Parrwsood Celtic v Burnage Metro

6.15pm  30 April 2014

Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League, Division One
Parrswood Celtic 3 Burnage Metro 2 (att 10)

An end-of-season fixture with little riding on it, but it turned out to be surprisingly entertaining, even if my only main for choosing it was that it was close enough for me to guarantee arriving by kick off despite a late finish at work and rush hour traffic.

Both sides started well, but it was the visitors who took a well-taken lead, against the run of play, in the first half. An own goal doubled Burnage's lead early in the second half, and they looked to be on their way to a comfortable win.

But Parrwsood, third in the league but with no chance to climb higher, hit some form and scored twice in quick succession to draw level. The visiting keeper then fumbled a cross into his own net to put Parrswood in front.

After that there were more chances at both ends, with Parrswood having the better of them, but no further goals.

Parrswood are based at Rushford Park, not in Parrwsood (or Parrs Wood as it's also known) but just a few miles south of Manchester city centre in Levenshulme. The ground is quite decent for this level of football, with a car park, changing rooms and a pitch that's railed on three sides, with just one end open.

It's hemmed by busy railway lines, making it a good location for trainspotters as well as groundhoppers.








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Walton Community v Warbreck

6.30pm  29 April 2014

Liverpool County Premier League, Division Two
Walton Community 9 Warbreck 0 (att 15)

Warbreck's final game of the season, but the gave the impression of a team who'd begun their summer break a bit too early.

They were 2-0 down after just six minutes, 4-0 behind by half time, and conceded more after the break until referee decided that a 35 minute second half was enough for everyone.

Walton's win saw them overtake Warbreck, and should ensure promotion. Judging by their performance in this game, even against lacklustre opponents, they'll more than hold their own in a higher league.

The football was better than I'd expect for division two of the Liverpool County Premier League, and so was the venue. Walton Community are based at Walton Hall Park, a sports centre that houses the Liverpool County FA ground.

Rather than using one of the many pitches in the open playing fields surrounding the Liverpool County FA ground, Walton play on an enclosed pitch, with a very good surface, that runs parallel to the sports centre's 3G pitch.








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Standish St Wilfrid's v Bickerstaffe

6.30pm  28 April 2014

Wigan and District Amateur League, Premier Division
Standish St Wilfrid's 5 Bickerstaffe 0 (att 24)

A comfortable victory for an impressive Standish side who began this game needing seven points, from their final three fixtures, to win the league.

On this showing they'll have no difficulty reaching their target, although Bickerstaffe made them work for the win, limiting Standish to just one goal in the opening 40 minutes. But in the five minutes before half time two more goals put the home side firmly in control.

The second half was easier for Standish, although despite becoming increasingly dominant they managed just two further goals, the final one with the game's last kick.

Finding Standish's ground, called The Convent, isn't easy without directions, helpfully included on the League's FA Full Time website. While the address is Wigan Road, it's actually accessed via a lengthy track off a road off Wigan Road.

At the end of the track, just before a farm, there's a car park with the pitch beyond, and shipping containers converted to provide changing rooms. No other facilities as such, but a scenic rural venue that was a nice place to watch a game on a sunny evening.








Inkberrow v Kenilworth Town KH

3pm  26 April 2014

Midland Combination, Division Two
Inkberrow 1 Kenilworth Town KH 6 (att 17)

Twenty-two years ago, almost to the day, I visited Sands Lane in Inkberrow and watched the home side win a Worcester and District League match against Tewkesbury YMCA. Living in Worcester at the time, it was an easy local trip.

The pitch used that evening still exists, but in recent years the club have built two new pitches, either side of a cricket square, in what was a field adjacent to the original ground. Both pitches have modern dugouts, in a worse state than the sturdy old-fashioned brick ones next to the old pitch, and the main pitch is fully roped off, the other just partly roped.

It's been a tough season for Inkberrow, currently bottom of the league, and they were always second favourites for the visit of table-topping Kenilworth. The game started in a downpour, but Inkberrow, with a stiff breeze behind them, started more brightly than the weather, hitting the crossbar early on.

It was a bit harsh on them that before long they found themselves 3-0 down, as Kenilworth took control of the game, and the points.

