Saturday, 28 November 2009
COSBY UNITED 1-7 KINGSWAY RANGERS
Saturday 28th November 2009
Leicester & District League Premier Division
Cosby is a village in the south of Leicestershire in the Blaby district with a population in 2001 of 3,489. Academic wise the village is home to a nursery and primary school while the parish church goes by the name of Saint Michael and All Angels. Sporting wise Cosby has a rugby, cricket and three football teams; Cosby United, Cosby United reserves and Cosby Victory, the latter being United's third team and play in the Leicester City League with the reserves like the 1st team play in the Leicester & District League. All the sports clubs play their home games on Victory Park which unsurprisingly is on Park Road.
I don't have a lot of information regarding the history of United but they joined the second division of the Leicestershire Senior League in 1951 finishing in 5th place in the 15 team division. Eleven seasons were spent in the division before a runners-up spot in 1962 secured promotion to division 1. A highest finish of 11th was achieved before relegation back to division 2 just four years later, though another runners-up spot in 1971 secured promotion again to division 1. Their stay in the top division lasted just two seasons before relegation back to division 2. United spent just five more years in the Senior League before they resigned in 1978. I don't have any further records for the club between then and 1996. From which they have been ever present in the Premier Division of the Leicester & District League finishing runners-up in 1997 and being crowned champions in 2006. This season they currently sit in 8th place in the 13 team division securing ten points from their opening nine games. Kingsway who were promoted in the summer as champions of division 1 have made an impressive (though expected) start to the season losing only once in the opening seven games, currently in 2nd place three points behind leaders Magna '73 having played two games less.
This is to be my second viewing of Kingsway this season having previously seen them @ Mountsorrel where they recorded a 5-1 victory. It also turns out that a new colleague from work plays for Cosby at centre half and goes by the name of Glenn Walker.
Victory Park was easy enough to find. If heading from Leicester take the B4114 towards Narborough, cross the railway line and then take the first right into Littlethorpe. Stay on the road until you reach a mini-island in Cosby itself. The park is on your right but the car park is round the corner next to the village library. The park contains two football, one rugby and a cricket pitch. The cricket one though overlaps the nearest football pitch which is the one used by United today. For the first time in a District League game I've seen the pitch was not fully or partally roped off. Also at home on the 2nd pitch was Cosby Victory's game in the Leicester City League against Aylestone United 2009.
This turned out to be a comfortable victory for the visitors from Braunstone Town with a first half hat-trick from striker Robbie Ryan giving them an advantage they never relinquished. Prior to the first goal on 14 minutes it was an even affair with both sides having an even amount of possession, but a long ball was knocked down into the path of Ryan who side footed home from six yards. Two minutes later and the previously mentioned Glenn Walker was done for pace on the right hand side, the ball finding Ryan who side footed home again from eight yards out. His and Kingsway's third came on 25 minutes when he rounded the home keeper to put the ball into an empty net. Despite going three down Cosby never let their heads drop and played some football of their own to try and get a way back into the game but thus failed to do so. It did feel though that the visitors took the foot off the gas for the latter period of the half. The second half was barely a minute gone when Robbie Ryan got his fourth when he hit a shot from just inside the penalty area across the keeper into the far corner. Further goals came on 55, 62 and 75 minutes for the visitors before the home side got a deserved consolation with five minutes left when their number ten hit a shot across the keeper into the top corner.
Admission / programme: none
Attendance: 12 (approximate head count)
Monday, 23 November 2009
LEICESTER CITY V PLYMOUTH ARGYLE
Saturday 21st November 2009
Football League Championship
An offer of tickets for £10 through the Leicester Mercury newspaper sees me take in my second visit of the season to the Walkers Stadium. The first was for a pre-season friendly against Spanish La Liga side Real Valladolid which Leicester won 1-0 with a goal from Matt Fryatt five minutes from time. This season Leicester have made a solid start having won the League 1 title (3rd division in old money) last season and currently lie in sixth place. They have won seven out of their sixteen games played so far, and have obtained twnety-seven points in the process. Their three defeats coming by just a solitary goal. Opponents Plymouth meanwhile sit one place above the relegation zone having obtained fifteen points from their opening sixteen games.
