Saturday, 28 April 2012

Ashford Town (Middx) vs Fleet Town (09/04/12)

Match 155

Ground #: 121

Ground: Robert Parker Stadium

Competition: Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 Central (Level 8)

Kick Off: 1pm

Cost: £8

Programme: £2

Attendance: 80

Ashford Town (Middx) 3

Weight 39’, Kazi 74’, 90’

Fleet Town 1

Watkins 46’


After seeing two poor games previously, the final game of my Easter treble was a game that I didn’t really feel up for anyway. It was a case of let’s get out of the house and find a game on in London, but amazingly there were very few I fancied. In the end, I plumped for an early KO game so I could go back early and revise (because I’m a party animal) for the rest of the day. Therefore on a miserable Easter Monday, it was time to head down to Heathrow to take in a rare Southern League game at Ashford Town (Middx).


Ashford, in Middlesex is a town almost entirely in Surrey but with a small part falling within Greater London. It is often referred to as Ashford, Middlesex to distinguish it from the larger town of Ashford, Kent, because it fell within the historic county of Middlesex. Since 1965, when Middlesex County Council was dissolved, it has been part of Surrey and the small London section part of the London Borough of Hounslow. The settlement was most likely founded in Saxon time although Bronze Age artifacts have been found in Ashford and a henge may have been present then. Today, Ashford is associated with Staines, its nearest neighbour although a large amount of the employment is directly related to nearby Heathrow Airport or BP. For a town of reasonably small size, it’s list of famous people originating there is quite large with Bobby Davro, Roger Johnson and even Russell Grant amongst others from there.


The town’s football side, Ashford Town (Middx) were only established after the war in 1958 as Ashford Albion, kicking off in the Hounslow & District League with two consecutive promotions to reach the Premier League of the H&DL. In 1964 they changed their name to Ashford Town and adopted their still current colours of tangerine and white before joining the Surrey Intermediate League in ‘67. They finally won this league in 1975 before becoming founding members of the Surrey County Premier League in 1982. During their time in the SCPL, they finally achieved their aim of having a ground of their own (which I’ll come back to later) and after spending some time in the Combined Counties League, they joined the Isthmian League in 2000 and achieved promotion to Division 2 in their first season. After being placed in the newly created Division 1 of the Ryman League they then joined the Southern League in 2004 before promotion to the Southern Premier came in 2006 but they were then relegated in 2010 and rejected a reprieve to play in the Southern League Central Division where they still are for this season.


The Robert Parker Stadium (named after former their Chairman) is a ground nestled near Heathrow Terminal 4 and also situated right next to Heathrow’s fuel depot. It’s a normal Level 8 venue which has suffered the silly rules of ground grading with two pieces of cover running down one side of the pitch and a seated stand directly opposite. There is a small two/three step terrace behind one goal with nothing behind the other one (in the picture above). I actually found the ground slightly depressing being a bit of a dump and a place you would never go back to, however this feeling may have been exacerbated by the awful weather but in the interests of fairness, I’ve added comments below from an Ashford Town committee member when I described the ground on the Non League Matters forum:

We've been there for 25 years, but when the club moved in it was basically an open field. The clubhouse was built by volunteers and originally the site was shared with the cricket and hockey clubs across the road - there is still an old scorebox on what used to be the cricket pitch.

In defence of our "miserable place", there are a few factors that limit us in terms of making the most of the ground. One is the fact we're in the Green Belt, which means we can't tarmac the car park and, when the seats were installed they had to be blue, rather than tangerine, as tangerine seats "would not be in aesthetically appropriate for the Green Belt". The fact that we play in tangerine and our ground should be part of our identity was lost on the "powers that be" Being in the Green Belt also makes it difficult to get planning permission for even essential improvements. If you walked around the ground, as many hoppers do, you'll have noticed that the Tank End is basically a pathway. The reason for that is that the only way we could get planning permission for the floodlights was to move the pitch nine metres towards the Fuel Plant - a shift that will limit our future ambitions (not that we have any sort of plan to be in the Football League in seven years or anything daft like that...). The stands are of a similar design (aesthetics, as demanded by the Council again) although the covered terrace was once a smaller, brick built shelter and the Main Stand does at least provide a decent view of the game, unlike so many of those pre-built stands you see everywhere.

I do appreciate that, on a horrible, wet day like yesterday, the ground can seem quite bleak and isn't helped by the lack of cover behind the goals (see above). However, I sometimes wonder what the definition of "character" is where grounds are concerned. Sometimes, it's not in crumbling buildings or an ancient stand but in something a a little less tangible, like the fact that the ground is named after someone who chaired the club for 28 years and was instrumental in its development and that, not only is that person still alive, but made the freshly filled rolls on sale behind the bar.”

So make your own mind up if visiting the Robert Parker Stadium! (I can’t disagree with the friendly welcome you will get)


Another reason for this game being picked is that it had something riding on it. Ashford were sat in midtable (10th) in no danger of troubling the playoffs or relegation positions but the visitors were right up poo creek. Fleet Town were going into this game down in 21st place and 6 points from safety with 20th place Aylesbury the team to catch. With 5 games (including this one) to go, it was squeaky bum time for the Fleet as they tried to make the gap up and save what had been an awful season. For Ashford, it was time to try out new things most likely as their slow start had cost them what their decent end of season run had deserved.


I’m always concerned about watching Southern League games as they can normally be dire (exhibit A) with little effort. So it was pleasing to see both sides try and play a little bit in the early stages, although the miserable conditions did make that tough at times. Fleet Town did begin to make the mark on the game however and start to dictate play. They almost had the lead in the middle of the half when Gareth Byers crashed a header off the bar as Fleet began to sense an opening goal. They also had a few chances that were blocked through last ditch tackles or even by their own teammates as the away side were looking good. So of course what happened is they went 0-1 down. A daft free-kick was given away right on the edge of the area which Mark Bitmead fired in. While that was cleared off the line it fell to Scott Weight who basically got in the way of the ball to divert it past Ryan Pryce to give Ashford a completely undeserved lead at HT.


