Saturday, 23 January 2010

Lichfield City

Midland Combination Division 2
Saturday 23rd January 2010
Brownsfield Park

My original plan was to take in a Leicester & District League (LDL) fixture between Houghton Rangers and Kingsway Rangers, but with all the postponements of late the LDL made some changes to the fixture list and as such Kingsway are @ Magna `73 in a 1st v 3rd encounter. I had already made a visit to Magna’s ground in Countesthorpe a couple of years ago so was now on the lookout for another fixture that fell within my preferred criteria of up to sixty miles away or within an hours’ drive.

A few fixtures caught my attention in the Notts Senior League and Northamptonshire Combination so it was a case of waiting to see what was on due to the weather. In the end I decided to head west and in particular the cathedral city of Lichfield in south Staffordshire. It takes around an hour to get to Lichfield from my home in Leicester and is very easy to get to. My route took me down the A47 towards Hinckley, then across the A5 before turning onto the A38 and then into the town itself.

Lichfield’s population is just over 30,000 and its most well known landmark is the cathedral. The three spires are considered unique amongst medieval cathedral and are often referred to as “Ladies of the Vale”.

The football club were formed in the 1970’s as Beacon Rangers, then changing its name a few years later to Beacon Park – the name of the ground which the club played on. In June 2006 the club changed its name again, this time to the current title. Up until 2008 the club played in the Burton & District League finishing runners-up in their last season before joining division 3 of the Midland Combination. Last season saw City finish in 5th place and with it promotion to division 2. This season they have made a steady start and at the start of play occupy 5th placed with 22 points obtained from their opening 13 games. Opponents Kenilworth Town KH lead the division by seven points from Knowle Reserves with eleven wins from their opening 14 games. The club play their home games at Brownsfield Park which is just off Eastern Avenue on the edge of the town. The pitch at Brownsfield Park is fully railed off with dugouts but there is no hard standing or cover. A decent social club is on the site which has a variety of Lichfield City merchandise for sale alongside hot and cold drinks and hot food in the form of Pukka Pies. No admission was charged but the club issued a sixteen page programme which was sold for £1.

The game itself saw City hit the ground running with three goals in the first fourteen minutes to shock the leaders, this along with hitting the woodwork as well. The remainder of the half and the majority of the rest of the game was an even affair in terms of possession with neither keeper making any save of note. The game was held up for around twenty five minutes around the half hour mark when the visiting keeper suffered a suspected broken hip. As Kenilworth had no substitute keeper an outfield player went in goal and like previously stated was not troubled by the home side. City’s fourth goal with fifteen minutes to play was somewhat fortuitous as the stand-in keeper fumbled a corner and the ball was bundled home. The fifth was added just a minute later when the visitors were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area which was taken by the keeper, but it went straight to a City player who put the ball back over his head and into the net from 35-40 yards out. The last goal came right at the end of the game but I could not tell you anything about it due to being in the clubhouse visiting the mens room.

Overall an enjoyable visit to a friendly club who on this showing should be a good bet for promotion to division 1.

Attendance: 50-60
Google maps driving time / distance: 1hr 3 / 36.5 miles

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