Brecon Town v Llandrindod Wells

2pm  28 October 2012

Radnorshire Cup, Second Round
Brecon Town 0 Llandrindod Wells 7 (att 5)

As expected an easy win for Llandrindod Wells, who scored goals at regular intervals, three before half time and four more after.

Brecon Town are mid table in the Mid Wales South League, the bottom step on the Welsh football pyramid in this part of country, while Llandrindod are riding high a step above in division two of the Mid Wales League.

While the the result wasn't a surprise, the facilities at Brecon's ground were. Many venues in the Mid Wales South League are little more than pitches in farmers' field. Brecon play at the town's leisure centre, which promised something different, but a pitch inside a running track, with a good-sized seated stand, wasn't what I expected.

The facilities owe more to the resident athletics club than Brecon Town, and an adjacent pitchside clubhouse remained closed throughout, but it still had the feel of a "proper" venue. Given that, it was shame that so few people turned up to watch.







Penlake v Poynton

1.30pm  27 October 2012

Cheshire League, Division Two Cup, Quarter Final
Penlake 2 Poynton 1 (att 8)

A nondescript cup tie that came to life in the closing minutes. The two sides were evenly matched, and when Poynton's pressure finally gave them an 86th minute equaliser, cancelling out Penlake's 49th minute opener, it looked as if the small crowd were in for 30 minutes extra time.

Thankfully, given the cold, Penlake took just two minutes to get back in front, and they held on to book their place in the divisional cup semi finals.

Penlake's 1st team have left their previous home to play at the Sutton Leisure Centre in St Helens. It's an uninspiring venue, surrounded by a running track with spectators unable to stand pitchside. A grass bank on the far side gives an elevated, but distant, view.

The lack of spectators was surprising. When I saw Penlake play a Warrington and District League game at the previous ground, albeit a local derby, the attendance was over 50.





Hazel Grove Bulls v North End

10.15am  27 October 2012

Manchester Saturday Morning League, Division Two
Hazel Grove Bulls 2 North End 4 (att 2)

Entertaining if scrappy match on a cold morning at Hazel Grove, with some good finishes among the visitors' four goals.

They took an early lead, and although the home side soon levelled North End had a firm grip on the match by half time, when they lead 3-1.

They scored a fourth early in the second half, but Hazel Grove Bulls pulled a goal back and threatened to set up an exciting finish, but were unable to score again.

Hazel Grove play on park pitch at Green Lane in Hazel Grove. Needless to say it's just an open pitch, but there's a car park and dressing rooms nearby, and at a stretch you could count a footpath that runs through the park and along one touchline as hard standing.





Rotherham United v Morecambe

7.45pm  23 October 2012

Football League, League Two
Rotherham United 2 Morecambe 1 (att 5,632)

Recompleting the 92 League grounds is usually a bit of a chore, but my visit to Rotherham's New York Stadium wasn't bad at all. A reasonable game, an okay ground and a relatively short midweek journey (although the Woodhead Pass on a foggy night isn't pleasant).

Rotherham began the game well, but it was Morecambe's small band of followers - 101 of them officially - who celebrated the first half's only goal, as the home side lost their way. After the break Rotherham found their stride once again, and two quick goals earned them the points.

Like all new football grounds the New York Stadium could be called bland, but that would be doing it a disservice. The design isn't bad, the seats have plenty of leg room, and unlike some new venues it's close to the town centre.

£20 is hardly a bargain for fourth tier football though. True, tickets are £2 cheaper in bought in advance, but then you have to pay a £1 booking fee, so even if you plan in advance it's a pricey 90 minutes of entertainment.

The crowd was Rotherham's lowest for a league game so far this season. A number of stewards, presumably with little else to do, spent much of the first half forcing a group of middle aged supporters to move, apparently for the crime of not sitting in their correct seats, despite there being rows of empty seats all around them.

Eventually, and reluctantly, they moved. Perhaps there was more to this than met the eye, but the stewarding seemed heavy-handed in the extreme, and Rotherham ought to be concerned about getting fans into the ground, not hassling those who have come.




Newtown Wanderers v Llanfair United

2.30pm  21 October 2012

Montgomeryshire Cup, Second Round
Newtown Wanderers 0 Llanfair United 5 (att 29)

As expected a stroll in the park for Llanfair, who went ahead after eight minutes, netted a second just before half time, and added three more after the break. They should have scored more, but Wanderers keeper was in good form.

The scoreline was no disgrace to Wanderers, who play in the Montgomeryshire Amateur League's second division, a division lower than Llanfair's reserve team. They were never likely to pull off a cup shock against Llanfair's high-flying first team, but had their moments and created a few half chances.

Newtown Wanderers play at the Riverside Pitches, a scenic spot close to Newtown FC's impressive Latham Park stadium. The players change at Latham Park, then follow a footpath through parkland to the pitch.

