Saturday, 30 July 2011


Friday 29th July 2011
Pre-season Friendly
Connolly Way (7pm k.o.)

This is a bonus game as with being out all day tomorrow down in London, I didn't even look at any possible fixtures for this evening. It was only a phone call from Kev Zupp on Tuesday who asked I fancied meeting up for this game, and having thought about it and also getting permission from the wife decided to head south into Northamptonshire.

Roade is a village (population 2,304 - 2009 estimate) in south Northamptonshire, located a couple of miles south of junction 15 of the M1 motorway. Northampton is six miles to the north while Milton Keynes is twelve miles to the south. 

club logo (source: official website)
The football club play their home games on Connolly Way which is off Hyde Road in the western side of the village and compete in the Northamptonshire Combination (NC). They joined the premier division of the NC in 2002, from I believe the North Bucks & District League. In the nine years in the NC they have finished in the runners-up position twice, the first in 2003/04 when a three point deduction saw them finish two points behind champions Moulton, and in the second in 2006/07 when they were just one point behind champions Harpole.  

The journey down to Roade is an easy one with the majority of it being on the M1 and the 40 miles journey took around 45 minutes to make.

On arriving at the ground I noticed that the main pitch was out of action tonight and the game would be played on the back pitch. For the record the main pitch is on of the better ones in the NC with it being railed on three sides, permanent brick dugouts in place and a (very) small section of cover which is in the form of an overhang from a storage building. I met Kev and his three (youngest) kids there who arrived with about five minutes to kick-off. Also present in the crowd (!) were a few hoppers, a couple of which I have seen around before. 

The game was a typical pre-season friendly at first with very little between the two teams and to be honest Roade took their chances while Rushden didn't - simple as. The opening goal came was a well taken effort on 21 minutes when lobbed the ball over the keeper from fifteen yards. No further scoring ensued in the opening forty five minutes, and it was not until mid-way through the second half that the home side doubled their advantage. The number 29 was put clean through with only the keeper to beat whom he rounded and finished with aplomb. The third and final goal of the evening came with seventeen minutes remaining with the best of the lot as scored a cracking solo effort as he took on the Rushden defence and finished superbly. The final ten minutes were the best of the game as both Rushden came close to scoring twice, only for the Roade keeper to pull off a couple of good saves, while at the other end Roade had an effort cleared off the line and they themselves forced the visiting keeper to make an excellent save.

Admission: none
Programme: none
Attendance: peaked at around 45
Match rating: 2 out of 5
Roade - wikipedia page

p.s. Will I go back to do a re-visit to see a game on the main pitch? 

Well never is such a strong word but it is doubtful - there are too many places to watch football I have not been and besides I am not a "pitch" hopper.
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