Month: December 2014

Altrincham 1 – 0 Macclesfield (FA Trophy 1st Round) 13-12-14

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Game number 49 of the season

The second installment of this fierce derby game this season, the second at Moss lane, and the second feeble surrender by the Silkmen, this time not at the expense of three points, but progress in the premier non-league cup competition.

The omens were not good as the team was announced, with several changes, the most debilitating of which saw a midfield pair comprising an untested ex youth player and a central defender. This left the defence exposed all match, something that Alty were able to exploit after just 2 minutes; Reeves waltzing through the centre of the pitch and fire the ball past a stranded Braningan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alfreton 1 – 5 Macclesfield (Vanarama Premier Division) 20-12-14

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Game 50 of the 14/15 season

A relatively short trip over to Alfreton as Macclesfield looked to get a point or better, to return to second place in the conference table going into Christmas. The hosts had seen a recent upturn in form, with 9 points from their last 3 games, having beaten Eastleigh 3-2 during the week; doing Macc a huge favour in the process. The Silkmen were looking to bounce back from a lacklustre defeat at Altrincham in the FA trophy, and were boosted by the FA overturning Danny Whitaker’s red card.

Alfreton is always an interesting place to go, a typical old school non league ground at its best and one that allows the majority of visiting fans to appreciate their own home ground! I can sympathize with Alfreton  as they are constantly fighting to bring in funding, but it is still what you would call a ‘very non league ground’. On on the side opposite the dugout, there is a mixture of covered and uncovered seating, with nothing to separate the fans from the playing surface. Looking around, it is also plain to see that seats have been added in unusual places to allow them to climb through the leagues and adhere to ground grading. The whole place is slightly disheveled and makes for an odd atmosphere, where to me it always seems that the game being played is a friendly or a dead rubber.  Read the rest of this entry »

Stoke U21 0-0 Sheffield United U21 (Premier League U21 Cup Round of 32) 8-12-14

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Game Number 48  of 2014/15

The second game for Stoke U21s at the Moss Rose this season, this time with the added bonus of knockout football. Immediately it was noticeable that Stoke had made a number of changes from their first visit to Macc 3 months previous.

The game started in sedate fashion, with both sides well organized when without the ball, and neat and tidy when in possession. It is a style in marked contrast to Macclesfield Town, and one which I always think would work very well in the Conference, where you can back yourselves to stop teams getting in behind by allowing efforts from distance and crosses into your box. The issue with the way both teams played here though, was in the final third; there was a lack of runners from midfield, and the strikers struggled to find any space in which to operate. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hive – Barnet FC

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Ground Number 127

My first trip to Barnet, having missed my chance to visit their old Underhill base. What is immediately obvious on arrival at the Hive is that Barnet have far more than just a stadium here; there are several 3G pitches, with numerous grass adult and junior pitches also in use. What is different from similar facilities, is that the changing facilities for all these other pitches are contained within the stadium, so that anyone using any of the complex has to interact with the ground itself.

The club shop and bar area and well fitted out and work has clearly gone in to merchandising, both were well populated before and after the game, a vital source of income for all clubs in the lower leagues. They also have extensive parking  on-site. Certainly this is an area where the newer grounds have a clear advantage on some of the relics out there. Read the rest of this entry »