Saturday, 29 October 2011

Loughborough double - part 1

Today there was only going to be one game in Loughborough in the form of Genesis FC, but on having had a butchers at some of the under-21 fixtures in the Midland Combination an easy Loughborough double stood out. The Under-21’s section of the Midland Combination was set up this season and the majority of the kick-offs are on Saturday mornings. I had not yet prior today seen a game in the under-21 competition but had heard mixed reports about the quality of football on offer. Surely it could not be worse than the watching the opening forty-five minutes of the Birmingham City - Leicester City game on television recently!!!!

Saturday 29th October 2011
Midland Combination Under-21 section East / North Division
The Paddock, Loughborough University

With this game kicking off at 10.30am I left home at around 9.45 and took around half hour to get to Loughborough University. According to the information given on the Midland Combination ask for Cayley One changing rooms on arrival at the gatehouse. But on having a look at the campus map ( on the University website and Google Maps it appears access to The Paddock can be gained from Spinney Hill Drive. This proved to be the case and there are a few parking spaces before the barrier that takes you onto the campus itself. There are no dugouts pitch side while the pitch was just roped off.

The University has 18 outdoor sports facilities on its campus in Loughborough, a number of which are or can be used for football. Along with The Paddock there is Brockington, Cayley One, four Holywell pitches and two artificial rubber crumb pitches.

The students have only played two games so far this season. A 1-0 loss at home to Loughborough Dynamo two weeks ago was followed up by a 2-1 win at Coventrians last Saturday. Opponents Stapenhill currently top the ten team table recording five wins from six outings so far.

League table (up to & including 22nd October):

2Kettering Town642020512
3Rugby Town Juniors8413262113
4Loughborough Dynamo531112710
5Bolehall Swifts4301659
6Woodbourne Sports620416186
7Loughborough Students2101223
9Austrey Rangers610510213
10Nuneaton Griff30033120

The game was one of the better ones I have seen this season so far, with the Students playing some excellent football at times and ran out deserved winners against the league leaders. Stapenhill settled quicker but after the opening ten minutes there was only ever going to be one winner. The opening goal came on the quarter hour mark when Gabriel Ali crossed from the right and Will Poole finished at the far post.Ali was a constant threat and it was he who got the Students second goal. Just after the half hour he had the simplest of finishes from a couple of yards out. With five minutes left of the half Stapenhill halved the deficit against the run of play. Their #9 collected a cross field ball and having advanced to the goal finished well into the bottom corner. The second half primarily one way traffic, especially the opening fifteen minutes as the Students could have added a further four goals, but for a combination of good goalkeeping and a lack of composure in front of goal kept the score down. It was inevitable that a third goal would come and it was Will Poole that provided it - following a mix up between two Stapenhill defenders, the ball fell kindly to Poole who drilled a low shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. The final goal of the game came from right back Jamie Shield who headed the ball into an empty net following a save from the visiting keeper. 

To summarise - if this were a boxing match it would have been stopped long before the end as the scoreline flattered the visitors. I also feel that it will not be long before the Students dish out a proper hammering to a side. The game was played in the right way and spirit by both teams - not a yellow card in sight. A thoroughly enjoyable first game in the Under-21 section of the Midland Combination.

Admission / programme: none
Attendance: peaked at 20
Match rating: 7 out of 10

Websites / sources:

Some photos taken during the 1st half can be viewed in the slideshow below:
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