LIVERSEDGE (Clayborn Ground)

Saturday 26th February 2011
Northern Counties East Premier League
Liversedge 1-0 Maltby Main
Attendance: 75

To start off, it's confession time. Today's game was chosen purely for the opportunity of re-visiting the legendary West Riding Refreshment Rooms at Dewsbury railway station.

Having been there previously when I visited Ossett Town back in November, I made a promise to myself to re-visit as quickly as possible, though I didn't think it would be this quick!

Liversedge's Clayborn ground is 5 miles away from Dewsbury station, which is the nearest station to the ground, but is not actually Liversedge but in the neighbouring town of Cleckheaton. The ground is what you'd expect at this level with a covered terrace behind one goal and a seated stand alongside the pitch. Either offer great views of the pitch as they are both elevated.

Liversedge are not having the greatest of season and are currently fourth from bottom, whilst opponents Maltby Main, who are from Rotherham, find themselves on the fringes of the top six.

The game was largely forgettable as Liversedge grabbed the lead after 20 minutes, though a Cory Larkin header and basically defended it for their lives. Maltby Main applied lots of pressure but could not break down the stubborn resistance. The result still leaves 'Sedge fourth from bottom but with nearest rivals Arnold losing 8-0 to Farsley it gives them a bit of breathing space for the time being.

Inbetween last weekend and this, I manged to break my trusty and beloved little camera. Therefore I had to buy a new one , which made it's debut today. I hope you can see the vast improvement in the quality of photo's, even if my own personal photography is a bit rank!

Somewhere over the rainbow...there is a real ale pub...
For those of you that are interested, the beers sampled at the West Riding Refreshment Rooms today were as follows;
* Abbeydale "Daily Bread"
* Roosters "Wild Mule"
* Mallinsons " Jasperoo" (pictured left)
* Timothy Taylor "Landlord"
* Ossett "Treacle Stout"
* Copper Dragon "Golden Pippin"
* Moorhouse "Pride of Pendle"
* Spikes "On T'way"

UXBRIDGE (Honeycroft)

After plans a, b, c and d bit the dust, all postponed due to waterlogged pitches, it was on contacting Uxbridge that the thumbs up were finally received. Phew!

I was in London thanks to a cheap train deal and the original plan was a tasty looking clash between Harrow Borough and Bury Town, but that wasn't to be.

I found myself at the Honeycroft for a Southern League Central relegation six-pointer between Uxbridge and bottom-of-the-table AFC Hayes. I was lucky today that my mate very kindly came and picked me up from Uxbridge Underground station as the ground is actually 3 miles way in nearby West Drayton, public transport is not great when you have a raft of postponements to contend with!

The ground is actually not that bad with cover on each side of the ground, seating on either pitch side and terrace behind each goal. Considering the rain over the previous 12 hours the pitch was heavy but in remarkably good condition, save for a few bits of sand here and there.

As touched upon both teams are having a pretty bad run of things and are down amongst the dead beats, but they managed to produce a very entertaining game of football. Both teams created chances but failed to convert them, perhaps this goes some way to explaining their predicament.

The Reds had the majority of the play and chances in the first half but failed to capitalise on their advantage. Some last ditch AFC Hayes defending keeping the score blank. They managed to scramble one effort off the line and were lucky not to be down to 10 men when goalkeeper Simon Grant appeared to haul down and Uxbridge strike Dean Clark as he attempted to round him, the referee obviously thought the covering defenders would prevent a goal. I wasn't so sure.

In the second half Uxbridge were made to pay for being wasteful as two terrific strikes from The Brooks' Terry Smith sealed what seemed at half time an unlikely win. The first was a shot from the edge of box on 57 mintues and then he repeated the trick from the other side on 68 minutes. This knocked the stuffing out of the homesters and they couldn't rally to get themselves back into the game. AFC Hayes comfortable held on to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

I must give special mention to the catering facillities at the ground as it is run by two old dears and they had for sale home-made bread and butter pudding and it was absolutely spot on. It was also a novelty to see a pastie (very nice too) on sale at a ground near to dat der London as normally southerners can't handle such a delicacy and usually have just the ratburgers on offer!!

All in all a very, very enjoyable day at a ground that wasn't anywhere near, let alone on, my radar. Isn't that usually the way though?

Terry Smith's 1st effort hits the back of the net.

Saturday 19th February 2011
Southern League Division One Central
Uxbridge 0-2 AFC Hayes
Attendance: 119

CORNWALL "DOUBLE" (Liskeard/Torpoint)

After, by default, following Billingham Synthonia for the last two rounds of the Vase, they were then drawn away to Torpoint Athletic. As much as I would loved to have ticked off Torpoint,  I felt that was a journey too far for me. It's a hell of a long way to go in one day.

However, after perusing the fixtures it was noted that Liskeard Athletic had a Friday evening game, so I could get in two South West Peninsula grounds in one trip, hmmm, that put a slighty different slant on things....

Friday 11th February 2011
South West Peninsula Premier League
Liskeard Athletic 1-2 Plymouth Parkway
Attendance: 152

For a Friday afternoon it was a relatively painless journey down the M5 to a very wet Lux Park, the home of Liskeard Athletic. The Blues currently find themselves hovering perilously close to the drop zone, whilst tonight's opposition are hot on the heels of league leaders Buckland Athletic.

The first half was dominated, possession wise, by the homesters but it was Parkway who created the best chances and Liskeard were grateful to goalkeeper Gary Turner for keeping the scoreline blank at the interval. The second half began in similar fashion and Liskeard eventually took the lead their dominance deserved when Sam Cooper scored on 65 minutes.

This brought Parkway out of their shell and they upped a gear to turn the game around, substitute Andy Sargent helping himself to a brace with two goals in a two minutes (76 & 78). This scoreline was harsh on Liskeard who done enough to earn a point at least. Maybe the difference in clinical finishing explained the postions of the respective teams.

Saturday 12th February 2011
FA Vase 5th Round Proper
Torpoint Athletic v Billingham Synthonia
Attendance: 450

After the wet weather of Friday night, Saturday was glorious sunshine as Torpoint Athletic prepared for their biggest game in recent years. The opposition was from the north east as Billingham travelled the 380 miles south to Cornwall. I have seen Billingham in their last two rounds of the competition and I, like most neutral people, had them down as strong favourites. That was not to completely dismiss Torpoint who are having a good season and, with games in hand, they could easily be involved in the title shake up at the end of the season, but it was Step 6 v Step 5 at the end of the day.

The game was an excellent one as both teams went for it from the off and it was an open end-to-end game. Synners played the more controlled football whilst The Point were happier to play on the counter. The deadlock was broken after just 17 minutes when Josh Grant broke through and his scuffed shot had enough on it to find the bottom corner of the net. Billingham kept attacking and the home goalkeeper, Martin Piper, pulled off two absolutely top draw saves to preserve his sides lead at the interval.

The second half was slightly different as Torpoint dug in to defend their lead. The Synners threw the kitchen sink at them but could not break down a stubborn defensive bank. The closest they came was an effort that was cleared off the line, but The Point held on to secure a famous victory. The majority of the 450 crowd that packed into The Mill went home extremely happy and dreaming of Wembley as their team are now just three games away.

Panic in the Torpoint defence as a Billingham effort heads towards goal,
but it was cleared off the line.