Hinckley AFC

Hinckley AFC (19)Saturday 11th August 2018 15.00
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Hinckley AFC 1 Anstey Nomads 1 HT: 1-0 Att: 218

Ryan 14p : Armeni 60

from Welfare Ground

Hinckley AFC were established in January 2014. You will no doubt remember a previous incarnation of them, Hinckley United, who had a few successful years high up the non league pyramid, including losing 4-3 (to a last minute penalty) to Farlsey Celtic in a play-off final for the Conference National in 2007. Hinckley United moved to a new ground called Leicester Road in 2005, which if you visit still has old United signs around. Unfortunately United were relegated from the Conference North in 2012-13 and then liquidated six months later. Continue reading

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Haringey Borough

DSC02426Monday 6th August 2018 19.45
Pre-Season Friendly

Haringey Borough 3 Brentwood Town 2 HT: 3-0 Att: c70 Ent: 5 Prog £1

from Coles Park

DSC02391I had to go to London overnight for some work training. I rarely get to do London grounds, other than the odd 92 tick, as it’s that bit too far to justify and I’m certainly not going to drive there. So this was a real bonus ground. However, a Monday night in early August wasn’t going to throw up too many options, and it didn’t. There were four viable options, and while the Haringey fixture was only a friendly, with the others league matches, it was the nearest by some way, and also looked the best ground. The others were Erith Town, athletics track and small stand, Enfield 1893, who share with Harlow, and Barkingside, another athletics track. Continue reading

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Orihuela CF

DSC02839Saturday 28th July 2018 20.00
Partido Amistoso

Orihuela CF (4th tier) 1 Real Murcia (3rd tier) 2 HT: 1-1 Att: c800

from Los Arcos

DSC02311aLos Arcos had been on my bucket list of grounds for a few years. When I visited the beautiful town of Orihuela a few years back, I stumbled on the town centre stadium and from the glimpses I got and pictures online knew it’d be a classic. What was worse, a poster advertised a game on the day we were going home, coincidentally against Real Murcia. Since that time I have often thought of Los Arcos (it even has a magical name) and the missed opportunity of catching a game there. Continue reading

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Muleño CF

DSC02838Wednesday 25th July 2018 21.00
Partido Amistoso
Muleño CF 0 Real Murcia 3 HT: 0-2 Att: c800

from Estadio de Municipal de Mula

Muleño CF play in one of Spain’s regional fourth divisions. There are 18 of them and Muleño play in Group 13, which is the Murcia region. Their opponents were Real Murcia, a once successful top flight club who now find themselves in Group Four of the four Segundo B step three divisions.

Muleno CF were founded in 1986 and play in the small town of Mula, about 20 miles West of the city of Murcia, the seventh largest in Spain. Continue reading

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Offa Athletic

Offa Athletic (3)Tuesday 21st August 2018 18.30
Welsh National Division One
Offa Athletic 1 Llangollen Town 7 HT: 1-3 Att: 45
from Gresford Colliery Club

Ramone Nelson 15 : Day 1, 23, 48, Wilson 76, 78, Weir 88

Offa Athletic are named after Offa’s dyke,a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the border between England and Wales, named after King Offa of Mercia (757-796). The dyke runs west of Wrexham, where Offa Athletic play.

They are new to the Welsh National League this season, having been promoted from the North East Wales League. Continue reading

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Hawarden Rangers

Wednesday 23rd May 2018
Welsh National League Premier
Hawarden Rangers 2 Penycae 1 HT: 1-1 Att: 45
Thomas 35, Woods 48 : Kavanagh 2

from Gladstone Playing Fields

Hawarden Rangers (2)This was the last game of the season in the Welsh National League, along with Llay Welfare’s game against Brickfield Rangers. Hawarden (pronounced Hor-den) is the last but one ground I have left in this division (the last being the remote Llanuwchyllin), with only Mynydd Isa’s Argoed Sports Ground in the division below. Harwarden’s Gladstone Playing Fields are about as basic as it gets, for third tier Welsh football. A fully railed pitch in a bigger community park. However, the dugouts were seriously high spec, perspex curvy types with eight gleaming blue seats beneath. Continue reading

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Saturday 19th May 2018 14.30
Welsh National League Division One
Maesgwyn 2 Mynydd Isa Spartans 4 HT: 0-1 Att: 16 FREE and no prog
Goals: 79, 90+1 : Jones 23, 52, Davies 87, Sylvester 90+2

from The Gwyn

This was part two of my ‘Unexpected Double’, a bit like Frodo’s unexpected journey, except without wraiths or Gollum (it was relating to Red Dragons though). What a charming little ground The Gwyn is, lying nestled tightly in the streets opposite Wrexham’s The Racecourse Ground. You drive down a twisty urban lane and it appears suddenly on the right like the Narnia of football grounds. The Gwyn is the smallest pitch I have ever seen, barring smaller pitches designed for kids. It was almost like a pitch in a dream, that wasn’t quite right and made one feel a little at odds, two yards shorter either side and the 18 yard line could’ve doubled as the touchline. I loved it though, along with the orange and white decor, including poles to hold the net up.



