Kirkcaldy YMCA v Harthill Royal

2.30pm  28 April 2018

SJFA East Region, South Division
Kirkcaldy YMCA 1 Harthill Royal 7 (att 24)

The 2017/18 season has been tough for Kirkcaldy YMCA, and their final league game ended in a predictable defeat that leaves them bottom of the table with just a single point.

Hopefully they'll be able to regroup over the summer and come back stronger for next season, and they did at least manager a goal against Harthill, only the 11th they've scored in their 26 leagues games.

The visitors were in front after just two minutes, and added three more before the hosts pulled one back. Harthill got a fifth before half time, but were restricted to just two more goals in the second period.

Credit to Kirkcaldy YMCA, they kept battling to the end and there was plenty of enthusiasm from their young team.

Denfield Park is basic for a Scottish junior football ground. It's hidden near an industrial estate, enclosed by a low mesh fence while the pitch itself is railed off and has dugouts. There's no hard standing or cover for spectators, but refreshments are available from a building that also houses the changing rooms.

Given the season they've had, getting 20 or so spectators through the gate for the final game isn't bad going, especially when across town Raith Rovers were attempting (and failing, as it turned out) to get the home win they needed to lift the Scottish League One title.










Clydeside Athletic v Maryhill Thistle at Petershill FC

10am  28 April 2018

Glasgow Colleges FA, Jim Harvey Cup Final at Petershill FC
Clydeside Athletic 1 Maryhill Thistle 2 (att 105)

The Glasgow Colleges FA might sound like it runs football for students, but in fact it's one of a number of Saturday morning leagues for amateur clubs across Glasgow.

I'm yet to see a league game, but the chance to tick off junior club Petershill's ground for a cup final was tempting enough for the early start needed to get to north Glasgow in time for a ten o'clock kick off.

Both sides are in the league's top division, with Maryhill top of the table and Clydeside third and, while it wasn't quite the thriller the friendly chap taking the entrance fee (proceeds to charity) promised, the football was a decent standard.

As expected it was a close game. Maryhill had the better of the first half, and an early goal gave them a 1-0 lead they took into half time. Clydeside equalised in the second period, and then just as I was wondering whether we'd have extra time or go straight to penalties, Maryhill snatched a 90th minute winner.

Such a late goal was hard on Clydeside, but over the 90 minutes Maryhill were the better side and deserved to lift the trophy.

I still think of Petershill's ground as being new, but they've been settled in for a few years now. Their old ground, which I visited in 2000, was on a site immediately adjacent to the current one.

It's a 3G pitch, but a lot better than the 'caged' variety with a a seated stand on the near side, a few steps of terracing on the opposite side and just one end that's out of bounds to spectators.










Rawdon Old Boys v Brighouse Old Boys

6.30pm  25 April 2018

West Yorkshire League, Division One
Rawdon Old Boys 2 Brighouse Old Boys 0 (att 15)

For a club which has suffered heavy defeats in recent games, and who failed to raise a side for their last fixture, Brighouse Old Boys did better than I'd expected against title-chasing Rawdon.

The home side never looked in any danger of failing to win, at least once they'd taken an 18th minute lead, but for the most part they were frustrated by their visitors, and had a settle for just one more goal, scored three minutes into the second half.

Promotion looks assured for Rawdon Old Boys, and if they keep winning then the divisional title will be theirs as well, but I doubt this match will linger long in the club's collective memory.

My memory will be more of the ground than the game, as Hanson Field is a nice set up for this level of football. The pitch is surrounded by an ageing but effective railing, and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to buy a half time cuppa from a tea bar in the small building which also houses the changing rooms.

A warming half time drink was a necessity, as the ground is high up and the wind blowing across the pitch was a chilly one, which probably didn't help the players.

Rawdon's pleasant-looking cricket ground is right next door to the football pitch, and the surrounding scenery is rural, despite being on the edge of Leeds.









