Monday, 24 May 2010

Morecambe vs Dagenham and Redbridge (20/05/10)

Match 82

Ground #: 10 (7th visit)

Ground: Christie Park

Competition: English League 2 Play-off SF 2nd Leg

Kick Off: 7:45pm

Cost: £10 (student)

Programme: £3

Attendance: 4,972

Morecambe 2

Duffy 81’, Artell 90’

Dagenham and Redbridge 1

Benson 85’



End of Era

PREVIOUS VISITS: 08/05/10 – Morecambe 1-0 Aldershot Town (English League 2)

After Dagenham went into this game, only 6-0 up on aggregate, there was only going to be one winner in the overall tie, but Morecambe still wanted to say goodbye to Christie Park on a high. I also wanted to say good-bye to my biggest and best season yet as this was game number #34 for 2009/2010 and so was hoping for a decent 90 minutes, and who knows!? Maybe the greatest comeback ever? (Don’t be silly)


For 45 minutes, at least, we did see a lot of huffing and puffing from both sides but no goals scored as I really began to fear I’d end the season with a 0-0. Dag and Red also were clearly on top in the first half as Morecambe, for the 2nd game running, seemed to let the occasion get the better of them as firstly Romain Vincelot’s shot forced Morecambe goalie Barry Roche into a decent save. Then Abu Ogogo struck the edge of the bar as his speculative volley almost flew straight in while Roche then produced a world-class one handed save from Scott Doe and Morecambe managed to keep the Daggers out. The Shrimps themselves did have the odd chance, as mental goalie Tony Roberts (more on him later) produced a decent save from a Moss freekick. At half-time, the tie was well and truly over, but we all wondered if Morecambe could make some sort of game of it for the final 45 at CP.


The second half was thankfully a lot better as Morecambe really went at the Daggers in an attempt to bring one last hurrah at CP. Tony Roberts was now right behind the main batch of Morecambe fans in the North Stand and the banter between them was great as Roberts was giving as good as he got, all in great humour which was great to see. Phil Jevons nearly opened the scoring on 60 mins when his great chip just clipped the top of the bar and went over as it seemed to be one of those nights as Morecambe looked like they wouldn’t score. It very nearly looked like an evening to forget around the 70 minute mark when a great Daggers counter-attack saw Vincelot play a great ball across the box which was turned in by Benson on the line, however while he and the 300 odd Daggers fans were celebrating it was given as offside. TV replays shows he was nowhere near. Morecambe then went on the rampage just to try and find that elusive goal and on 81 minutes they found it when Curtis’ ball was headed on in the penalty area and found Mark Duffy who volleyed into the ground and bottom corner to give Morecambe the lead. Fans got really excited when it was nearly 2 as Mullin nearly converted a low cross as Morecambe fans began to really believe they might even score another. That belief ended on 85 minutes when Danny Green’s great ball from the byline found Paul Benson at the back post, who headed from about a yard out. Morecambe did get a winner though in injury time when a deep ball in found Dave Artell who planted a header away from Roberts and into the bottom corner.


A mini-pitch invasion at the final whistle after Morecambe ensured a winning end to Christie Park. Good luck to Dag and Red in their play-off final against Rotherham Utd, a very tight one to call. Morecambe can now look forward to a new future at the Globe Arena (expect a blog report from the building site there over summer when I have nothing to do!) and an official opening friendly against “a Premiership club” and hopefully a game that I’ll still be up in Lancashire for to start my 2010/11 season with a bang. A season that started in the pouring North Devon rain ended up with a farewell to Christie Park. Sadly no Wembley finale, but a great season nonetheless which I’ll round up fully in early June with my plans (although god knows what these are at the moment) of 2010/11. Have a great summer! (Except England).


Match Ratings:

- Match: 6/10 (livened up at the end)

- Value for money: 7/10 (decent league prices)

- Ground: 8/10 (will be sorry to see it go)

- Atmosphere: 8/10 (great noise from North Stand)

- Food: 8/10 (another good burger here)

- Programme: 7/10 (normal edition this time, good effort)

- Referee: E.Ilderton – 6/10 (not a lot to do)

More vs DR prog

More vs DR stub

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Que Sera, Sera….

