Sunday, 10 September 2023


9th September 2023 - Dronfield Town 2 v 1 Armthorpe Welfare - A trip across the moors was had, we were in Hoyland for 8.50 and 10 minutes later we had entered Tinker's Cafe and were partaking of some scran, a brew and a mandible wag.  Soon after we were meeting a few good green folk and leading a walk at an area that is soon to be turned to concrete.  The suited and booted assassins of our kids futures are having an easy ride, by doing nowt is contributing to a downward swing - this punk bastard says the arse must be moved, I shall not be culpable for the shittery.  In blazing heat we pootled for a couple of hours, clocked up 65 species with some good critters in the mix.  A brew back at Tinkers was had and a good natter before we set off for some footballing action.  We initially parked up in the wrong place, found somewhere more convenient and duly checked with a resident if we could park outside his house.  The fine gent said 'yes'.  A walk was had, we took the wrong route, negotiations were made, bearings were found, the entrance of the ground was tucked away like a burrowing butt beetle in the crack of a sweating arse - phew.

The sun continued to sizzle and after acquiring drinks we made for cover.  Alas the spot chosen was still under the solar power so the top was removed and my titties duly bronzed.  Just prior to kick-off some young nippers were running themselves ragged in a mini-game of soccer and duly having a grand time of it (albeit with purple faces and dripping brows).  Penalties settled matters and after photos were taken the pitch was cleared and the main game took centre stage.

At the sacred footballing hour matters began with both teams indulging in a bit of foreplay and duly feeling each other out (by heck it was too warm for such dastardly behaviour).  No 9 (Max Rhodes) for the hosts was showing good fizz early on and was eventually released but could only send his eager shot low and slightly shy of the far stick.  Dronfield continued to make the greater advancements with a throw in laid off to No 7 (Harry Walker) who sent forth a low daisy decapitator that once again strayed the wrong side of the upright.

Armthorpe Welfare, despite being on the back foot, were grafting hard but producing very little.  A corner was eventually won due to No 2's (Luke Boxwell) determined running. The ball posted went long and the gent at the back post just couldn't stretch his neck enough to guide the ball on target.  The guests came once more after robbing the ball from a dilly-dallier.  A player dashed ahead but his number eluded me due to the shit clash of shirt and digits. Boxwell was fed and had a shot that quivered the inside of the timber.  The ball was there to be snaffled up, No 19 (Daniel Boulton) was on it like a pervert on a discarded jazz mag.  The ball was buried, 0-1 it was, the game needed it.

Dronfield were now asked questions, they responded with a long ball to Rhodes who took one touch, turned and had a pop.  The ball failed to trouble the keeper - it should have at least been on target.  With the game pattern set the guests were defending well whilst the hosts were needing to up their 'off-the-ball' work-rate. Eventually Dronfield moved with real focus and entered the box.  A shot came, the ball whizzed wide, a tackle had been made and a clattering had, the referee pointed to the spot - No 10 (Samuel Bebbington) stepped up and did a Bing Crosby - 'Straight Down The Middle' - 1 - 1 it was.

As the game progressed a certain staleness crept in with no team making any great strides.  A solid run from the home No11 (Joe Pearson) looked promising and when his pass found Rhodes one expected another goal to follow.  Alas the punt at the netting was off the mark (again).  Soon after No 20 (Callum Mawbey) was setting his sights on the edge of the box but was also guilty of missing the mark - the shooting boots were certainly in need of a bit of spit and polish that was for sure.

Rhodes for the hosts continued to be an active role player and after dashing the flank, riding a tackle and putting in a neat cross he must have been slightly frustrated by the visiting keeper who read matters well and collected with relative ease.  

The half was coming to a close, Armthorpe were looking a little disjointed, the Dronfield pack seemingly growing in desire and belief.  Suddenly the guests had a lapse in focus, a long ball caught them with their trousers down and conkers dangling.  Rhodes was away and only had the keeper to beat which he did with a cool brow and gave his side the uplifting half-time lead.  Both teams looked ready for the break with Dronfield Town displaying a certain spring in the step as they left the field.

My good lady went for the half-time drinks whilst I glazed the paps and perused my notes.  There were many folks flagging in the heat and I saw one bloke take on the look of a beetroot with problematic blood pressure.  At least he was art and abart though, bloody good on him and I hope a good cold beer was waiting for him when he got home. 

And with the good lady rejoining me the second half got underway.  Dronfield had their peckers up (in this heat I really don't know how they managed it) and created an early chance that saw the final shot end up in the awaiting keepers arms.  After some AW pressure that lacked the killer touch Dronfield broke but Rhodes who was the apical component tried to execute a cheeky chip that only transpired to be a rather limp lob lob (no wonder in this heat). Down the other end we went,  The robust No 5 (James Baxendale) chanced his shank with a 35 yard free-kick.  The ball was sweetly belted, the direction was sound but the home No 1 (Lewis Naylor) was up to the task and produced a quality save.  The resultant corner bore bugger all.

A few delays for injuries now impeded the general flow and little worthy of reporting came the way of this onlookers orbs.  The visitors eventually earned themselves a corner with the delivery being sharp and with a gentle swerve.  I was as surprised as anyone to see that no contact was made and the choice ball was wasted.  From nowhere Pearson for Dronfield Town was released, all the player needed do was beat the back-pedaling keeper.  The attempted chip was made, I immediately reached for the pen and considered scribbling such caveman descriptions as 'wank', 'shite' and 'crap-o-tastic' - I stayed rather gentlemanly and noted the miss down as a 'ruddy bad show sir'.

Shots did come at each end, somehow the scorecard stayed clear of any further blemishes.   A player for the welfare had a dig that lacked weight but somehow found its way through a pack of players and kissed the upright - this was a stern warning for the leading tribe and note was duly taken.  The final throes saw Bebbington for the home ranks dash forth only to see his effort palmed over.  The angled hoof came, no attackers made a lunge although the ball eventually fell to No 12 (Connor Chapell) whose shot at the angle led to another corner.  Again the globe was posted, the keeper fumbled and for a split second the chance to bury the game was there, somehow the AW ranks survived.

