Sunday, 17 February 2013

Rangers on the rampage against Rovers

MORETON RANGERS 5-1 ABBEYMEAD ROVERS
Saturday 16th February 2013
London Road, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire

With the weather turning for the better at the back end of this week it is a case of getting back to normal hopefully. What I mean by this is that for what seems like an age, it has been a case of hoping to see what games survive the weather, whether it being because of rain or snow. Last week I had hoped to watch four games of football and an ice hockey match, but in the end only one football game was attended alongside the ice hockey. If you follow me on twitter (@allroads1) or have read my twitter feed on this blog you will know that the game last week was between Wootton Bassett Town and Cricklade Town. It ended 1-1 in a Hellenic League Division 1 West encounter and not a bad game at all considering it was played on a very heavy pitch. Following on from this it was a short drive to the western side of Swindon to the Link Centre. This was where we saw the Swindon Wildcats entertain the Peterborough Phantoms in an English Premier League encounter, and after an even first period the Wildcats ran out 6-2 winners. Back to this week and the weather put paid to plans I had on Wednesday night when it caused the postponement of Welwyn Garden City and Sun Postal Sports.

As usual I was being very indecisive on where to go today with my only restriction being that I had to be back in Leicester for around 6pm. This is because I will be watching the Leicester Riders take on the Manchester Giants in the British Basketball League (BBL). There was no particular reason for choosing my game today and considering the level they play at, would be the furthest I have travelled for a level 13 (step 9) game of football. 

Moreton-in-Marsh (pop' 3,198 in 2001) is a town in north Gloucestershire on the northern perifery of the Cotswolds and is one that I have travelled through plenty of times. The Cotswolds is one of my favourite parts of the UK with it being a range of hills stretching in a north-east / south-west direction in middle England. There are some unspoilt towns and villages in which Moreton is one of them. Others include Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. This part of the country is very easy to get to from Leicester, heading in a south westerly direction for around fifty miles. The town is also situated on the Fosse Way - an old roman road that linked Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) to Lincoln (Lindum Colonia) via Bath (Aquae Sulis), Cirencester (Corinium) and Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum). The town does have its own railway station and is on the Cotswold Line that connects Hereford with Oxford, going via Great Malvern, Worcester Foregate Street and Evesham.
The football club were formed in 1997 as an under-8 side, but but it wasn't until seven years later in 2004 than an open age section was started. The club were accepted into division 2 of the Cheltenham League and in their debut season finished in 6th place, with a runners-up spot in the 2006/07 season secured promotion to division 1. Three season were spent in the top division of the Cheltenham League, the last of which saw them crowned league champions and with it promotion to the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League (GNSL). Their first season in their new surroundings saw them finish in a respectable 4th place , accumulating forty-eight points from twenty-six league games. In a very competitive division this year Moreton currently sit in 4th place with thirty-two points from fifteen league games. Opponents today Abbeymead Rovers currently have the same points total from the same number of games played, but are below Moreton in the table due to a goal difference of two.

The drive down was effortless and easy and I arrived in the town at around 2.30pm. The ground is located on the eastern side of the town on the London Road, and to find the ground if coming from the north or south simply turn take the Oxford (A44) turning in the town centre and the ground is on the right hand side. A small track leads to the car park and ground entrance, though no admission was charged. Having not been to any other ground in this league I cannot make any comparisons, but surely it must be one of, if not the best. It is fully railed, has dugouts which are on the far side, floodlights and a new changing room block and stand. 

The game which on paper should have been a close encounter turned out to be very one sided. Two goals in the opening quarter of an hour (10 and 14 minutes) put Moreton in control, and when a third was added on twenty-six minutes it was pretty much game over. Abbeymead got a goal back on thirty-three minutes to make it 3-1 at the interval. The opening period of the second half saw the visitors have their best spell of the game, though despite their possession they seldom troubled the Moreton keeper. Two goals in the final twenty minutes (71 and 85 minutes) put the final nails in the coffin.

Overall an enjoyable afternoon out, helped by the weather and the town of Moreton itself which was very busy with visitors - just a shame a few more of them were not aware of the presence of the local football club.

Admission / programme: none
Attendance: peaked at 24

48 ground and match photos can be viewed in the slideshow below:



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