Wembley, baring an almighty miracle tomorrow at Christie Park seems to be a pipe dream as Morecambe’s biggest ever game in years turned into a nightmare as Dag & Red romped home to a 6-0 win in the first leg. I’ll let the Barking and Dagenham Post talk you through the destruction:


Dagenham & Red 6 Morecambe 0

BARRING a miracle of Lazarus like proportions, Dagenham & Redbridge will walk out at Wembley in just over a week's time for the League Two Play-Off Final.
Standing in their way had been 180 minutes of football against third-placed Morecambe, but with the tie now at half time, there is only one winner.
Chairman Dave Andrews had hoped in last Wednesday's
Post that his side were at least on level terms going into the second leg at Christie Park. Well, he got slightly more than he had wished for.
If it was a boxing match, it would have been called to a halt midway through the second half, such was Daggers' dominance.It's not unfair to Morecambe either to say they could well have been 10 behind at full time, as they were quite simply blown away.
The scene was set for an intriguing battle, with Daggers' largest crowd of the season, 4,566 packed into Victoria Road.
With the atmosphere reaching fever pitch, the hosts appeared and stoked the flames after a mere four minutes.
Abu Ogogo volleyed over a cross from the right, it reached an unmarked Jon Nurse, whose diving header was fumbled clear by Barry Roche, only for the offside-looking Paul Benson to tap home.
The Shrimps never recovered from the early blow and looked ill at ease from the word go, whereas Daggers positively relished the occasion.
First to every loose ball, they snapped into their tackles with gusto and produced a complete performance that manager John Still could only have dreamed of.
Paul Mullin had a shot blocked by Tony Roberts, before powering a header over, but Daggers had shouts for a penalty when the ball appeared to strike Andy Parrish on the arm.
Nothing was given, but Daggers didn't let it phase them and went 2-0 ahead on 35 minutes.
Roche's goal kick was poor as it flew straight to Josh Scott, but the striker had plenty to do, as he went racing clear.
He took his chance supremely though, drawing the keeper out of position and slotting into the bottom corner.
For some Shrimps fans, it was too much to bear, as a few were led away by police, and they could count themselves lucky to miss out on the pounding in store for their side.
Daggers should have been out of sight at the break as Danny Green sent two shots just wide.
For a moment it appeared Morecambe had a chance to get back into the match, as, roared back on to the pitch by their mostly excellent supporters, Laurence Wilson's volley was just out of Mark Duffy's reach.
But that was a cruel red herring for their followers as Daggers put the tie beyond reach, when Green was crudely flattened by Jim Bentley in the box.
After scoring his last three attempts, the winger naturally wanted the chance to make it four, but skipper Mark Arber grabbed the ball instead.
A clearly annoyed Green then saw his captain produce a tame effort that Roche easily saved, only for Scott to spare his blushes, eventually turning the rebound home.
Tellingly, Green failed to join in with the celebrations that followed, but he was soon in the thick of the action again, swinging over a corner that Scott headed into the net for his hat-trick.
The fun and games hadn't stopped there though as like a metronome, Daggers kept on attacking and maintained the full court press that didn't allow their opponents any respite.

It worked too as Morecambe's heads dropped and they soon fell apart.
A long ball pumped forward saw Parrish head the ball across his own area and Benson nipped in to convert his 20th of the campaign.
The goals kept coming too as Scott picked the pocket of Bentley by the corner flag to slip home his fourth goal.
It could easily have been more as Scott lashed a volley inches over, while Shrimps afternoon was summed up, when Duffy had a glorious chance to pull one back, but ended up on his backside after completely missing his kick.
Daggers: Roberts, Ogogo, McCrory, Arber, Doe (Uddin 80), Green, Gain (Tejan-Sie 90), Vincelot, Nurse, Benson, Scott.
Subs not used: Lewington, Currie, Bingham, Walsh, Montgomery.
Attendance: 4,566 (inc 523 away).