A final Dronfield corner saw a header saved on the line, a shot blocked and the guests survive by the skin of their now clammy scrotums.  Soon after the game was done and the final desperate scramblings were resigned to the ranks of 'Non-League History'. A short contemplation before putting the rear in gear and Man of the Match was given to Dronfield Town's No 5 (Arran Bovill), a very solid component who put the head on the ball when needed, worked with composure and defended like a good un' on a very trying day.  

We had a good journey home and were happy with our day out.  A few wildlife records, a footy report and sincere thanks is all we can offer - on we go.

FINAL THOUGHTS - A grand day out again, a decent ground visited and two teams seen who are struggling so far but, with patience, commitment and belief can turn things around and get the season moving.  The guests just lack a certain belief it seems and communication between players is not 100%.  many a time possession was had with no options given by players off the ball and looking to make space.  This left the one in possession in two minds which of course caused undue fuss, an area I feel that needs looking at.  There are one or two good players in the midst of this team though, the hefty bloke at the back a man with a footballing brain, one particular example.  Dronfield Town created many chances and should have grabbed more than just two goals today - is this a theme that will haunt them throughout the campaign?  I liked the movement upfront and the eager effort put in by several players.  Again, the movement off the ball is key to keeping the opposing forces guessing and on the back foot but I reckon I have seen enough today to note a team set to move up a few league places in the near future.  A snippet of positivity, combined with some good work will help them along - here's hoping both teams do the business as matters unwind and if I can catch them again at some point my support shall be there.  Onwards with the underdogs and if anyone is wondering, no we didn't dash home to watch England - that patriotic claptrap and making idols out of overpaid prima-donnas isn't for me - tha' gotta keep it real tha' knows.


28th August 2023 - Atherton Laburnum Rovers 0 v 0 Shelley FC - I turned 58 today, it was nothing to celebrate and I wanted nothing.  My kind lasses got me a few gifts though and a book about a killer fungus was a horrifying treat that I couldn't wait to start.  Prior to the game myself, Gillian and my daughter Katie visited my parents, two aging buggers with a cranked look at life and who want to just keep things simple - nowt wrong with that.  My Dad made me one of his fruit cakes. I am a cake lover, let me tell you, his cakes are the best - they are of a rich brown in colour, mightily moist and adorned with sumptuous fruits - akin in fact to a Gibbon's defecation. I had a quick slice before we left and it was spot on the mark and bore no resemblance in taste to a primates pooping's (thank goodness).

Before arriving at the ground proper we acquired a spot of lunch, parked up at Crilly Park soon after and after noting a few Milky Conecap Fungi (Conocybe apala) in the carpark entered the ground with my mate STP Stu.  Brews were had, it was a tall order it seemed with my cranial gunk getting all confused and the good lady serving equally perplexed - I think it may be an age thing in my case, the lass serving didn't look to be going bald so all I could blame it on was overspill of nervous energy when being faced with such a good looker as me (yes, I am being self-effacing).

So perches taken, jaws wagged and anticipation was of a home win with hopes for an abundance of birthday goals.  When I stated earlier that I didn't really want anything for my birthday I didn't realise two aural scouts from each team had been listening in - ooh the rotten bastards.

The game began with an early Shelley corner.   It was bilge.  ALR cultivated their first attack with a sugar-sweet ball finding No 10 (Kyle Robinson-Murray) who struck first time.  The protector of the meshing was on it, the ball went loose and a corner was won.  The ball entered the box, all craniums were missed and a careless handball quashed any further danger.  The hosts continued to create the greatest impetus, No 6 (Jack Lever) and No 7 (Jack Flight) partook of some good link-up play with a cross delivered that was too high for the nut of No 9 (Lewis Rawsthorn) to make any major impression with.

From here the shots came but no penetration was had.  Rawsthorn for the hosts put a free-kick over the horizontal and Shelley had a rare foray forth after the home lads pissed about in midfield and lost possession. No 8 (James Bootland) was the beneficiary of the ball but his shot on goal could only find the awaiting keepers mid-section and clutching arms. Straight up the other end we went with Lever chancing his shank but instead of hitting the striking zone he duly put the wind up local resident Mrs Green who was in a nearby garden hanging up her husbands rather grey and frayed smalls - it was a wayward shot to say the least.

The first goal seemed an almost impossibility although the guests had a chance when the home mitter went on walk-about.  The moment of madness was survived but soon after the man between the sticks earned his crust when a loose ball was drilled by the Shelley No 10 (Jugal Thapa). A neat tip over the bar was needed to stop the initial goal, the corner that followed was ruddy awful.

ALR now turned the screw and applied some fair pressure.  A cross needed goalkeeping attention and was palmed away with an ensuing corner needing some cranial heave-ho to quell any threat.  As the first 45 minute period wound down Shelley broke with purpose.  No 3 (Daniel Lockwood) played to Bootland, a shot came and expectations rose but the ball was a defiant and awkward bastard today and rolled wide of the upright with disappointing determination.  The half ended just after the ALR's Robinson-Murray tried a hopeful lob that came closer to the aforementioned Mrs Greens shithouse window rather than the gaping onion bag.  Seconds later  Rawsthorn had the ball in the box only 5 feet out from the goal and somehow managed to put his effort wide - ooh it was enough to bring tears to ones eyes.

No movement was had for the break, we stayed put and considered the possibilities of a 0 - 0 game (what is known as a 'bullet' to many footballing zealots).  The chances seemed high and so, being a kind and caring soul, I offered my mate Stu a cyanide pill so as to avoid the 90 minute death knell - one has to be thoughtful in these situations.

The second period began, Atherton were playing with great gusto and determined to fracture the deadlock.  Several balls were put into the box with one falling to the feet of Flight who had time to bulge the bag but recklessly blazed over.  

