Friday, 29 July 2011

Truro City vs QPR XI (23/07/11)

Match 122

Ground #: 89

Ground: Treyew Road 

Competition: Pre-Season Friendly 

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £10

Programme: £2 

Attendance: 1,056

Truro City 2

Afful 4’, Palmer 69’ 


Clarke (pen) 7’, 54’, Rowlands 9’, 72’


The summer. Everybody’s favourite time of year? Well there is good weather (apparently), holidays (apparently) and just general all round good fun. It is missing something though. And that is football, and proper football. (I await hordes of feminists saying that the Women’s World Cup was proper football). Luckily though this break lasts only for a couple of months and by July we’re back with the matches and I am back with the travelling to the obscure. Before I leave for London, there was one big ground (football wise at least) that I had not yet visited in this area and really wanted to do so before that big move. When I saw then that Cornwall’s finest Truro City were playing a home friendly on a Saturday I had off, it was time to start my 2011/12 season.


Truro is the most southerly city in the UK and the only city in Cornwall. Truro grew as a port town and then as a major tin mining town for the mining industry which allowed it to prosper in the Victorian era and lead to Truro becoming a place for the rich and famous of it’s time. The nickname “the London of Cornwall” was also attributed to it because of the money around the place. It is also famous for its large cathedral which dominates the city skyline as well as its cobbled streets and Georgian architecture. It really is a lovely place to visit and would recommend a visit down there despite being deep deep down in the SW! 


Another reason people are starting to flock to the city is because of a sporting beast that is starting to get some momentum and could really start making some strides in the footballing aspect of England. In 2005/06, Truro City started in the old South Western League (Level 11) which they were then promoted at the end of the season to the Western League D1. They won that in 2007, 2008 they won the Western Premier, 2009 saw them win the Southern League D1 S&W and last season in 2011 they won the Southern Premier to cap an amazing 5 promotions in 6 season to begin life for the 2011/12 season in the Blue Square South (Level 6) – the highest a team from Cornwall has ever got. Backed by the property millionaire Kevin Heaney, money has been pumped into the club but management has still done a fantastic job in getting Truro this high. Life in Blue Square South is really a journey into the unknown as journeys to new clubs await and with bookies offering 14/1 on Truro winning the league – they may well be up there. This was a game I was looking forward to as seeing what chance they might have for this upcoming season. 


With all those rapid promotions, ground grading is important and so Treyew Road currently is on the temporary stand heavy side currently, although as they consolidate in the higher places of non-league, the ground should take a better shape. On the dugout side is two temporary stands that are uncovered and provide a great view of the pitch which is where I sat for the first half. Across the other side is a small covered standing area which is probably back from their South Western League days when attendances would most likely be under 100. Next to this is a identikit seated stand which was probably put in for their Western League days. Behind one goal is another large temporary stand, although this time covered and at the clubhouse end is just hard standing. It’s a decent ground at this time, but if Heaney puts more money in then it could be a cracker. However, when I was coming into the ground, a petition was going around asking for people to sign for the proposed “Stadium for Cornwall” which Truro City would share with the rugby union side Cornish Pirates. (Info about the proposed ground can be found here) The plans are at an early stage however, so Treyew Road isn’t in danger yet.


The visitors for today’s game was Premiership new boys QPR who were down in Cornwall playing various non-league sides for pre-season training. Their first XI had actually played the night before this game at Bodmin Town winning 7-0 so QPR for this one had brought a mixture of reserves, no hopers and youth team players. (I would have thought Truro would have provided a better challenge to QPR than Bodmin but never mind). I was interested in hearing the starting line up for QPR and was surprised to hear such names as Martin Rowlands, Lee Cook, Leon Clarke and Angelo Balanta all starting, whilst it wasn’t the QPR side that would line up against Bolton on the opening day, it was still a decent side that had made the trip here. That being said, Truro took the lead on 4 minutes. When some excellent play down the left from Barry Hayles (remember him!?) found a cross which went all the way to the back post, Les Afful slotted the ball home, only just though as goalie Alvin Putnins could not keep the ball out as the it crossed the line and the goal was given. How long could the non-leaguers last? Not very long. When a ball was punted into the box, Martin Rowlands took one touch and turn before being hacked down and a penalty was given. Leon Clarke stepped up and hammered the ball as hard as he could down the middle to make it 1-1. Only 3 minutes later and QPR had turned the game right around. Truro lost the ball in midfield and a brilliant through ball from Lee Cook put Martin Rowlands in and he smashed the ball past Tim Sandercombe into the bottom corner. The rest of the half was great entertainment as both sides just went for it in an absorbing 45 minutes. Both goalies made some excellent saves to keep the score at 1-2 and referee Kevin Friend even played his part by keeping a fairly low profile.


