Saturday, 23 July 2011

Colne v Salford City Saturday 16th July 2011 Pre-Season Friendly

The plan for today was to meet up with The Onion Bag after several failed attempts last season.The phone call came and we decided upon the Colne game against Salford City as the ground looked interesting and with a good backdrop too.
I set off with the rain falling steadily, which makes the journey fairly tedious. I eventually drive out of the rain clouds and take a comfort break at Birch Services on the M62. As on several occasions last season, I run into a pink cowboy attired hen party apparently on their way to Blackpool. Their language was as colourful as their hats.
I leave them behind at Birch and a few miles onto the M6 the heavens open and visibility is pretty poor. I suddenly start to have concerns about the game being on and I panic as I realise I have no back up plans. Whoops!
It is still raining as I make my up Harrison Drive to the XLCR Stadium, home of Colne.

There is no sign of TOB, so I make my way into the ground through an open gate. There are two guys going about the job of getting the ground ready for the game. I ask them if the game will be on. I get a funny look and an assurance that there will no problem with the game going ahead. I ring TOB to see where he is and to tell him the good news. He is not far away he tells me, so I have a little wander in the covered end while I wait. Five minutes TOB has arrived and we meet at long last. I'll not tell you too much about him in case his head gets too big, but I thoroughly enjoy my afternoon with him and I hope we will hook up again in the future.
We decide to explore the ground before going to find something to eat. It is still raining but the pitch looks good and there are only a couple of spots at the edges that are waterlogged. You enter the ground in the corner of the ground with a covered four step terrace in front of you.

In the corner there is a tea hut which is not open today and this leads to the far side. There is a short four step terrace with a bench on the top step and the toilets behind.

Just after this there is a small covered stand which as you can see from the picture afforded no protection from the weather at this moment.

There is some hard standing leading you towards the dugouts which are sited on this side of the ground.

After the dugouts the hard standing widens considerably and this runs all the way to the corner.

The end opposite where we came in is a one level hard standing and from here you can see the camber of the pitch which runs down to the far corner.

This brings you the side of the ground with the Main Stand situated astride the halfway line with the bar/tea hut and dressing rooms. There is a small terraced area here but it is blocked off at both ends.

The Main Stand is a gem. Quirky and with plenty of character. This picture shows how the pitch drops away. The height of the front of the stand increases as it heads towards the corner.

The seats are a mix of benches and plastic seats, with the benches having backs to them, fairly unusual to what I have previously seen.

This brings us back to where we started, a lot wetter than when we set out! We spend a while chatting to the Club officials and are blamed for the weather as to quote "you are the tourists". We head outside to go and get some food and discover that TOB both have the same model of car. After an abortive visit to a pub we decide to head to Sainsbury's and get a sandwich and head back to the ground to eat it. As we leave the supermarket the rain has relented and there is even some blue skies.
As we arrive at the ground, both teams are outside the ground warming up on the grassy area that sites below the ground.

The game kicks off and before anyone has settled down Salford score. Jack Redshaw opened the scoring with a shot the keeper can only parry but the ball loops upwards and bounces into the net. Shorly after they have scored Salford have a great opportunity to make it 2 but miss the chance. I have a chuckle as one of the Salford coaches shouts to the wayward forward, "You should be hitting the onion bag from there". Now, I knew he is famous, but I did not realise he was that well known! Salford continued to swarm forward I feared for Colne, but to their credit they fought back and after 15 minutes Maduka was brought down in the area and Colne were awarded a penalty. Neil Stansfield stepped up and levelled the score.

Five minutes later Colne were ahead after Matt Tindall cut his way past several defenders with a strong run into the box before slotting home from the tightest of angles. The picture below is the start of his run.

This was a good competitive game with both sides dominating at times. On 25 minutes Salford were level. Danny Heffernan headed powerfully home from a corner giving the keeper no chance.

Salford were now on top and retook the lead on 37 minutes when Redshaw got clear, made his way into the box and curled a great shot past the keeper.

Salford went into the break 3-2 up after a thoroughly entertaining half of football.
The second half saw the customary wholesale change of players and whilst the game was still interesting, the number of chances fell and there was only one more goal. This went to Salford when Gary Salmon picked himself after being fouled to send the Colne keeper the wrong way and make it 4-2.

A very entertaining game and the ground is a gem, well worth the visit. TOB and I parted outside the ground with every intention of hooking up again in the near future.
Only one drama on the way home as I had to take evasive action on the M62 to avoid several settee cushions strewn across the lanes!

More pictures of the XLCR Stadium here.

