Saturday, 22 August 2015

about time I caught up...

Quite a while has passed since my last post at the beginning of July, so I thought it overdue that I updated anyone that is interested on my football travels. 

The first game of four, and my second of the 2015/16 season that I have attended so far was four weeks ago on July with a visit to Stamford to visit their new ground. 

Stamford AFC 2-5 Histon
Pre-Season Friendly
@ The Zeeco Stadium, Ryhall Road, Stamford, Lincolnshire

Admission: £6
Programme: 20p - folded sheet of A4 
Team sheet: free

Stamford's new ground is located on the northern edge of the town boundary and literally a stones throw from the county boundary with Rutland. Plenty of parking is had on site and you enter through a turnstile on the near side. When in the ground a seated stand straddles the half way line and some covered standing is behind the goal on the right hand side. The dugouts are positioned on the far side, while the changing rooms, bar and catering facilities are on the right hand side as you enter. 

This was a decent game of football between two very good sides. At times there was nothing friendly about the proceedings with bouts of handbags occurring on several occasions. Cambridgeshire visitors Histon were pegged back by the hosts twice, but three goals gave them on paper, what looks a comfortable victory. The score though was harsh on the hosts who created a decent amount of chances and had a fair share of the possession.

40 photos of the ground and game can be viewed in the slideshow by clicking on the following link...

Next up on Saturday 1st August was a visit to the nearest ground in the Football League that I had not yet visited, St. Andrews - home of Birmingham City. 

Birmingham City 2-3 Leicester City
@ St. Andrews, Birmingham

Admission: £10

The cheapness of the ticket prices is what primarily tempted to go to this game, though the chance to see my home town team of Leicester City was also another influencing factor. The game was not too bad with Leicester coming back from two goals down at half time to record the victory in their final pre-season game. 

The following week was the first competitive match of the season and I made the short drive north into Nottinghamshire.

Awsworth Villa 3-2 Bilborough Town
Notts Senior League Premier Division
@ The Shilo, Attewell Road, Awsworth, Nottinghamshire

Admission: none
Programme: £1
Tea / coffee: 50p

The Shilo is a recreation ground that is also a permanent football ground - the pitch is railed off on three sides with no spectator access behind the far goal. A building behind the near goal houses the changing rooms, toilets and kitchen area. A grass bank that runs along the near side gives an excellent view of the proceedings from an elevated position.

This was at times a scrappy game in which the second half was better than the first. The hosts took the lead around the ten minute mark with a strike from thirty odd yards that flew into the top corner. A goal of the season contender already. Into the latter stages of the first half and the visitors equalised with a well taken goal, though with a couple of minutes fell behind for a second time. Into the second half and it was Bilborough who took the game to their hosts and deservedly equalised for a second time with a far post header from a corner. The game looked to be heading for a draw, but with around five minutes left Awsworth counter attacked and, following an excellent team move resulting with a cross from the right that split the central defenders and the keeper, a simple tap in from six yards out proved to be the winning goal. 

36 photos of the ground and game can be viewed in the slideshow by clicking on the following link...

Last but not least...

Ardley United 1-4 Tuffley Rovers
FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round
@ The Playing Field, Oxford Road, Ardley, Oxfordshire

Admission: £6 (including programme)
Attendance: 40 (head count)
Badge: £3

After having a few hours sleep after work on Saturday morning I made the fifty seven mile drive south to the village of Ardley, for what would be only my fifth ever game in Oxfordshire. The village is easily located where the A43 and M40 meet and took just over an hour to get to.  The ground is a three sided affair with a small covered stand behind the far goal and seating accommodation stradling the half way line on the far side. The changing rooms, tea bar and changing rooms are located in a double storey building between the two stands.

During the early stages it was the hosts who looked most likely to open the scoring but come the end of the first half found themselves two nil down. After a probable bollocking at half time they came out all guns blazing and put a lot of pressure on the visitors goal, and was no surprise that they pulled a goal back. Ardley continued to press for an equaliser but were hit on the counter attack when Stuart Griffith scored at the second attempt. The game then became a fairly even affair, the hosts continued to press. Gloucester based Tuffley rounded off the scoring with a break-a-way goal in the dying moments of the game to confirm their passage into the next round. 

65 photos of the ground and game can be viewed in the slideshow by clicking on the following link...
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