Saturday 1st May 2021 14.30
Cheshire League Premier
Broadheath Central 2 Altrincham Reserves 0 HT: 2-0 Att: 35hc
from Salisbury Fields
With the choices of game still confined to step seven of non-league and below and even then only on public venues (unless you get lucky and find a club willing to turn a blind eye), the choice of fixtures was not great and, within a sensible distance, it was a choice of either a Step Seven club with perimeter bar or another step nine Hope Valley League club with open pitch, but probably nice views. I went for the former but, in hindsight, would probably have been better off with the latter, as the second half in this game was dire beyond belief.
Broadheath Central have a long history, going back to 1922. They have played in the Cheshire League since 1991 and were promoted to the top flight again in 19/20. Their first season back was curtailed because of Covid, as was their second, in which they had only lost once in seven games. So they are still to test themselves in a full top-flight season since promotion.
While some lower leagues decided to finish their seasons, the Cheshire League went with a cup competition with group stages to start, the JB Parker Premier Division Challenge. With their being 16 teams in the top flight it was perfect for group stages and knockout, just like the old Euros format. Four groups of four with the top two going through to the Quarter finals.
Broadheath were drawn against Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds (GPSO), Middlewich Town and Altrincham Reserves, their opponents today. The table was incredibly close going into today’s matches and any combination of two teams could still get through the group stage.
As you can see, Broadheath Central had to win today to still have a chance.
Their Salisbury Fields ground lies just north of Altrincham, next to the Bridgwater Canal in the well to do suburb of Broadheath. It is a fully railed pitch in part of a larger park and backed by attractive arches that sit in front of the canal and behind some tall trees. More trees line the side next to Balfour Road, where you can park easily.
The game started off brightly with Broadheath really up for that win and winning a clear cut penalty in the early minutes which was tucked away. Not long after it was two with a shot from distance. Broadheath dominated proceedings in the first half and looked set to keep their Quarter Final place chances alive.
Altrincham Ressies must have had a good talking to at the break because they came out and dominated the second half. However, this new ascendancy translated into no chances whatsoever, and there too was a blank down the other end in what was one of the most tedious halves of football I’d ever seen.
Broadheath went on to beat GPSO to bag their QF place, despite being bottom going into this. Their opponents also made it. They will be playing Winstanley Warriors at home and Lostock Gralam away respectively.