Fleet needed a quick equalizer and they nailed it within a minute of the 2nd half. Some slick passing play down the left saw a cross whipped in and Mark Watkins was on hand to finish off well to give Fleet the deserved equalizer. The game then sort of descended into Southern League-itis as it turned crap for a wee while as both sides decided if they wanted to push on for the win in case they lost a point. Fleet went for it first but again their shots were being blocked well before Paul McCarthy even had to make a save (can’t remember him making a proper one). It was always going to inevitable then when the game was heading towards a draw, Fleet Town would snatch defeat, again and push them further to the drop. A counter attack down Fleet’s right saw Kofi Lockhart-Adams hit a shot that was brilliantly saved by Pryce but while his defender just ball watched, Samad Kazi tapped in to make it 2-1. I thought Pryce was actually going to punch his defender in the face, such was his anger at him and some really piss poor defending from the rebound. Fleet now really had to go for it, or face some top notch Wessex League football next season. So in injury time, with Fleet camped in Ashford’s half, the home side broke and Kazi finished off with his 2nd and end Fleet’s chances of getting anything.


Fleet were right up against it now and it was no surprise that in their next game against eventual Southern League Central Champions, St Neots, the 1-0 defeat consigned them to relegation. In fact they only picked up 1 more point until the end of the season to leave them 12 points off safety at the end of the season. Yet, before they start getting their maps out to look for directions to Hayling United, reprieves from other clubs going bust, etc may yet save them. Ashford Town (Middx) ended the season in 9th, 10 points off the play-offs which suggests they could be up there next season. It’s doubtful I’ll be back here which is a shame as they are lovely off the pitch but I just felt the place was a bit grim. Good luck to them next season, I may see them on the road somewhere. At least I saw one decent game over Easter, stunned it came in the Southern League though!

Photos from Ashford Town (Middx) vs Fleet Town


Match Ratings:

- Match: 6/10 (good Southern League game shock)

- Value for money: 6/10 (it’s norm for this level)

- Ground: 4/10 (nothing special)

- Atmosphere: 6.5/10 (good set of home fans)

- Food: 5/10 (good taste, tiny bacon roll though!)

- Programme: 5/10 (not worth £2)

- Referee: S Phipps – 7/10 (nice game for him to ref)

ATM vs FT prog

ATM vs FT stub

Monday, 23 April 2012

Hatfield Peverel vs Rowhedge (07/04/12)

Match 154

Ground #: 120

Ground: Strutt Memorial Playing Field

Competition: Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division (Level 11)

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: Free

Programme: None

Attendance: 15 (h/c)

Hatfield Peverel 0

Rowhedge 0

Brooks s/off 86’


After a disappointing game on Good Friday, game #2 of my Easter treble was easily the most obscure as I was heading out east, to Essex to visit a ground that was actually on its way out. With Hatfield Peverel about to move ground at the end of the season, I rushed over to take in my first game in the Essex and Suffolk Border League and visit this small Essex village for a “relaxing” Saturday game.


Hatfield Peverel is one of those places you will never ever visit. Unless you get lost or become a nutcase like me and watch football in the village. Hatfield means a 'heathery space in the forest' where as Peverel refers to William Peverel, the Norman knight granted lands in the area by William the Conqueror after the Norman invasion of 1066. It is also the site of a priory founded by the Saxon Ingelrica, wife of Ranulph Peverel and reputed to be the mistress of William the Conqueror, to atone for her sins, and dissolved by Henry VIII. Today, it is well served by rail on the Liverpool St-Clapton on Sea line and (I quote) “has a thriving Scout and Guide organisation with headquarters in Church Road, a Post Office, library, and doctor's and dentist's surgeries.” As you can see from the picture below, it is one of “those” places. But to be fair to HP, I have been to places a lot, lot worse.

Ap4ZKkJCQAAFE9X.jpg large(They’ll never take our bagels!!!)

HPFC were formed in 1904 at the local village pub of ‘The Duke of Wellington’ where their ground and changing rooms were based at. The first league they joined was the North Essex League until after World War 1 when they soon graced the mighty Chelmsford & District League, and won a couple of titles at their new ground in The Street which had been donated by a local resident. The Recreation Ground, in Maldon Road, was given to the village by the Strutt family in 1936, and the football club moved onto what is their present ground, complete with the changing rooms that are still there (with a few editions). This became unavailable for a short time after the Second World War as the Rec had been dug up to help with the War effort but HP still continued in the renamed Chelmsford & Mid-Essex League until 1971 when they joined the E&S Border League. By the early 80’s they had really established themselves in the league by reaching cup finals and high placing finishes. 1992/93 saw them switch again, to the Essex Intermediate League but they withdrew in 2001 to rejoin the Border League next season where they still are today.


HPFC’s current home (until the end of this season) is the Strutt Memorial Playing Field which is at the south of the village, next to the village hall. More commonly known as Maldon Road (for the road it is located on), I didn’t expect much from the ground having looked on Google Maps. While the pitch is essentially a pitch with some dugouts and rope around, there is a brilliant old school building on the corner which houses the changing rooms and clubhouse(!!) which made this a worthwhile trip. There are some benches dotted around the pitch to also provide some seating for the game, although cover is few and far between if it rains. While Hatfield P are sad to be leaving their home since 1936 (the local parish council have asked them to move off the Rec so it can be used for more informal leisure activities), their new ground at Wickham Bishops Road is apparently quite impressive and with a lot more spectator facilities. The current problem with it though is WBR is on the edge of the village to the east and is down a country lane with no pavement or bus stop nearby. So unless you are trying to prove a point, public transport users may struggle to get here. On the pitch this season, both of these sides (Rowhedge hailing from further east into Essex, near Colchester) were sat in midtable safe from relegation. HP were 8th on 31 points with 7 games to play while Rowhedge were 10th on 28 points with 5 to play. They had also played each other at Rowhedge 3 weeks before this. It finished 0-0. I expected a battle then.


However it quickly became clear that this league really wasn’t for general spectators to enjoy (only nutcases like me) as the quality wasn’t that great as both teams laboured around for 90 minutes. HP had the first shot in anger over the bar after 6 minutes which set the scene for the rest of the game. Rowhedge missed two glorious chances in the first half as Daniel Finch sidefooted wide all alone in the penalty box and then Jamie Catney forced a great save from Paul Rolfe as the the away man turned his defender inside out before getting the shot away. It wasn’t long into the 2nd half when I knew my long run without seeing a 0-0 was going to end in pitiful fashion. Both teams just couldn’t hit a barn door. In fact there were only two real chances created in the half as Finch headed over as another good chance came his way before we had a bit of excitement at the end as Robert Brooks was sent off for a professional foul as a free kick was given right outside the area. It was rolled wide. A testing experience for my first game in this league.


