Most people who know me will testify, i'm a groundhopper. Most people who know me may testify i'm slightly mad. Either way, I travel around various football grounds of this island and, sometimes, beyond to watch the beautiful game.
Most of my travels encompass the non-league game and, with my inane ramblings, I will attempt to show you where my travels take me and, also, try to show you that there is footballing life beyond the so-called "best league in Europe"
I hope you enjoy reading!
With the big Merseyside derby on TV it was a real no brainer as to which footy match I watched tonight...that's correct Ashton Athletic v Bacup Borough in the North West Counties League. I didn't want to travel too far tonight after last nights exertions, so this reasonably local game in Ashton-in-Makerfield fitted the bill perfectly.
Ashton were founder members of the North West Counties league in 1982 but left in 1986 due to ground grading issues. It was two decades before they were able to re-join the league, in time for the 2006/7 season. The following season they won promotion to the premier league and they have been there since.
Brocstedes Park, in the shadow of the M6, is what I would say is typical of some North West Counties grounds, with the main seated stand being homemade from scaffold and corrugated iron. There is also a small 'arena' stand in the corner of the ground (which was empty) which I assume is there to meet seat number requirements. There was a clubhouse and refreshment hut, but sadly there were no pies on sale tonight.
Both side are mid-table, with neither in danger of promotion or relegation, so both teams played like there was no pressure on them and thus produced a classic.
Bacup were quickest out of the blocks and could've been a goal up inside the opening minute, but their early pressure paid off after 15 minutes when Adrian Bellamy tapped home after the Ashton goalkeeper had palmed the ball into his path. Bellamy doubled his, and Bacup's, tally after 31 minutes when he headed home from a corner kick. Kingsley Williams completed the first half scoring when he rolled home from inside the six yard box, after an indirect free-kick, for a back pass, was squared to him.
If the first half was one sided in favour of Bacup, then the second was similar in favour of the homesters. A penalty for handball was converted by Daniel Smith after 47 minutes and it was game on. After 67 minutes the deficit was reduced further when the ball was cut back to Ben Smith, who blasted home. The momentum was now well and truly with Ashton but, despite hitting the upright twice, they could not force that elusive and deserved equaliser.
A brilliant game to watch and, upon hearing the result from Analfield, it more than justified my decision to come here tonight.
Tuesday 13th March 2012 North West Counties Premier League Ashton Athletic 2-3 Bacup Borough Attendance: 41