Oldham Hulmeians v Mostonians

6.30pm  31 August 2016

Lancashire Amateur League, Premier Division
Oldham Hulmeians 2 Mostonians 2 (att 25)

There's a handful of new venues in the Lancashire Amateur League season, which is handy for me as the pool of new grounds in Greater Manchester is a shallow one these days.

Oldham Hulmeians have moved from their former Tate Street base into their alma mater, Oldham Hulme Grammar School.

It's a nice venue, with school buildings and surrounding terraced houses giving an enclosed feel, and a pitchside pavilion that provides changing rooms for players and some cover for spectators.

There was no need to make use of the cover during this game though. Hulmeians and visitors Mostonians provided an entertaining 80 minutes (a late start and poor light meant two 40-minute halves).

Mostonians netted first, thanks to a penalty late in the first half, before the home side levelled after the break with a spot kick of their own. Hulmeians went ahead, but a late goal gave Mostonians a point they deserved.








International Allstars v Appley Bridge

6.30pm  30 August 2016

Mid Lancashire League, Division Three
International Allstars 0 Appley Bridge 11 (att 9)

The home side didn't look very international, and were definitely lacking stars, as they were trounced by visitors Appley Bridge.

What they did show, with one exception, was plenty of effort until the final whistle. The exception was the International Allstars keeper, who decided he'd had enough after just 27 minutes when the fifth goal went past him.

He walked off the pitch and ignored the pleas of teammates as he got changed on the sideline and headed off. His replacement between the sticks did rather better, conceding only another six in just over an hour's play.

My game was one of two, in the same league, being played side by side at Astley Park in Chorley. Pre-match I'd decided I'd watch whichever match kicked off first, or whichever one hadn't started by the time I arrived.

As it turned out, Chorley Town's game against Astley started very promptly and was already underway by the time I'd walked the considerable distance from the car park to the pitches, so I got to see the Inernational Allstars in action. Hopefully they'll have better results this season, they deserve to, and maybe a new keeper as well.







Tring Corinthians v Tring Town

3pm  29 August 2016

Spartan South Midlands League, Division Two
Tring Corinthians 5 Tring Town 1 (att 76)

After a few years absence it was good to see the name of Tring Town return to senior football this season. It also means cross-town derbies with Tring Corinthians, and I was part of a larger than usual crowd at Corries' Icknield Way ground for this match.

It was an entertaining 90 minutes for me, but a testing one for the visitors. They took the lead very much against the run of play, but despite their dominance Tring Corinthians could only manage a penalty to draw level by half time.

They found their scoring boots after the break though, scoring twice in the opening couple of minutes of the second half, and adding two more before the end for an easy win.

The ground is basic, even for this level, with just one end and half of one side roped off for spectators. Thankfully, especially with quite a few watching, a blind eye was turned to those to elected to watch from the unroped far side.








Cornelly United v Porthcawl Town Athletic

6pm  28 August 2016

South Wales Alliance League, Division One
Cornelly United 2 Porthcawl Town Athletic 1 (att 351)

Final match of my weekend in south Wales, and it was a local derby in the South Wales Alliance League's middle division.

Cornelly came from behind to take all three points, to the delight of their vocal young supporters and in front of a surprisingly-large crowd, even for a hop game.

Cornelly's noisy fans congregated in the small stand that is the ground's main feature. The rest of the venue is just flat standing, around a railed off pitch, although it is enclosed by a fence so should be up to Welsh League standard should the club win a couple of promotions.









Cefn Cribwr BC v Penrhiwfer

2.30pm  28 August 2016

South Wales Alliance League, Division Two
Cefn Cribwr Boys Club 1 Penrhiwfer 2 (att 293)

Another busy day of groundhopping in south Wales. I gave myself the morning off, having already been to the day's earlier venue, but Cefn Cribwr was a new ground to visit.

Not unusually for this part of the world, I got the impression that football trails rugby as the main sport at the ground. That said, the football pitch is fully railed off, with dugouts, and a raised area of banking on the car park side gives a good view of the action.

The game was a dip back into the league's third, and lowest, tier, but there's nothing wrong with the quality of football at this level. The visitors, who had a brief spell as a Welsh League club, took to the points thanks to a late winner.










Penydarren BGC v Ton and Gelli BC

4pm  27 August 2016

South Wales Alliance League, Premier Division
Penydarren Boys and Girls Club 3 Ton and Gelli Boys Club 4 (att 285)

The third match in a long day can be a struggle, but Penydarren and Ton and Gelli provided great entertainment.

Not just a seven goal thriller, with the visitors staging a great comeback after trailing 2-0 at half time, but it was also played at a ground that's among the hidden gems of football in this part of Wales.

I'd no idea that Penydarren Boys and Girls Club - to give them their full and rather convoluted name - had a proper enclosed ground with a seated stand. They're only one step away from Welsh League football and the venue looks more than ready.

At the final whistle I headed to my Merthyr hotel for the night, whereas most of the hoppers had another game to watch, at Pontlottyn. It's so many years since I visited Pontlottyn that I wouldn't have minded a return trip, but three games in a day is more than enough, especially with more planned for the following day.










Aberfan SDC v Fochriw

1.15pm  27 August 2016

South Wales Alliance League, Division Two
Aberfan SDC 4 Fochriw 1 (att 220)

The second 'hop' match of the day took us to Aberfan SDC's Grove Field ground, where the club were hosting Fochriw in a division two clash.

The home side were riding high in the league, while the visitors were struggling, but early season tables can be deceptive and for much of the first half there was little between the sides.

Eventually Aberfan's better finishing proved the difference, and after being level at 1-1 at half time they run out 4-1 winners.

Aberfan's ground has a scenic setting, although facilities are more limited that at the day's earlier venue. The pitch is part of a large playing field, and is railed off with a couple of dugouts.









Llantwit Fardre v Bettws

10.30am  27 August 2016

South Wales Alliance League, Premier Division
Llantwit Fardre 6 Bettws 0 (att 190)

I normally blog as soon as possible after watching games. It's not that I imagine readers are hanging on my every word and desperate to know where I've been, but because if I don't then the details of what I've seen soon start to fade.

I'm not much of a note taker when watching football. The score at half time and full time, and a rough headcount of the number of people watching is enough. Sometimes though, the games come so thick and fast that keeping up with them on my blog becomes a challenge.

That preamble will hopefully allow me to get away the first of a few rather brief reports, mostly from matches during the August Bank Holiday South Wales Alliance League Groundhop.

First up, for me at least - I didn't see the Friday night game at Sully Sports as I've already been there - was a top division clash in Tonteg between two former Welsh League sides.

It wasn't much of a contest, early goals put Llantwit Fardre in control, and the visitors were hampered by a sending off. Three goals in each half were enough for an easy home win, I liked Tonteg Park, an enclosed ground with a stand that incorporated a tea bar.