The rain now began to fall, the delicate onlookers ran for cover, a chill pervaded the carcass, all and sundry needed the on-pitch action to warm the cockles.  Shelley surged, a cross from the end line was met by No 11 (Daniel Vinten) who put his attempt above the timber and then Robinson-Murray for the hosts was put free with only the keeper to beat.  The first goal of the day was looking likely but somehow a shot of shittery was borne and the target was yet again... missed.

Great energy and vigour was being shown all over the pitch, alas without composure and quality it was all wasted.  Several more shots came at the Shelley goal, the end results were utterly disappointing for players and fans alike.  Robinson-Murray came closest with a shot close-in but the travelling No 1 (Paul Day) produced a good save and kept his side in the mix.  Soon after a lost cause was chased down, a cross to ALR's Flight came but the contact was poor in the extreme, it was a golden chance wasted.

A slight tension now crept into the game as a few dubious decisions rankled several hoofers.  2 corners came for the home lads.  The first of these angled kicks saw the keeper fumble in the box but no takers arrive.  The second was met by the dome of No 4 (Lewis Adams) but the globe would not stay on target.  Shelley responded, the ball somehow managed to ping upward and when falling was met by the boot of 15 (Edward Busfield) whose choice volley was neatly dealt with by an alert goalie.

Time was now slipping away, once more shots came and shots flew wide, the referee decided that if we played until doomsday a goal would not be had and so, with great kindness, blew his whistle and called the game to a halt. In a game of no goals I am giving the Man of the Match to Shelley's No 1 (Paul Day) who did enough and made sure he made his presence felt as well as being in the right place at the right time when matters required it.  Personally I would have preferred him to have let 10 goals in, done a streak round the pitch and given me a £100 cheque but, such is this warped footballing realm.  We all went homeward without any goals to discuss and excitement at level 'minimum' but, it is always a pleasure to visit Crilly Park and today was just that.

FINAL THOUGHTS - Both teams need to do some work and do it pretty sharpish.  I reckon a bit of focus on players shouting for the ball, making sure their presence is felt and running off the ball would help both units improve the game day outcome.  Of course, it goes without saying that the shooting boots need attention and the composure at the apical end of the pitch needs great attention.  I think Shelley will get better as the season progresses as long as they play as a complete unit and maintain a certain stubborn resistance.  Atherton LR are in a good position but the arse could easily drop out of the campaign if the bag is not bulged and teams are not buried when the chance arises.  We are still in the embryonic stages of a long season but games and points are slipping by in what is a competitive league. It will be interesting to watch what transpires over the next few weeks and then take stock of matters - hopefully the fortunes of all will change for the better and some lucky blighter will be treated to a goal fest - we shall see.

