The reason for this fixture is that I wanted to have a look at Barlestone St. Giles who are currently sitting top of the division unbeaten, and will more than likley be playing in the Leicestershire Senior League next season. Birstall meanwhile at the start of play occupy 12th place in the 14 team division. Facilities in the District League vary from club to club - some have their own grounds with clubhouses (e.g. Barlestone) while others like today's hosts Birstall R.B.L. play on a roped off pitch on community playing fields. School Lane is easy to find whether coming from the south (Leicester) or the north (Loughborough & A46) and the pitch that the home side use is the first one next to School Lane itself if turning from the A6 Loughborough Road. Parking is either on the road or a car park which is at the far end of the playing fields. As expected there was no admission charged or programme issued and depending on when a head count was taken there were between 10 and 20 people watching the game.
The first half started evenly with the home side giving as good as they got against the league leaders in blustery conditions. Barlestone though created the better chances and it wasn't until 15 minutes that the first shot on target was registered. It was around this time that the visitors settled down and started to play some football and scored the opening goal after 20 minutes when the number 9 tapped in from a few yards out following a cross from the right hand side. Barlestone doubled their lead on 35 minutes when the number 9 got his second when he stabbed the ball home from about 8 yards out. Birstall continued to try hard but did not force the visiting keeper to make a save of note during the first half, while Barlestone came close on several further occasions with the home keeper making a couple of good saves.
Half time: 0-2
The second half saw Barlestone hit the ground running as they made it 3-0 in the 47th minute when the number 9 completed his hat-trick from a shot on the turn from about 12 yards. The expected rout never materialised as both sides struggled in the conditions and Birstall refusing to be "the lambs in a slaughter". To be fair to them they kept going and had chances of their own and came close on a couple of occasions and a goal would have been just rewards for their efforts. The visitors should have had a fourth when the captain had the miss of the season as he managed to put the ball wide from a couple of yards out when it seemed easier to score.
Final score: 0-3
Overall, not the best game but the conditions played a part in this. Also without doing the home side any injustice I felt it was a below par performance from Barlestone St. Giles who remain unbeaten and top of the Leicester & District League. Next up is another outing to Birstall to take on bottom side Woodgate & Newfoundpool W.M.C. who play on Meadow Lane.