Tuesday, 3 September 2013

uninspiring venue

Castle Donington Town 2-3 Loughborough United
Saturday 31st August 2013
North Leicestershire League Division 1
Spittal Park, Spittal, Castle Donington, Leicestershire

My plans for my football fix on Saturday were limited to somewhere local, and preferably an early kick-off. With this in mind my attention turned to the fixtures in the North Leicestershire League and the Leicester & District League, but nothing really stood out for me. Probably not really surprising considering that I have watched football at 125 venues with Leicestershire & Rutland, but then on the Friday I noticed a change of venue for the above fixture. With confirmation from both teams via their twitter feeds that this was the case my decision was made. Castle Donington Town normally play their home games at Moira Dale on the east side of the village, but due to a clash with the local cricket club it was being played at Spittal Park. Spittal Park is a large multi-sport and multi-pitch recreation ground on the north side of the village. It is home to their numerous junior and ladies sides plus the local rugby club, who were also at home this afternoon.

I found the easiest way to get to Spittal Park was via the M1 and A50, and instead of going into the town turn right at the second traffic island after leaving the A50 and go round the top of the industrial estate. Spittal Park is signposted and you turn off Back Lane onto Spittal. The entrance to the sports ground is on the left hand side and the football club parking at the bottom. There is a large building that houses changing rooms, toilets and a clubhouse, though sadly the latter was not open so chance of refreshments. The game was played on the pitch on the east side of the venue and they roped it off on one side. The only furniture was a couple of benches though a grass bank behind one goal gave a decent vantage point in which to watch the game. As expected, with this being the 14th level of the English pyramid there was no admission charge or programme issued which is the norm for this level of football.

The game was one in which both teams showed plenty of endeavour, but there was very little quality and clear cut chances in the opening forty five minutes. The home side nearly scored in the opening twenty minutes when the bar was struck following a long ball over the top of the United defence. It was on twenty three minutes that CD made the breakthrough when a ball over to the left hand side of the penalty area was hit first time into the roof of the net. United had enough possession but rarely troubled the home keeper and the half ended 1-0. With around ten minutes gone in the second half the home side made it 2-0 and, following a poor back pass, the United keeper struck his clearance against an oncoming forward, who then had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net. This set back seemed to galvanise the visitors who then set about the task of trying to turn defeat into victory. With fifteen minutes to go they were awarded a penalty kick but it was well saved by the Donington keeper. Far from being downhearted they continued to pressure the home defence, and were rewarded with a goal with ten minutes remaining. Game on, and just three minutes later they made it 2-2. United were not finished and they completed a remarkable turn around scoring the winner with just two minutes left on the clock. Joy for the visitors, but the home side were left wondering how they ended up losing a game in which they were in total control.

Websites / Social media:
North Leicestershire League - official website - FA Full Time site
Castle Donington Town - official website - twitter
Loughborough United - twitter

46 photos taken during the first half can be viewed in the slideshow below:
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