Travels to the soul and heartbeat of English football...alright primarily Leicestershire!!!!
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Sunday 8th February 2015 Appleby Magna 1-2 Oadby Owls, Mens Leicestershire & Rutland FA Sunday Premier Cup Semi Final Bowleys Lane, Appleby Magna, Leicestershire, DE12 7BE
Having realised by complete accident that my blog was still available online, albeit under its old address I decided earlier on in the week to re-start and update it again. Whether there will be as many posts as before who knows?, but if I do post anything I will try and make it fresh and interesting to read.
Appleby Magna is a small village in the far west of Leicestershire and has a DE12 postcode. It is close to the M42 motorway and Ashby-de-la-Zouch is the nearest town being 6 1/2 miles to the North East. The parish church is dedicated to St. Michael & All Angels and before the game I took a photo of it as I had to pass it to reach Bowleys Lane.
Despite being in Leicestershire Appleby Magna, like the other sides that compete in Sunday Leagues that are based outside the county attract very little attention and seldom get noticed here in Leicester. Appleby though are without doubt the most successful and strongest of these teams having been competing in the top division of the Tamworth & District Sunday League (TDFL) for some time. Since the TDFL have had a web presence on the FA's Full Time site Appleby have been crowned league champions four times (2008-2012) and won numerous cup competitions as well. This season they are also going strong in the league having won six of their seven games so far.
Oadby Owls, Mens are new to this level of competition having risen through the ranks of the Alliance Football League (AFL) recently. In the Summer they had a double promotion to the premier division having finished runners-up behind Frolesworth United. The Owls did claim some silverware winning the Leicestershire FA Sunday Intermediate Cup, beating their divisional rivals Frolesworth in the final. This season they sit in a respectable fourth place in the table with twelve points from their seven league games.
Below is the two teams route to the semi final:
Appleby Magna - bye
Ponte (Hinckley Sunday League) 1-5 Oadby Owls
Appleby Magna 5-0 FC Charnwood (Charnwood Sunday League)
Oadby Owls - walk over after Wymeswold (Charnwood Sunday League) folded
Wykin (Hinckley Sunday League) 1-5 Appleby Magna
Oadby Owls 4-0 East Goscote Roofing (Leicester Sunday League)
Appleby Magna 3-1 Quorn Royals (Charnwood Sunday League)
Athletic Oadby (Leicester Sunday League) 2-4 aet Oadby Owls
The venue that Appleby call home is on Bowleys Lane on the western side of the village and as expected is a basic affair. They share the venue with the local cricket club and there is no facilities for spectators. Even parking is restricted to the side of Bowleys Lane itself.
I have seen both of these teams before this season and to be honest I expected a home win, and the first half played out like this. Appleby looked quicker and sharper and had the lions share of possession and territorial advantage. That said they did not create any clear cut chances until the latter stages of the half. Following some pressure on the Owls goal, the hosts were threatening and won a number of corners and one of these was headed in to give them a deserved lead around five minute before the interval. Five minutes after the re-start and the visitors caught Appleby asleep at the back and Dan Copp produced an excellent finish to square things up. This would the the Owls best spell of the game and on sixty-three minutes Callum Jarman got between two defenders and lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper to give them a 2-1 lead. It was no surprise that this gave the home side a kick up the backside and the final half an hour saw them create plenty of chances but found a resolute defence hard to break down.
To sum up - collective team work and effort can and will win games against sides that on paper have the better players.
43 photos taken during the game can be found in the slideshow below: