Thursday 29th December 2016
Northern League Division One South
Bedworth United 5 Loughborough Dynamo 1 ht: 2-0 att: 172
Cavanagh 9, Parrott 22, Christie 55, Creaney 57, Jeys 66 : Demidh 74
from The Oval (Entrance £9, Programme £2, Coffee £1)
Bedworth United have not appeared on my radar much over the years. They’re one of those border clubs that change between the Southern League and Northern League, dependent on the new geographical mix of clubs. In 2014-15 they were promoted via the play-offs to the Southern Premier. Last season they were relegated from the Southern Premier, but joined the Northern League Division One South. Despite not knowing anything about them, I’d chosen The Oval for this rare Thursday night action.
As the sun set, there was a freezing fog all around. All the local fixtures – Kidsgrove, Newcastle, Nantwich were called off for frozen pitches. All but three of the Northern League games were off. I didn’t know at thew time but Bedworth have a state of the art 3G pitch. As well as not having faith the pitch wouldn’t be frozen by 7.45, I looked at the weather forecast and saw that heavy fog was predicted from 8pm onwards. I wondered at the folly of such a journey – it was like the Apollo 13 of football fixtures.
We set off anyway, in -2º and a pea-souper. As we neared Birmingham the temperature increased to 3º and the fog has passed. Temperature-wise I was relieved, but there was still fog predicted. The Oval is a ground of two halves, so to speak. There is the juxtaposition of being greeted by a fenced boundary on the side you come in on, and more behind the goals, giving it a cage feel, exacerbated by their plastic pitch. But then you have their elegant main stand, a tall structure sat on a brick base, with a steep elevation.
Aside from their impressive stand there is the main building on the other side, which has a raised step, fronted by fencing which was popular with supporters. There was also a verandah of sorts, on top of the building, for special guests I guess, where four spectators watched from a great vantage point. The false grass was the best example of an artificial pitch I’ve ever come across. The way the ball moved across it was realistic, to the point where you could forget it was artificial. Like a stereotyped actor who performs so well, you forget his more famous character.
Coming in to this game Bedworth were lower mid-table and visitors Loughborough were rock bottom. However, Dynamo had just appointed ex Leek Town duo Peter Ward and Andy Kinsey into their management team. Bedworth United’s original incarnation were founded in 1895 – there have been several changes and reincarnations since, the latest of which is the United version from 1968. They have played at their current ground since 1939. They are known as the Greenbacks (giving me a flashback to Dangermouse).
Bedworth belied their lowly position in the table with some great football. Loughborough had a lot of energy and determination, but too many misplaced passes and lack of ability left them vulnerable. United took their first two goals well to lead going into the break.Three further goals in 11 second half minutes killed the game, including a delightful header from ex-league journeyman Lyseden Christie. Dynamo got one back through a tap in after a saved penalty, but the win was well deserved by Bedworth.
I held out absolutely no hope of watching 90 minutes on this evening. The heavy fog predicted by the Met Office never materialised – I didn’t just get a game in, I got a great one in, at a surprisingly nice and hitherto unnoticed venue.