got to Wembley, Step 4 is probably the hardest level of football to do that from until you get to park level, so I must say I love your optimism or pessimism if you think your team are going down.

The teams came out and the size difference was very noticeable, the hosts resembled a rugby team compared to their opponents. The opening 45 minutes offered very little to be honest. Glossop were the better side, most of what they did came via the old route one method, which by and large Kendal coped with. Meppen-Walters took care of the throw-ins, Gaul caused the hosts a few moments to think about. One of the two Matthew Russell’s that the hosts have smashed an effort against the post.

Surrey Street has a gem of a stand, opposite the turnstile the covered seating structure is a true non-league stand and one of my favourites, close to the dugouts and around the corner from covered standing, this is certainly my favourite part of the ground, apart from the Pie Fairies home that is.

After the teams re-emerged the game kicked into life, mainly due to a fairly bizarre refereeing decision, but the match roused itself. A fairly innocuous through ball by Town was played back to his keeper by Jones, an age later, as he came to a stop on his sliding pass, a forward went over his outstretched leg. The referee gave a penalty. The ball had gone. I could be wrong but it looked a strange one to me. Either way, it was given and dispatched as below.

This stirred the hosts, a double substitution was made, a change of shape, followed a few minutes later by another penalty. No! The liner had flagged Jones’ header from a Chippendale free-kick had crossed the line, 1-1. Probably saved a huge row as to if the visiting defender was going to see red or not. It was a cracking header from Jones and worthy of a goal.

North End threatened to win the game, the visitors settled for a point and that was going to be that, apart from Mr Johnson had not read the script, skillfully controlling a long ball forward he fired past Kitchen from outside the area. With a little over 5 minutes to go the game had been snatched, and whilst Glossop deserved to win, a defeat did appear harsh on Kendal Town.

The journey home was peaceful and over before I knew it.

ADDED ON

Monday night in Widnes? Why the hell not, decent fayre served up to. Widnes taking the lead through the lively Lomax after 20 minutes, followed 5 minutes later by a cracker of an equaliser by Adegbenro. After the break we had handbags, a winner through Lomax and a saved penalty that would have got the hosts over the line more comfortably. Good way to start the week.

The night after, I witnessed Bamber Bridge and in particular Ali Waddecar rip Kendal Town apart. Headlines went to Brad Carsley for his hat-trick, though the second was an own goal if ever I have seen one, it was Brig’s number 7 who ran the show.

A class act, he made the first with a superb cross that Carsley couldn’t miss from, though he did, and then put the rebound away, just. Hit the post from a free-kick. Scored a cracker himself and generally caused Kendal’s left-back the kind of night that does not come along too often. Brig are easily the best Step 4 side I have seen so far this season.

Then the dreaded manflu. Which I thought I had shook off at the weekend, so I toddled off to Brantingham Road to watch a very good Pontefract Collieries team slay Maine Road in the FA Vase. Playing like this they have a chance in this competition, but boy can they moan. Several of their players and staff in the dugout did not stop from start to finish.

As a neutral, yes decisions went against you. They also went against the host. Get over it. The two biggest errors were not sending off your defender for a, quite frankly, horrific diving in tackle. If that had connected it would have broken a leg that might still be embedded in the pitch, Also a member of your bench should have gone too for his foul-mouthed, jumping up and down on the pitch episode. I thought I could moan and whinge, but compared to a handful of this lot, pure amateur.

Bloody good footballing side, awful manners and absolutely no respect for the officials.

GAMES

Mon 4th: Widnes 2 Congleton Town 1

Tues 5th: Bamber Bridge 4 Kendal Town 0

Sat 9th: Maine Road 1 Pontefract Collieries 5

Sat 16th: Glossop North End 2 Kendal Town 1

FACTS

Games: 415

Goals:  1411

Grounds: 198

Games since a 0-0: 28

Milestone: Goal 1400 scored (officially) by Brad Carsley of Bamber Bridge. Big nod goes to Will Kitchen in the Kendal Town goal for somehow making sure it went over the line.

SOUNDTRACK

Damned Damned Damned – The Damned

Mysterious Ways

If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel (on your knees boy!)

