Month: November 2014

Macclesfield 2-0 Alfreton (Vanarama Premier Division) 22-11-14

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Game 44 of the season

With Macclesfield finding themselves on the fringes of the play-offs and protecting an unbeaten home record and the visitors deep in trouble, this game appeared a home banker. The scoreline will back this assertion up, but for much of the game there was little to choose between the sides, as an Alfreton side that lack quality kept plugging away, without truly threatening to upset the hosts.

Alfreton have managed to add to their squad in the last week, and saw Byrne and Johnson thrown in to try and continue the Reds good recent form at the Moss Rose. While they may have lost players from last season, most notably John Akinde who is scoring regularly for Barnet; Alfreton remained a physically imposing side and opened with an energy that threatened to disrupt Macclesfield’s play. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hillsfield – Rocester FC

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Ground Number 126

First Visit – Rocester 2-1 Causeway (Midland Football League Premier Division) 15-11-14

Another ground that lies within the hour and yet for some reason we have avoided until now. With the extremely foggy journey over the hills there was concern that we may arrive to find the game called off.

Thankfully it was a clear day in Rocester, which provides an excellent setting for a football match. The village itself seems fairly idyllic and the ground is set in a semi rural environment, with Arkwright’s mill dominating the skyline. If there was no game on then the whole area would be almost silent, with few people or cars passing by. If you were unlucky and picked a lackluster game then there is plenty of scenery to take your eye.

The facilities are excellent for a club that finds itself at level 9 of the English game. There is a vast car park and inside the ground there is a welcoming club house. As is often the case in non league, most fans seem to avoid these like the plague and instead brave the cold weather.

The remainder of the ground is tidy, but basic. There is the obligatory rail running round the pitch, with a very sparse collection of advertising boards dotted around. There is a small covered standing area on the opposite side to the clubhouse, with the a roof that you convince yourself will take the top of your head off should you stand underneath. The seated stand is a funny one, set someway back from the playing surface to the left of the players tunnel. Unfortunately this seemed to have put the locals off, and only a handful made use of the seats.

One feature that is always welcome and much needed is a good pie hut. I don’t always use them at ‘new grounds’ which is why you are not treated to a review each time! There was a good choice of hot food and very reasonable prices and another favourite of mine, the proper mug.

Overall a tidy ground which looks well maintained and is more than sufficient for the level, added to the fact that we also we saw a good game, means that we may well be back in future.

Social Media #ynwa #cham21ons

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This blog will discuss football and the use of social media; fair enough it is nice to involve fans and can be a good marketing tool, but interaction should have a limit.

This was prompted by something I have seen at Manchester City a couple of times this season, something that is so hideous and embarassing; the ‘cityzen half time centre circle selfie’. The deal is that a couple of lucky cityzens are plucked from the crowd and have their moment in the sun, terrible.

To¬† make it worse, half time is littered with a stream of tweets that flash up on the digital advertising space on the middle tier; drivel along the line of ‘Silva is on fire’ and ‘hope we can avoid any injuries in the second half’.

Players have also waded into the action, with Rio Ferdinand the latest to fall foul of an FA ban. It has also propelled Joey Barton to new to a new found level of fame that his on-field performances certainly do not warrant.

Harry Williams Riverside Stadium – Ramsbottom United FC

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Ground number 125

First Visit = Ramsbottom 1-1 Workington (4-11-14) Evo-Stick Premier Division

Another ground that should have been visited a few years ago, being a relatively short and easy journey away. While this is a tidy ground, it seems amazing to think that if Ramsbottom continue their early season form they could find themselves just 2 divisions below the football league.

As the name suggests, this ground is near a river; although it was surprising to look over the wall and see just how close the Irwell is. With a history of flooding it must always provide sleepless nights when we have a long period of prolonged rainfall. The other issue is that the pitch is fairly boggy, with longish grass to protect the surface.

The football and cricket clubs share some of the facilities and it makes for a rather tight perimeter stadium wall along the dugout side of the ground, another potential hitch should they wish to progress further through the football pyramid.

The pie hut was an excellent feature of the ground; a dedicated hut with seating, and handily for a cold night, heating. There is also an effort at a programme shop which is always appreciated . The most welcome aspect, and something I have never seen at this high level of non-league was getting my hot chocolate in a mug. In fact with a relatively sedate crowd, the primary role of the stewards appeared to be mug retrieval!

There is also the slightly surreal background noise of the generator that powers the floodlights. This sounds like it is struggling to produce any power and a decent shout for an abandoned game, but once it gets going the lights are very strong. It was though, slightly disconcerting to see three of the six pylons turned on as the players left the tunnel two minutes before kick off.

Overall this is a fairly standard ground for the level, although it does have some stand out features that mark it out from new grounds like Nantwich.