There are several pitches at Riverside. Walking from Latham Park, and the car park, today's game was played on the third full size pitch you come to. The only facilities are a few park benches. On a sunny afternoon, and with an array of trees in autumnal colours forming an impressive backdrop, it was quite idyllic.







Netherton United v Langtoft United

1.45pm  20 October 2012

Peterborough Senior Cup, Second Round
Netherton United 6 Langtoft United 2 (att 24)

Langtoft battled well but ultimately they were no match for Netherton, who are not only a division higher than the visitors but are currently unbeaten leaders of the Peterborough and District League's top flight.

Netherton were ahead after a well taken 5th minute goal, but Langtoft recovered from that setback to match the home side for much of the half. It took a stoppage time penalty for Netherton to double their lead.

The tie seemed all over when Netherton added a third in the opening minute of the second half, but they were caught napping in defence and allowed Langtoft two soft goals to get right back into the game.

But Netherton always looked likely winners, and three more goals, including a second penalty, saw them safely into the next round.

The main feature of Netherton United's ground, The Grange, is an enclosed floodlit 3G pitch, used today by the club's third team. Next to that a large playing field houses five full size pitches, with this game played on "pitch 3", immediately adjacent to the 3G and closest to the changing rooms, tea bar and clubhouse. Surprisingly the pitch wasn't roped off, but a pair of temporary dugouts were in place.

The game kicked off 15 minute late as the appointed referee failed to turn up. Instead, we had the ref who was due to take charge of Netherton's third team game, while a replacement was drafted in for that match.





Peterborough United U18 v Stevenage U18

11am  20 October 2012

Football League Youth Alliance Cup, Southern Section Group 3
Peterborough United U18 1 Stevenage U18 0 (att 41)

The home side deserved their win but it took them until the 76th minute to finally score against a stubborn Stevenage side.

Peterborough started the game very brightly, coming close more than once in the opening minutes, but as the game wore on Stevenage became more organised and their hosts seemed to run out of ideas of how to get the better of them.

It could easily have finished goalless, although despite not too many clear chances it was an entertaining game.

Peterborough's youth venue is the Nene Park Academy in Oundle Road. There's a lot of construction work going on at the school, but Peterborough's pitch is part of the sports grounds at the rear of the buildings. The pitch is roped off, with spectators standing on the near side, and subs and coaching staff on the opposite touchline.



Swallownest Miners Welfare v High Green Villa

2pm  13 October 2012

Sheffield Association Cup, First Round
Swallownest MW 5 High Green Villa 0 (att 32)

I expected a closer cup tie between sides who both play in the Sheffield County Senior League's Premier Division, but, in the first half at least, the visitors poor defending was no match for the home side's clinical finishing.

High Green Villa should have gone ahead in the opening moments, the Swallownest keeper made a good save but he shouldn't have been given any chance.

After that there was no stopping Swallownest, who soon went ahead, and added more goals to lead 4-0 at half time. With the tie decided the second half lacked lustre, and although both sides created chances the final goal didn't come until the 88th minute.

Many years ago Swallownest Miners Welfare hosted football at a higher level, and although these days it's a roped off pitch there are remnants of terracing and pitchside fencing. Dugouts, currently roofless, are a recent addition, and the matchday programme mentions plans to erect a permanent barrier around the pitch.







Rotherham United U18 v Burton Albion U18

11am  13 October 2012

Football League Youth Alliance, North East Conference
Rotherham United U18 3 Burton Albion U18 0 (att 54)

Not a particularly memorable game, and neither team did much to impress. Rotherham were the better side, but a three goal winning margin was flattering as there wasn't much between the two sides.

Burton had looked most like scoring before Rotherham took a first half lead. They doubled their advantage in the second half, which effectively ended Burton's challenge, and added a third in the final moments.

Rotherham have played youth team games at various venues in recent years, I last saw them play a home match in Doncaster. Like their first team, they're now back in Rotherham, albeit on the outskirts at Dearne Valley College in Wath-upon-Dearne.

Like most youth team venues, spectators stand on one side of pitch. Dugouts and a grass bank are on the opposite side.



Sarratt v Standon and Puckeridge

2.30pm  6 October 2012

Hertfordshire Senior County League, Premier Division
Sarratt 1 Standon and Puckeridge 6 (att 27)

It took 36 minutes for visitors Standon to edge in front after a close to start to the game, but once they'd done so they ran out surprisingly easy winners.

They doubled their advantage two minutes into the second half, and just a couple of minutes later scored a the third, by which time Sarratt were well beaten.

While the home team weren't at their best today, their ground was good. It's a public park, but the pitch is enclosed by a combination of railings, rope and a hedge, and the main feature is a pitch-side clubhouse with a covered standing area in front.

Inside the clubhouse was a tea bar, where, alongside match programmes, the usual offerings of tea and coffee were supplemented by delicious homemade rock cakes.