I’ll be at the last ever game at Christie Park as Morecambe try to claw back 6 goals. (I’ll be happy with a 3-0 win really) I’ll sum up my 09/10 season after June 3rd, its been great fun.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Morecambe vs Aldershot Town (08/05/10)

Match 81

Ground #: 10 (6th visit)

Ground: Christie Park

Competition: English League 2

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £10 (student)

Programme: £8 (special edition)

Attendance: 5,268

Morecambe 1

Hunter 72’

Aldershot Town 0


End of EraQuite a “end of an era” game for me, and for Morecambe to (maybe) finish an epic 2009/2010 season. Morecambe and Christie Park has dominated my football watching whilst at university in Lancaster since a rainy Tuesday evening during my Fresher’s Week, I forgone the opportunity to get drunk and went to watch Morecambe vs Stockport County. A double from Carl Baker gave the (at the time) struggling newly promoted side the victory and I was hooked. I’ve been back many times since and was always going to go to the final game at Christie Park, although Morecambe’s recent fantastic run meant that they could secure a play-off spot and give Christie Park one final game in the play-offs. So myself and two uni friends took the short drive to Morecambe to potentially say goodbye to an old friend.


Morecambe is a seaside resort town in Lancashire that faces Cumbria and runs into Morecambe Bay. As with all seaside towns in Britain it seems, its best days were just before and just after the Wars when Morecambe was a thriving resort and even hosted Miss Great Britain beauty contest between 1956 and 1989. However the loss of two piers and the universal decline of seaside towns means Morecambe is now a wee bit of a dump. It was also involved in a legal case with Noel Edmonds after The World of Crinkly Bottom was closed after being open for only 13 weeks. One big highlight of the town is one (and maybe its only) famous son’s Eric Morecambe or Eric Bartholomew who died in 1984. The great comic is still remembered fondly round these parts and Morecambe play “Bring me Sunshine” before every game. Christie Park is a shabby looking ground that clearly needed either worked upon or to be dispatched and for Morecambe to move home. Sainsbury’s made the decision far easier for MFC by buying the land and ground which allowed Morecambe to move into their new stadium, the Globe Arena in time for the start of 2010/11. Christie Park was named after the President at the time Mr J.B Christie who purchased Roseberry Park for MFC and they in turn named it in his honour. Today CP has 3 standing terraces and a seated Main Stand. The North Stand is where the “ultras” stand and make the most noise. Morecambe fans also believe that it is the best terracing area in non-league and gives League 2 a run for its money as well. Across from that is the Umbro Terrace where the away fans are situated. Down one side is the Car Wash Terrace which behind it is a… car wash! This basic uncovered area is right next to the pitch although if it rains you’re getting wet. The Main Stand also houses a little paddock area for people to stand in too and again is right close to the action. I can’t imagine this ground in the Unibond League and I believe they haven’t done much expansion work since those days, but CP still has a family feel about it and will be sorely missed.


It was a carnival-like atmosphere at CP for this final league game and it was also Morecambe’s highest home crowd attendance since the 40’s. The North Stand (as you can see from the picture above) was already quite packed when we arrived at 2:25ish. Morecambe were also doing a few special events to celebrate this final game, firstly a collector’s programme was on sale at a whopping £8. It was a decent effort though featuring a mass amount of articles and were larger in size than normal Shrimp’s programmes. Also a collection of past legends were paraded on the pitch including my favs Carl Baker and Michael Twiss. A brass band also played songs and we even had fireworks for when the team’s came out on the pitches. No expense spared at Morecambe. There was actually a football match to play as well and quite an important one for the home team and avoiding defeat would see them qualify for the League 2 play-offs for the first time. They took on Aldershot Town who although tipped for relegation had easily smashed through that on their 2nd season back in the Football League and had already qualified for the play-offs so could relax for this game and enjoy the atmosphere. They had also brought a decent amount of fans with them which is impressive considering there was not a lot riding on them for this game and Aldershot is miles away. With the Shots’ fans decked out in summer/holiday gear a real party atmosphere was on as Morecambe tried to delay saying goodbye to CP.


