Travels to the soul and heartbeat of English football...alright primarily Leicestershire!!!!
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Nothing really stood out in terms of where to go, with my only requirement was that the fixture had to be local, and preferably an early kick off as well. This was due to winning two tickets to watch the Leicester Riders v Glasgow Rocks in the British Basketball League. Following a scan of the fixtures in the Nottinghamshire Senior League (NSL) this cup match caught my attention between Keyworth United of the Senior Division and Moorgreen of Division 2.
According to the NSL website the kick-off was 2pm and also their (Keyworth United's) ground on Platt Lane was the nearest at step 7 and above that I had not previously visited. The ground (and Keyworth itself) is straight forward to get to for myself coming from Leicester - a few miles on local roads to the A46 Leicester Western Bypass, and then stay on the A46 until the exit with the A606 (Melton Mowbray and Nottingham). Heading north west on the A606 towards Nottingham, you turn left when signed for the British Geological Survey, and the ground is on the right after the bridge. You enter through some gates into a fairly large car park and the main pitch and clubhouse are to the right. The ground is home to numerous full size and junior pitches and also Keyworth Cricket Club. The main pitch is railed off on three sides, has dugouts on the Platt Lane side and had recently installed floodlights with connection to the national grid happening this week. The clubhouse is also new with the club receiving grants from the Football Foundation.
I arrived at the ground at around 1.45pm in readiness for what I thought was the advertised 2pm kick-off, but in turned out to be 2.30 which gave me enough time for a sausage cob which were on sale in the clubhouse for £2. I got recognised as a hopper by one of the home officials and he told me about the club, and that they were looking forward to being part of the NSL groundhop in April.
The football club are one of the oldest in Nottinghamshire, and have played under various names, at different grounds and in different leagues throughout their existence. An excellent detailed history of the club can be found on the club website: history.
Keyworth went into this game at the bottom of the NSL's Senior Division recording just one league win so far, while their opponents from Eastwood sit top of division 2 with an unbeaten record. I saw Moorgreen earlier on in the record when they recorded a 3-0 victory at Greyfriars FC and they looked a decent side. Right from the off Moorgreen looked the better side and most of the action was in the Keyworth half. It felt only a matter of time before the visitors would take the lead, but the first half ended goalless. The visitors were again the better side, creating the better chances and at one point coming very close to opening the scoring but the ball struck the cross bar. Against the run of play on 82 minutes Keyworth were awarded a free kick on the right hand side, and the resulting kick was turned into the back of the net by a defender. Their lead lasted just three minutes as Moorgreen took the game into extra time when Sam Dilks levelled the proceedings. An even first period of extra time followed, with the home side having their first shots on target during this time. The visitors winner came on 108 minutes when Ben Holmes cut inside from the left and smashed the ball past the Keyworth keeper. Dilks should have put the game to bed but missed two excellent chances in the final ten minutes. No further scoring and the visitors deservedly booked their place in round 2.