This year sees Leicester City celebrate their 125th anniversary having been formed in 1884 as Leicester Fosse. Their first game was a friendly against Syston Fosse which resulted in a 5-0 victory, with the site of the game now being covered by Westleigh Road. The club played at various venues within the city (including Mill Lane, Victoria Park and Grace Road cricket ground) before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, though during the early years there it was known as Walnut Street. The move to the new ground coincided with Fosse joining the Midland League having spent the previous seven playing friendly matches. The club spent three years in the Midland League finishing 11th, 4th and 2nd respectively before being accepted into the 2nd division of the Football League. Upto the First World War the club spent all but one season in the lower division with the soliatary top flight campaign coming in the 1908/09 season. Financial problems led to Fosse being wound up in May 1919 with the club being reborn as Leicester City. The years between the two world wars saw the 'new' club spent more time in the top flight with two division 2 titles coming in 1925 and 1936. The club also achieved its highest ever placing when finishing runners-up in the 1928/29 season. When peace resumed the club found itself in the second division again and while as a second division club reached the FA Cup final for the first time in 1949 when they lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers. City contined to be and still are a yo-yo club, though a further three FA Cup finals were reached in the 1960's, but all were lost against Spurs and the two Manchester clubs. In 2008 the club were relegated to the third tier of English football for the first time in their history. You could argue that they have already played in the fourth level with the old Midland League being behind the Football League and Southern League in status at the time Fosse competed in. Let's not ruin a good story hey!
The earliest records for Plymouth Argyle I have are from 1903 when the competed in both the Southern and Western Leagues. This lasted for six seasons when in 1909 they soley concentrated on Southern League football before joining the Football League in 1920 in the newly formed division 3. This was when pretty much all of the top division of the Southern League did the same, and thus the following season a northern division was created by the Football League to balance out the southern bias. I do not plan to delve into the history of Argyle any further here, this will be done if and when I ever watch a home game of theirs and to be honest I can't imagine it anytime soon.
Admission: £10 (special offer)
Saturday, 14 November 2009
MELTON MOWBRAY 3-0 BARLESTONE ST GILES
Saturday 14th November 2009
Leicestershire Senior League Division 1
All England Sports Ground
My plan today despite the weather is to make the 30 minute journey to Melton Mowbray and in particular to the All England Sports Ground on Saxby Road, home of Melton Mowbray Football Club. There are two obvious things that spring to mind when the town of Melton Mowbray is mentioned – Pork Pies and Stilton cheese, neither food stuff I am particularly fond of!!! According to the towns official web site About Page the population is just over the 25,000 mark and is located some 15 miles north east of Leicester and about the same distance south west of Grantham.
It is about a 20 mile drive to the ground for Melton’s game against Barlestone St Giles. Melton Mowbray were promoted to the LSL in the summer as North Leicestershire League champions and they also seem to have changed their name from Melton Mowbray Building Society. To add to the confusion there was a Melton Mowbray FC playing in division 1 of the Leicester & District League (LDL) last season, for which there is no record of this season. Another possibility is that the two clubs could have merged. At the moment I don’t know. If we go on that it was just a name change then Melton spent eight years in the North Leicestershire League after leaving the now defunct Melton & Rutland District League. The Melton Mowbray FC that was in the LDL last season spent five years in the league with the highlight being division 2 winners in the 2006/07 season. To add to the mix there is another team that play in Melton – Welby Lane United who use the now defunct Melton Town’s old ground on Egerton Park in the town centre.
At the start of play Melton were in mid-table winning a third of their nine games played and obtaining twelve points in the process. Their last outing last week saw them record a 3-1 victory at Ravenstone. Barlestone meanwhile are in third place with 20 points from their nine games, though last week saw them crash out of the league cup to FC Dynamo 6-1.
The All England Sports Ground is a basic affair and the football club share the ground with Melton Mowbray Cricket Club. The pitch is railed off on three sides with permanent dugouts on the far touchline. The ground isn’t the easiest to find and is located between houses just after Richard Close.
This was my third visit to Melton this season with the other two visits resulting in cricket being played so it was a case of third time lucky. The game was a comfortable victory for the home side with the opening goal coming on 26 minutes when a shot from outside the area went into the top corner and was helped on its way with the wind and a deflection. The second came two minutes into the second half when the ball was lobbed over the keeper from some 25 yards or so. The third goal which killed the game as a contest came on the hour mark when the ball was slotted home from six yards or so following a through ball. To liven things up a mass brawl erupted midway through the half which was caused by a stamp by a Melton player. Punches were thrown; one in particular knocked the home number 3 off his feet. Amazingly only two yellow cards were shown – one for each side.
Admission / programme: none
Attendance: 15 (headcount)
Admission / programme: none
Attendance: 15 (headcount)
Sunday, 8 November 2009
MELBOURNE DYNAMO 4-0 CHELLASTON
Saturday 7th November
Midlands Regional Alliance Premier Division
Grange Park Recreation Ground
Another dry Saturday afternoon and another game planned without lights and (before setting off) more than likely no cover. The game in question is a local derby in the Midlands Regional Alliance Premier Division between Melbourne Dynamo and Chellaston. Melbourne don’t actually play in the village itself but in the neighbouring one of Ticknall at the Grange Park Recreation Ground. According to Google maps it should take around 45 minutes to make the 23 mile journey from my home in Leicester going via Coalville and Ashby.