Sadly however, although somewhat inevitable, the game was really a damp squid. Clearly Aldershot did not really care about the result having already booked a play-off place but did have an early chance when Damien Spencer took advantage of a poor back pass but he shot wide from his first time shot. Marlon Jackson also just headed wide from an early chance as Morecambe looked nervous from the large and expectant crowd as they play never really got going. However despite being outplayed for the first 30 mins of the 1st half, a great Shrimps move saw Craig Stanley whip a great ball in from the right and Paul Mullin got ahead of his marker and his diving header was brilliantly saved by keeper Jamie Young. As half-time came Morecambe would scrape into the play-offs where they would meet, Aldershot! The second half was a bit better than the bore-fest of the 1st 45 minutes as we even had a goal on 72 minutes when a long goal kick from Barry Roche found Paul Mullin who took advantage of Aaron Brown’s slip and put through Garry Hunter who easily finished past Jamie Young to put Morecambe in the driving seat for the play-offs. There was no other real goal scoring chances although Shrimps’ captain Jim Bentley angered all of the Shots contingent when he needlessly went through the back of Damien Spencer. It angered Shots boss Kevin Dillon so much that he even interrupted Bentley’s post match interview to have a go. 1-0 it finished and Christie Park will have one final encore!


At the final whistle a few dickheads did run on the pitch after MFC did ask fans not to, but they were promptly booed off and no trouble was caused. I fully expected this to be my last game of my epic 2009/2010 season, so I have a spiel ready to talk about how this game and this ground fully fits the end to my university life since my first visit to Christie Park in October 2007. However, I am expecting to get to their Play-off Semi-Final 2nd leg at home to Dag & Red so another game this season is on the cards. And who knows…maybe Wembley!?

Photos from Morecambe vs Aldershot Town


Match Ratings:

- Match: 4/10 (dull)

- Value for money: 7/10 (decent league prices)

- Ground: 8/10 (will be sorry to see it go)

- Atmosphere: 8/10 (great noise from North Stand)

- Food: 8/10 (won best Pies award and with good reason)

- Programme: 7/10 (collector’s edition, but sadly lacking up to date data)

- Referee: Michael Oliver – 6/10 (not a lot to do)

More vs Al T prog

More vs Al T stub

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Charnock Richard vs Blackpool Wren Rovers (01/05/10)

Match 80

Ground #: 50

Ground: Mossie Park

Competition: West Lancashire Premier Division (Level 11)

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £1.50

Programme: £1

Attendance: 84

Charnock Richard 2

C.Grimshaw 28’, King 83’

Blackpool Wren Rovers 2

Creelman 22’, Corless 74’


Ah May, the time of year when football fans’ dreams regardless of what league you play in come true, or for some, its nightmare time. For me, May is all about revision and exams and this being my final year at uni, May 2010 is no different, its one of the reasons why I decided to dip into this Division for game # 80 and to rack up the half-century of football grounds visited. The West Lancashire Football League is situated from Levels 11-13 in the English Pyramid and features not only clubs from Lancashire, but from Cumbria, Great Manchester and even Merseyside. The league has seen some of its clubs rise up to higher levels with AFC Fylde (although known as Kirkham & Wesham FC) leaving in 2007 and last season Barnoldswick Town left to join the North West Counties 1st Division (where they have been promoted again this season). For the clubs remaining in the WLL, this season’s Premier title had been won by Blackpool Wren Rovers already, taking the title from last year’s winners Charnock Richard (see why I chose this game? ;) ) Therefore it was a short drive down the M6 with a cheeky (and maybe slightly illegal) exit at Charnock Richard services to arrive at the ground in good time.


Charnock Richard is a small village just South of Chorley in Lancashire, with a small population of just under 2000 people. Local highlights include the service station (yes, really) which was the first services to be built on the M6 when it opened. Also Camelot Theme Park is situated close by which is a struggling theme park based on the knight’s of the round table. There isn’t really much else there in that sleepy Lancashire village, so the football team, which has enjoyed some success of late is a vital part of the community. Playing at Mossie Park, Charnock Richard have plans to leave the West Lancashire League at some point in the future, and recent performances have suggested that they could easily make the step up to Level 10 and the 1st Division of the Northwest Counties League. They won the WLL last season and although have seen their title slip away to Blackpool Wren Rovers this time out, they were still in a respectable 5th position (out of 17) and had suffered a points deduction earlier in the season. They also reached the final of the Goldline Trophy this season before cruelly losing at the Reebok on penalties to Atherton L.R.


