Monday, 6 April 2009

Finally

Continental Star 2-2 Meir K.A.
Saturday 4th April
Midland Combination Premier Division
Oldbury Leisure Centre
Visting the ground and club has been on my agenda for some time, took long in fact. When I heard recently that they were demolishing the leisure centre and football ground for housing in the autumn this became a priority as it were. The Oldbury Leisure Centre and it's football ground to be fair is a bit of an eyesore, though why it could not have been rebuilt and / or modernised is another matter - the way I see it is that two football clubs will have to find new homes for next season and another sporting facility will be lost. The other club in question by the way is Oldbury Athletic. I overheard a conversation at home time regarding next season and 'Star are hopefully going to be groundsharing at Rushall Olympic while 'Athletic will be moving a mile up the road at West Midlands League outfit Tividale. Obviously both of the these have yet to be confirmed, especially as Tividale currently have a tennant in the form of Midland Football Alliance (MFA) side Oldbury United who were ejected from their home ground at the start of last season after a dispute with the social club. The ground was home to former Southern League and MFA side Sandwell Borough and a sign for former MFA sponsor Interlink Express is still on an outer wall. Getting to the leisure centre is very easy with it being a mile or so from junction 2 of the M5. After exiting the motorway take the A4123 towards Dudley, then turn left into Newbury Lane (5th on left) with the leisure centre on the right after 50 yards or so.
Entrance is via the leisure centre itself and admission was £3 with a further £1 for a pretty poor programme - this I managed to obtain at half time after asking one of their officials. The pitch is surrounded by what could be a running track though with all the moss etc it is difficult to decifer and as such spectators are further away from the pitchside than normal. The only cover is also a seated stand on the left hand side with the dugouts on the opposite side. Refreshments were available at half time in one of the offices.
The opponents for Star today are Potteries side Meir K.A. and languish second bottom in the table, while Star themselves are not having the best of seasons. For the record the K.A. stands for Kings Arms. The home side start brightly and play some nice football at times with a poor final ball and finishing letting them down. One way traffic it isn't and at time Meir bely their lowly position to create chances of their own. Despite this the half remains goalless. The visitors shock their hosts with two well taken goals in the space of four minutes before the hour mark - will this be a fourth consecutive away win without the hosts scoring? Star but this theory to bed when they were awarded a penalty which was duly dispatched, the time of which eludes me as I forgot to take my note book. Doh! With the 90 minutes up a Star shot hit the underside of the bar and the rebound tapped home for a dramatic equaliser. A fair result in the end though not without a tinge of sympathy for the visitors.
Overall an enjoyable game with the second half a lot better than the first watched by 17 people (Midland Combination website), though how many actually paid is another matter. I don't normally visit the same ground twice in a season but I'm think of watching fellow tennant Oldbury Athletic on Tuesday 14th April for their top of the table clash with Southam United.
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