Thursday, 26 February 2009

A casual affair

Wolverhampton Casuals 1-2 Shawbury United
Tuesday 24th February 2009
West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division
Brinsford Lane

After much deliberation for what was to be my first midweek games since early December I decided to make a first venture (for this season) into the West Midlands (Regional) League. Wolverhampton Casuals were to be my destination, which for some reason had been on my hit list as it were for a few years now. The WMRL is not a league I venture into very often having only seen five previous games in the league over the years, only two of which still ply their trade. The clubs being Pelsall Villa and Warstones Wanderers.

The journey across the Midlands saw me leave home in south-west Leicester at around 6pm for the sixty odd mile drive west, mostly along motorways (M69, M6 and M54). As a percentage of travel I can’t recall spending as much time on the motorway network to get to a ground as this one. For me it was a case of joining the M69 where it meets the M1, travel its entire length to the M6, then take the M54 exit and finally leave the motorways at junction 2 of the 54. When leaving the M54 you turn right (or left if coming from the Telford direction) onto the A449 and the ground is about 400 yards on the right hand side. With the A449 being a dual carriageway you have to go to the first island and go back on yourself before turning into Brinsford Lane. The ground is in the Coven Heath area and has a rural feel about it. The only cover is a bench seated stand which runs along half the length of the clubhouse side of the ground. I was welcomed at the entrance to the ground and was charged £3 and a further £1 for a 20 page programme.

The game itself was very enjoyable with some good football being played on an excellent surface for this time of year. The visitors from Shropshire started brightly and were awarded a couple of corners in the first few minutes, only for the home side to break and were awarded a penalty, The penalty was saved and the rebound struck the post. Not to be deterred the home side took the lead on 16 minutes when Aaron Broomfield headed home following a right wing cross. No further goals ensued in the remainder of the half but the game was a fascinating contest – the pace and movement of the home side versus the more physical presence of the visitors. The second half was much the same as the first with both teams creating chances, but the home side seemed disrupted by the injury of their number 10 (the best player on the night) and a couple of other substitutions and it was no surprise to see Shawbury equalise with only two minutes remaining through Chris Henry. This was not the end of the drama as the visitors stole all three points with another goal from the previously mentioned Henry who headed home in the first minute of injury time. As a neutral who had to feel sorry for the Casuals who deserved something from an entertaining game. It is just a shame that only twenty people were in attendance - maybe had something to do with a certain Champions League match on the tv.
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