The 2nd half was a lot better than I expected too with the tempo still high and both teams playing some good attacking football. Truro started brightly in trying to get back into the game, but some final loose balls were hindering their goal scoring chances. Then on 54 minutes, QPR broke from a corner and Leon Clarke scampered away before smashing past Sandercombe at his near post to make it 1-3. While I thought this was probably game over, credit to Truro who kept going, although it was clear by now that QPR were the fitter team and had that extra yard on the home side. QPR though were getting scrappy in the midfield area and when Marcus Martin was brought down on the edge of the area Truro had a great chance. The free kick was whipped in Walker and after some pinball in the box, the ball fell to Ed Palmer who smashed home at the back post. Palmer had only signed the day before as he is on loan from Torquay United for 6 months. Palmer though went from hero to villain as he brought down Lee Cook on the edge of the area and up stepped Rowlands (see pic below) who curled a delightful free kick over the wall and in off the post giving Sandercombe no chance. Antonio German came on late on who I was looking forward to seeing. (A lad that is tipped to go far) And he made a few darting runs in the dying embers of the game. QPR nearly added a 5th right at the death when Clarke managed to pounce on a rebound from a corner but just fired wide. It was 2-4 at FT, a very enjoyable game in the sun.


For an opening game of the season for me, this was a cracking match played in the right way and with a great tempo. While paying £10 for a friendly is very steep, I had even forgotten about this price while watching the game between two great teams. For QPR, its tough to say how they will do this season in the top flight, with the team they put out for this game as very few of them will probably be gracing a Premiership ground near you this time out. As for Truro, their boss Lee Hodges admitted that conceding 12 goals in pre-season already (and they are still to play Plymouth and Torquay) is a concern. Good luck to them in the Blue Square South this season, when they come to a London based ground, I will definitely try and see them and see how Cornwall’s finest are getting on. 2011/12, NOW WE’VE STARTED!

Photos from Truro City vs QPR XI


Match Ratings:

- Match: 7.5/10 (excellent entertainment)

- Value for money: 3/10 (£10 for a friendly? Really?)

- Ground: 6/10 (I liked it, some good views in there)

- Atmosphere: 3/10 (not great for 1000+ people but it was a friendly)

- Food: 6/10 (again pricey (£2.50 for a bacon roll) but can’t argue with the taste)

- Programme: 6/10 (looks professional and add in some more content and we’re there)

- Referee: Kevin Friend – 6/10 (was on his holidays down here and stepped in to do it, hero)


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A brief interlude…

I was meant to start my season 3 days ago (Saturday 16th) and e-mailed 4 clubs asking about details for their friendlies on that day. In the end, I did an extra shift at work as I received not one reply from any of the four. I did not want to drive to places to find the game had been moved or cancelled and I do appreciate that these are friendlies. The benefit of these games are for the players rather than the spectators. But it is poor form for clubs to just ignore e-mails totally.

If I find out that the person I e-mailed was unavailable when I mailed them (I did give 2 weeks) or that e-mail address is no longer used (in that case then the club needs to update it’s contact details) then I will issue an apology straight away. However I doubt this will be the case.

bideford-afc_174 images LivertonLogoCMYKsmall Robin

The clubs above (Bideford, Topsham Town, Liverton United and Budleigh Salterton) were the clubs who just couldn’t be arsed and so it seems unlikely I’ll be visiting them anytime soon.

That being said this coming Saturday is another Saturday and I will be off to a game with it being 95% certain being Truro City vs QPR. A ground I have wanted to get to for some time so it should be a good one!

truro_dave_nash_470x350(The grand Truro Cathedral – with its team on the up)

Friday, 1 July 2011

It’s London Baby! (2011/12 preview)

Around this time last year I wrote my 2010/11 preview post for what I expected my season to be. It was hard to write anything substantial as I really didn’t know what I’d be doing with my life after graduating from uni. Fast forward to now and again this season preview will be hard to write but for completely different reasons! With a job in the big city and spare time really at a premium, here’s what you regular readers (it’s probably just me, to be honest) can expect from The Travelling Fan for 2011/12.