I didn’t really know what to expect from this league but now I know, not a lot. It was a shame really as Hatfield off the pitch were really friendly and were happy to chat about the place. Since this game, HP have really gone off the boil and headed to the beach it seems, with 3 defeats and 1 draw. Rowhedge’s next game was laughably an 8-4 win over Wormingford Wanderers (you couldn’t make that up) before reverting back with a 3-1 home defeat. It was great to also meet up with Trevor P from the Non League Matters forum, who is an experience hopper who could quite easily write a few books with some of the stuff he has seen over the years of doing this. A top bloke. It had to happen eventually as it had been 52 games since my last 0-0. But that run was finally ended here. Never mind. (As I write this, there are only two more chances to see Hatfield Peverel play here. May 1st vs West Bergholt and May 15th vs Newbury Forest. Get yourselves down! You’ll see a better game than I did. Probably.)

Photos from Hatfield Peverel vs Rowhedge


Match Ratings:

- Match: 2/10 (crap)

- Value for money: 10/10 (was free)

- Ground: 6.5/10 (nice surprise, great clubhouse)

- Atmosphere: 3/10 (not much on a rec)

- Food: N/A – unsure if they sold hot food, ate before hand

- Programme: N/A – they don’t issue

- Referee: V Law – 7/10 (had one thing to do, got it right)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Tooting & Mitcham United vs AFC Hornchurch (06/04/12)

Match 153

Ground #: 119

Ground: Imperial Fields

Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division (Level 7) 

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £5 (concession)

Programme: £2

Attendance: 268

Tooting & Mitcham United 1

French 74’ 

AFC Hornchurch 2

Tuohy 83’, (pen) 87’


The beauty of the Easter period might be for some, having some time off or maybe eating your own weight in chocolate. For me, it’s the large amount of games scheduled at the “business end” of the season when heros and zeros are made (cliché alert!) For the start of my “Easter treble” this season, I had selected Watford’s “Family Day” for their game vs Blackpool and the offer of £10 tickets. Instead, as I fannyed around, I missed them all as it sold out and needed a Plan B. Step forward Tooting & Mitcham United who were in dire straits in the Isthmian Premier Division. What they didn’t need was a visit by promotion chasing AFC Hornchurch, but they had it and I had my Good Friday game.


Tooting & Mitcham’s Imperial Fields ground is actually based in Mitcham which is a district in the south west of London, in the Borough of Merton. The toponym "Mitcham" is Old English in origin and believed to mean big settlement. Before the Romans, there was a Celtic settlement in the area, with evidence of a hill fort in the Pollards Hill area. The Saxon graveyard, located on the North bank of the Wandle is the largest discovered to date, and many of the finds therein are on display in the British Museum. The area is a possible location for the Battle of Merton, 871, in which King Ethelred of Wessex was either mortally wounded or killed outright. During the Elizabethan era Mitcham became gentrified and as due to the abundance of lavender fields, became renowned for its soothing air. The air also led people to settle in the area during times of plague. When industrialisation occurred, Mitcham quickly grew to become a town with paint, varnish, linoleum and firework manufacturers moving into the area. The work provided and migratory patterns eventually resulted in a doubling of the population between the years 1900 and 1910. This industry made Mitcham a target for German bombing during World War II. During this time Mitcham also returned to its agricultural roots, with Mitcham Common being farmed to help with the war effort. Today, Mitcham does feel like part of the Greater London district and still houses a large amount of people considering the area size as well as Mitcham Common which is South London’s green space.


Tooting & Mitcham United were born in 1932 out of the merger of 2 clubs, Tooting FC and Mitcham Wanderers FC. They united after it became clear that the area couldn't host two competitive teams so better to unite rather than both slip into football obscurity. They started off in the London League before quickly joining the Athenian League in 1937. League form was disappointing to begin with but it was compensated for by a first win in the Surrey Senior Cup in 1938 when rivals Dulwich Hamlet were beaten 2-1 at Selhurst Park. After winning the Athenian League in 1950 and ‘56, they joined the Isthmian League and won the championship soon after. 1958-59 saw them on a swashbuckling FA Cup run as they saw off Bournemouth and Northampton Town before losing a replay in the 3rd Round to Nottingham Forest. (Who then won the cup) All of their recent history has been spent in the Isthmian League as they moved away from Sandy Lane in 2002 to their new home of Imperial Fields while they tried to move up to the Conference South from their current position.


This season though had been a disaster. Despite proclaiming they would be a Football League side in 7 years, they were facing the likely conclusion of being relegated to the Isthmian 1st Division next season and being a Level 8 side. They were going into this game in 20th (out of 22) and being 11 points away from 5th bottom Leatherhead and safety. With only 6 league games remaining, it didn’t look good. Coming down from Essex were promotion chasing AFC Hornchurch to try and keep on Billericay Town’s tails. The Urchins had stuttered recently by losing 3 in 4 at the beginning of March, but were coming to Imperial Fields having won 3 in a row. Daunting. Imperial Fields is a cracking ground. With two large terraces behind each goal that provides cover and excellent views, with a grand main stand running down one side of the pitch, it is a great place and deserves football of a higher level. Before the game it was also pleasing to meet up finally with Yasser, who I know from Twitter and watched the game unfold in front of us.


Considering how crucial this game was to the promotion and relegation battle in the Isthmian League, I was surprised how dire this started with passes rarely going to their intended target and most of the ball being seen in the scrappy midfield area. Unsurprisingly, Hornchurch made most of the early running and won a few corners that came to nothing. The first real opportunity in this game came to Lewis Smith, although he knew nothing about it as he managed to chase down a backpass to Tooting goalie Darren Behcet, whose clearance came off Smith but went narrowly wide. Behcet was kept busy for the rest of the half by having to keep out shots from Spencer, Smith and Tuohy. Right on half-time, Hornchurch almost had the lead when Lewis Smith headed a free kick into the ground and onto the bar as the Tooting goal had led a charming life for the first 45 minutes.


