Saturday, 19 September 2009


Saturday 19th September 2009
Notts Senior League Senior Division
The Village Green

Today is another case of making the most of the warm weather to get up early and take in a game. My chosen destination is Nottingham and specifically the suburb of Attenborough which lies to the west of the city. The fixture of choice sees me take in another Notts Senior League game between Attenborough and defending champions Bilborough Pelican. The home side were founder members of the league when it was formed in 2004 with their best finish coming in the 2005/06 season when fourth place was achieved. Bilborough Pelican are currently in their third season in the league joining in 2007 after a spell in the Central Midlands League. Both teams were previous members of the now defunct Notts Alliance. The ground and facilities are shared with Attenborough Cricket Club with both pitches overlapping. For match days the club rope off the pitch though there is no hard standing and spectator cover and no admission is charged or programme issued. Behind the ground is Attenborough Nature Reserve which is a complex of flooded gravel pits and islands and covers 145 hectares. It provides an ideal habitat for birds, plants and other wildlife and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The drive up to Nottingham is as routine as it comes and would have took around 45 minutes to get there, but an accident between the East Midlands Airport exit and junction 24 caused a short delay and I arrived at the ground with about five minutes to kick-off.

At the start of play both teams were sitting in mid-table though with the hosts having played two games more. Pelican started the stronger of the two teams and nearly went in front after only a couple of minutes when the keeper produced a fine save from a shot from outside the box. It took only ten minutes for the first goal when Danny Blanchard scored with a shot on the turn from 12 yards or so to give the visitors a deserved lead. Two minutes later and it would have been two-nil only for the assistant to rule the goal out for offside. Attenborough got a lucky break on 22 minutes when Dave Constable equalised with the ball falling kindly to him following a long punt up field. Another excellent chance went begging one of the Pelican forwards put the ball wide when one on one with the keeper. The half ended with both teams cancelling each other out – Attenborough playing the long ball game and Pelican the short passing game. The second half saw the home side dominate the proceedings in terms of possession, chances and territory, but were hit with a sucker punch on 77 minutes when Sean Allen scored from close range to put them in front. Six minutes later and the game was effectively over when Liam Thompson made it 3-1.
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