1) London Town, London prices

As I’ll actually be living right in London, I will have to pay a shit load out in rent, bills and the like. Therefore, I really don’t know how many games I will be at this season, although the target is to match last season’s haul of 39. What will also stop me occasionally is my study towards an accounting qualification which means so weekends spent in the classroom learning about stuff like FRS 4 and how that affects shareholders’ funds. (It’s a good read actually FRS 4, check it out)


2) New Leagues!

There WILL be football though, so don’t worry regulars, reports from some places you have never heard of and never visit will be coming. There is also some new leagues that I will be getting into as the highlights of the South East are now within touching distance. 2010/11 saw lots of SWPL and Western League grounds and this season will see some Hellenic League, Wessex League, Combined Counties and the famous Essex Senior and Olympian Leagues.

1304695885-The Only Way is Essex logo - large 09212_163744_essexladz.jpg

               (Essex Ladz! Coming to Travelling Fan for 2011/12)

3) New Sports! (Honestly this time)

When I wrote my season review in June last year I mentioned that I would be taking in new sports to write some more reports about and in the end, I only got to one, in July. This season, I do intend to get to some new places and take in sports that I know little about and see how it goes! Along with the normal Rugby League, I’m aiming for; Basketball, Ice Hockey, Horse and Dog racing and hopefully some others that might just turn up along the way!

4) Danger! Danger! Grounds in trouble!

Over the years, some absolutely classic grounds have sadly left us as teams have moved onto more modern grounds while others have been very lucky to move away from some utter shitholes to better things. That being said, I have missed some classic grounds since I started writing this blog (e.g, Chesterfield’s Saltergate and Hayes & Yeading’s Church Road) mainly due to the fact I didn’t have the money or the time to have a trip to these grounds. Now I do though (in theory) so this will not happen anymore! And the following grounds are high on my visit list this season due to their short expected life span:

- Worcester City (St George’s Lane) – Ground is an absolute classic and in danger as Worcester have problems between them and property developers St Modwen who they have sold the ground to.

St Georges Lane(Main Stand @ St George’s Lane)

- Kentish Town (Copthall Stadium) – Ground may not disappear but with Rugby Union side Saracens looking to move in and upgrade the athletics ground, KT may be kicked out. They do have some land they and a local youth team can build on, but with no money, will this ever happen? Copthall Stadium)

- Livingston (Almondvale Stadium) – Late last season some news from way left field came out that Livi were set to sell their Almondvale Stadium (only 16 years old) to a supermarket to finance a new ground a mile away. This means it could be a scamper up to Edinburgh to take in a Scottish 1st Division match or, hopefully, vs Hearts in the Scottish Cup.

Almondvale(Home of Livi, but how much longer?)

- Harwich and Parkeston (Royal Oak) – I hear y’all now, “WHO!?” H&P are a club currently struggling in Essex and Suffolk Border League and play at their classic Royal Oak ground. However, a club who reached the FA Amateur Cup Final in 1953 but lost to Pegasus AFC in front of a crowd of 100,000 are not looking in good shape and a visit to their run down ground is also high on my list.

2004-09-04Harwich01(Royal Oak’s classic Main Stand)

5) There’s still some Devon games!

My season officially kicks off on 16th July, although I don’t know where yet! I do know however that it will be in Devon as July & August will see me visit some of my last Devonian grounds for some time and bid good-bye to a region that I have found some absolute gems in.


6) Current List of games (subject to a LOT of change and awaiting fixture lists!)

16th July – PSF (either Liverton Utd, Budleigh Salterton, Topsham Town or Bideford)

26th July – Ottery St Mary vs Exeter City XI

30th July – Wadebridge Town vs Hallen (unlikely if I go to Otters on 26th)

6th Aug – Heavitree Social United vs Budleigh Salterton

9th Aug – Exeter City vs Yeovil Town (Carling Cup R1)

20th Aug – Sidmouth Town vs Exeter Civil Service

27th Aug – Galmpton United vs Ottery St Mary


17th Sep – Dag & Red vs Morecambe

5th Nov – 4 Nations Rugby League @ Wembley

28th Jan – Crawley Town vs Morecambe

11th/18th Feb – Livingston vs Partick Thistle/Raith Rovers

17th Mar – Barnet vs Morecambe

24th Mar – Millwall vs Leeds United

21st Apr – Gillingham vs Swindon Town

7) And Finally…

Hope everyone out there enjoys the football this season! And if you do read my blog or follow on Twitter, leave some comments! I read them all and take them into consideration! Lets get going!

IMG_0556“What do you mean Heavitree Social United don’t do programmes!?”