The 2nd half was again all Hornchurch as the pushed forward trying to get a goal while Billericay struggled at home to Carshalton. It really did look like it would be only a matter of time before the away side took the lead with Hayles, Anderson and Tuohy all having great chances that were either missed or just cleared away. Amazingly though as it looked like Hornchurch may have to settle for a 0-0 draw (and end my long 0-0 run), Tooting actually woke up and went on the attack. While they won a corner and it was cleared, the ball fell to Tooting winger Jerome Walker who raced away down the right and his cross was poked in by Connor French from about a yard. If Hornchurch weren’t gun ho before, they started playing 0-0-10 in trying to get back to keep the title race alive. They were almost 0-2 down as another Tooting counter was somehow kept out by Joe Woolley, although he knew nothing about it. What the Terrors didn’t need to do was switch off, but on 83 minutes they did and Hornchurch had their equalizer. Joe Anderson played Martin Tuohy (one of the league’s top scorers) down the left, he skipped past a poor tackle and had all the time in the world to slot the ball past the keeper. 7 minutes left, one goal needed. Could they do it? On 87 minutes they were awarded a penalty when Smith chased a long ball down the middle and was taken out, quite possibly on the edge of the area. Tuohy kept his nerve and gave Hornchurch the win as Tooting could barely keep possession for the last few minutes never mind create another chance.


Billericay only managed a 1-1 draw with Carshalton but their 0-0 draw away at Hornchurch put them in prime position for the title which was confirmed on April 21st when the Urchins lost 1-0 away at Harrow Borough and Billericay defeated East Thurrock to send them up to Blue Square South. It’s the play-offs for Hornchurch. Tooting were put out of their misery on Easter Monday when they lost 3-0 to Carshalton as former Tooting legend Paul Vines scored a hat-trick to end their stay in the Isthmian Premier. Clearly in a bit of trouble on the pitch but we’ll see if Tooting can regroup next season at a lower level. The ground is a cracking one so I will have no hesitation of coming back here. It was also good to meet up with Yasser finally so thanks for 90 minutes of good company!

Photos from Tooting & Mitcham vs AFC Hornchurch


Match Ratings:

- Match: 5.5/10 (low on quality, high on effort)

- Value for money: 6/10 (reasonable ticket prices)

- Ground: 8/10 (smashing ground, really liked it)

- Atmosphere: 7/10 (mostly provided by Hornchurch)

- Food: 7/10 (nice clubhouse and top burger)

- Programme: 5/10 (not much content in there for £2)

- Referee: Ian Bentley – 6.5/10 (tough penalty call, was fine for rest of game)

TM vs AFCH prog

Monday, 16 April 2012

London Broncos vs Wakefield Wildcats (31/03/12) [RL]

RL Match 2

RL Ground #: 2

Ground: Twickenham Stoop

Competition: Super League

Kick Off: 5:45pm

Cost: £10 (concession)

Programme: £3

Attendance: 2,268

London Broncos 36

Tries: Clubb 1, Sarginson 1, Dixon 1, Robertson 2, Colbon 1, Dorn 1

Goals: Witt 4

Wakefield Wildcats 0

Tries: NONE

Goals: NONE


Since picking “the Wildcats” out of a hat for my rugby league team, I haven’t actually seen them play in a full game live. Once my move to London was sorted, I awaited the Super League XVII fixtures being released to see when my boys would get London Broncos away. (Possibly the only fan who actually looked for this fixture) March 31st it was and after seeing a Youth football match in the morning, it was now time for the main event. I was very keen.


The Broncos have had a varied history since their founding in 1980 as Fulham (when they were an attachment to the football club) with the primary intention of creating another income stream for the football club. The Rugby Football League (RFL), keen to try to expand the sport beyond its traditional northern heartland, accepted the new club at once. Around 10k turned up for their first game at Craven Cottage when they beat Wigan 24-5. They went on to be promoted in their first season before they became a yo-yo club after Fulham pulled out their financial backing. The club then played at Crystal Palace and The Polytechnic Stadium in Chiswick before playing at other venues such as Wealdstone, Hendon and Chelsea. In 1991, London Crusaders were born before changing their name yet again to the London Broncos in 1994. After 11 years in which this time they came runners up in Super League (1997) and the Challenge Cup (1999), they changed their name again to Harlequins RL and moved to the Twickenham Stoop.


During this time as HRL, they finished 7th in their first season and then Brian McDermott presided over four seasons of Harlequins RL decline from 2007 to 2010, with the club dropping to 9th in both 2007 and 2008 and then falling to 11th in 2009 before dropping to 13th in his last season, 2010. In 2010, with a couple of games to go the Catalans in last position played Harlequins whom were next to last in what was effectively a 'wooden spoon decider', a win meant that Quins avoided the bottom as they did in 2011 due to their excellent start to the season when they picked out 3 wins from 3. Then in November 2011, they reverted back to their name of London Broncos with a new logo and new kit while still continuing to play at the Stoop.


The Twickenham Stoop was built in 1963 and still looks an excellent ground to see a game at. Four stands that may look similar, but provide decent views to see the game. The LV Stand seems to be where the main Broncos fans sit, while the Wakefield lot were positioned in the North Stand. Annoyingly there are some poles that do block some of the view but getting there early does have some good points. One other point about The Stoop, the catering, “Devine” might well be Devine, but at prices around £6 for chips, I think Heaven will have to wait. This season Wakefield were actually tipped by BBC Rugby League to finish in a play-off place (albeit 8th) and after an opening day win over Widnes, they proceeded to plod to defeats against Hull KR, Bradford, Hull FC and Huddersfield before they were a 7th tackle try away from deservedly beating Warrington before coming into this game with a great win over the Catalan Dragons. London Broncos had unsurprisingly struggled this season with defeats to St Helens, Warrington, Hull FC, Huddersfield, Salford, Wigan and Widnes with their single win over Castleford, leaving them rooted to the bottom going into this crunch tie.


When the game kicked off, Broncos looked the team that were most up for it and began putting the Wildcats defence under a fair bit of early pressure. That early pressure was rewarded on 4 minutes when a high kick on the 5th tackle from Craig Gower caused all sorts of problems as Wakefield fumbled the ball which allowed Tony Clubb to score an early try. Bugger. It got worse too when Steve Ganson awarded a ridiculous penalty to allow Michael Witt to score between the posts and we were already 8-0 down in 8 minutes. It got a lot worse as again Wakefield fumbled the ball and lost possession to allow Dan Sarginson some space on the left. He showed some brilliant pace to leave Isaac John looking like a fool and he was in for a converted try, 14-0. While Wakefield did get over this shock and begin to have some of the ball, the yards were not being made and you just felt that if Broncos got a good chance, they would take it. On 31 minutes, they did, as another high ball was not caught and Kieran Dixon had an easy try. The 4th try for the Broncos on 35 minutes was easily the worst. Broncos lumped a kick straight down the centre of the field which seemed to open our defence up like the seas and Michael Robinson caught and ran through to put the home side 24-0 up at the break.