Friday, 1 September 2023


27th August 2023 - Worsborough Bridge Athletic 0 v 3 Ramsbottom United - A trip across the moors was had early doors.  We left the leaking skies of Stockport and arrived in Hoyland one hour later whereupon we visited one of our mates for a brew, a catch up and a walk.  The walk was decent enough with a few fungi, insects, flowers, birds and galls all named and shamed.  A coffee break was grand and the downpour to close meant we had to make a dash for a lift and make sure we kept to our schedule.  After a short rest me and the missus bid our farewells and arrived at a sunny Worsborough Bridge to pay our dues, have a gypsies and perch the rears in anticipation of some FA Cup action.  We did acquire a brew, my cup of cha was adequate, the lasses hot chocolate lacked milk and was akin to a cup of sewerage - it was poured away with great disappointment.  Whilst watching the warm-up I checked around the ground to see if any waterpipes were connected to the shit-laden sea of the Blackpool coast - it seemed Barnsley had its own supply of turd water after all.
The game began at 2pm, the opening 2 minutes saw me amend my prediction for a draw and go for an away win, Worsborough didn't look to be up for this and this is what duly transpired.
The start was quiet enough but Ramsbottom looked more controlled and eventually won a dubious corner.  The ball was delivered with good pace but the strike-force was lacking and no early shocker was had.  A move soon after saw 4 quick passes lead to a cross into the Worsborough box with No 8 (Pa Jenkins) pulling the trigger and looking disappointed to see the ball fly wide of the mark.  Another smooth move mere moments later saw No 11 (Kida Chingwaro) out wide, post a fine ball to No 9 (Matthew Dudley) who put his belfry on the leather and sent the globe, once again, shy of the strike-zone - it really should have been the opening goal.
From here the home team scrambled and won a free-kick in the far corner of the pitch.  The ball was sent into the danger area, No 8 (Conor Glavin) popped up at the back stick but his headed attempt was easily gathered by the gloved guardian.  As matters progressed a certain balance was disrupted when the hosts were robbed of possession.  No 7 (Henri Ogunby) was the thieving blighter and he duly advanced with purpose.  The resident No 1 (Brett Souter) left his line to quell the threat but the wannabe marksman stayed cool and slotted the ball into the awaiting onion bag.  0-1 it was with the hosts now looking at a long afternoon of footballing labour.
The Rams had their peckers up, although The Briggers had a rare sortie forth that ended with a shot off target and a offside decision just in case.  The game started to throw-up all manner of midfield mistakes but, more often than not, any loose ball was won by the guests.  No 9 (Luke Francis) for the resident ranks though nearly earned himself some 'assist'  points when he collected, swiveled and played the ball to No 7 (Harley Holt) who let fly a screamer that just wouldn't stay on line - it was a ruddy good effort deserved of more.
Matters became more competitive as time ticked on with Worsborough rising to the task.  Francis had a pop but his effort was closer to decapitating a flasher in the local country park than hitting the back of the net.  In return No 10 (Conal Gallagher) blazed a punt but only found the awaiting keepers midriff.  As the half wore down Ogunby for Rammy tried a cheeky in-box flick that didn't come off and even though the travelling blues stayed on top, that second goal wouldn't come.
We stayed put for the break, I noted that the recent hot chocolate that we poured away had given rise to a few fungal specimens and several flies that had partook of the said liquid were now lying on their backs, twitching with the final throes of life.  By heck that was a close call! These Yorkshire folk must have some tough constitutions.
After a snack and a banana we watched as the teams reappeared and expected the away win to be cemented in stone.  Rammy applied some good early pressure, a bit like a fat masseur squeezing one's testicular bag.  The first move forth came from a throw in with a delicious cross ensuing, Chingwaro at the back post nodding back and No 9 (Matthew Dudley) arriving just in time to stretch a shank and poke the ball home.  The lead was doubled, it looked like the match was won already.
Worsborough Bridge responded with a few forays forward that were lacking in vision and apical threat.  Ramsbottom held firm, won a free-kick that Dudley twatted over - I think the time for more creativity was upon us.  No 11 (James Woodhouse) was working up a good lather for the home lads but when released he delayed the shot and allowed the defender to block with relative ease.  More attacks came at each end, the only snag was an unwillingness to shoot on sight.
A few corners came, a yellow card and some chances went begging.  Some argy-bargy was unnecessary and not helping the home team's cause. Eventually Rammy moved forth with purpose with the eye-catching Chingwaro on the ball and looking to make a difference.  A pass and the ball was pinged skyward.  As the globe fell Chingwaro waited, lashed at the perfect moment and sent the ball home to bag his sides 3rd and grab the goal of the game.  It was a choice moment as this player had really impressed with his display today.
Now the game began to wind down, the puff was running out of matters and the result was settled. A Rammy free-kick saw No 6 (John Black) look to add icing on the cake but the shot was wide of the mark.  A shot out of the blue nearly raised the roof (and a few erections no doubt) when a 30+ yard sizzler took the paintwork of the underside of the bar and yet somehow stayed out of the goal.  Cripes that would have been a beauty.  As the final seconds dwindled no further shake-ups came and when the referee blew there could be no complaints from either team.  Ramsbottom United's No 11 (Kuda Chingwaro) was the Man of the Match for me, a player with good feet, neat control, some solid composure and a willingness to work forward - the goal was a deserved bonus too.
We buggered off home at the final peeps, this had been a lovely visit although matters were marred at the end when I saw the local ambulance service carrying out a stomach pump on a guy gibbering away and uttering the words 'No, No, No - not the fuckin' liquid Cadburys again' - now I wonder what that was all about?
FINAL THOUGHTS - A grand ground to visit and one I hope to return to again in the near future, preferably after a good walk at Worsborough CP and some local tea and cake.  The home team though were outclassed today and lost too many 50/50 balls and didn't work as a force especially at the strike end of the park.  I am sure today was not reflective of how the season is going and I did note several players busting a bollock throughout the game and playing with undying fervour.  If composure is had and work on player awareness is concentrated on then the future may be a little more rosy than many may think.  Ramsbottom United seem a different prospect than the team I saw lose by 4 goals to a very efficient Wythenshawe FC.  They hold the ball well, battle in all areas and read the game with insightfulness.  The main area to work upon is making sure opportunities are taken and when they have a side on the ropes they duly pummel them into complete submission.  Despite being on top for most of this game they failed to bury matters early on.  A shock goal by the opposing force could so easily have brought unnecessary pressure.  Having said this, I reckon Rammy are capable of a good cup run and will only get better as the season unfolds - I am sure I will catch them again, hopefully in the next round of the cup (the fingers are crossed).

Sunday, 6 August 2023


5th August 2023 - Maine Road 2 v 1 Barnton FC - The day started with the outside world battered by lashing rain.  I stayed indoors and spent time reviewing a CD by Violent Solution.  It had many hardcore elements and some solid songs, my fave of which was 'Wankers Utd', a number that raved against the money grabbing filth at the upper end of the footballing game - oh aye, parasitical bastards.  After battering the lugs I did a spot of microscopy and confirmed a species of Eyelash Fungus, namely (Scutellinia olivascens).  As time ticked on I had a work out on the punchbag (no not the old dear who lives next door) and built up a good lather before a quick swill and a shave of the noggin.  Eventually my missus drove me to the ground whereupon she went home to chill, it had been a tough week after the Mother-In-Law's funeral, it is the emotive strain that creeps in that is a real niggler.  Upon arrival I spied a few fungi, one of which I collected for ID after the match.  I purchased a brew and Mars Bar and had a wander round the ground before finding my spot and chatting to a few fine faces and Maine Road players.  The game looked set to be a close one, it was indeed just that and here are my Fungalised observations.

The opening gasps of the game saw Barnton make the early running whilst displaying some swift moves and many pairs of tidy tootsies.  Despite this The Road won an early corner that No 7 (Nathaniel Oseni) posted with a high degree of accuracy.  The crown of the incoming No 6 (James Perry) was met, the contact was firm and on target but the keeper had his orbs on the ball and gathered well.

A lull in the rain was now broken as the clouds fractured and droplets fell. Barnton were undeterred and made the next sortie forth.  No 11 (Adam Moseley) burst from the pack like a testicle from a pair of torn speedos.  The shot that came went wide, in truth it should have brought about the opening goal.  The game continued with good pace with the guests still pressing and passing in an impressive manner.  The Road were holding their own though with No 2 (Ronny Pepe) working up a good lather and putting in several good tackles.

The visitors continued to push, 2 corners held promise but bore barren fruit. A superb Maine Road move followed.  3 delicious midfield touches led to No 10 (Yousif Yousif) being released.  The striker fired immediately (perhaps a little prematurely), the keeper stood his ground and produced a quality save.  A corner soon ensued, Oseni was once more responsible for a quality postal service with Perry at the back post once again providing the belfry contact with the ball ending up in the onion bag and duly breaking the deadlock. Solid stuff.

