Undy Athletic v Carmarthen Town

1.30pm  30 November 2014

Welsh Cup, Third Round
Undy Athletic 2 Carmarthen Town 4 (att 331)

The Welsh Cup may not have the high profile of its equivalents in England or Scotland, but a home draw against Welsh Premier League Carmarthen Town meant this was a big day for Undy Athletic.

The village club, based not far from the Severn  Bridge in Monmouthsire, were well organised off the pitch to cope with the much larger than usual crowd. They had plenty of food and drink available and, most crucially of all, plenty of programmes for a game that also attracted a lot of groundhoppers.

They were well-organised on the pitch as well, and gave Carmarthen a real battle before the Premier League side eventually eased through to round four.

Undy started the tie well, taking an early lead. Some sides would have been deflated by Caramrthen's equaliser, about 10 minutes before half time, but Undy simply carried on taking the game to their visitors, and were rewarded by going back in front, with a very well-worked goal, just before half time.

I've not seen much Welsh Premier League football recently, but Carmarthen looked poor for a team playing at that level. They were better in the second half, but it took a 61st minute penalty to draw level, after Undy had come close to scoring a third.

The final half-hour belonged to Carmarthen though, and it was no surprise when they went ahead for the first time. A fourth goal, in stoppage time, was harsh on Undy, who had more than matched their opponents for much of the game.

Undy Athletic's ground is a fairly typical for the Welsh League. The pitch is railed off, with dugouts, and there's a small section of covered standing on one side, The clubhouse is behind the goal, and refreshments were served from marquees that were, presumably, a one-off for this game.









Keswick v Carvetii United

2pm  29 November 2014

Westmorland League, Division One
Keswick 5 Carvetii United 0 (att 44)

A pre-match glance at the league table would have suggested this was going to be a comfortable win for Keswick, and when they hit the Carvetii crossbar twice in the opening five minutes it was clear that a surprise result was unlikely.

It didn't take the home side long to score, and by the end of a first half dominated by Keswick they had a commanding 4-0 lead.

The second period was better for the visitors, as Keswick were restricted to just one more goal. The final tally could, and should, have been more than five, and a red card meant Carvetii finished a man down.

The Westmorland League is home to many scenic venues, and Keswick's newish Fitz Park home is up there with the best. The ground itself is fairly basic though, just an unroped pitch next to a sympathetically-designed pavilion.

Next door, separated by a fence, is the "public" part of  Fitz Park, where Keswick played last time I visited. Back then the park pitch was used for early and late season games, when their erstwhile official home, Walker Park, was in its tourist-season use as a mobile home park.

Don't go looking for Carvetii on a map, at least not on a modern one. The Kirkby Stephen-based club are named after an ancient Celtic tribe, the Carvetii, who lived in what is now Cumbria.










Reckitts v Chalk Lane

2pm  22 November 2014

Humber Premier League, Premier Division
Reckitts 3 Chalk Lane 0 (att 41)

On a wet day the best way of guaranteeing a game being on is to head to a team that uses an all-weather pitch, or, as I did today, somewhere with plenty of 3G and 4G pitches just in case a back up is needed.

Reckitts play on grass at the Hull University sports ground in Inglemire Lane, but there are so many clubs in Hull using artificial pitches that getting a game was never likely to be a problem.

As it was the Reckitts pitch, although very wet, was playable, for a clash between two of the sides challenging at the top of the table. It was also a local derby, with Chalk Lane based just a few yards away on the university's 3G pitch.

The game lived up to its billing, with some good football played by two very committed sides on a proper old-fashioned muddy pitch. It was fun to watch.

Reckitts scored the first half's only goal, and added two more after the break. The 3-0 scoreline was harsh on Chalk Lane though, as they more than played their part in providing an enjoyable afternoon,

The Humber Premier League is a "step seven" league, but many of the venues are basic. Reckitts, traditionally among the league's strongest sides, have a base that's typical for the league (as least for those clubs who still play on grass).

It's just a pitch, taped off along most of one side where some dugouts are also positioned. Changing rooms are in the university sports centre building, which is on the opposite side of the road. Seven years ago I saw Reckitts play on another basic roped pitch, next door at the police sports ground.









Mid Annandale v Crichton

7.30pm  21 November 2014

South of Scotland League
Mid Annandale 2 Crichton 3 (att 65)

Following a brief exile in Annan, Mid Annandale have just returned to their home town of Lockerbie, and to a newly-built all weather pitch built next to their old ground.

The players still use the old changing rooms, and walk past the grass pitch at King Edward Park to get to the enclosed and floodlit artificial pitch, known as New King Edward Park and built on the site of a former school.