Let’s be honest, the game was now lost but at least Wakefield should tried to have won this half and restore some pride. Imagine our pride then on 44 minutes when another high Gower kick was spilled by Ben Cockayne to allow Robinson in for his 2nd try of the game and it was now 28-0. It should have been a lot worse, Witt clearly isn’t a very good dead ball kicker and he had missed his last two kicks for extras. Wakefield again had more of the ball this half and even completed their first set of the game (I timed it at around 60 minutes) but could not break down a fairly tough Broncos defence. It was becoming fairly desperate now for us to score at least a point (just score a dropgoal!) so we didn’t get nilled at one of the worst teams in the league, yet Broncos easily defended their tryline and then scored another two tries on the counter. Firstly, a rapid break down the right led Jamie O'Callghan fed Liam Colbon to easily skip over the line and then on 75 minutes, Broncos scored the final points of the game which completely summed the game up. With Wakefield camped on the Broncos 20”, they lost the ball only God knows how and Luke Dorn sprinted from one end of the pitch to other to score Broncos’ 7th try and complete the game at an embarrassing 36-0.


So I finally saw Wakefield in action but typically, after waiting so long for this game, it ended quite badly with a deserved hammering. It was even more frustrating considering the previous excellent performances against Catalans and Warrington. It hasn’t got better for Wakefield since this game with defeats to rivals Castleford (34-16) and Wigan (36-6) to leave us firmly rooted at the bottom of the table. (Thankfully, Broncos and Widnes seem as bad as us, for now) Broncos have reverted back to normal as well since this game with defeats to Catalans (36-18) and Leeds (52-10). Watching a game at The Stoop is an ok experience, even behind the sticks you can see a good view and with the game being on Sky, we could just watch the replays if we did miss anything. It’s a shame Broncos aren’t better supported, as rugby league does need to expand its borders, so hopefully Broncos and the London Skolars can increase their popularity so the capital can get more of the better side of rugby. I’ll be at the Wakefield v Broncos reverse game in June and you never know, we might score a point.

Photos from Broncos vs Wildcats


Match Ratings:

- Match: 4/10 (poor for neutral, awful for a fan)

- Value for money: 7/10 (reasonable Super League price)

- Ground: 6.5/10 (does the job)

- Atmosphere: 5/10 (all Wakefield)

- Food: N/A - £6 for chips? Erm, no.

- Programme: 6/10 (reminded me of a decent FL programme)

- Referee: Steve Ganson – 2/10 (we’re there to see the players, not you, you fat prick)

LB vs WT prog

LB vs WT stub

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Fulham Youth vs Bristol City Youth (31/03/12)

Match 152

Ground #: 118

Ground: Motspur Park 

Competition: FA Premier Academy League 

Kick Off: 12pm

Cost: Free

Programme: None

Attendance: 48 (h/c)

Fulham Youth 5

Woodrow 34’, 48’, Della Verde 36’, 55’, 82’

Bristol City Youth 1

T.Andrews 77’


I hadn’t actually planned to see a game on this day as it was all about London Broncos vs Wakefield Wildcats in the evening for the massive rugby league clash. However, yet again the Non-League Matters forum came up with some interesting games, and none more so than Fulham Youth who were at home to Bristol City’s Youth. Fulham were having an excellent season so far in the Academy League and had reached the Quarter Finals of the FA Youth Cup this season too. With some good football in prospect too, it was an easy choice to make.


Fulham’s training ground is at Motspur Park, the suburb in South West London. The district was historically known as West Barnes and formed part of the traditional county of Surrey. It was rural right up to the end of the nineteenth century when the railway station was built. Two local lanes, West Barnes Lane and Blakes Lane, represent remnants from this rural era. Today, the area holds local shops as well as two large gasometers and a large amount of playing fields. Fulham bought the grounds off the University of London in 1999 who until then had used it as an athletics stadium. It had achieved fame in 1938 when Sydney Charles Wooderson set the then world mile record of 4min 6.4sec.


Motspur Park is a large venue with at least 6 pitches and it is where all of Fulham’s teams train right down to the little kids. (Under 7s?) A few first team members who clearly weren’t in Fulham’s match day squad for their game against Norwich City to be played later that day (Fulham won 2-1). A large building dominates the grounds which houses (I presume) offices as well as the changing rooms for the various pitches on site. This Under-18s game was actually taking place right at the back of the complex on the pitch nearest Motspur Park rail station and has basic, but adequate spectator facilities. The pitch is roped off down one side where the spectators stand, while a van at the back was selling some excellent bacon rolls which was perfect for a hangover I was nursing. In terms of getting in, while some clubs have a blanket ban on spectators viewing their Academy games, Fulham do allow people in but you have to send an e-mail to Charlotte Bellamy at the club to get your name on the “guest list”. You are given an actual ticket at Motspur Park which is nice and the whole place does seem to have a fairly relaxed atmosphere.


On the field, Fulham Youth have had a great season in Academy Group A and themselves, along with Arsenal and Charlton Athletic had a chance of finishing as Group A winners and qualifying for the play-offs which they achieved last season before losing the final to Everton’s U-18s. They also have some history in producing some great players from their Academy with Chris Smalling, Kerim Frei and Sean Davis have all come through here, amongst others to have (or continue to have) a decent career. Their opponents for this game were down towards the lower end of Group B (teams play 10 inter-group fixtures) as Bristol City had made the long trip east. While Group B looks to be a 3 way fight between Reading, Leicester City and Coventry City to be Group B winners, Bristol City were not troubling them down in 8th spot. They had also crashed out the FA Youth Cup in the 3rd Round (first one they enter) with a 5-1 defeat to Portsmouth to cap a poor season for them. With just pride to play for, they came here hoping they could pick up a good 3 points as they fight it out with MK Dons to see who picks up the Group B wooden spoon.


It was the away side who actually started off the better as they looked more up for it and seem to be the more threatening when going forward. There was also a brilliant moment I enjoyed when Bristol City produced some great skill to get the ball away from the corner flag and start an attack that sadly came to nothing. Their best chance actually came on 6 minutes when they broke down the right and the cross was met with a great header that Grant Smith did well to save. After that scare, Fulham began to get a lot more of the ball but again City were more than a match and hit the post from a corner after 23 minutes. In fact, even though Fulham began to push forward more, I still expected the first goal to go to the away side. So no surprise then when Fulham took the lead on 34 minutes. A great crossfield ball from Christensen to Banya who in turn sent Omri Altman clear down the left. His low cross found Cauley Woodrow who had an easy 2 yard tap in to open the scoring. City now needed to hold firm before HT but instead allowed Lyle Della Verde all the space in the world to cut in from the right and fire an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner just 2 minutes later to make it 2-0. City looked stunned but managed to hold out for the rest of the half with no further damage.