Barnton were now asked a serious question, they worked hard to provide a substantial answer.  A long hopeful cross came, the home mitter advanced, misjudged matters and No 3 (Ellis Bolton) put bonce on ball but missed the target zone.  A free-kick for the hosts was countered by a swift break, Pepe was there once again and put in an outstanding tackle - cracking stuff.

At this point the two brews I had guzzled had made their presence felt and the old John Thompson was niggled.  A quick pop at the back of the stands whilst trying to watch the game saw my boots splashed (literally) and the bladder relieved.  I must order some Tena Pads before the next game (non sexual of course).  Tucked in and on my toes I returned to my viewing spot to see a lengthy Road ball find No 9 (Francesco Frangillo) who had a chance to double the lead.  Once more the guest No 1 (Dale Latham) did what was needed and held firm.

The half rattled on, a Barnton corner nearly added to the excitement levels when the Road keeper fumbled but no takers were on hand to punish the error.  The Villagers were now relentless and found the net after another good move but offside was given and rightly so.  Moseley for the black and white clad team came on, a neatly threaded pass found No 9 (Tyler Rufus) whose shot went just over the bar.  A corner was awarded (don't ask me why) that saw the globe go in, out and back in again from the boot of No 10 (Justeace Nichols-Holness).  The shot was low and firm but the keeper watched it well and saved with relative ease.

The half ended with a few minor chances and much bluster.  It had been an entertaining 45 minutes - more of the same would do quite nicely thank you.

As the miserable skies bled lucid liquid I stayed put and nattered with a few fine folk.  John D was still doing well with his prosthetic limb company, Josh Clegg's grandad duly won the raffle and Tommy Duffy's dad tried to sell me a Betamax Tape that showcased the Golden Years of Maine Road FC (all 5 minutes of it) as well as some signed nude photo's of a current Maine Road player - I picked up a tape out of sympathy and a few photographs for purely therapeutic reasons.  

And with the tape bagged, the polaroids in the back pocket the second half was viewed.  Barnton put together the first promising move with the apical shot just flashing wide.  This was followed by a corner which saw the ball lofted high into the dishrag grey sky.  The globe descended, the keeper hollered but landed on the deck and a free header for No 5 (Harvey Woodhouse) saw the scoreline levelled.  It was a poor goal to concede but Barnton did deserve it.

The Road rallied, a move from a corner saw Perry produce a shank-wank shot that caused little in the way of concern and a long ball followed that looked laden with potential but the guest gloved git read it well and cleared.  

A few more hoofs and doofs, the tension was building, the next goal could very well be the 3 point prize grabber.  Barnton were retaining the ball well, Road were looking to break but were a little to slow to make for any menace.  The resident lads however did win a free-kick in a positive position with Oseni yet again delivering a quality ball.  Alas for the demon with the dead ball, all wannabe assassins arrived a little too late and the danger passed.

A good game this, plenty to scribble about and some good football being played.  Maine Road began to show more belief and looked a far better prospect when surging forth.  The next advancement saw the beefy Oseni dart like a weasel on whizz only to be thwarted at the last - the oxygen mask was waiting as the player puffed his way back into position.  After a Barnton shot was saved and ruled offside anyway, a free kick saw No 8 (Abdi Addow) for the hosts produce a dipping banana shot that looked for all intents and purposes to be destined for the bottom corner of the netting.  Great gasps went up when the upright was wobbled and the ball hoofed clear.  Moments later a corner the same way brought more excited exhalations as the keeper gathered on the line, dropped and just about managed to retain possession.  Phew.

Barnton now broke with zeal and the move was slicker than the chat up lines of Burt Reynolds (ooh the oily bastard).  The sphere was played across goal, an incoming bod pulled the trigger and skied the ball, that was a big chance.  

There were now 5 minutes (plus extra) on the clock, the home team were showing a real desire to win this one.  The substitute and extra nippy No 16 (Yasir Salim) was nearly in but met with some stout defending. Soon after, a quick move in the box saw No 15 (Tommy Duffy) lay off to Salim who wriggled in and poked home much to the joy of all his teammates and the the onlooking fans.  It was all too much for some, who duly invaded the pitch and danced with the players - it was good to see.

The final throes saw Barnton stride forth and knock in another high ball.  The keeper rose and grabbed and held on tight - soon after the game was done - what a good show.  After a chat and farewells I pondered the Man of the Match and duly gave the nod to Maine Road's No 2 (Ronny Pepe).  A solid effort, reading the game well, working hard and always aware and listening to the shouts around him.  The lad looked buggered at the end - my applause were genuine.

Leaving the ground it was surprising to see that Josh Clegg's grandad had necked the bottle of wine he had won in the raffle and was dancing bare-chested in the car park singing 'My Heart Belongs To The Road' - he seemed happy enough and I just hope the hangover wears off before Monday's game at Stockport Town.

FINAL THOUGHTS - Well, what good value and what an applaudable effort both teams put in.  Barnton are a good unit with many quality players and a good footballing style.  They may have come unstuck today but rest assured, there are many teams who are going to be bulldozed by this lot and I reckon a top 6 finish is very much on the cards if the players stay together and believe.  I like the way they play, the constant threat they pose and their on-the-deck skill and speed - I wish them sincere good fortune and hope to see them again soon.  Maine Road do what they do and can win with style, win ugly or equally lose when least expected. They are no mugs though and have a good ethos and a mixed bag of styles that will always pull out a win when least expected.  There are still areas to work upon.  The sitting too deep is a problem at times and is really highlighted as soon as the team play higher up and seem a completely different unit.  For non-league entertainment though there is no finer place to be - good folk, good atmosphere, unpredictability and of course, the odd drunken lout in the car park - have it.