GAME OF THE WEEK

Cleethorpes Town 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 1

The Evo-Stik South

Attendance: 184

Gate: £7

Programme: £1.50

This visit has been a long time coming, far too long. I ran into Cleethorpes Town on the NCEL Easter Groundhop over 2 years ago at Barton Town Old Boys (now Barton Town). On a fresh Good Friday morning, in the vicinity of the Humber Bridge, the Owls visited in numbers, entertained us on and off the pitch, stealing the show for the weekend. Later that same day we visited Grimsby Borough at Bradley Road. Same nest that the Owls call home.

Finally, I realised plans I made that day and was heading east on a sunny Saturday towards Cleethorpes, or actually, Grimsby. Kind of weird that, use Grimsby station for Cleethorpes Town and Cleethorpes station for Grimsby Town. Off into the seaside air, a short bus ride later I arrived at Bradley Road.

This is a council owned football centre, where Clee Town and Grimsby Borough play at home along with a number of other projects using the facility. Sorry to say but the ground does lack character, the main building on your left after entering houses a bar, toilets and changing rooms does what it needs to, but is very much what you would expect. Food’s decent though.

Unfortunately, there is very little to tel you about, at the far end is a small covered standing area and opposite the main building a larger covered seating area. If only the ground matched the people you meet, it would be a cracker.

Whilst both teams are through to the next round of the cup, their starts in the league have been quite different. Town have won both of their games, whilst Athletic have managed only 1 point from the possible 6. Given that information, any stranger would have thought the teams were in the wrong kits in the opening 45 minutes. An even start gave way to Grove looking the brighter and starting to create more. Town were limited to balls over the top and the odd run from Taylor.

Aside from a moment of madness from keeper Parton, Grove looked fairly comfortable at the back. France and Cocks looked dangerous, though the latter became public enemy number one for going down under a hefty first half challenge. Cropper and Malbon were starting to pull Bloomer and Donald around. It was therefore no surprise when the visitors took the lead. A move down their right side saw Malbon free in the channel, drawing the keeper he fed Cropper who’s outstretched foot poked the ball just inside the post, 1-0 to Kidsgrove.

Kidsgrove looked comfortable for the rest of the half and quarter of an hour into the second period, then the Owls management team had seen enough and three quick substitutes just after the hour mark changed things around, going 3 at the back and giving a bit more oomph up front started to make a difference.

Substitutes Oglesby and Dickens added purpose and a bit of zest, Davis looked a different player. Though Town still could not find a way through, when they did Parton was there for Grove. Until, the 75th minute that is, when an umpteenth corner for the hosts was swung in. Donald rose highest and his header was on target, it looked stoppable, however Parton could only get a hand on it and the ball bobbled over the line at the near post, if only somebody had been stood there. 1-1, game on.

The atmosphere around Bradley Road changed with the equaliser, and it was no surprise when Clee went ahead 3 minutes later. Cooper had had a chance moments before but took to long and the chance passed, he did the same thing here, but it worked out brilliantly for the Owls. His first attempt was blocked, but the ball sat very nicely for him, this time the substitute thumped the ball home from 12 yards giving the keeper no chance. In less than 20 minutes we had seen a complete transformation of the game. Credit to the Town management team.

Game over and I was back off home, another pleasant train journey and a nap so I would be ok for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight.

ADDED ON

On Monday I was back at Brantingham Road, again with George Cheetham, he of Manchopper fame and Mark Riding, later on we were joined by the legend that is iBreezeblock. As much as I like these 3 gents, that was pretty much as good as the evening got.

The match was not good, both keepers pulled off a good save, Abbey Hey took the lead with a penalty, Road equalised with a belter from Poxon, though unfortunately this only brought us extra-time. Unfortunately, an injury to Hampshire shortly into the additional 30 minutes led to the game being abandoned.

The following night I was in Tameside to watch Stalybridge Celtic entertain Marine. Relegated last season, Celtic need to steady the ship, judging by this performance it could be a struggle. Second best pretty much all over the pitch and from start to finish, I think the only surprise was that Marine only won 2-0.

Confidence appeared to be draining away as the game went on, things do not look too good at Bower Fold and it looks like another Tameside team will make the drop from the National Leagues to the Evo-Stik North.