I was expecting Bristol City to start like the 1st half for the second 45 and try and get an early goal back but it was Fulham who got a 3rd and seemed to kill the game off within two minutes. A cross from the right was unchallenged and an unmarked Woodrow produced a good header to give the goalie no chance. City heads completely dropped now and Fulham bombed forward as they could easily notch up a nice goal difference from this game. Goal #4 came in the 55th minute as again Della Verde had time to cut inside and fired another low shot from the edge of the area into the bottom corner. Fulham began to play some good football now and should really have kept a clean sheet but City did pull one back on 77’ when some excellent skill on the right wing got a cross in which seemed to be divered in off Tom Andrews or a Fulham defender. They even had a chance to make it 4-2 when Fulham clearly felt the game was over and a poor clearance was fired over the bar when Grant Smith was stranded. Fulham really did kill the game off however on 82 minutes when Della Verde was sent clear down the left and he fired a low shot into the bottom corner to end City as an attacking force and end the scoring.

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This was a good win for Kit Symon’s team who carried on their good form with a 2-1 win away at Charlton’s Academy to put themselves in pole position to win Group A. With games against Reading and Norwich coming up, they know that two wins will win them the Group for the 2nd year running. As for Bristol City, they need to improve as I do wonder how many of their players will actually ever make the 1st team, but good luck to them. If you can get into Motspur Park, I do recommend it as it is a nice place to take an early Saturday game in and to see some excellent football being played. And who knows, I may have just watched Fulham’s next star in this game!


Match Ratings:

- Match: 6/10 (shame BC couldn’t offer more for 2nd half)

- Value for money: 10/10 (it was free)

- Ground: 5/10 (essentially a training pitch but in good surroundings)

- Atmosphere: 4/10 (polite)

- Food: 8/10 (possible bonus marks because I was hungover, but bacon was excellent)

- Programme: N/A – they don’t issue

- Referee: C Wicks – 6/10 (enjoyed his refereeing style)

Fulham Yth stub

Friday, 6 April 2012

Road to Wembley 2011/12 (Semi-Final 2nd Leg)

With Dunston 1-0 up from the 1st leg and a tough trip to Derbyshire to come, this tie could still have gone either way. I didn’t go to this as I was stupid enough to go to watch my Wakefield boys play at London, but was thinking about this game most of the day and trying to get updates from Twitter.


The FA website describes the action well from Staveley:

Dunston UTS secured their place in The FA Carlsberg Vase Final against West Auckland Town courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate win over Staveley Miners Welfare.
They left it late, though, as they needed an 85th-minute goal from Stephen Goddard to make it 2-2 on the day and take them through on aggregate. But he was later sent off as both sides were reduced to ten men in a fiesty encounter at Inkersall Road.
Dunston manager Billy Irwin had said it would be a tough trip for his side and so it proved. The hosts re-took the lead on 35 minutes and looked odds-on to progress. But Staveley were themselves reduced to ten men in the second half and as legs tired Goddard was there when it mattered to take Dunston to Wembley.”

Dunston's 2nd(Dunston equalize through Goddard – taken from Dunston UTS’s website)

Really well done to Dunston UTS then and I’ll be seeing the FA Vase final with you on May 13th at Wembley. The whole day is set to be a North-East extravaganza with fellow Northern League side West Auckland Town facing them after seeing off Kent League side Herne Bay in other other Semi-Final. *Best NE accent* It will be real kanny like! (I’m sorry)


This game was a bloggers special it seemed as 3 reports are all online and listed below for extra added detail:

Shaun Smith (100 Grounds Club)

Rob Waite (The 66 POW)

Sticky Palms (The Groundhopper)

ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2011/2012:

1ST QUALIFYING ROUND: Croydon FC 1-2 Beckenham Town (Croydon Sports Arena, Att: 51)

2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Beckenham Town 5-1 Fisher FC (Eden Park Avenue, Att: 58)

1ST ROUND: Three Bridges 3-0 Beckenham Town [After Extra Time] (Jubilee Field, Att: 68)

2ND ROUND: Rye United 1-2 Three Bridges (The Salts, Att: 105)

3RD ROUND: Southend Manor 0-0 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Southchurch Park, Att: 64)

3RD ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 4-1 Southend Manor (Jubilee Field, Att: 66)

4TH ROUND: Gresley 1-1 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Moat Ground, Att: 524)

4TH ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 2-2 Gresley FC [Gresley win 7-6 on penalties] (Jubilee Field, Att: 308)

5TH ROUND: St Ives Town 4-0 Gresley FC (Westwood Road, Att: 541)

QUARTER FINAL: Staveley Miners Welfare 3-0 St Ives Town (Inkersall Road, Att: 575)

SEMI FINAL 1ST LEG: Dunston UTS 1-0 Staveley Miners Welfare (UTS Stadium, Att: 973)

SEMI FINAL 2ND LEG: Staveley Miners Welfare 2-2 Dunston UTS [DUNSTON WIN 3-2 ON AGG] (Inkersall Road, Att: 1,050)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Dunston UTS vs Staveley Miners Welfare (24/03/12)

Match 151

Ground #: 117

Ground: UTS Stadium

Competition: FA Vase Semi-Final 1st Leg

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: £6

Programme: 50p

Attendance: 973

Dunston UTS 1

Bulford 78’

Staveley Miners Welfare 0


The Wembley arches are now really in sight for the 4 clubs remaining in the FA Vase. Whatever the outcome was to be of these two semi-finals, Herne Bay, West Auckland Town, Dunston UTS and Staveley Miners Welfare have all done exceptionally well to get here and see off some top teams in the earlier rounds. My road was now taking me up to the North-East as the Miner boys from Staveley now had to face Northern League Dunston UTS, and as I had missed the last couple of rounds, I went on probably my biggest journey ever for a single football match. Just the 284 miles from my house to the UTS Stadium…


Dunston was originally an independent village on the south bank of the River Tyne but has now been absorbed into the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead and much of Dunston now forms part of the inner Gateshead regeneration area. To the west of Dunston is the site of Dunston Power Station, now demolished and the site is now home to the MetroCentre, which was the largest shopping and leisure centre in Europe before the Stratford Westfield complex was opened in 2011. Another Dunston landmark is the Derwent Tower, commonly known as the "Dunston Rocket", a tower block that was once the highest in Gateshead, and was designed by the Owen Luder Partnership and completed in 1973. Dunston is particularly known for its wooden staithes, first opened in 1893 as a structure for loading coal from the North Durham coalfield onto ships. In the 1920s 140,000 tons of coal per week were loaded from the staithes, and they continued to be used until the 1970s. They were finally closed and partially dismantled in 1980. The staithes were restored and reopened for the Gateshead Garden Festival in 1990, following similar events around the country. Today, the staithes are reputed to be the largest wooden structure in Europe, and are protected as a Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.