Also, unlike a lot of WLL grounds I’ve heard about, this one actually seems quite a decent standard and setting for Level 11. The main pitch at Mossie Park has recently (2007 I think) been moved across the road to a new complex (see the picture above) which has hard standing all the way round, and a small seated stand in the middle which does provide a wee bit of cover. Across the road, is the “old” Mossie Park which is still used as a game was taking place while this main event was happening, using Charnock Richard’s A’s in their Preston & District League clash (see extra pictures). Next to this old pitch was the clubhouse which was open for the game and was a fairly smart clubhouse with Brum vs Burnley showing on the screens. Mossie Park needs improvements to make the ground grading for NWC League, however Charnock have also stated a wish to one day play in the Northern Premier Division which would mean extensive work including more stands and floodlights – obviously this is a long term project, but it will be very interesting to see if they can reach that league.


The visitors for this game were (as I mentioned above) the new champions of the West Lancashire Premier, Blackpool Wren Rovers. Having dropped back down to the West Lancs League in 1998, following some time playing in the NWC League, they have won the 2nd and 1st division and have played in the Premier Division since 2001/02. According to Charnock’s programme, this will be Wren Rovers’ 1st Premier win since 1970/71. The meeting between the two teams earlier in the season (in August) had finished 5-1 to Wren Rovers and so CR were looking for some revenge in this game. The game kicked off with a decent crowd (I counted 95, but official attendance was 84) and saw some great early action as BWR had an early corner headed over after just 3 minutes as they looked to attack Charnock. Although Charnock were still in the game, BWR then went and took the lead after 22 minutes when some great work when Danny Rowe played an unselfish pass into Steve Creelman who scored his 21st of the season to put the Champions-elect 0-1 up. Two minutes later it was almost 0-2 when another through ball saw a lob shot just saved by CR goalie Kevin Baldwin. CR though did manage an equalizer out of nothing when a through ball was played to Carl Grimshaw who saw his shot saved by the BWR keeper, but he seemed to spill it under pressure and allowed Grimshaw to stab home the equalizer. The final chance of the 1st half came right on half-time when a well worked free kick saw a header just flash over from CR as both teams went in level at the break.


After taking in a sausage sandwich at half-time the 2nd half kicked off with the wind chill slightly effecting everyone there as it was a wee bit nippy now, and I hadn’t brought much of a jumper. Chances were few and far between early on as it seemed certain that this game would end 1-1. A BWR player did go on a mazy run after 50 minutes when he skipped past two players before his weak shot was saved by Baldwin. While CR created a good headed chance but it was flashed wide of the target. The game’s third goal was scored on 74 minutes when a great worked counter-attack saw BWR winger Jack Sharples cross low into the penalty area and Nick Corless managed to smash the ball home despite CR’s best efforts to get the ball clear. CR then bombarded the BWR goal and did managed to score a superb equalizer late on when a great 1-2 was played and Jimmy King saw the ball spin up and he volleyed over the onrushing BWR goalie to snatch a draw. It was nearly 3-2 when a corner was not cleared and CR saw the resulting header hit the bar. Unlucky, but the final score of 2-2 was a fair result.


Its a shame that as I’m about to leave Lancashire (in theory) that I have only just discovered this league as the quality was great considering it was Level 11. It will also be interesting to see how far Charnock Richard can go up the football pyramid and the future improvements Mossie Park is likely to see. Who knows when my next WLL game will be, but I look forward to it whenever that is. As for me, its only 1 more game left in the 09/10 season. And its a final farewell to a loved Northern Ground.

Photos from Charnock Richard vs Blackpool Wren Rovers


Match Ratings:

- Match: 6/10 (got better as game progressed)

- Value for money: 9/10 (£1.50 is fine)

- Ground: 4/10 (basic at the moment, but will most likely see improvements)

- Atmosphere: 5/10 (two kids made it great)

- Food: 4/10 (not too much choice, but good value)

- Programme: 8/10 (excellent effort)

- Referee: D.Underwood – 5/10 (average game)

CR vs BWR prog

CR vs BWR stub