There are more pictures of the ground, action and the fans here.

Colne 2-4 Salford City
Att: 50 (Onion Bag head count)
Admission: £2(Bargain!)
Programme: None issued

Sunday, 10 July 2011

2010 - 2011 Season Review

So that was that. I ended up going to 62 games plus 1 abandoned at half time.I saw 211 goals which averages out at 3.40 goals per game and saw three 0-0s, which included the worst game of the season, Barton v Pontefract. That game also saw the end of a 46 match run without seeing a 0-0!

I visited a total of 44 different grounds, with 29 of those being new grounds, and also saw games in Sweden for the first time. My favourite ground of the season was Rossendale United's Dark Lane and I only hope that the ground will still be used in the future.

Best game of the season was Grimsby Borough v Louth Town which Boro' won 6-3 to win a place in the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy Final. Good game, some great goals and action to the last minute.

Finally a big thank you to everyone who has made the effort to read my ramblings and many thanks to those of you who have left me comments.

Yorkshire Main v Easington United Saturday 14th May 2011 Black Dragon Premier Division

There was only one place to go today, Edlington Lane, home of Yorkshire Main. Having already won the Floodlit Cup, the Doncaster Challenge Cup and the League Cup, Main were looking to secure the League title to their haul. A win against the Villagers would ensure the title was theirs. To add a bit of spice to the game, Easington were one of only two teams to beat Main this season.
There is a sense of deja vu when I arrive at the ground. As at last weeks game there is a Pithead wheel at the entrance to the car park.

This carries on as I meet up with two Scarborough Athletic fans who were at the Thorne game last week, and to add to the "this is like last week" feel, there is a cricket pitch with a game going on in front of the ground.

At the entrance there is a list of matches from the 23rd April to 18th May which sees Main play a massive 14 games in 25 days, the consequence of a successful season.

The entrance brings you into the ground in the corner with the pitch to the left and all the facilities, tea hut, changing rooms etc. to your right. There is a mesh fence separating you from the pitch at his point and you have to make your way past the dressing rooms to access the ground itself. This brings you the nearside touchline and into a covered stand with the dugouts either side of it.

I make my way through this stand and it brings out into the open and after this there is a simple railing separating you from the pitch.

I carry on into the corner and this is the view looking back to where I came from.

There is a fence at this end of the ground and one or two balls were lost over during the per game warm up. This is the shot from the other corner and you can see the Easington players warming up.

The side opposite the entrance side has a large covered stand with a small open terrace after the stand. There are several crush barriers and three floodlights along this side too.

I carry on down this side to the covered stand. In this shot you can see the cricket pitch sight screens in the background.

This is the view of the stand from the far side.

The next shot shows the terracing after the stand and as you can see it only runs a short way before the grassy area starts that runs to the corner of the ground.

I carry on the corner and this is the shot taken showing behind the goal at the entrance end. I have no idea what the large post is and they are dotted around the ground. We came to the conclusion that were probably where the previous boundary of the ground fencing was.

This is the view back to the covered stand from the same corner.

As expected, Main started the game on the attack but after weathering the early pressure Easington took the lead on 19 minutes when a great ball to Gavin Thurkettle saw him fire the ball past the Main keeper. But this only urged Main on and after 5 minutes they were level when Steffan Cairns cut inside and put it past Holden in the Easington goal.

Main took the lead in first half stoppage time when Holden dropped a cross allowing Adam Watson to slot the ball home.

The half time went soon after and Main were halfway to sealing the Championship. There was good news at half time as for the second time this season I won the half time raffle.
The second half started well and it was clear Easington believed that the game was far from over and made several attacks early on. However, from one of those attacks Main went on the counter attack and Watson beat the keeper to the ball and calmly lobbed it over him into the back of the net to make it 3-1.

For a while it was all one way traffic as Main looked to increase their lead. Holden made several excellent saves and some determined defending was keeping Main at bay.

Easington never gave up and did put Main under pressure towards the end of the game but were unable to find the breakthrough to set up a grandstand finale.

The final whistle went and the Main players and staff celebrated the League championship with some bottles of champagne.

There was just time to have a quick chat to Easington's Mr Lusmore, the man behind the superb "A Game In Four Quarters" blog, where you can read all about the day to day trials and tribulations of the Villagers.
This was a really enjoyable game to watch and the friendly welcome and good company made it a great end to the season.

More pictures of Edlington Lane here.

There are more pictures of the ground, action and the fans here.

Yorkshire Main 3-1 Easington United
Att: 55
Admission: £2
Programme: £0.50