Dunston UTS have had a few name changes over the years since their formation in 1975. Formed as Whickham Sports they played on a public park in the Northern Alliance League picking up a few league titles and league cup wins before joining the Northern Combination League in 1980. After more success in this league, they decided to move to a base nearer the home ground and so moved to Dunston Mechanics Social Club and the team became known as Dunston Mechanics F.C. At this stage an approach was made to the Federation Brewery for sponsorship to assist in the progress of the club. When they kindly agreed to become the clubs main sponsors, the club name was changed to Dunston Federation Brewery F.C in 1987. A move to the Wearside League (despite being less than a mile away from the Tyne) before they joined the Northern League in 1991. Since their time in the NL, they have won it twice as well as winning the Northern League Cup five times. They were sponsored by UTS Ltd in June 2009 and so changed their name accordingly to Dunston UTS as they are known today. This was their first time in the FA Vase Semi-Finals after losing last season in the Quarters to fellow NL side Whitley Bay.


The UTS Stadium is a smart and open ground which was bathed in sunshine for this game. The main seated stand is named after their most famous son, Paul Gascoigne (although he apparently didn’t pay for the stand) while opposite is a larger standing area which reminded me slightly of the one at Blyth’s Croft Park. The rest of the ground is hard standing which can be seen as fairly basic, but it easily handled the sub 1000 crowd that had came for this game. Staveley had easily seen off St Ives Town in the previous round to get to this stage for the 1st time too and were going well in the league, being towards the top in the Northern Counties East League. Dunston were going into this game in 5th position with 5 games in hand over leaders Sunderland RCA and had a reasonable Vase run this season by seeing off Blackwell Miners Welfare (12-1!), Parkgate, Wisbech Town, Bethnal Green United and Peterborough North Star. A tough one to call…


The game kicked off with Staveley MW clearly having some pace up front which did cause Dunston a couple of problems but nothing that the home goalie Liam Connell couldn’t handle. Connell at one point did cause himself some trouble when his goal kick went straight to SMW’s Jamie Smith, but his first time shot trickled wide. After another couple of half chances, Staveley’s good work going forward seemed to disappear after Andrew Fox was taken out on the touchline with a hard, but fair challenge. This caused the SMW boys to kick off and absolutely berate the referee with some shocking language. The ref took it, which did encouaged Staveley to continue this for the rest of the game when some yellow cards would have ended that then. With Staveley basically done as an attacking force, the rest of the half was poor, played on a rock hard pitch that was doing neither side good.


Dunston needed to play a lot better in the 2nd half as the first 45 minutes had passed them by and an early free kick which only just sailed past Ian Deakin’s goal after the ball had missed everyone was a good start. Staveley were only now beginning to get the ball forward on a few occasions but normally lost the ball instantly and probably had a moan at the referee too. Dunston chances started to come more frequently as Terence Galbraith had a low driven shot well saved by Deakin. The best chance of the game came when Galbraith hammered a free kick off the bar with Deakin well beaten. When that bar rattled, I’ll be honest, I thought my fine 0-0 record would be coming to an end, but with 12 minutes to go, Dunston finally made a breakthrough. A long free kick from Connell found a Dunston winger on the right who rolled the ball into Andrew Bulford in the area. He turned brilliantly and fired a shot in off the post to send most of the 900+ crowd into raptures and we even had a streaker for good measure too. Staveley now had to defend a 1-0 defeat as Dunston bombed forward in search of a 2nd, but that was it. A 1-0 win to take to Derbyshire and everyone knew this tie wasn’t finished yet.

IMG_1567(SMW in similar “arguing” pose)

This was an enjoyable, but tiring day as a 568 mile round trip took its toll on the way back home. A long kip. The game wasn’t very good in all honesty as both sides knew they could play a lot better. I was more disappointed with Staveley as they clearly could have caused Dunston problems but instead decided to spend around 80 minutes arguing with the referee. It was great to meet up with Ian Cusack, as well as meeting Shaun Smith (creator of the 100 Football Grounds Club) and Adrian Ragsdale (follow on Twitter here) as I watched the game with all 3. Dunston really did well for their big day, as everyone involved with the club were a delight to talk to and I hope they can carry on their good form with some key games coming up for them. There was of course, the 2nd leg still to come…

Photos from Dunston UTS vs Staveley Miners Welfare


Match Ratings:

- Match: 4/10 (poor)

- Value for money: 7/10 (good value for the semi-final)

- Ground: 7/10 (great stuff)

- Atmosphere: 8/10 (was good, but could have been more)

- Food: 7/10 (decent enough burger)

- Programme: 8/10 (it was worth 50p, so well done for charging that)

- Referee: Andrew Madley – 6/10 (could have stamped his authority more)

DUTS vs SMW prog

DUTS vs SMW stub

ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2011/2012:

1ST QUALIFYING ROUND: Croydon FC 1-2 Beckenham Town (Croydon Sports Arena, Att: 51)

2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Beckenham Town 5-1 Fisher FC (Eden Park Avenue, Att: 58)

1ST ROUND: Three Bridges 3-0 Beckenham Town [After Extra Time] (Jubilee Field, Att: 68)

2ND ROUND: Rye United 1-2 Three Bridges (The Salts, Att: 105)

3RD ROUND: Southend Manor 0-0 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Southchurch Park, Att: 64)

3RD ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 4-1 Southend Manor (Jubilee Field, Att: 66)

4TH ROUND: Gresley 1-1 Three Bridges [After Extra Time] (Moat Ground, Att: 524)

4TH ROUND REPLAY: Three Bridges 2-2 Gresley FC [Gresley win 7-6 on penalties] (Jubilee Field, Att: 308)

