Monday, 7 May 2018

Another Bank Holiday "Treble Header"

There were plenty of games a long way from home with a lot more riding on them but I simply couldn't be bothered facing up to the the Bank Holiday traffic on the motorways. However I did manage to find myself a treble about an hour from home. Start the engine... 

1100 Warrington & District League Guardian Cup Final @ Cantilever Park, Warrington 
Billinge 2-0 New Street 
Att: 120 (h/c)

The Guardian Cup is the flagship Cup Final of the Warrington and District League. The game was played at Cantilever Park, the home of Warrington Town. This was my first visit there in 12 years.

On a baking hot morning, Cheshire League Billinge were two up at the break thanks to goals from Ryan McCabe (28) and Steve Taylor (30) and they really should have been further in front. After the interval New Street, also from St Helens, applied the pressure but simply couldn't find a way through and gradually wilted in the heat. 

From Cantilever Park it was a straightforward 10 minute journey across town for... 

1400 Cheshire League Premier Div.
Tetley Walker Sports Ground
Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds 0 
Altrincham Reserves 4 
Att: 55 (h/c) 

The fantastically monikered Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds, who were founded in 2003 by a merger of Greenalls FC and Padgate St Oswalds FC, were hosting Altrincham Reserves at the Tetley Walker Sports Ground. It is a great set up with a covered stand on the halfway line. The ground was once home to Tetley Walker FC who were members of the NWCFL from 1994 until they folded in 2001. 

It was a comfortable victory for Altrincham, whose youngsters played some good football and scored some quality goals. Dylan Scanlan put Alty ahead (pictured right) before Joel Swift made it 2-0 with a tap in. Scott Smith then beat four GSPO defenders before slotting home the third goal and a late penalty from Darius Palma completed the scoring.

The final game of the day saw me head back down the M56 and across the border into Wales for...

1830 Welsh National League Div.1
The Gwyn 
Maesgwyn 2-5 New Brighton Villa 
Att: 32 (h/c)

Maesgwyn are in their second season at this level, having been founded in 2002. The ground is on Lilac Way, just down the road from Wrexham's Racecourse Ground, where you can see the floodlights in the distance. The Gwyn is a railed off pitch with no spectator facilities but on a balmy evening there was no need for any cover!

There was a minutes applause pre-match for Martin Ford, the Queens Park manager who died suddenly earlier in the day.

The match was a comfortable win for New Brighton, who in all honesty missed enough chances to at least double their score. The Gwyn goalkeeper was not a happy bunny as despite making several fine stops to keep the score down, he was certainly expressing his displeasure at the defence in front of him!

The New Brighton Villa goals came courtesy of Matty Williams (2), Jordan Dorrington, Ben Hughes and a Pete Morris free-kick rocketDan Roberts replied twice for the home side.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Hamburg "Sonntag Doppel"

The conclusion of this particular European football trip concluded in Hamburg, with a double header from the lower tiers of German football...

1045 Oberliga Hamburg
Teutonia Ottensen 4
Wandsbeker TSV Concordia 2
Att: 175 (plus 20 or so tightwads, who wouldn't pay the €6, watching from road)

What better way to blow the cobwebs off than a spot of Sunday morning Oberliga action. FC Teutonia Ottensen regularly play their home games at 1045 in the morning so this was ideal. The ground, Sportplatz Kreuzkirche, is about a 15 minute walk from Hamburg-Altona station and, as suggested in the name, is in the shadow of the Ottensen Kreuzkirche (Church of the Cross). 

FC Teutonia were the Landesliga Hamburg-Hammonia champions in 2017, earning promotion to the Oberliga (level 5 of German football) Hamburg. They are enjoying a good season and they are comfortably in third place in the table (at the start of play today).

However in this league there is only one promotion spot to the Regionalliga Nord and that looks sewn up by TuS Dassendorf, who are 12 points clear at the top, with games in hand.  Teutonia do play the champions-elect in a couple of weeks time in the Hamburg Cup semi-final, so maybe there is still a chance of silverware this season.

Abdel Abou-Khalid gave Concordia the lead after two minutes but Aytac Erman (19, 32) and Georgios Cholevas (23) gave Teutonia a comfortable half time lead.

Two Wandsbeker TSV Concordia players received red cards, Martin Werner after 66 minutes for his second yellow card and  Kevin Zschimmer after 75 minutes for foul and abusive language. In between the red cards Concordia did pull a goal back when Abou-Khalid (73) scored from the penalty spot. However after 80 minutes Erman completed his hat-trick to make the game safe.

The second game of the day was 5 miles across town in the district of Lokstedt. The timings were tight so I had to be on my toes at the final whistle. I had to catch a bus to Schlump station and then jump off at Hagenbecks Tierpark and then walk 10 minutes to the ground. However whilst I was on the bus I received a text message to say kick off had been delayed due to an injury sustained at a earlier match on the pitch. The knock on effect meaning the remaining games were at least 30 minutes behind. The second half of Lokstedt's second team versus Inter Eidelstedt was just kicking off as I entered the ground, so at least there was time for a chill and a beer (or two) in the clubhouse as the temperature began to rise...

1430 Bezirksliga Nord Hamburg
Eintracht Lokstedt 2
HFC Falke 2
Att: 272

Sportpark Lokstedt, on Dörntwiete, is another artificial surface (if you can remember, it is very similar to Luton Town's pitch of the 1980's).

There is a small piece of wooden cover and also a decent view from the clubhouse decking behind the goal. Eintracht Lokstedt are celebrating their centenary this year and there is a display in the clubhouse to commemorate this achievement, including a plaque from the Deutscher Fußball Bund and a signed photo from Germany and Hamburg legend Uwe Seeler (pictured above right).

Eintracht Lokstedt were the league leaders with HFC Falke in 5th position (at the start of play) in the Bezirksliga Nord Hamburg, which is a district league and basically the equivalent of an English County League. In Hamburg the Bezirksliga sits at Level 7 in the German structure.

Today was a chance for me to catch up with friends who follow HFC Falke and chew the fat, sink a few beers and watch a decent game of football. 

Lokstedt raced into an early two goal lead. Mario Beslic opened the scoring after 5 minutes, after a defensive mix up up left him with an open goal. After 10 minutes Tamino Kunter raced through to slot home and double the home sides advantage.

Tobias Leuthold (25) halved the deficit after Falke were awarded a dubious penalty when Lokstedt 'keeper Jan Giesecke pushed  in the area resulted in the referee pointing to the spot. Kevan Hermann (55) equalised for The Hawks in the second half and the game could have gone either way. In the 81st minute Lokstedt had a chance to grab the victory but Nils Kuchenmeister saved Luis Gleich's penalty kick. The resulting draw was a fair result and brought to a conclusion another fantastic week of European Groundhopping. 

All that was left was to head back into town and sink a few more ales at the fabulous Galopper des Jahres! Until next time, a very fond farewell!