Tuesday, 1 August 2023


29th July 2023 - Wythenshawe FC 4 v 0 Ramsbottom Utd - The new season begins and after a few friendlies and being perpetually busy it was good to get back on a touchline and watch some football played in earnest.  The morn was spent with the good lady at Wythenshawe Park.  We need to keep the noggins distracted and the blood flowing as the mother-in-law is being buried on Monday which is a test of one's resolve.  She was a grand lass, always asking about where I have been watching football and what fungi I had been finding - she will be sorely missed.

The morning walk was grand, 43 species of fungi, 99 other species, 2 brews, a shared cake and a crap in the woods for yours truly which caused some discomfort after finding out that Sycamore leaves are no good for wiping ones rear on.  I now plan to investigate the best natural toilet papers - I fancy a good handful of Horse Chestnut leaves but only if free from the ubiquitous mining moth - one has to be fair tha' knows.

And so, with bowels empty and the wildlife interest tamed, I was dropped off at the ground a full 90 minutes before kick-off.  After noticing a patch of Yellow Stainer Fungi (Agaricus xanthodermus) just outside the ground and duly scratching and sniffing I entered, paid my dues (and those for my mate STP Stu) and after a much needed Gypsies, I parked my arse and absorbed some sun.  Stu arrived soon after, a warming beverage was had and positions taken between the dug-outs,  Good chat and predictions made - we expected a tough game, the end result was something of a surprise I can tell ya.

The game began on the dot, the crowd was looking healthy enough and was later confirmed at 400+.  I wonder if this will be the case if the home team have a crappy season - we shall have to wait and see!  The first move of any import came via the resident ranks with a 3 pass move following on from No 9's (Saul Henderson) flick header.  The apical component was the scurrying No 11 (Darrhyl Mason) who darted in, sighted goal and disappointingly bulged the side-netting.  Now that was some chance.

Wythenshawe were clearly the more settled side and kept up some good pressure.  Henderson played a cross into the box next that was just defended and then another cross came with Mason on it again but failing to find the target.

Eventually the game levelled out and became a more competitive affair.  Rammy won their first corner which resulted in a choice delivery that was fisted with firmness (a bit like the rear end of a few celebrities I know).  A free-kick followed after a clattering tackle, another good ball was posted with the keeper once more doing his bit to stave off any real threat.  Wythy counterpunched with a brace of angled-kicks - the first was bilge, the second finalised by a shot that was blocked.  These end to end scares were enough to bring extra life to the game which resulted in some overheated moments and lots of pointless verbals.

The game was becoming a difficult one to call and a goal was very much needed.  The home No 4 (Ryan Shenton) had a long range punt but rather than hit the target the ball removed a few conkers from a nearby Chestnut tree much to the annoyance of the local Squirrel population.  No 8 (Pa Jenkins) for the guests cultivated room to shoot but sent the globe over into the sketchy grey beyond much to the dismay of the travelling support.  The visiting tribe however nearly broke the suffocating deadlock when the home keeper advanced, the ball went loose and a shot towards goal came,  The back-pedalling net-protector (Kyle Haslam) looked beaten until he jumped like a gazelle with a blazing rectum, raised a hand and palmed the ball away with athletic grace - what a ruddy save! The corner that followed was once more delivered with accuracy, a header mere feet from the goal somehow stayed outside of the strike zone, another corner quickly followed and Wythy somehow survived.  Phew.

The hosts were now ignited into action.  A smooth move ended with a lengthy punt that saw the Rammy keeper save with an outstretched peg. The ensuing corner was best thrown in the bin marked 'shite'.  The game was looking likely to give rise to a strike at any moment and as the half ticked down and a few more chances went begging a sweeping move by the hosts saw a cross-ball get re-posted, No 2 (Christopher Howard) look to bulge the netting and the home No 3 (Maine Walder) duly getting in the way and fail to stop the strike.  This wasn't the most ideal way to see the stalemate broken but Wythenshawe were not complaining.  The half ended soon after, would Rammy recover from the late suckerpunch?

We stayed put for half-time, there were too many people queueing for a brew and so we absorbed some unexpected sun and Stu checked the half-time scores elsewhere.  Nothing out of the ordinary was discovered although when some news online was seen that all premiership players would be forced to play for the love of the game instead of being a bunch of greedy parasitical prima donnas great delight was had.  The joy was soon quelled though when we realized it was a hoax by someone wishing to be detached from this grubby reality.  Hey ho – dream on mate!

And to half two with the home lads out with purpose and looking to increase their hard fought for advantage.  No 7 (Edward Brown) was away and making a mazy run that saw a cross follow and the globe get poked home.  The linesman was the killjoy of the moment and signalled for offside – boo, hiss ya bugger!

Moments later the score should have been doubled when a swift breakaway saw Henderson receive and look to bury but being only able to find the side netting.  A crucial miss perhaps?  Time will only tell.

Hustle and bustle, chances wasted and a booking ensued. A free-kick for Ramsbottom came next and was firmly drilled by their No 6 (John Black) who was denied by the defiant knuckles of the home gloved guardian.  Another gratis-hoofing came the same way after the quality No 7 (Damola Sotona) went on a smooth and sinewy run before being nobbled.  The shot from the dead ball however was way off the mark and nestled in the long grass at the back of the goal whereupon a swarm of kids pounced.  It was a comical scene, it reminded me of the time when I dropped a packet of growth hormones in the local midget clinic – I have never seen so many small folk move so fast.

The Rams now seemed to have their horns up (dirty bastards) and have more focus on the game.  They came twice more, both assaults were nullified with Worth being a particular stick in the mud.  The tempo of the game began to ease with the hosts gradually gaining a firmer hold on matters.  A couple of corners came, the Rams stood firm (it must be the viagra) but from a free-kick they were nearly punished when the ball was cleared and fired back by Shenton who was a gnat's todge width away from doubling the lead.

The Wythenshawe No 14 (Adam Davies) advanced with purpose, zeal and prowess next.  The final shot went straight at the keeper which was a shame as the desire was deserved of more. Rammy bounced back, a corner was won and another good delivery was had (they certainly post a good dead ball this lot).  The nut that rose made firm contact, the ball pinged off a defenders head and strangely enough, a goal kick was given.  Was the referee keen on masturbating, a few in the crowd seemed to think so!