Into the second half the game threatened to peter out, but Kenilworth became complacent at the back and Inkberrow pulled a goal back. That sparked the visitors back into life, and they responded with three more goals.








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Cheltenham Civil Service v Cam Bulldogs

12 noon  26 April 2014

Gloucestershire Northern Senior League, Division One
Cheltenham Civil Service 1 Cam Bulldogs 2 (att 87)

An all-important game at the top of the league saw the visitors move closer to the league title by beating their nearest challengers.

They did so with surprising ease, taking a grip, to the delight of their supporters, with two goals in the first half. Civil Service kept the game interesting by scoring a second half goal, but Cam remained in control and ran out comfortable winners, despite the odd scare at the back.

The large crowd was tempted more by the early kick off time, due to cricket on the ground later in the day, and the presence of a one-off programme issued for the club, than the importance of the fixture. Most were groundhoppers with plans for a second game nearby.

The Cheltenham Civil Service Sports Ground features several well-maintained football pitches. I was told the unroped pitch used for this game is usually the "reserves pitch", while the reserves were at home next door on the "A team pitch". The usual first team pitch is out of action at this time of year due to the demands of cricket.

My groundhopping rule for pitches is that if any pitch in a multi-pitch venue can be used then one visit to the ground is enough, However, should Civil Service win promotion to the Gloucestershire County League then a pitch closer to the changing rooms and clubhouse will be barriered off ... in which case I will return.










Bay Athletic v Golcar United

6.15pm  23 April 2014

West Riding County Amateur League, Premier Division
Bay Athletic 3 Golcar United 0 (att 43)

Northfield Hall is the third home ground I've seen Huddersfield-based Bay Athletic play on, and although pleasant enough it's essentially just a railed off pitch next to a new community centre in a modern housing estate, with limited scope for improvements.

It's more than adequate for the West Riding County Amateur League's top division, but Bay have their sights set on winning the league, and would need a better venue if they want promotion.

They had no real problems seeing off a decent Golcar side. Bay's impressive number 9 scored two well taken goals early in the game to put them in the driving seat, before getting his hat-trick in the second half.

Overall it was a fast-paced game with a high standard of football, and provided a good early evening's entertainment.








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Whitwell Athletic v Hinton

3.20pm  21 April 2014

Herts Senior County League, Premier Division
Whitwell Athletic 2 Hinton 1 (att 46)

Second game of the day, and the second game when the home side struggled to a 2-1 win against opponents they'd expect to beat easily.

Hinton arrived late at table-topping Whitwell, having apparently struggled to get a full side together, and as a result the the kick off was put back 20 minutes. When it did get underway it was Hinton who scored first.

Their lead didn't last long, but although Whitwell were level before half time they missed countless opportunities to go in front, a mixture of bad luck, poor finishing, and excellent goalkeeping.

The pattern continued through the second half, with Whitwell getting increasingly desperate until an intelligent quick free kick and an excellent finish gave the home side an 87th minute winner.

Whitwell Athletic's ground is very pleasant, although the lacks of some facilities that will dampen any thoughts of promotion. The village recreation ground hosts cricket as well as football, with the football pitch, beyond the cricket square from the modern clubhouse, enclosed by a combination of rope and plastic rail. Its main feature is an ancient-looking wooden stand on the far side.











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Kent Athletic v Willen

12 noon  21 April 21, 2014

Spartan South Midlands League, Division Two
Kent Athletic 2 Willen 1 (att 18)

From the league table you'd have expected Kent to win this comfortably, even more so when they went a goal up early on, but in the end they rather laboured to an unimpressive victory against their struggling visitors.

Having gone behind Willen briefly threatened to upset the form book when they levelled, but the home side were back on top before half time. The second half was poor, and further scoring never looked likely.

Despite their name, Kent Athletic are based in the Leagrave area of Luton, having started life as a works team. The ground isn't bad for a league notorious for very basic venues. The pitch runs lengthways beyond a decent social club, and is railed off with dugouts.

There's no hard standing, but a smokers' area outside the social club doubles as a small covered standing area at one end, and with the bar not open it was a smoke-free environment.









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