GAMES

Mon: Maine Road A Abbey Hey A

Tues: Stalybridge Celtic 0 Marine 2

Sat: Cleethorpes Town 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 1

FACTS

Games: 408

Goals:  1385

Grounds: 197

Games since a 0-0: 21

SOUNDTRACK

Achtung Baby – U2

See It Through

“Its gettin’ better,
One day its gonna happen and we’ll see it through …”

GAME OF THE WEEK

Sheffield FC 0 Ossett Town 2

The Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round

Attendance: 229

Gate: £8

Programme: £2

After visiting the oldest ground in the world in the oldest competition in the world, I decided to go for the oldest club in the next round, so on a quite autumnal afternoon in the middle of August I was in Dronfield, south of Sheffield.

I had a lift to this cup-tie, surprisingly a well known internet search engine’s map routing system took us along the A6 before pulling off to go through Stoney Middleton and close to the wonderfully named Unthank.

Paying the £1 car park fee, we parked, made our way to the entrance and entered ‘The Home of Football’ or the Coach & Horses Ground as it is otherwise known. Not much has changed since I last visited a couple of years ago. Two sides are open standing with a scoreboard in-between them, the East Side has a partial covered terrace along with the ‘Wall of Football’, where celebrities names appear, though, the one time top of the list, a certain Mr Sepp Blatter, is now covered with a sticker. Behind the goal to the south is where the club has their buildings, committee room, club shop, changing rooms etc alongside a covered seated area.

As the ever changing weather went about its business the sides came out and got the game underway. As the game was still settling down the hosts were forced into a change as Gascoigne limped off, both sides tried to take control but neither keeper was getting particularly tested. An evenly matched half was being played out and it looked like it would take something special to break the deadlock. Five minutes before half-time we got it.

Though different and special, spectacular it was not. Town won a corner on the right wing. Swung in by midfielder Gregory, Sheffield’s keeper came out to clear and punched the ball into his own net. Souter chased the referee claiming he had been impeded, the decision was not going to change (it never does), Town were 1-0 up.

Another enforced substitute for the home side before the break looked to confirm that this was not going to be their day.

Ossett Town took control after the break, looking the more dangerous and creating good chances, Hancock started to pull the reds defence more, Curtis threatened from deep and their passing became more crisp. Unfortunately for Town, target man and skipper Peterson was not having his best day. A clear chance at the far post was somehow skewed wide followed shortly after by finding himself totally unamrked on the edge of the box, his effort was straight at Souter.

With 15 minutes to go, Town finally found another way through and kill off this tie. Again the goal came from a corner, though this was more conventional, centre-half Snowden rising well above the rest and finding the back of the net.

Sheffield tried their best to get a foothold in the game and pressed forward, but all too often either failed to pull the trigger or deliver a decent final ball. Ossett Town deservedly find themselves in the draw tomorrow. On another day it might have been different.

ADDED ON

Monday evening I was at Maine Road, meeting up with fellow hopper George Cheetham. The hosts were entertaining Congleton Town in the NWCFL Premier Division. Three and a half years earlier I had seen these two play in the same fixture, Road winning 2-0.

For 65 minutes, this match was pretty awful. Some of the passing would have shamed pub sides, but all of a sudden it woke up in the 65th minute with a penalty for the Bears. Carey converting past Livesey, who can count himself very lucky to still be on the field after conceding the spot-kick with a foul.

Five minutes later and a huge game changer, the visitors were reduced to 10 when Mbowe was sent off for pulling back a Road striker who was through on goal. Once it was clear the assistant had seen it then there was only going to be one outcome. Doon after 2 goals in 2 minutes from Mason and Williams turned the match on its head.

Twenty Four hours late and I was at Stormy Corner to watch Skelmersdale United entertain Trafford. A game of two halves, the visitors on top in the opening 45, United the better team after the break.

Linwood opened the scoring for Trafford on the quarter hour mark, though Dean tried his best to claim it and looked to be offside, Owens left Mason for dead to fire the deserved equaliser shortly after the break. Fair result in the end.

GAMES

Mon: Maine Road 2 Congleton Town 1

Tues: Skelmersdale United 1 Trafford 1

Sat: Sheffield FC 0 Ossett Town 2

FACTS

Games: 406

Goals:  1380

Grounds: 196

Games since a 0-0: 19

SOUNDTRACK

The Charlatans – The Charlatans