10 minutes now remained on the clock, Rammy were like a freshly rogered Hartley Hare (ooh Mr Pipkin where are you now).  The Wythy pack could sense a weakening of the seams and No 8 (Aaron Hevingham) led the next invasion with Mason joining the foray and laying one on a plate for Davies to bury - 2 - 0 - deserved?  I think so!

We soon entered 'time added on', a 50/50 ball was won by the team perspiring desire.  Mason was away, and 3 - 0 it was.  That looked to be it, imagine the shock to the system, and the stinging salt in the open Rammy wound when No 10 (Bryan Ly) for Wythenshawe displayed some cool control and stroked home the fourth - cripes, what a result.

The referee blew shortly after, the home team got a great ovation and left the pitch with heads held high.  Man of the Match for me goes to Wythenshawe FC's No 6 (Luke Worth), a real grafter with good effect in many areas of the pitch.  He led from the front and worked his blue-stained knackers off - here's to many more performances like this.

FINAL THOUGHTS - And so the opening game done and all predictions down the shitter and a bit of an unexpected end scoreline if the truth be told (although I am sure that optimistic bugger Jake Davies would disagree).  Ramsbottom United were shellshocked here and were, if honesty must prevail, a bit of a disappointment.  There were a few good players in the mix but from the off today they seemed to be playing too deep, lacking any sharpness up front and just devoid of any ideas.  Their deadball deliveries were exceptional but a good beanstalk up front will be needed along with some electric pace to gain the full potential from these hoofings.  There is work to be done and it needs to be done quickly - this is a tough league and the games will slip away real quick.  Wythenshawe FC showed one thing today and that one thing is a great asset to any club.  'Desire' is a key element and even when things are not going your way, desire can still bag a result.  All men were counted, all did their bit and couple this with a good discipline and an on-pitch awareness and I think this is what made the day so successful.  Now what they need to grasp is some consistency - the games are lining up and some meaty fixtures lay ahead.  For now though it is 1 down 45 to go - the only proof of a good side will be had when the last ball is kicked.

Sunday, 28 May 2023


 Matches attended


Goals witnessed


Average goals per game


Highest scoring game

Wythenshawe Amateurs Reserves 2 v 8 Denton Town

Ten most seen teams

Maine Road FC 16

Denton Town 13

Cheadle Town 11

Cheadle Heath Nomads 11

Wythenshawe Amateurs 7

Styal FC 5

Stockport Georgians 4

Stockport Town 4

Eccleshall 4

Mersey Valley FC 3

Raffles won

As you can guess - bugger all.

End of season round-up

A strange season that in part stuttered and then flashed by like a whizzed up Linford Christie with a peppered gherkin rammed up his arse.  The viewing was spread far and wide with the usual favourite teams getting a good donation of aural observation.  October and November saw me miss many matches due to fungal duties - there ain't nothing finer than taking a group of folk into the woods to show them one's stinkhorn or relate tales about an episode of Crampballs that saw me bent double.  It is what I do in the hope of getting people enthused about nature, saving this dying planet and of course, arousing my rather aged nether's. I also had a major health scare that nearly saw my number called.  I was blessed to dodge a bullet but a few physical issues (darn that U-bend in my penis) needed attending to and so a couple more games were missed whilst I got back on the right path (well as close as I have ever been). 

The football on show was enjoyed as much as ever as was the touchline crack with many familiar faces.  STP Stu was by my side more often than not, with it always being a case of who gets to the ground first pays that duly had me attending matches well before kick-off.  In fact if Stu keeps up his heady pace I may have to start camping out at grounds the night before kick-off.  The viewing took place primarily within the North West Counties and Cheshire League structures with the odd foray into the Manchester League taken when I was on gigging duty or out nosying in the natural world.  The NWCFL left me a trifle disappointed if the truth be told with many teams not catching the eye and lacking an all round flair and unpredictability.  Most matches I attended were run of the mill although as ever, Maine Road FC, provided their usual waywardness and thus made a mockery of many pre-game predictions.  The club is always a favourite haunt and the ethos is right up my DIY street - it goes without saying that there will be many more trips there in the future.  Wythenshawe Amateurs upped the ante at the right time of the season and got their just rewards but if Cheadle Heath Nomads hadn't have had such a dreadful start things may have been a little different - it makes no odds though, the end table never lies and all the best to Wythy for the season ahead.

The Cheshire League has always been a source of fascination and pleasure, there is something earthy and may I say, cobbled together, about the whole set-up but it always gets by and allows us to see some good football played at a surprisingly decent level.  Mersey Valley FC is perhaps one of the best locations due to the open spaces, the lovely lasses in the clubhouse and the natural areas surrounding the ground that give me ample opportunity to explore before kick off.  Due to lowly attendances it helps keep one fit as chasing the 'out-of-play' ball is mandatory if one cares to stand on the far side of the ground (take note Kev). I hope to pay this club some serious attention next season and do some reports to get them a little extra note.  Of course Denton Town are a good club, decent people, are in a fine area and are now a Premiership team.  The support is increasing and I am sure will continue to do so if they have a good season next year.  My punky nature keeps me wandering and I can never commit to one club but Denton will always get their fair share of support from me that is for sure.

It was noticeable that I didn't do many reports this year but I did reach the 400 mark, a tally I think that surely afforded me a break.  I aim to do 25 reports a season from now on, I will go for variety and scribble at clubs that have not been disgraced by my penmanship.  It may help, it may cause concern for my mental state, it may end up in the local asylum for unadulterated shock treatment but, I will be out there, wallowing in the Non-League artform and now and again hailing its glory and wonder in written format.  Now to get my cramping balls tanned over the summer months and the nib of my pencil sharpened and ready. You may be intrigued, you my be appalled, but one thing you will not be is missing out on any touchline deviancy -watch this space.