The afternoon at this quirky ground in the hot sun watching football would have been pretty much perfect were it not for the referee – the worst (easily) and most bizarre refereeing I’ve ever seen, that had all that witnessed it gnashing their teeth and pulling their hair out.


The referee – who confused football with rugby and blew for offside every time the ball was played forward

Mynydd (pronounced Munuth) split apart Maesgwyn’s defence about 15 times in the first half, but were unable to capitalise on these, due to the ref blowing for offside for about 13, of which 11/12 were wrong decisions. The first one you can forgive because he has no linesmen, but it was every time Mynydd tried to move forward; perfectly timed runs came to nothing – 2 yards on, pheep, 3 yards on, pheep, in his own half, pheep, ref with the back to the action, pheep, 4 yards on, pheep. It was intensely frustrating.

I’m all for defending referees and the time they sacrifice, and would never condone shouting at them; but you had to make an exception here. The away bench were jumping up and down with anger and, almost literally, tearing their hair out. I was shouting myself from the perimeter bar. On a rare occasion a Spartan player managed to get near the keeper, without being pulled back for offside, he rounded the keeper for 0-1.

Half time 0-1 (plus, assuming a 1-on-1 success rate of 50%, 6 more were it not for the ref)

What annoyed me was the complete lack of common sense from every perspective. The ref at the earlier game at Acton also had no linesmen. He made the common sense decision to only give it if he could see that it was blatant, giving the benefit of the doubt to the attacking team, thus creating a free flowing entertaining game. After all, there’s nothing to play for and it’s the last game of the season. Also, when you have no linesmen, you have to adjust your perspective to account for the twenty yards away you’ll be from where the player makes his run. Again, if in doubt, play on. It really was excruciating.

Thus, in the second half, the Spartans had been classically conditioned by the Pavlovian ref not to run on to through balls, and so the tempo of the game slowed down a bit. Still, when an away player just couldn’t resist, and decided to make a run for it, five yards behind the last defender, still the ref blew for offside and by now the bench were turning green and looking Lou Ferrino-like. Mynydd did make it 2-0 with a cool slot home and it looked like the game would stay that way, strangled by the ineptitude of the man in black.

Maesgwyn slotted home from eight yards with about 10 still to play to raise hopes of an unlikely comeback. However, Spartans increased their lead shortly after. In the closing stages, Maesgwyn scored a goal identical to their first to make it 2-3 before Spartans then closed off for 2-4 right at the death.

A quirkier ground you will not see and a what a day for a super Welsh double.


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Acton FC

Saturday 19th May 2018 12.00
North East Wales League Premier Division
Acton 3 Rhosllanerchrugog 3 ht: 0-0 att: 10 Ent: FREE No Prog
Callaghan 55, Hallam 57, Duckett 81 : Dutton 76, Lipka 78, Davies 87

from Rhosnesni High School

DSC02080Double headers are great when they fall in your lap and this one was extra special in that I had no idea of this fixture 2 1/2 hours before kick off. The plan was to watch Maesgwyn v Mynydd Isa Spartans at 2.30, if family plans fell nicely; but when this fixture presented, thanks to a tweet from Cymru Groundhopper, I couldn’t believe it. 2.3 miles from Maesgwyn, this earlier fixture would give me 45 minutes to get to the game, more than enough. Continue reading

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Radcliffe Olympic

radcliffe-olympic-6Saturday 19th November 2016 3.00pm
East Midland League Premier
Radcliffe Olympic 5 Anstey Nomads 1 HT: 3-1 Att: 41 Entrance £5 Prog: £1 Coffee £1

Yeomons 3, Litchfield 36, 70, 90+5, Smith 43 : og 18

from Recreation Ground, Wharf Lane

I fancied travelling East on this Saturday, as the M6 north is all but impassable 24/7 now. Even late at night when all the traffic has dispersed, workmen close one lane to make sure the traffic is still heavy, then they close another lane when it gets even less busy; and if that doesn’t stop the traffic then they’ll just close the whole damn stretch. Continue reading

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Goldenhill Wanderers

Saturday 2nd December 2017 2pm
Staffs County Senior League Division Two Cup Quarter Final
Goldenhill Wanderers 4 Norton Development 1 HT: 1-0 ATT: 18
Kenny 16 (pen), White 64, Leese 70, Rogers 86 : Unknown 74

from Trubshaw Cross

Goldenhill Wanderers (2)I had a few hours spare on this dismal, damp Saturday. All my local favourites were away from home and I didn’t want to travel for miles for a new ground, not when the constant downpour looked like it could put games in doubt. So I went to a very low level local game in Burslem, a step nine divisional cup game. I’m not much for divisional cups at the best of times, let alone step nine, but it was 10 mins drive away and near to Otter’s Tears craft beer off licence, in Burslem town centre. Continue reading

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