Drighlington v Beeston Juniors

6.30pm  23 April 2018

Yorkshire Amateur League, Premier Division
Drighlington 3 Beeston Juniors 1 (att 40)

This might be the first time I've watched a match on a former battlefield. The Battle of Adwalton Moor, in June 1643, was part of the English Civil War, but these days the site, on the outskirts of Bradford, is home to Drighlington FC.

There are two pitches, both railed off along the touchlines, with the one closest to Moorland Road used for tonight's game. A surprisingly decent crowd, most standing on the road side, turned up to watch as the home side side closed in on the league title.

Drighlington got off to the perfect start, with an opening goal in the second minute, and another goal following soon after. Beeston made a fight of it but rarely threatened the home side's lead.

They did manage goal to halve the deficit with about six minutes left, but almost immediately Drighlington got lucky with a deflected free kick to extend their lead to 3-1.

This was only the second Yorkshire Amateur League game I've ever watched, and the last was six years ago, but there was enough good football to tempt me back for more. The league has quite a fixture backlog, so chances are it won't be long before I see another match.










Stoney Middleton v Chinley

2pm  21 April 2018

Hope Valley Amateur League, Roden Cup Semi-Final
Stoney Middleton 5 Chinley 2 (att 28)

It's barely three miles from Baslow to Stoney Middleton so it was a easy drive to my second match of the day, a semi-final of the cup for teams in the Hope Valley League's third division.

Stoney Middleton and Chinley are neck and neck at the top of the division so I expected a close game. The first 45 minutes were close, as Stoney Middleton took an early lead that was overturned, but they came back with an equaliser to make it 2-2 at half time.

In the second period the home side took control, aided no doubt by being used to the eccentricities of their sloping and undulating pitch at Stoney Middleton Playing Field.

Conceding five was harsh on Chinley, but it means Stoney Middleton are through to face Buxworth's second team in the final.

Like Baslow, Stoney Middleton's ground is one I've driven past many times before. It lacks facilities but it’s a lovely place to watch a game on a sunny afternoon. There's a small car park, changing rooms, and a boundary wall on the far side that's an ideal height to rest on.









Baslow v Bamford

12 midday  21 April 2018

Hope Valley Amateur League, Division A
Baslow 2 Bamford 3 (att 29)

It was late on Friday night that I spotted a tweet from Bamford about this game being a noon kick off, and as I'd just learnt that my original intended game had been postponed it was an easy decision to head to the Hope Valley instead.

It's tight at the top of the Hope Valley League's middle division, and both these sides are among those competing for the title and for promotion. The fixture had added spice as Baslow hammered Bamford in the county cup final earlier in the week.

They couldn't repeat the feat with league points up for grabs though. The difference in the first half was in front of goal, Baslow had plenty of the ball but created few clear chances, and when they did they couldn't take them.

When Bamford attacked they looked dangerous, and two goals in quick succession not long before half time put them in the driving seat. A third after the break was, ultimately, the goal that won it, as Baslow set up a grandstand finish by scoring twice in the final five minutes. Despite throwing everyone forward they couldn't manage a third.

I've driven past Baslow's ground countless times so it was nice to finally see a game there. The village sports ground also caters for cricket and tennis, and has a modern pavilion building with an overhanging roof to provide cover for spectators.









Britannia Sports v Golcar United

6.10pm  18 April 2018

West Riding County Amateur League, Premier Division
Britannia Sports 1 Golcar United 4 (att 32)

Comfortable derby win for Golcar although they had to come from a goal down before triumphing at Huddersfield-based Britannia Sports.

The home side's opening goal was against the run of play, and was a bit of a gift following poor defending by Golcar. Once the visitors got level they soon scored again, and were ahead 2-1 at half time.

A third Golcar goal came shortly after the break, and they rounded off the scoring thanks a fourth with about half-an-hour left to play.

The result keeps Golcar in with a chance of the league title, seven points behind leaders Salts with two games in hand, while Britannia remain too close to the foot of the table for comfort.

Britannia Sports are based at the Paddock Athletic Club, a former cricket ground. I was a little surprised the single pitch wasn't even roped off, but clubs have enough to organise for early evening kick offs without worrying about things like that, and it's a nice and enclosed venue for football.