In memory of Sean Errol Blaney - thanks for the good banter mate!

Tuesday, 7 March 2023


6th March 2023 - Maine Road FC 0 v 4 Stockport Town - After a day of birding and looking at some mosses and a few fungi I had a read, continued with my new diet and set out to football to compose my last football report for a while.  400 is a nice round number to finish on and where better than to scribble my observations than at one of my fave clubs, namely Maine Road FC.  I arrived with an aching arse after the day's cycling and roaming, I am an old crock of late with the body twanging and playing up in many areas.  The new eating regime is set to sort things out but with so many herbs, vegetables and fruits entering the old gastric compost bin my arse is set to blow itself inside out in one mighty rasp of degrading filth.  So, with reinforced underpants donned (sky blue of course), buttocks soaked in liniment and a wine-cork rammed up the chuff just in case, I arrived at Brantingham Road, paid my dues and had a brew with STP Stu.  The ever amiable Jake Davies (Wythenshawe Amateurs Assistant Manager) joined us and revealed his plans to assassinate several Stockport Town players in his attempt to get his team promotion.  I do think that throwing hand grenades about at football matches is a trifle risky though so suggested he opt for a more subtle option - poisoning, strangulation or of course, a rigorous bumming.  Our good friends Gareth and Sandra Evans soon joined us, fine folk we see regularly and who attend the odd gig here and there. After more natter, a final slurp was had and we all went forth with perches taken and the usual wayward predictions made.  All were opting for an away win, I was going with my ticker rather than my turnip and hoping for a 2 - 2 draw - why not indeed?

So the teams set to battle at 7.45pm, action was surely guaranteed and came almost immediately when The Town lost the ball and Road's No 7 (Arek Pociask) raced forth and had a chance to nail one of the quickest goals on record.  The shot however lacked confidence and direction, and both teams eventually settled into their groove.  

The hosts soon advanced again, a ball found the flank-flashing No 2 (Jake Pogson) who delivered a cross that Pociask disappointingly headed over.  The guests now warmed to the task at hand with pressure applied and forcing The Road to defend like hepped up chipmunks with an arse full of pepper.  The guest No 7 (Tobias Green) had a pop that the vocal mittman easily saved and then, from being on the back peg, the home lads cultivated a smooth breakaway that saw Pociask feed No 8 (Ben Mooney) who walloped and only just missed the target.

The game looked quite balanced in these early throes, Pogson for the blue clad boys came next, a wonderful ball was posted, Pociask had another dig but only won a corner.  The angled kick came, a head rose from the depths of the pack and again missed the strike zone, that was a big chance for sure. Stockport bounced back, a cross and a header by No 6 (Michael Raynes) at the back post - outcome, ball over the bar.

A goal was surely on the cards and the strike came soon after when Stockport advanced, a long ball was sweetly chested into the path of No 11 (Kyle Foley) who darted with intent, negotiated his marker and put the ball past the keeper with seasoned aplomb - well taken.

The guests looked comfortable, Green had a pop that was well struck but not even close.  No 10 (William Calligan) came soon after, a strong run was finalised by a cross, the final head was a trifle weak.  Road were now feeding on scraps, No 11 (Jamie Roe) put a good ball through to Pogson who posted a delicious cross that Pociask failed to connect with.  

The half wound down, there was little to add except that the hosts went down to 10 men after a sin-bin offence was committed.  Matters stayed as they were, I expected more, especially from the hosts.

We didn't move for the break, I had my fruity power drink and took in the goodness whilst having a natter.  We discussed the latest books we have read. I had currently enjoyed 'Eugenie Grandet' by Honore De Balzac - a tale regarding a parsimonious old blighter and his warped ways.  I am now reading 'All Quiet On The Western Front' by Erich Maria Remarque - thank goodness Mr Davies had opted out of his war-based attack on tonight's visitors.

And back to the game...

...The away team were straight on it,  Foley was immediately in on goal with the keeper to beat.  The mesh protector was beaten in style - a two goal lead was already looking insurmountable for the home pack. No sooner had play recommenced than Foley was nearly bagging his hat-trick but this time the keeper held firm. A free-kick came the other way, Roe posted but The Town were like the clenched arse crack of Giant Haystacks - utterly impenetrable.  

Maine Road had a decent spell of possession but the end product was glaringly lacking.  Stockport pushed and prodded, a break by the Road saw a shout for a penalty ignored before the travelling pack raced away with Foley at the apex and duly burying his third goal of the night.  Wham, bam and slam - game done and dusted methinks.

From here the game rolled on, there was little to add except Town's Foley went out wide, delivered a ball that No 9 (Daniel McLaughlin) simply knocked home and after a fairly lame Maine Road spurt the game ended with the home team guilty of not hitting the target in 90 minutes of play.  Man of the Match was an easy choice, Stockport Town's No 11 (Kyle Foley) deserved his 3 goal prize and put in some serious work that was direct and honest at all times.  A good player seemingly on an upward curve - it is grand to see.  I headed home and was glad to receive a warm brew and toast in the car, my wife is the ultimate gem.

FINAL THOUGHT - Tonight was a tale of two teams heading in different directions it seems.  Stockport Town look set to be moving up into the Premier League, Maine Road look set to finish the season on a real downer and drop a few places in the process.  The guests are a clinical and efficient team without doing anything stunningly dazzling.  They are going to have a big task on their hands next year - they might just be up for it!  Maine Road are stuttering along, tonight displayed many failings in a team in need of some drastic changes.  The ethos to play good football is there but every team needs a bit of height, some serious pace and a certain degree of cohesion.  It is going to be a slow wind down to the end of the campaign but thankfully for The Road the league, this time around, is rather weak.  I shall be back in the usual spot a few more times no doubt, watching what unfolds and hopefully enjoying a  few winning games.  At some point next season I may even get the pen out again and scribble a report.  Onwards.