???????????????????????????????Wednesday 14th May 2014 6.45pm Cheshire League Premier
Styal 0 Eagle Sports 0 att: 23 headcount
from Altrincham Road

pictures from Altrincham Road

As the toothpaste tubes of most non league and league divisions have been discarded, it was time to cut in half and scrape the residue out of the protracted Cheshire League Premier season, to find one of four games left; at Styal FC.

Visitors Eagle Sports, from Warrington, had no choice but to finish their season in Styal. Styal, on the other hand, were likely to be picked apart like prey, sport for eagles. They had had a disappointing season, finishing near the bottom; but avoiding relegation. Eagle were vying for runners-up spot, with Rudheath Social. They needed to win and preferably by a few goals to overcome Rudheath’s one-better goal difference. This would put them three points ahead of Rudheath prior to Rudheath’s last game, away to Gamesley. The odds were on a comfortable away win. Continue reading

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Florence – night in gale

Wednesday 7th May 2014 6.30ko Staffs County League Premier

Florence 4 Keele University 2 ht: 2-1 att: 22 hc

pictures of Florence Sports & Social

???????????????????????????????Continuing to pick at the bones of the carcass of the season, I went to the relegation battle at the foot of the Staffs County League Premier division, on a pleasant but windy evening. Keele University needed to win to keep their hopes of survival alive, while a draw would probably be enough to keep Florence up. Florence FC were formed in 1995 and named after the Colliery that ran from 1874 to 1992. I’m not sure whether they are still known as Florence Colliery FC or just Florence FC.  The league handbook goes with the latter but other scribblings usually have the Colliery tagged on. I love their club badge with two colliery wheels on each of the spokes of the letter F. The name has nothing to do with the Italian town, but was named after the eldest daughter of the Duke of Sutherland. Continue reading

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Are Milton Keen?

BH Monday 5th May 2014 6.30ko Staffs County League One
Milton United 1 Bradwell 2 ht: 0-2 att: 12 hc
As the football calendar draws to a close and many leagues finish it’s time to squeeze the last few drops out of the wet cloth of the season. Some minor leagues shamble to the finish line like a septuagenarian finishing the marathon, with odd games dotted about until mid may.

The Staffs County being among them. My first outing was opportunistic to say the least, and not one I’m in a hurry to repeat any time soon. My only excuse for watching step eight football on nothing more than a pitch was that it was walking distance from where I live at just 1 1/2 miles. And it was a two hour slot in which I would be otherwise lounging around, staring at the ceiling or picking fluff from my naval.

Milton United have a strange history in the Staffs League – when they started they played at their Leek Road ground, which has a lot of character and was still in use last season; by two-season wonders Vodafone Stoke. It’s a very compact ground, hemmed in by trees, schools and housing and with a small stand down one side. Certainly a nicer venue than their current one. The original Milton United folded but then emerged last season; not at their traditional home but at the Hardman Development Centre about two hundred yards through the village of Milton.


With Vodafone Stoke folding, the Leek Road ground is not used by any teams, unfortunately.
The Hardman Development Centre is a great venue for football in the community with huge clubhouse, ample parking, three full size pitches, a 3G pitch, and three kids’ pitches. It is deceptively vast; given its entrance in a fairly dense pocket of urban-ness, you don’t expect that much space to be sitting there. However, it’s not a great venue for your average ground hopper, being a pitch with dugouts. Only two sides were roped off by plastic poles and thick nylon. It’s location is mixed, next to the Cauldon Canal and old railway track but overlooked by electricity pylons. Nylon and Pylon.


As ever at this level, I was frustrated by the action. When other people watch county football they seem to regularly see scorelines such as 5-5, 8-3, 11-2 etc. When I watch county level football, invariably the teams are so inept it’s difficult to imagine either team scoring one goal let alone a hatful. The finishing and passing accuracy just doesn’t lend to high scoring games. As it was with this one.

It wasn’t the worst of games but clear cut chances were few. Bradwell (5th in the league, named after the area of Newcastle-under-Lyme, but playing in Crewe) scored a brilliant volley early on and doubled their lead before half time. I was impressed, almost moved, by the uplifting perorations of the young Milton manager at half time.

Half time speech

Half time speech

Milton improved palpably in the second half and I was rooting for a comeback. A great half volley halved Bradwell’s lead, and they should’ve equalised minutes later. Two yards out with no goalkeeper the striker skilfully managed to hoik it over the bar. Despite Milton being the better side in the second half, Bradwell got themselves a late penalty, which was fired over the bar at about an angle of 60 degrees. Final score 1-2.





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Staffs County League 2013-14 fans’ guide


As it’s had several updates I’m reblogging it

Originally posted on the groundhog:

The Staffordshire County League sits at step seven of the non league pyramid, along with a host of other county leagues. However, it is classed in the 7A category, the highest classification of step seven.

In general the clubs charge £2 for entrance in the top division, although some let you in for free. All the venues, while often basic, have good facilities, refreshments (even real ale at Norton and Redgate Clayton) and railed pitches. Some come with great views too. It’s superb value for money and a great way to support grass roots and local football. The Staffs County League feeds into the North West Counties League.

It comprises three divisions.

Map Staffs County teams (all three divisions):

Premier Division

This season the Premier division will start again with 17 teams. Departing are Hanley Town (promoted to the North West Counties League), Stretton and Biddulph Town (both resigned). Stone Dominoes resigned shortly…

View original 1,858 more words

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Step Seven Surprises No 3 (series of 6) – Middlewich Town

from a friendly on Saturday 3rd August 2013
Middlewich Town 3 Barnton Wanderers 1 ht: 1-0 att: 29 (hc)
at Seddon Street

Seddon Street in pictures

Middlewich Town FC (16a)Running out of new grounds close by, I was trying to pick the best out of some of the nearby county leagues last summer, when I went to Middlewich Town. It is a very old ground at just over 100 years, used since 1912, the year the Titanic sunk (although the two events aren’t related). The ground was first used by Middlewich Athetic who then merged with Middlewich Town Youth in 1988 to form the present club. They finished mid-table in the Cheshire League last year. Continue reading

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Ashton Town

???????????????????????????????Thursday 3rd April 7.45 ko
NWCL One (step six)
Ashton Town 2 Daisy Hill 2 ht: 2-1 att: 33

from Edge Green Street


With an off-white blanket of Sahara dust and pollution smothering the UK, I ventured north for some very rare Thursday night football at Ashton Town. Thursday, normally football’s day of rest, is an April necessity this year in the NWCL, due to the backlog of previously waterlogged fixtures. Water again made an attempt to log this fixture for the second time, but the pitch held up well until the end. Continue reading

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Step Seven Surprises No 2 (series of 6) – Whitchurch Alport

Relating to game in Mercian League on Wednesday 14th August 2013
Whitchurch Alport 1 Alscott 1

Yockings Park in pictures

The charmingly named Yockings Park is like the Maracana of County league football. Sizeable stand, floodlights, good signage and other trimmings; not what you’d expect if you were to stumble across a Mercian League game.

Whitchurch Alport were founded in 1946 and have spent most of their time in the mid Cheshire league, being the only non-Cheshire club to take the championship out of the eponymous county, to Shropshire in 1969-70. Recently they have moved to the even more obscure Mercian league, which doesn’t seem to appear in the pyramid anywhere. The top division has just 14 teams, including the reserves of Bridgnorth (of the step seven WMRL) and Wellington Amateurs (step six WMRL). Their El Clasico is against the nearby village team called Prees. Continue reading

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