The Midlands Regional Alliance is a Derbyshire League in all but name and the premier division sits at level 9 of the non-league pyramid. I suppose it can be classed as an unofficial feeder league to the Central Midlands League. I have only ever seen one game in this league or division when I took in Castle Donington Town’s fixture with Newmount in April of this year. At the start of play Melbourne sit in fourth place having won ten of their opening twelve games, scoring fifteen goals without reply in their last two league games, while Chellaston occupy eleventh place in the eighteen team division. Their last league game saw them share ten goals with Newmount.
The ground is the typical village recreation ground affair with facilities shared with the local cricket club. The cricket pavilion was open and did a brisk trade at half time selling tea and coffee for 50p. The pitch was roped off on the cricket side with the village church providing the backdrop to the setting on a chilly November afternoon.
Now to the game itself...
A game that the referee struggled to control in the early stages due to some industrial tackles and fouls that would not have looked out of place in the 60’s and 70’s. Two Chellaston players were sent off within three minutes of each other, the first for two bookable offences on 15 minutes and the latter a straight red on 17 minutes, both correct decisions in my opinion. It did leave you wondering whether there would be enough players on the pitch for the game to continue at some point. The home side made their numerical advantage pay three minutes after the second sending off. A few further chances were created in the next ten minutes by the home side but it was the visitors who finished the half the stronger. The second half was a poor affair, though despite it being calmer an undercurrent was still there. Midway through the second period Chellaston were lucky not to have a third player sent off, when standing over a Melbourne player it appeared a punch was about to be thrown, so much so in the fact that the home player went to protect himself. This was right in front of the referee so how so action was taken is beyond belief. Again it was Chellaston that was most likely to score despite their disadvantage but Melbourne finally killed off the game with two goals in quick succession on 86 and 87 minutes. A forth was added from the penalty spot right on the 90th minute to give an unfair gloss on the game.
Attendance: 57 (second half head count)
Before going into details on the clubs and the game a brief explanation of the heading. It simply refers to the fact that Melbourne are the fourth club I have seen with Dynamo in their title, following Shepshed, Loughborough and F.C. Dynamo.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
AFC SMETHWICK 1-3 HEATH HAYES
Saturday 31st October 2009
Midland Combination Les James Challenge Cup 2nd Round
Holly Lane Sports & Social Club, Birmingham
After 18 months of working every Friday and Saturday nights, and being restricted to the distance I can travel for games on Saturday afternoons I am now free to go where I want. Knowing me though I will still never travel that far as my usual requisite is that a club must be within 60 miles or no more than an hours drive away from home. Having drawn up a shortlist of games to go and I watch I decided on a 1.30pm kick-off between AFC Smethwick and Heath Hayes in the Midland Combination’s Les James Challenge Cup.
AFC Smethwick were formed in 2007 as GSA & Smethwick Town and joining the Midland Combination Division 3 the same year, changing their name to AFC Internazionale in the summer of 2008 before a further change of name to their current title during the 2008/09 season. Heath Hayes meanwhile have been around since 1965 when they broke away from the Heath Hayes Co-op Youth Club to form their own team called Heath Hayes United. The club joined the West Midlands (Regional) League in 1996 and spent ten seasons in the league before boundary changes saw them switch to the Midland Combination.
AFC Smethwick currently play at the Holly Lane Sports & Social Club in the Erdington area of Birmingham which is between the M6 and Sutton Coldfield. There are three pitches, one used by the local gaelic football club and the main one used by the hosts is enclosed from the others by metal fencing. The pitch is fully railed off with two areas of cover – one behind the near goal and a larger one on the far side of the pitch. To be honest it had a feel of “seen better days” about it. Catering was in the form of a mobile snack bar situated near the entrance to the complex with a coffee costing 80p.
The two teams are separated by two divisions with Smethwick in the second division while Heath Hayes are in the Premier. This showed in the opening exchanges with the visitors going two up inside eight minutes and it seemed a case of how many. Mid-way through the half and it could have been at least four or five to the good, but as often is the case it was the underdogs that got a goal back on 26 minutes to give them some self belief. From my point of view it turned the game into a scrappy affair and the remainder of the game is largely forgettable. The visitors put to bed any hopes of Smethwick had of taking the game into extra time with a third goal on ninety minutes. The second half was made bearable by chatting with a fellow neutral in the form of a Malcolm Holt from Telford.
Attendance: 15 (of which ten would be neutrals).
Programme: 50p – sold out but I got given one by the afore mentioned Malcolm Holt.
Programme: 50p – sold out but I got given one by the afore mentioned Malcolm Holt.