Sunday, 27 September 2009

Louth Town

Saturday 26th September 2009
Central Midlands League Supreme Division
Park Avenue

Louth (population 14,200) is a market town situated on the River Ludd in the East Lindsey District and lies on the eastern edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The town centre is a maze of narrow streets which is of mainly Georgian and early Victorian architecture. The Church of St James’ (built 1515) dominates the surrounding landscape with its 295ft spire – the largest church spire in England. The town is also noted for the Greenwich Meridian crosses the town on Eastgate, near to the junction with Northgate.

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The town has two football clubs that have Louth in their name, one of which though plays is the nearby village of Saltfleetby. Louth Town currently use the Park Avenue ground on the eastern edge of the town which was home to Louth United for many years. Town were formed in the summer of 2007, and they secured a short term lease on the Park Avenue ground after United were served notice by the developer who owns the land to leave, and moved out to the afore mentioned village of Saltfleetby and as such left the Central Midlands League and re-joined the Lincolnshire League. ‘Town took United’s place in the Central Midlands League and finished a creditable 10th place in a twenty team Premier Division in their debut season. Last season Louth won the division winning twenty five of their twenty eight league games and with it secured promotion to the Supreme Division. This season they have continued where they have left off and at the start of play find themselves in second place behind Newark Town, unbeaten in seven games securing six wins. They are also through to the 1st Round of the FA Vase having seen off East Midlands Counties League side Blackwell Miners Welfare with an emphatic 6-2 away win. Their reward is a home tie to United Counties League side Sleaford Town. Opponents today are Nottinghamshire side Calverton Miners Welfare are in their fourth season in the league having previously been members of the Notts Alliance and Notts Senior League. They secured promotion to the Supreme Division in their second season when they finished runners-up behind winners Ollerton Town. Last season they finished in 3rd place in the Supreme Division but have found the going tough so far this season, currently lying in 14th place after nine matches played.

The journey up to Louth took around two hours going via Newark and Lincoln and I managed to park in the town centre, conveniently right outside a chip shop – exactly what I was looking for. After a brief pit stop I arrived at the ground with around 40 minutes to kick-off. I was charged £3 for the admission, £1 for a programme and a further £3 for pin badge. The club could not have been more welcoming and hospitable having found that I had travelled from Leicester and I was even offered a tour behind the scenes and given a copy of the team line-ups. The clubhouse is above the stand, from which allows unrestricted access to the playing area, ideal if the weather is of an inclement nature, but on a day like today being outside is the only option. Credit must also be given to the groundsman for the excellent playing surface.

Louth started the game without six first team regulars and at times during the first half it showed, the first twenty minutes being a scrappy affair with neither side being able to take control of the game. It was not until around the 25th minute that the home side started to get their passing game together and created a couple of good chances. They deservedly took the lead on 35 minutes when right-back Jason Callaby put in an excellent cross, which was headed back across the goal for Jamie Rowbotham to tap the ball home from a couple of yards out. The half ended with no further scoring. Calverton shocked the home side with the best goal of the game when on 51 minutes Callum Kitchen volleyed home spectacularly from the edge of the area after the Louth defence could not clear the ball. It took just two minutes for Louth to restore their lead when Mark Wood crossed the ball for Danny Kilmore to score with a powerful header. A further three minutes passed and it was 3-1 when substitute Callum Hyland’s shot from the edge of the area crept over the line by a yard or so after Michael Randell could not gather it cleanly. That was the last of the scoring but home sub Mark Fairburn had two chances towards the end to put the icing on the cake, only for the first to be well saved by Randell and the second was put wide with only Randell to beat.

Overall a comfortable win for the home side despite the afore mentioned absence of the six players. It does make you wonder what the scoreline might have been if Louth had a full squad to choose from. Having seen Sleaford themselves play as well this season the Vase tie should be a cracker and I would not be surprised if Louth took something from the game.

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