5TH ROUND: St Ives Town 4-0 Gresley FC (Westwood Road, Att: 541)

QUARTER FINAL: Staveley Miners Welfare 3-0 St Ives Town (Inkersall Road, Att: 575)

SEMI FINAL 1ST LEG: Dunston UTS 1-0 Staveley Miners Welfare (UTS Stadium, Att: 973)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Heaton Stannington vs Percy Main Amateurs (17/03/12)

Match 150

Ground #: 116

Ground: Grounsell Park

Competition: Northern Football Alliance Premier (Level 11)

Kick Off: 3pm

Cost: Free

Programme: None

Attendance: 49 (h/c)

Heaton Stannington 1

Wright 36’, Wright m/pen 11’

Percy Main Amateurs 0


Being up in the land of the toon again for my missus’ (insert more acceptable nickname here) birthday saw me with a Saturday afternoon with a potential football game if I found one nearby. Brilliantly, the Percy Main boys were playing just up the road at Heaton Stannington. One of my favourite visits ever whilst doing this blog was my trip to Purvis Park and so it would be great to see them again away from home this time away at one of the Northern Alliance bigshots.


Heaton is a residential suburb and located in the east end of Newcastle, about 2 miles from the City Centre. The name 'Heaton' means high town, referring to the area being situated on hills above the Ouseburn, a tributary of the River Tyne. By the 18th century, Heaton was a coal mining area with many of its collieries owned by Matthew White and Richard Ridley. The Heaton estate was broken up in 1835 when the area became officially incorporated into Newcastle. Much of the land in Heaton in 1840 was owned by Amourer Donkin, who on his death in 1857 bequeathed the land to his business partner, the industrialist Sir William Armstrong. In 1879, the corporation acquired part of the Heaton Hall estate, which was then laid out as Heaton Park, and Sir William Armstrong donated Armstrong Park and Jesmond Dene to the city. The three parks run into each other to form a green corridor through east Newcastle. Today, Heaton is a mixed working class and middle class area and has become a popular residence for many students attending the city's two Universities, Newcastle University and Northumbria University.


Heaton Stannington were founded in 1919 and have played at their Grounsell Park home (formerly known as Newton Park) since inception. They have been Northern League members at some point as they joined the league in 1939 (oops) before being not allowed to play at their ground during the war as it was taken over by the military. After leaving the Northern League in 1952 (they haven’t been back) they floated around regional leagues and the Wearside League (?!) for 10 seasons before joining the Northern Alliance where they still are today. After winning promotion to the Premier League of the NA, they are a top side in the division and normally find themselves in the upper reaches. Their ground is a smart one and very good for Level 11. With a raised standing area (see picture above) and railed off around 3 sides of the pitch, it is a smart place to watch football. Apparently (according to a review) the capacity of the ground is 2,000 although Heaton would be delighted if 100 came to one of their games. They also made enquires this season about what would be needed to be done to improve the ground to bring it up to Northern League 2012 standards and were told pretty much everything. Floodlights, seated stands, hard standing all the way round. They better get comfy in the Northern Alliance then…


They are doing well this season too Heaton as they were going into this game in 5th, but only 3 points behind current leaders Carlisle City. Percy Main had changed a lot personnel wise since I saw them in 2010, with only 2 members of the team that beat Cullercoats that day still playing for them now. They were doing ok in the Premier Division although still had a small fear of relegation as they were down in 10th on 28 points going into this game, but had played 24 games already so only had 6 more games this season and probably needed a few more points to guarantee safety for more top flight Northern Alliance action next season. I met up with Ian Cusack (A.K.A MR Percy Main) who was stand in secretary for the day and he informed me of how PMA were doing and little facts about Heaton Stann and the ground.


With Heaton above PMA in the table, it would have been a surprise if on 3 minutes, James Leggett had put his powerful header on target from a corner, but instead he put it over. The home side came right back though as their pacey forwards were giving the away defence a runaround and Wright had a long range effort easily dealt with by Rodgerson. That defence looked all over the place though and they were possibly lucky to not be a man lighter on 11 minutes when Jevon Jull took out Andrew Weeks in the area when the Heaton man had turned his marker. Jull was only given a yellow card by Neil Wright, which caused the HS bench to go apeshit, but Wright took his time on the decision and didn’t take the easy option, so well done him. Ex Hibs trainee Jonathon Wright took the penalty but rolled it wide to keep it at 0-0. The home side were dominant now and as they crashed a shot off the crossbar and Scott Parker (not that one) headed into the ground and over from 6 yards as the opening goal looked only a matter of time. It did come on 36 minutes when Tony Browell’s header was poor and Wright hit a volley over Rodgerson and in. Rodgerson kept the game alive on 43 minutes when he brilliantly saved Waggett’s 1 on 1 chance, but half-time came and PMA were still in the game.


The second half, I felt started quite slowly, helped in part by a Percy Main reshuffle at the back which tightened them up and made Heaton worked harder to try and break them down. They fired a shot over the bar after a corner wasn’t cleared that far on 59 minutes that was the first chance of the half. Percy Main had their best chance on 63 minutes as Tony Abladey took advantage of a poor passback and rounded the Heaton goalie, but the angle was now too narrow and he lost the ball as he tried to cut it back. Heaton though were rarely troubled after that and hit the post on 79 minutes as well as creating a couple more chances as they easily held on to pick up 3 points.


Nice, relaxed game afternoon spent at Heaton as I was treated to a fairly decent Level 11 game. Both sides have played a couple of game since this game (and purely because I’m apparently too busy to write a set of coherent words nearer the time!) and Heaton have won two since then, with a win over Merton before a mighty important 2-1 away win at Carlisle City to put them in the driving seat for the Northern Alliance title. PMA did win 1-0 at Ashington Colliers to all but confirm their Premier place before getting pummelled 4-0 at home to Stocksfield to show there is work to be done next season for them. It was great seeing Ian Cusack again and I fully recommend the Northern Alliance, I’ll be back at some other North-East outpost some day.

Photos from Heaton Stannington vs Percy Main Amateurs


Match Ratings:

- Match: 6/10 (fairly enjoyable)

- Value for money: 10/10 (can’t be free!)

- Ground: 6.5/10 (would love to see this done up, but looks good now)

- Atmosphere: 5/10 (not too bad for 49 people)

- Food: N/A – none at ground as such, got some piss poor chips from Newton Road)

- Programme: N/A – they don’t issue

- Referee: Neil Wright – 6/10 (frustrating, but key decisions were right)