Sunday, 26 August 2012

FA Cup and Festival League

Saturday 25th August
Wells City 0-4 Bodmin Town
FA Cup Preliminary Round
The Athletic Ground, Wells, Somerset

Sunday 26th August
Lea Hall Sports & Social 6-0 Warren Rovers
Festival Football League Premier Division
Mackadown Sports & Social Club, Mackadown Lane, Birmingham

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Yesterday (25th August) was my annual trip down to Cheltenham to meet up with good friend Colin Buchanan, and was chosen due to Cheltenham Town having an away game. With plenty of fixtures to choose from on both sides of the M4 motorway the difficult part was deciding where to go. Firstly we took in an under-18 game between Bristol City and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Q.E.H. Sports Ground in Failand, Somerset. The Q.E.H. is a vast affair housing a cricket pitch, four rugby pitches and plenty of football pitches. The two that City use for their under-18's and under-16's matches are furthest away from the main entrance. The game was played in glorious sunshine and was fairly entertaining in which the visitors came away with a 3-2 victory. There is no admission charge and no catering facilities on site, though thankfully if you are caught short there is a toilet block near to the pitches!!!

After deliberating the options for game two we headed further south into deepest Somerset to the cathedral city of Wells for an FA Cup tie. The draw had thrown up a home tie for Wells City against Cornish side Bodmin Town and pitted the Western League against the South West Peninsula League.

The Athletic Ground, City's home is on the southern edge of Wells and is pretty basic. You enter in the corner and we were charged £6 admission which included a sixteen page programme. The changing rooms, stand, tea hut and boardroom are all on the far side, with the stand being elevated and set back from the pitch.

Wells started off brightly but as the half worn on were chasing the Bodmin Town shadows, and it was only a matter of time before the visitors opened the scoring. Two quick goals early in the second half saw the game ended as a contest, before a fourth late on put a gloss on the score. Wells played their part but despite getting forward often they seldom tested the Bodmin keeper. The reward for Bodmin is another road trip in the 1st qualifying round to Southern League outfit Bideford.

Photos of the ground and game can be viewed in the slideshow below:

Having spent the night in Cheltenham I headed home around nine am with a planned detour for another game of football. Most Sunday football does not start until next week, but as luck would have it there were games in the premier division of the Festival Football League. The detour took me ten minutes off the M42 to the Kitts Green area of Birmingham and more specifically the Mackadown Sports & Social Club on Mackadown Lane. This ground is probably familiar with the Midlands based ground hoppers as it was home to Midland Combination side Clements '83 for a couple of years. For anyone that hasn't been to the Mackadown, there is a large car park which houses the changing rooms and a cafe, while the pitch was set above the car park and was railed off on three sides with dugouts on the near side. It is also a haven for both train and plane spotters with it being very close to Birmingham Airport and adjacent to the West Coast Main Line.

The fixture saw defending Festival League champions Lea Hall Sports & Social open their account against Warren Rovers. The first half ended goalless but Lea Hall would have been wondering how as they dominated the proceedings for the most part. The second half saw Lea Hall strike early with a first time shot following a well worked move that opened up the Warren defence. The visitors then had their best spell of the game but were undone with two quick goals around the midway point of the half. Their heads dropped and it was then a case of how many Lea Hall would score. In the end they added three more and recorded a six nil victory. 

Some photos of the game and venue can be viewed in the slideshow below:
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