Travels to the soul and heartbeat of English football...alright primarily Leicestershire!!!!
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LICHFIELD CITY 6-0 KENILWORTH TOWN KH
Midland Combination Division 2
Saturday 23rd January 2010
My original plan was to take in a Leicester & District League (LDL) fixture between Houghton Rangers and Kingsway Rangers, but with all the postponements of late the LDL made some changes to the fixture list and as such Kingsway are @ Magna `73 in a 1st v 3rd encounter. I had already made a visit to Magna’s ground in Countesthorpe a couple of years ago so was now on the lookout for another fixture that fell within my preferred criteria of up to sixty miles away or within an hours’ drive.
A few fixtures caught my attention in the Notts Senior League and Northamptonshire Combination so it was a case of waiting to see what was on due to the weather. In the end I decided to head west and in particular the cathedral city of Lichfield in south Staffordshire. It takes around an hour to get to Lichfield from my home in Leicester and is very easy to get to. My route took me down the A47 towards Hinckley, then across the A5 before turning onto the A38 and then into the town itself.
Lichfield’s population is just over 30,000 and its most well known landmark is the cathedral. The three spires are considered unique amongst medieval cathedral and are often referred to as “Ladies of the Vale”.
The football club were formed in the 1970’s as Beacon Rangers, then changing its name a few years later to Beacon Park – the name of the ground which the club played on. In June 2006 the club changed its name again, this time to the current title. Up until 2008 the club played in the Burton & District League finishing runners-up in their last season before joining division 3 of the Midland Combination. Last season saw City finish in 5th place and with it promotion to division 2. This season they have made a steady start and at the start of play occupy 5th placed with 22 points obtained from their opening 13 games. Opponents Kenilworth Town KH lead the division by seven points from Knowle Reserves with eleven wins from their opening 14 games. The club play their home games at Brownsfield Park which is just off Eastern Avenue on the edge of the town. The pitch at Brownsfield Park is fully railed off with dugouts but there is no hard standing or cover. A decent social club is on the site which has a variety of Lichfield City merchandise for sale alongside hot and cold drinks and hot food in the form of Pukka Pies. No admission was charged but the club issued a sixteen page programme which was sold for £1.
The game itself saw City hit the ground running with three goals in the first fourteen minutes to shock the leaders, this along with hitting the woodwork as well. The remainder of the half and the majority of the rest of the game was an even affair in terms of possession with neither keeper making any save of note. The game was held up for around twenty five minutes around the half hour mark when the visiting keeper suffered a suspected broken hip. As Kenilworth had no substitute keeper an outfield player went in goal and like previously stated was not troubled by the home side. City’s fourth goal with fifteen minutes to play was somewhat fortuitous as the stand-in keeper fumbled a corner and the ball was bundled home. The fifth was added just a minute later when the visitors were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area which was taken by the keeper, but it went straight to a City player who put the ball back over his head and into the net from 35-40 yards out. The last goal came right at the end of the game but I could not tell you anything about it due to being in the clubhouse visiting the mens room.
Overall an enjoyable visit to a friendly club who on this showing should be a good bet for promotion to division 1.
Google maps driving time / distance: 1hr 3 / 36.5 miles
After five weeks without a game due to the weather and Christmas I am desperate to get out of the house today and take in a game, though after the snow a lot of pitches in the East Midlands are unplayable. Thankfully a check on the North Leicestershire League (NLL) confirms that premier division leaders Caterpillars home game in the Leicestershire Intermediate Cup against Leicester & District League (LDL) side Blaby United is definitely going ahead. The tie (along with other county cup quarter finals) was originally scheduled for last Saturday.
Caterpillar Football Club (unsurprisingly) uses the sports & social club inside the compound of Caterpillar itself on the outskirts of Desford in Leicestershire. If travelling from Leicester to Hinckley along the A47 do not turn right at the junction with the B582 but travel another mile or two towards Hinckley and turn right. This takes you towards the Caterpillar site and the sports ground car park is accessed via entrance number 1. The main pitch is already up to Leicestershire Senior standards with it being fully railed off and dugouts in place. A smart social club is adjacent to the main pitch and serves hot and cold drinks. It looks like either a recent addition or a refurbishment, with Suffolk brewers Greene King getting involved with another local non-league club some 100 miles from their base. This following ground naming rights at fellow Leicestershire sides Hinckley United and Oadby Town.
