Posted by: musinganorak | September 15, 2010

A Cheeky Bank Holiday Threesome

Groundhoppers, on the whole, love bank holidays. Leagues treat them as another “Saturday” and usually schedule a full fixture list, but even better is the fact that clubs often vary their kick-off times. This gives the opportunity of getting to multiple games on one day. A double is usually fairly straightforward but with a bit of careful planning you can often manage a three game day. Like today.

Claire had been asking when we were next going to be able to get to Leicestershire to visit friends there as she had a birthday present to deliver and as it turned out this request fitted in perfectly with the bank holiday football fixtures. After dropping Claire off I was able to head to my early kick-off, a match between Barrow Town and Holwell Sports in the East Midlands Counties League. The ground, in a rural setting on the edge of town, is fairly typical for a step 6 club, fully railed and floodlit with a small stand on one side. The match turns out to be a bit of a let down, a scrappy 0-0 with neither side creating many chances. The visitors did get the ball in the net twice in the last 10 minutes, but on both occasions the flag was up for offside. Friendly conversation was had with a number of other groundhoppers and notes were compared as to destinations for the remainder of the day.

At the final whistle it was back in the car for the short drive down the A46 to see another East Midlands Counties game, this time between Anstey Nomads and Gresley. The Nomads have found it hard to adjust to step 6 football since their promotion whereas Gresley are finding their feet at the lower level since ‘rising from the ashes’ of Gresley Rovers. The home side’s cause today isn’t helped by the fact that their first choice keeper is currently suspended and they have a young reserve keeper in the side in his stead. They go on to shoot themselves in the foot further by having a player sent off after 26 minutes, by which point they were already 2-0 down. By half time it is 4-0 to the visitors but should be more. The home side keep the visitors at bay for 15 minutes at the start of the second half before Richard Hanslow manages to score 3 goals in 3 minutes. It is 8-0 3 minutes after that and somehow Gresley don’t manage to add the 9th until the 89th minute. It looks like it may be another long season for the Nomads.

At the conclusion of this game I head off to meet up with Claire and our friends and there is sufficient time before the evening game to allow a trip to the their local for a pleasant hour of conversation. Now it is time for Claire to pay the price for being ferried around the country! She has to join me at the evening game between Heath Hayes and Rocester in the Midland Football Alliance. This is one of only a couple of evening kick-offs in the Midlands area and so it is no surprise to meet up with a number of people who had been at the early game in Barrow. After comparing notes it looks like I had the pick of the afternoon games. The visitors take an early lead and the rest of the half is fairly nondescripit with neither side making any real impression until the last minute when a shot from Rocester is handled on the line by a defender resulting in a red card and a penalty which is duly despatched. Although Rocester have a man advantage in the second half, which becomes a two man advantage when another home player sees red, they don’t seem to have any desire to press home this advantage. They eventually score a third when they are awarded a second penalty 2 minutes from time. The visiting supporters and neutrals all seem bemused that Rocester didn’t show any desire to make their advantage pay, and they may come to regret it at the end of the season should they miss out on promotion, or get relegated, due to inferior goal difference.

So, 3 games, 12 goals, 3 red cards. Another enjoyable bank holiday!

Spot Claire!


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