Mid Annandale are struggling in the league, but still attracted a decent number of spectators, in wet and windy weather, to this game against Dumfries-based Crichton. Apparently the club are planning more Friday night games in a bid to attract more spectators.

Given the testing conditions this was an entertaining game. Crichton were deserving winners, but had to come from behind. Mid Annandale took an early lead, which they held until just seconds before half time.

After the break Crichton were more on top, scoring twice. But the home side weren't finished, pulling a late goal back and then coming agonisingly close to equalising, but Crichton headed back to Dumfries with all the points.





Oughtibridge War Memorial v Swinton Athletic

2pm  15 November 2014

Sheffield County Senior League, Premier Division
Oughtibridge War Memorial Sports Club 6 Swinton Athletic 0 (att 43)

I wanted to stay fairly local today, so a trip to the outskirts of Sheffield suited me perfectly, especially as it's an area that's just out of reach for early and end of season midweek games after work.

I thought high-flying Swinton would win this game with ease, and they struck the frame of the Oughtibridge goal in the opening moments. But the home side scored first, after around 10 minutes, and soon after doubled their lead.

Swinton thought they'd pulled a goal back just before half time, but a linesman's flag ruled it out for offside.

Three minutes into the second half a foul in the penalty area handed Swinton an ideal platform from which to launch a comeback, but the spot kick was sent high over the bar.

Soon after that the home side scored a third, and a red card for Swinton ended any hopes they had. Oughtibridge scored three more, to cap a good performance the belied their lower mid table league placing.

Oughtibridge play at War Memorial Park, an quirky venue that was given to the local community as a war memorial in 1921. It has a lot to recommend it. A pavilion near the entrance includes changing rooms, a bar and tea bar, and was built recently after its predecessor was destroyed by floods in 2007.

From there the pitch is on the far side of a cricket square, and runs widthways. The near side is roped off, either side of the  cricket pitch, while the far side has a collection of assorted dugouts, covered and uncovered standing areas, and some bench seating. It's set in a valley, alongside the Rover Don,

A bonus was the free match programme, available from the clubhouse. It's an interesting read, although little of its content related to the match, but quite a lot had been cut and pasted from the Daily Mail website.











Crossgates Primrose v Hill of Beath Hawthorn

2pm  8 November 2014

SJFA East of Scotland Cup, Second Round
Crossgates Primrose 0 Hill of Beath Hawthorn 4 (att 103)

These very local rivals were drawn together in second round of the East of Scotland Cup, but there was never much doubt that Super League Hill of Beath would triumph over South Division strugglers Crossgates.

Any hopes of a cup upset evaporated within the first five minutes, as that's how long it took for the visitors to go in front thanks to a penalty.

But rather than pushing on and adding more goals it was a rather stuttering performance from Hill of Beath. They dominated play, but couldn't add to their lead, and Crossgates had their own moments going forward.

It was ill-discipline which ultimately cost Crossgates. They lost two players to red cards, either side of half time, and it was then only a matter of time before Hill of Beath added more goals. They scored three more, in quick succession around halfway through the second half.

Crossgates Primrose is one of Scottish Junior football's evocative club names, as is the name of their home ground, Humbug Park. It's a neat and tidy venue, but basic by Junior standards. There's no cover, so an umbrella was necessary on a wet afternoon, but it's enclosed, railed on three sides, and there's some overgrown and uneven terracing behind the far goal.










Dennistoun Vale v Whitefield Rovers

10am  8 November 2014

Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur League, Premier Division
Dennistoun Vale 1 Whitefield Rovers 3 (att 25)

I was planning a day in South Wales today, but the weather forecast ruled that out, so instead I headed north with plenty of options including a number of games on all-weather artificial pitches.

Dennistoun Vale play on a 3G pitch at Whitehill School in Dennistoun, close to the centre of Glasgow, not that the weather was a problem on a bright, but chilly, Glaswegian morning.

Dennistoun Vale and Whitefield appeared locked in what is likely to be a battle for runners-up spot in the league, having both dropped their only points by being beaten by table-topping Tynecastle.

The home side impressed most during the first half, but when they deservedly they went, about midway through the half, they only managed to hold the lead for about two minutes before Whitefield levelled.

Whitefield enjoyed a better second half, although there was little to choose between the sides. It took a great goal from Whitefield to get in front, and as Dennistoun pushed forward in search of an equaliser they conceded a third.

I've not seen much football in this league, but what I have watched has been a good standard, and this was probably the best I've see so far, justifying the early departure from my Salford home to get here in time.