Records I have for Caterpillar only go back as far as 2001 when they joined division 1 of the NLL and finished in 10th place in the 11 team division. Relegation followed but they only spent one year in division 2 as they won promotion back to division 1 as runners-up winning fourteen of the eighteen league matches played. Five years were spent in division 1 before winning the division in 2008 and promotion to the premier division for the first time. In their debut season in the NLL’s top flight they finished in a creditable fourth place but this season they have hit the ground running, currently unbeaten and recording ten wins out of eleven games played. As is stands they are five points ahead of Loughborough based Genesis having played a game less. Opponents Blaby currently sit in mid-table in the premier division of the Leicester & District League having only played seven league games so far which is the lowest in the division at the present time.
The game itself was not the best but it was underdogs Blaby United who came through a competitive encounter with a last minute winner. Caterpillar probably had the great percentage of possession but were not clinical with the chances created. The first talking point came around the twenty minute mark when a Blaby player was brought down by the home keeper in the penalty area only for the referee to wave play on. From this a different player from Blaby was booked for protesting too much to the official. The opening goal came just five minutes before half time when the visitors broke on the counter attack to make in 0-1 and give the game a much needed kick up the backside. Fifteen minutes into the second half and Blaby were down to ten men when the player who was previously booked was sent off for lunging into one of the home players. Caterpillar did not waste much time in making the numerical advantage count when just five minutes later they equalised when the ball was volleyed home from the right hand side. Further chances were created by the hosts with the Blaby keeper pulling off one excellent save of note, but with extra time looming it was Blaby who stunned the hosts with a last minute goal to put them into the semi-finals.
Admission / programme: none
Attendance: 14 (h/c)
Driving distance / time (according to Google maps): 5.1 miles / 10 minutes
With nothing better to do on another bright but cold afternoon and games postponed on mass here is my half term report. Nothing though has happened since December 12th due the weather and it is now a fourth consecutive Saturday without any football at all. At the end of last season I made a list of twenty five clubs that I would like to visit this season, and below is that list with a few comments regarding them:
Central Midlands League Church Warsop MW - still hope to visit, maybe in March or April Kirkby Town - visited in August Nettleham - who knows Pinxton - see above
Leicester & District League Belgrave - waiting for fixture v Kingsway Rangers Blaby United - see above Cosby United - visited in November for fixture v Kingsway Houghton Rangers - hoping to visit on 23rd January for fixture v Kingsway Welby Lane United - see Belgrave
Leicestershire Senior League Melton Mowbray - visited in November for fixture v Barlestone
Midland Football Alliance Tipton Town - missed fixture with Oadby due to watching Leicester City
Midland Combination Castle Vale, Fairfield Villa and Meir KA - hope to visit one of them at least before season ends
Southern League Nuneaton Town and Romulus - same as Midland Combination
Spartan South Midlands League Ampthill Town - will probably visit sometime in February Winslow United - withdrew before the season started
United Counties League Olney Town - plan to visit this season Rushden & Higham United - will visit this season or next Sleaford Town - visited in September for their FA Cup tie v Matlock Town
West Midlands (Regional) League Bloxwich United, Goodrich, Shenstone Pathfinder and Goodrich - would still like to visit one or two before the season ends.
This season my new visits has been across eleven leagues so far with the highest number being in the Notts Senior League. I expect though that this will be surpassed by the Leicester & District League come the season end. A break down is as follows:
Central Midlands League Kirkby Town, Louth Town Football Conference Mansfield Town Leicester & District League Cosby United, Glen Villa, Mountsorrel Amateurs Leicestershire Senior League Melton Mowbray Midland Combination AFC Smethwick, Shirley Town Midlands Regional Alliance Melbourne Dynamo Northamptonshire Combination Medbourne Notts Senior League Attenborough, Bulwell, Cotgrave Welfare, Magdala Amateurs Southern League Cirencester Town United Counties League Sleaford Town Welsh League Newcastle Emlyn